I have to admit, since I converted my web site to a blog, I’ve been feeling more than a bit sheepish about the first impression my blog makes.
See, I’m really, really, really BUSY creating pretty blogs for my clients.
As I write that line of BS, I see what I must REALLY think of the design issue. That design is an also ran. I MUST if I’d allow my blog to appear looking like this.
I realize that when my clients fuss that they don’t have TIME to blog because they’re really, really busy, it’s usually because they aren’t convinced of the IMPORTANCE of blogging. I’m quick to point out that they probably find time to exercise, or pay the bills or do anything else that is deemed "important" to them. If they aren’t blogging, then it’s usually because they either are afraid of the computer or they just don’t recognize the long term benefits.
So I have to ask myself… is it possible that I tossed on the less than attractive Semilogic theme as an act of open rebellion?
While I recognize great design, I have trouble achieving it on my own, which is why I partner with gifted graphic artists when the client budget allows, or use templates when their budget doesn’t allow for such collaboration.
When I read blog reviews, I’ve seen bloggers give a site with an attractive, well crafted design high marks in a review, even if the content is less than compelling. When I review a blog, my first focus is upon the content…. with the design as a "nice to have but not essential" element.
The design aspect of web development has ALWAYS been a source of consternation for me. I’ve watched COUNTLESS clients fuss over font style or a few pixels of white space while virtually IGNORING the content for the site. I’m a long time believer that the information highway is ALL about content, and honestly believe that really great content wrapped in so-so design will always trump poor content wrapped in brilliant design. I’ve seen time and time again examples of the clients who are willing to put the effort into creating quality content being rewarded exponentially while those whose focus is exclusively follow the predictable path of allowing their domain name and web hosting to expire because their web site just wasn’t "working" for them.
On the other hand, I’ve seen first hand how important an attractive design is to the success of the site. Presentation is everything. If I show up at a client’s office with my hair in disarray, my makeup not done and my clothes tattered and stained, it doesn’t matter how "brilliant" my presentation…. I’ll be working from a disadvantage by not presenting a professional image. I tell the story frequently of the site upon which I worked where all we did was change the presentation of the site and the client’s affiliate income from the site rose 450% in a single quarter. The traffic was there, but the results weren’t until we applied a new "wardrobe" for the site. The effect of the new design was like applying a spark to a gas leak. It was positively explosive.
These are the design demons with which I’ve been wrestling lately.
Then, I happened upon the blog A Consuming Experience which is FILLED with great content which is displayed in the humble "default" Word Press Theme. Hmmm… an example of outstanding content in a humble theme design.
On the other hand, when I read a blog review, the first element in the review is almost always the design elements.
So how important is design to the success of a blog or web site?