Do You Need A Pretty Blog To Be Successful?

How many of you eat tuna fish? I know a few are going to say they don’t, but did you know that tuna is ranked as the most favored fish in the United States, with more than twice as many people eating it than salmon, which is #2? I was stunned by both of these because when I go to restaurants, most of the time they serve either haddock or cod. But these don’t seem to translate well to eating at home, which is why tuna and salmon rank so high.

my tuna mix

You know one of the strange things about tuna? It’s not a pretty food. Look at this picture of some tuna I made up the way I like it. When I posted this picture on Instagram some months ago and had it also going to Facebook, it was universally hated for its appearance. Yet, I know that all tuna looks pretty much like this after it’s been mixed with people’s favorite ingredients; have you ever seen Subway’s tuna?

Do I have a point? Of course! Lately there’s been a lot of discussion about what people’s blogs look like. I covered some of that on my previous post where I said if a website or blog works for you then go with it. I also said that it’s possible that people might not necessarily agree with you and that if they decide to stay away and you’re okay with it then fine, but if you want visitors you might decide to make some changes.

In my opinion, it’s not the look of blogs that drives people away as much as what a blog has to say. There are some very ugly and plain websites that draw thousands of visits a day. Why? Because someone found their content compelling enough to keep them coming and indirectly got them to share the content to help make them popular.

salmon teriyaki
Yeah, salmon…

This isn’t a slam on pretty websites or on fancy themes. They can be as pleasing and tempting as the dish on the left. It’s a postulation if you will that states content really matters a lot more than what one’s blog looks like. The idea of having a website look professional is a big one, but professional can be minimalistic as well as fancy-dancy with all sorts of things popping out and videos and music automatically playing and flash pages and… well, you get my drift. You don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for a blog theme unless you really want to.

That’s all I have; share your thoughts below.

24 thoughts on “Do You Need A Pretty Blog To Be Successful?”

  1. The Salmon plate looks much more appealing than your “tuna mix”. I like simple sites be it static or wordpress. You can have a pretty car but will it take you where you need to get to? It’s the content of any site that will impress most visitors. Yours is good that is why I will be coming back.

  2. Hi Mitch, I would agree with you. It’s like judging a book by it’s cover when the content is much more important. I pretty site helps to keep me on a site longer looking at it but if the content is not worthy I would not return again. It also depends on one engages me their blog via comments 🙂
    I have to read your previous post I missed. Had a very busy week.

    1. Thanks Lisa, and I hope the second post intrigued you a bit. You know, I had all kinds of problems marketing my first book because I had a horrible title. Then I printed my own book and to keep costs down it’s a very plain cover. Yet people who have read it have said nice things about it, which works for me. It may not be pretty, but it’s mine.

  3. They say a person should judge a book by it’s cover but people do which is why they try to make the cover appealing, to grab peoples attention.

    In regards to food, they say that it’s appearance needs to be appealing because people eat with their eyes first. Look at how much effort they put into the appearance of food when presenting it on those master chef programs.

    Sure a pretty blog doesn’t make it successful but I reckon it may hold a readers attention that much longer than an ugly one, perhaps long enough for them to realise it actually does offer some good content.

    1. Maybe, maybe not Sire. I think an ugly website will definitely drive people away but I’m not sure a plain one will if the content is solid. I look at my theme and ask “is this so abhorrent that no one will even look at my content?” No, I don’t think so. Free theme I added 5 years ago that I’ve made a few modifications to and I’m fine with it, and visitors seem fine with it. True, I can code and I’m not afraid to dig into the innards, which I have, but on the whole I doubt almost anyone stops by and says “hey, that doesn’t look like a professional theme that cost hundreds of dollars, I’m not even going to see what he’s writing about.” If I’m wrong… well, guess I’ll never really know will I? lol

      1. The thing is you did alter the code and made it your own. Not everyone can do that and are stuck with a generic looking theme.

        That’s why I changed to my theme. As you know I have many blogs and although they all use the same theme each one is different and has it’s own qualities.

  4. I too feel, that you should create a blog which looks professional. By professional I mean good color combination of theme background, font colors etc. Overall if your blog theme looks simple and easy to navigate, you are good to use it.

    1. Aasma, are you saying that you would never read a blog that you didn’t think looked professional based on your standards? I wouldn’t read a blog that hurt my eyes with the print and background but otherwise it wouldn’t make much of a difference to me.

      1. No Mitch,

        My point is I won’t read a blog which hurts your eyes because of poor color combination and background. What I was meant with professional, blog should be simple and have clean look.

  5. You are absolutely correct Mitch, look of a blog is of secondary importance. I won’t deny the fact that look does matter too but like you said content is what draws readers and not the look. If a simple looking blog has awesome content, obviously it will be visited whereas a good looking blog with poor content might not get repeated visits. Thanks for sharing Mitch.

    1. It’s what I do Steve. The overall point I’m making is that no one should feel immediately obligated to spend hundreds of dollars for an expensive theme before they’ve started writing anything. If you’re looking to make a lot of money off your blog that’s one thing. If you’re just starting out and want to see what kind of writer you are, don’t waste the money because that’s just what it would be doing.

  6. Hello Mitch, i like your comparison. It’s a fact that the information you present keep the people on your blog. It’s true that how you present this info matters but it’s not the deciding factor when it comes to establishing connection with the visitors.
    I know some really really bad looking blogs which gets up to 1 thousand visitors per day with only 1-2 good articles daily.

    Btw.. i don’t that much fish .. tuna has a distinctive ugly smell, i like better Carp.

    1. Radu, I’ve never seen carp thus I’ve never eaten it; I don’t think it’s a major request in the states. lol And being able to read one’s articles comes first, followed by the articles themselves and finally how it looks. I think for the most part people are creating blogs that are easy to read and that’s fine on its own.

      1. To continue our discussion, carp is a fresh water fish. We have plenty around here (Romania, Europe) and it doesn’t have small fish bones which is a plus (at least for me). Oh, and it’s sweet :))

  7. I have just presently switched from blogging on to WordPress. I am learning so much. I have also noticed that some of the most viewed blogs are very basic, very simple. I as a woman, loving color and pictures, have to remind myself that simple is better! It don’t have ta be purdy to be effective!

    1. Hi Pamela; welcome. They don’t have to be pretty but if you decide you want pretty then go for it. I’ve seen some blogs lately where people are sharing their pictures and talking about them and many of those pictures are wonderful. Did you find a free theme or are you using the default from WordPress?

  8. I’ve came pretty close to giving up on themes and graphics and going with just text. I get pretty close to that point every now and then. I agree that an ugly or “loud” blog will drive people away but a plain one might allow the title to grab one’s attention rather than the pretty stuff in the header and sidebar. In other words, it might be sending to “right” people away and keeping those actually interested in the content. Of course, that would be about the slowest way possible to build a readership.

    1. Brian, I have to admit that I’ve never thought all that much about themes and such. The only considerations I’ve ever had was 3 columns and, based on my mood at the time, color. Three of my blogs use the same theme but they all look different. This one and my Syracuse blog are different, and I customized both to fit what I wanted to have. Every once in awhile I wonder if I offer too many options on the sidebars, and I have no idea if anyone uses them but me, but because I use them every once in awhile I keep them.

  9. Please tell me you add more to your tuna then just mayo Mitch! I add boiled eggs, onions and pickles to mine and boy is it good. Oh and it’s one of my favorites too so I’m sure there are plenty of people who get it at the grocery store which is why it would rate much higher.

    Okay, I know this post isn’t about your tuna so I would agree. If I land on an ugly blog I’m not going to leave until I’ve had a chance to read their content. Now if I get started and it can’t keep my attention I’m outta there. I won’t run because the blog is ugly but if it does have all those flashing boxes and stuff that give me a headache they do make it much harder for me to concentrate on what I’m reading so that stuff does hurt them in my opinion.

    For the most part though, I’m there for the content and not the look. Thank goodness for that right because there are some ugly blogs out there. lol…

    Hey, have an awesome weekend my friend. Enjoy your tuna!


    1. Why Adrienne, I don’t even use mayonnaise! lol I use Miracle Whip along with sweet relish & Equal (instead of sugar, which Mom used). I don’t have time for all that other stuff; when I want tuna, I want it now! lol

      Yes, the main thing about this post was that if a blog is readable the theme isn’t as important. I just kind of rail against talk where some “experts” tell people they can’t do anything online without an expensively laid out theme. It’s not close to true and I figure some folks have to know the truth about that.

  10. There area few sites that I avoid as they are an assault on the eyes, though you are right there are a few that despite this I will go to as the content is appealing.
    (I am not a tuna fan)

    1. Sharon, by the way welcome! lol If a site is hard to visualize I just won’t deal with it, but I’m also one of those people who won’t deal with lots of popups either. And I’m much rather be reading any blog not using a commenting system that I can’t easily leave comments on.

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