Before you judge me, keep in mind that I never claimed to be normal. My blog reading habits are probably different than yours. And that’s OK. I’m Andrew and you are, well, you are YOU.
Here’s a glimpse at how I size up a blog upon my initial visit. I’d love to hear from you in the comments on what initially turns you on or off to a blog.
– ADS. I find that the types of ads a blog runs is quite telling. The blogger that I truly want to read does it for the passion of the topic – not the 14 cents they can potentially make off of some Lance Armstrong-endorsed muscle-building drink. I look at the quality of ads (what’s being sold) and the quantity. Once I see ads for a shady product, I vanish like a ghost. I realize many folks are into blogging for the money, and that’s fine – just don’t be so blatant about it.
– LOOKS. I’m not talking about the look of the Website, rather, the physical appearance of the author. If you’re way ugly or too good looking, I’m probably not interested in your blog. If your bio shot is air-brushed or captures an absurd pose (i.e. – sideways baseball cap), I find it to be a turn-off. I’m not saying physical attraction is a requirement, but knowing what you look like gives me more reasons to tune you out. It’s sort of like the Human Resources department at a corporation. Many job seekers make the mistake of thinking HR exists to find reasons to hire you. It’s the opposite. They are there to find reasons NOT to hire you. It might sound shallow, but that bio pic might be costing you readers. God knows mine probably is.
– TEMPLATES. I am often amazed at how many good bloggers, ones who deliver compelling content on a regular basis, plop their posts into a common template. With so many simple ways to tweak the appearance of your blog, it is inexcusable to keep with the default settings in place. By not making any changes you are showing that your blog’s appearance is an afterthought. You also set yourself up to look like a domain squatter.
Bloggers get a mere few seconds to engage readers. And if we’re gonna be honest, no matter how clever and pithy your words are, the text on the page is probably not the first thing most people notice. Appearance matters. Make sure your blog looks its best!