Prior to the domain 5NorthMarketing.com changing ownership in 2017, a wonderfully informative marketing blog lived at this address. Below is one of the archived articles from back then. Please note that the content below is not property of the current owners of 5NorthMarketing.com but, we believe, contains wonderfully written and insightful information worth sharing.

How to Create Positive First Time Blog Impressions

Posted on January 1, 2013

How many different websites have you visited in your liftetime? A lot.

But the key question is this: how often do you go back to a website you previously visited? Not a lot.

Every time you land on a site or blog you have never visited before, your brain naturally processes a series of tests about whether you should come back or not. The topic of those tests is called first time impressions.

For instance, after you visit a new site, the answer to the test may be, "I'm never going to visit
this site again. Not ever." It happens all the time.

Having said that, the opposite of rejecting is accepting. So what happens if our brains
naturally pass those tests and accept a new site? That means the site exceeds your average rules of expectations. If you said it's ok, or pretty good, it's probably not good enough. But if it really stands out in your mind, you'll probably come back.

This is one of the most important factors in growing a popular blog that attracts new
readers -- you need to create positive first time impressions.

Why are first time impressions so important?

  1. It increases traffic -- It causes new visitors to come back and eventually to become loyal readers.
  2. It boosts reputation -- It gives readers a positive image of your brand.

Let's talk about the first reason: traffic.

Traffic is always important because without it, no matter how talented you are in a field or how great your work is, if no one knows about you, i.e. if you don't have any traffic, there is no blog.

Let's say, for example, that you've recently promoted your blog by leaving a comment or
by writing a guest post for a popular blog. The result is that people click on your link and come
to your site, a site that they have never been to before. Of course, some will leave and never return, but some are going to come back read again later.

What triggers people's brains so that they remember your site and come back? That's what's called the first time impression test.

So how do you pass this test?

1. Write posts that get bookmarked

Do you ever bookmark a page or try to remember a site's URL so you can come back
later? If so, why?

The answer is that you found a post or site that was full of valuable advice and exclusive content. You physically or mentally bookmarked the site so that you can come back to read more posts.

As you can see, writing quality content that makes people come back is really important.

The key to writing posts that get bookmarked comes down to three important factors: exclusivity, value, and length.

Exclusivity means the post is unique. It's not a carbon copy of someone else's post. It's not the same old rant about a familiar topic.

Value is about having information that is useful. It's about providing some tip or inside information that is beneficial to the reader.

But why length? Does length really matter? Yes, it does.

Length makes sure your posts provide too much information. By displaying more information than readers can consume in one sitting, people will want to remember the advice, but since they can't in one go, they bookmark it and reference it in the future.

This may be a post that provides an insane amount of information, such as a post on "101 Ways to Use Twitter to Make More Money." There's no way people can keep up with all 101 ways, so the post has to be bookmarked.

Length can also be in the form of a series of posts. By writing a series of high quality posts, readers will need to come back more than once to finish the content. This is called cornerstone content, and it's a great way to get readers to come back after landing on your site for the first time.

2. Getting personal: the About page

Did you know that most successful sales have a common trait? They come from being personal.

Customers like to buy from people they know and trust. This is why your blog needs to get personal. Based on a blog's design or domain name, the average reader has no idea who the author of the blog is. This is why you need to introduce yourself, and this introduction takes place on the About page.

But back to sales. Why do you think being personal with customers works? Does being more relatable personally to customers lead to more sales? Yes.

Being personal makes customers feel like they know the salesperson (or blogger) better. When they feel like they know the salesperson better, there's more trust. And if there's more trust, there's a better chance the sale will take place.

The moral of the story is this: by introducing themselves to readers, bloggers will gain more trust and more sales. How is this accomplished? By writing an interesting About page.

3. Having better-than-just-good design

Your blog's design is important as the clothes you wear to a business meeting because that's what visitors see before they click further into your site (the same as that's what business people see before they decide to work with someone). The first impression may not be how many popular blogs you've written for. Instead, it's probably how appealing your blog design is.

With this in mind, consider a paid theme. They're totally worth the small price tag that most sites charge. This may end up being the best investment you make in your blog.

If you need help picking out a premium theme, Studiopress and Woothemes offer some great ones. You can't go wrong with either one. For photographers who are looking for a WordPress site, Photocrati has a great looking photography theme.

Using a paid theme is a great start, but it isn't always the best end result. After picking one out, you may need to make some tweaks to customize it exactly the way you'd like it to be. Luckily, you're in the right place. Blog Tweaks will professionally install and tweak paid themes at a very affordable price. If you want your site to look exactly the way you want it to, get your theme tweaked today.

4. An important question: what is there to do on your blog?

This goes back to the most important question of all, what is a blog for?

A blog is for reading, but in order to read, there must be links for visitors to click on. You give options to get actions. Without options, what will people do after reading the first post? They'll leave.

The solution to this problem is to install the following WordPress plug-ins:

1. Ranged Popular Posts Widget: Install this widget on your sidebar in a place where readers can see it with ease, preferably above the fold (this is everything that can be seen in the browser without scrolling down). This comes to a saying for blogging: "You always want to show off your best work." It's important to immediately show your readers why it is worth their time to follow you and your blog.
2. Clean Archives Reloaded: Install this plugin, and then create a page called "Archives." Then all you have to do is paste "[cleanarchivesreloaded]" onto the page and publish it (without the quotes, of course). Before doing this, make sure to configure the settings for Clean Archives Reloaded.

Action Summary

Here are the four keys to creating positive first time blog impressions:

  1. Write long, exclusive and valuable posts that get bookmarked.
  2. Get personal with your readers by introducing yourself on your About page.
  3. Consider a paid them (and consider getting it customized by Blog Tweaks).
  4. For WordPress bloggers, install "Ranged Popular Posts" widget and "Clean Archives Reloaded."

That's it for now, let me know your thoughts. How do you create successful first time
impressions? (As mentioned before, this is my first guest post ever so I'd really like to hear from every reader.)

p.s. Here's a bonus tip: Write high quality posts and interlink them so you get readers to stay on your blog for a longer time. (To write high quality posts that will keep readers engaged, don't miss this article about how to write significantly better blog posts.)

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