Monday, January 21, 2008

How to Make a Good First Impression with Your Blog

Blogs are a lot like people in that a good first impression goes a long way. In fact, a visitor will know in the first 30 seconds whether or not she or he finds your blog interesting enough to stay. There are several factors to consider when keeping folks interested in your blog. One of the most important is how to make a good first impression.

Create an Eye-Pleasing Design:

Keep your blog clean and uncluttered. Too many obtrusive ads and blinking widgets can be a turnoff. Visitors should be able to find the sections they want at a glance. Your contact information, your "About Me" page, the different categories and your blogroll should appear in plain view in your sidebar and not hidden by quizzes, polls and buttons.

Create Catchy Titles and Great Opening Paragraphs:

While it's important a title is optimized for search, you also want to be able to draw your readers in. Your title should give a clue of what's in store. Confusing or cutesy titles don't always go over too well. Your opening paragraph should also draw people in. If the first sentence rambles or doesn't create an interest, your readers will most likely disappear. Draw them in with your title and first paragraph and they're likely to stay until the bottom line.

Friendly Engaging Content:

There's no better way to make a good first impression than with engaging, friendly content. Writing for the web is for shorter attention spans. Your posts should be to the point, but you should also write with the community in mind. Engage your readers. Ask questions and encourage comments.

Respond to Your Comments:

No one wants to attend a dull party. Comments encourage more comments. If your readers know you'll respond, they'll keep checking back. Others will also see you as friendly and engaging and join the conversation. Newbies will see your blog as a thriving community instead of "just" a blog. Besides, it's great to acknowledge the people who stop by. You only get one shot at making a first impression. If you're not sure your blog is making a good impression, enlist a trusted friend or fellow blogger to stop by. Ask about his first impression. Sometimes a second eye does wonders.

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