“Put your best foot forward.”
“First impressions count.”
“Are you wearing clean underwear? What happens if you get hit by a bus and have to be taken to the hospital?”
Aside from the fact that your mother most likely uttered all of these to you at some point in your life, what else are these phrases telling us?
Yup, design matters.
Your blog is an extension of you. It’s your most powerful personal branding tool (short of yourself.) It says a ton about who you are, what you’re passionate about, what you believe in, etc.
You don’t want it to look crappy, do you?
In the world of blogging, content might be king, but design is at least the court jester. And we all know the court jester is really the one keeping things together.
You need to stand out.
Before I re-designed Instigator Blog I was using a nice WordPress template, but I hadn’t modified it significantly. And you could find plenty of other blogs that looked almost the same. What did that same about me? It certainly wasn’t helping me stand out. While I was thinking about re-designing the blog I spoke to a friend of mine on the subject, and he told me (paraphrasing), “Having a custom blog design is critical. You’ll be taken more seriously, and attract more readers.”
You shouldn’t fool yourself; first impressions do count.
A higher quality blog design will give a better first impression. There’s no doubt about it. And if it encourages even one person to click through and read a bit further – and get sold on the content – then it’s worthwhile.
You shouldn’t push design to the backburner.
Design often gets pushed to the side because it’s so easy to design a basic blog. With WordPress there are countless themes you can use instantly – and with almost no modifications (or design talent) you can setup a blog. That’s a great thing because it gives everyone – regardless of technological know-how – the opportunity to express themselves. At the same time, when you want to take your blog to the next level: think design.
It’s never too late.
The beauty of blogging is that you can always change things, experiment and see what works. This holds true for copywriting, social networking and your blog design. You might start by changing some basic colors in a WordPress theme or moving things around in a sidebar (which can have a big impact) and eventually get into more sophisticated changes. You may choose to hire a blog designer to help out (there are plenty out there – if you want recommendations, feel free to ping me.)
Your blog’s design should be important to you. It reflects more than you might realize on you and how you’re perceived by others. You should always want to put your best foot forward.