It’s often written, “You only have one chance to make a first impression.”.

Just like in real life, how our blog is dressed, designed or decorated will tell a newcomer a little about us as well as what they can expect from our blog.

First impressions can be lasting. First impressions can also determine if a reader will explore our site further than just looking at our header and the title to our current article. A first impression can make some readers click off of our blog and never return.

Today’s Lesson

When I first started this blog, I repeatedly changed the theme.

Part of the reason was I hadn’t found my blogging voice, and secondly, I wasn’t sure what I wanted this blog to become.

By testing and studying a variety of themes, as well as growing as a blogger, I settled on the theme you currently see. I think it depicts not only what this blog is about, but mirrors how I want to be perceived by my visitors.

Viewing the notebook is similar to showing you what my journal would look like; my thoughts expressed on “paper”. I share what I would write if I prepared blogging lessons in real life, as well as show others “your answers”, all of which receive an A+. :)

For some, my theme might appear too cutesy. For others, it could be a turn-off.

The first impression I project won’t please everyone, but that’s okay. No blog does.

Thinking about how I came to settle on this theme leads me to ask, “How did other bloggers pick their theme or decide how they wanted to be perceived online?”.

Today’s Assignment

When a new visitor lands on your blog, what message do you hope your blog depicts?

Or are you still searching? Experimenting?

Care to share?

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  1. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – your blog certainly says what it means, and you conduct the conversation with your readers adding information to your original posting. It all fits together perfectly and we have some well researched advice and ideas from you and your dedicated followers (of fashion)! It’s a great blog.

    I took a different approach with mine in that the subjects would be interesting to my terminally ill mother and we both enjoyed the educative outing – along with the spin off ideas. I weave subjects together encompassing aspects that interest me, and that I believe will interest my readers. Then I add to that information in my replies to any comments bloggers leave – the best bit!

    Cheers Hilary

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Hilary,

      As you know, I think of you as a Historian. Not only do you write posts which teach us all more about history, but they’re fun to read, as well.

      You do real well with interweaving topics. Your recent article on Cornish pasties was a favorite one of mine. :)

  2. Anny PNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara, a timely post for me, as it’s something I’ve been thinking about lately too.

    My first couple of forays into blogging, tried to conform to what the high traffic blog experts say you should do. But after a while, I recognised that this just wasn’t being the real me.

    As I go along now, I try to be as authentically me as possible – what you see is what you get. So things get changed subtly as I grow, to try and reflect my own appreciation of how I change.

    If visitors like it, that’s fabulous, but if not, that’s fine too – we’re all different and that’s true in blogland as in real life. You can’t appeal to everyone, so ‘just be yourself’ is my motto.
    Check out Anny P’s awesome post.Slow Stitching & Fast NatureMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Anny,

      You’ve learned a great lesson – to be yourself and not be too influenced by what others are saying is the “right” thing to do.

      I think when we put our personal touch on our blogs and write in our own voice, not only do we attract like minded people, but our audience soon realizes, we’re authentic. To me. that’s what sets us apart.

  3. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    Haha yes, I remember several different looks of this blog. It changed a few times. But then again, you do graphics and design stuff anyway, so it makes perfect sense.

    As for first impressions, they are indeed important for deciding whether subsequent interactions will be had. However, I found that for me, I’ve forgotten a lot about the first impression if we continue to interact for a while. For many of my friends, I can’t remember my first impression of them. I don’t quite remember how and where we met. So first impression definitely has its place, but I also feel like sometimes first impressions are overrated a little bit.
    Check out Kelvin Kao’s awesome post.I am on TV!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelvin,

      Yes, this space has changed quite a few times. I’m happy you’ve stuck around to see them all. :)

      That’s an interesting point you brought up about how first impressions are overrated. I think in some cases they can be, however when someone visits our blog for the first time, if first impressions make a difference to them (and for some of us, it doesn’t), that’s when I think we can lose readers.

  4. I’m pleased with the look of my blog. It’s probably very feminine and a turn-off for men, but hey, I’m a woman and this is MY blog.
    :-)
    Check out vered | Blogger for Hire’s awesome post.How Resilient is Your Daughter?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      That’s true. For female bloggers, there’s not reason why we should try to appear nondescript just to try and attract a wider reader base. I doubt males worry if their site is TOO manly for their women readers.

  5. YvonneNo Gravatar says:

    We hope that our blog depicts professionalism and credibility. Since we are a tech blog, we want people to feel that they can trust us as a source. I think the format of your blog makes people feel comfortable to share! The homey touches like the coffee cup in the header makes it feel like a safe environment to express ideas.
    Check out Yvonne’s awesome post.IE Tab Extension: Because sometimes you need Internet ExplorerMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Yvonne,

      You’ve raised a good point. A professional looking blog is important for those authors who want to build credibility with their potential clients.

      In our business we say, “sometimes we have to spend money to make money” and with blogs and websites the same can hold true. For anyone who is not comfortable building a great looking site, there are professionals who will do it for a fee.

  6. JulieNo Gravatar says:

    I totally agree with you, the best impression of the most important thing. As in the other scenes of the marketing world, we have to build the trust. If you can’t build the basement of the trust for the first sight, you’ve lost.
    Check out Julie’s awesome post.dental implantsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Julie,

      True. And online, I think it’s even harder to build trust since we normally don’t meet our potential clients face to face. In most cases, all we have is our blog or website from which others can judge our professionalism.

  7. My IT Girl picked my theme and does Patricias Wisdom, Biking Architect, and Wise Ears also. She gets lots of compliments on her work.
    The only thing I can not get her to put on my sites is a tweet counter or facebook share thing so that I can thank the people who share my words with their folks….I do not know why, she will not, but she just says she hasn’t found a program she likes?

    Great post here – sharing lots of good words Thank you so much for your insight and wisdom, I so appreciate your attention to this process. A great classroom found here with a great theme
    Check out Patricia of Patricias Wisdom’s awesome post.Contemplations In Ritual FormMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Patricia,

      I agree. Your IT girl has done a fabulous job with all you your sites. How fortunate you are to have a professional working behind the scenes meanwhile allowing you more time to concentrate on writing or on your business. Sweet! :)

  8. PrithviNo Gravatar says:

    A new visitor should actually see the content and that too top content.. It actually depends on the visitor came. If he has come from online search, it should be that he is looking for some specific content. If the visitor lands directly, then i try him to see the Popular posts of my blog.. I also expect him to click on some of my ads.. lol..
    Check out Prithvi’s awesome post.Google did not approve my adsense account… LOL . Here’s why..My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Prithvi,

      Good point. It does depend on how a visitor found our site. As you said, if they’re looking for an answer, hopefully they find it quickly. However, if someone just lands on our blog, it’s nice when they have more than just one post to choose from.

      And yes. Having visitors click on ads is like getting an extra bonus. :)

  9. MichaelNo Gravatar says:

    Content is king and you have to relate to your readers; I believe if you keep your information simple and on topic, easy to read, and not too long you will achieve that effect.
    Check out Michael’s awesome post.Ten Tricks to Clean Your Home:My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Michael,

      I agree. The simpler we keep it for our visitors, the better. Although some articles need to be longer, in those cases I think it works well to break them up with photos or white space so as not to bore the reader.

  10. Yes a good blog theme is quite important in getting visitors to stick around long enough to read your posts. If you just have some generic free theme, people are less likely to stay for long. A quality theme shows people that you care enough about your blog to make it look good. It’s also a chance to immediately reflect your blog’s focus.
    Check out Jeremy @ Modest Money’s awesome post.The Mistake Of Buying An Expensive CarMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jeremy,

      Yes. If we make our readers feel comfortable on our blogs and the page isn’t “too busy”, chances are they’ll stick around.

      Quality matters. That’s not to say we have to spend money buying a premium theme, but I think we should make whatever we use look the best it can since it is a reflection on us.

  11. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb! I LOVE your notebook look. It’s a no-nonsense look and should be since your topics make us think – or should :)

    My blog look is very green – as am I – the whole nature of the theme of Today’s Path is green, holistic and natural. Took me a long time to find this voice/look/theme and I’m stickin’ with it!
    Hugs
    Suzen
    Check out suzen’s awesome post.Loco for CocoaMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Suzen,

      I remember when you switched over to the theme you’re using. I think it suits you and your topic perfectly – especially the path that wanders through your header. That’s very unique and so YOU.

      ((hugs))

  12. Barbara,

    My blog started with a very plain theme, but I didn’t want to change it until I found something I could live with for awhile, under the assumption that too much change can be distracting to readers – “hey, is this the same blog I went to last week? Maybe I’m on the wrong site” etc..

    One day I was just exploring in Blogger and ran across the theme with a cup of coffee and a newspaper, and given my blog is titled “Treasury Cafe”, and its about business and finance, it seemed custom designed just for my blog, so I changed to that in an instant! I still tweak the side columns every now and then, but not often. I can’t wait until Blogger gets “comment luv”!
    Check out david k waltz’s awesome post.Working Capital Inventory – The Critical Fractile MethodMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi David,

      That’s a good point – about not switching our theme TOO often. I think in the very beginning when we have no, or just a few readers, switching more often is okay, but the more established we get, the more important it is to not make major changes too frequently.

      BTW: I LOVE your theme. As you mentioned, it fits your topic perfectly.

      P.S. I thought CommentLuv has a Blogger edition.

  13. Daniel PetersNo Gravatar says:

    Great post Barbara. I’m already loving this notebook look you have here.
    There are some very small but useful ways of attracting readers to your blog like you have mentioned here.

    Thanks.

    -Daniel
    Check out Daniel Peters’s awesome post.meditation musicMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Daniel.

      Yes. Our theme can make a huge difference in whether a visitor stops to read our content, or not.

  14. JessNo Gravatar says:

    I’m still on the developing part. I need more data and thus more experiments to really find out the best recipe for success regarding my blog.
    Check out Jess’s awesome post.Set Your Tablet On FireMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jess,

      I think you’re actually at the fun part – finding and experimenting with what you feel will work best for you, your blog and how you want to be perceived. Have fun!

  15. EverestNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara, I agree with that theme makes a big difference in our blog page. Readers are more interested to read a blog when the looks is interesting. Our write ups is only an additional factor to them. We cannot take it away from them. That’s the real obvious thing.
    Check out Everest’s awesome post.Foods To Help You Lose WeightMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Everest,

      I agree. If our visitors enjoy “their stay” on our blogs, they’re more apt to return – especially if they’ve found useful information in our posts.

  16. Clint GarvinNo Gravatar says:

    A blog theme is akin to a newpaper/magazine layout. There is a tinkering phase that even Rolling Stone or the New York Times goes though. I would consider it necessary and health to fiddle with the layout of your blog. As long as your written content is strong, readers can handle a little color change or a journal-type background. I think that is why blogs should start with a simple layout, and slowly develop into something more complex.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Clint,

      I like your analogy – about blogs being like newspapers or magazines. Just as we see our favorite print media change, so can our blogs.

      Starting with a simple theme is smart due to the fact when we start blogging, most of our time is spent writing. As we become more comfortable with that part of blogging, then we can slowly start making changes in our theme. Plus, with the learning curve being higher with a more complex theme, it’s probably a smart move to wait before tackling that aspect of blogging.

  17. Paul E. LeeNo Gravatar says:

    My blog is about personal injury law and deals with a lot of very difficult things, like car accidents and wrongful death, so I always want my blog to reflect sympathy towards my readers. It is not a fun subject, so I make sure to emphasize the difficult nature that usually arises from accidents, and the ways that I can help them to deal with their financial and emotional troubles. Sometimes, too I like to spice it up with cute stories to offset the difficult nature of a lot of the stories. For instance, a woman and her dog were in a car accident at the beginning of the year. The dog disappeared and they were reunited 53 days later, after the dog was presumed dead! Stories like that always warm my heart, so I like to be able to share it with my readers as well. :)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Paul,

      You’ve raised a good point. It does depend on our subject matter and how we present the content. I like your idea of mixing in some “feel good” stories along with the technical ones readers probably expect from you.

      That’s a great story about the dog. Thank you for sharing it. :)

  18. Lily RoseNo Gravatar says:

    I think that I’m still searching for that first message. I feel that it will have to do something with honesty.
    Check out Lily Rose’s awesome post.Brain Supplements – Remember Better, Think Clearer, and Focus FasterMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lily,

      It sounds like you’re trying to find your blogging voice. You’re on the right path by saying it has to do with honesty. I think if our readers “see” we’re being authentic, they’re more apt to come back and will value our opinions.

      I wish you well. :)

  19. Hi Barbara,
    I think your notebook look says blog – I think it is perfect. I don’t like those little cute things. I think it says serious about blogging, too. I’m still in that infancy of direction both with the blog and the graphics. But I read all the time. And, think all the time!!! Now if I can just get to it.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Ann,

      Oh what fun you’ll have finding and picking out a theme. With so many choices, it can feel overwhelming, but when you find just the right one, you’ll know. :)

  20. Hi Barbara,

    First of all thanks for this post and it has helped me a lot in improving my writing skills. I have tried many methods and getting the right theme was also tough but i believe that quality content and consistency are sure shot way to success.
    Check out marzan chowdhury’s awesome post.Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus S7500 Price Specification IndiaMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Marzan,

      I hear you. It can be tough finding just the right theme.

      That’s a good point about quality content – it will help to keep our visitors coming back. :)

  21. Your theme is amazing and the advice of theme research and testing is something I will try on a new blog idea that I have. I’ve always thought that split testing and such were a waste of time, but to build anything that generates revenue in the long-run, I can see where testing would be advantageous.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Reico,

      Yes. Testing themes could be advantageous. Although many bloggers aren’t necessarily “testing” a theme, what I’ve found is the longer we blog, the closer we get to finding a theme which matches our blogging voice.

  22. I agree Barbara, first impressions are important but it’s hard to cater for everyone, also what you have done with the open notebook is original and trustworthy because it seems (to me) like you’re being open with you’re readers.

    Did you’re visitor count increase when you swapped to this open book theme ?

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Richard,

      Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary for us to try to cater to everyone. We’ll “win some and lose some”. More important, I think we need to be true to ourselves and our authenticity will shine through.

      Yes. I am open with my readers. You might say, what you see is what you get. :)

      As for when I switched to this theme, I don’t know if it helped to increase my reader count, however many of my loyal readers said it was a better “fit” than my previous theme, and I agree.

  23. monsterTUTNo Gravatar says:

    I really need your tips. I have a lot of visitors but most of them is not reading my article. I have a huge bouncing rate. Thanks a lot!
    Check out monsterTUT’s awesome post.Test Your Website on Mobile and Other DevicesMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Monster TUT,

      From the sounds of it, you’ve ahead of the game – knowing your bounce rate and your theme “may” be related. I’d be interested in hearing if your bounce rate improves by switching your theme.

  24. Great tips covered from your own experience. I would like to add one more point to your note that always cached titles will attract most of the readers who comes from organic search. Thanks alot for the share.
    Check out Institute of Industrial Engineers’s awesome post.Institute of Industrial Engineers an Industrial Engineering DegreeMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Institute of Industrial Engineers,

      Thank you also for sharing the tip about cached titles. I appreciate that.:)

  25. I love your blog, and yes, it indeed looks like a journal to me with this kind of theme and what we feel as readers is like taking a peek at your journal and learn something about your thoughts. :) Well, when visitors come to my blog, I just want that through reading my thoughts and ideas, they will learn something out of it. :)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Aurea,

      You’re on the right path is you already know what you want your readers to extract from your blog posts. Now it’s just a matter of finding a theme which reflects that. :)

  26. Hi your blog certainly says what it means, and you conduct the conversation with your readers adding information to your original posting. It all fits together perfectly and we have some well researched advice and ideas from you and your dedicated followers (of fashion)! It’s a great blog.
    Check out Sai @ InstituteofIndustriaEngineers’s awesome post.Institute of Industrial Engineers an Industrial Engineering DegreeMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your kind words Sai,

      I agree. The advice a reader can find on this blog is not only found in the post, but in most cases, in the comments. :)

  27. An insightful post (as usual) Barbara. Personally, I find aesthetics very important when it comes to blogging, because a poorly designed site is not one I will return to often. Even if your content is excellent, a badly designed site will always put a portion – however small – of your audience off.

    I think the issues becomes even more important in the business of corporate blogging because people will judge your site and business by the design. A well-designed blog can inspire trust in your customers, which can ultimately lead to more sales. You don’t want to be losing custom because you didn’t put enough time/thought/effort into your design!
    Check out David | Whiteboards’s awesome post.Jalema Secolor Clip Files and Combi FilesMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you David,

      I know what you’re saying. Although a personal blogger may be able to get away with a site that’s less than perfect, a corporate blog /site really needs to look professional. As you mentioned, sales can increase if a site is well designed.

  28. SustinesNo Gravatar says:

    Actually, I haven’t changed the theme of my blog for a long time already. But I am always changing some parts of it and still observing in terms of ads’ CTR and the time spent by visitors.

    With regards to your blog, well it’s nice and really looks like a notebook. I have not actually witnessed the change of its theme because I started following you just few months ago.
    Check out Sustines’s awesome post.How to Load Smart/TNT Talk20?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Susitines,

      That’s smart on your part to observe the CTR (click through rate) for the ads you’re displaying and their positioning. Not only can you increase your clicks, but you’re learning how your readers are navigating your site.

  29. I have changed my theme many times because I’ve been looking for a theme that will be look attractive to blog readers. well you have a nice theme. :) im very pleased to read this blog. Thanks for the informative tips.

    ICI Non Voice block C
    Check out Alyssa Mae Dequeros’s awesome post.Valentino GaravaniMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Alyssa and thank you for your kind words,

      Changing our themes can be fun, hey? That said, we don’t want to change them so often that our regular readers are confused when they land on our blog. :)

  30. Well Barbara, your story sounds like me experience right now. I’m testing, changing, testing, changing. It’s a developing progress which eventually finds the right receipt, I hope. Since your blog is very successful you must have found the right way:)

    … and you’re right, there’s not a “first impression” on the internet. The game resets everyday. Best regards from NYC

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Levi,

      Although it takes time, once we find the perfect theme for our blog, we’re left with more time to write copy or concentrate on other aspects of blogging. I wish you well with yours.

  31. I totally agree with your Barbara. First impression is the best impression. When I come accross your blog, you website theme impressed me a lot and started to go ahead with reading your posts.

    Check out this post… jobs online

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Nic,

      Yes. First impressions are important. I’m happy to hear you found this blog impressive enough to read the post, and comment.

  32. First impressions are VERY important. You make a good point about thinking about what you want people to take away from your blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Roofing,

      That’s true. If we think ahead, we’re more apt to figure out how we want our visitors to view us and pick our theme accordingly.

  33. One of the greatest challenges of writing for your business is figuring out your ideal reader. It’s tempting to think that everyone will read your work—and that creates a problem, because your mindset shifts to thinking that everyone is your audience. After all, you reason, everyone is a potential customer, right? Nope. Not even close.

    Let’s say I started writing exclusively about training horses. Now, you might like horses. You might enjoy riding them.
    But unless you’re intensely interested in the actual training of horses, my words and my business aren’t for you.

    Image copyright Ron Rowan – Fotolia.com
    The same is true in any industry, and especially so for any niche. Only a select group of people will care about what you write, simply because it directly applies to their interests.
    No one else gives a damn. This is a very good thing.
    What would you rather have? 500 loyal customers constantly spreading the word about you, your products and your business because they love what you write?

    Or two million faceless consumers who show up to your website, read what you have to say and realize it doesn’t concern them?
    Think further. What would you rather have? Customers who rave about your business after buying your products because it was exactly what they expected and needed?
    Or people who buy and then demand a refund because your content wasn’t supposed to loop them in and this was the wrong product for their needs?

    If you’re thinking, “Hey, but at least I got sales!” then you’re clearly missing the point.

    Building a successful, sustainable business isn’t about scooping as many random people as you can into a giant net. It’s about targeting a specific group of consumers at the intersection of their problems and your solutions.
    And your writing is the key to unlocking that place.

    Thanks

    S.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Siobhan,

      I agree. Figuring out who our audience is becomes the most important issue when we’re setting up a blog or website. As you mentioned, it’s one thing to get visitors but if what we’re sharing is not beneficial to them, than we’ve missed the point.

  34. I think what matters most is still the content, if you’ve able to come up and write quality and informative article in your blog that will be you key to attract readers. You must always keep in mind that your post is something that the user will look forward to read, in able for them to regularly visit your blog to read your latest entry.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Online Reputation,

      Definitely. Content is the most important aspect of a blog. In fact, in some cases, even a poorly designed blog could be quite popular if the content is stellar.

  35. Hi there Barbara, for me I think that we can attract a lot readers by adding unique content for our weblog. many readers expect helpful topic, so we should bear in mind what content we must write.
    Check out Kate Brown Wilson’s awesome post.חג פסחMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kate,

      Yes. We do need to consider our readers and their expectations when they land on our site.

  36. RFPattorneyNo Gravatar says:

    In the world of legal blogs, it is often important to convey to your readers that you have the right expertise and know the legal areas you are discussing. So, content is key and designing a blog that gets readers right to the most important content is the primary focus. Graphics and visuals are secondary.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi RFPattorney,

      That’s a good point. Legal blogs are viewed differently than some others. As you said, readers are looking for expertise in the content and not necessarily graphics and/or visuals

  37. Rakhi GiftsNo Gravatar says:

    First impressions are VERY important. You make a good point about thinking about what you want people to take away from your blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    Check out Rakhi Gifts’s awesome post.Rakhi | Rakhi Gifts | Send Rakhi to IndiaMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Rakhi Gifts,

      Yes. First impressions are important. Not only can they affect our visitors when they land on our site, but can create an impression that stays with them AFTER they click off.

  38. Well, for attracting readers the most important factor is the Look and feel of our blog. We avoid o much advertisement on our blogs which are being frustration sometimes to readers. Also, we have to choose our blog theme related to content this will what the readers like the most. Aesthetic view of blog gives more impact on readers.
    Check out Web Designers’s awesome post.Business Cards6My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Web Designers,

      That’s a good point. Ads can be distracting to our readers. All the more reason to carefully chose not only the ads we display but where we place them.

  39. MichelleNo Gravatar says:

    Wow. What an insightful post Barbara. I think we’d hope our blog is attractive in the sense that people would want to stay on and read. At the same time we’d want the blog to be relevant in that it caters for all kinds of readers. A blog is worldwide so we can’t be in a box where we only focus on what’s in our vicinty. We have to branch out and see what’s out there.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Michelle,

      You’re right. With the ability for us to have readers from all over the world, we not only need to consider what our blogs look like to those in our own country, but to international readers, as well.

  40. Hi Barbara
    I would hope my visitors feel my honesty and openness in what I am writing whether they agree or disagree or indeed are indifferent.

    My blog – theSarayiahpost.com, which I think you have read, is about using my experiences to unlock the Mysteries of Life, Love and Relationships to help others and as of yesterday it moved into the top 500k sites worldwide according to Alexa having only been 7 months since launch and is in the top 5000 websites for London and top 20k for UK as a whole.

    It is very overwhelming to be honest.

    Anyway, I love your blog and hope you are having a beautiful day.
    Isaac Sarayiah Xxx
    Check out Isaac Sarayiah@A Mother's Love’s awesome post.A Mother’s Love – My PostsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Isaac,

      Yes, I have read your blog and like what you’re sharing.

      Considering your blog is climbing in its ranking with Alexa, I’d say that’s a good sign you’re doing something right. Great job! :)

  41. SerenaWeverNo Gravatar says:

    You really have to work hard not just to attract readers but also to keep them coming back and reading your posts. Aside from the layout of your blog, it’s also necessary to make it reader-friendly. Meaning, to use easy-to-navigate templates and themes as well as readable font sizes and styles. And most importantly, make your posts interesting and fun to read.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Serena,

      You’re right. As bloggers we do have to work hard to attract a readership. Good content and a great looking site are a good first step, but as you mentioned, we also need to consider the font we use as well as if our content is interesting.

  42. OlgaNo Gravatar says:

    I have to say, your theme is absolutely fantastic. It stands out and my first impression was, wow, how nice this blog looks. I don’t know how much experimenting you had to do in order to settle, but this one is great. Is it a WP theme, custom made, or something else?
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  43. You really have to work hard not just to attract readers but also to keep them coming back and reading your posts. Aside from the layout of your blog, it’s also necessary to make it reader-friendly.
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  44. My niche is decorative concrete flooring. I constantly think what people might have interest to read, while keeping in my mind I also want to attract readers that will hopefully become my customers. Any recommendations is welcome. Thanks.
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  45. LesleyanneypNo Gravatar says:

    This post is definitely very informative. I totally agree with you about first impression, it is our only chance to get our reader’s attention. You blog theme looks great too.

  46. Michael BelkNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara, I have changed my theme about 15 times whenever I feel happy something else moves me. I am happy with my current theme but I expect to change again in the near future. thanks
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  47. Earn DaysNo Gravatar says:

    In my experience the theme did not just change the first impression of the reader, but also the search engine ranking itself.. Be careful when changing themes; it can cause you to drop, yet if lacking traffic it may on the other hand cause improvement.
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  48. RajnishNo Gravatar says:

    You are right Barbara, when I started my tech blog I also switched around 8 themes because I also didn’t decided that what exactly it would be for I was thinking it for SEO, Tech News and Gadgets so getting confuse in these so I decided to go for a custom these which will include all these. But after a year I thought my logo is very ugly because I myself created that so I decided to change that also and switched 4 logo to get a final one.
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