Whether you’re meeting a potential employer or someone who might one day become your beloved spouse or just a stranger on the street, first impressions are everything. To prove it, remember the last time you made a bad first impression? Did you ever hear from that person again? Here are five blogging rules to make a great first impression. Sit up straight now and get your elbows off the table.
Dress The Part
I’ve known men and women who’ve scrimped and saved and lived on Ramen noodles for months so they could buy one decent suit to wear on job interviews. Yet so many new bloggers seem to think they can build a successful business using a ratty, free theme. The same theme you see all over the Web. The first thing new visitors see when they arrive on your blog is your theme, your overall design. You need to dress to impress.
A free theme is fine if you’re able to customize it, but you still run the risk of it having poor coding that makes your formatting go all wonky and your images are skewed in some web browsers. In other words, you still run the risk of making a bad first impression.
You don’t have to go all-out and get a custom designed theme that costs a few hundred bucks. Premium themes can be had for less that $100.
Watch Your Language
Most blogs have a relaxed atmosphere, and that’s what readers find most attractive. They feel like they’re visiting with an actual human being, someone who might be their friend.
Because of this friendlier tone, it’s easy to slip into slang or even curse words when you’re blogging. But it’s important to remember that not only will people of all ages be reading your blog, you’ll be attracting visitors from all over the world. Your language may be acceptable between you and your friends, but you could end up offending an entire hemisphere.
Always Provide A Gift
It’s typically customary to provide a hostess gift for all the guests who attend your party. Just look at all the little gift bags parents hand out at their kids’ birthday parties and the hostess gifts women receive at wedding and baby showers. When you provide gifts for your blog guests you make them feel warm and welcome.
Now that doesn’t mean you need to poll everyone to find out their household color scheme or their favorite wine. If you have the means, you can offer a free gift card or a free coffee mug to users who leave a certain number of comments or you can run some other type of contest.
But the best gift you can give your readers is the gift of your knowledge and expertise. Post your best quality content frequently and consistently and they’ll follow you forever.
Don’t Leave Them Hanging
I hate it when I make a new friend and he says, “Hey. I’ll call you Saturday and we’ll take in a movie,” and then he doesn’t call for months or weeks. For one thing, it’s inconsiderate. He led me to believe he was going to do something and he didn’t.
Your readers develop the same feelings about your blog. If you’ve been posting and posting for months on end, they come to expect that from you on a regular, never-ending basis. If you suddenly disappear for a few weeks, they’re going to feel sad, cheated and mistreated. Don’t expect them to be waiting when you come back.