I would have thought not. My belief was that if you site has been providing good content for a while and has regular readers, a slightly less usable presentation style or an ugly theme might let you get away with it for a while. I also believed that users are forgiving and will be willing to look overlook cosmetic design weaknesses when visiting a blog with powerful content. I was forced to think again.
I was dead wrong!!
Let me explain myself. I had switched the CSS of this site because of problems I had had with the CSS that I was using (which is back to where it was, mind you). The old CSS did not scale well and was not very pretty under Internet Explorer. Surprisingly, the number of hits fell considerably with that change. Not only did the number of uniques fall, the number of people willing to browse the site to find other entries and posts fell as well. I now have had the time to fix the CSS a little and it is back to where I like it. In accordance with my discoveries I have compiled a list of items I believe are important when choosing a design for your blog or site.
Mind you, I am not a standards Nazi but have slowly come to see the light. I believe in casual adherance to the standards and not a neo-fascist approach. I do not condone extremism in any shape or form (in web design at least).
That being said, the first golden rule of good web design is
Make sure you view your page from every browser possible, even Mac browsers.
I am sure there are many other useful resources out there. If you use any, please leave a comment for others. This is the first in a series of Golden Rules that I will try to put together on this blog, so stay tuned. Suggestions and comments welcomed.