Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dress for Success - The Blogger Project

Your blog speaks to the reader before he or she even begins to read the words you have written. The feeling your readers get when your blog page first loads is what matters the very most. In fact, many people will leave your site in a big hurry if they don't like the way your site "feels". Their first impression of anything you have to say as a blogger is in your site layout. Some bloggers feel that their words speak louder than their blog's appearance - but this is simply NOT true if the reader doesn't feel like sticking around long enough to read anything you wrote.

Take those few extra steps towards building a better layout, and watch you'll get to watch your readership grow - along with your earnings, if that is a goal for you. Depending on how a visitor found your site, there is an immediate chance for that person to say, "Oh, this wasn't what I thought it was going to be." That's it - they're gone . . . just like that. Your job is to sell your site from the first glance. That's where your project comes in. (Don't worry, you can stay in your pajamas for now - this blog project is about dressing your blog for success!)

The Project

Take a look at your blog. Not just a quick glance, but a good long look. Think about what your blog is saying, and what level of professionalism you will need to attract the readers in your niche. Also take a look at your sidebars and header, are there things that you've been unsatisfied with, but just haven't taken the time to fix it? Well, wake up, because it's time to get your blog into tip-top shape now. The blogosphere is becoming more and more competitive, and there are an incredible amount of blogs being created each day. Unless you've got a really tight niche locked up, you'll probably need to have good looks, too!

Now, take a look at at least 10 other blogs, including 5 professional blogs and 5 not-so-professional looking blogs. For example, take a look at the two blogs below, both of which have great information, advice, useful links and tips for their niche, but one is much more professional looking than the other.

The Next Step

Once you have learned what level of professionalism you want to display to your readers, spend some time thinking about what type of people your blog will appeal to. Consider your readers, and realize that you are a marketer, not just a blogger. Your readers are your consumers, and you want your blog to appeal to them, don't you? If your readers are most likely drawn towards MSN or AOL news sites, you are definitely going to need your blog to reflect a highly professional appearance. However, if you have a blog in which you post your mom's forwarded email jokes - you may not need to worry about how professional your blog looks. Remember, dress like already have the job of your dreams!

Lastly, leave a comment with a link to your new layout once you've perfected your look!

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