Go read any post from a major blogger on what it takes to be successful at blogging and you’ll find that certain tips get repeated ad nauseam. One of these tips is that your blog should have appealing web design.
It only makes sense, right? Visually appealing layouts are a common denominator on sites that pull in serious visitors and are generally considered a ‘success’. No avid reader wants to read words on a page that resembles a scattered dump yard.
But here’s something interesting that most people fail to see – having a good web design is a process, and almost all successful bloggers began with a design that wasn’t exactly great. There are individuals that started with designs so bad they’re a little ashamed to admit it.
I happen to be one of them. I started with Blogger and somehow, through the stroke of pure genius, I f**ked up my theme beyond recognition of its original, dull counterpart. Only “I” can manage to do something like this when it comes to technology.
Still, I didn’t care, because I realized something essential from the experience: It’s not the pen you use; it’s how you use it.
Let that saying be a lesson to you or anyone else thinking of starting a site, a blog or even a business. A perfect example of a site that is completely wiping the floor with everyone else in its niche is stevepavlina.com Do a search for “personal development”…
…and feast your eyes on the most boring layout that exists today.
But read the content, and you immediately realize why Steve dominates his field.
There is a good reason why my site went through a drastic design change after 6 months. There’s good reason why I chose to do another complete makeover for 2010. I had traction. I had an audience that actually gives a sh*t. My blog is now a (somewhat) authority site in my niche and therefore I have responsibility towards those who spend time reading it to make it a nice place for them to visit.
I wrote some rock-your-face-off content. THEN I took some time to make everything spiffy, shiny and just plain sexy.
The truth is, if you were to take away my slick site features and replace it with something boring like a generic, puke-inducing default Thesis theme, I’d still whup some booty. I admit that I’d miss out on some ad revenue and affiliate sales but the core of what I offer would stay.
And if you don’t think your blog could survive without your fancy themes and geeky plug-ins, then you might as well take that fancy pen of yours and stick it where you shouldn’t (in a pen holder), because it won’t matter how you use it either way.
While he has a passion for writing and oozes entrepreneurial spirit, FJ is foremost the fitness expert and runs his own Fitness Blog, where he focuses on impeccably accurate advice delivered in a straightforward, no-BS style.