How Does Your Blog Really Look?

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Image by Gwennie2006
We all think we know how our blogs look. We look at them everyday. We boot up our computers, fire up the browser and…

Wait. What web browser are we using? And is it even a computer?

Firefox or Internet Explorer? PC or Mac? Windows or Linux? Desktop or handheld? iPhone or PS3?

There are a lot of possibilities, but some are more important than others. This is the order that I would recommend testing them in, and how do the test.

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When Ajax Can Help Your Blog

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Magical ajax. Ajax is a great technology. It allows you to update various aspects of your page, without ever having to refresh.

The Trouble With Ajax

The trouble with Ajax is that it is overused and abused. Many people try to do too much with it. If you’re building a web-app, fantastic, use it all you like! If you’re just building a blog though, remember your restraint.

Good use of Ajax comes in small doses, and only when it helps you achieve your goals. Can it save you the hassle of reloading the same page? Will it let you accomplish simple tasks quickly? If so, then you’re using Ajax well.

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Dynamic Search Bar Text With Javascript

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Every blog has a search bar. The search bar is a typically boring affair, with a white background and a button saying “Search,” and worst of all, it takes up a fair bit of room in your sidebar. Why not use a little Javascript to liven things up and save space? This effect can be seen in use on the search bar to your right.

NB – This method is primarily for Wordpress, but could be easily adapted to any other platform.

1 – Find The Default Search bar.

The code for your search bar usually lies in searchform.php, or in functions.php if it has been set up as a widget, and will look as follows:

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Does Valid Code Help Your Blog?

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Valid CodeThe W3C is the internet’s daddy. They created HTML, CSS, and dozens of other specifications that govern the use of the technologies that makes the internet thrive today. Valid code is code which meets their guidelines, and can be tested in a validator, such as the HTML and CSS ones.

Does valid code actually help your blog though?

The Mythical Benefits of Valid Code

  • Valid code helps my search engine rankings. Good code helps your search engine rankings, i.e. code that the search engines can read. If you have used tables for presentation, causing your content to be split up in the coding, then Google will have trouble. However, if you just forget the trailing slash on your <img> tags, then they won’t be too harsh on you.

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Perfecting Your Printed Posts

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We have talked before about the basics of making your blog printer friendly. Whilst that will ensure that your content is legible on paper, what if you want to do more? What about sorting out the rest of the troublesome parts of your design?

With some simple adjustments to your print.css, you can make your blog truly printer-friendly.

The Header Area

In a single blog post, we might have 3 different headings; the blog title, the slogan, and the post title, and even some information about the post, such as a date. On screen, we can use CSS to style these however we want, but in print, we have 4 large, separate lines of text. It takes up too much space, and is especially noticeable on shorter blog posts. Look at the following example of how a page on Pro Blog Design printed originally.

Print Headlines

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How To Make Your Blog Printer Friendly

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Printer Blogging doesn’t end at the monitor.

Many readers print out interesting posts, but not if your website prints with text off the page, adverts and other useless content. Adding a print stylesheet to your blog is an easy method of ensuring that your content remains useful on paper.

Do you blog about phone reviews? It’s perfectly plausible that your readers will print out a few of their favourites and take them down to the shop with them. Life advice? A reader could print out your words, to read later on at their leisure. Almost every niche has a reason to be printed.

Setting Up the Stylesheet

  1. Create a new file in your text editor (e.g. Notepad), and save it as print.css
  2. Upload this file to your theme’s directory. (The same place where your main stylesheet is)

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