The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School (PON) is as weighty as it sounds! And having a website Daily Homepage is an integral part of promoting PON’s brand and mission—and continuing to be recognized as a thought leader in the area of negotiation and dispute resolution.
PON’s Daily Homepage promotes free content from their dynamic, interdisciplinary research center that is dedicated to improving the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution—drawing from numerous fields of study, including law, business, government, psychology, economics, anthropology, the arts, and education.
Like PON, deploying a Daily Homepage at your website is a way to create authoritative content that is optimized for the search engines (so it can be easily found by online searchers) and that is available for FREE for any site visitor.
With this In-Depth Tutorial, we’ll review PON’s Daily Homepage to assess their success in presenting PON’s unique content to get indexed by search engines, capture the email addresses of new site visitors, and engage readers with compelling and helpful advice.
First, a little bit about PON: Founded in 1983 and based at Harvard Law School, PON is a consortium of faculty and students from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, and other Boston-area schools. PON is a vibrant and expanding community working collaboratively on a wide range of projects, including developing and publishing new material for negotiation education, sharing ideas with colleagues around the world, and increasing the awareness of best practices.
In all projects and activities, PON focuses on creating innovative ways to:
- Encourage new thinking in negotiation theory
- Serve the mission of PON’s consortium schools to help prepare graduates to assume leadership roles in the world community
- Nurture the next generation of negotiation teachers and scholars
- Provide a forum for the discussion of ideas and practices
- Increase public awareness of successful conflict resolution processes; and
- Connect the discussion of conflict resolution with current events and real-world contexts
Now, let’s look at PON’s Daily Homepage, and we’ll review it based on our checklist of core components that can help you design a page that highlights your expertise, gets your content indexed by the search engines, captures the email addresses of new site visitors, and engages all your readers.
First, you should know that a Mequoda-style Daily Homepage is an index page for housing free daily content that is featured in reverse chronological order—page visitors can quickly see that the page contains regular and recent content and has a library of all the daily content that can be reached through navigation.
PON’s Daily Homepage is branded as a “Blog”—and page visitors should feel confident getting such great advice, for FREE, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School! PON’s most recent post is labeled “Latest Post,” and the other eleven posts featured down the page all come under the header of “Recent Posts.”
While the primary purpose of the daily content featured on the Daily Homepage is to attract new site visitors with SEO tactics—and to capture the email addresses of new site visitors—existing customers, even premium subscribers or members, rely on the daily content and value it, too.
Persistent top-of-page main navigation allows page visitors to easily navigate to other sections of the PON website at any moment.
PON’s Daily Homepage—just like many other pages on the site—displays an interstitial “Floater Ad” to new page visitors, offering a free report in exchange for the visitor handing over an email address. This conversion architecture is important for making the offer of a PON free report, but users can easily close the ad by clicking the “X” in the upper-right corner—and this ad never displays for a logged-in or known user.
Daily Post Stack with Headlines and Photos
PON’s Daily Homepage clearly displays the daily posts in a stack of twelve posts, from most recent at the top of the page and then in reverse chronological order by published date. Engagement is paramount for this presentation, as each daily post includes a headline and photo that are clickable, to help draw readers in to click and read the full post.
Daily Post Author, Date, and Topic
For PON’s Daily Homepage, each daily post displays the author, publishing date, and category/topic for each displayed post. At a glance, readers can see the variety of topics covered—and clicking on the author or category/topic will take readers to index pages for the relevant author or category, with complete listings of all content for that author or category in reverse chronological order, too. Author index pages include a short biography of each individual author, and category/topic index pages include a short description of the category/topic, applying SEO for relevant keyword phrases.
Daily Post Snippets
Daily posts on PON’s Daily Homepage are presented with engaging snippets that preview the entire post—and with a Haven WordPress System, these snippets are auto-generated using the first 50-75 words of the actual posts. When post introductions do double-duty as snippets on an index page such as the Daily Homepage, that guides authors to ensure that important and relevant information to inform and engage readers is included at the beginning of daily posts.
Daily Post ‘Read More’ Links
For all PON’s daily posts on the Daily Homepage, a “Read More” link is included as another visible way—in addition to the daily post headline and photo/image—for page visitors to click and read the entire post. PON also includes a recognizable arrow icon, to indicate to readers that more content is included after clicking.
Navigation to Library of Daily Posts
At the bottom of PON’s Daily Homepage is a highly visible page-navigation system that allows page visitors to navigate backward and forward, chronologically speaking, to all of the daily posts. Plus, the entirety of the daily post library—199 pages in all—is also visible to readers.
Right Rail Elements: Premium Offers, Social Media, FREE Reports, and Categories/Topics
At the top of the right rail of PON’s Daily Homepage, page visitors will see featured offers for premium products—in PON’s case, clickable information and registration for their seminar programs and Master Class. The right rail on this page, at the top, is a great place to feature the latest premium offers!
In the middle of the right rail on PON’s Daily Homepage, page visitors will see four clickable icons for PON’s social-media presences—LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube—with the far-right icon a way to get signed up for the PON free daily email list. Displaying all these icons gives page visitors other ways to engage with PON and their content.
Next in the right rail on PON’s Daily Homepage is a full listing, with clickable links, to all the FREE special reports PON offers. Page visitors can navigate to any or all of these reports and download them—new visitors will have to hand over their email address to get the reports, and already-registered users will simply be able to read and download each and every report!
Further down the right rail on PON’s Daily Homepage is a full listing of the primary categories or topics that they cover, in alphabetical order. Clicking on any of the categories/topics will take visitors to a full index page of daily posts for the particular category/topic, with content displayed in reverse chronological order.
Email to Promote Daily Content
PON’s Daily Homepage isn’t a “build-it-and-they-will-come” proposition—besides attracting organic traffic because posts are optimized for search, actively promoting the content to PON’s own email list is another key strategy of creating importance and awareness of their content. Driving existing customers back to daily posts—and oftentimes the Daily Homepage where organic searchers will often navigate to see everything that’s available—is a great way to continuously feature all their expert content.
Continuous improvement should be part of all business processes—including the design and function of your Daily Homepage. But this page is a stalwart at any Mequoda Haven WordPress site, and it’s value and importance means making changes should be done judiciously.
For PON’s Daily Homepage, here are some ideas for improvement that might enhance the user experience and update the page for current best practices:
- Branding the PON Daily Homepage as a “Blog” is a bit outdated and somewhat unaligned with what web parlance identifies as a blog. When blogs first started in the 1990s, a traditional blog was an informal way for individuals or groups to present commentary-style content in a diary-like format. While blogs have become more sophisticated, PON’s daily content is much more about practical information and how-to advice than opinion or commentary—they should consider dropping “Blog” here and stick to just “Daily” for the branding of this content.
- For authors of individual posts of PON’s daily content, overusing “PON Staff” can dilute the power of attributing content to a single authoritative expert—on the day we reviewed PON’s Daily Homepage, five of the twelve listed posts were authored by “PON Staff.” When updating and republishing posts, PON could make the effort to get a single author assigned to these posts.
PON’s Daily Homepage is a shining example of how to showcase key content—and PON does an excellent job of incorporating all aspects of Mequoda ACEM principles on this page (Attract, Capture, Engage, Monetize). This page is a workhorse!
Here’s a performance checklist you can use, to ensure your own Daily Homepage follows Mequoda’s current best practices!
Mequoda’s Daily Homepage Checklist
|Daily Homepage||Does your site have a Daily Homepage, featuring regular free posts?|
|Floater Ad||Does your Daily Homepage serve an interstitial "Floater Ad" to new visitors?|
|Daily Post Stack||Are your daily posts featured on the Daily Homepage in a stack or a tiled format (10-15/page)?|
|Do all of your daily posts include clickable headlines and images?|
|Author, Date, and Topic||Do all of your daily posts include author, publishing date, and category/topic?|
|Are your daily post author and category/topic identifiers clickable to index pages?|
|Daily Post Snippets||Do all of your daily posts include snippets?|
|Daily Post "Read More" Links||Do all of your daily posts include "Read More" links to get to the entire post?|
|Daily Homepage Library Navigation||Does your Daily Homepage include navigation to get to the entire library of daily posts?|
|Daily Homepage Right Rail||Does your right rail feature premium products and offers?|
|Does your right rail include your social media presences?|
|Does your right rail include a full listing of all your free reports or downloads?|
|Does your right rail include a full listing of all your primary categories/topics?|
|Daily Email||Is all of your daily content promoted by email to your email list on a regular basis?|
© 2021 Mequoda Systems, LLC
Bottom Line: If you want to create a powerful Daily Homepage—just like PON’s—follow this checklist, and you’ll have a great starting place for creating a compelling, practical, and usable page.