OFFICIAL BLOGHER '10 LIVEBLOG: Good Blog Design - The Role of Layout in an Online Medium

BlogHer Original Post

ALEX VEGA: Hi, everyone. It’s 2:48. We’re three minutes late and we’d like to start. Hi, we might as well start with intros since we’ll each talk separately. My name is Alex. Thank you. I’m a graphic designer, I’m not a blogger like many of you are. Is anyone not a blogger? Where my non-bloggers at? Probably shouldn’t encourage it. I’m a graphic designer, the site I work on is called autostraddle.com. It’s like a queer online magazine, I guess like a mega-blog type of thing. And that’s it, I’m a graphic web designer.

GABRIELLE BLAIR: I’m Gabrielle Blair, I blog at Design Mom and I’m a founder of Kirtsy. I now do blogging and social media full time, four years now. And I just had baby number six. She’s out in the hallway. I have to say I always love anytime a crowd comes to see a design topic because everyone always looks so cool and fun.

GRACE BONNEY: Hey guys, I’m Grace from Design Sponge. I’m going to start with a slideshow, Gabrielle’s going to go into the next lower level and then Alex will have some nitty gritty tips. I’m going to dive right in since we’re tightly scheduled.
Alright, so. For those of you not familiar with Design Sponge, it’s basically about everything related to the home. For me design layout is almost as crucial as content. I think as blogging becomes more and more popular and accepted the layout of your site is going to become increasingly important. I think we’ll start seeing some of the influence of print come over to the web.
If you hear nothing else I say today, remember five key things. Originality is key when it comes to your blog. Invest in a custom design – it’s just as important as investing in content. It can be a little scary, but it’ll be the best money you ever spend. Third, you should never let form trump function. The two should be equal partners. This is something I struggled with for years. Fourth, always carry your theme with you in your various places your site lives online. Last, always build for the future. It’s something I wish someone had told me six years ago when I started my site. When you’re thinking about your blog layout, always think about what you want to do in the future. Even pie in the sky ideas are important to think about. Then you can grown into a site instead of totally redesigning.
Okay, first – original design. The reason it’s so important to look different is brand recognition. Those of you thinking about blogging full time have an idea about this. The blogs that stand out the most mean that the person who wrote it has translated their personality into their layout. That could mean color palette, grid, etc. Make sure they reflect the POV of your writing. No matter what that is. Try to distill it into four key elements of your site. Texture, font, color, frames, whatever those choices are think about them and how they reflect you.
Second, this is super crucial for every blogger – nothing feels as professional as a custom design. I had a blogger template for four years. I loved those polka dots, but they said, hi, I just started a free blogger blog. And that’s okay, but you want to be able to express who you are and say you’re taking it seriously. I think for a while there was a stigma with that, but not now. Put some time into a custom design. People will take it more seriously.
Last but not least, if you’re a style blogger, you must put your personal style into the blog. If you’re a food blogger, any kind of niche with a related style.
Now, this is the current lay out of my site that I’ve had since 2007. I’m in the process of totally dismantling it right now, but this is the layout that was the labor of love for me. I invested about $6,000 in this and it’s the most amount of money I’ve invested in my site. It was scary, my credit card company called me to make sure my card wasn’t stolen but I’ve never regretted it. The traffic boost I saw from the redesign alone was the biggest boost I’ve ever had. It instantly gave us a brand and a look we’ve seen repeated for years and years. It means it resonated with the community. No matter what you’re planning make sure the elements appeal to you and your readers. I was thinking about the handmade elements of my community that would connect with my readers.
This is a site called Oh Joy! Joy writes about lifestyle, food, clothing, design, etc., and she deiced to go opposite and strip things down to basic. Logo in the center, top nav, that’s it. I think it’s a wonderful example of keeping things simple and paying attention to the things most important to you. She decided the content was the most important, so she stripped it down to the basics.
This is a site called Once Wed, a wedding site. I love the fact that they kept it really simple with the header and that’s it. Not everyone can afford a custom layout, but most people can afford a custom header. She just focused on the header because she knew her images would be full of content and color so she wanted the rest to be simple. It’s a strong statement at the top that allows the content to be the star.
Second – investing. I told you how much I invested, but I always say if you’re a blogger and you’re taking it seriously, start a savings account. Even if you put a little away each month, at the end of a year you’ll have enough to do a custom design or custom Facebook page.
If you’re thinking of doing a huge redesign over $5,000, a savings account can be a great way to go but you’ll need longer to save up. I’d say just invest the money, but I know a lot people who’ve taken out small business loans. It’s a small amount for a loan, and you can pay it back quickly. Once you’ve got the custom design you can reach out to more advertisers and have more revenue.
One thing to keep in mind is to get local bids. A lot of people don’t know who to go to. Don’t be afraid to talk to tons of people. If this is the first time, you want to make sure you’re getting the most for your money. Talk to multiple people, ask questions and compare quotes. You should feel comfortable with the money you’re spending. References are KEY. I worked with someone four years ago on a redesign and it was a disaster and that was because I totally ignored the references. I should’ve listened to one who said she was difficult to work with. Never let the final result sway things you hear in between. It doesn’t matter how great the outcome is if you have am miserable time getting there.
Also – build into your contract going over budget. Most designers will let you build this into a contract. I know a lot people who’ve gotten caught by someone who says, oh, I went 30 hrs. over and they’re stuck paying.
Now, this is Jamie Beck’s site. She has a very similar sort of collage, hand-made feel. The fact that she invested in a few key elements was a wise idea. She used these small little pinned on elements to build interest on her site. I love the side bar that look like little subtle stamps which brings great texture. You have to have levels of texture to really make something feel finished and professional and she’s done that well. I also love this category tag on the right hand side. That’s an example of someone who knew where she needed to use her money and where not. No flash, just simple elements.
Now, if you have a style oriented blog it can be easy to go overboard really quickly. I did that on my own blog. I threw as many elements on there as I could and didn’t think about function. But your readers don’t always use your site like you. I suggest the first redesign step is to map out all your content past, present and future. Your design needs to work with your content, not vice versa. I didn’t think about the future and what I might do down the line, so I built the design only on my current content and I outgrew it within six months. If you’re passionate, you will too. But if you plan smart you’ll prevent frequent redesign. One of the good tools to use is a heat mapping feature, you can use it in Google analytics. It just tells you what the hot spots of your web site layouts are. You can tell how your readers are actually using your site. I flat out ignored it for years, which was a mistake. You might find out they’re using one section of your site way more than another, and that just means they really like it. Maybe you should draw it out. Make the most of that traffic in that section.
Also, one thing to think about is working with a pro designer for a full overhaul. I think people try to tackle small redesigns on their own, and that’s okay if you have CSS skills, you can do some on your own. But don’t be afraid to work with a pro if the process seems intimidating. This is a little sneak peek of the DesignSponge redesign happening next month.
So I went to my site and realized most people are clicking on DIY more than any other section. So how do I make the most of DIY? I reevaluate the section, how can I get more traffic? I recoded all the posts and decided that in the redesign it could be a secondary nav when you got to the landing page. A lot of bloggers don’t think about sub-naving, breaking things down when you get to a landing page. Especially if you have a super popular page of your web site.
MocoLoco, redesigned recently to a little controversy. Their horizontal nav continues all the way to the right, which is kind of unheard of. Since they got the pushback they also offered a vertical version. You can switch back and forth, which is genius. Thinking outside the box, embrace the way people read but also offer a back-up option.
Another great example of someone who used heat mapping in a brilliant way is a blog called Matt Bites. Matt did a lot of reader feedback, some online analytics, and mapped his three most popular content wells. So he got rid of the whole top nav and embraced those three categories and it’s worked really well for him. Don’t be afraid of a minimal nav.
The next idea is to carry your theme through to all your brand identities. For me, just the linen background on my Twitter page was a simple change to make but it was easy for people to recognize me as opposed to people posing as me. Design for Mankind brought some of the colors onto her Twitter page, an easy and simple element to identify, this is my page, this is my identity. The Twitter background is a critical change you should make.
The last point is the most important point – building for the future. You always need to think about what you might want to do years down the road. Content, yes, but think about media and how you want to use that on your blog. Video, podcasts, multimedia – just dropping it in a content well isn’t always the best way to handle it. Consider creative ways to work those into your page design. Maybe you have a TV icon at the top for people. If you do podcasts you could have some sort of audio player on the front page that someone can click to play. Try thinking outside the box.
One of my favorite examples of people who thought far into the future was Pitchfork. It’s text heavy but they worked hard to design this layout and it’s brilliant for several reasons. They talked to their readers and realized that they had all these headline stories – they created these simple boxes that people can flip back and forth between to view different content. Same thing on the right-hand side with playlists, columns, etc. These buttons are a great way to add multiple content streams to a site without crowding it. WordPress has these features, Blogger is working on it. DailyCandy also uses these a lot on their home page.
That’s my last point. Now we’ll have Gabrielle get lower into the detail with real functional tips.

GABRIELLE: Hi guys. So I know we’re tight on time here, I do talk a lot but I’ll try to breeze through. I’ve been blogging for several years, I know some will be designers and some bloggers, so I hope I kept that in mind enough. I started by chatting with one of my partners at Kirtsy, and we were talking about the history of web design. She’s been designing since 1998, and I had just graduated from college then and doing print. She said there isn’t a single rule she learned in 98 that is still relevant today. Everything in web design evolves every couple of years. A perfect example of that is these icons (RSS, etc.). Now you can get them in millions of forms. There’s a thousand variations, and a few years ago they just didn’t exist. If your client wanted a button you just had to create it. Everything changes.
The other thing to keep in mind is that everyone on each individual computer sees your site differently. Depending on browser, resolution, brightness, etc. I used my sister in law’s blog to show an example on two different browsers. What does this mean to you? Well she’s really tied to the gray in her header, which is the way I see it, she thinks that’s how her user is seeing it. But in another browser it’s warped, and that’s how lots of people see it. Try not to get too hung up on some of these details. If you fall in love with a certain element who knows how other users see it.
We know the reality of changes – the other major thing with web design that is a real problem for designers is a limitation of fonts. Right now, there’s only 13 that are universal. If you see others, that means they’ve taken the word they want in that font, they’ve created it in a graphics program and made it an image and uploaded it. Any time you use those other fonts, you’re making your site difficult to load because it’s tons and tons of graphics.
My very first day of design school – three main rules are typography, typography, typography. A designer has limited access to typography and it’s painful, but it’s changing. Fonts will be more accessible within a few years. We’ll all have access to any font we want. I just go, Oh. Web sites today, we won’t even recognize them in two years. It’s just huge.
What’s happening next? How do we work around it? When I first started designing, it was for a 640 width browser. Mostly now it’s 1040. But our computers are changing, everything’s changing. You have to keep your readers in mind. Are they old school? What equipment are they using? It’s amazing as you’re thinking about how fast things change, I was saying to Grace and Alex that as soon as you launch a site, take a break for a second but then put the next one on the calendar. By the time you’re launched something, technology has developed and it’s time to go again.
There’s a lot of research out there on design for women versus men. Women and men absolutely respond to different things. So men, their brains approach things in a more compartmentalized way. For a men’s site, it’d be smart to have lines and squares. Whereas women have a more holistic approach, sites with layers, photo in the background with type on top, images, no structure, women respond well. Women prefer colors, bright colors, irregular fonts, anything that looks like handwriting. Women prefer curves and men prefer straight lines.
So thinking about your audience and knowing who they are is important. Holly Buchanan is one of my favorite places to get research. She has whole categories that are just web design for women, she’s not a designer herself at all so it’s not designy terms just good information.
The other thing I wanted to talk about is anticipating user need while they’re on your site. Make your site more useable. On this site I liked, here on their exec. Team page, they could predict that you may be wanting them to speak so they have an image library right there accessible. Again, on their services page you think, I want to hire them, contact info is right there. I’m sure it’s on their contact page, too, but they thought about how the user would approach the page and what they might need next.
I have a few rules of thumb I want to end with. Number one – hire a good designer. It’s a great investment if you can do it. There are people who really know what they’re doing and it’s worth the money. I know bloggers are DIYers, we all are. If you really want to do it yourself, don’t use more than two fonts. Just don’t do it. And I would say work with a grid. Any pub in the world is based on a grid and think about your blog in a grid. It doesn’t have to be lines, but maybe you’re aligning headlines with body copy or a logo with other graphics on the page. Think about the grid. Just a quick design lesson.
And last, pay close attention to what’s happening on the web. What’s happening right now, what are people doing and how can you incorporate it into your blog? Things of Random Coolness.com, one of the first design blogs I happened across back in the day, I love lots about it. I love every image is the same size, headlines in yellow, and her navigation is always very simple. She uses one font and simple colors. It’s probably everything wrong for women, but I like it anyway. Now Alex will take you into the nitty gritty. Thank you so much.

Alex: Hi everyone. Again, my name is Alex. I’m a graphic designer, and when I first sat down to start this site with my friends I didn’t really know what I was doing. I learned some things along the way and I thought I’d pass those on to you. You can hire me, but you can do some of these things yourselves and I’ll give you some tips. I don’t know where you are in terms of code, but I’m going to talk about H tags. H tags, you know HTML, CSS, set the type. It’s what you’re doing, setting the style of your fonts. What H Tags do – when I designed autostraddle.com, we set up some h tags. H2 through all the way to H6. Search engines pick these up and will pick up H1 the most. It’s the most important. Biggest type. H6 is the smallest, the least important. It’s a way of categorizing headlines and subheadlines. Search engines will pick this stuff up, so the most important stuff is H1, the less important stuff H6. You set this up using CSS. What’s CSS? You get this sort of code. If you have someone who is a programmer, it’s easier. I can’t tell you much about where this code goes, but this tag is telling the web site what this font is going to look like when you call it out. That’s sort of what that does. CSS is very useful. Where can you get this CSS? There’s something called CSStypeset.com. This kind of saved my life. My programmer let me know about this. This is how I communicate with my programmer, when I send her a pretty picture and say I went this to look like this. HTML is like a skeletal structure of a building and CSS is the interior designer who comes in and says the walls are like this and that color. You can get this coding on this site, and you just put your type in the left part and play with the stuff underneath, font face, bold, italic, letter spacing, line spacing, these things are really important – and it gives you the code on the right hand side. You copy it and paste it into your code area, and that’s how you set styles.

Question: So then after you do this, you put it into your HTML code, does it affect everything from that point on?

Alex: I think so. As I said, I’m not a programmer. I wish I could answer better than that. The code, you’re indicating which part of the font you’re setting, so that when you call out that part of the font in your code that’s when it’s appearing. You’re not actually changing all the font types on your site, because you can have lots of different types set. If you have your title for your article or post set as H1, then it would automatically appear the way you, whatever it says on the right-hand side.

Grace: If you’re on blogger, if you have access to your header file, that’s where you drop this. It goes in between the body tags, I would Google that, but that’s what I did back in the day. Drop them in the header and they get called up each time you use them in a post.

Alex: Sorry to be confusing, yeah, that’s not used in your actual post. It’s back end. So we were talking about being inspired by print design, even though print and web do have their differences. One cool thing you can do is throw in a pull quote. Throw in a block quote. You can Google this, the CSS for this. You can set the style of it so that in your post, you can put the code there and pull it out as a block quote. It breaks it up and makes it exciting.
So, I want to talk about inspiration. I sit at a computer all day and look at things that inspire me. I pulled this out because it’s a footer, and I think good footers are important. This is hard to see because it’s small, but they pull out featured topics, they put a banner ad at the bottom, and why not? Throw it in there. They have their About, their topics. Footers, guys. Do it. It’s good.is. I love Good Magazine, they’re amazing. Great print and online community is incredible.
NY Mag, who doesn’t love NY Mag? I think I used this because it’s a blog, and their content width is a good width. You don’t want it to be too wide. I think I use 600 pixels on my blog. I wouldn’t go much wider than that. I don’t think you guys noticed, but the wider your content is, the bigger the line width. You definitely want bigger spacing between your lines if they’re across the whole page but please don’t do that. This is pretty good, legible. On the right side, 300 pixels for ads, because it’s a standard ad size. You should think about ad size while you’re designing.
This is a great designer called Jason Santa Maria. Every one of his articles looks different, and this I think is the future of the web, because WordPress 3.0 just came out and I believe that is giving you a lot options with your templates. It’s sort of turning into a publishing platform where you can set up so that all your articles aren’t being fed through the same template. You can set up several. Here’s an example, same web site, but this article has two columns. Different things happening and it makes it very interesting. Not saying we can all do this, it’s a lot of work, but it’s inspiring. This is another one – the background has an image on it. I don’t know how to do this yet, but we can aspire to great things.
This is a web site called the bold italic.com. It’s a great site that I’m so inspired by. If you look at these thumb nails, any one you click on, you get something totally different from any other one. You click on Reel Food and you get taken to this image, each time it’s totally different. They have exciting things happening, these sub headlines that break up the text. Those are pictures, not live web type. But how many of you use Photoshop or imaging? That’s exciting. Just type out some type and throw it in there. There’s your section headline, you know what I mean? It’s exciting. Same web site, this is an article about ice cream, and they’ve made this image in Photoshop or something to talk about this specific restaurant and they put these little images throughout the article. Exciting and inspiring.
Am I talking forever? How much time do we have? This is from my website. Don’t judge me. This is a style post, someone writes a style post sometimes and it’s all these pictures of things, but I take all those images and put them in one with numbers pointing to the image so I can refer back to those in the text. There are things you can do within your posts to make them interesting or really drive your point. I would do these fun things, like when we’d do a Lady GaGa recap, I’d take a screen shot and just write something on it. It doesn’t have to look good, in fact it’s probably better if it doesn’t look good, it’s probably funnier that way. Sometimes we have someone draw something, just for fun, just to break it up a bit. Text heavy content can be broken up in fun ways. One of my favorite ways is making charts and graphs. This one article, we were talking about people coming out, there seems to be this timeline of everyone knows you’re gay and then you come out, so we did this timeline. And then one like this, it’s a bar graph except Jennifer Biels is a bar. If you’re not a designer there are resources online for you.
If you can’t see this URL, I’ll read it to you: cheezburger.com/flashbuilder/graphjam
Graphjam is cool – you can go on to the site and make your own graphs and pie charts. It’s a lot easier than you think. Who cares what it looks like, it’s really funny? You can say something really funny in graph form in your post.
Those are my suggestions of how to spice it up a bit, I hope you have fun with it.

Grace: We have a little time left for questions.

Question: I do web design and I’m a mommy blogger. If I could clarify the CSS stuff. Cascading style sheets take a style and place it on your texts. If you have green text you want on Monday you could tell it to be green and the next day purple. Your CSS is a separate file, and so you could redesign your entire blog’s style by changing one line in your CSS document.

Alex: Thank you. Yes, and if we could go back to my first slide. H5 looks different here from H3, because you can change them. Each one can be different. You can make it green, you can make it bigger. Just Google CSS.

Question: I’m about to go from Wordpress.com to trying to do what you guys do a little bit, professional blogging. So one element obviously is design, but do you hire the same person to do the design as you do to say transfer over?

Gabrielle: No. I just transferred from Blogger to Wordpress.org, so the team I used is Lee Design. My partner at Kirtsy, she’s a designer and her husband’s a programmer. That is lovely. Go find that. They work well together, and they get the problems. There is potential for big problems when you transfer a blog. You can lose thousands of images, you can lose comments. I know a lot people started on blogger, and the reality is if you are going to transfer your blog, find someone who’s done it a lot of times.

Grace: Just to follow up, especially if you’re working with two people make sure your designer continues to work with your programmer up until the final step. Tiny things, like something was five pixels off, they’d say, whatever it’s totally centered. Small things like that, not ragging on programmers but those are two different beasts. Make sure they work together and they’re friendly with each other.

Question: If one is ready to invest in pro design, there are obviously different kinds of designers. $3K, $20K, how do you find them and distinguish between them?

Alex: Alex-Vega.com. That’s where you need to go.

Gabrielle: Look at sites you like, find sites you admire the design and send them an e-mail and say hey, who did your design?

Grace: When I first built my site I was actually really inspired by the SCAD shop page, and I contacted them and it was going to be $30K, and I said, bye! But they said you should be looking at these sorts of groups, etc. There’s a site called Sortfolio where independent web designers can put up their portfolios. Consider outside of blogging resources. They have really exciting outside the box ideas because they don’t always work with blogs.

Question: You mention moving from Blogger to Wordpress, and I won’t go too deep into it, but I lost three years worth of comments. What title should I look for if there is even a fix for that? Programmer?

Gabrielle: I just know this because I lost some comments, too. Google has a team working on this because a lot people are moving off, if you were on an old blogger these past few months you had to get off of it and get onto something else. They’re trying to fix it. They will respond to your e-mail but it takes a long time. Have you been to the Blogger help pages? It’s a Blogger problem.

Grace: Also, you need a WP expert. You need a programmer, but you need someone who specializes in WordPress, it’s a whole different world. My WordPress guy is Joel Olivera, he is in Boston and he owns a company called Weatherfield. I e-mail him like five times a day and he knows lots of people who are WP experts, as well.

Question: Do you have someone that you have on hand all the time to do the backing up of your site or is that something you can do yourself?

Grace: I do. I have someone I have on retainer. He’s not exclusively for me, but he’s also my server analyst. I hired him on a monthly analyst to allow me to e-mail him whenever something breaks. I e-mail him all the time, it was totally worth it. He’s in Montana, with Envirahost.

Gabrielle: I don’t know what Alex would say about this, but build that in when you’re getting a bid. Build in a year’s worth of like help desk support.

Question: Earlier you alluded to switching from Blogger to Wordpress – what’s the difference between Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org?

Gabrielle: From what I understand, there’s a free instance of Wordpress, which is wordpress.com. In Blogger you don’t have to have a blogspot in your URL, you can buy a custom domain which you can with Wordpress.com, too.

Audience: Wordpress.com is hosted. Wordpress.org is where you get the WP application, you host it on your own server, which you install or get someone to do it for you.

Alex: We have like ten minutes, let’s do this!

Question: I wondered about, you said Google picks up on this H1, H2, H3.

Alex: It considers more things important. If you bold something, it picks that up as something that’s an important keyword. If you make something H1, that’s the most important thing about your article, and maybe your subheadlines are H2. It definitely picks those things up more in search.

Question: I’ve been sitting on redesigning a blog for like two years. What I’m finding is a lot of designers are asking me for a list of elements I find attractive in other blogs, but I don’t have time. Is it unrealistic to just find that person?

Grace: I think you should be able to find someone who understands what you’re saying. That said, I think you should do all that research. I have specific terms in my head but they’re not that specific. But I don’t think you should be forced to bring in examples from other sites. A good designer will meet you halfway, will understand what you’re trying to do and maybe bring you examples and say what do you think of this.

Alex: That was a perfect answer. I’ve had clients that said, go with anything, and I say, are you sure? And I bring them something and those clients are fun because I can do whatever. Some clients are more specific and give me more to go on. You have to communicate well with your designer.

Gabrielle: I just found a team, not just that I liked, but a team that I liked the way they worked. I don’t have time to respond to these huge requests to give all this feedback. I just need you to do this. I will pay you the extra you need to redo the work that you wouldn’t have done had I been more specific.

Grace: Be sure you build in a certain number of versions or feedback and responses. You might need to do six different versions. It doesn’t mean they’re bad designers. Make sure you build in as many of those as they’ll let you do.

Question: Specifically why should I change from Blogger to Wordpress?

Gabrielle: Blogger is changing. If you’re on a more modern version of blogger now, you can do pages which you couldn’t do a year ago. All these new widgets, you didn’t have access to a few years ago. There are some people on Blogger who can use it forever. I mean I don’t think you want the blogspot.com in your URL, but I just think that’s more professional. As far as the actual features go, Blogger is changing. Here’s the problem. If you run into an issue with Blogger, you’re asking Google to help you. If you run into a WP issue on your own server, there are a million people you could ask for help.

Grace: The WP transfer is not as scary as everyone is saying it is. I hired someone to do it, it cost like $500 and it was totally worth it. It was an easy switch. I sort of think of it as an iPhone versus another phone or smart phone. Anything I want to do there is some app or widget or capability. I don’t know that functionally it’s that much better than blogger, it just offers a lot of cool capabilities.

Question: I have a design team, and I’m in construction. When you’re in construction you have to understand how to interpret what women are thinking. When I started looking for a design company, and working with men, I believe all that research about men. I did end up getting some guys, but they’re gay. And I don’t have any problems translating what I need. But what I realized is that sometimes they have a certain design type – they will give me a lesser rate if I can come up with the entire design specifics but sometimes I just don’t know how to get it to that point. My question is, they have me on SquareSpace. Is it worth going from Square Space to WordPress? They put me on Square Space to make it easier for me to go behind and figure it out.

Gabrielle: I have a site, I help put on the Alt Summit and Design Conference every year and we’re on square space. It’s awesome. Not as many widgets as Wordpress, but their customer service is amazing you GET response immediately to any questions. I don’t know that you do need to switch. Maybe hire a programmer on if you need to switch, but SS is really robust. It’s awesome.

Question: I’ve been working with a designer. I take my camera everywhere, and I would shoot a book in a bookstore that I liked the typeface on and shoot him that picture. And he gave me a better price.

Alex: It’s very helpful. I had a client communicate a color she wanted to me by sending me a picture of her fingernails. And we had to create it, so she took a picture of her nails and that’s how she communicated that color and we made it happen.

Question: For someone who’s small potatoes and not generating any income, but still has an interest in design, what would you suggest?

Grace: So what would you suggest for someone who doesn’t have ads or profit? I guess I would just say use one of the templates. WP has thousands of templates and most are free. Go there.

Gabrielle: Switch over from WP to WP, I don’t know. Free is on the .COM, but you can’t sell ads. If you want to do business you’ll have to switch it.
Audience: Wordpress.org is free, also, I believe, but you have to pay for hosting.

Grace: If you think of a blog as a custom picture, you have to pay for the frame. You can design something for free and WordPress is the frame. You can get hosting for cheap, depending on how much you’re going to have on your site. If you don’t have a ton of images you don’t have to spend a lot of money. You don’t have to spend more than $20 a month.

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