Saturday, March 20, 2010

What I've Learned About Blog Layouts

On my last post, I asked several questions to help me choose a new blog layout.  I promised to highlight the most useful answer on my next post, and the winner is... Harley!  She answered all five of my questions and gave me valuable tips.  You can read her entire comment on my previous blog post or by clicking here.    


I summarized her answers and added other feedback I received in my search for the ideal blog layout.


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Layout Preferences
Harley doesn't like blogs that are full of ads and other things that draw attention away from the main content, and blogs that use too many font sizes and colors.


Personally, I like blogs that are not too simple, and not too loaded and complicated.  Anything balanced and pleasing to the eye works for me.  I prefer layouts that have a theme.


Customized Banner
Harley offered to make me a custom image for my top banner.  (How kind!)  She explained two ways of inserting the image into the header area: by adding the code for the image directly into the template, or by inserting the image into the header area, straight from the Customize Layout page.  



For now, I like the one provided with the template I chose, but I'll know where to go if I want a customized one later on.  Thanks, Harley!



Templates
Harley recommended btemplates.com where her two blog templates came from, and www.eblogtemplates.com, which also has WordPress blog themes.



Cheree recommended www.pyzam.com.  I looked it up and it also has Twitter and MySpace layouts.  I'll be back to look into it further.


I didn't have to research many sites.  I found great templates in the first one I tried, btemplates.com.  I browsed around by number of columns, colors, and themes, and downloaded a template for free.  Following the easy steps on the site, I had it up and running within minutes.


Font Colors and Background Colors
Harley's comment:  " The obvious rule of thumb is if you have a dark background use light font and a light background use dark font. I will say that yellow, orange and anything in neon (like pink or lime green) to me is just - distracting and blinding."  Good advice!  I totally agree.



For Cheree, any color scheme is good, as long as it's not too contrasting and hard to read.


In general, people I talked to prefer dark characters on a light background, something that's easy to read and not a strain for the eyes.  I tried several font colors and backgrounds, and the ones I found the most attractive were light on dark.

Favorite Layout

Harley loves the three-column layout (side bar - main content - side bar) because she finds it easy to organize widgets and such.  For two columns, she prefers the sidebar on the right side.


Her comment helped me decide to get a three-column layout.  I couldn't find a template I liked with a side bar each side of the main content, but I found one with two sidebars on the right side.  It does make it easier to organize things around.  And now I don't have to scroll down as much to see my visitor counter!


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Thanks for all your help!  I learned a lot by doing this.  What do you think of my new blog layout?  Kurt and Harley like it, according to their comments on my previous post.  Any other feedback?  Don't be shy!

11 comments:

Ashelynn D. Sanford said...

Smashing layout, Annie! I really like the third column look.

Annie McMahon said...

Thanks, Ashy! I love it. It makes me feel like writing. LOL

Mireyah Wolfe said...

I like it, Annie--sorry I missed your last post, gods know I've got *plenty* of Blog Layout Finding experience. ;) But Harley pretty much hit the basics of it, and I love how you've got it now. It's very writerly! Great job! =)

Cheree said...

Love the new layout.

Harley D. Palmer said...

Yes, as I said it's a great layout - I really love how the even though both columns are on the same side - you can easily distinguish between them. I've seen a few that you can't - this looks really organized and clean! Great choice! I'm glad I could help!

Jim Dillingham said...

Annie,

I think your layout looks great. I seem to be following in your footsteps in this blog development thing. Practicing = learning.

Jim

Jay said...

Annie - LOVE this layout. I'm jealous. The three column layouts are often too busy for me, but yours is really clean. Very cool!

Annie McMahon said...

Thanks, everyone! I love it, and I'm glad I'm not the only one. :)

At first, I thought the three columns would be distracting, but now that I'm used to it, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I so need to do this. I'm lazy. It just seems like so much work, but you really broke it down into steps. I know where to go when I decide to do it!

Annie McMahon said...

It really doesn't take that long, Tamara. It took me longer to choose a layout than to upload it.

Harley D. Palmer said...

Hey Annie! I have an award for you at my blog!

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