Design

What do you think about my new design?

This posts covers my first design. I have redesigned my site and hopefully this will have its own post very soon.

During this days, being very busy on my freelance web and blog design tasks, I have dedicated some hours to my new design for my blog too. I tried to have something neat and working. What you can see now is what I managed to do. I know very well that this is not a perfect theme, so I need your much appreciated suggestions and help to get it as near as possible to being a perfect theme i terms of design and accessibility.

Color Combination: I would like to be discussed is the color combination. How do you find it? Is it eye-friendly? What about the background, do you think it should have a color, or it is alright?

Images: What do you thing about the images? Is there something that needs to be removed or something that needs to be there and is not? what about the actual images design, how do you like them?

Sidebar: I do not like the sidebar myself, however I need some suggestion how to get it better as I cannot do much now that I am tired. A good question would be: what needs to be there and what needs to be removed? but this is not the only topic to suggest about.

Monetization: As you can see a have monetized the blog. How do you find the placement of the ads? Do you have any suggestion?

This is all. Any suggestion would be very much appreciated. Thanks to all.

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Code

Minimalist WordPress Theme Development

When I began to explore the WordPress theme code at my beginnings with WordPress, I came across a problem that I could solve only after a while. At that time I had no idea of minimalist web design, yet I wanted to stick to a minimalist web development habit, i.e. code less and have less files. While coding less can be grasped immediately as a saver of time, bugs and nerves, minimalist design is harder to understand in nature as it has to do more with arts. Even though now I am able to color some pixels on the screen about minimalist web design, it is not what I intend to discuss here. I want to share with you what I kept for a invention at the time my PHP grasp was very immature.

It was the case when I wanted to have most WordPress template files reduced in one as the case of the classic WordPress theme. In other words, I wanted to use only the index.php file which would do the role of home.php, singe.php, page.php etc. But I wanted to have a default excerpt option for all of them except singe.php and page.php. This made me have an hard coding time, but the pleasure of solving it was great. My “invention” is below:

<?php if ( is_single() || is_page()  ) {
    the_content();
} else {
    the_excerpt();
} ?>

That’s it. I just wanted to share this with you and why not be a little helpful. I would love your feedback. Please, drop me a line. Thanks!

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Business

Why I’m Against Selling Established Personal Blogs

First let me be clear; I am not against selling web property, including blogs, what I am against is selling your own personal blog where you write about subjects you are fond of and make a little (or more) money out of it. This is the case of The WWW Observer which is for sale by its founder and posts’ author. Well he is selling the blog for his own reasons, which I am not going to discuss here. What I am going to discuss here are my own reasons why I wouldn’t take the step to sell it.

a) I would not sell my blog as it is very dear to me. I find a blog as a baby; first it is an idea in your mind, than you begin working on its implementation, than you suffer as it is growing up, then you are very happy when you see it growing bigger and making your life better. It is very related to you.

b) When you write a blog and establish it, you make a lot of friend-readers. You share thoughts together and write about each-other. You visit each-other’s blogs and have a nice commenting chat sometimes. Well, be prepared to lose those friends. If they do not mean much to you, it might be OK, but friends are always dear people and it can be painful to lose them.

c) You can make money out of your blog. When you sell your blog and get rid of it, you get something to reduce the pain for sure, a good sum of money perhaps – its selling price. At the same time, if you keep it, write less frequently, not having much time for it and keep your readers, you can yet make some money to justify the time you spend on it. This money in 12 months can be more than what you sell your blog for.

d) When I finished this article (without this paragraph) and decided to take the sixth advice of the Super Blogging Tips article 8 Ways to Write a High Quality Post about at least proofreading once a least, the article I chose to share with you at this week’s article of my weekly series 5 Articles a Week, I found this advice very helpful again. But this time I put proofreading off for later. As I was walking down the street and thinking of my draft article, a wonderful idea came to my mind. So you don’t have enough time to spend on your blog. Right? Than you can rent it for a while, can’t you? This while can be as long or short as you want. As for the renting terms I would suggest that it can be a share of revenue between the renter and the borrower, if this is the right term. Other conditions can be set, such as publishing frequency and topic nature. I find this a great way to spare time and still keep your blog up and running.

I consider this post to be subjective in nature. You might find it more emotional than argumentative, but I still can dare to share these thoughts with you. Drop a line, if you think I am wrong or in case you have something to add. Thanks for reading!

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Opinion

Five Articles a Week Can Make You a Geek

Well, I know a geek is not really a very sociable person, but I had to find something to rhyme. Moreover, they say that geeks are born, not made. This was for the title. As for the article, I chose to share with you 5 articles a week, I to help myself to read more and in detail, not just browse through articles. Thanks!

1. Tomorrow’s CSS Today: 8 Techniques They Don’t Want You To Know This is a great article on eight powerful, yet not widely-known CSS techniques by Tim Wright. This techniques are not CSS hacks but very useful features that can help every web designer to improve his/her or their clients’ web presence. Why should one employ these techniques? The author answers:

The answer is very simple: you can do more with less code. With browsers evolving very rapidly in recent years, CSS support is improving. By having to use a minimal amount of markup, you can safeguard your site against browser updates and changes, and vastly increase accessibility with very little effort.

This article is a must read for every ambitious web designer. Do not lose it.

2. Brainstorming for Blog Posts This is a very enjoyable, yet quite useful article by Juggler at The WWW Observer. There you will find a list of places and time where and when you can brainstorm for blog post or other articles in general. I have chosen a nice time to share with you from his experience.

2. When I’m so pissed – Yeah, when I’m super annoyed and pissed off, I usually think of the reasons why I’m pissed. Then after thinking for a bit, I can come up with one or two blog posts because of my current state. Sometimes, you don’t even have to brainstorm anymore. You can just write about what made you so exasperated! Like this one… This post was published because I was annoyed. So annoyed.

3. 10 Things To Do To Help Your New Blog Well, I you are a new blogger, as me, you will find this article helpful for sure. This is a ten-step-long list that reveals to every body who read it some good tips about improving and promoting their blog. One thing you might figure out while reading is that there are not ten topics exactly in the article; some of the same topics are broken into two. However I enjoyed reading it and I recommend it to anybody. One of the tips that I found helpful and I could see its result as soon as I read it is this one:

Weblog Tools Collection News. Did you know that Weblog Tools Collection has a section on their site where you can submit news? It is basically a bb-press forum, but the main guys at WLTC look their, and it is where they find out about the new plugin releases that they feature that you might have seen in the RSS feed on your WordPress dashboard. Not only might the article get picked up by them and featured, assuming the content is interesting enough, but you will pretty much guarantee yourself some traffic. I submitted one article there, and I got 50 hits within the first day (I know this through Google Analytics).

4. The Ultimate Guide to WordPress Conditional Tags This is a very informative article for every WordPress theme designer and developer. The other make a very impressive use of his knowledge of PHP to produce high quality of code and neat content. I was impressed especially of one thing; the way the author used to exclude something form the home page. I have been used the other way around which has resulted in much more code. Here it is:

<?php if (is_home()) { } else { ?> <h2 id="recentposts">Recent Posts</h2> <div class="cont"> <ul> <?php wp_get_archives('title_li=&type=postbypost&limit=10'); ?> </ul> </div> <?php } ?>

5. Eight (8) Ways to Write a High Quality Post Saying the truth, I fund this article very helpful. There are 8 writing tips that one cannot say which is important and which is less important. It is a very compact article. However, I have to choose something to share with you, in case you do not get there and read it. Find it below.

6. Always proofread at least once. When I first started blogging I didn’t proofread my articles at all, which let grammatical mistakes and typos just slip through. When someone reads an article with bad English or a lot of misspelled words, they won’t be impressed and might not even continue reading if it’s bad enough. No matter how good of an idea you have for your post, it will be ruined if you don’t proofread it at least once or twice and catch all the errors you made. Even better, ask a friend or relative to read through your article before you publish it and see if they can catch any mistakes you might have missed!

I hope you will find what I read and choose to share with you interesting and helpful. If so, please drop me a line.

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Code

I’m Sad to See WordPress Themes Using Tables

When I decided to begin a new project of mine, Open Book Critic, for time reasons, I just browsed the WordPress Themes Directory, typed ‘book’ in the search and some four or five themes appeared in the results. I chose one, NoteBook 1.0 theme. Well, my intention was that this would be a temporary theme, until I would find some time to design and code one myself. That is why I was not interested in retouching the code. Well, this did not change until my fiancee had a look at Open Book Critic and decided to have that same template for the site of her new English teaching center ‘Smart Center‘. And here begins the sad story.

Expect that I had to give up from my original theme for Smart Center, I had to redesign the template in Inkscpe as it had to be my fiancée’s favorite color, pink. For this reason I had a look at the xhtml/css code to grasp the designing manner. Well, this was the most bitter part; I came across with a painful TABLE-TR-TD mosaic. This made me pessimistic.

To make the situation less terrible, I begun to rewrite the xhtml/css from the beginning, following another layout principle with the image layout. And you can have a look at it at Smart Center and another at Open Book Critic to see the difference in look and in code. The look is almost the same, but the code very very different.

So, if you are someone who uses table-based design user, try to keep up with web standards and new tech. Make a Google search and don’t get back look back; tables belong to the past. And than none will dare to call you a terrible person.

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