I made myself sit down today and finish work on the blog design. I am very happy with how it came out.
This design is a hybrid, pulling elements from some of better-looking sites and blogs. The three-column layout was inspired by Felicia Day’s “Flog” and Problogger, the thin header comes from a post on Chris Brogan’s blog, the heading style is cribbed from The Guardian.
There are two things I learned here that I want to pass along.
T*heft is not wrong*. Just because a design element exists on another site does not mean you can’t use it. I don’t mean you should steal the entire layout, images and all, or steal code (unless it’s under a free license, then steal away). But if you like the way your favorite blog does headings, there’s no shame in modeling your headings the same way.
Unfinished is wrong. I regret leaving the blog unfinished for so long. I would have been better served by using the Kubrick theme until I was really ready to switch. If you’re starting a blog and want to get to writing right away, go ahead and use some free templates. It’s much better than starting a theme and leaving it unfinished.
A corollary to that is “while incremental changes are fine in testing, only big, complete changes are OK in production.” In other words, don’t edit your live site, except small tweaks and bug fixes. When you upload new templates they should be tested and ready to deploy.
That being said, there are a few small things that aren’t quite finished. I need to write a short paragraph about myself and decide if I want to add a Problogger-/Chris Brogan-style link to the feed right at the top.
Well, what do you think?