If you’re kind of a newb at web or blog design (like we are), this may be a revelation to you: That awesome-looking website that you just spent the last month of your life creating may very well look like crap to half of your visitors. I know, life does occasionally suck. Undoubtedly your mama mentioned that life ain’t always fair, right? Well, this is one of those occasions. They say “variety is the spice of life,” but in this case variety can be a big ol’ pain in the…umm…elbow. In this case, variety means that there are a bunch of variables that can drastically affect the way your website looks to your visitors. A lot of these variables are completely out of your control because these days it’s all about user preference and usability. If your rebel visitors really want to view your website in a postage-stamp sized browser window using a browser you’ve never even heard of, there’s not much you can do about it. Ok, don’t panic. Good news is, there are some easy and free tools you can use to do some cross-browser testing so you can at least know what your users are seeing when they visit your site. Armed with that insight, you can make your best attempt at designing your site to appeal to the vast majority of your users. Continue reading
I recently took a long trip into the world of WordPress plugins. I was specifically looking for plugins related to social media bookmarking and networking. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook can help you build a community of like-minded people, which is particularly important if you’re trying to monetize your blog. As I learned, there’s a ridiculous number of plugins, widgets, gadgets, sidebar whatchamacallits, and bright, shiny thingamajiggers for WordPress. Hopefully this list will save you some time if you’re looking for a way to make your WordPress blog more social. This post lists 13 WordPress plugins that make it easy for your readers to share and distribute your content
This week we continued to hammer out the design details for our new blogs. We are quickly learning that sometimes designing a new blog can be fairly mind-numbing. There are so many options, add-ons, plugins, widgets, and whatchamacallits to consider. Ok, so we’re easily distracted by bright shiny objects. The process is fun at times, but I think we’ve both gotten a little off-track at times and had to really struggle to move forward. We are still making progress, in between the brief periods of time that we are reduced to bumbling, babbling heaps of confusion. This week we’ve spent a lot of time looking at other successful blogs to see what elements they have in common. We are also trying to determine the best placement for the elements we want on our blogs. It’s probably somewhat of a disadvantage that we both tend to be perfectionists most of the time. There’s always one more possibility, one other “what if” and – I’m pretty certain – just one last thing we haven’t considered. We did manage to start installing some critical plugins on our blogs this week. We’ve spent some time learning more about Headway so that we can use all the features it offers to the best of our ability. We also began working on the color schemes for our blogs.
For next week: We will continue to work on the designs for our blogs. We both need to decide exactly how we want our blog to look and act so that we can start finalizing the design aspects and start focusing on content.
A few weeks ago, we told you about our logo design contests over at 99Designs. Well, our contests are over and we’re now the proud owners of a couple of logos for our new business blogs. If you’re not familiar with 99Designs, this post will give you a good idea of what it is and why you may want to go there if you’re looking for design work. We learned a lot in the process of running our contests, so I’ll give you a few tips to help you get the most out of 99Designs if you decide to use the site yourself.
And, of course, we want to officially unveil our new logos here so you can see the winners of our contest and get a sneak peak at what will be an important part of our new businesses. Go ahead, read more. You know you want to.
We’ve started our logo design contests over at 99Designs and it’s been a really fun and eye-opening process so far. The logo designs are for the new blogs we’ll be launching soon. Scott’s contest is for BehaviorandMotivation.com and my contest is for EcoFriendlyBasics.com. We’ll be writing more about the experience when the contests are over and we have our nifty new logos. The contests will be ending this week, and then we’ll have a period of time to stare at all the entries and scratch our heads, pull our hair out, and change our minds a gazillion times before we pick the winner. We would love to get your feedback about which designs you like and/or don’t like. Can you help us out?
The links to each of our contests are below. When you get to the contest page you’ll see all the current entries. You can click on the button labeled “read the brief” to get an idea what we’re looking for. Feel free to leave comments in the general discussion area on the contest page. The artists love feedback. Or, you can come back here and proclaim your favorite design (they’re all numbered for easy reference). We can’t wait to hear what you think!
If you’ve been looking for a way to make money from home on the internet, Lionbridge has several work-from-home opportunities you should check out. The positions they are actively recruiting for are Internet Assessor, Internet Judge (US only), Labeling Editor (US only), and BT Segmentation Editor. I can vouch for the company’s legitimacy, because I know someone who recently started working for Lionbridge, and I am in the process of testing for one of these positions myself. Of course, my ultimate goal is to work from home and be my own boss. But, until that happens, I figure if I have to work for someone else I may as well do it from home in my PJ’s while drinking way too much coffee. Read on for more information about these positions.
Just a quick update this week because there’s not a huge amount of progress to report. But, we continue to take steps in the direction of our goals. We’re getting into the process of designing our websites, and that was the main focus of our progress this week. We keep having to remind ourselves (and each other) that everything doesn’t have to be perfect from “Day 1.” Both of us tend to over-analyze every element of our sites and every step along the way. Yes, we are our own worst enemies at times! So, If you’re going through this process with us, try to keep in mind that your site will never be “perfect” or “finished.” Throughout the life of your business, your site will continue to grow and evolve based on your customers’ needs, business demands, and a host of other factors. Okay, with that said, here’s what we’ve been up to this week…