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Liquid Width or Static Width Blog Design?

Graywolf has started a worthwhile series titled Maximizing Profits With Website Design and Layout which I’ll be following closely. The first in the series tackles the eternal debate of web designers over wether liquid width or static width designs are better.

This is a question I have pondered over the past few months also as I’ve considered new blogs. To this point I’ve mostly gone with static width blogs (with a couple of exceptions) but what do you prefer and why?

Blog Spring Clean Checklist

Last week I did a spring clean of my office (although it is Summer here). It’s amazing how many bits and pieces one can accumulate over time and how they pile up to become an accumulative mess.

Blogs can also become messy over time in a similar way. Most obviously this happens when bloggers keep adding new features, buttons and widgets to their sidebars (I was on one blog yesterday that had more buttons than it had content). But the accumulation of mess can easily happen behind the scenes in the code of your blog also.

Rachel has just posted a Blog cleanup checklist that might be helpful in getting the code of your blog cleaned up. To be honest it’s something I constantly have struggled with as I’m not really wired in a technical way – but it is important every now and again to dig into.

The only thing I’d add to Rachel’s list is a section on cleaning up the front end of your blog. Perhaps something like:

11. Take a critical look at the information in your menus and sidebars. What is essential and what is just clutter?

and/or

12. Delete 50% (minimum) of the buttons in your side bar.

Finding Cheap and Free Stock Photos for your Blog

If you’re looking for good cheap (and/or free) stock photos for your blog there is a helpful list over at Presentation Zen titled Where can you find good images?

found via LifeHacker

Net Users Take 1/20th of a Second to Judge your Blog’s Design

Martin just emailed me a link to an article that is sure to depress some bloggers. It talks about how internet users only take one twentieth of a second to decide whether they like the look of a website.

‘Dr Gitte Lindgaard and colleagues from Carleton University in Ottawa flashed up websites for 50 milliseconds and asked participants to rate them for visual appeal.

When they repeated the exercise after a longer viewing period, the participants’ ratings were consistent.

“Visual appeal can be assessed within 50 milliseconds, suggesting that web designers have about 50 milliseconds to make a good impression,” the Canadians report in the journal Behaviour & Information Technology.’

How do they decide what they like and don’t like? Well the article doesn’t go into great detail except to say:

‘She says the appeal of a website is usually tied to colour, movement and interactivity, with the way the information is structured coming second.’

I’ve written about the quickness the average blog visitors stays on blogs before but one twentieth of a second is pretty full on! All the more reason to work on blog design and think about what message your blog is communicating in the first few seconds of a visit.

Four easy steps to add your own Del.icio.us link in Typepad

This post was submitted by Vic Correro from Writesville.com.

I have to give credit where credit is due. I first saw Darren’s use of the ‘Add this post to del.icio.us link a while back and decided that I would like to do the same to Writesville.com. I think this is an excellent idea, as del.icio.us is a wonderful resource. Also, Nick Wilson over at Performancing.com gave the additional push I needed to include this feature through his post and free PDF about del.icio.us.

For those of you who are familiar with Typepad, or are using it, the following information will require a tad bit of knowledge with Typepad’s advanced template structure. If you want more information on this, see: Advanced Template Sets and Template Tags. Understanding of HTML will also be helpful here.

Now, before I continue. I do want to mention that this is the way that I accomplished the task. As the saying goes: ‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat’.

So, let’s get back to the topic. If you want to create your own del.icio.us link embedded somewhere in your post, you will need to do the following:
[Read more...]

How to Decide How Many Columns are Best for your Blog

‘How Many Columns is it best to have on a blog?’

Now there’s a question that must be in the top 10 that I got asked in 2005. It’s one of the biggest dilemmas that bloggers tackle when putting together a blog.

There are of course no right or wrong answers to the question. I’ve seen wonderful two, three (and even one and four) column blogs that have met the goals of the blogger. Really it’s a question that needs to be asked on a blog by blog basis.

Warning, Tangent Ahead:

WardrobeAs I sit here pondering this question my mind goes back a couple of months to the day when we had a sales person come to our home to give us a quote on wardrobes. V and I had in our minds what we wanted in terms of design – we’d even drawn lovely pictures and diagrams to make her job easier!

But our wardrobe consultant (she was much more than a sales person as it turned out) had other ideas. She didn’t want to look at our designs – she wanted to look at our clothes. She spend the first half of our consultation purely measuring the space our clothes took up in our current wardrobes. It wasn’t until she had a good picture of this that she started to build a design. The design that emerged was, as a result, much more functional than the ideas we’d had previously. Once she had the basics in the design she asked to look at our ideas and was able to incorporate a few of the more cosmetic ideas we’d had.

Rather than starting with design elements she started with questions of function.

While we had all kinds of cool ideas for how we wanted our wardrobes to look, we’d forgotten that wardrobes existed for another purpose – to keep clothes in.

Sometimes I wonder if bloggers could learn a thing or two from this way of thinking when it comes to blog design. [Read more...]

Blog Design Satisfaction

The Following post was submitted by Dave from PSP Culture

What are you trying to achieve with the design of your blog?

  1. Income from Advertising Streams
  2. Reader Loyalty
  3. Personal Satisfaction

For a while I believed all three points above were mutually exclusive. That is, pursuing any one of the above points automatically ruled out the other two.

With simple planning before you create your final blog design, there is no reason why you cannot ensure a good revenue level from advertising whilst maintaining reader loyalty, and most importantly, gaining personal satisfaction from your blog.

You may consider personal satisfaction a non-essential element of your blog, that in the long run it doesn’t matter and will have no impact on your income level or reader loyalty. In actual fact, the inverse is true – if you have no desire to work on your blog because you find it a drain, and it gives you no pleasure, it will never yield a reasonable level of income, and your visitors will show you the same level of respect and interest as you have shown your blog. [Read more...]

7 Blog Design Trends for 2006

Rachel over at cre8d design (with a new design on her own blog) outlines seven Blog Design Trends for 2006. She gives examples of each (and in the process points out some of the most beautifully designed blogs going around). The 7 trends Rachel outlines are:

  1. Big fonts
  2. Top border
  3. Big headers/footers
  4. Bright colours
  5. Speech bubble comments
  6. Rounded corners
  7. Highlighted links

Finding Photos for Your Blog

My name is Allan Barizo and I write for The Information Bank and the freeware review.

A picture may be worth a thousand words but nobody wants to pay a thousand dollars for rights to use it in their blog. Why pay money to put someone’s photos in an article? We’ve read from Arieanna Foley and Darren about the importance of incorporating pictures in blogs.

  1. Readers speed-read; images grab their attention
  2. Pictures illustrate points
  3. Photos make blogs look aesthetically pleasing (when used correctly)
  4. Images convey credibility


So, where to find cheap photography to illustrate articles? How about FREE stock photography? Enter the Stock.XCHNG. And no, I’m not talking about Wall Street.

The Stock.XHNG is a site for amateur photographers and visitors to share and comment on each otherís stock photography. Everything listed is pre-filtered by the owners of the website for inappropriate, low-resolution, or low-quality images. All of the pictures are gratis. Though free, some need permission from the original photographer in order to use them. I usually frequent the Stock.XCHNG for my web design projects. But, they can be used for anything, including blog posts.

So, visit the Stock.XHNG and include pictures with your articles. Remember, even though a picture is worth a thousand words, it does not have to cost a penny!