Curb appeal is the first impression someone has when they see a house from the street. Consider the first time a reader comes to your site curb appeal. What will they think?
Ok, I sense the anxiety. You’re not a designer. You’ve done your homework. You know The Design Master Mike Rundle will be looking at your site. You know sharp-tongued Scrivs will be looking at your site. I know, you read Scrivs called Microsoft, AOL, Netscape, Bloglines, SixApart and (gasp) Technorati losers and to top it off the 9rules Design Community has many of the best designers. I feel you. Have no fear, Tyme is here. I don’t believe I typed that.
Scrivs tells me all the time, “It’s ok Tyme, you’re not a designer” when I work on my site. One time doing an interview with Mike and Scrivs, I made the sad mistake of asking Mike what was the #1 design mistake bloggers made? He said “The header is not a link to the front page”. Scrivs could barely contain himself (laughing) because not only was my header not a link at the time, there was a typo in the header. Yes, that was a tip: make your header a link to the front page.
So essentially, my goof ups are benefiting you. You can thank me later. Yes, it’s okay to use WordPress (insert your writing tool here) themes. Contrary to the myth we do accept sites without custom designs. Here are some tips to spice up your site a bit:
- Change the default header graphic so it reflects your personality or if it is a company site, your brand.
- Tweak the links, it’s a nice way to bring some color to a site.
- Don’t blind your readers with lots of colors. You want the reader to focus on your content, not be crossed-eyed from all the colors.
- Sometimes it’s the little things that make a site standout. Leihu is a wonderful example. Every time I go to his site I find something new. Did you know he has a light and dark theme?
- Is your site easy to read? Tweak your fonts/colors.
Focus on your strength. If you aren’t a designer, do your best with the design but focus on writing exceptional entries.