Does size matter?

No, this isn’t a post involving a dirty subject, Darren has had all of us guest bloggers sign in blood that we will behave ourselves here at Problogger, but it is a serious question. Does size matter in terms of blog layout.

There is any number of different theories on this one, but its something else to think about whether you are starting a new blog or overhauling an existing blog.
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Browser compatibility of your blog

I’ve put up a different version of this post up at The Blog Herald, but knowing that Darren is a Mac user I wanted to share a slightly different version on the theme here at Problogger: professional bloggers are ignoring compatibility issues.

I know from experience that many of the better bloggers in this world are Mac users, and I do honestly envy you. If I had a couple of thousand spare dollars sitting in my account to buy a new computer I’d most likely go with a Mac. The unfortunate reality is, that whilst Weblog Empire is going well, it’s not producing similar figures yet to Darren’s Mac powered network. Mac’s cost more, and while I can still build a new PC from parts for around $500 AUD (a decent one at that) I’m not changing yet. I also know that the chances are that the majority of you reading this use a PC running Windows as I do. Whether Macs are better or not is irrelevant, as Probloggers we specialise in content delivery, not whether one OS is better than another.
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Blog Layout Continued – The Perfect Number of Columns?

Peter Flaschner has a great post on The Perfect Number of Columns which I think bounces off my post on Blog Layout (I say ‘I think’ because he doesn’t link to it – but was part of the discussion here in my post so I’ll take some credit! :-) ). He writes:

‘How many columns is the perfect number? I’ve seen passionate opinions voiced in favor of 1, 2, and 3 columns. People seem to have very definite opinions about which is best. I’m here to tell them they’re all wrong.

There is no perfect solution. The right number of columns is determined by two things: your site’s raison d’etre, and your audience. Asking “what’s the right number of columns” is like asking “what’s the best colour”. The answer in both cases is it depends.’

Peter then goes on to talk about some factors to consider when choosing your blog’s layout, in particular your own needs and those of your audience. It’s a great post if you’re thinking through blog design issues.

Less = More with Adsense

Scrivs gives and insightful update on his decluttered design approach to adsense – the results speak for themselves:

‘Ever since I made the changes to the design of many of my sites to the extra minimalist style I have seen my eCPM increase anywhere from 50%-100%. My CTR has increased over 100%-200%, but this also has to do with the fact that I added an inline ad on FG for extended entries.’

Blog Layout

Jim from Blog Kits shot me an email last week saying that he thought it would be interesting to do a post asking readers what their favorite blog layout was.


What is your favorite blog layout?

Do you prefer 2 columns, 3 columns or some other format? What are the advantages of the different formats that you’ve tried?

I think it depends upon the blog you’re running. Most of mine are a 3 column format mainly because I find 3 columns gives more options for placing advertising, affiliate programs etc. Two columns can make it hard to fit ads, navigation and other blog buttons and features in.

The downside of a 3 column layout is that it can make your blog look quite cluttered.

What do you prefer? Feel free to leave links to blogs that you like (or dislike) the layout of.

Does blog design matter?

One of my favorite new bloggers is Peter Flaschner who today asks the question – Does blog design matter?

I first reviewed the design of Technorati’s top 10 blogs a month or so ago. At the time, I came to the conclusion that design didn’t really matter all that much. I figured that within a couple of months though, with the fantastic growth rate of the blog world, design would start to matter. This is based on the belief that given the choice between two sources of equal quality content, people will choose the better designed site.

In a medium where many argue ‘content is king’ I would argue that its queen is design. This is not just the case in blogging but in many aspects of business. I live in a suburb where there is a local strip of shops. There is a huge variety of stores, cafes, restaurants and offices there but most of them are fairly run down with quite a few old ma and pa stores that probably haven’t changed much in the past 15 – 20 years. But things are changing – the suburb is becoming more popular and gradually new shops and cafes are creeping into the strip of shops.

It is amazing to see the difference between the old and new shops – whilst the old one’s are dark and dusty the new ones are well lit, classy, clean and are very 2005.

Both types of shops sell the same stuff – but given the choice of a fresh and hip place or a dingy musty smelling one – I know where most shoppers are now heading. Aesthetics, sensuality and emotion are key in communication and are all things that a well designed blog can evoke.

Update: Interestingly (and perhaps I’m arguing with myself here) I was also reflecting this morning about how News Aggregators have changed the design equation somewhat.

As I surfed through my bloglines feed this morning I realized how much of an equalizer it was to see virtually all of the content presented to me in black quite and blue. The most amazingly designed blogs going around were reduced to the same level as some of the most appallingly designed blogs that I’ve ever seen. Could the news aggregator be quality content’s saviour!?

Update: Flyte has a great comment on this post – ‘The discussion of content versus design in blogs is like discussing what makes a rectangle bigger: height or width?’

Blog Design Layouts

Rachel at Designer Blogs has a cool post with 7 different blog layouts used by top bloggers – classified (with pictures) into navigation, sidebar, design and content.

She’s even got pretty pictures!

Blog Design Survey – Planning the design of your Blog

Rachel over at Designer Blogs has just posted a blog design survey that she gives her potential clients who are wanting her to quote on blog design.

I think its a pretty helpful list for those thinking through a new blog – whether they are getting a professional to design it or are doing it themselves.

Increasing the Longevity of Key Posts – Part II

This is the second part of a post on extending the life of Evergreen posts. Take a look at the first part here.

Related Articles – Many Bloggers use a ‘related articles’ feature in at the bottom of each of their posts. In most cases these are automated links from a plug in. WordPress and Movable Type both have such plugins available.

Once again such a strategy is good for both getting readers to go deeper within your site and for your search engine optimization.

Deep linking within posts – Similarly deep linking is an effective strategy. To actually refer to previously written evergreen posts within an article (where relevant) is another strategy that you should consider. This could be more effective than a ‘related articles’ feature simply because you have a bit more control about their positioning and the links that you highlight. Also people are more likely to take an ‘in content’ link recommendation than an automated one – it will also mean that the links is a highly relevant one – which SE’s tend to like.

Site Maps and Highlighting Categories – Whilst these may not specifically increase the profile of Evergreen posts – highlighting other key pages on your site (categories especially) helps to generate repeat page views and assists the Search Engines in indexing your blog. What you should be aiming for is that a reader or SE bot should be able to navigate to any page on your blog within two or three clicks. The simplest way to do this is to have your categories listed in your sidebar or menu and to use a pagination system (the little numbers at the bottom of this page that lead you to different sets of older posts).

What I’m really highlighting here are different ways in which you can interlink your site whilst highlighting your key pages.

So take a surf through your archives and make note of the underrated evergreen posts that you find and consider finding places on your blog to highlight them. You might be surprised what impact it has.

Feel free to share what strategies you use to highlight your evergreen posts in comments below.