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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Separating Trackbacks from Comments

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Footsteps in the sand. Trackbacks are the messages displayed in the comments list whenever another blog links back to one of your posts. Many blogs disable trackbacks, but not all.

If you use trackbacks on your blog, it is best if they are not mixed with the comments. The comments are a conversation between between real people. Having machine-generated links in the middle of that will only serve to disrupt the conversations.

The method described here will lift out all of the trackbacks, and then display them as a numbered list after the list of comments is finished. Once you have this done, customizing the trackbacks to appear however you want them to is simple.

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What makes a blog look like a blog?

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Elements of blog design. Dominik Lenk recently asked an interesting question; What are the essential elements of a blog?

In reply I would say that there are very few essentials. It is your blog, and its up to you what you want to include. The only essentials would be to include the basics that you see on every blog, such as a search function, category lists and comment forms.

However, this did lead me onto another question. It is one thing to know the features that technically make a blog a blog, but what is it that makes a blog look like a blog?

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How To Style Author Comments Differently

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WordPress author comments. Comments are the backbone of a blog. For a blogger, there are few things better than a nice, long stream of comments. As a reader, flicking through such streams can be as enlightening as reading the post itself. It can also be useful to easily spot the author’s comments, to read what they in particular had to say.

As an example, here on Pro Blog Design, each of my own comments looks slightly different to the adjacent comments. Achieving the same effect on your blog is easily done.

The method described here is specifically for WordPress users. Movable Type users should refer to this article, and TypePad users to this one.

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Adding Effects to the Comment Field

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Designer blog comments. For most bloggers, the comment field is one part of the blog that we really want our readers to see and use. As such, it seems strange that the comments form is rarely any different to the default white design.

Adding more advanced effects to the comments field is easily done using CSS. The method has been explained below, and is followed by a few pointers that you’ll want to remember when choosing your effects.

How To Add Effects

The comments field is treated as any other CSS element. View your page’s source code to figure out the ID of yours. In the case of most WordPress themes, the basic CSS code will be as follows:

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Personalise Messages and Stand Out

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Personality
Photo by Aki Jinn

There are millions of blogs out there. You need to stand out from all the rest; be different to be remembered. However, standing out doesn’t just mean using a custom theme, it means customising every part of your blog, including the default messages.

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 9th, 2007 at 9:17 pm and is filed under General Tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

We’ve all seen that message on blogs before, and what opinion does it give you of said blog usually?

It doesn’t. That’s the problem. The owner hasn’t bothered to put some personality into the blog, and as such, you have nothing to remember it by.

This is the most extreme example of course. The quoted paragraph is usually changed (removed?) by blog owners, simply because it is so over-worded and unfriendly to readers. What other lines in your blog can be given a personality of their own?

Encouraging Comment Messages

When your post has 0 comments, you want to do everything you can to encourage that to change. Wordpress offers an easy method of doing this through comments.php. Simply enter the message you would like to display where you see the line:

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