Cleaning Up Your Sidebar

sidebar

One of the biggest disadvantages that bloggers can create for themselves is the aesthetic of their blog.  Readers will judge your blog within the first few seconds of looking at your page.  You could have the best content in the world, but if your blog looks sloppy, readers aren’t going to want to stick around.  Here are a few tips on how to clean up your sidebar to make it more appealing.

before

Take the above blog.  The basic design is clean and straightforward.  The post image is nice.  The content is promising.

The sidebar is a distracting mess.  The widgets don’t line up, the media buttons are awkward, the ad doesn’t fit.  It needs some work.

abouts

The about section should match the overall look of your blog.  I know there a million great fonts out there and you want to use them all, but DON’T!  Use the same fonts that come with your blog design.  If you don’t know what they are, ask!  Ask your designer.  Use font identifying sites to see if you can get a close match.

You can see on the example above that example on the right is justified to the left instead of being centered on the page.  One of the easiest ways to clean up your page is to make sure that all items are centered in your sidebar.  Simply putting <center> before the widget code and </center> after the code will give you a nicely centered item.

connect

There are hundreds of different social media icons available on the web and it is tempting to use some on your blog that stand out and make them different from other sites.  DON’T!  Try to find some simple icons that match your site.  You want these to blend into your page.  The icons themselves are recognizable enough for them to stand out on there own.  This is one area where it is best to be understated.

sponsor

One of the biggest blunders I see with blog sidebars is poorly sized advertisements.  Generic ads come in several preset sizes and many bloggers, not knowing the dimensions of their sidebars, put up the ads they like best.  This can leave ads that are cut off.  This looks terrible and does a disservice t0 the companies that you are representing.  Try to place ads that are the width of your sidebar, or a bit smaller so that they fit nicely and can be shown in their entirety.  If you don’t know the dimensions of your sidebar, ask your designer.  They would be thrilled to help.  If you don’t have your own web designer, try downloading Firebug for the the Firefox browser.  This plugin allows you to hover over web elements to find out information about them;  information like width and height.

A few other sidebar foibles you would do well to consider:

– Limiting blog lists.

If you want to make a list of favorite blogs or websites, keep it short.  And endless scroll is annoying to readers and is an unwise use of space.

– Removing blog counters.

You should care about how many people visit your site.  Your readers should not.  They should appreciate you for your content, not your popularity.  Blog counters can come off as desperate and you aren’t desperate!

– Removing blog badges for your friends’ sites.

We know that you are well-intended supporting your girlfriends’ blog – but endless amounts of linky buttons clutter your sidebar and distract from your aesthetic.  If you really like a blog or product, write about it.  It will be flattering to the subject and will drive more traffic to their site than a sidebar link.

after

Ah! Now doesn’t that feel better?

 

Links to Love

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The weekend is here!  What will you be doing to beat this summer heat?  Maybe a dip in the pool or a bowl of ripe summer cherries?

If you get to enjoy a lazy morning in bed, here are some links to love:

– what typeface are you?

– a lovely summer inspired pinboard

– a site dedicated to all things organization?  be still my heart!

– do you envy other bloggers?

Happy Weekend!

 

From Board to Blog | Modern Neutral

We know how exciting it can be to get an updated look for your blog. You’ve found your designer, you know you’ve seen a thousand other blogs that inspire you and yet, you can’t quite put a finger on what it is that you want in your new design.

To help, we are starting a new series called From Board to Blog.  One of the easiest ways to nail down your style is to look at the images that you’ve pinned over time and to recognize recurring themes in those pins.  We’re taking images from your most popularly pinned boards and showing you how you can use them to show your designer exactly what you are looking for.

Today we are starting with MODERN NEUTRAL.

After gathering a few pins, we go from this:

board1

to this:

board2

With modern neutrals, color takes a back seat to clean, crisp lines & great typography.  This motif is a great way to show off your photography, especially if that photography is black and white, muted or nature photography.  Modern neutrals are up your alley if you are no-nonsense and drawn to beauty through simplicity.

 

Happy 4th!

4thFor our awesome clients in the States, we wish you a fantastic Fourth of July!  We’ll be celebrating around the country today with our families and friends.  Whether you are parading, grilling, camping or fireworking, we hope you have a fantastic weekend.

P.S.  Save us a burger!

 

Download | iPhone Backgrounds

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If I had my way, I’d probably change my phone wallpaper more than I change my shoes.  It’s so fun to have a little happiness meet you when you turn on your phone.  If you are like me and just need a little change now and then, download our new free iphone backgrounds.

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DOWNLOAD:

pink   |   black   |   gold

Summer Greeting Card Printables

Hi everyone!  I don’t know about you all, but I am extremely happy that summer is right around the corner!  Often, with summer, comes lots of get-togethers with family and friends, birthday parties, and celebrations.  If you are anything like me, sometimes the hustle and bustle of the summer gets to me and I forget my friend’s birthday card or that extra thank you card I meant to send.  Today, I have created a few summer greeting card printables for you so you no longer have to worry about those last minute cards.  Below, you will find a “Thank You” card, a “Happy Birthday” option, and a “Congrats Grad” for all those high school and university students that just became alumni.  They are all 4×6 postcard sizes, so they are perfect to drop in the mail.  Enjoy!

ThankYouDownload the THANK YOU card

HappyBirthdayDownload the HAPPY BIRTHDAY card

CongratsDownload the CONGRATS GRAD card

Remember, these cards are for personal use only.  Happy Summer!

Ampersand Printable

I have a real weakness for anything with an ampersand symbol. I recently designed a collection of prints that included a black and white ampersand. As simple as it may be, there’s something magic about ampersands!

Here’s a free ampersand printable for you to enjoy.

ampersandprintable;

Click HERE to download. The zip file contains both a 5×7 and 4×6 printable.

lindsey

A Few Favorite Fonts

I don’t know about you, but I go through a phase a few times a year when I start perusing font sites to freshen up my collection and to ooh and aah at the latest and greatest in typography. Some girls like jewelry, some like fonts; I am the latter. While I use plently of the lovely free fonts that are out there, I don’t necessarily believe in using all free fonts. To give your brand credibility, you need to use well-formed fonts that are clean and easy to read. If you are just starting to build your font library, here are a few favorite fonts that I am currently in love with. Some are free and some are not, but all are solid additions to any awesome font library. The links are listed below. Enjoy!

eaveshaginneviscantonigotham

Mrs. Eaves | Hagin Caps Thin | Nevis | Cantoni Pro | Gotham Condensed

Office Area Printables

I have been working on adding a little life and color to my very drab office space and decided to accessorize my new shelves (from Ikea) with a collection of coordinating prints.

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I decided on a color scheme I wanted to use and then created the prints based on that color palette. Here are the colors I chose:

color-scheme

Then I found random objects and accessories from around my home to add to the shelves to make them interesting and fun.

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My husband always asks me whenever I decorate something what the meaning of it is.  My answer is always “there is no meaning…it’s just suppose to look good!” Wouldn’t you agree ladies that it’s all about the look?  Men never seem to get it…sheesh!

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Even though there really is no meaning to any of these printables, when combined together, even my hubby admits they create a very colorful and interesting office space.

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I thought I’d share my collection of office area printables with you today. Each print comes in the size indicated below:

Office Area PrintablesYELLOW & 5X7   |  FOREVER 5X7  |  EYE CHART 8X11  |  ASSORTED HEARTS 8X11

No. 9 5×7  |  UTAH 4X6  |  ABC 4X6 HEART 5X7

Enjoy!

Free Spring Printable

Spring is finally here! I’m not sure how it looks in your part of the world but here in Poland everything is green and full of colors. In that case I would like to give you something simple and funny. Todays free spring printable is available in two sizes: large – 19,5×27,5 inches and small – 4×6 inches. I hope you like and maybe you will use it to add some fresh spring looks to your home.

Free Spring Printable

You can download all versions for free HERE. Remember that they are for personal use only!

Free Spring Printable