Of course, I look at site design first. If the site doesn't look good, then that's an instant turn off. I won't click away automatically but at least it's one strike against that site.
If the email subscription box is the first thing I see when I click through, I won't stay long. After all, I don't know what that site owner offers of value to me and having it pushed into my face is for their benefit, not mine.
If I have time to see the content and read it first, then there's a better chance I will subscribe. After all, I know that I'm getting more of the type of content I see on their site, rather than 'mystery content' that has no relevance.
The aesthetic value is a huge deal to me; professional site/blog template (not just the default Wordpress template); complementary site colors are what I look for. Any garish colors catch my attention and leave a bad impression.
If that same site can't follow up with amazing content (whatever it is that was promised by the link I clicked on), then I have to leave.
Maybe that's just a pet peeve of mine, wishing that sites could live up to the promise of the link. For me, this is true, whether I'm clicking on a signature link; link on Facebook or something on Twitter. I want the site to look good and if it does, provide the information that I want.
If the site looks amateurish, then I know the site owner is likely fly by night. And, I'm not giving my money to someone like that. You can't build trust with a site visitor if you can't simply look professional.