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The phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” is a lousy marketing scheme. Visual appeal is just as (if not more) important than the actual content.
A well-cooked pizza made with fresh, all organic ingredients will go to waste if it looks like a poorly decorated pile of vomit.
The blogger that excuses themselves as “too busy” to make their website look decorative and user friendly will likely attract very little traffic to their blog.
The illusion of display and illustration plays a major role behind most consumer shopping habits: complementing color schemes in correlation with the product; a lovable mascot; peculiar packaging, and so on.
In many outlet stores, certain brands will pay extra to be placed eye level on the store shelves in an attempt to become more visually appealing than their competitors.
If you’re serious about attracting a bigger audience to your website, consider examining these key web factors:
This is the determining moment. The brief second that will either draw them in, or push them away forever.
New bloggers shouldn’t have any pop-ups. There is no greater let-down than having to be greeted by advertisers from a newbie blogger.
Pay the extra bill to rid of all ads and make it more personable. Don’t make the reader feel sold. Rather, welcome them to your creative space.
Upon stumbling onto a new website, the brain forms an impression of it in just one-tenth of a second.
Within 60 seconds, it has processed as many as ten thousand visual cues as to what the website is, what it’s about, and whether or not they’d like to get to dig deeper.
These cues are weighed in the brain’s more emotional, primal centers, which produce a visceral assessment instantly — a “gut feeling” as to whether a site is a potential threat or asset.
Make sure the reader immediately sees the blog niche within the first few seconds. This is best done with clever imagery and decorative layouts that complement the content of the blog.
A crafty blogger knows their audience and familiarizes themselves with customer-first marketing strategies.
It’s easiest to look at your website as a new shop you just opened up along a strip mall. The moment that a customer comes into your shop, the ultimate goal is to get them to purchase.
But it doesn’t just end at the initial purchase point. You want repeat customers – those who will return to your shop to make plenty more purchases.
Of course, gaining any referrals from your customer would only be a bonus.
Photos vs. Gifs
Photography is like a fine bottle of scotch; becoming more valuable with time, something physical and nostalgic.
A photo can take a person back to a journey or a feeling they once had, placing a familiar setting and inadvertently drawing the reader deeper into the content.
This sort of imagery carries a personal weight, portraying a still shot of real-life situations with real people and real places.
Photos can be edited to outline warm and soft features, and later turn them uncomfortably noisy and cold.
A good photo is bombarding someone with so much imagery that their response to the image is deeply emotive.
Gifs, on the other hand, are a bit different. Gifs are an overplayed Beach Boys song. A tiresome slew of animated cats, d-list celebrities, and clips of overhyped movies from the 90’s.
Mainly used by fools for fools as a juvenile attempt to express an emotion that they otherwise can’t explain through the written word or a photo.
Gifs were born through social media and text messaging, and with great luck, they will soon die there as well.
Bloggers that put gifs on their website do so as a shameful last resort; like a washed up comic ending their show with a knock-knock joke.
Easy on the Eyes
Exploring a new website is like venturing to a new city. The blogger who does nothing to make the website look visually attractive, i.e., a drab background, plain font, no navigation menu, and so on, is torturing the reader.
It would be equivalent to looking over a printer manual, and a printer manual may have more flare on a single page than a plain looking website.
However, don’t mistake plain as minimalistic. As 2018 approaches, taking us closer to an age of simplicity and minimalism, people don’t want to see a website that is crowded with “stuff”.
People already have too much “stuff” in their lives already. Approach a creative, but simplistic design. People want stylish and sleek, not the inner workings of a sales scheme.
Make them feel as if they’re on a vacation, like they’re excited to explore every crevice of the website: the story of the content looks good behind original, corresponding background and images; the navigation bar is interactive and easy to follow.
Ideally, the reader should lose track of the time they spend on the blog and find themselves reading through the content longer than they had anticipated.
Though it may not seem like it, the usability of the website contributes to the visual beauty.
First, take the time to optimize the desktop version of your website to fit both tablets and desktop screens.
The layout must be a clean interface that is flexible and automatically adjust to a reduced screen size.
Second of all, what’s to appreciate if the web pages aren’t loading in a timely manner?
If people try to access your website and it doesn’t work – for whatever reason – your website becomes worthless. Ensure your visitors don’t get an error trying to load your site.
Invest in good hosting. Also, double checking for any dead links is essential. Nothing sends a visitor back to Google search results faster than a 404 page.
Thirdly, learnability is an important part of usability.
Your goal is to design interfaces that are intuitive, i.e., the user shouldn’t need any specific instructions or have to go through trial & error processes to be able to work them out.
When creating an intuitive design, create something new that a user can easily learn. Or better yet, use what people are already familiar with.
By now, many people are well-versed in a variety of web design concepts. And by using the concepts consistently, they will undoubtedly meet the expectations of your visitors.
This will help them achieve their goal faster. A known fact about human beings, is how we’re impulsively drawn to recognition and patterns. That’s why we’re better at dealing with the familiar, rather than the unfamiliar.
If new concepts are implemented in the design of the website, then be consistent and help people out in the initial stage of them learning about your site.
For example, provide instructions or further information when they first use your website.
Keep everything as visual and simple as possible to help your users recall any new concepts you introduce.
Tailoring a website to fit the content is what sets the good bloggers apart from the bad.
Many bloggers hone their skills by getting familiar with effective content marketing strategies through Photoshop and illustrator to make their blog outshine their competitors.
And by creating a place where readers are eager to subscribe, revisit, and brag to their friends about said blog.
Besides Right Blog Tips, are there any blogs you know that do this particularly well?
Devin Morrissey lives in Daly City, CA, where he writes about small business and SEO. When his laptop updates or his Wi-Fi is down, Devin modifies his friends’ cars and hunts for vinyl records.