Why Should I Make My Blog Pretty if You're Not Going to Click Over and See It?

5 years ago

Back when I worked out of the house, I cared about my appearance.  I'm not saying that I went so far as to don sweater sets and heels, but I dressed neatly for my workplace.  Tidy corduroy pants and a clean long-sleeve shirt.  I did so because I believed that my clothes projected how I felt about my workplace and the people in it: they deserved to view me without seeing my knees through ripped jeans.  It's not that I didn't wear those comfy ripped jeans on the weekend when I was home alone, but if I knew I was going to be in front of people, I was well-groomed.

This desire to dress nicely if I know I'm going to interact with people carries over to my blog.  I try to keep the sidebars neat, the layout easy-to-read.  I had a personal journal that I kept only for myself years ago, and I never fussed with the look of it since it was solely about the content.  But with my current blog?  It's content and design.  I'm not saying that I have the most gorgeous layout or creative fonts, but I keep things neat and tidy, being mindful of the message the visual side of my blog projects to the reader as they click over to read it.

I think a lot of us do -- we care about things such as header design, fonts, and sidebar clutter.  We want to make sure our space reflects our personality.  Gone are the days when people used the preloaded template and left it as is.  Now blogs are customizable and people want to have them customized.

But it begs the question: why make your site pretty if no one is going to see it?

Photo Credit: Ripped Jeans via Shutterstock.

As people read blogs on the go from their smartphone, content has gone back to being king and design is taking a backseat on mobile devices.  With Google Reader and a smartphone, you can go days, weeks, months without actually seeing any of those changes that blog writers are making to their spaces.  I used to know the moment a friend changed their blog layout or header, and I commented on it to let them know that their nesting instincts were noticed.  Now, I can go weeks or months after the blog change without noticing it.

Should I be spending all this time fussing with my sidebars if no one is going to see my sidebars unless they click over to comment?  The reality is that the people who comment are people who love me, grease-stained sweatpants or tidy jeans.  They're going to click over regardless of how the site looks.  But if 90% of people are looking at the content in Google Reader or on their smartphone, is there any point to paying a Web designer to make me a cool new image map for my sidebar?

How much energy do you put into the look of your blog?  And how often are you actually on someone's blog site to see their layout?

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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