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First Impressions Matter on a Blog


First impressions matter in the day to day real life relationships that we all have. Like it or not, people are making decisions about who you are in the first few seconds that they meet you.

The same is happening when they come to your blog too!

In this Video post I explore five aspects of your blog that first time readers are using to get their first impression.

  • Titles
  • Design
  • Taglines
  • Post Titles
  • Opening Lines of Posts

Video Length – 7.40

Update: to those wishing to use the video – you can grab the code to embed it on your own blog at it’s page on blip.tv

Further Reading on the Creating Strong First Impressions:

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Darren this video is so important. The first impression is key. Lately I have been cleaning up my blog and have had much better success.

    If we all present a better image, we can expect better results.

  2. Hi Darren,

    Yeah – first impressions make a big difference. Which reminds me that I need to do a good redesign soon…

  3. By the way… lookin good in the suit. ;)

  4. I agree completely with what you say in this video. Good post, and nice suit! *=)


  5. I think a picture of yourself helps to create a welcoming vibe for a newcomer to the blog.

    Your videos are great – do you distribute them elsewhere also (like on youtube) ? Just curious what results that would give.

  6. Video posts are a nice change of pace. Thanks!

  7. great linkable video, it’s totally unlike anything I’ve seen before.

    Giving a good first impression is why I did a pretty major blog redesign a while back. My previous theme was too gray, this one is much better, has more color, and overall gives a much better user experience (although I can think of 50 ways I can improve it even more).

    I think having your blog’s title and the post titles be the two biggest things on the page also helps out greatly. I’ve seen some blogs that have text all over the place in all different sizes…. ick.

    Oh, and tag clouds are lame, I can’t believe people still use the things.

  8. thanks for the suit comments – I don’t wear it as much as I used to :-)

  9. awesome video, you picked the name problogger by “luck”, oh no, the magic is lost ;-)

    i think you also showed us about first impressions with video, great intro ;-) thanks.

  10. My blog is about free WordPress themes and WordPress tutorials. Recently, it’s been leaning toward tutorials.

    That’s why I felt it was important to aim for a more technical look with the recent redesign. To showcase my WordPress and web development skills, I sprinkled the redesign with several toys: pop-out horizontal menu, color scheme switcher, and a list of best content links in between the first and second posts (took a page out of the Problogger’s book ;)).

    For a normal blog, those features might be too much, but I think it’s giving off the right image or first impression for my blog.

    What do you think Darren?

  11. This topic is so important. I had written about it earlier this month and you linked to it and it was a very popular topic by far. Nowadays with users being able to jump faster you really need to grab them and hold onto them. I’ve been planning to go more in depth into this topic and I think people may need a little more help then what to watch out for.

  12. Small Potato – I think you’re on the right track. A blog does need to reflect what it’s about. My only comment on your design is that is seems pretty text heavy. Perhaps some more visual elements/pictures etc might break it up a little. Not too many – but it might lift it a touch. Well done though – it’s very clean and easy on the eye.

  13. Thankfully, as a long-time blog designer, I can lay claim to having thought carefully about my blog’s design and what first impressions it makes. I wanted it to appear professional and yet approachable and friendly. I’ve use somewhat traditional colors (blue and orange, with accent colors of light earth tones) to convey a business-like and non-threatening impression.

    My picture is on the home page so that people can see that a real person is behind the blog. I use upbeat and friendly icons such as pencils and speech balloons. I have a relatively uncluttered sidebar (well, for a blog, anyway). However, we’re all somewhat blind to what our first impressions really are with others, even though we might try to engineer them. So if anyone wants to offer their first impressions of my blog, feel free to contact me through my blog and tell me. Might as well take Darren’s post and use it as an opportunity to be a real lesson for myself and others.

    PS: Darren, the videos are coming along nicely! I really enjoyed the better editing in this one and got the message right away from your “costume changes” (nice suit, man). I laughed when the green sweatshirt made a cameo appearance!

  14. A new logo and an image or photo to accompany each post are on my to-do list. Thanks Darren :)

  15. Excellent video Darren! Thanks for sharing this with all of us. I’ve recently done a re-design to be less corporate and more open and inviting. It’s black and white and full of links, just like me. I think it works, but I’m not sure about what a first time reader would think about it.

    Definitely worth thinking more on. Kudos!

  16. Wow, thanks for the great tip! BTW, the snapshot of your video already showed how important is first impression…

  17. Michael Martine – yeah I thought I’d throw in the green sweatshirt for a bit of a laugh. I can’t wear that anywhere any more without be ridiculed! :-)

    Small Potato – good to hear!

  18. Oh, and on a side note I just noticed your RSS ticker crossed 30k, congrats Darren!

  19. I agree with you 100% on this topic.

    I do have two questions that I have been meaning to ask you though;

    Would you recommend posting videos on a fairly new blog?

    What software would you recommend to use with video production?

    Also, my wife said she likes the new look!!! She likes suits, what can I say!!!

    Thank you,


  20. Jeremy – thanks – 30k today, 30k +1 tomorrow :-)

    Jason – I think video can work on a blog of any size. Never to early to start learning about different mediums. The software – I use a mac which comes with iMovie which is how I edit it. I use blip.tv to upload and share it.

  21. Thank you very much!!

  22. This was a great video Darren. I find first impressions to be the single most important thing when interacting with complete strangers. When it comes to jobs, socializing, dating, etc. the first impression is invaluable.

  23. Hi Darren,

    Brilliant video. You come across as extremely friendly and the content is excellent. You should do a lot more videos. Plus the aussie accent is brilliant. I wish I had your accent instead of my Israeli one.


  24. Hi Darren, I bumped into your blog through Catherine’s blog (~A Week in the Life of a Redhead~)
    Loved your video on first impressions, I totally agree! This holds true in all aspects of life, be it at the market, on a date, over the telephone, or even in the restroom. (Ever walk into a public restroom and hear someone talking away on their cell? THERE’S and impression for you! ;-D)
    ps. I also liked you in the suit, very slick, Casanova

  25. On behalf of everyone still on dialup, or slow broadband with download limits, will the message of this 27Mb video also be available as text? Even MP3 would be more accessible.

    The material on this site is of great value and it would be a shame for part of the audience to be denied it. Or am I the only reader without a $40+ per month connection at home?

  26. Hey Darren,

    Sorry about the server issue this morning. We blogged about it on blog.blip.tv. If you have this kind of an issue in the future, please feel free to call my cell phone at 646-827-9773 — I’ll be happy to tell you exactly what’s going on.

    Also, you may want to update your player embeds to use our new Show Player… drop us an e-mail if you’re interested, the new player’s really nice and won’t cause any interruptions to your site if we have a problem in the future.


    Mike Hudack
    Co-founder & CEO, blip.tv

  27. I looked up the Technorati,and found that your blog’s rank is 23.What a terrific rank,I worship you now.

  28. Mike – thanks for the update on blip.tv.

    LintCollector – I understand the problem you face but at this stage I don’t have the resources to do mp3s as well as videos. The video took hours to do as it was.

    The description above does summarize the main points though – I’ll attempt to include more details in text in future ones.

  29. Wow, now that was one of the best starts to any video I’ve seen. You’re def right about first impressions – especially on a blog. That’s why custom themes can help.

  30. I recently just wrote an article about this too. If anyone wants to check it out, take a look here:


    Sly from Slyvisions.com

  31. You do look handsome in that suit.

  32. Wow! Its amazing how different you
    look. Thanks for the advice about it.
    The music was good too.
    Elizabeth G.

  33. Really insightful, I love your 31 days to build a better blog program, and I try to follow it as much as I can.
    Thank you for doing it ^^

  34. It’s incredible to see what a good suit can do to a man – you look like a CEO, but a very good natured one :-)

    All those tips were very helpful and important but I would add another important tip that often gets overlooked: paying attention to details. I wrote about focusing on those little details on my blog and even provided with some inspirational examples.

    Details like the choice of bulleted icons, styling your comments area, turning your post titles and dates into a little work of art.

    They might look too insignificant to spend time on perfecting them, but they play a very big role in shaping up that very first impression of you and your blog. To me that says – the author strives for perfection in anything he/she does and is very serious about making that first impression last for a very long time.

  35. I should have had more faith… Your videos are definitely heading in the right direction! Nice job!

  36. Excellent video! Really helped me out!

  37. OMG Darren! You in that suit. Very, very powerful impression and it grabbed my attention right away because I don’t associate you as a suit kind of guy. I watched the video and you gave some good points. I have been struggling with how to best present myself, so thanks.

  38. First impression has a lasting effect. However, a second one might also help. Don’t give up. Just keep on trying to do better everyday.

  39. World changes , people changes . Similarly you can improve your style of blogging. First impression could be bad or good doesn’t matter even in marketing. Interact with your users in friendly manner and take your readers feedback. Try to improve your blogging style.

  40. Darren, I can’t tell you how hard it was for me to actually pay attention to what you were saying after watching that first few seconds, having seen you in person looking almost all of those ways except for Mr. Suit!

    Okay, so it wasn’t hard to pay attention, but it sure did make me smile from the beginning and kept it on straight through the whole vid. Awesome work! :)

    You actually taught two things in that video… the first was the impression you gave about your personality by creating the opening scene that way. The second was the rest you spoke about in terms of design, name, and so on (impressions for the blog itself).

    And no matter how hard you try, you’ll never strike the rockstar impression! ;)

  41. Yes.. I agree with you.. First impression is very important when I want to start a business with a person..

    Nice video Darren

  42. I’m just getting started on my own blog so the insight is appreciated, particularly the opening lines of a post. It’s made me realize I’ve started off a trifle bland.

  43. Once again a lot of information to digest and apply to my own efforts. As a new blogger, I’ve been spending a great deal of time learning what you are offering (probably too much time. I probably should be writing).

    Thanks for all of the great information.

  44. Darren,

    I was curious how you were able to use the music in the opening of your video, aren’t there license fees involved for a Beatles (Earth, Wind, and Fire cover) song?

  45. Terra,

    By look at your blog – I felt its an realestate website.

  46. Hi Darren – nice video. Your blog is inspirational.


    By look at your blog – I felt its an realestate website.

    ~ http://www.suggestusability.com

  47. Hi All,

    Please leave your first impression on this blog: http://www.mailsiread.com


    Daren – Thanks for the wonderful video.

  48. G’day Darren,

    It’s been a while since I’ve visited your blog…I think the last time was around 3 months ago when we met at your first Melbourne Blogger’s meet-up. If you recall my comments on that meeting (they were somewhat critical-hopefully in a constructive way), you really seem to have tackled the issue of real human interaction head-on. Blogs are just like meeting people, and if you call yourself the ‘Problogger’ then readers and people you meet already have certain expectations about the roles you play, and the needs that you can fulfill.

    Your new layout is truly ‘professional’. It leaves your old blog design (as well as my own) in the dust of the dark ages. I especially like the idea of a weekly video. The video medium adds so much depth to your identity, and it gives you an opportunity to prove that you are who you say you are in both reality as well as in text.

    I also like the clean, open, uncluttered feeling of the new site. It’s obviously well thought-out, and quite organised. Now, you truly exude more of the character traits that I deemed were necessary when one calls themself ‘professional’. You have the numbers of subscribers already…it seems like the next natural progression is to show them more about who YOU are, as well as give them more of what you have to offer. Congratulations on the next step in your journey. :-)

  49. I’m redoing my blog and moving servers. I’d love some comments on what looks goo, what needs to change, and the such. What’s your first impression of my blog?

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