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Last updated in July 2017.
This article was first written approximately a month after this website was designed and first went live in October 2014.
After using WordPress and blogging for nearly 3 years now, I still believe strongly in this subtle but important message for bloggers and writers. It is one out of 10 major distractions for bloggers.
If you are the designer and developer of your own blog (or website), I have a an important lesson-learnt to share with you today.
Something I have personally experienced while creating and managing this website and have a first hand knowledge about. I started as a newbie in the world of blogging and WordPress nearly 3 years ago and have learnt my way through the ups and downs of this demanding marathon – blogging.
As a new blogger who is passionate about your web identity, it is very easy to get obsessed with the design details of your website. At the end of the day, we all want our blog or website to be as beautiful and as perfect as possible.
I was the same.
Extra cautious and extra worried about the “pixel-perfect” image of my WordPress blog.
Add to it, zero past experience and knowledge of web-design, coding and programming.
The result was that I spent a significant amount of time tweaking and rectifying minor and subtle details during my blog design phase. And I still do it if I am not careful or discourage myself to do it.
It is a mistake.
I call it a “perfectionist-approach”.
Read this article if you are in a similar situation or share it with someone who is in a similar situation as me. Hopefully this article will inspire new bloggers to take the advice and save some time for bigger fishes to fry.
Perfectionism is plain wrong.
Nothing is perfect in this world.
If you are in any doubt, read the following two quotes. It is a myth that convinces the people that by achieving perfectionism, their image will be presented in an ideal way to the world. A human and natural desire of every one of us – hence we tend to go for it.
“At its root, perfectionism isn’t really about a deep love of being meticulous. It’s about fear. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of disappointing others. Fear of failure. Fear of success. (Michael Law)”
So when I was trying to get every single pixel of my blog perfect, I was not proving myself as someone who cares about the detail and logic. Instead, my fear of failure and making a mistake was keeping me confused and in a vicious circle of iterations, revisions and obsessiveness.
“Healthy striving is self-focused: How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused: What will they think? Perfectionism is a hustle. (Brené Brown)”
So to conclude, when we try to be perfectionist, we are not proving anything about ourselves, we are always trying to hide and defend our fears of mistake and failure.
A fear which we impose on ourselves without any external pressure.
Break this fear. Nothing needs to be perfect. Just try your best.
It is absolutely fine if you are trying to make your website design look good and attractive.
In fact to compete in today’s competitive and saturated market, your design has to be excellent and above average. By all means try to achieve this. This will only give you a head-start as compared to many others who are casual about the design of their blogs and sites.
There are certain requirements for an excellent and compelling blog design.
Here is a good article on QuickSprout which explains the essential features of a quality blog you should be thinking about. Once the primary requirements are fulfilled and main boxes are ticked, the second stage starts where you start fine-tuning and refining the design so it looks polished and a finished-article.
A certain level of detailing, revisions and tweaks are required to make the things look good.
So if you are spending some time on the following few example scenarios, this is what I call it as “healthy detailing”. This is not a full list by any means, just a few examples to give you an idea.
- Researching the fonts and right sizes to be used for your blog and different combinations for headings and body text.
- Finding out about the right colour scheme to match your brand requirements.
- Comparing and choosing different site layouts and comparing widgets, menus and sidebars etc.
- Trying to use an imaging editor to make your blog images look more consistent and branded.
- Making sure that all your plugins and external components are fitting and displaying well in the overall theme and layout of your blog.
So where does the unhealthy perfectionism start?
It starts when we bog down into small, minute and insignificant details.
This is where we tend to spend most of our energies and time in that final 10% of the tasks (in our mind) which are normally of cosmetic nature only.
This is where we start wasting our time which can be used for various other productive tasks related to our blog and website. If you are spending too much time on something similar, come out of this circle. This is an unhealthy perfectionism approach.
“Good enough is good enough. Perfect will make you a big fat mess every time. (Rebecca Wells)”
I was the same, spending hours and hours on something as small as a minor CSS customisation to change a font or line height for a petty little footer heading at the bottom of the page.
Let me remind you again that most of us are not web-developers and proficient in coding etc. to make these changes swiftly and easily.
For me it was a learning curve and an uphill task to understand and implement these customisation changes. It took me hours and hours to implement these tweaks, which now I think, was a waste of time (I will explain you why in the next section).
I know you must have heard this many times. Let me repeat it again.
“Content is King”.
I completed my website design in 3 months exactly.
From inception of my vision to opening of the blog for public, it took me 3 months. And then hours and hours of design changes, tweaks and customisations. I feel that I over-spent my efforts and energies on the design bit and ignored the basics which was a wrong approach (content, email list and marketing etc.).
There is always a time in blogger’s carrier that he/she realises the fact that content is the most important part of any type of blogging. This is the part that deserves the most time and effort. And then once, it is there, the marketing part kicks in.
It is all about content + marketing at the end of the day.
I agree that without a good and attractive design, your content loses its value to some extent and it is difficult to convince people to make a good impression about your brand, personality and the content itself. Use as much of healthy-detailing as you can to achieve this goal but never let it convert into an unhealthy perfectionism-approach.
It will waste your time and will not give you the results you are looking for.
People come to your blog to see the content and the value you are offering through your write-ups.
As long as your blog or website offers good, clean layout with readable text and searchable information, they will stay, read and analyse the information you have provided.
Follow the 80/20 rule as explained by Tom Kenny in this article here.
No one is worried about that little font at the footer which you spent hours to customise it from 18px size to 17px size.
I hope you understand what I want to explain here.
Yes you read it right.
It will stop you from achieving your main goal.
It will complicate the things for you and you will find yourself in a vicious circle. It will put you behind on releasing your website/blog to public and writing your blog posts and articles. It will push everything back in a hope of that “perfect moment” which never comes.
Come out of it and start paying attention to your main goal and purpose – blogging.
You have done enough with your design, it is good enough (most probably more than good enough). It is now time to start writing and producing content. Start other important tasks such as learning, reading, writing, marketing, SEO (search engine optimisation) and networking etc.
You will soon realise that the website design for bloggers is only a small element of the bigger picture.
There are bigger fishes to fry further ahead.
Have you been a victim of procrastination and perfectionism in blog design?
Do you think that unhealthy-perfectionism can be dangerous for new and enthusiastic bloggers?