Are you more worried about your blog design than content?

by Robb Sutton

Blogging is all about quality content, but the way your content is presented to your readers through your blog design can have a strong impact on repeat visits. When beginner bloggers take on the task of setting up a successful blog, they take at look at other successful blogs in their niche (and sometimes the blogging/make money online niche) for ideas on blog design and layout. This normally equates to an obsession over every little design detail on your blog while you forget about content production. Much like an obsessed lawn perfectionist, we may worry about what everything looks like on the outside and forget the dense roots that make up our blog…the content. Without strong, healthy roots, the lawn can not flourish and grow, so we will be left with brown waste after hours of labor.

Falling Into the Perfectionist Mentality in Blog Design

It is a hard battle to fight. I have fallen into the obsessed blogger fretting over every pixel that graces the screen of a potential reader trap time and time again. As bloggers, we want our blogs to portray our voice, look unique and also look professional for potential new readers and advertisers. When we worry about every aspect of our blog design, we are getting away from producing quality content that will ultimately grow our blogs in the long haul. When you add the inexperience in coding that most blogger posses (minus the actual designers out there), the time wasted multiplies rapidly.

So how can we get away from the design obsession trap?

Here are a couple of tips/tricks that will keep your perfectionist mind at ease and allow you to focus on what is important as you grow you blog.

Designs come and go…but content is here to stay – Over the course of long term blogging, your design will change and adapt with the times. As new standards of html hit the streets and CMS’s like WordPress continue to evolve, you are going to change your blog design several times. Your content, however, is here to stay. Each time you change your design, you are changing how your existing content displays on the screen, so don’t you think it is more important to focus on the asset that is unchanging?

Buy a high quality premium blog theme – This site uses the Thesis Theme by DIYThemes…I have used various themes from the crew at WooThemes…there are dozens, if not hundreds, of high quality premium themes on the market that will give your blog a high quality, professional look by simply hitting activate and swapping out a logo. High quality, premium themes are also easily modified in the future for less than building up a custom theme from scratch. Typically, premium WordPress themes run in the 60 – 100 dollar range for a single use license and for that price…they are well worth the money.

Have Cash? Outsource and go custom with your blog design – Have the cash to throw down on a blog design? Outsource your design to a design firm that specializes in blog design. For Mountain Biking by 198, I hit up the crew at JusttheWeb.com for a great custom theme that really sets my blog away from the competition. I was able to work hand in hand with Just the Web as we tailored MTB198’s design to exactly what I needed and how the site was performing. The result was fantastic and the weight was off my shoulders as I continued to pump out content during the process.

As you can see by these tips, the goal is to take away the stress of blog design to allow you to focus on the vastly more important content production task. By focusing on blog content, you are able to solidify solid roots on your blog that will end up being the foundation for your future.

Obsessed Lawn image by Jez Page

3 comments

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3 comments

Mike July 30, 2009 - 7:28 pm

I helped my ex-girlfriend setup a blog last year, she spent a lot of time writing, but for a while every night she wanted to tweak the design in some way. I swear I tried to talk her out of it, but it was one of those things where she had to learn it for herself. In the long run, I think it made her a better blogger.

When I did my coffee blog, I choose a theme was just about as simple as it can get. I just wanted it to be something where I could set it up and go. I think for the most part, I haven’t done any major design changes besides working with the side bar a few times.

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Nisha August 17, 2009 - 12:52 pm

This couldn’t have been more timely and is just what I needed to read! I am setting up a beauty blog and have been wasting my time looking at every blog design under the sun instead of focusing on content which is what I really need to do. I also don’t know any coding and have been wasting time trying to figure it out – I’m writing a beauty blog after all so why do I need to know HTML or CSS?? Thanks for giving me the kick I needed. I am giving myself a deadline for the end of the week to get my design specs in order and then I will get back to the writing I desperately need to do to populate my blog. Thanks Rob!

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Robb Sutton August 18, 2009 - 7:03 am

YW Nisha! Get to writing!!

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