‘Tis the Season for A Website Makeover

December 27th, 2007 · No Comments

In the previous article I talked about designing a Adding a Little Something Extra on Your Web Design from Head to Footer. Well, how about the in between too? It’s the end of the year and 2008 is literally around the corner, so why not give your website a fresh new look. Here are a few tips to make your website makeover a success:

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Tags: Design and Development · Tools · Web Content · WordPress

Adding a Little Something Extra on Your Web Design from Head to Footer

December 24th, 2007 · No Comments

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how to Wow Them With a Hot Header. I found this article recently displaying really beautiful looking web page footers. Usually a footer just contains some copyright info, your blog or websites name, and maybe a duplicate of your main navigation and/or links to your terms of service or something to that effect. But, doesn’t mean that all this boring info can’t look good as well. A footer can keep your site visitors on your site longer if you add a cool design and some extra info like a tag cloud, or a little “about me” or “about us” paragraph or even just repeating the main navigation links.

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Tags: Design

Choosing the Right Elements for Your Website or Blog

December 1st, 2007 · No Comments

You ever see a website or blog that looks so fabulous, you think, that’s what I need for a kick-arse web presence? You know those sites with a billion cool looking social bookmark plugins & apps, mini Flash animations, crazy animated navigation bars, video, audio, really cool dynamic picture galleries, very shiny design, funky tag displays and so on. I admit, as a web and blog designer, I suffer from “site envy” whenever I stumble upon a really great, dynamically jam-packed site or perusing the amazing site designs posted on sites like CSS Remix. It’s natural to feel a little envious. But, I remember what I need to remember before the envy erodes my common sense: simplicity and distinction trumps complicated and shiny.

You ever noticed that the most simple ideas are the most profitable? Shoe laces? First generation of MP3 players? Netflix? Underwear? The point is, no matter how dynamic and full of bells and whistles, your site visitors need one thing above else, relevant and easy to find information about whatever they’ve come to your site to read, see, purchase or hear. Of course, giving them a little somethin’ extra, goes a long way too. But, don’t over do it. Focus!

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Tags: Design and Development · Tools · WordPress

Redesign Projects Over the Thanksgiving Break

November 26th, 2007 · No Comments

Kemio.net originalKemio.net newHoliday breaks are a great time for getting personal projects done. I decided to redesign two of my personal sites. One is Film Tops, a film blog and the other is Kemio.net, my personal website that I converted into a blog for easier updating and maintenance. Both Kemio.net and Film Tops are hosted on one account with Lunarpages but have separate installations of WordPress. Kemio.net is the main domain and Filmtops.com redirects to Kemio.net/filmtops.

I’ve been wanting to do these redesigns for a long time now. Let’s take a look at Kemio.net first. The two images on the side here are the old Kemio.net website (top) and the new Kemio.net blog (bottom). The goal here was to make updating easier especially considering I have so much going on right now and not time to waste fiddling around with code unnecessarily. I built Kemio.net origninally using PHP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Most of the JavaScript is used for displaying pages from a click of a link in the top portion, blue area, to the dynamic load area on the bottom portion, white area. I used PHP to make it easier to load the navigations on the bottom right side in the white area since they vary given what page you’re on. Everything else is HTML and CSS. I had fun building this site originally a couple of years back when I started using PHP. I especially loved having the data for my “kemipedia” (random facts about me) and the links to my favorite websites dynamically imported from a database, which was also replaced with new facts and new links, respectively, whenever the page reloaded.

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Tags: Design · Design and Development · WordPress

How to Hire a Website or Blog Designer and Be a Good Client

November 5th, 2007 · No Comments

As Featured On Ezine ArticlesSo you need a website or a blog and haven’t the faintest idea how to go about choosing the best one for you or your business? My best advice to you, speaking as a small business owner, a website and blog designer, and well, a human being is know what you want your website or blog to accomplish first and then start your search. Why? Well, it will cost you less in time and money. You won’t have to do as much research for one. And second, the designer or firm you hire will spend less billable hours talking with you and redoing whatever it is you want undone or adding whatever it was you forgot to mention for your website or blog to meet your needs.

Ultimately, when you’re looking to hire a designer, developer or firm to design your website or blog, know your needs and know your wants, then get a reality check. In writing school we were always told to “kill your babies”. Meaning, get rid of the part of our story or article that we love too much, so much that everything else suffers or so much that we get stuck. My advice to you individuals and businesses who are looking to get a website or blog created, make a list of your needs first, your wants second. Keep those things that overlap, keep the rest of the needs, put the rest of the “wants” in your pocket for a rainy day…or until your budget expands to support these wants.

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Tags: Blogging · Design and Development · Essentials · Web & Blog Business

Our Love Affair With WordPress: Part 4 Episode 1 - Your Blog Design

October 29th, 2007 · No Comments

We love WordPressLast time on “Our Love Affair With WordPress” you learned about blog content. You learned that good content is relevant, engaging, mostly free, cites sources, should contain visuals and ultimately reflects you or your business. So, let the courting continue with the pretty stuff, design. The allure of WordPress is its seemingly infinite capacity to change its looks from one blog to another, keeping things fresh and interesting for designers and visitors alike. The WordPress publishing platform is the blog designers wet dream because it is so flexible, open, and capable of creating a look as simple a look as Simpla to a more involved design like Alexified. Before we continue, I’d like to make sure we’re all on the same page about what design means in the blog (and website) design world. Design means structure, look, navigation and technology, not just the look of a blog. Savvy?

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Tags: (Web) Technology · Blogging · Design · Our Love Affair w/ WP · WordPress

Our Love Affair With WordPress: Part 3 - Your Blog Content

October 22nd, 2007 · No Comments

We love WordPressSo, back for more? Couldn’t resist, huh? Well, let’s get started then. Friday, we went over the The Essentials of Blogging and talked about how content, categorizing (including archiving) and commenting are the main staples of blogging. A blog exists for content and sociability for the most part. The goal of any blogger should be to make your blog as interesting to read as possible and that promotes interactivity (usually through commenting and often also through sharing and bookmarking, which we’ll cover later). Your content must also be categorized in such a way your readers know where to look for articles on a given topic or maybe even a specific article. Category listings, archiving and tag clouds are the most common methods of effective and simple ways to organize your blog articles without confusing or frustrating your readers.

Though categorizing and commenting are essential, content is king. More importantly, your written content is king and executioner. A blog is nothing without good content and everything with it. More to the point, good content is what brings in readership. Relevant content creates a following. Crappy content kills a blog.

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Tags: (Web) Technology · Blogging · Our Love Affair w/ WP · WordPress · Writing

Our Love Affair With WordPress: Part 1 - A WordPress Overview

October 17th, 2007 · No Comments

We love WordPressIf it’s not yet obvious, we LOVE WordPress here at the WordPress PAD. We’d marry WordPress if we could, seriously. But alas, it’s not legal and well, sort of gross if you think about it. So, let’s not. Let’s instead focus on how to get the best out of WordPress. Our Love Affair With WordPress is a series we’d like to continue until you cry mercy and tell us enough already, we get it, we give up, we’ll join you in your love lust with WordPress, sheesh…or something like that. We love to blog. We love talking about how we love to blog. It’s a sickness we want no cure for.

First thing’s first. What is WordPress? Well, it’s a state-of-the-art semantic personal publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. Gibberish? Not really. But, to put it simply, WordPress is a very, very, very good and free blog publishing platform. What’s a blog? A blog is a regularly updated journal or chronicle of articles and other bits of information such as images and links, published as web pages. What makes WordPress a superior blog publishing platform is that it is free, user-friendly and the web designer and developers dream because it’s easy (and fun) to customize. This benefits blog readers too since many plugins can be used by many people creating a more dynamic and social blogosphere.

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Tags: (Web) Technology · Blogging · Our Love Affair w/ WP · WordPress