Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Judgement Jumping or Why First Impressions Can Kill

Recently (as in, about two minutes ago), I came across another writer's blog. My first impressions were that it is amateurish, somewhat disorganized and she doesn't believe in things like proper punctuation and capitalization. She is published. From what I gather, her stories may be online only, but I didn't explore the blog long enough to find out. My issue is this: if someone's blog or website comes across as (more or less) a mess at first glance, what is supposed to entice me to stay or to read their books?

I jump to conclusions about these kinds of things pretty quickly. Most of us use a blog template (or can find one if we use an independent server), so putting together something that represents us as writers is not that difficult. So, I'm naturally put off when it seems someone doesn't put all that much effort into something simple. Yeah, it's great when they have all of their book covers and links on the side of the blog, but if there are long passages without paragraphs or simple words misspelled frequently, I wonder how much better that person's writing is. Getting one thing right doesn't erase what's wrong.

I don't know. I hope I don't give people bad impressions about me as a writer based on the types of links I have or the lack of fancy blog toys and large graphics. I may not spend a ton of time adding features to my blog (nor will I when I develop my website), but I think simple is good. Simple can be maintained. I don't do a lot of clutter because I like having just what's needed to get the point across. I want my blog's first impression to be that writing is my passion, but doesn't define everything I find interesting. I want people to feel they know my opinion on any given subject and don't feel too intimidated to comment. And I want to know that no one's first impression of me through my blog will turn them off my writing altogether. I suppose that remains to be seen.


Ciara said...

Ack, first comment was eaten when I submitted it. Let's see if I can remember what all I wrote...

I think you have a good point, definitely, about misspellings, grammatical errors (glaring ones at any rate), and lack of line breaks can be a huge turn off for any blog - not just a writer's!

I do tend to think of an author's site as a sample of what to expect in their books.

I tend to like functional sites that are easy to navigate but have a bit of pizazz. Do I always have that on mine? No... but I try to start simple before building up too much.

Some sites are too flashy which can intimidate commenters. Other sites are too cluttered or not very user friendly. They can definitely affect my opinion before I get a chance to really see what they have to offer... which is a shame.

Sara Winters said...

Thank you so much for responding. It is a shame when actions that are simple to fix (like lack of editing) can so easily turn off potential readers. Though I do strongly dislike bad spelling and grammar, my biggest pet peeve is autoplay music, especially when there's no option to turn it off.