6 Tips to Make a Great First Impression

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attractive
Image by HAM Guy
This is a guest post by Hans. Visit his blog, Catchtheposts.com, for more blogging tips, or you can subscribe to his feed here.

We used to hear that content is King. I agree with the fact that creating original and valuable content is a critical element to succeed online.

However, I would like to add my 2 cents: content is King but the container – the web space design – is not far behind! I really like metaphor, because it often helps us understand what the concerns really are. So let me bring you into the following metaphor.

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Building a Page for First-Timers – Part 2

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Question Mark We talked previously about how the needs of a new visitors differ from those of a returning visitor.

One way to solve this problem is to create a page specifically for new readers. It is very easy to do, and will help convert more of your one-off visitors into loyal readers.

Don’t Change Your Home Page

The traditional blog home page is well suited for returning visitors. It lists the most recent articles first, it emphasises headline so they can be easily scanned, and has a clear About link for learning more about the blog itself.

This is what a person expects from a blog, and that alone is a good reason to give it to them. The New-Visitor page must be something people choose to use; not something that is forced upon them.

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The Most Important Distinction Between Your Readers – Part 1 of 2

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Your confused first-time visitor! New and returning are two very different types of visitor to a blog. One has been here before and knows the drill; the other is still wondering if they’re even in the right place. This is the most basic, but the most important distinction between visitors in your audience.

Why then, would we treat them the same?

The answer is that if we had an easy choice, we wouldn’t. But we don’t have the luxury of such choice. It would take a complicated setup to serve two different pages to new and returning visitors, and might merely confuse your visitors.

Instead, we can use an easier method. We use our regular home page for our regular visitors, and link to a special made-for-newbies page, for the newbies.

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Good Design Looks Good. Period.

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stunning It’s the final saga in our quest to decide What Makes Good Blog Design? and today we are coming to one simple truth, good design looks good. That much is obvious, but good looks are for more than just looking at.

You don’t design a blog to print it out and hang it on your wall to be admired and you don’t design it to keep up with the Joneses. Stunning designs are good simply because they get you more readers.

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Use the Fold To Sell Your Blog on the First Impression

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The ‘fold,’ is defined as the area of the page which a user can see without scrolling down. There is a lot of controversy online about the existence of the fold (Its size differs greatly depending on screen resolution and browser), but there is no need to get into the specifics of where it exists. The concept of the fold is all that matters, and the logic behind it is excruciatingly obvious.

The user sees the top of the page first.

Incredible, eh? In other words, the canvas of your first impression lies in a box just a few hundred pixels high at the top of the page. You need to make the most of this space, and get all the necessary ingredients of your successful first impression into this space.

How Can I Make the Most of This Space?

It is very easy to overdo it, and try to fill as much as possible into the space. The key is self-discipline; put in what is needed, and forget everything else. Consider a warehouse; the building is best used with its contents filed properly in shelves and boxes, with a good amount of space to move around. Of course it’s possible to fill the corridors with many more boxes, but in doing so, you make it much harder to move around and get at the contents of the warehouse at all. The same is true for your blog, if your adverts, promotional copy and sign-up forms are getting in the way of the blog and page titles, you’re wasting your time.

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The Crucial Ingredients of a First Impression

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Not Cooking IngredientsIt is a fact that on the web, users have a ruthlessly short attention span. You might have as little as just a few seconds to sell your blog to the heartless reader, so how can you make the most of those precious seconds?

What do they ‘need’ to get from the first impression?

Everyone is searching for something, a certain piece of information they need. There are billions of web pages online, and the vast majority of those pages do not have the information they need. In the few seconds before they click off onto the next page, you need to convince your reader that you have what they’re after, not just a lot of adverts. This comes down to only two pieces of information:

  1. What this blog is about.
  2. What this page is about.

What is this blog about?

This question is the one most often forgotten by blog owners, for the sole reason that you are far too familiar with your own blog. How could they not know that the blog is about baking secrets? Have you not been writing about every type of pastry under the sun for the past two years?? Well, yes, but they don’t know that.

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