The recognition of your brand online is connected extremely closely to your site design. In fact I’d go as far as to say that your brand is your design. It’s never been more important to look good, in order to attract customers / visitors. The bar has been set high – look at the site designs of Fortune 500, and you’ll have a fair idea of how important looking good is.
Every single one of us should be striving for something better, something that reinforces our brand values, and ultimately something that we are proud of. First impressions are everything – they will also make or break you online.
There’s a psychological phenomenon known as Social Proof which can help you understand how visitors behave. If you get links from numerous high profile CSS galleries – indicating that your site is good. People will browse for longer. If your website / forum appears to be active, and filled with other visitors the same is true. They are much more likely to become contributors to your site. See (building a community). If people on Twitter recommend your products, word of mouth marketing is extremely powerful.
So stand back, and try and picture how other’s see you. What are you doing with your site to prove it’s worth? Are you showcasing popular posts? Are you displaying stats? All these things provide social proof, and ultimately give your site authority.