From the category archives:

Blog Design

Tim Dierkes’s MLB Trade Rumors blog is one of the preeminent baseball blogs. Tim has carved out a niche by covering every baseball rumor of substance and doing it in a timely way while adding his own commentary where appropriate. Dierkes recently made the transition to full time blogger and in an effort to spruce up the site submitted it for a Problogger Community Consulting Review.

The results of the review are up, and while they are specific to MLBTR, there is considerable information that all sports bloggers might want to use. These include:

  • Adding an Advertise Here page
  • Making RSS subscription prominent on the page, as well as including an email option
  • Cleaning up the sidebar
  • Tips for trying to find more relevant advertising (which should convert better)
  • Adding more art (some blogs such as Roar of the Tigers already excel at this)
  • Suggestions for attracting more social media love

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Building Your Blog Brand

by Bill Ferris on February 6, 2006 · 0 comments

in Blog Design,General

There are a myriad of reasons why people start blogs, and a myriad of ways to get started. Platforms like Blogger and WordPress.com make it possible for the non-technically inclined to have their own website in a matter of minutes. In addition to ease of use, services like these are also desirable because they are cheap – as in free.

So more and more people are blogging, but so many of the blogs look the same. Default templates and addresses containing blogspot abound. While there is nothing wrong with default templates, and blogspot addresses, you may find that you want to differentiate yourself and have your blog develop its own identity. Here are a couple steps to build your blog brand.
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Style Points

by Bill Ferris on January 2, 2006 · 1 comment

in Blog Design

My typical experience is that in blogging substance generally wins out over style.  No matter how pretty the blog, if the content isn’t worthwhile and the writing isn’t good, the visitors won’t come.  At the same time, you could have the best content, but it will be tougher for people to find if your layout isn’t easy to navigate.  Chris Garrett at Performancing (who has become one of my favorite reads very quickly) offers up: Make A Great First Impression In 30 Seconds Or Less.

It has some great points about titles, navigation, writing skimmable posts, and some general design guidelines that will keep visitors reading instead of clicking through.

I’d imagine many sports bloggers’ strengths probably don’t lie in CSS or HTML, and as a result there isn’t a lot of attention paid to design.  If you’re not experienced with layout, you could easily get wrapped up in design and neglect your content.  This probably helps explain the number of default templates in use. It is also a pretty compelling reason to join a network where the layout is done for you.

Personally, an area I need to work on the most is writing skimmable posts.  This entails making good use of sub-headers, lists, and graphics.  Too often I have long, long blocks of text.  Maybe that can be my New Year’s blog resolution?

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