Archive for the ‘Blog Design’ Category
I found this on RajDash.com.
There are two contests currently running that will help bloggers get a new logo for their blogs, so if you are looking to revamp your image, or just get your first real logo, then you will want to check these out.
Randa Clay Design
Randa is offering 2 prizes: a free custom blog logo and header, and a free blog review. The rules state how you can enter. Itâ€™s pretty easy – either add Randa Clay Design to your blogroll or subscribe to the siteâ€™s feed. There is no restriction about type of blog. While youâ€™re there, read Randaâ€™s article 4 reasons your blog needs a blog logo.
Logo Design Works
To apply for the Logo Design Works free blog logo campaign, your blog has to meet certain criteria, including being at least six months old and being about any of these topics: design, small business, marketing, SEO, blogging, freelancing, productivity and related topics. If you are accepted, you will get to work with a designer via email. All LDW is asking in return is either a blogroll link (after you are accepted) or a brief review with a link. Links are to their home page.
Ben of Binary Moon has taken the custom WordPress login a step further as one of his series of WordPress Tricks and Tips.
He created a plugin as well as an image template for the custom WordPress login.
The plugin itself sits in the plugins folder alongside the images – which you can change as required. The footer image has been changed to a gif with a transparent middle which means you can use any images you like for the main background and they will fit seamlessly.
Because this is a plugin and the images are kept separately from the admin folder upgrades a nice and easy. Just upgrade as normal. This is particularly handy for client sites where they may not be aware of what you have done to customise things.
Check out this and other tricks and tips over on Binary Moon.
Boxes and Arrows has a great post up about what they call the “myth of the fold”. The fold is the area where the screen ends and you have to scroll down to see more.
Traditionally, you don’t want to put too much below the fold, especially advertisements and another things because users leave before ever seeing it. But the post on Boxes and Arrows says otherwise.
I took a look at performance data for some AOL sites and found that items at the bottom of pages are being widely used. Perhaps the best example of this is the popular celebrity gossip website TMZ.com. The most clicked on item on the TMZ homepage is the link at the very bottom of the page that takes users to the next page. Note that the TMZ homepage is often over 15000 pixels long â€“ which supports the ClickTale research that scrolling behavior is independent of screen height. Users are so engaged in the content of this site that they are following it down the page until they get to the â€œnext pageâ€ link.
Maybe itâ€™s not fair to use a celebrity gossip site as an example. After all, weâ€™re not all designing around such tantalizing guilty-pleasure content as the downfall of beautiful people. So, letâ€™s look at some drier content.
For example, take AOL News Daily Pulse. Youâ€™ll notice the poll at the bottom of the page â€“ the vote counts are well over 300,000 each. This means that not only did folks scroll over 2000 pixels to the bottom of the page, they actually took the time to answer a poll while they were there. Hundreds of thousands of people taking a poll at the bottom of a page can easily be called a success.
Read the whole article to understand more about the fold, and why you don’t need to worry so much about it.
I try to keep a keen eye on the industry that helps design, develop, and manage blogs, and that arena has a new entrant with Blogging Squared, a group from Ottawa, Ontario Canada led by someone I know very well, John Wiseman. Blogging Squared provides services like custom blog design, training sessions, blog development, search engine optimization, and maintenance.
One of the more interesting additions to what they do is the training sessions. They have them set up for small businesses which includes information on building relationships with their audience, and thought leadership.
I had a chance to ask John why he would start Blogging Squared:
I’ve been involved in web development for about six years now. Three years ago when I started blogging, I had no idea blogs would be so influential. I still enjoy writing for my blog but have developed a real interest for designing them. Moving away from web design and focusing on blog design and consulting has been a natural transition for me. I really enjoy teaching small businesses about the power of blogs and helping them grow their online presence. It’s really a pleasure to wake up every morning and know that I’ll be working on projects that I’m passionate about.
In continuing with this, Blogging Squared has set up a blog on their site, and they dish out some great information and advice, much of it specifically directed at things they have found that are useful for the WordPress blogging community which is their focus.
You can find John Wiseman at Blogging Squared, or his personal blog JohnWiseman.ca.
Note: They are also looking for great WordPress talent, and so if you are someone that can take a PSD and make it into a WordPress theme quickly and following web standards, then contact John through the contact form on Blogging Squared.
Autoblog is one of my favorite vehicle news blogs, and I had to admit, that because I only read it via my feed reader, I didn’t really notice its new design, and quickly skipped over the post about it, but when Matt (thanks Matt) wrote me to let me know that not only had they redesigned, but they were also giving away a 2007 Dodge Nitro as part of their relaunch celebration, I had to take a look.
The redesign is alright. It looks much more modern than the previous look, but it still looks a little basic, and ad filled with advertisements like its brothers throughout the Weblogs Inc. Network of blogs, but having such a powerful prize definitely worked in getting me to check out the site. Sometimes it just takes a big enough prize to entice people, even though, living in Canada, I know I can’t win.
Oh, and I will probably stick to reading their feed over their actual blog.
One of the hardest parts of personal branding in my opinion, is the logo. A logo can decide what people think of you, as a professional logo can say volumes about a person, brand, or site. Bloggers far too often forget that a logo can help brand them. Our logo here at Blogging Pro is simple, but I think effective. I am currently redesigning my personal site, to include a logo, and this has been slow and difficult, as I am no designer, but on E Logo Design, they have compiled a link list of 50 logo design tutorials that might help you create the logo you have always wanted.
Ben Bleikamp, a respected designer and interesting writer has posted his reasonings for ignoring your blogs, and quite simply it is because you aren’t showing your best content.
I browse through 100 blogs a day. I subscribe to 51. That means that when I read your blog I forget about it. Itâ€™s your fault. You havenâ€™t proved to me that youâ€™re providing valuable content on a regular basis.Making the front page of Digg is great for your page views but how often does it provide a significant jump in the number of people subscribing to your blog? Making the front page of these social news sites is worthless if you donâ€™t have a way to show new visitors what your best content is.
Check out his full reasonings and even some tips and solutions on his blog.
Smashing Magazine has put together a large list of CSS tips and tricks from some great people, including Jonathan Snook, whom I look up to.
CSS isnâ€™t always easy to deal with. Depending on your skills and your experience, CSS coding can sometimes become a nightmare, particularly if you arenâ€™t sure which selectors are actually being applied to document elements. An easy way to minimize the complexity of the code is as useful as not-so-well-known CSS attributes and properties you can use to create a semantically correct markup.
Weâ€™ve taken a close look at some of the most interesting and useful CSS tricks, tips, ideas, methods, techniques and coding solutions and listed them below. We also included some basic techniques you can probably use in every project you are developing, but which are hard to find once you need them.
A great list of tricks and tips. I don’t agree with all of them, but I think that like most coding methodologies it depends on the purpose, and the coder. Still, a list worth bookmarking.
One of the hardest parts of design can be picking out a proper color scheme for the design. Some designers use photos, others use their understanding of color theory to pick out that perfect palette and then there are people like me that need others to help get the right colors to go together. Over on ColorSchemes.org there is a great list of links for those looking for help in their color quest.
It includes online tools, software you can download, websites that will help you pick out the right scheme, and information on techniques.
If you are constantly designing and redesigning, this resource might just help you figure out what shades of blue to use.
Icons can sometimes be the difference between a nice looking theme and a plain looking one, as we continue to try to create new designs for WordPress blogs, and other blogging software, we increasingly need new icons to give it that extra edge.
DHTML Site has compiled a list of free icon resources, and while not all encompassing, it does highlight some of the best sources for icons that you can use for your theming needs.
The most popular, of course is the Silk Icon set, but I think people are slowly trying not to use it in part because of its high popularity. Or in other words, people are sick of seeing a million sites with the same icon set. I thought the Sweetie set looked really nice.
If you have any other great collections of free to use icons, please let me know. I’d love to find more icon resources.