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Archive for January, 2010

How To: Display Your WordPress Category List in Multiple Columns

Do you sometimes get that feeling to go all overboard and do things differently with your design? OK, I might not be the most creative person with visual designs, actually I like simplicity, but the fact was that I recently switched to a single-column design for my own WordPress blog.

With simplicity, and single-column design, came the following problem: ‘How to implement a smart navigation?’ Important is to understand my blog: iFranky is a mix of several topics and is both my brand and a personal space to write about life as well as a tumblelog and collection of interesting entries I wrote on other blogs. The readership is a mix of friends, bloggers, clients and students I lecture about blogging and social media. This leads to a mix of different topics, but not all are worth to be displayed on the home page.
The main navigation factor is based on the categories, categories I used in previous designs iterations to display multiple loops on the home page or to implement different backgrounds.

Simplicity meant that my complete navigation would be send to the footer, an often overlooked design element (There is no fold), even the header navigation.
Because my main page only shows the main entries, I somehow had to integrate a category list in the footer but who wants to add one column of more than 15 categories or a drop-down? Trust me when I say that I have analysed click behaviour and barely one bothers with these often sky-high columns or drop-downs. The solution: display your category list in columns. Read More

Categories: WordPress Tutorials
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Six Apart To iPhone: iGive Up? (Typepad) Update: Typepad App Is Alive And Well

I seriously hope I am wrong about this, but it looks as if Six Apart, which was one of the first major companies to launch an iPhone blog app (for Typepad nonetheless) may have abandoned their app.

Users have been complaining about errors logging into their Typepad blogs via iPhone for quite some time (which I confirmed after trying to log into my blog and receiving the error to the right).

While users can still access their Typepad blogs via BlogPress, CellSpin and Shozu, it’s sad to see Six Apart (seemingly) abandon their native iPhone app (although to their credit they still support the web interface over at i.typepad.com).

Hopefully Six Apart will reconsider continuing support for the native app (or committing serious resources towards it), as their absence leaves the field wide open for WordPress and Squarespace (not to mention a host of third party apps).

Update: Colleen brings the good news that the Typepad iPhone App is alive and well, with Twitter integration as well!

For those unable to login, try reinstalling the app (as that resolved my problem).

Categories: General
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Does Your Site Suffer from Buttonitis and Tagitis?

Not that long ago I declared 2010, The Year of The Return of Content but it seems that I didn’t make my message clear enough and some, albeit older, diseases have continued to dominate and takeover the blogosphere.

Spread like a wildfire, an unstoppable worm on his way to burn the burg.

Of course I mean the unstoppable Buttonitis and still immensely popular over-tagging hype, AKA social media design killers.

Buttonitis

Hold thou, O earth, now, since heroes may hold not

I like to think that I coined the term Buttonitis and if Urban Dictionary is any measure to go by, I have.

The term itself is that self-explanatory that there’s no need at all to define it as ‘When buttons take over the look over your site and hide the content’. We all know plenty of examples of this widespread disease and they come in different variations.

Being “It” Playing Hide and Go Seek The Content

Because we are that nice and wanted to highlight the scale of things, we faced the unthinkable and visited what is probably the prototype of modern buttonitis: The Mashable homepage. We highlighted the content for you. Read More

Categories: Blogging Tips
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Seven (7) Must Have iPhone Apps For Video Bloggers

Five years ago if someone told me that we would be editing images on our cell phones and uploading them to our blogs just as easily as a laptop (or desktop), I probably would have laughed in their face.

Flash forward towards today and here I am now amazed that I am able to edit video (yes video!) at a fraction of the price I would have paid to place upon my laptop.

While the video editing apps are still in their infancy (at least upon the iPhone), here are seven of the best video apps that every video blogger blessed with the iDevice should own (plus a video of my ugly mug to help demonstrate their power). Read More

Categories: Blogging Tips, Blogging Tools
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WordPress Theme Review: Pico by Hafiz Rahman

It does not happen often, but occasionally you find a free theme for WordPress that is completely *droolworthy*. I have to disclose upfront that I am a big fan of both grid-based designs, especially when they follow a strict and mathematically correct grid, whitespace and Khoi Vinh.

One of the things I expect from a theme is that it doesn’t get in the way and highlights content and especially with grid based design this is something which can easily be screwed up. But the grid-masters know how to display both content and a strict grid correctly. One of the most popular grid designs for WordPress is without any doubt Grid Focus by Derek Punsalan.

There’s a new contender in WP-town for grid-based design lovers!

Introducing Pico by Hafiz ‘WPLover’ Rahman

Pico screenshot

WPLover is a well-known WordPress news-site edited by Hafiz Rahman, who is also a great WordPress news link curator, and the design of WPLover doesn’t hide it: Hafiz loves the grid.
Previously he already treated the WordPress community with several Thematic child themes, all showcasing mainly the content, while using whitespace as a perfect tool, weapon almost, in his designs.

Pico is Hafiz’ first ‘non-child theme’ released for WordPress and how better to introduce a grid-based theme than with a gorgeous grid-based Pico introduction page? Read More

Categories: WordPress Themes
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Movable Type Monday: MT5, Twitter API, Training, and More

Happy Monday, folks! As expected, Movable Type 5 was released last week. A lot has changed in this new release, as described in the official announcement:

  • A new user dashboard for both the website and blogs. This makes it easy for authors, editors, designers and other publishers to easily navigate between the two.
  • A new theme mechanism that makes it easy to apply a new theme across a website and blogs with a single click that proliferates changes throughout the published site.
  • Enhanced content management features that include revision history and new custom fields. There are five new object types for custom fields: website, blog, comment, template and asset.

Read More

Categories: Movable Type News
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Sunday Morning SEO: Link Building With Directories

Hello BloggingPro readers, my name is Dee Barizo and I’m the resident SEO geek. My SEO column for Blog Herald has moved here. I’ll be covering practical SEO tips to help you improve your rankings and get more search traffic.

Today’s topic is about web directories.

In the fast moving internet landscape, directories seems very outdated but they actually still work. For my day job, I do SEO for clients. I’ve seen their rankings improve after building links on directories.

Read More

Categories: Blogging Tips
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What’s the Right Blog Template Width?

One of the good (or bad, depending how you look at it) things about being a blogger is that you’re the publisher, editor, writer, and graphic artist rolled in into one. Apart from finding out a good topic to write about, most bloggers look for a good template to use, whether the blog is on WordPress or Blogger.

One of the most common questions that stump in the template decision is  “How wide should my blog’s template be?” And there’s a a couple of good reasons to why this is a bottleneck in the template selection decision.

See, the thing is that screen resolutions are as varied as the topics about blogging. It used to be that the only relevant resolution was 1024 pixels by 768 pixels (1024×768). But now, only roughly 1/3 of screens out there have 1024×768. The majority is now a resolution bigger than that.

The other reason is readability. With the changing resolutions, I won’t be surprised if people also tweaked their screens DPI (dot per inch) setting. This setting can make text and images to be displayed bigger (or the same with a lower resolution screen), even when the physical screen becomes bigger. This makes text more readable even with a ultra-high resolution display. Nonetheless, the upper limit in nice, readable web typography is 75 characters wide, give or take a few characters.

Now, with the variety in user needs, what’s the best width for blog templates? (Length or height is rarely an issue because people are used to vertically scroll).

Assuming you are using a 14 pixel size for the text and default character spacing, you would need at least 520 pixels for the main content area. Plus, if you add two columns 160 pixels wide (Why 160 pixels? This is to accommodate the widest standard skyscraper ad size), you would need an extra 320 pixels. Finally, you’d need approximately 10-15% buffer for margins. The final total? 924 to 966 pixels wide.

Surprisingly, this is very near the favorite 960 pixel-wide designs today. This number also seems optimal for common screens based on W3Counter’s final 2009 stats,  60% of displays out there range from 1024 pixels to 1280 pixels wide.

Categories: Blog Design, Blogging Tips
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TweetDeck Joins The Dark Side, Embraces Native Retweets And Geotagging

TweetDeck, an iPhone app that is seriously underpriced (I’d pay $3 for it, but free is good too) now supports Geo-tagging and native retweets.

Users have the option of turning on geotagging, enabling friends (and potential stalkers) to chart your daily route as you tweet across the map.

TweetDeck also now (finally) supports native retweets, joining Echofon, Tweetie and Twittelator in the quest to kill off the oft abused “RT copy & paste” function (although users can still opt to use it if they must).

Despite upgrading their iPhone app, TweetDeck still only supports one video carrier–12seconds–which is perhaps the only underwhelming feature of this app.

Video issues aside, TweetDeck is still one of my favorite Twitter apps as it balances elegance with power, making it a joy for newbie’s and guru’s alike.

Categories: Microblogging
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Will WordPress Embrace VideoPress On Android And The iPhone?

Despite the fact that my Blackberry brothers have been experiencing the joys of videohood on their beloved smartphones, iPhone users (along with their Android friends) have no official way of posting videos to their WordPress blogs.

While lovers of the iDevice can get around this by using BlogPress and CellSpin, the videos are hosted upon YouTube or CellSpin’s servers respectively, which may not appeal to many bloggers.

This all may change thanks to the release of Google’s Nexus One, not to mention WordPress’s upcoming Android app (which has been in the works since last October) in which WordPress may finally embrace mobile video blogging via VideoPress. Read More

Categories: WordPress Plugins, WordPress Tools
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