Jennifer asked – “I know a better layout would be more useful to my readers. Is it better to redesign early in the game?”
Two main thoughts come to mind:
1. Design does matter – I’ve written on why previously but I think it is one strategy that can really lift a blog to the next level and help create a great first impression for a blog – especially in it’s early days.
2. Having said this, design can also be a distraction to you as a blogger – If you have limited time and budget I would put more energy into content creation in the early days. This is particularly the case if you’re a brand new blogger just finding your feet. While I’m not saying this is you, many new blogs don’t make it past the 2-3 month mark (for a long list of reasons) and if you’ve invested significant time and money into changing the design of your blog you might regret that later.
So if you’re starting out I’d spend more time on writing engaging content, developing a rhythm of writing for your blog, connecting with other bloggers in your niche, developing relationships with the readers you do have and working out whether blogging is something you can see yourself doing in the long term. Then, in time, you can start tweaking your design and getting it to a level you’re happy with.
One last little thought. When we moved into our new house a year or two back one of the best pieces of advice we received from friends was to live in the house for a year before making any major renovation decisions. Living in a house for 12 months means you get to see it in all of the seasons and get to experience how it works well under different conditions. Then you’ll be in a much better position to renovate not only in a way that looks good but in a way that works well.
I think there’s some wisdom in that not only for house renovations but for blog renovations. I probably wouldn’t wait 12 months but give it some time and your redesign could be much more effective and functional than immediately doing all the tweaks that come to mind in the early days.