Well-written content or a great design — which is more important for my business blog? We hear that question a lot, both online and at conferences.
So which is it? Let’s think through it…
When a customer or potential customer stops by your blog to see what you have offered up, which would you rather have them think: (1) “Hey, these folks care enough about me that they built this great blog that’s visually attractive and easy to navigate,” or (2) “Wow, these folks are looking out for me and providing content in their blog that is informative and reads well”?
If you realized that’s a trick question and the only right answer is (3) BOTH, you’re thinking right for your business.
First Impressions are Important
No, we won’t break out the cliché book regarding first impressions because you know they’re important, especially when you’ve got a business fighting for attention and customers amidst many others. That means what a visitor to you blog sees when they arrive IS important.
There is, after all, only one chance to make a first impression. Okay, just had to toss out at least one cliché. It’s something important to keep in mind, though. Sometimes you get another chance to impress if the first time isn’t so great, but that is rare on the web, where there are millions of websites battling for visitors.
Great Content is Not Enough
Don’t be swayed by those who say that great content is the only thing that’s important. Many experts — catch a few twitter chats or a conference or two and you’ll hear them — will say it is more important to get your blog out there with great content. Don’t spend a lot of time or money on your look, but get your posts up there to read. Don’t listen!
What’s wrong with that? Maybe nothing if you’re looking at a personal blog or have such a name already that people will ignore how it looks. That’s maybe, because I think the look of your site and blog say a lot to potential customers and even those who have already purchased your products or services.
If you’re putting your business out there on the web, you most likely want to convey professionalism in what you put forth for surfing customers. “Professional” means different things to different lines of business, but you want visitors to understand immediately that you feel their visit to your site is important to you.
You can have very thoughtful, well written and informative content — very professional — but it’s of no value if nobody reads it. If visitors to your site are turned off because you don’t appear to be a company with whom they would want to do business they’ll find another site. If they take one look at your site and fear you will treat your business as unprofessionally as they view your blog, off they go.
A Great Looking Site is Not Enough, Either
So you put in the time, and maybe the money, to have a great looking site that even your competitors concede is the most professional looking in the industry. Once you’ve done that there’s no reason to focus on the content, right? By now you know that’s not true.
A good looking site only helps get that prospective customer to your content, but they probably won’t come back just to gaze at that artistic marvel you’ve put on the web. Once you’ve drawn them in, it’s your content that gives them a reason to return.
Put the effort into writing posts that inform readers about who you are — a business that knows its stuff and cares enough about potential customers to share what it knows. Okay, maybe not ALL of what it knows, but at least the tip of the iceberg and enough to demonstrate there are knowledgeable people waiting to serve them.
So now you know what to do – – make that great first impression and bring them back for second, third and more great experiences.