When a user visits your site the initial impact for them will be what your site looks like. The overall design is critical to get across what your concerns are. Plenty of blogs lack any creative design and they typically lose readers because of its lack of appearance. Though in stating that there have been sites I have stumbled upon that lack any creative appeal that are highly ranked on Alexa and have high level of subscribers. A blog that looks good can make your content look even better. A good design can make your blog look well cared of and professional. A good design can just be that extra step that helps you gain more subscribers.
For the first time web users I suggest getting a template or a theme to work with in the beginning. In your design you need to know what the sites goals are; if you are trying to create money from it by advertisements it would be highly suggested to create ad space. But putting ad space in can also harm the look and style of your site. The people who go to your site are they expecting an abstract design, a professional style look or are they looking for something dark and disturbing. Tailor the design of your blog to represent what you are trying to convey and also what your target market enjoys.
Here is a list of suggested pages and features you need for your site:
- Contact Us page
- About Us page
- Advertising page
- Subscription (on homepage and all posts)
- Newsletter Subscription
- A Blog Roll
- Recent/popular/most comment posts