Thursday, July 26th, 2012
Because I’m OCD when it comes to Layouts & Coding
I know sometimes people are afraid to ask about something, or ask for help,
and so I’m here willing to help wherever I can. I love all of the girls I’ve
met thru blogging (& even the dudes) so I just want to help you all out with
any design or blogging problems you have & just to help make the blogging
community prettier & more efficient and easy to navigate. I am in no way an
expert, or a graphic designer, but I have basic skills that might help at
least one person. **
When it comes to coding and blog design I’m definitely OCD about it, which is probably why I’ve changed my layout 39489348 times over the past 11 months. I’m always tweaking and changing things until it’s perfect, and then one day I’ll look at my layout and want to change the entire thing. Travis is always lecturing me about changing my layout, and telling me to let it go, so I’ve tried my hardest to keep the overall feel the same, and just tweak things here and there. I’ve had the same header/logo & color scheme for the last 3-4 months now, which is progress my friends. I also panic when something goes wrong – like I crash, someone has a problem leaving a comment, or someone is not getting my posted delivered via email (which I still have not figured out), but I learn along the way. I know a lot of people out there struggle with their designs and coding, and I know I am not the best but I have some basic skills & education to back things up (even though I am a web design student drop-out, I did go and get a degree in computer programming). So, I’m offering tips, layout designs, and even suggestions for my own website.
I’ve been approached quite a few times to do someone’s blog design, make them a logo, make a cover photo for their Facebook page… etc. I never had the time to do these things though, no matter how much I want to, but I’m making time now. I realized the other day when I was making one of my friends his Facebook cover photo for this jewelery wire wrapping business that this is what I love to do (Web Design, Flipping Houses & Blogging = Happiness). I love to be creative, and take peoples visions and make them a reality. I have the worst confidence in myself to do these things, but people seem to always love what I come up with, so I must be doing something right. So, if you need a blog design, or maybe a tweak here and there, or even having trouble with some code, just shoot me an email. I do, however, have to charge for blog designs. They just take way too long to do for free. We can work a price out, kind of like a donation thing, because this is not an official business yet, just kind of something that I want to do on the side and see how it goes and take it from there.
Is there anything you don’t like about my design? Is something hard to navigate or slow to load? Just let me know. I’ve been trying to make my blog as easy and efficient as possible. This is the first time that I’ve ever used WordPress.org, so I’m learning just like most of you. I’ve also never done PHP coding before having this blog, but I’ve learned things along the way that might help you, or maybe you know things that might help me. I’m open to any & all suggestions.
Browsers – Use Firefox or Chrome. For you Mac users, Safari is fine. Just never use Internet Explorer. I really, really dislike Internet Explorer and my blog never looks right in IE. I use Firefox at work and at home. No complaints.
Re-size Pictures Before Uploading – Always re-size your pictures before uploading them to your blog. It makes your load time faster. I always re-size my pictures down to a width of 640 pixels, and that’s the exact size I use on the blog.
Naming Pictures – This is a new tip that I’ve learned in the past few weeks. Don’t let your pictures stay named something like IMG_3482, always re-name your pictures to what they are, like apple-pie-drink.jpg. That way if someone on google searches for “Apple Pie Drink” your image might come up.
I can’t stand when I go to a blog and it doesn’t have certain widgets and features. It just makes things difficult, so here are some widgets that I’d suggest using, if you don’t already.
Archives – Sometimes I want to check out what you did around Christmas or what your first month of blogging was like, and if you don’t have an archives menu, it just about makes this search impossible.
Search Bar - I know you got married, and you made this really cute sign for the reception, I could easily type in wedding sign in your search bar and find the post, but if you don’t have a search bar, then I’m stuck searching and searching.
Subscribe Button – I just found a blog I really like and I’d love to subscribe, but the button is no where to be found. Most people don’t know that if you add /feed to the end of a URL that you can subscribe that way, so if your readers don’t know where the subscribe button is or don’t know that trick, then you just lost a subscriber, and nobody wants that.
Categories – I remember you making this delicious looking recipe a few months back and I wonder if you have any other recipes. I’d normally go to your category menu and select something like “Recipes” or “Food & Drink”, but you don’t have one of those, so I have to search around for another way to look at all of your recipes.
(For WordPress Users)
Plugins make life easier for both readers and the blogger. Here are a few plugins that work really well.
Akismet – Spam control. No more captcha’s or copy & pasting passwords to comment on a blog. Just install this plugin, and it does the spam control for you. Mine has already caught over 3,000 spam comments to date. I get really irritated when I go on a blog and I have to input a captcha, because most of the time I leave a comment, and then I hit submit and right away hit the “x” to close out, not realizing that it took me to a captcha screen, so the comment is never left. And those copy & paste password boxes drive me up a wall. They never, ever work for me. It always says that the password is wrong, when it’s not. So, this just makes me not want to leave comments on that blog anymore, because the password never works.
WordPress Thread Comment – I use this plugin to notify people when I reply to one of their comments. How many times have you left a comment somewhere, the blogger replies to it, and you only remember to check it weeks later? This solves that problem for your readers. They leave a comment, you reply, they receive an email saying that you’ve replied and includes the response. Easy.
WP-PageNavi – I’m not a fan of the << Older Newer >> navigation system. Sometimes I want to jump all the way to page 1, this makes that possible.
P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) – This plugin scans all of your active plugins to see if any of them are slowing down your page load time. I did have WordPress’ Jetpack Plugin installed so I could keep an eye on my stats, but after running the Plugin Performance Profiler I noticed that it was just eating away at my load in time, so I installed Jetpack Lite instead, and now my page load time has improved drastically.
If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, etc, just let me know!
Need help with coding, logos, blog designs, let me know!
Think my layout, colors, navigation sucks, let me know!
I’m here to help, listen & answer questions, because I know how frustrating coding & layouts can be.
I could probably go on & on with this topic, but I’m going to leave it with the basics. Hope it helps someone!