Friday, January 14, 2011

Importance Of Blog Designs

I think it goes without saying that I have some rather
strong opinions when it comes to the importance of
blog design. To understand my reasons for doing so, we
have to first look at the concept of BRAND, then at the
importance of layout.

First, a BRAND is not a logo. It’s not a company’s letter
head, nor is it a sign on a door. A company’s brand exists
in the minds of its staff, customers, suppliers, and
prospects. It’s the sum of the experiences one has with
a company, and the expectation that certain events or
experiences will be met.

A blog is a hugely powerful branding tool. If branding
is important to your company, care must be taken to ensure
your blog and your brand jive. Failing to do so can
seriously jeopardize your existing efforts. Why? Reading
and responding to blogs is a very personal experience.
It’s intimate in a way that reading a newspaper ad isn’t.
It’s an ongoing experience, re-inforced time and again.

So design is important from a brand perspective. But
its also important from a communication perspective.
Non-verbal communications play a massive part of face
to face or voice to voice conversations. In print or on the
web, its up to a layout designer to interpret and support a
writer’s intentions

This is hard enough to do in a magazine with a monthlong
lead time. Trying to accomplish the same thing on
an ever changing blog is tough. But not impossible. Your
investment with your business blog will be significant,
if not in cash then in time. Investing in a good design
shows the world that you are serious about your content
and serious about your business.
Design is ultimately about the way something works, not
about how it looks. The look is part of the package, but is
certainly not the whole. The great majority of your site’s
value will come from its content. With your specific goals
in mind, you need to determine the content hierarchy.
  • What will go at the top of the page? 
  • What gets secondary billing? 
  • What can you do expose archived content? 
  • What can you do to lead your reader to your desired outcome?
As a blog designer, a lot of my time is spent working out
these details. They’re never the same twice, as no two
sites have identical reasons for being.
There are a number of design options available to you.
These range from full custom design to pre-made templates
to some combination of the two.
Having a professional blog designed will run somewhere
between $1500 and $5000.
Don’t get me wrong. One can achieve blogging greatness
without spending a penny. In my experience, many business
bloggers start out with one of the hosted options.
After determining that blogging makes sense for them,
many make the move to a professionally designed site.
Frankly, this makes a lot of sense. Assuming you do one
simple thing right off the bat. Use your own domain
name. You don’t want to get stuck with a subdomain
from your blogging provider. It will make moving your
blog later a pain in the rear if you fail to do this now.
There are all kinds of other benefits to having your own
domain name. But this one alone is worth it.
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