As a blogger or small business owner, one of your biggest goals with your blog is to attract new readers. You have some traffic already, but you want more, right? You need more. So you create awesome content that your readers will love – content that answers their questions, solves their problems and even keeps them entertained. You put it out there on your blog, and you buy some traffic with Google ads to get people to come see your content. They come, they take one look at your website – and they vanish without a trace.

What’s wrong with them? Your content is exactly what they’re looking for, yet they aren’t even taking the time to read it! How frustrating!

Well, it turns out that there’s more to a successful blog than just great content. Before you can expect anyone to even read that content, you’ve got to show them that you’re a pro. Before you can wow them with your content, you’ve got to wow them with your blog design.

Here are three reasons that your blog’s appearance can be just as important as your content itself.

1. Great Blog Design Gets Visitors’ Attention

Your blog’s visual design really is just as important as your content itself, particularly if you don’t already have a popular blog. Some well-known bloggers and brands can get away with poor design because they already have a strong following. People are familiar with their content, so they’re going to read it anyway. But if you’re trying to get new readers – those who aren’t already familiar with your brand – then you need something more. That’s where your blog design supports your content.

Its primary purpose is to present your content in a way that it grabs people’s attention and draws them in so that they’ll give your content a chance. This keeps new visitors on the page long enough to see what you’re all about. Good design reduces bounce rate, increases the amount of time readers spend on your site and makes it more likely that they’ll click through your internal links to go digging deeper into your site.

2. Solid Graphic Design Helps Readers Understand Your Content

Most bloggers and web content producers today understand the importance of properly formatting their content by breaking up walls of text with bullet points, small paragraphs and images where appropriate. This formatting enables readers to scan the content and understand what it’s about more easily than would be possible without these breaks. Formatting your textual content in this way helps readers understand your content because it engages them on a visual level. Your design layouts can have a similar impact on reader comprehension, making your content easier for the average reader to digest.

But you don’t have to be a professional graphic designer in order to design a cool website. Any blogger can create amazing layouts using apps called website builders. There are several popular website builders out there – such as Wix, Weebly and SquareSpace – that make it extremely easy to create a professional blog with beautiful graphics and intuitive layouts. You could literally create a new blog or redesign your current one in a matter of minutes using premade templates and drag-and-drop design options.

3. Strong Visual Design Reinforces Your Brand

The Internet is changing at a rapid pace, with web surfers becoming more sophisticated than ever before. Your blog readers expect a professional blog to showcase amazing content with professional design. If new readers come to your blog and see clunky graphics, walls of tiny text and boring design elements, they’ll be less likely to take you seriously. They might even click away without reading a single sentence.

Poor design makes your blog look unprofessional and outdated, and you can’t afford to let that be your first impression on a new visitor. Your brand will suffer, your readers will find your layouts confusing, your reputation will take a hit and your content will go unread if your blog design fails to make a good impression the instant someone lands on your site.