I Made My Blog Pretty So Visit It

BlogHer Original Post

I still remember exactly where I was when I decided that I needed a custom header. I was on my third year with Blogger's free Rounders template, dismissing all the people who told me that my blog looked like... dreck. We were driving back from a day of hiking when I turned to my husband and said, "they're right. I need a custom header." And suddenly, it had to happen at that very moment. I had no idea how one went about making a header, but I needed one very badly.

Fast forward a year or two later and I was ready to self-host my blog. I wanted a crisp layout; clean and unfussy. I wanted everything neat, organized, visually stark. I have too much information on my sidebars to truly get the simplicity I crave, but I pick at the layout every so often, replacing a block of text with an image map or streamlining a section.

We read plenty of posts telling us that if our layout is a mess, people will not visit our blogs. But with the popularity of feed readers, does anyone really visit the actual space anymore? Everyone who reads my posts in Google Reader misses out on the lovely additions I've made to my sidebar.

I don't dress up during the day because no one sees me (one of the perks of working out of your house), but I definitely take the time to shower and throw on a pair of heels when we're going to a party. Yet blog design is starting to feel as if your blog has shaved her legs and slapped on a little make-up just to sit at home alone. If no one is seeing her anyway, why bother dressing up?

How much time to do spend on your blog layout? And do you read most of your blogs from a feed reader, or do you visit the actual space?


Photo Credit: Shoes and Computers via Shutterstock.

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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