Want more readers for your blog? First you need to put your best foot forward

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. 

Be 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.

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20 Responses to Want more readers for your blog? First you need to put your best foot forward

  1. Amna Nadimi June 7, 2011 at 12:55 am #

    I agree with the writer whole heartedly. I do look for more or less or all these things when I visit a blog for the first time, guilty of judging a book by it cover. Thank you so much for sharing these practical tips with us Marya :)

  2. Marya | Writing Happiness June 7, 2011 at 1:17 am #

    Hi Amna, thanks very much for the kind words – and I agree all of us are definitely guilty of judging by the first impression, we shouldn’t but we do. Good to know you found it useful. Cheers :)
    Marya | Writing Happiness recently posted..Do you turn up your nose at Twitter 4 Reasons that changed my mind

  3. MA Jan June 7, 2011 at 2:31 am #

    I couldn’t have agreed more. I am a beginner and have (well almost) started a blog of my own . I am on the look out for such reliable and unaffected advice.
    I have a point of my own view ( I hope this construction is OK) for writing . the writer ought to, some times at least, take into consideration as to what would readers like or prefer to read.
    Thank you Marya for valuable and functional suggestions.

  4. Marya | Writing Happiness June 7, 2011 at 5:19 am #

    Thank you for that. Ideally, all bloggers should write for their readers – keeping in mind their needs. This is what I do. I know what’s its like for beginning bloggers as I was there not too long ago. I just want to do my bit to help. Many thanks for your comment.
    Marya | Writing Happiness recently posted..Do you turn up your nose at Twitter 4 Reasons that changed my mind

  5. Justin June 9, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    Hi Marya

    Nice Article. You get right to the information quickly. What is the name of the avatar program that you use? I like the way it puts in your most recent post. Justin

  6. Marya | Writing Happiness June 11, 2011 at 6:11 am #

    Hi Justin,

    Thank you! This is actually not my site, but I too use CommentLuv plugin on mine. You need to activate it in wordpress (or other blogs). This will bring up latest post of the commentor. Hope this helps. :) Cheers
    Marya | Writing Happiness recently posted..Do you turn up your nose at Twitter 4 Reasons that changed my mind

  7. Georgina June 14, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    I’ve found that offering guest posts is a great way to attract visitors to read more of your work on another site.
    Georgina recently posted..The Quiet Side of Ibiza

  8. Marya | Writing Happiness June 15, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    I agree with your Georgina. I think guest posts work really well for both the writer of the post, and also for the blogger whose blog it gets published on. Its mutually beneficial. That’s people they are hugely popular! :)
    Marya | Writing Happiness recently posted..Need a mini critique for your blog Here’s how you can get one – for FREE

  9. Annie June 17, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Good post Marya. These are good tips you provide here. I think I definitely need to improve the look and feel of my blog. (It’s my first blog ever by the way). I think it looks a bit cluttered too.
    And I probably need to present myself better, maybe add a picture of myself.
    Thanks
    Annie
    Annie recently posted..Selling a House Quickly

  10. hongvan June 21, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    Great tips, Marya.I think that Don’t overwhelm with too much information is the most important thing to get more readers.It does not make them confused and enjoy our post easier
    hongvan recently posted..Handling Stress in an Easy Way

  11. topaciojulia July 6, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    This is something new to me…and I will surely provide just the right information in my post to have them coming back for more.
    topaciojulia recently posted..Dating Chat Rooms

  12. Praveen Rajarao August 25, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Marya – Great tips here, as well as on your site. Nice to be acquainted, thanks to Problogger.
    Praveen Rajarao recently posted..New Bloggers Are As Good As ProBloggers

  13. Eric Murphy September 8, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    Agree with you. We have to first give our best to the blog then visits come naturally. thanks for the post.
    Eric Murphy recently posted..Samsung S8500 Wave Unlocked Reviews and Full Specifications

  14. raidaranda November 3, 2011 at 6:20 am #

    This is what I like of self initiating your own blog, you can customized your header and you will have a thrill doing it. You will have the chance to give out your creative aspects, regarding writing and the set up of your domain.
    raidaranda recently posted..SIP Trunking

  15. lanzones56 November 11, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    I think guest posts work really well for both the writer of the post, and also for the blogger whose blog it gets published on. Its mutually beneficial. That’s people they are hugely popular! | 😛
    lanzones56 recently posted..Data Recovery Services

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