Does blog design matter v2

I started working in a more traditional office environment a while ago. I dressed up to go to work – no tie or jacket, but nice pants and a dress shirt. It has been very interesting to observe how differently I was treated when I’m all gussied up. It’s not a subtle thing. My propositions are accepted more easily, my ideas carry more weight, and *girls smile at me on the street*.

It’s not just people who hadn’t met me in my jeans and t-shirt days either. Freelance clients who have known me for ages also respond differently. It’s as though my ideas have been given a boost of authority. I haven’t changed. Only my packaging has.

I first reviewed the design of “Technorati’s”:http://www.technorati.com/live/top100.html top 10 blogs a month or so ago. At the time, I came to the conclusion that design didn’t _really_ matter all that much. I figured that within a couple of months though, with the fantastic growth rate of the blog world, design *would* start to matter. This is based on the belief that given the choice between two sources of equal quality content, people will choose the better designed site.

It looks like I may have been a bit pessimistic. Only one of today’s top 10 is eye-bleedingly bad (“Eschaton”:http://atrios.blogspot.com/).

h2.

Look, we all know design counts. Packaging makes a difference. So why are so many bloggers packaging truffles as though they were no-name baked beans?

I’m a huge promoter of blogging for business. But only under appropriate conditions. “Blogs can have a huge impact on a brand”:http://www.theblogstudio.com/blog/why-is-a-blog-so-good-for-your-brand That impact can be negative.

This is especially true of the hundreds of blog experts who are popping up all over the place. _Don’t they realize how poorly their messages come across?_ How can you be an *expert* when you’re ignoring one of the prime rules: packaging sells. All the marketing and PR knowledge in the world isn’t going to help you if we pass over your content.

h2.

I understand that one of the major appeals of blogging is its low barrier to entry. *This is not true of business blogs*. Business blogs *MUST* be well designed, be unique, and be in line with current branding. There is a very significant risk of damaging one’s brand if the packaging does not match the quality of the content.

There are a couple of situations where this is not the case. A start-up does not have an existing brand, and can do no harm by using a template designed for a personal site. Some businesses have anti-brand brands (think no-frills stores, work-from-home accountants, etc). I’m not a reader of “Escaton”:http://atrios.blogspot.com/, but I get the impression that anti-design is part of his brand. These no-frill brands would probably be better off with a template site. But that’s it.

h2. Plump, ripe fruit. Ready for the picking.

We’ve gone from 8 million to 9 million blogs in the blink of an eye. 40,000 new blogs a day. Sure, most of them suck. Many will never get past the “testing testing 123” stage. But if only 1% are good sites with business aspirations, that’s 400 new blogs *a day*, 12,000 new blogs a month, and 146,000 a year. *All of these blogs will need to be professionally designed*. Do you see where I’m going with this?

The more professionally designed blogs there are, the more important design on the blogosphere [shudder] becomes. In other words, the more of my fellow designers I can convince to compete with me at “The Blog Studio”:http://www.theblogstudio.com, the more work there will be for all of us.

Thoughts?