January 26, 2006

New Blog Designs / Finding a Blog Designer

So I was looking around for some blog designers and was a bit surprised by the search results. It took a good bit of effort to look around and find someone I thought was really cool.

A while ago Darren recommended Cre8d, but I thought I would hunt around to see if I could find a few more I liked.

For Christmas I ordered my step dad a design for his Home Security Blog from Elegant Webscapes. They took a bit longer than I liked, but their rates were exceptionally affordable and I think they did a great job on that template.

DianeV is a cool cat and looks as though she offers blog design services. I may end up bugging her down the road.

The Hugh Page also has a list of blog designers. Some look killer good, and some of them looked like I designed their clients sites, and generally I think that is bad since I usually stick to the buy a logo and color match some defaultish template to it school-of-design. Hard to do quality control on Wikis unless you have a large userbase, or exceptionally limited reach & commercial interest, or are absolutely devoted to quality control. It is even harder with blog design resources though since with blogs beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Some great blogs have designed by links on them which are helpful for finding a designer, but many of the better blogs do not. Who are your favorite blog designers?

January 1, 2006

Blogs and Press Releases

Some topics are so spammy that likely over 95% of the news in those fields is composed of spam. While uncertain of what to write about some new bloggers may post about press releases as much as interesting news because until you really learn the web and learn your subject well it is a bit hard to distinguish the good from the bad.

If you are new to blogging or are building a blog network based on scale and low costs a few tips worth noting off the start are:

  • Most press releases are spam.
  • Most information is spam.
  • In highly commercial categories almost all information is spam.
  • Blogs do well because they are not like press releases. Instead of giving you just the spin and junk marketing messages most good bloggers sort through good and bad information and highlight the best information.
  • When in doubt it is almost always better to reference a media site over a press release.
  • If what you are doing can be done by an algorithm then there is little point in doing it manually. Learn how to program and set your program loose.

Even if your blog is entirely commercially oriented it is still possible to provide interesting information if you hunt long enough. Good bloggers save their readers time or help them find new perspectives, deals, and relevant topical information.