“You see, it’s in the presentation. That’s the way she brought you here…on a garbage can lid…”
I was a huge Cosby Show fan when I was little girl. Every Thursday night at 8:00, my family and I would get comfy in front of the television and watch Cliff and Claire dish out the proverbial food for thought and share hilarious life lessons on life, love, and family.
There happens to be one episode that stands out to me in particular. In the episode, Vanessa – one of the middle children and the resident know-it-all – brought home a fiancé that no one in the family knew she had.
For some reason Vanessa didn’t understand what the big deal was. Her fiancé Dabnis was a great guy. “It’s all in the presentation.” Mr. Cosby explained.
He went on to give a brilliant analogy, basically stating that you could prepare him a fantastic steak dinner, but if you served it to him on a trashcan lid, it wouldn’t really amount to much. And that was essentially how Vanessa had brought in her fiancé (of six months no less) to meet her family… on a trashcan lid.
If Content is King, then Blog Design Is Queen
The trashcan lid analogy totally applies to the world of blogging. You’ll hear tons of blog professionals touting the mantra that “content is king”; but what about the design?
If your blog design doesn’t reflect the same amount of personality that your writing does, you may find that you’ll lose out on a huge segment of potential fans and followers that are visually driven.
It’s all fine and good that you draw people to your blog organically through search engines. People see that you have valuable content and want to click on your link to read more – that’s great; but if your fantastic content is surrounded by terrible formatting, a dull color palette, and has nothing else visually appealing to offer, then you’re basically serving up your blog to readers on a trashcan lid.
Your new search engine guests will come to your page, read the information they came for, and if you don’t have a proper flow, or bright and eye-catching call-to-action buttons for your new visitor to click on, they’ll be off on their merry way. And no one wants that. (Can we say bounce rate?)
Having a Brilliant Blog Design Made Me Famous… Sort of
I happen to be a testament to how a powerful blog design can get you and your brand more attention. I’m currently preparing for my second news segment on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta.
My first appearance gained me tons of new fans and followers and I expect that my next appearance will do the same. How did I snag these opportunities? Believe it or not, it was through my blog design.
A publicist from a huge PR company was trying to find mom bloggers in the Atlanta area to work with on a future project. She happened upon my blog and said that she was “blown away” by how much “fun” my blog was. She specifically stated that she loved my blog’s content, but was “captivated by the bright and lively design.” Yaaass!
She subsequently picked me for her project, which ended up being a full segment on Better Mornings Atlanta! It included receiving 100’s of dollars worth of clothing for my family, along with the opportunity to get exposure for my brand – All thanks to my blog design!
‘That’s great and all, but I’m a writer – NOT a Designer’
If you’re not a professional graphic artist, or don’t have one at your disposal, how do you get that awesome blog design?
Easy! There are tons of online resources at your disposal. The best part? Most are free (or relatively inexpensive) and easy to learn.
Here are a few of my favorite resources:
This is an online design tool that I personally recommend to bloggers who don’t have a lot of experience with design. It’s free (for basic tools), it’s got a clean and easy to learn interface; and with a little bit of time and creativity, you can edit your photos, banners, and icons to produce some stunning graphics.
If you’re currently utilizing the WordPress platform, you have a lot of advantages when it comes to theme possibilities and customizations. It’s just a fact. (Sorry Blogger users.)
I joined Elegant Themes a year ago and never looked back. (And I am SO not a spokesperson or affiliate. I genuinely love their site.) For under $70 you receive access to tons of gorgeous premium WordPress themes, crazy advanced theme options, and stellar support.
You can have a beautiful blog with pixel-perfect details without knowing any coding or spending hundreds of dollars on a designer. It’s quite a worthy investment.
Image-maps.com is absolutely awesome. Make your social media icons, blog headers, and banners completely interactive with this easy-to-use image mapping tool. Want to add a row of social media icons to your header for easy access and have them be functional, clickable links to your social media profiles? Use this!
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You don’t have to resign yourself to having an “ugly” blog just because you’re not hip to graphic design. With a little research, and a touch of out-of-the-box thinking, you can have a blog that beautifully reflects all of the wonderful content that you create.