Sometimes you get so caught up in certain aspects of running a blog that you forget the painfully obvious fact: creating and connecting are keys to building online success but the image you convey can make or break your campaign.

I have found many rocking bloggers who seem to be doing the right thing. Maybe they comment effectively on my blog and tweet my post to form the basis of a strong friendship. Awesome. But a quick visit to their blog reveals a free blogging platform, free theme, and a jambalaya of ads cluttered throughout their site.

I don’t comment on such sites. I cannot share such sites with my followers. I would love to give the blogger a shout out but cannot do so because…..window dressing counts.

Watch this video as I delve into this concept and how it affects your blog.

Window Dressing Counts

The image you emit to potential readers either influences people to stick around or to head for the hills.

In the examples above I explain how bloggers doing the right thing helping-wise are hurting themselves in the presentation department. You can be a clear, confident writer and generous in promoting other bloggers but you will disqualify yourself quickly if readers see your blog design as being unprofessional.

Using a free blogging platform or free theme sends the wrong message to potential readers. People will wonder why you can’t afford 10 dollars a month to buy a domain and hosting. Or they may wonder why you won’t spend 100 bucks for a clean premium theme. Potential readers will look at your free domain name – cluttered with the name of the hosting site – and wonder why you didn’t pay 15 bucks to buy your own domain name.

After ruminating on such matters, almost all of these folks will exit your blog because they will believe you aren’t a serious blogger. Even if you create helpful posts and promote other bloggers freely.

The Solution

The way to get around poor window dressing is to buy your domain and hosting along with a premium theme. Or hire a developer to create a custom theme for your blog. Making a positive first impression does wonders for your blog and brand. New visitors impressed with your blog design gladly sign up for your email list. Some people will become loyal readers from the first time they visit your blog.

More than anything, your blog gets the attention it deserves when you place a strong emphasis on adopting a clear, clean design on your blog in addition to buying your domain and hosting.

Professional bloggers emit a professional vibe through a professional design.

Even if you aren’t a pro blogger yet you can send out a pro vibe by treating your blog in a professional manner.

You need to create. You need to connect. You need to become a student of blogging. All are important aspects of building a successful blog but without a professional looking design you send potential readers heading for the hills before they can appreciate your insights, your knowledge and your generosity.

I think of all the folks I want to connect with through my blog. I love their comments. I appreciate their generosity. I want to return the kind act but I cannot do so because I instantly see these bloggers are not fully committed to being professional, full-time bloggers. When they clear the fear around spending money, they will have paid their dues to move up in blogging circles and to gain the trust of an ever-expanding audience.

Your Turn

Are you big on window dressing?

How are you conveying a professional looking image through your blog?