“A young designer is beaten over the head with typefaces, grids, and rules—and rightfully so—but typography can act as a smoke-screen. There is so much to learn about the letters that it’s easy to forget about the words. Once a designer has the typographic skills in their pocket, anyone with their head on straight realizes ugly words in beautiful typefaces are still pretty dumb.”
This is just as useful a lesson for us writers as it is for designers. You're better off getting the words right than fiddling with the blog design—believe me, I know.
You want to know which site consistently delights me, one that I go back and read time and time again despite its ancient design? Maciej Cegłowski's blog, Idle Words. You know, the guy behind Pinboard. The man is such a fantastic storyteller that I'm always, always helplessly drawn in by his words. It doesn't matter that the site is ugly as sin.
Start with his Argentina on Two Steaks a Day piece and you'll see what I mean.