What Would a BRAINPRINT Look Like?
In a comment over at Performancing on March 6, Troy Shanahan said “I wouldn’t mind you having a skim over my blog… but it’s so badly laid out that I really don’t expect too much improvement.” It sure sounded like he thought his blog was a mess.
I thought to myself, here’s a guy who seemed like he felt in trouble, but I went and looked. His only problem was an over used template that he hadn’t made his own. It seemed to me that a few changes would make a big difference . . .
So I invited Troy to get tweaked Above the Fold. Here’s how the Above the Fold Tweak Process works.
- I make a Ã¢â¬ÅbeforeÃ¢â¬Â screenshot.
- We talk through some changes for readability.
- The blogger makes the changes.
- We talk while the tweaks are in process.
- I take an Ã¢â¬ÅafterÃ¢â¬Â screenshot and share the results in a post.
Blogger: Troy Shanahan
Unfortunately I took this before shot of the About page on Troy’s blog. I hope you’ll be able to transfer what you see from this page to his new home page. I didn’t realize that until after we were well in the process. My mistake — sorry.
Three Tweaks that We Agreed Upon
In this series, we concentrate only three important tweaks for each blog that is featured. On TroyÃ¢â¬â¢s blog, those three tweaks were these.
- We would put up the header he had designed.
- We’d adjust the template to work with the header.
- We’d decide on a color palette that worked.
Troy and I started with the header. What we did first was go to the byet comics site and look at what’s there. We looked at that header and back through some of the comics. Somehow we got on the idea of doing a collage around one character. Troy went off and did that.
When he came back with the header in place, all I could say was “Wow! What a difference!”
It took awhile to figure out how to get WordPress not to show the type for the name of his blog and the subhead. Finally Troy realized the answer was to use display: none; in the style sheet.
The next adjustment was choosing the color palette to match the header. Adjusting the “a link” to green. We used a color tool to get the right one. H2 sidebar heads went to the right shade of orange.
We made other changes. Can you see them?
For the results, turn the page now.
This is Brainprint now. Click to enlarge.
Troy’s Turn to Talk
Troy, tell us about your blog.
The blog itself is my Ã¢â¬Ëalternate ventÃ¢â¬â¢, where I originally planned to blog about things that either would not fit into a comic, or I honestly could not be bothered trying to fit into a comic. ItÃ¢â¬â¢s evolved from that into a way for me to vent in a form that other people seem to enjoy reading, and is, in my opinion, a good way for me to get feedback on my writing skills.
What advice made the most difference? In what way?
Well, it was definitely the header. You woke me up to the fact that the header defined my blog, and that all visitors to my site would remember Ã¢â¬Ëhey, itÃ¢â¬â¢s that blog with the cool headerÃ¢â¬â¢.
Your initial discussion with me sparked my creativity, something that has had insufficient exercise recently. The collage idea was partly yours, and the rest of the design flowed from that. I think the header finally made the blog mine, instead of Ã¢â¬Ëjust another wordpress weblogÃ¢â¬â¢. This gave me a surge of confidence and pride when I saw the finished header in place, and I suddenly wanted to finish the whole design, just to prove to myself that it could be done, and done well.
How have your readers responded to the changes?
Heh, what readers? My blog is mainly frequented by family and friends, whose (probably biased) opinion doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t help much, but from the few random people who find the blog, the response has been nothing but positive.
In fact, I seem to be getting more return hits than I used to, and that has certainly prompted me to rethink how I use the blog. It can only get better when you work your way up from nothing, so, thanks Liz!
Remember we agree only to three tweaks in this process. But three tweaks can sure make a difference!
Troy, the best part was getting to know you! It was fun getting to be part of your blog’s transformation. You are a pleasure to work with.
Anyone want to give Troy a word or two moving forward? I have to go the dentist. (agian!)
–ME “Liz” Strauss