A first impression when it comes to your blog, means;
- the reader will stay and not move on
- the reader will read through the front page
- the reader will return
- the reader will help you get more readers by telling others about your blog.
What matters to visitors?
1. Load Time - wow, I can't tell you how many times I've moved on because a page has been too slow to load. Attention spans on the internet are short. The cure- limit the sizes of the images on your site and the number of linked items that need to load.
2. Logo/Branding –I know I've said it before. Having a great logo in your header is a grabber.
3. Layout - Should be clean with plenty of white space. Too much stuff makes for chaos and the result is move-on to the next site syndrome.
4. Advertisements - Use in moderation! Nothing can cheapen a site more than too many ads and especially the ones that overtake your ability to find the intended information that you are there for. If your goal is to make money through clicks, if you are obvious about it, you probably won't make much money.
5. Your Reputation/Who you know – This is not a popularity contest. However, having a few blogs in your blogroll or an achievement can lend to your credibility. It tells people that you have been around for a while and that you know what you're talking about. Again, restrain from going nuts here as it will cheapen your site.
6. Organization/ Ease of Navigation – This is where labels and links to labels come in.
7. What is your blog about and is it obvious? If you are writing a cooking blog, keep aunt Millie's cute dog out of it. Start a new blog if you want to blog about another topic.
8. Be Politically Correct. Seriously don't diss, slander, or hate. It's ugly and a huge turn-off. If you must point out something negative about an organization or business, don't do it in an opinionated way. Show the facts.
9. Popups and Pop-unders. Probably the most annoying thing on the internet. They are sort of like a red flag telling people to never return.
10. Video and Audio. Together they are too mcuh. Alone, use them with controls so if people want to listen or see they can.