The Overlooked “Tag” Tags

OK, I admit being a sucker for all the “tag hype” in the WordPress Community too. I’ve seen all the WordPress bloggers (that is, bloggers who specialize in WordPress tips) try to be the first to write a tutorial on how to implement tagging in your WordPress theme. I’ve even been tempted to do it myself, although I’ve resisted.

And I subscribe to a good many blogs that specialize in this kind of information too.

And as I’ve been following these blogs, I’ve been waiting on one, JUST ONE, to mention the 2 template tags for “tags” that I noticed in the Default theme that came with my WordPress 2.3 beta download. Seriously, I’ve been waiting to see how long it would take for someone to realize that no one has written on them yet and capitalize on it. But as of yet, no one has (at least that I have seen). So, I decided to take a few minutes and let everyone know about two overlooked template/conditional tags that are available for the new version of WordPress: Read More

Web-Safe Fonts For Your Blog

FontsNo matter what blogging platform you use … even if you’re just building a straight HTML website … there are relatively few fonts that are safe to use. You can’t just find a “pretty” font on your computer and use it on your website. You have to do your research first. Hopefully, this article will help you narrow down the choices in your quest to make your website bulletproof.

In basic CSS format, you define a font for a website like so:

body {
font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Sans-Serif;
font-weight: bold;
font-size: 12px;
Read More

WordPress Quick Tip: Turn off Smileys

Smiley FacesThis is just a very quick tip for your WordPress blog. One of the most annoying things about WordPress’s default settings is the fact that smileys are turned on by default. What’s a smiley, you say? When you put characters together like a colon and an closing parenthesis, WordPress replaces the text with a little yellow smiley face. How cute.

The problem is, many times WordPress theme designers put styles in the stylesheet to control any image in the content div that will either float all images or maybe put a border around them. The result is a screwed up story … all because of this “cute” little feature.

On top of that, let’s say you wanted to put an actual parenthetical statement in your blog story. Now imagine that your parenthetical statement ends with the number “8”. You wouldn’t think that would be a problem … but if you have smileys turned on, it is a problem. Read More

3 Ways to Optimize Your Blog Homepage

Back when I wrote “Good Design Starts with the Homepage”, I didn’t include much in the way of tips for actually achieving that perfect homepage. The fact is, there is an endless list of possibilities to optimizing your blog’s homepage, but I believe that if you do these 3 simple things, you’ll be on your way to the perfect homepage!

(disclaimer: all the below tips pertain to WordPress blogs. Sorry guys, I’m a WordPress fanboy.)

1. Use the correct header tags

One of the most common semantic mistakes made by blog designers (at one time, myself included) is using the wrong header tag to wrap your titles in. Read More

Know Your Audience: The Browser War

It never ceases to amaze me the different audience you see at different websites. Case Study:

For instance, this blog. I just recently launched this site as a means to release my WordPress themes and write tutorials and tips on web design, WordPress themes and blogging. Obviously, this blog appeals to a wide, but interestingly narrow audience. We’re talking about bloggers and designers, not amateurs.

Contrasting that, I did a WordPress theme for my church this past week to handle the new series called “GameTime“. It’s mostly using WordPress as a simple CMS to handle the various pages of content, but we also included a blog feature so we could publish updates to the members of the church. We’re not talking about a bunch of idiot visitors either. The people of NewSpring come from all kinds of backgrounds, including business professionals. Read More

Good Design Starts With the Homepage

I know there’s a lot of controversy over which part of your blog is most important.  Some people say that because most of your traffic is going to come from links to your individual posts through either search engines or links from other blogs.  Others say that because one of the most clicked links on your website is the “home” link, the homepage is the most important detail you should focus on.

While I don’t want to negate the importance of individual post page design, I personally find the homepage to be where you should spend the majority of your time designing.

The reason is simple (at least in my mind).  Once the homepage is taken care of, single post pages can be taken care of based on your homepage design.

See, web design is all about structure.  A “wireframe” if you will.  And if the structure of your homepage is in order, it can be copied (at least partially) for the structure of the single post template.

For instance … if you are designing a blog homepage, chances are you’ll have a header, navigation, a content column, and some sidebars.  Work on the homepage … get the layout hammered out … then use that layout as a guide for your single page template.  Replace “recent comments” with “popular posts”.  You get the idea.

I’m not saying one is more important than the other … I’m just saying to start with the homepage, and let the other page designs follow from the way your homepage flows.