The following is a guest post by Lorelle VanFossen of Lorelle on WordPress and an excerpt from her popular book, Blogging Tips, Tips Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging.
There are several “first impressions” your blog makes as it struggles to attract and hold on to readers. Few of those first impressions come directly from your blog’s design and layout.
Search Engine Results: The first impression most people get of your blog is found within search engine results. They see a post title, blog title, and content excerpts around the keywords of their search terms.
Blog Feed Aggregator: An aggregator is a blog or website which displays titles or post excerpts from various blogs. Aggregators usually list your blog title, post title, and first 100-300 words of your post.
Feed Reader: A feed delivered to a feed reader displays the content as text, with few images, and none of your blog’s design. Depending upon how the feed reader is set, it showcases the blog title, post title, first 100-400 words of your post or the full post content, if the blog owner has set the feeds to full. Typically, the post title and first 100-400 words are the first impression.
From Other Bloggers: Another first impression a potential visitor gets comes from the words other bloggers have to say about you. It could be a simple link to your post title, or a paragraph or two recommending your blog and/or your blog post. The information in and around the link can make or break a reader’s decision to click through to your blog.
Front Page: Many web designers design the front page of the blog before the rest of the pages, creating a gateway to your blog. This is old “print-think”. Nowadays, visitors may arrive on any page on your blog. If they get lost navigating, or need more information, they will click to your blog’s front page. Every page, including the front page, must visually represent the purpose and intent of the blog. The front page must also still be the gateway to all the categories, sections, and pages of your blog.
Single Post Pageview: Most visitors arrive on a blog post page. The first impression is to the visual presentation, blog title, post title, and content, followed by other visual images. It must also offer easy-to-find navigational aids to help them find related and more content.
About Page: More than anything on your blog, your blog’s About page cements the first impression with information on the blog’s purpose and intent, as well as the blogger’s expertise. If they get past the visual presentation, they will look for more information about the author.
Category Page Views: The page views of your category, tags, and archives showcase the content within your blog in related groups. The first impression of category pages are the post titles, followed by the first 100-200 words of the post content. Most visitors scan the post titles looking for information related to their needs.
Go through each of these “first impressions” to see what kind of an impression your blog makes on the web.
Lorelle VanFossen blogs about blogging and WordPress on Lorelle on WordPress and the Blog Herald, and is the author of Blogging Tips, Tips Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging.