Does design matter in the early stages of blogging? Of course it does! I wrote a post awhile back about it, but again I say design matters.
True, some blogs have become successful with bad designs, but so what? Have you noticed that the top blogs on Technorati have good designs? Take a look at the WayBack Machine. Enter a site like, oh…how about EnGadget? Take a look at the Wayback results. They’ve never had a truly bad design have they? They made sure that it looked okay. While you don’t need a really smashing design like Ars Technica, you need something passable.
Take a look at the post I wrote on my more personal blog.