Many blogs use the same templates or skins for the design. While the design does not really affect people who read your blog via RSS feed, but it affects any first time blog visitor and everyone who likes to read the blog from the web browser. The more unique a blog design the better it is to build recognition and branding. If a blog looks like 20 others the visitor has seen already, your own blog will not stick out from the crowd and you will lose out on visitors as people tend to forget about you really quick then. “How did his/her blog look like again?” might be the question and how do you answer that? In the past I have been using free WordPress templates myself. I applied minor modifications, but it never really separated itself from others enough to be unique. My current (well, now my last template)? template was almost stock and as I had not see this template before I was hoping to avoid problems being one of many.
Man, was I wrong on this one. While reading some other blogs today I ran into a blog using the exact same template. That really hit me and I felt I had to do something about it immediately. I had to make my blog more unique – now! The most visible piece in a blog is often the header and I decided that this would be a good step to start. As I am personally “graphically challenged” 😉 it took me a while to come up with something that I liked. I wanted the new header to be like a business card for my blog, too. Why? The header is shown on every page and it provides a first time visitor right away with the information of what my blog is about. The problem with so many blogs is to find out what is their main specialty. What is the main topic a blogger is writing about? Often there is no way to tell what a blog is about – especially if you enter a blog from an older posting through a search engine listing. The homepage might eventually have a small snippet of text explaining the topic of a blog, but archived articles do not show this normally. Or the blog owner does not even bother at all to tell what his main intent for the blog is. I had a small snippet of text already describing the purpose of my blog, but again it was only seen on the homepage and not on the different archive pages.
By using a new header I have been able to fix the two items described at the same time. First of all it is completely unique and therefore makes my blog stick out more. And second I was able to manage to design it with a small sticky note build in explaining what this blog is all about. The sticky note is completely integrated into the design of the header and in a spot where visitors can easily see it. I showed it to a friend before deciding to make this the new header image and he liked it.
Anyway – the lesson learned is: Make your Blog look unique + make sure your visitors know what your blog is about. Just because they find a (one) posting of your blog that matches their search term, it does not mean that your blog is really of interest to them. But you might be able to catch their interest by pointing out what your blog is really about. If you catch their interest you might gain a new reader that a) comes back to read more from your blog and b) eventually tells others about your great blog.
About the Author: Christoph Puetz is a well respected author and business owner. He has published books on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and also runs a successful small business. Websites of his can be found at the small business blog site as well as at business charter.