We’ve all heard it said that if you want to get the job “you have to dress for success.” The obvious point being, that you must present yourself in a way that fits the future you want.
When you treat your blogging as a business and you are trying to appeal to a specific audience, dressing for success should apply to your blog. Of course we can’t dress our blogs in an Armani suit and power-packed tie, but we can dress up the appearance so our visitors are visually influenced the moment they arrive.
First impressions reveal to your readers that you are a serious and successful blogger or that you soon will be. The flip side could set you back if they are met with an unattractive, disorganized blog.
When you do dress for success, you are showing that you are aware of your appearance. You show that you take your job seriously and that you have aspirations. When you start working for a new company, your goal is never to remain right where you are, is it?
Your eyes are often set on a higher position with higher pay – always aspiring to be more, make more money. You wouldn’t go to work in t-shirt and jeans but rather, in a way that helps others visualize you in those more coveted positions.
How You Can “Dress For Success” With Your Blog:
For starters, take a look at some of the top blogs within your niche, then compare those to others within your niche that get very little traffic and have far fewer readers. You’re bound to see major differences without much thought. No doubt, the more successful blogs have the ability to spend more money on their appearance, but that’s not likely to be the biggest difference. In fact, with all of the blog themes and resources teaching how to customize your blog, money shouldn’t be a factor at all.
Now, step back and take a long look at your blog and ask yourself these questions:
Does it look like it fits among the successful blogs or an unsuccessful blogs?
If you could improve the appearance how do you think it would affect your own success?
Success is obviously more dependent on content than design, but your visitor’s first impression, attractiveness will need to serve as the hook. Just like in a real world interview, your ability to perform a job is not determined by your appearance, but if you give a sloppy presentation you will kill your chances of actually getting the job. Just like a sloppy appearance on your blog will kill your chances of getting and keeping the readers.
If your goal is to be in the top blogs within your niche, you must look like you belong there. Visitors are going to know immediately if you belong in the top or not. It IS possible to overcome a bad first impression with exceptional content, but don’t risk missing out on that first impression. It’s just not worth it.
Qualities I’ve noticed in Top Blogs include a very clean, professional look – the design enhances the content – no distractions pulling visitors away from the content and advertisements are carefully chosen and strategically placed.
Images and Theme Customization:
Images are important, although many blogs don’t need photos to accomplish a classy look.
If you’re looking for free stock photos, try stock.xchng. It’s my personal favorite. There are also a number of places to get very affordable, quality stock photos including my preference, iStockPhoto. There are plenty of other image sites, but I’ve learned to limit myself to these two simply because it’s been known to be a major time suck for me if I don’t. (Disclosure: if you join iStockPhoto through the link I’ve provided here, I will earn a small amount that I can use toward future image purchases).
If you’re using a free WordPress theme, learn about themes from the WordPress Codex and forums. There’s tons of helpful information to help make minor changes to a free theme. In most cases the smallest change will set your blog apart.
You may wish to spend a small amount of money and have someone do the coding for you. On occasion, I do provide free blog setup for new blogs. I also like to check with my friends. I have a few designers I turn to when I can’t do the work myself – I’m happy to refer you if you like. If they can’t help, I then check Craigslist – there’s usually someone readily available to get the job done for a small fee.
Now, take a bit of time today, look at your blog and see what changes might be able to “dress it” for the success you want. Focus on changes that will tell your readers you’re serious about your appearance and you’re ready to be a blog they can count on.
Not everyone can be an executive in the corporate world, just like everyone can’t be a highly successful and influential blogger – especially in an extremely crowded market. If you need help with objective views – leave a comment here using your link. I encourage everyone reading to share tips and ideas that will help others push forward to the next step.
As an added bonus, I am making a commitment to my readers. If you leave a comment on any of my posts, I will visit your blog and “share it” in some way whether on StumbleUpon, Twitter or Facebook depending on if I can find a nice fit. This will be my way of saying thank you!