I’ve never done speed dating, but I’ve seen it done often enough to understand how it works: you have two or three minutes to talk to another single before a bell rings and you both move on. You meet several people during the course of the event and write down the names of the people you like best so you can connect in the future.
Speed dating is all about making snap decisions about people and relying on your instincts. And believe it or not, that can lead to a lot of dating success. Judging people so quickly might seem harsh, but being forced to focus on what’s important to you can help you instantly identify people who really might be right for you. This certainly isn’t the dating scenario that’s best of everyone, but it has its advantages.
As a blogger, you’re going to be propelled into the same situation. Readers actually have a fairly long attention span if they like your content – but they make the choice about whether or not they like your content in just a few seconds. If you aren’t good at “speed dating,” they fairly quickly move on to the next blog.
So what can you do?
You don’t have the be the hottest person in the room to get a date, but you do have to care about your looks at least a little. Nobody wants to date a slob who hasn’t showered in weeks. If you put on a little lip gloss, you’ll make a much better first impression.
Online, the same is true: looks matter. Your design doesn’t have to be flashy and expensive, but it does have to be clean and pleasing to the eye. Give some thought to your design, especially anything “above the fold” (anything you can see without scrolling). If you aren’t a design maven, don’t worry. No matter what blog platform you use, there are plenty of free themes you can use out of the box and even more themes you can use if you’re willing to spend a little money. This list is a great place to start when looking for a WordPress theme, and you can find some great Blogger templates here.
There’s a great line in Disney’s Aladdin where the genie turns into a bumblebee to try to convince the title character to “beeeee” himself. Puns aside, it’s really good advice in most areas of life.
The fact of the matter is that people come to your blog because they like getting information from you. So let you shine through in every word you write. This does not mean you have to be super personal on your blog. Being objective, formal, and informational, is certainly a legitimate blogging style. But what is important is that you are consistent and every sentence reflects the style. You want readers to understand what your blog is about as soon as they start reading. If you try to be too general and appeal to everyone, you’ll only be boring, which is a good way to ensure you never get that “second date.”
You will lose some readers this way. Not everyone is going to like you. That’s okay, though. As long as you are yourself from the start, you will attract your people, the people who really are going to connect with the things you write. These are the people who will really become fans.
Treat Every Post as the Most Important One You’ve Ever Written
When you have just a short time to spend with someone while speed dating, every word you say is being judged. If you’re boring or talking about topics that don’t interest me, I’m probably not going to want that second date. Likewise, on your blog, new readers are not going to tolerate boring or uninteresting posts.
We all have bad blogging days, and we’ve all written posts that are kind of “meh.” It happens. But keep in mind that every post you write could be the very first post someone reads on your blog. If a post doesn’t represent your blog well, don’t publish it.
The Second Date
Remember, just because there’s a second date doesn’t mean there will be a third. Ultimately, you want your readers to “marry” you – subscribe to your blog and become loyal fans, not just semi-regular readers. So focus on long-term design, consistency, and post quality if you want readers to put a ring on your finger.