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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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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What Length Should A Post Excerpt Be?

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Cut an excerpt length. It is one thing to choose excerpts over full posts on the homepage. You can even choose how you want to generate these excerpts easily enough. Yet with that done, you still have another decision to make every time you write a post; what length should a post excerpt be?

Getting the Job Done

In short, a post excerpt should be as long as it needs to be to get the job done. The job of an excerpt is to give your readers a teaser, a sample of what is to come. It is important to realize that your excerpt is not your article. If you wanted the reader to hear all that you have to say on the home page, you would be using full posts, not excerpts.

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Do Images in Posts Encourage Reading?

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Post Images I begin almost every post here at Pro Blog Design with an image. The images are usually interesting, and do take a while to pick out. Do they encourage people to read more posts?

The answer is that for a certain type of blog, they do. For another type, they don’t.

When Post Images Are Worth Adding

  • In plain templates. Many blogs are designed to be minimalist and plain, allowing the content to be focused upon. A well selected image in the post can work wonders for adding personality to the design, without losing the clean simplicity.

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Format Your Posts For Readability

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FormattingAs bloggers, we write pages upon pages of content each week. We spend hours promoting the articles, choosing the right words and trying to get our point across as clearly as possible. How can formatting be used to further improve our posts?

There are a few basic tools that you will have heard mention of time and time again, such as bolding words. The first section re-explains their purpose, and the second will explain how to perfect your usage of them to achieve optimal formatting.

The Formatting Toolbox

  • Headings and subheadings. Posts usually cover 2 or 3 sub-topics of the overall post topic. If you don’t use headings to mark out the sub-topics, then the reader has no way of knowing exactly which topics have been covered in the article. What if they’re only interested in the last section? Mark out the last section with a good header, and they’ll know to read it.

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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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Redesign for the Right Reasons at the Right Time

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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.

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