Redesign for the Right Reasons at the Right Time

22

Time to RedesignRedesigning has become a hot topic in the blogosphere, largely because of the redesigns of two of the most popular blogs, ProBlogger and John Chow.com. One blogger went as far as to dub 2007, Year of the Redesigns. Why should time be a factor in a redesign?

Redesigning for the Wrong Reasons

There are many reasons for a blog redesign. However, not all of these are good reasons, and what’s more is that they are no different than they have always been. What makes now so special? Hype.

One of the most frequently mentioned benefits is the hype and attention that a redesign obtains. The amount of attention that John Chow has received cannot be denied, but lest we forget, you are not John Chow. The same level of attention will not be repeated on you. If anything, you will receive less attention than ever as your blog will be lost between the dozens of others changing themes.

Read More »

Make Your Template Unique

129

Unique Template
Image by Thiru Murugan
There are some obvious dangers to using a template, like malicious coding and such, but there is another, not so obvious danger. What if your template causes your blog to vanish into the blogosphere? What if it makes you boring?

The very best looking template in the world is the very worst template you can use, because everyone else is already using it. If your blog does not stand out from the dozens of others in your niche, how will your readers remember you? And if they do not remember you, why will they come back?

The key to successfully using a template is to make it your own. The great thing about a template is that the bulk of the work is already done, but the finishing touches are still up to you. You need to make enough adjustments to make your version clearly distinguishable from the original.

Read More »

Weekly Wrap-up: Why Redesign A Blog?

24

Modern
Image by Ctd 2005
It began with ProBlogger. It became “newsworthy” with John Chow. It has been peppered with countless other blogs along the way. Redesigning seems to be all the rage this Summmer, but why redesign your blog?

The obvious reason is of course to simply make your blog better. When you first create a design it seems great, but over time you notice the cracks in the wall. Eventually the number of cracks builds up to a point where a redesign seems the logical choice. This certainly seems to have been the case with the fantastic ProBlogger redesign, and to this end, Simple Thoughts have put together a good list of 9 Redesign Ideas.

However, this isn’t the only reason. Among Ben Cook’s 5 Reasons For A Blog Redesign he has hit the nail on the head in one respect. Ben lists “Buzz” and “Linkbait” as his first two reasons for a redesign, and this is undoubtedly true in the case of John Chow.

Read More »

Design Review: NTugo.com

14

NTugo
This week’s design review will be a little different. NTugo isn’t just a blog, it’s a blog aggregator, showing posts from all the sites in the network. Matt, the owner, has allowed me to write a review, so here goes!

What Has Been Done Well?

  • Color. Matt has managed to find a shade or two of green that is light enough to look good on the button background, but dark enough to be legible in the main text. The green is the most memorable aspect of this design.

Read More »

Author Name. Nuisance or Necessity?

41

Names
Photo by TonivS
Every free template includes the author’s name near the content of each post. You would have to look hard to find one that didn’t. But why should you keep the name there?

Single and Multiple Authors

The purpose of giving the name so close to a post is to give credit to the person who wrote that post. This is important in multiple-author blogs where the author changes from post to post. Regular readers will be interested to know who is writing which posts, and the writers deserve credit for their work.

However, in a single-author blog, the author does not change from post to post. Regular readers do not need to be told your name over and over again as they know it already and can assume that the writer hasn’t changed.

Read More »

5 Steps To Test a Theme That Won’t Get You Banned From Google

22

Test Themes
Photo by dcJohn.
There are a number of aspects of a theme that can get you banned from Google, and other search engines. Deciphering between safe and unsafe themes is not as easy as just looking for a “Sponsored by…” link.
Through using the methods listed below, you will be able to judge whether or not a theme is safe to use.

1 – Download From The Source

Wordpress themes are often free to download, and sometimes free to distribute. It is not difficult for a site to amass a collection of themes, and add their own spam codes to them. For this reason, if you know the site that the theme originally came from, download it from there.

Read More »

Are Sponsored Themes Blog Suicide?

22

Sponsored
Photo by -LeeB-
If my theme is sponsored, will I get banned from Google?

In short, no. However, it is entirely possible that other aspects of the theme will get you banned, and even more worryingly for some is that non-sponsored themes can get you banned just as easily.

The fact that a theme is sponsored is rarely important, and should not be allowed to put you off sponsored themes altogether. The possible dangers of downloaded themes are not a myth however. They are very real, and malicious theme owners can do any number of things which could Google will begrudge you.

A Little Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing

Most bloggers will know that when judging how to rank a site, search engines, like Google, look at links in particular. Many bloggers also know that they don’t judge your site only on the links coming in to it, but on the links going out from it. This is what has caused the commotion about sponsored themes.

Read More »