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9 Things You Can’t Forget When Designing a Blog

Designing a blog can be quite a daunting task, to be sure. To-do lists alone could fill pages if you were to include all the minor details that accompany the project. Which is why most designers shy away from logging that in-depth of a laundry list of items, indispensable and not so much, to get done by the launch date of the blog. Which is also why some of these little things that would make the latter pages of the list, more often than not, get overlooked. Never fear, that is why we are here!

It is an easy thing to do when so much is on your plate, to let one or two of the smaller details silently slip through the cracks, remaining hidden in the dark crevasses in the backs of our minds. And though this checklist may not be as long as I exaggerated such a comprehensive to-do list would be, this is a list of nine very important details that many blog designers overlook. These are often thought of as so minor that it makes little to no difference in the overall design of your blog. However, these features can serve to top things off, design wise, and act as some simple finishing touches that step up your blog’s presentation, and thereby, its presence.

1. Favicon

How important can a tiny 16×16 pixel square be? Well, I guess the true answer to that, would be relatively based on how important your branding is to you. Favicons not only take your branding a step further in solidifying it, but they also make for easily recognizable bookmarks for your readers. And any steps that you can take to improve your reader’s experience is always a worthwhile time investment that will pay off in the end. It may be one small step for you, but it will be one giant leap for your blog.


It’s very simple to add a favicon to your website.

Step 1 – Create the favicon and name it favicon.ico. Below are a couple of resources to help you.

Favicon from Pics

Favicon from Pics

Quickly create favicons from images or your Twitter icon.

Create a Favicon in Photoshop

How to Create a Favicon in Photoshop

A tutorial on how to create a favicon in Photoshop and save it as an .ico file.

Step 2 – Upload favicon.ico to your root directory

Step 3 – Add the following line of code between the head tags of your header file.



Favicons Episode 8 – Smashing Magazine has an 8 part series featuring some of the best favicons from around the web. The other 7 parts are also listed in the post.

2. Subtle use of gradients, textures, shadows & single pixel lines

…Oh my! That is a bit of a list in and of itself, but it is better seen as a number of available options at the blog designer’s disposal to enhance their work. These small details give a design depth and keep things from looking flat and boring. You want your design to be pleasing to the eye, to appeal to your readers and entice new ones to check out your site. If the site looks dull and drab, then more times than not, people may judge the content and bloggers to be the same. Make the right first impression through your design with these subtle inclusions, and you will not be sorry that you took the extra time.


Just Creative Design

How To Make Your Next Website Design Pop

Loads of great tips on those subtle visuals that will polish your design.


A Gradient Tutorial

Some great tips on the proper use of gradients and some common problems new designers have.

Texture Lovers

Texture Lovers

A large collection of textures from around the web that are free for commercial use.

Lost & Taken

Lost & Taken

A blog dedicated to providing high quality free textures to the design community.


3. Icons

Coming in third on the list (though to be fair, they are not listed in any kind of order of importance, because they are all important), focuses on you finding or making the right set of icons to fluidly fit into your design. There are literally thousands of icon sets that have been graciously given to the community, so give this search the time it needs to be thorough. Or again, create a set of custom icons to complement your theme. You want these elements to mix seamlessly with your site, so as to not detract from your flow and design. Also make sure to use link icons to let people know what kind of link they are following. Again, this is just a matter of courtesy to your readers.


Lost & Taken

Add Progressive Icons to Your Site Using :after pseudo-element

A tutorial that teaches you how to add icons to the links on your site.

Smashing Magazine Icons

How To Use Icons To Support Content In Web Design

A great and in depth tutorial on how you can use icons to enhance your web designs.

Icon Finder

Icon Finder

An icon search engine including over 100k icons and 186 icon sets.

Instant Shift

75 Free Useful Icon Sets for Web Designers and Developers

A varied collection of both free and premium icon sets.


4. Whitespace

This is one I have had to struggle with myself, but you can learn from my shortcomings without succumbing to them yourself. Do not fall into the same trap I fell into, feeling that just because you have empty space it has to be filled with something, anything…it didn’t matter if it served the design or not, the whitespace had to go. Through growing as a designer, and strict bi-weekly aversion therapy sessions, I was able to break free from my bad design stranglehold and see the light. Keeping whitespace makes your blog look clean and not overly cluttered, not to mention it really aids in making the content stand out.


A List Apart Whitespace


A List Apart’s look at the importance of using whitespace in web design.

Web Design Tuts

Using White Space Effectively In Web Design

A how to on effectively using white space complete with some excellent examples.


5. Alignment

I understand that out of the box thinking which often leads to a lot of innovative design techniques, so I do not want to cramp anyone’s style, or more so their alignment, with this next topic. Alignment can be very important for your site, simply because of the symmetrical feel and flow it can provide to your design. It is a scientifically argued point, that people respond favorably to symmetry and through use of a grid, you can ensure that your elements are all in line, so to speak, and are visually stimulating to a majority of the masses who will be interacting with your blog. By all means, buck the system if you want, but my advice would be to use a grid for initially laying out your blog design then, if necessary, break the grid.


The Grid System

The Grid System

The ultimate resource in grid systems.

The 960 Grid

960 Grid System

The official site of the 960 grid system. Downloadtemplates and the CSS framework here.

Fuel Your Creativity

Grid Based Design Toolbox

Pretty much any link you could think of on grid based designs.


6. Typography

What is a blog without words? Other than a non-descriptive gallery with no context, protext, or any kind of text. Kidding, but seriously, making sure that the typography you have chosen for your blog is eye catching, is definitely one to consider, that some designers overlook. Like with most media, your headlines have to stand out and grab reader’s attention to draw them in. A blog is no different. You may think that what it says is all you need worry with, but you would be wrong. Making sure that the fonts used are clear and readable are beyond a must, they are…something that is beyond a must. If either your headlines or your body type are not clear, people are not going to stick around long trying to decipher your typography.


Web Designer Depot

10 Web Typography Rules Every Designer Should Know

The title says it all!

I Love Typography

A Guide To Web Typography

I Love Typography’s guide discussing contrast, size, hierarchy and space.


6 Ways To Improve Your Web Typography

A must read article for anyone who wants to improve their web typography.


7. Emphasis

This is another area where I know better than I perform, but I am working on it, and that is placing emphasis throughout the posts and site to make the blog a bit more user friendly as well. With so much going on in your posts and your blog, it is easy for a reader to become overwhelmed, or simply not have the time to fully concentrate, and so the user merely skims them both looking for something to catch their eye. Make sure that you take this into consideration and bold important information for users to make it stand out for them. Also, be sure to have your links highlighted in a complimentary color to make sure they do not get overlooked by the busy reader, as well. Once again, it is always beneficial to your blog to take the extra steps that improve the users overall experience, and this is one of them.



Emphasis in Web Design:
How to Make Things Stand Out

A look at all the different elements you can use to add emphasis to your design.

Web Style Guide

Web Style Guide 3rd edition: Emphasis

An article specifically focusing on how to add emphasis to your typography.


8. Styling Lists & Blockquotes

One of the main focuses of your blog will be the posts you put up, so make sure you do not undercut your site by under-styling your content. You want to demonstrate pride in your work as you present it to your audience, and one way to easily achieve this is through your style-sheet. Having well styled lists and blockquotes can do a lot to not only enhance the look of your posts, but if you have guest authors it opens up the format for their posts a bit. Having a limited style-sheet may effectively tie the hands of your guest writers who do not like having their posts presentation seeming bland and unsophisticated. So they opt to leave out elements that would normally give the post a bit more presentational punch and pizazz.


Taming Lists

CSS Design: Taming Lists

A tutorial that teaches you how to style lists in pretty much any way you can imagine.



Listamatic shows the power of CSS when applied to one simple list. A great resource if you quickly need to figure out how to do a particlular list style.

Styling Blockquotes

Six Ways To Style Blockquotes

Six different ways to style blockquotes including how-tos for each.

Styling Blockquotes with Images

Simple Double Quotes

How to style blockquotes using background images.


9. Separate Comments from Trackbacks

The final design detail that tends to get underestimated or under-valued that I want to talk about here, is the separation of comments from the article’s trackbacks. While it is understandable for you to want to not only recognize those who link to your work, but also to keep those links in the post for prominence and relevance, you have to keep in mind that it can be frustrating for a reader to have to sift through trackbacks mixed in with comments. Taking the time to distill the two elements apart from each other on your blog will help with the flow of readability, and once more show a dedication to the user friendliness of your site. As I said, it is nice to want to include these links kindly extended to your work, but that is generally not what the readers who comb through your comments are looking to read.


Separate Comments from Trackbacks

Separating Trackbacks from Comments

An extremely simple how-to.

Separate Comments from Trackbacks with jquery

Separating and Hiding Trackbacks with Jquery in WordPress 2.7

Useful if you want to either separate or hide trackbacks.


That’ll do it from this end

Well those are my nine suggested details that you need to keep a focus fixed on as you dive into your blog design so that they do not get left on the road of good intentions. What other major ‘minors’ do you hate to see forgotten?


  1. Add point Subtract point
    trectadis (1 Point) December 15, 2010 at 3:10 am

    “It sure was a long one. I agree, these are minor details, but they make a difference. Thanks for the read and thoughts.”
    You can read more about it?

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    Nice posts about the artwork and organization of a blog. Now I need to figure out how to get started on what to blog about?

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  3. Add point Subtract point

    A nice piece of advice. I will keep this as my check list when I design my sites.

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    sheena tan (1 Point) October 18, 2010 at 6:15 am

    Nice posts ..keep it up!

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    web page development training (1 Point) September 30, 2010 at 4:03 am

    PHP Brush EnetSpark provide a complete solution of website development, website design, website promotion (SEO), website maintenance and website graphics.India web development

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    FrenchiedeLuxe (1 Point) September 22, 2010 at 4:37 am

    Thanks so much for this tutorial, clear & user-friendly, I will definitely use it to design my next blog!!!

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  7. Add point Subtract point

    “There is nothing as depressing as a good message getting lost in bad design” well said by Ashley.

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    Nice tutorial.The points you have mentioned in the post are really should be remembered by a developer.

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    I’m with you with whitespaces. It’s the “in” thing now in corporate advertising/website.

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    Cher Pearce @ yournetbiz (1 Point) August 25, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Love this article!

    you’ve got some really great idead that I hadnt even considered! Definitely agree withe Favicons… but erm.. where’s yours? LOL!


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    Retail Fixtures & Store Displays (1 Point) August 5, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Great post,this is very usefull for a nob like me ,thanks

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    Retail Fixtures & Store Displays (1 Point) August 5, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Cool tutorial ,bookmark this page

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    Woinse (1 Point) July 24, 2010 at 5:37 am

    Good article, I hope this is use for us thanks.

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    web design mildura (1 Point) July 8, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I want to learn professional PHP to create some excellent websites. Is there any free tutorial for the same ? Is there any website that provides the source code of the entire website ? Any help be appreciated.

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    web design mildura (1 Point) July 8, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing the link on Icon Finder. I was searching a website that provides numerous free icons. Now got with your help.

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    professional seo (2 Points) July 8, 2010 at 7:00 am

    Good design blog,thank for share

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    Warren Jerzyszek (1 Point) June 21, 2010 at 4:49 am

    As a regular blogger I come across a lot of really good looking blogs, the attention to visual detail in these blogs is what brings me back to them time and time again. This is a great list of blog tips and it’s something we should all be aware of. On another note, the Colorburned icons are a different take on the normal web 2.0 look. I like it a lot!

    Thanks for sharing.

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    โหลดเพลง mp3 (1 Point) June 9, 2010 at 5:08 am

    Cool design blog,thank for share

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    sohbet (1 Point) June 3, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Now I still have to improve. Feel free to criticize on, a small part of the website is translated into English .

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    โหลดเพลงฟรี (1 Point) May 29, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Cool design blog,thank for share

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    Shamim (1 Point) May 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    As being a blogger without knowing the PHP it’s not possible for me to make a website more stunning and gorgeous.

    But I will like to change my website overall design according to ur post.


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    takashi (1 Point) May 3, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Good post. Thank you for sharing.

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  23. Add point Subtract point
    Web Design (1 Point) April 26, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing!!!

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    Flash Rhino (1 Point) April 16, 2010 at 6:47 am

    great post and thanks!

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    โหลดเพลง (1 Point) March 29, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Great idea , Thank you for your share.

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    Mino BuG’ (1 Point) March 23, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    thanks, great content:)

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  27. Add point Subtract point

    You wrote a pretty useful lot of advise. I’m glad to have thought of many point by myself, and also, knowing some of the websites you link to makes me feel that I wasn’t wrong. Thank you for giving me confidence. Now I still have to improve. Feel free to criticize on, a small part of the website is translated into English .

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    เพลงใหม่ล่าสุด (1 Point) February 2, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    great i never seen before.58

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    เพลงสากลใหม่ (1 Point) February 2, 2010 at 3:27 am

    great i never seen before.51

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    โหลดเพลงmp3ฟรี (1 Point) February 1, 2010 at 5:10 am

    great tutorial . Thanks517

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    Edwin Kyalangalilwa (1 Point) January 24, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    thanks a lot for the share rob

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  32. Add point Subtract point

    There is nothing as depressing as a good message getting lost in bad design, and if the content is bad with great design I always still love the great design. Thanks

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  33. Add point Subtract point

    wow! this is an awesome resources to starting a blog and also tweaking out my current blog, thanks for sharing! i going to retweet this! aloha!

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    babsblog (1 Point) December 2, 2009 at 7:21 am

    hi rob, can i use this on a free blog like blogger?

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    Consuela Greene (1 Point) November 16, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    I am a fairly new blogger. I must admit, I haven’t been completely satisfied with my overall look. I do want it to have a look that is more professional. This info will be my guide for improving my design. You’ve given so many valuable resources that will be helpful. Thanks for taking the time to share.


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    Michelle (1 Point) November 14, 2009 at 11:37 am

    This post is amazing, I like the useful info about the favicons, you make it so simple to do. Thanks for taking your time to help others.

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    Great list, and great site!! I’ll be bookmarking you for sure!


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    Brp Web Design (1 Point) October 26, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Great designs, love your list.

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    I regret how i missed such a lovely post all these days excellent one

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    Jehzeel Laurente (1 Point) October 12, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Very useful. Now I know how to make use of the white spaces in my blog. :D

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    Chykalophia (1 Point) October 10, 2009 at 3:12 am

    This is a very helpful post, I really agreed on the white space and the web typography, um….actually to all of them :p
    It’s nice to read such post that reminds us the designer to obey certain rules sometimes :)

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  42. Add point Subtract point
    Satish Gandham (1 Point) September 25, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Nice post but, it was difficult to read and grasp.
    You shu have aligned the smaller images to the right.

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  43. Add point Subtract point

    Amazing, amazing post. All the things you mentioned and the examples are relevant to any website design really, and you’ve covered and incredible amount of content…really really helpful stuff! Thanks :)

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  44. Add point Subtract point

    This tutorial is really helpful for me as i have to develop a project in college which is for 2 credits.I hope if I implement all these steps in my project then m surely gonna get a decent grade. Thank you.

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    Alexandre (1 Point) September 16, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Hello, Rob! Thank you for your tips.
    But I didnt´t understand, what is white space?

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    Well … LOL … we’ve forgotten most of those things and our blog is still pretty bloody successful! Go figure!

    Mind you, a redesign after 7 years is probably in the offing … just need to find time.


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    holy2050 (1 Point) September 15, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Nice post. Thanks for your sharing.

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    Ricky Onsman (2 Points) September 15, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    That’s certainly a handy list, Rob. I can see myself using it as a “Am I making the most of [ insert list item ] for my client?” checklist.

    In that spirit, I’d probably add Headers – I always have to remind myself to organise my header tags to suit the content for the purposes of enhancing user experience, visual design and search engine optimisation. Some people do it very well.

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  49. Add point Subtract point

    AH! You’re so right! Curses to favicons and list styling… Thanks, stumbled!

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    koji @ ebook cover software (1 Point) September 15, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Hello Rob, this is very nice post! I’ll bookmarked your post! thank you very much!

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    Manny C. (1 Point) September 15, 2009 at 1:01 am

    it’s awesome , it was really helpful for me , i’m a beginner in web design. thanks a lot man you are a genius.

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    Designect.COm (1 Point) September 14, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Thank you very much!!!

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    steppinout (1 Point) September 14, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Wish I had time to learn Photoshop. Nice sharing

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    Alignment is very important. One of the things not mentioned though is how important alignment is to reading the post which is what a blog is all about.

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  55. Add point Subtract point

    I have no blog yet. But I’m sure that when I start blogging, this details will be very helpful for me.

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  56. Add point Subtract point

    Some really good tips here.
    Still, design is still a matter of taste. What might be beautiful for someone, might be ugly for someone else.

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  57. Add point Subtract point

    White Space! Huge one! Using it here:

    Great post!

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    I love the dirty look of the social media buttons on Colorburned. And I am checking out the resources you share on typography. Thanks for them.

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    Thanks a lot for info about Icon Finder. It’s really hard sometimes to find icons for project.

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    Web Design Australia (1 Point) September 11, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Thanks for sharing these helpful tips. In my opinion, blogs shouldn’t focus too much on the design and instead, put more effort on the content because that would be the main thing that would attract people. But don’t get me wrong, the design should also be put into consideration. Just like what Rob said above, balance is the key.

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    Logo Inspiration (1 Point) September 11, 2009 at 7:44 am

    that is a great list, im sure I will be refering back to this for a very long time !

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    Anca Foster (1 Point) September 11, 2009 at 4:18 am

    well, great! now i have to add on my list to check this list again while i’m designing my blog! :D

    awesome tips, thanks Rob!

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    Ashely Adams : Sticker Printing (1 Point) September 11, 2009 at 3:16 am

    I absolutely agree with you regarding the subtle use of textures and shadows. You are also right about dull and drab blogs. But I’ve seen that some designers use a lot of colors to make their blog design interesting and vibrant and end up with a loud or clumsy blog . I think you need to balance so that it’s neither too boring nor too loud. And I also agree with TJSharky that Content is one of the most important factors.

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  64. Add point Subtract point

    greate post ! Thanks share you idea!

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  65. Add point Subtract point

    Thanks to everyone for all of their kind words and comments on the post. I appreciate all the response and feedback. Much love to you all.

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    AtiKuSDesign (1 Point) September 10, 2009 at 10:51 am

    I’ve been doing quite a lot of blog design recently and i’m really enjoying it!

    This is a nice little checklist for anyone just starting the design process.

    Thank you

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  67. Add point Subtract point
    TJSharky (1 Point) September 10, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Nice article, but you forgot the real #1 tip, content. You can have the most beautiful blog on the ‘net, but if you don’t have any substance to bring folks back, it won’t matter.

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    • Add point Subtract point

      True. Content is key. I talked about that in the last post I did here, so I didn’t want to overlap. Plus, since the post is about minor details that generally get overlooked, I didn’t think something as important as content should be relegated to that minor a role. But you are completely right, pretty don’t keep the people coming back.

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    Christopher (1 Point) September 10, 2009 at 7:13 am

    Ho Gush! that was one of the most larges posts I have ever sean! I have to say you give a lot of tipps. but som of them are realy not extreme important.Any way, this work was realy realy professional.

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    webmasterdubai (1 Point) September 10, 2009 at 5:54 am

    nice post and good inspiration refrance

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    Martin Leblanc (1 Point) September 10, 2009 at 5:11 am

    Thank you for including Iconfinder in the list.

    /Martin Leblanc

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    Really good article and lots of great links and inspiration. Thank you!

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    Franz Jeitz (1 Point) September 10, 2009 at 3:46 am

    Great article. You’ve outdone yourself again with this one Rob. Also wanted to say thanks for including fudgegraphics.

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  73. Add point Subtract point (1 Point) September 10, 2009 at 2:55 am

    Very useful informations, thanks so much!

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    Colorburned (1 Point) September 10, 2009 at 1:43 am

    Thanks for mentioning my icons!

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    Henrik Kryger Pallesen (1 Point) September 9, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Love it when the homework and research is done as well as this post. :-) Good work

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    Sneh Roy (1 Point) September 9, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    I didn’t really think about some of these points before. Very enlightening. Thanks for a wonderful article Rob :-)

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    Noel Wiggins (1 Point) September 9, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Nice collection of blog elements.

    The internet would be a nicer looking place if more people took these tips to heart…

    Thanks & Regards
    Noel from
    a professional graphic design studio

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    Lisa Thorell (1 Point) September 9, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    All excellent points. Agree with Zebb that the title’s a wee misleading. Your points seem more on the mark of “9 Subtle Graphical Elements which Dramatically Impact Your Blog Design”… Thnx for the tips and great examples!

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    The Barking Unicorn (1 Point) September 9, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    8:) No wonder most blogs have things WRITTEN ON THEM only monthly!

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    Aaron Irizarry (1 Point) September 9, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Nice list Rob… very helpful… will use as a checklist on my current project!

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    Nice article Rob, keep the good work !

    Don’t forget also the Ads integration

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    Tim Smith (1 Point) September 9, 2009 at 10:38 am

    I really like the subtle gradients. I think that they really make a design pop. I have to be honest and say that the first reason I like Tutorial 9 was because of the design (then I figured out that the contents was pure awesomeness too) Thanks for the great post Rob!

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    Great article, but I’m confused by the fact that the title is things to not forget when designing a blog, yet almost all of your “Inspiration” images are of regular websites and not examples of blogs that use the “tips” you mention.

    It’s just kind of a weird disconnect and doesn’t seem like a good way to prove your point of not fogetting these things for your blog.

    Either way they are good tips and often overlooked.

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    The trackback versus comments bit is too true. It irritates me a tiny bit when trackbacks are included in the comments and just become something you have to weed through to get to the what people actually said.

    They shouldn’t be forgotten though.

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    No.10 : Don’t forget the 9 things above

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