Does Weblog Design Matter Much?
By offering state-of-the-art html output, quality designs, and syndication, these [blog tools] offer more technological sophistication than the average user would ever have the patience to develop on their own.
I don't buy it.
Yes, some tools tend to give you ugly pages, or bad syndication, or obscure permalinks. But, seriously. has any weblog, anywhere, ever looked worse than Drudge? In fact, few of the top-traffic blogs are special to look at.
And, almost by definition, a really well-designed weblog is way back in the tail. The tail is where magic can happen, it's the place where you find everything that isn't commonplace, the place where you can make a statement with a new look.