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Blog Design Satisfaction

The Following post was submitted by Dave from PSP Culture

What are you trying to achieve with the design of your blog?

  1. Income from Advertising Streams
  2. Reader Loyalty
  3. Personal Satisfaction

For a while I believed all three points above were mutually exclusive. That is, pursuing any one of the above points automatically ruled out the other two.

With simple planning before you create your final blog design, there is no reason why you cannot ensure a good revenue level from advertising whilst maintaining reader loyalty, and most importantly, gaining personal satisfaction from your blog.

You may consider personal satisfaction a non-essential element of your blog, that in the long run it doesn’t matter and will have no impact on your income level or reader loyalty. In actual fact, the inverse is true – if you have no desire to work on your blog because you find it a drain, and it gives you no pleasure, it will never yield a reasonable level of income, and your visitors will show you the same level of respect and interest as you have shown your blog.

So how do you gain personal satisfaction from your blog design? Simply by making it something you want to look at yourself. If you look at your blog and find it confusing, fussy, over-detailed, over-filled, and worst, useless, your visitors are likely to see the same thing.

If you are using wordpress, or one of the many other off-the-shelf blog packages, its relatively easy to integrate a new design with the blog software to give yourself a site that is both good looking and functional. You could use a standard template for your blog package, there’s plenty available to choose from, but these aren’t tailored to your exact needs, and will not help make your blog stand out from the crowd. Visitors who have seen the same template used elsewhere will either confuse your site with another, or assume you have nothing original to say.

So sketch out your blog design, look at what information you’ve currently got to present to your visitors, and work out how best to lay it out. Convention dictates that you use two or three column layouts – thats fine but think about your advertising methods, and how these best fit in with the look of your site. Fortunately most of the big advertising brands (google adsense, chitika, yahoo) all use similar ad sizes, so switching from one company to another isn’t difficult, and doesn’t mean a complete rewrite if you were to switch.

Now is the time to decide how well to integrate your advertising into your site, and the impact this has on reader loyalty. You may be wondering why one has an impact on the other, but consider the first time visitor who may be misled into clicking on an advert because its badly placed or blended into a site design so well it assumes the look and feel of the sites navigation. Whilst these types of ads may yield high returns, it also ensure your first time visitor will forever remain a one time visitor, and in the long run, this will not benefit your blog.

Ideally you want to ensure your first time visitor is converted into a regular visitor whilst retaining a click thru rate on your adverts that ensure a reasonable income. Click thru should be maintained by presenting the visitor with good quality and applicable adverts, which is normally handled quite well by the advert provider.

By being sympathetic to your visitors needs by providing the information they require clearly in a good and useable blog design, while ensuring appropriate adverts are present should ensure that not only do you get the high income you wish for, but you get a loyal readership and, best of all, personal satisfaction from your blog.

So, is personal satisfaction a requirement, and does your blog provide it?

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, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Peter says:

    I certainly have #3, personal satisfaction. Technorati is giving me more visitors and with that, a little bit of a revenue stream (de minimis).

    Any suggestions for changes for http://americanmoderateparty.blogspot.com concerning style, etc?

    Email me with your suggestions or post a comment to my blog. Also, this is a great place for ideas – but is there a forum out there for personal comments for people to offer opinion regarding the look of other’s blogs.

    I, for one, would review a couple of blogs a day critically for a couple of critical reviews.

  2. Peter -

    A couple of the link exchange sites like Blog Explosion (www.blogexplosion.com) and BlogMad allow for blog reviews through a forum atmosphere. They also help to generate traffic to your blog. I made a post on mine yesterday concerning BlogMad specifically and its potential in terms of sending traffic to your blog. If you’d like to read it you can see the post at http://gentrysherrill.blogspot.com/2006/01/blogmad-new-link-exchange.html . Also, Yaro Starak of Entrepreneur’s Journey (www.entrepreneurs-journey.com) recently launched a forum that is generally about blogs and business. If you’d like to have your blog reviewed and commented upon a post in his new forums would probably do the trick.

    Hope this helps.

    Gentry Sherrill

  3. Dave says:

    Peter, therer are many design forums that offer the opportunity to have your site critiqued, although many require a thick skin and the ability to distinguish genuine constructive comments with people out to cause havoc!

    Personal favourite of mine for general design concepts and seeing good design ideas is StyleGala, which as well as being beatifully designed, has a forum aimed at the professional end of the design community.

  4. Lyndoman says:

    I think personal satisfaction is great, just as long as your blog makes money. Can’t be a problogger if your blog is not making money.

    There are three things to consider when looking at a professional bloggers design.

    1. Does the design make money
    2. Does the design make money
    3. Does the design make money

    If my blog design made enough money for me to be 100% Problogger then it would be very satisfying.

    Of course if you decontruct this its’ constituent parts would be people liking your blog to link to you, readers liking your blog to read it, ads placed to maximise clicks ….ect.

    Good design has to come from the soul, it has to be be on your breath. You have to be able to taste that. To get to that point you have to consume all the great designs out there and come up with your own.

    Sometimes I think that becoming a succesful problogger cannot be taught, you can be shown the road, but you gotta walk it yourself. You have to put the work in and this is where good design comes from.

    You could of course pay for it, something I am considering.

  5. James says:

    Related to Item 3, I started out writing my blog mainly out of frustration with the House development world. Then, onceI got over that, thought I would write down things that I learnt on improving my home, and hopefully share them with someone… I enjoy writing the tips. It’s a challenge to see if I can keep coming up with them, or even finding tips that I would like to use…

    And, the biggest challenge is seeing whether I can attract readers. This would combine Item 2 AND 3, as I enjoy the challenge. And obviously, my personal satisfaction would increase if I managed to make an income out of this.

    All in all, I agree with what you’re saying, and hopefully I can work towards improving my blog to satisfy all 3 points.

    Thanks,
    James

  6. brem says:

    The problem I get as a reader pointed out is that I have too many ads.

    I tried to make them as incompiscuous as possible, but… I guess everyting is subjective.

    How much ads is too much?

    Any?

    :)

    brem

  7. I used the one of the blogger provided designs for my first and only blog… I have to admit, it doesn’t really satisfy…

  8. b. J. says:

    i like my blog’s design it’s a new blog but design is looking good to me, a colorfful one with images but loading fast on http://www.lipoandsuction.com/

  9. What you should do then is either shop at blogskins.com or another place where they make templates.

    Mine I had to “tweak” from blogger, in order for it to fit the theme.

  10. Ken McGuire says:

    Good writeup dude. I’ve been toying and tweaking with this for the week, I had decided it was time to give my own blog an overhaul for the new year, which sparked a little debate midweek in relation to the design.

    Immediately it was something that I wanted, designwise (the personal choice). But unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly pleasing for the readers (thanks to some honest commenting by friends and readers alike!) which brought about a third draft, based off reader feedback. With all that in mind, imo you’ve got to balance your personal preference with keeping your readers happy, especially if you’re aiming back at number one and getting your revenue streams up and running!

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