Even Links Can Look Good

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chain-links Image by elroySF

Changing the style of your links is probably the easiest change you can make in your design.

If you aren’t sure how to do it, there is a good explanation at Echo Echo. It will show you how.

It takes only seconds to try out a new look for your links. With that in mind, here are some of the best ways to style your links, to both look good and be usable at the same time.

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6 Tips to Make a Great First Impression

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attractive
Image by HAM Guy
This is a guest post by Hans. Visit his blog, Catchtheposts.com, for more blogging tips, or you can subscribe to his feed here.

We used to hear that content is King. I agree with the fact that creating original and valuable content is a critical element to succeed online.

However, I would like to add my 2 cents: content is King but the container – the web space design – is not far behind! I really like metaphor, because it often helps us understand what the concerns really are. So let me bring you into the following metaphor.

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Sidebar Redesign: My Thought Process

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In the past few days, I redesigned my sidebar. It doesn’t sound like much, does it? But looking back, that one change has had quite an impact on the overall look.

In blogs in particular, the sidebar is a big part of your design. But also in blogs, they tend to be quite poorly done. The reason is that very few of us design our sidebars with content in mind.

I’m guilty as well. When I first designed the sidebar for this blog, I was thinking about leaderboard ads and various widgets. Since then, I’ve dropped the ads, changed the widgets and added a sideblog.

Odds are, your sidebar content has changed in the course of your blogging as well. It is important to reassess your entire blog every now and again, but the sidebar is one area that you should pay particular attention to because of its changing nature.

In this post, I want to go through how I reassessed mine, and worked to improve it. You can then apply the same process to your own blog.

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"Minimalism" Is Just Designer Speak for Laziness

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Minimalism is a big craze at the minute. Think for a moment; how many pure white designs did you see online today?

There are good principles underneath this all of course, and most likely you already know them.

Minimalism = Less clutter = Less distractions = More time focusing on the important stuff.

But do all minimalist designs work with this principle in mind? Do you not feel that in some cases, a designer has just thrown a few divs together and dubbed his theme minimalist?

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Prioritize Your Blog Into 5 Distinct Groups

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In the first post, What Is Design Clutter?, we talked about how clutter is caused by too many objects competing for attention.

The problem for any blogger is choosing which objects should get attention and which shouldn’t. It’s hard to accept that something you went to the trouble of putting on your page isn’t worth actively promoting (Because it will steal attention from the things that really do matter).

Separating The Wheat from The Chaff

The best way to avoid clutter and make sure that the valuable parts of your blog are properly promoted is to make a clear list of your priorities. Once it’s written down, it will make design decisions much easier.

Write out a list of every element on your blog (From the blog title right down to the post date!), and then run each aspect through this flowchart:

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What Is Design Clutter?

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Clutter Choosing the parts of your site that a user sees is all about prominence. The more prominent something is, the more often it will be seen.

The problem with prominence is that it’s relative.

Simply giving something a bright background and a bigger font does not make it prominent. It must stand out in comparison with the rest of the design.

For example, the "Come On In. We’re Hiring" badge on Authentic Boredom may be very noticeable, but if you put it on this site, it would just blend in. They need a different method of getting attention.

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What Time Is It Where You Are?

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Clock Many of us include the time in our comments.

The comments should serve as a conversational area, and it makes sense that you would be interested in when the last reply was written, or how long it has been since you left your reply.

However, time is relative to where you are in the world. While it is nearly 10pm here in the UK, it is past 3 in the morning in India. On the internet, hearing the time is meaningless if you don’t also know the time-zone it is in.

And that begs the question; why do we bother to include the time in the comments at all?

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