3 Reasons Why I Hate the Term “Content Is King”

content is not kingWho don’t heard the term “content is king” before?

Please stop saying it, tired of hearing it all over the blogosphere.

I’m sorry but that doesn’t make any sense to me. Who made up this crazyness among the bloggers? I have never seen any blogger write about how we should make the content into King, but still we use the same term.

Is really content the King?

No way!! You can’t succeed in blogging by having only content. Agree?

Okay come along with me, I will show you what ingredients are really required and how you can make your blog a success by ditching content is King myth.

There are 3 major factors that people are forgetting.

  1. Network
  2. Design

  3. Traffic

Without having the above three things can it really possible for anyone to make money blogging?

1. Network

Do you know what makes a blogger more popular?

By being everywhere. 

Inter”Net” + “Work” to build relationships = Great results!

Network is the key to success.

What do you say?

But we are forgetting to build connections with other bloggers. Most of us putting more efforts on creating only the content. Yes, in the early stage of blogging, one should focus on creating great content. But, they also should focus on networking and making relationships with others.

“You build, they will come” is just a dream.

You have to shout out and work hard to let others know about your content. Without building a network around your blog it’s impossible for you to take your blog to the next level.

Best ways to build a network:

  • Actively participate in related forums.
  • Guest posting.
  • Regular blog commenting.
  • Using Social Media to build connections.

Now don’t get me wrong. You can’t do all these things at once, but you can do them alternatively. Start being everywhere by reading and commenting on other blogs. Later increase your popularity by guest blogging, joining the forums etc.

2. Design

If content is King, design is his queen!

And queen should always look sexy 😉

Generally custom design is better than the free themes.

Why?

Using a free theme is so easy, but it’s also easier to walk away from your blog! Because most of the bloggers already using the same free themes and you can’t create a good impression on your blog when someone visits.

2 simple ways to make your design more better:

  • Hire a professional to design your site
  • Buy a premium theme like Genesis or Thesis, and customize it yourself

If you know nothing about coding, there are so many videos and tutorials out there to do this. And you can always use the child themes if you don’t want to touch the code!

Note: Always make sure to test your blog in different browsers. Use this tool do that. It’s always better to find your blog’s design mistakes before your visitors or readers do.

3. Traffic

The best quote I ever heard about driving traffic to any site is this..

Try to stick with one traffic source at a time.

Let me tell you more clearly.

If you focus on every traffic source, you might not get the desired results. Know your best traffic source first, is it Facebook? Twitter or search engines?

Then concentrate more on bringing more traffic from them.

It’s always better to drive traffic from search engines, also called “organic traffic”. Because it’s free, effective and can generate better results in the long run.

So optimize your blog posts to the search engines, include relevant images, tags and keywords to better optimize your content. But don’t do keyword stuffing by using relevant keywords too often and making your content indigestible for the readers.

Conclusion: Content becomes King only when you have the above 3 things. Without having them, even if you have great content, you can’t build a better blog.

Over to you

Have I missed anything in this post? Do share your views, I would be glad to respond to your comments.

The Uniqueness Of EzineArticles – Special Review

Ezine may be the king of all article provider sites on the Web, but indubitably, it holds crown for the “ugliest website on the planet” as well.

EzineArticles LogoEzine’s web design is undoubtedly ugly. Ironically, it carries a forgettable, Microsoft Clipart-looking logo that makes it unforgettable; it never fails to maintain its nationalistic, flag-like contrast, unifying blue, red and white together, yet acts like a leftist for aligning all its text to the left; and its gradient and stoke usage seem like remnants of the 1992 Web design boom. Still, amateur and professional writers on the Web patronize the site without even considering its dreadful design. Actually, the “ugliest website on the planet” is only a hyperbole. What makes their ugliness too recognizable is their absolute domination of their niche. Ezine Articles is extremely popular among other ‘article provider sites’ on the Web—not to mention most reliable and dependable—and all design critics’ eyes are on it.

A hatful of websites has changed and redeveloped their sites over the years, and has ended up shutting down and buying a new domain for another marketing attempt, yet Ezine remains up and running, continuously serving the article-hungry Web surfers. It sounds tragic for some Web owners who failed to bring down Ezine (at least to Rank 2 or 3), that this poorly designed website is holding the top spot for years without even considering a complete design makeover.

What makes Ezine remarkable is its steadfast stand to its purpose

Ugliness is definitely not its way of branding. What this site is doing is an unorthodox approach to it. No one is sure if this site still puts too much concern in branding now that it has achieved the top status, because it seems like it doesn’t need one anymore. What is clear is their unwavering stand to function and purpose- to provide quality and helpful articles to people.

EzineArticles

Traditional yet Unorthodox and Unconventional

Nowadays, encountering a site without a commenting section and panel of share buttons is next to impossible. Every website today relies on these social media tools to attract traffic to their sites and generate popularity from outside sites and readers. And it is not surprising anymore if Ezine does not have to comply with these needs, because the people behind it know how extremely popular their site is, inside and beyond their niche. Despite the site’s popularity, it still manages to retain its traditional approach to “byline promotion” and avoids the popular social media tools to promote its content.

Ezine Popularity

Its haphazard website layout has never been a hindrance in achieving popularity. Dominating a niche that caters to diverse niches and scrutinizing hundreds of professional and amateur written articles a day is not joke, and making them appealing to each and every niche—from Arts and Entertainment to Women’s Interest—is a lot harder task. Ezine’s popularity is all because of its efficient delivery as its sole purpose.

It would be difficult to build a website without putting details to its aesthetics and just focusing on purpose alone. It would be impossible to launch a poorly designed site without getting harsh yet truthful comments from Web design experts.

Perhaps, Ezine’s case is a very unique one, something that is difficult to imitate, something tailor-made only for Ezine.

This article is written by Warner Carter. He is interested in everything online that fuels discovery. He finds SEO a facinating puzzle so of course work for an SEO Reseller, Endless Rise.

Web Development Tools For Perfect Website Design

A wealth of free web development tools is available for ensuring valid web design. Having a validated website means that clients and readers of the site will view it as the author intended, with cross browser functionality and seamless transitions from page to page. Following are a few of the most important web development validation tools to guarantee complete and error free code.

W3schools is a leader in web development instruction, offering easy to understand tutorials on mark-up languages, browser scripting and XML, as well as having a great website validator. W3Schools website validation tools include validation of site HTML, CSS, XHTML, XML and WML pages. Simply enter the URL of the website to be validated, and W3C will provide a full report of validation errors, listed chronologically with line and column numbers, as well as summations of the validation error for ease of location and correction.

w3schools

For Firefox users, there are several useful add-ons targeted specifically at web development. Total Validator is a Firefox add-on that validates HTML and XHTML, checks for broken links, performs accessibility validation and provides a spell checker. It helps majorly in making the web page free from any errors.

total validator

JavaScript Debugger, also known as Venkman, is another useful Firefox add-on for web developers. It allows users to debug JavaScript in the Mozilla setting by viewing source code, finding errors, then providing solutions for their correction. Another plus for this add-on is that Venkman has numerous help sites and user blogs for additional support.

pendule

Google Chrome and Opera also provides users with web development add-ons and widgets. Each of these browsers offer similar tools targeted specifically at their users. Google Chrome offers tools such as:

  • Pendule – A multipurpose tool for developers and bloggers that includes solutions for style sheets, forms, images and accessibility.
  • Fire Bug Lite – A web development debugging tool. The fire bug lite is available for both Firefox and chrome browsers, and the options provided by it helps a lot in different aspects of web designing.
  • Validity – A simple HTML validator.
  • Resolution Test – Allows you to test your page at different screen resolutions, which not just helps with the web designing but also lets you know which browser doesn’t display the page correctly.

Opera offers web developers SDKs, or Software Development Kits. These kits include tools for development over many platforms and devices, from simple validation tools to tools for developing and debugging software. Opera also offers its users a site devoted solely to development called Dev.Opera. Here, users can find tutorials and blogs on subjects ranging from HTML5, to the latest Opera widgets, to designing pages for mobile devices.

4 Tips To Design Perfect Site For Boosting Your Internet Marketing Efforts

The ultimate goal of any website is to communicate with their target audience. As you’re trying to communicate with words, pictures and graphics, there’s always space for improvement. Following the right tips and information can help you design a website that can grab the highest number of eyeballs. If you’re looking for website designing solutions, you can follow the tips mentioned below and make your website a grand success. These tips can serve as a guide and make your efforts fruitful. If you wish to hire a website designer, then check these tips on finding a good one.

Web Design Internet#1 – Derive the purpose of your website: The first thing that you need to decide about your website is its purpose. The content, images and the graphics that you add in your web page must have a purpose of its own. All your designing elements are part of your website that you need to communicate with your target audience. Therefore, make sure that you evaluate the purpose of everything that you add to your website including the content.

#2 – Don’t make your customers struggle with your website: As you would never want to read the content of any website that is not pleasing to your eyes, your readers won’t read your website if it does not please their eyes. See that the fonts that you use in your website are of a legible size and also has a reasonable scan length. Make every word, graphic and animations pleasing to the eyes.

#3 – Highlight the important parts of your website: If you want to grab the attention of most of the readers online, make sure that you highlight the most important portions of your website. Use the heading tags to boost the importance of the vital sections of your pages and you can also use images to highlight the more important features of your website.

#4 – Use an easy navigation system: One of the most crucial issues to consider when you create a website is to use an easy navigation system. You need to make sure that your visitors are able to find what they’re searching for easily. If they can’t navigate from one section to the other smoothly, they’ll soon lose interest in your webpage. You must display the navigation bar either on the top of your page or to the left. Check 5 Simple Steps To An Original Blog Design.

Thus, if you’re an amateur in the field of internet marketing and yet you want your website to be noticed by everyone, concentrate on the website designing tips mentioned above. Increase the traffic to your website and mage huge yields making your internet marketing efforts successful.

This article is written by Neil Adams.

5 Simple Steps To An Original Blog Design

People visit your blog, and when they arrive – “I’ve seen that design before.” It commonly happens. You don’t master an impressive design that stands out from the rest. In truth though, it can be the design that defines the very thing you are fighting for in the blogosphere; so don’t just throw it away. Here are 5 steps that you can use to create something that does stand out from the rest. Lets create that original blog design.

Other Popular Design Related Posts :

  • 5 Common Mistakes That Can Spoil Your Whole Website Design Work
  • What You Should Do When Other Bloggers Steal Your Website’s Design
  • Why Use A WordPress Theme Framework For Your Blog?

Web Design#1 – Remove the color blue : Blue is the most commonly used color on the whole internet. When you start using the color blue, you’ve already created something that is similar to everything else. To create a design that is original and unique, make sure to find color combination that are irregular, but go well with each other; such as, don’t simply make your whole design black, combine it with other colors.

#2 – Combine elements of fixed and fluid layouts : The key to create an original design is in the layout itself. This is really a choice of preference – some people like to have fixed widths, others like to have them fluid. If you want to create something original though, why not try combining both fixed and fluid layouts together, you’ll pull something impressive and original if you do this.

As an example, you could try having the header of your design fluid and then making the rest of the design fluid. You could make a featured part that is fluid and the rest that is fixed. There is so much that you can do to create a unique design; just come up with a kick-ass layout.

#3 – Use gradients over flat colors : Sidebar title background; the perfect example of where people like to put just flat colors. This is just damn boring; if you want to go for something original and impressive, spice it up a bit.

Use images or gradients behind navigation bars, sidebars or headers, this will add a lot more excitement to your pages over just using flat colors – which look dull and boring.

#4 – Add a personal touch : The professional way to show that something is truly yours. Rub your face right into it and make sure that every single element of it has got your own personal touch.

Litter your face all over your blogs banner. This will show that it’s truly unique – everything is about you! Something that people cannot copy.

#5 – Originality is in the redesigns: Yes, you heard right. In certain elements, redesigning in itself is a sign of originality. People will always be impressed if every single time you update your design, it is something new, that in itself is original.

Conclusion : Go for a design that is original. People will be able to recognize that it’s your website that their visiting and not someone else’s when they arrive. Your design is what basically defines who you are and who you are trying to be, don’t let it be just like everyone else’s that’s been made; be prepared to stand out and create something amazing!

This guest article is written by Peter, a 15 year old blogger from Australia and the owner behind ideas bubble. If you wish to write for HBB, kindly check this.

HOW TO: Localize A Multilingual Website

It’s a glaringly obvious truism to say that the web is a global phenomenon. It’s relatively easy these days for anyone to put their blog, business or personal website within the reach of anyone else in the world – so long as they have an internet connection, of course. In theory, your little or not-so-little corner of cyberspace can be accessed by anyone from Boston to Beijing. In reality, though, the process of adapting an existing website to make it accessible, usable and attractive to an audience in a different country or culture requires a little more forethought and preparation.

Translation

English might be the mother tongue of the internet, but the majority of the world’s population does not speak English at all. Use of English as a second language now outstrips its use as a primary language, but studies have also shown that web users have more confidence in sites that use their native tongue, especially when it comes to parting with money online. Even if a target audience can understand your content, a version written in their native language will still yield more positive results.

Google Translator

Depending on the resources you have available, it might be possible to create localized sites translated by a native speaker from each target market; if your budget doesn’t stretch that far though, machine translation options are also available. The easiest way to translate your content is to add a widget for translation tools such as Google Translate, Babelfish or Microsoft’s Windows Live Translator to your site.

Installing the widget will allow visitors to translate your content into the language of their choice at the click of a button. Alternatively, you could incorporate inline translation to facilitate intuitive, automatic translation of your content. JavaScript libraries such as jquery.com offer tutorials on using Ajax (asynchronous JavaScript and XML) to write inline translation code.

Related : Translate Your Blog Into Another Language Instantly


Country-Specific Localization

Some languages span more than one country or geographical area, but it should be remembered that linguistic usage and cultural mores can vary from one region to the next. The French spoken in France is different from that used in Canada, Belgium or Switzerland, while American English has many differences in vocabulary to the English used in the UK, India or Australia.

Languages

Focusing on a language rather than a country will require less time and expense and there will be a certain amount of crossover, especially if you avoid specific cultural references. However, it’s easier to make your copy engaging and to avoid embarrassing mistakes if you localize each site for the country, rather than the language.


Domains and Geolocation

Geolocation can identify a visitor’s location by checking the country in which their IP address is registered, and can then channel them to the appropriate localized site. There are companies that collate IP addresses and will allow access, for a fee, to their databases. One drawback with geolocation is that IP addresses are often hosted in a different physical location.

Many are hosted in China for example, so a visitor from Norway with a Chinese IP address may end up being channeled directly to a Chinese localized site, as opposed to the Norwegian site.

Geolocation

Investing in separate country code top-level domains (such as .no for Norway) and ensuring your localized sites are hosted on servers located in the target country will help with SEO, boosting your rankings on the local versions of all the major search engines (such as Google.no), as search algorithms prioritize local content in local searches.

Also, there’s less competition for search rankings in the non-English internet, purely because there are fewer sites in total in languages other than English.

This is the optimum solution, but subdomains and subfolders can also be used. A subdomain (such as www.no.example.com) may still be considered a homepage for listing purposes by some directories and will be listed as a separate entity in Google search results. Using a subfolder (example.com/no) can make it easier to change or edit code, as the code will usually reside in the same file storage space.


Formatting and Scripting Tools

Using CSS adds inbuilt flexibility to your site as it allows the content to be altered independently of the design. The direction of text and location of any vertical navigation bars can also be easily switched for languages such as Arabic that read from right to left, by adding the dir=”rtl” attribute to the necessary areas.

Unicode UTF-8

Lastly, when it comes to your character encoding for multilingual site design, Unicode UTF-8 is the ideal choice, as it covers every character in over 90 scripts and is supported by all the major browsers.

Do you know any other tip to Localize A Multilingual Website? Please share it in the comments.

This guest article is written by Christian Arno. If you wish to write for us, kindly check this.

HellBound Bloggers Reloaded!

Redesign

As I told you before “Changes are unavoidable and inevitable”, remember Thesis Makeover? This New Theme’s name is Bureau News. Have to appreciate both the designer and the design. Kudos. I customized the theme to the needs of myself and HBB.

Overall the images in the theme are less than 10 KB. That’s quite encouraging since Google Search Rankings Considers Site Speed. I also removed many plugins and replaced them with codes.

Global Statistics

  • Total HTTP Requests : 37
  • Website Size : 29.5 KB
  • Total loading time : 5.8 seconds
  • Total objects : 40 (195.6 KB)

Source : Pingdom Tools

HellBound Bloggers was successfully checked as XHTML 1.0 Transitional (as of now :P). Our new theme contains valid XHTML and HTML.

Source : W3C Markup Validator

You can also check this article, 20+ Tips To Improve Your Blog’s Loading Speed.

I used Thesis 1.7 for HBB previously, but had only Personal License.

Personal License – Use of Thesis on one live website and one localized development server.

And am working on a big project right now, so thought of using Thesis on that website. But if Time and Money favors, I’ll buy the Developer’s License, which allows me to use Thesis on sites that I own.

I have more plans for a better design, hopefully very soon. Have to improvise the logo and some other sections of the blog. All I can say is keep reading and you should be pleasantly surprised shortly.

Yeah, your feedback is greatly appreciated!

Tips On Finding Good Business Website Designer

Website DesignersI personally think that the number one thing to investigate is your prospective website designers ranking in Google. My reasoning here is Business Website Designs main job is to bring in business and new customers. A business website needs to rank extremely well to an effective marketing tool. The Internet is full of website designers that market themselves as business website designers, when in fact they are nothing more than graphic artists. Business website designers need to be proficient in SEO and Internet Marketing to be in a position to offer their clients a value in their services. If they are not a SEO expert, Business Website Designers need to have a SEO expert on staff to complement their website design services. Only in this way will their customers be getting a value in their new web design.

Back to checking out the prospective website designers ranking in Google, if their own Website does not rank well, why would you think he or she has the skills to bring value to the table when it comes to designing your website? How much will it cost you additionally to market your website if your website is not Search Engine Optimized?

For example do a Google search, let’s say “Portland OR Website Designer” If I were looking for a business website designer in Portland Oregon I would consider the top 8 designers in this search.

The next way I would suggest as a way to find a good Business Website Designer for business application would be to do a SEO search. Let’s say “Portland OR SEO” and see what is rendered. Are any of the top results for Portland OR SEO not only a SEO expert but also a Web Designer? Perhaps as a cross reference are any of the results for Portland Oregon SEO the same as Portland OR Website Designer? Now we are getting somewhere if there are!
As a Business Website Designer and SEO expert I am constantly amazed at the number of Website Designers that in addition call themselves SEO experts! Reading a few books or forums does not by any stretch of the imagination make you a SEO Professional.

Many a business owner has been led down the wrong road and wasted a great deal of money not only in hiring a website designer that knows nothing of Internet Marketing, but possibly hiring a SEO expert that does not have the experience to properly manage the SEO of a website.

In closing I just want to recount that properly investigating thoroughly prior to hiring a Website Designer will save you tons of money and time as far as marketing your Business Website on the Internet.

Optimized Business Website Design The First Step in Internet Marketing

Internet MarketingThe following opinion is probably highly debatable and may not even be a popular stand at that. I feel that the craze of Twittering is a waste of time in terms of ROI. As is many of the other forms of marketing that is not directly related to the Internet.

Hopefully some of the dust has settled from that last paragraph!

I personally subscribe to the philosophy of exerting 20% of my effort toward realizing 80% of my returns. Rather than spending 80% of my time to gain only 20% return on my time invested. That is how I feel about some of these avenues of marketing a business.

Please don’t get me wrong I have a Twitter account and Twitter on a semi-regular basis. But I am realistic as to the hopes of ever realizing a return on my investment of time.

I don’t think anyone has ever sold a John Deer tractor on Twitter!

I believe that owning and operating an Optimized business website can’t be beat when it comes to return on investment.

When asked by a business owner that wants to realize additional revenue from their business on the Internet how this can be accomplished my answer is always the same.

  • Develop a business website that reflects the business personality and professionally offers the public your products or services offered.
  • Aggressively invest in that website with an off page optimization campaign. This means invest not only in having your website optimized but engage in a back link campaign that enhances your website, the keyword phrases you are marketing, and the products or services you offer the public.

Many a business owner has had a beautiful website designed and unfortunately not by a website designer that is well versed in Internet Marketing or SEO. Unfortunately this website will never be a real asset to its owners without marketing it properly. It is lacking the juice that will drive it to the top of the organic search engines. This where profits are generated, ranking well in the organic search engines.

Internet marketing starts with a business website that is designed with SEO in mind from conception and once launched live invested in with back link building. Being a portland oregon SEO firm, we are expert in designing SEO friendly website.

Back links can be procured by many means. Below is a list of the most fertile means.

  • Article writing and publishing online as a guest blogger on other peoples blogs.
  • Press Releases published professionally on the Internet.
  • Adding your business in directories with links into your website.
  • Commenting on other peoples blogs so long as they do not have no follows.
  • Link baiting is the best way to generate natural back links

This type of work acquiring links is very time consuming and sometimes it is more cost effective out sourced to companies that specialize in this type of marketing.

Bottom line of all the ways you can participate in Internet Marketing there is better way of realizing a good ROI  in both time and money than with a well engineered business website that is participating in an off page optimization campaign.

Choosing A Top Grade Theme For Your Blog

When it comes time to start searching through the 1,000 plus free themes on offer with WordPress or if you have opted to use a paid theme, trying to select a great theme for your blog can be a real headache. Hopefully this article will help highlight some of the more critical aspects you should consider when comparing the various themes & give you the guidance necessary, in order to help you reach the right decision.

Overall Look Of A Theme

Many of us are inclined to centre our focus on the aesthetics of a theme rather than the functionality, when trying to determine a top theme for our blogs & alas this isn’t always the best thing to do. The trouble is, we as humans are normally drawn to what looks pleasant & attractive, very often we are oblivious to the underlying layout & structure of a theme. The premier and most important attribute to scrutinize should be the fundamental layout of the theme, for the simple reason that this is the most difficult area to work with, should you find it necessary to alter or edit anything. The print, colours & emblems are relatively easy to change in comparison to editing the basic structure of a theme which can be an absolute nightmare to try and alter or edit.

A Costly Change Of Heart

A change of heart is not so much of a problem when choosing a gratis theme; it simply means a little extra work on your part, in altering the theme to something more suitable, but for those of us that have chosen to actually purchase what we see as a top quality theme, a change of heart can signify money down the drain & in the current financial climate, this is something few of us can afford to do!

Benefits Of A Great Design

Lets check out the structure & layout of what I consider to be an outstanding theme, lets see what if any benefits there are to using a theme with the following layout, but please bear in mind that the removal of any element you do not require, is far easier than trying to add it to a theme at a later date.

The Header Area

Header area, this should need little explanation and to be reasonable I would say the only concerns here should be the ability to use your own headline image, the addition of site search & maybe also the RSS & Email subscription buttons. One other consideration that you may wish to take onboard, is the ability to show your weblog title as H1 text as opposed to an image. Obviously for SEO benefits, the H1 title text is preferred. The H1 title tag is one of the most important areas of your page and is granted far more weight by the search engines than any image alt tag.

Note: If your theme lacks the RSS & Email subscription buttons then you can download the necessary code & images, to place a subscription block at the top of your sidebar. RSS & Email Subscription Bar The code can simply be added to a text widget in your sidebar & the images uploaded to your theme’s images folder.

 

Advertising Banner

Numerous blog owners appreciate the ability to place a 468 x 60 block in the right hand side of the header, the justification being that if you are not using an actual picture or image, but are only using a pattern or gradient colour, then the right hand area of the header tends to look slightly bare & is a waste of valuable advertising space. By placing a 468 x 60 banner here, you not only relieve the monotony of the header bar, but could also get some additional income to help towards site costs.

The First Object In The Content Area

I am not a great fan of sliders boxes to be honest with you, however I do believe that a featured article box or latest post box can succeed really well & even if it does not utilize the full width of the content area, it can often be realigned to one side leaving a region for advertising, or can be centralized so there is minimum space lost either side of it. Should you prefer to opt for a slider as against a static featured article box, please give thought to the increase that can occur in site load times, as these sliders are invariably written in Java script and are known to be resources guzzlers!

Content Boxes

Content boxes can now make up the remainder of the content area of the page, there are numerous layouts to select from here, my personal choice is a magazine style, although the overall layout of this area is not so important as long as the titles are showing correctly & using the right heading / title tags. As far as search engine optimization is concerned, one should always strive to use H1 as the header to your website, H2 as the titles to your posts & H3 or H4 as titles in your sidebars / footer & any additional headings within your articles.

Sidebars should at all times be set on the right hand side for the basic understanding that the search engines scan your page top to bottom & left to right, therefore if you place a sidebar on the left of your page, that entire column will be read before moving onto the content area. Your post content should always be read before any sidebar content, as it is the most important content on the page. This is exactly the same when thinking up a title to an article, as always, set your most useful keywords as far to the left as is achievable whilst maintaining readability, as these words are granted far more weight by the search engines.

Top Sidebar

Full width top sidebar. This is a region in which I consider a lot of themes fall short, my individual preference here is a sidebar block of 320px wide, this allows for 10px padding either side & you can always use a 300 x 250 Adsense block or indeed you can comfortably accommodate a 4 x 125 advert area without any trouble at all. From my own experience, nothing looks worse than a lack of symmetry on a website, or the fact that certain objects seem compressed into place or are allowed to overlap their boundaries, pages like this give an impression of a lack of professionalism in my humble view.

Note: The inner/left & outer/right sidebars mentioned below are both sited on the right hand side of the page & are sandwiched between the upper & lower sidebars.

Inner Sidebar

Inside sidebar should be useable in a range of sizes ranging from 120px – 180px. Whatever width you set the left hand sidebar at, the right hand side bar should equate to the whole width (300) minus the breadth of the left hand sidebar, so if the left is 140px, the right would equal 160px + the 10px padding either side = 320px.

Outer Sidebar

Outside sidebar should be available in a variety of sizes ranging from 120px – 180px. Whichever width you set the right hand sidebar at, the left hand side bar should equate to the whole breadth (300) less the dimension of the right hand sidebar, so if the right is 140px, the left would equal 160px + the 10px padding either side = 320px.

 Note: The above figures would be varied if you opt to have inner padding between the two sidebars! Central padding is not always necessary and depends more on the alignment used in the sidebars & which objects or widgets you place there. For example if align left in the left hand sidebar & align right in the right hand sidebar, then very often you will find there is no requirement for padding between the two sidebars.

Bottom Sidebar

Full width bottom sidebar. Again this is where numerous themes lose my vote, for the simple reason that the lower portion of the sidebar area is the ideal place for adding all those latest visitor type widgets from Blogcatalog, MyBlogLog or even Facebook. Having the additional space of 320px at the bottom of your sidebar is an excellent place  for these large widgets.

The Footer Box

Footer Boxes 1, 2, 3 These are also very useful areas for your most recent visitor widgets or indeed any RSS feeds you may be posting into your blog. Also anything else that you feel is inappropriate to put in the sidebars can be tucked away in the footer area.

Copyright & Analytics / Stats

Finally the copyright area which often also includes some type of tracking. Is this area editable? e.g. can you add your own details & copyright? You would be surprised at the number of themes that do actually restrict your ability to edit this area.

Conclusion

There we have it that is what I see as a 1st class layout, for the simple reason it covers all eventualities. I have found nothing more frustrating than trying to place a specific element or widget in my sidebar & discovering that my theme will not accept it due to width restrictions in the sidebar. Paying close attention to this area can make life so much easier when building your blog.

Summary

Well I hope this article has helped and has shown you several of the more crucial elements we should take into account when trying to choose a quality theme for our bogs. Obviously the amount of importance one places on each different region of design, is going to be dependant upon each individuals ability when it comes to editing the theme code. Having said that, I consider a lot of headaches could be saved by following this broad layout, as it is also highly tuned for search engines optimization.

This article is written by Steve Nickson. He has over 24 years experience working in the computer industry, including operating his own computer repair & custom build business in the UK. If you wish to write for HBB, kindly check this.