You're house hunting.
You 're excited!
You arrive outside a possible new home.
It looked good on paper...
You get out of the car and walk up to the front door.
Ermmmm... peeling paint, dead plants in cracked pots, dirty windows.
Still want to take a look inside?
On to house number two.
- Lavender growing alongside the pathway.
- Plants looking happy and smiling.
- Door freshly painted.
In you go, to be welcomed by the smell of fresh coffee, a friendly owner and a cat curled up on a patchwork cushion.
This is more like it!
- You feel at ease,
- at home.
As the owner shows you around you begin to 'click' with her; her style is your style.
She's honest; you know there are no 'nasties' hiding in the cupboards here; what you see is what you get.
This is just what you've been looking for.
So... what has this got to do with you and your blog?
When a new reader arrives at your blog, first impressions are vital.
1. Your front door.
- What's your Home Page like?
- Intriguing headline/tagline?
- Is the paint peeling?
- Or is it clean and fresh, and the site easy to navigate?
- Does the styling reflect your blog's personality?
Will the reader want to go inside?
Or will they stay for 3 seconds and then move on...
2. Do you meet this reader's needs?
- Does your post headline offer to solve a problem for them?
- Is this just what they've been looking for?
- Is the post too long and tedious?
- Are they smelling the fresh coffee or the bin under the sink?
Are they still here or have they disappeared already?
3. Are you being honest?
- Be aware of your limitations.
- Don't pretend to be an expert if you're not.
- Simply give your best help, but be happy to say when you don't know the answers.
- Don't hide any 'nasties' in the cupboards.
- Just be yourself.
4. Stand out from the crowd.
- The house you chose resonated with you.
- It's the same with your reader.
- There are plenty of blogs in your 'niche' for her to choose from. Make yours different.
- Make sure your blog reflects your unique personality. If you're quirky, humorous, serious, controlled, zany, scatty, sensible - let this shine out on your blog.
- Once your reader 'clicks' with you, she'll stay because your style is her style too.
5. First impressions matter.
- You need to spend a lot of time making the best first impression you can.
- Stand outside your own 'front door' and look at your blog from a new reader's point of view.
- Be honest with yourself.
- Read sites like this to find help in making your blog stand out from the crowd.
You only have 3 seconds to make that vital, first impression.
Over to you!
- What do you look for when you stumble across a new blog?
- What attracts you to 'go inside'?
- What makes you leave?
- What do you think is the most important feature to focus on when you want to make that vital first impression on your blog?
We can all do with some help, so please add your points in the comments.
Editor's Note: This post is the first from the newest member of the WBB Team. Please help me welcome Linda by leaving your feedback and following her on Twitter @LindaMHewett. If you've got a moment, please check out her blog.