Good Day Class,
Today we are honored to have David Wright of Blogger Dad as our substitute teacher (guest writer). He will be covering a subject many of us may have thought about, but we normally don’t discuss.
Since this is a longer lesson than normal, I ask that you take your seats as I turn the classroom over to David.
Welcome to the BWAB classroom, David.
The floor is ours.
Dear Ugly Bloggers,
Oh wait, I’m not saying YOU are ugly, but you are being judged by your appearance.
Yes, it’s true.
Sure, the story of Susan Boyle has people suddenly waxing introspective about first impressions and pretending they don’t judge others on appearances.
But trust me when I say this, just because one Ugly Duckling has blossomed into a swan, nothing has changed. Don’t count on any rush to suddenly celebrate the average or unattractive among us. It isn’t going to happen.
Whether we like it or not, people form instant opinions based on our appearances. Studies have shown that our ideas of beauty transcend culture and may even be hardwired in our genetic makeup. Just like my love for Cookies N’ Cream ice cream.
Fact is first impressions matter.
That goes for both the first impression your readers have of you and your blog. If either is ugly, you might want to reconsider your online strategy.
At this point, you’re probably wondering, who are YOU to give advice to ugly bloggers?
I know this will surprise my legion of readers (all 10 of you) but… I’m not a good looking guy.
At best, I’m average. I’m roughly 100 pounds overweight and I look like Kevin ‘King of Queens’ James, a guy you probably won’t find anytime soon in People Magazine’s ‘Most Beautiful People’ issue. It wouldn’t be so bad to look like Kevin James, since I tend to write funny stuff (actual reader experience may vary), except I look like Kevin James if he were about to pick up a car and throw it at you. According to my wife, I tend to appear very intense and possibly homicidal.
“WELCOME TO MY BLOG, JERK! NOW GO AWAY.”
That’s not the image I want to project on my friendly parenting blog.
Fortunately, I’m a cartoonist, so when it came time to start a blog, I decided to draw a friendlier looking version of myself. I would highly recommend becoming a cartoonist. Then you can draw yourself however you like. Heck, you can make yourself a 20-foot robot with rocket blasters on your arms and nobody would be the wiser.
- 1) Don’t post a photo of yourself. Not every blog NEEDS to have an author’s photo. Be a little mysterious. In fact, wear a Zorro-type mask. Nothing says mystery like a Zorro mask.
- 2) Post a photo of yourself with a bag on your head. Note: not a plastic bag.
- 3) Try to capture your best feature. If this happens to be your big toe, then use a photo of your big toe. Make the photo black and white and people will think you’re “artistic”.
- 4) Post a photo of yourself as a child. People will find it endearing. Unless you were also an ugly kid. In which case, post a photo of another child.
- 5) Post a photo of your pet. Unless you have a Chihuahua. Nobody wants to see photos of Chihuahuas.
For the most part, we can’t help it if we’re unattractive. However, there’s no excuse to have an ugly blog. None.
While I won’t run away if you look like Quasimodo, I will run away if your site style pre-dates Google. I’ll also run away if, your logo is text on top of a huge gradient color bar, your color scheme celebrates all the wonders of the visible spectrum, you have more ads than content on your front page, you have flashing, blinking or scrolling text or images, or you use the Comic Sans font ANYWHERE on your site.
What to do if you have an ugly blog:
- 1) Check out WordPress.com for some more modern themes than what you’ll find on Blogger or LiveJournal.
- 2) Host your own blog, install WordPress or Joomla and choose from thousands of free or premium themes.
- 3) Hire someone, like a cartoonist (ahem) or designer to create a new logo or customize your blog.
- 4) Customize your color scheme. You can find tons of inspiration at sites like these: Colour Lovers and Color Scheme Designer
I’ll close on a serious note to keep in spirit of this blog’s usual thought provoking quality.
While I can joke about it now, I found it hard growing up as a fat teenager. I was doomed to a life of exile from most of my peers and it was rough. However, I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything, as they made me who I am. Because of my isolation, I blossomed creatively and became an artist and a writer. Some of my favorite artists, comedians and writers are not particularly known for their good looks.
It’s not easy being unattractive in a world where the media obsesses on and celebrates beauty.and damns anything short of perfection.
If you feel that your image will get in the way of people getting to know you or your work, by all means, don’t post your picture.
Rise above expectations and let your words define you.
1) Do you think an unattractive blogger should post their picture?
2) Do attractive looking bloggers have it easier in blogosphere? If so, are you more easily swayed to subscribe to their blogs based on their looks alone?
3) Does a well designed, well written blog outweigh the fact the blogger is not posting their picture?
Raise you hand and share your thoughts.
David Wright is a cartoonist at I Draw Comics, a blogger at Blogger Dad writes about creativity and interviews other bloggers with Sean Platt at their online studio, Collective Ink Well, and can also be found on Twitter.