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
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.
For those of you who are planning to start your own Internet-based businesses, you’re going to need a blog because you’ll more than likely be using a blog to promoting your product or service. What I covered in part 1 should give you a firm starting point in blog design for beginners. I covered many questions that you should ask yourself when you begin to think about how your blog will look and function, as well as the purpose of your blog. But when you’re new to blog design, it can be overwhelming and can leave you confused at times. And when we are confused, we’re less likely to follow through. But you want to have a successful Online business with a blog that gives you credibility and authority, right? So, in order to help you do that, I’m going to share some resources for taking the basics of blog design and expanding on them. The tools and resources provided here will be a companion to blog design theory from part 1. You’re not going to want to miss these resources, they are some of the best on the Internet! Please note that some links are affiliate links (as noted by hovering over the link) and simply give us credit for referring you. So let’s get right into some awesome resources…
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.
Our efforts continue to figure out what we want our blogs to look like. Do we want a two- or three-column blog? Slick or muted graphics? Textured, 3D look or subtle and spacious? And then there’s the color scheme to consider. Do we take the time to learn about blog design so we can do everything ourselves or do we get help?
Tammy and I are weighing out these choices carefully. The process is made tougher when we see these really slick-looking sites with neat, flashy graphic things going on where the graphics just seem to burst to life on the computer screen and dazzle the imagination. We do so enjoy the creative talent that goes into designing these one-of-a-kind blogs. It grabs our attention and then we start blissfully spinning out of control.
Eventually, we come to our senses again and put our feet back on the ground and pull our thinking caps back onto our feeble and overwhelmed heads. So what are we actually considering when making these choices for our own individual blogs? I’ll share with you some of what we’re thinking about as we’re going through this process. This is, by no means, comprehensive, but it’s a place to start, especially when you’re just getting started. This post will cover some of the basics of blog design. First, I’ll talk about the marriage between your audience and the purpose of your blog. Who are the people you want to find your blog and what interest or need has brought them to your blog? Next, I’ll talk about visual communication. What is the unspoken message you want your blog to convey to your readers when they arrive? What is the first impression you want to create in the minds of your readers and how do you create it? I’ll conclude by giving you a collection of great resources for more education and tools for help with blog design. So, let’s get started…
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!
Click here to check out Scott’s 99Designs logo contest
Click here to check out Tammy’s 99Designs logo Contest