Ten thousand years ago the editor of a college newspaper sat back and listened to a professor lecture a room full of students about how to market themselves to publications that were searching for writers. Since it was the ice age she didn’t talk about Photoshop, PowerPoint or any of the myriad tools that we now have access to.
Back then the tale she told was to be diligent in cutting our your clips so that they could be displayed in a professional manner. You wanted your portfolio to look beautiful because sometimes your potential employer would spend more time looking at it then reading the articles contained within.
I always thought that was ridiculous and stupid. Because if I was the one doing the hiring I would be more interested in the quality of their writing then how well they could package it. I was young, dumb and naive. At that time I really believed that the working world was filled with people who would go to work and do their jobs because that is what they got paid for.
It never occurred to me that all the political crap we went through during our school year would be there. It never occurred to me that group projects would still be difficult because the load wasn’t shared fairly across the board. But you live and learn and if you want to prosper here in cyberspace than maybe of those same lessons are applicable.
We could argue that your blog is your online resume, especially if you are someone who wants to earn a living as a writer and or use their blog to generate additional income. And if experience has taught me anything it is that though content may be king, you better have a user friendly blog.
User friendly meaning that it is not filled with crap that causes pages to freeze or is hard to read. User friendly meaning that it is easy to find your contact information, an “about you page” and a friendly commenting system.
There is nothing wrong with a commenting system that requires approval of all comments before they go live. However I would argue against using a registration system as those few extra steps often lead to the reader pointing and clicking their way to greener pastures.
So while I want to say that people shouldn’t judge your work on anything but substance the reality is that like it or not, presentation plays a role. It is part of why my blog irritates me- I don’t like the presentation. It is not the clean professional look I prefer, but I am working on it.
What do you think?