Why I’m Using a 3 Column Layout

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columns4.jpgThere are a few seemingly perpetual debates in web design. 800×600 vs 1024×768. Fixed vs fluid. Content on the right or left. The choice of using a 2 column layout or a 3 column one is another of these.

Advantages of a Two Column Layout

  • Forces minimalism. There tends to be less sidebar room in a 2 column layout. You simply don’t have the space for 100 different widgets without overstretching the page. This limit forces you to be a little more careful about choosing which widgets are installed.

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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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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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Elements of a Uniquely Personal Blog Design

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Unique In yesterday’s post I discussed how the design of a personal blog can be an enjoyable experience because of the many design freedoms it offers. The key with a personal blog design is to let your personality shine through.

There are a number of ways in which this can be done through your writing and commenting style, but it can also be done in your design. Listed below are just some of the different might use to go about making a design that little bit more unique.

  • Header design. The blog’s heading is arguably the best place to be creative. Let your heading reflect who you are. What are your hobbies and interests? Why not put photos of them in your header?

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Tools For Choosing a Color Combination

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Color choosing tools. Guest post by Steven Snell.

As new visitors arrive at your blog, color is one of the most important design aspects for creating a positive first impression. Last week Michael wrote about the importance of making your blog template unique. Effective color modifications can be a quick, easy way to help your blog stand out from the crowd, especially is you are using a very common theme.

Fortunately, there are a number of free tools available online that can help with finding the right color combination. We’ll take a look at a few of them and hopefully you”ll find something that you would like to use for your own color decisions.

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