Blog Design - Visual Appeal Helps Retain Traffic

May 21, 2009 by lindac · 15 Comments
Filed under: wordpress 

On the Internet, you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. I’ve been saying that since 1998. According to Consumer Web Watch, the factors shoppers use to judge website credibility are;

  • 46.1% judge credibility by “Website Design Look” (ie; the way your site looks)
  • 28.5% judge credibility by “Information Design” (ie; the way your content looks)

The vast majority of your visitors will (and do) judge your credibility by looks. That’s why Susan Boyle was such a surprise, isn’t it? We judged her before she had a chance to open her mouth.

The difference is that with your website, you don’t get a chance to “open your mouth.”  Statistics indicate that visitors decide whether to hit the back button in seconds flat.  The most common reasons for hitting the back button is that the site either doesn’t “look like” what we want, or the site doesn’t “look” professional.

I can not possibly over-stress how important good design is in retaining traffic.  It’s a horrifying thought, isn’t it? You work your fingers off to drive traffic - and then have people leave because you don’t look professional.

Of course, if you’re not selling anything, it’s not a big deal. Most of us will talk to complete strangers about our health, our kids, our yard, our pets.  But, when it’s time to put the money on the table, it’s a different story.  We all want to be sure we’re making a sound decision on how we spend our hard earned money, yes?

Let me show you some samples of the difference that design can make…

Sample 1: Before
This is a very basic blog. The blog itself is an seo friendly theme.  It’s not unique itself, nevermind unique to the business.
site1-before

Same Site; After

This is the main page:
site1-after

This is what the interior (content) pages look like:
site1-after2

Work of that level will generally cost $750 - $1500+ depending on how much you need done. Do you want an overall design that’s used for the main page, too?  Or do you want a unique main page with the interior pages slightly different? Do you want the content professionally laid out?  Do you want photo layout? Or do you just need a custom design that will help you stand out and you’ll take it from there?

Options for Shoestring Budgets…

For entrepreneurs and small business owners on a shoestring budget, there are less costly ways to achieve a professional look.  There are many free wordpress themes and  free website templates available online.  For that matter, you can even just get a custom header or “facelift” for your blog or site, usually for around $199, give or take.

Here’s an example of a simple “facelift” …

BEFORE: 
A very popular theme; this look is seen on many blogs. Recognize it?
site2-before

AFTER
It’s amazing how much difference a few design elements can make, isn’t it?
site2-after

If you have a commercial blog, the question isn’t whether you need to look professional.  If you look at the top 100 blogs, you won’t find a blog that look unprofessional among them. The only question is how you want to achieve a more professional look.


P.S.
My daughter is offering blog facelifts for $199 (reg $249) at  WebsiteJuju.com - bonus is that most people can’t tell her work from mine.  It probably doesn’t hurt that we knock ideas back and forth.  It’s a great deal if you want a look that stands out from the crowd.

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