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June 14, 2007


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I have a few suggestions but to make sure I do not offend, a little background will help. I read a lot of the personal productivity blogs and websites. So much so that I am putting my toes in the water, so to speak, at my own site. It is not ready for the public yet but I have been seriously researching what seems to be organized, clutter free, and easy to use in blog/web design, so here is what I see.

First, purely aesthetic idea. The grey background kind of makes the blog seem dingy but with the grey type of the sidebars, the text of the non blog text (all the support materials) doesn't really pop out for easy access. I would go with the Zen concept of clean white sheet and/or darker text for this.

The number of recent, best, related, or other topics links is overwhelming. If they point of the blog is to support your business and the header shows what the business is about, the overwhelming part is also losing the reinforcement concept. You might want to pare down the direct links and instead link to a link page on your website. Or maybe link to the sites/posts in the post so the reader knows where to find those additional cool/useful resources directly related. Maybe combine the two ideas. Up to you.

The daily themes as well as the 5 or fewer topics are really related to me, an avid reader. Heck, I think I read every post you do within 1 day. The daily theme is really about a writer trying to find a way to stay fresh in presenting novel information or ideas. In other words, here is a neat thing but the writer is looking for ways to stretch out in new formats/focus. I would prefer read about a core idea that keeps getting hit again and again. My best example near at hand of this would be http://www.goal-setting-college.com/. They keep going back to goalsetting, motivation, handling issues related to your goals, etc. The format of the articles, blog entries, even links keeps changing but the blog always tries to wrap back for reinforcement. You obviously don't want to give away every trick you have or know (and the example site is a little too simple, IMO), but the lack of clutter in topics is about a lack of confusion about what the blog is trying to communicate or be.

As always, how and what to take from this is up to you. Just my view...

Ariane Benefit

Chris, You are AWESOME!!! I love all your comments and I'm going to implement them ASAP! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your feedback. I really do want a more Zen feel. I wish you had a blog or website so I could learn more about you!

Thank you again!

Brandie Kajino

Hi Ariane,
Ok, so my blog is still a work in progress as well, but I like the idea of the "decluttering" and streamlining a bit. I also think the gray color line of thinking is a good one. You've made me think as well! :)

Ariane Benefit

Thanks for the comment Brandie! Your blog and website are very streamlined. Your website is gorgeous! : )

Cynthia Friedlob, The Thoughtful Consumer

Looking good!

I'm basically an essay poster; the nature of the issues I discuss on The Thoughtful Consumer just seem to require longer posts. So, no quick tips, even though I know that many people prefer their blogs short and sweet.

I, too, prefer to be spontaneous when writing, so the Daily Theme is a pretty tough committment, I'd think. I applaud anyone who tackles it. It may be helpful in providing structure for the blogger, but I don't know how much significance it has for readers. It would be interesting to find out. (I only post about once a week so this issue doesn't apply to me anyway.)

My blog design is very straightforward because I wanted to make the reading experience as easy as possible. Soothing colors, only two columns. Probably some people would say it's boring!

I am planning on trying out a few pictures along with my blogposts, maybe adding a simple picture to the heading, but I'm not a fan of clutter of any kind, including visual, so I'm going to be cautious.

I still believe the old show-biz saying that "content is king," so if you regularly offer something your readers find interesting, you'll always do just fine.


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