Formatting / stylizing a blog

Discussion in 'Website Creation' started by michael_novo, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. Just as a disclaimer, this post will have a link to my blog, but I'm posting it for input on the site and content rather than blatant promotion :)
    I finally transferred my Wordpress.com blog to Wordpress.org and now host it myself. It's still fairly plain. But right now I do one of two things...either post photo results from shoots or small informational articles for my readers. The question comes in at images. Right now my format is to show a smaller size image than the original and limit it to about 10-15 images per post.
    The site looks like this: http://novophotography.com/blog/?p=599
    Or a couple people suggested as going with a thumbnail widget such as this, so that only one image shows at a time, but I guess I can display larger photos such as this...
    http://bryanallenphotoblog.com/?p=2157
    Until it was suggested earlier, I didn't think much about changing the formatting around. On one hand I limit the images to show the "better" of the bunch hopefully and show fewer of them. You also don't need to click on each photo and can simply scroll. But on the downside to my current layout a user may not want to see all of the photos and image load times might come into play for slower connections.
    Suggestions? Any other style suggestions are welcome as well. I'm working on adding a header image to bring a bit of color to the darkness and considering changing the text color, but it does liven the site up a bit.
     
  2. I'm currently building a new blog too -- just transferred everything over from Blogger (yes, I know...) to Wordpress. I bought the ProPhoto theme from Netrivet. They have a few premade templates that you can change around all you want. It's pricier than most templates out there, but I wanted to be able to make a lot of changes down the road, without buying a new template all the time. I'd suggest getting a prefab template at least...something with a bit more style in it. Your photos are nice but they just aren't being 'showed off.' Personally I also think black as a blog/website main color is way heavy/formal, and I tend not to spend time on those websites. But that's just me. Find a color palette that works for you and your images. I spend time working with a professional designer (yes, I had to save up for that, but it was well worth it) and they can give you all kinds of advice about color. A logo is also important.
    Lots of blogs use Flash (I think that lightbox feature on Bryan Allen's site is in Flash, and I'm quite sure that's a ProPhoto blog actually), which I can't view on my iPhone. So I find that annoying and kind of outdated. It looks fancy on a regular computer, but not everyone can see it. So keep that in mind as you look for a template or design your blog yourself. And keep it simple! Me, I find that there's a thin line between simple and boring. So I'm still working on my new blog and trying to keep a balance.
    My (still under-construction) site, if you want to take a look, is: http://nikkimoorephotography.com/blog/
    good luck!
     
  3. I'll take a look at some theme options but I do think I'll be sticking with black or dark. Maybe going to a brown or gray is something to consider. I see a lot of blogs that have a white backdrop or even look like this forum and (just me personally) I'm bored with that look a little and like the dark.
    As for flash...in theory it's on the way out, but in reality the only thing it doesn't work on is iphone and ipad. Seeing as how flash is still heavy in the photo world I guess I'd be catering to the bulk of the market rather than the iphone users. But something that could incorporate them would be best I would agree there. Either way the display of the photos or color might need to be tweaked.
    In terms of design, is flash outdated? Maybe, and some of the web developers I know say they don't prefer it...but the market isn't quick to catch on and really only Apple thinks it's outdated. I currently use an Ipad which is nice to show clients photos on, in fact the display is fantastic! But because there's still a tremendous amount of flash still out on the web I am actually looking to sell it and get a tablet that has flash support and USB slots. As much as I like the device, it's the web limitations that are frustrating to me as well so for now...I'll be switching to another device.
     
  4. It seems like you could theoretically create a blog/website that uses no flash (my web designer used html5 to build my slideshows), then you'd cater to all your viewers. But that is potentially more expensive and a longer term perspective.

    I've also read somewhere that ProPhoto's theme (and maybe some blog widgets/extensions can do this too) can detect whether the site is being viewed on a flash-compatible device, and if not, display something that the device CAN view. That way you'd get the slick graphics that Flash can bring, as well as not alienate that small segment of your viewers. I have no idea whether Flash is actually outdated or not, but that's just what comes to mind when I'm trying to view someone's site and I see a bunch of little question marks instead of photos. Not saying I don't appreciate the good looks of a shiny flash site when I'm on a regular computer. It's just one thing to think about.
     
  5. Michael, I would go with the normal blog post layout. By using a lightbox to display pop-up images you still have to load images individually, so both options take time. The method used in the Allen blog is not Flash, but Javascript. There are many alternatives to flash nowadays. HTML5/JavaScript is a big trend. I prefer to scroll down and have images appear automatically as I scroll. The advantage of the scroll is once all images have finished loading you can quickly go back to the first or last without wasting clicks, because they're all on the same page.
     

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