Looking To Jazzy Up My Blog

by beagooddad on August 26, 2007

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I helped Gayle at Mom Gadget speed up her site the other day. I was able to use a pretty simple trick to fix the problem. I love digging through code.

I have also been keeping track of Dev Dad and his attempts to move his site onto something other than WordPress. Sounds crazy to me but it would also be fun to take on a nice project like that.

So after all of that, I’m jonesing to completely rewrite my theme here at BeAGoodDad. Before I get too worked up on making any changes though, I thought I would take a spin through some other blogs in my feed reader to see what I like and don’t like.

Island Life – I love the artwork around the posts and the header is very pretty, too. I also like the headers in the sidebar (something I know I really need to improve the next time around on my site. I also dig how each comment is very visibly separated from the others and how the beachballs show the comment count. I would probably try to find some way to break the sidebar sections up a little more noticeably (something I need to do on my own site). And, I would either right justify or left justify the sidebar text graphics.

DevDad – Mike might modify the template when the new blog platform is revealed, but the way it is currently designed is pretty nice. The header is very cool because it manages to put a picture of his daughter in it while still looking professional. My kids might need to make a cameo on a future header on my site. I love the photos that he frequently posts. His daughter has great hair and recently there have been puppies around so it must be super easy to get cute photos. The only thing I would really change is that on the individual posts there is a ton of white space between the post and the comments. For a while I thought he had comments disabled. He does have them. They just like to hide.

Rocks In My Dryer – For some reason I always want to drink a Cosmopolitan when I visit. The banner and sidebar at the top of the page are awesome. They both have super big font that makes them super easy to read. I wish the font was as easy to read as you scroll down the sidebar. I’ve gotten out of the habit of a sidebar – content – sidebar layout but there’s something comforting about it that always seems comforting to me. The circles in the blue background are a great touch, too.

So, I’ve learned that I might want to work my kids into the header…or finally get somebody to draw me a really nice one. I want my sidebars to get some better header font and/or images. I want to make sure I keep the comments close to the text.

Another thing I have started working on is consolidating categories. I’m fighting to get down to 10-15 main ones. I’d also like to jazz up the part where it begs people to subscribe to my feed. I want it to load quickly. On a more geeky side, I have a habit of trying to get rid of any database call that I can. I am perfectly happy hardcoding things like the links to my other blogs right in my template rather than storing them in the database. I think it helps the page load more quickly and definitely helps the keep the database resources under control when a lot of people happen to read a post. I’m planning on doing something similar with my categories when I get them weeded down to the final mandatory categories.

And I want it to be custom designed by me.

That’s the part that will probably get me. If I spend 15 minutes a night, it will be done in….Don’t hold your breath.

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