A guest post by Marya Zainab of Writing Happiness
Have you been shopping lately, with a four year old in tow? It’s not a task anyone looks forward to.
First thing you will be dragged to, is the toys section of course. Among masses of things displayed on the shelves, your child will inevitably zero in on something of interest, with laser-sharp precision. He will pick it up, spend 3 seconds looking it over before deciding if it needs to be tossed back or if he wants it – right now!
While this is a highly frustrating experience for a busy parent, it leads to great insights in understanding human behaviour. How is it that a child who cannot understand the merits of a plaything yet, makes his decision under 4 seconds flat. Why is that even without opening it, he knows that he wants it. The answer is simple; the fact that it looks good to him, the fact that it has created an impression that he cannot live without it, this is enough.
First impression matters.
I must confess I am guilty too .Same thing happens to me when I go shopping in the world of blogs. My time is precious so while I look at many, I can’t read through most. What makes me stop in my blogathon is when a blog looks so professional on its first look. It just grabs my attention and refuses to let go. I just have to find out who the blogger is and what are they writing about. I decide to stay longer.
All this takes a few seconds, first few seconds for any blogger to create a really good first impression on potential readers. You can either wow someone by creating a good first impression or you risk losing them – fast.
All it needs is to send a message across, that your blog is professional.
You don’t need to hire a professional to make it look good. You don’t need to buy expensive themes. A blog looks professional when there is consistency across everything. Nothing looks out of place and there are no glaring errors to spot. When you look professional, you create confidence and trust in your brand. People start to develop a soft corner for you. They are already on your side.
Send the correct message
People have their own reasons for admiring a blog design; it’s a matter of personal taste really. But you need to make sure that you are sending the right message.
- Does it look fun or serious or quirky or something else?
- Is the focus of the blog on the content or on selling some product or service?
- Is it a how-to blog?
- Is it a photo blog?
Think carefully about these before choosing a theme and designing the look of your blog.
Don’t overwhelm with too much information
- Is your blog clean or cluttered?
If there is too much information, it might overwhelm people even before they have actually started reading something. Too many visual design elements confuse people; they don’t know where to start. Their eye won’t know where to settle and can’t focus on the important stuff – your posts. Get rid of the clutter. It makes the experience very unpleasant to start off with.
Show where the most important information is
It’s safe to say that all of us want to read a blog where you are able to find all the relevant information quickly.
- Who are you?
- What is this blog about?
- Where are your most popular posts?
- Where can I subscribe?
Go back to your blog and see if you can locate all of this information quickly and easily. These should be visible on the first look.
Create an awesome about me page
This is the place where the readers most likely go first.
This is where you create trust, if you are likeable, interesting, honest and passionate about what you’re doing, there is no reason why people won’t like you. When they like you, they want to know more about what you have to say, and then they begin to follow you.
So yes, it is what you write that keep people coming back to your blog. But what if they never stick around long enough to find out if they love your writing?
Make sure that you are not one of the products sitting on the shelf lamenting your fate. You want people to reach for you, by creating a desire. The easiest way to do that is to give them a really good preview – of all the good things to come. Put your best foot forward and you can’t go wrong.
Marya Zainab is a passionate writer, teacher and a thinker who motivates bloggers – to keep on blogging . She believes in simplicity of writing, allowing the core message to shine through. Catch more of her posts at Writing Happiness.