Simplicity, Designed

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

62. Blog design/ 63. Web design

I’m combining these two because I see no reason why they should be separate. Blog design is a form of web design, right? I’m not losing my mind by thinking that way? Okay, moving on.

I’m a big believer in simplicity with web design. Back in the 90s when the idea of having “your own website!” was a huge deal we all used to go a little nuts. You remember it – endless gifs and huge, sparkly, neon-sign-type banners flashing everywhere. Those were the days. Except, no, they weren’t. All that flashy nonsense was fun, but it completely detracted from the actual website.

I don’t claim to be a web designer. I used to know a little about HTML but that knowledge has long since been pushed aside for more important stuff (like my awesome chocolate chip cookie recipe). Anyone with any kind of skill in web design can probably tell from a mile away that my blog is built from a template. Someone else’s programming tells all the bits where to go…I just uploaded the top banner and added a couple of extra pages. Badabing badaboom.

And that’s okay because blog design – or any web design anyway – shouldn’t be complicated. Your blog/site should look clean and fresh, be easy on the eyes, and be easy to navigate. You might not think it, but people will avoid your blog/site for such seemingly small things as an annoying font or a background color that is harsh to the eye. And they will especially avoid your blog/site if its so confusing and disorganized that they can’t find the place they want to go.

You don’t want people to avoid your blog/site do you? Of course not. That’s the exact opposite of the point of having a blog or website. So do a little research if you aren’t sure what looks good or doesn’t. There are endless resources online for this sort of thing and it would be a shame not to use them.

Back to Basics

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

33. Reviews of your favorite office supplies

A few years ago I probably could have made this post long enough that no one in their right mind would have bothered to read it all. Traditionally, I love writing in a notebook with a really nice pen, so I have a bit of an unhealthy relationship with office supplies. As I’m typing this there is an entire shelf on one of my bookshelves devoted to my notebooks, and about a third of them are almost completely empty…I bought them because I fell in love with them at the time, but only wrote a few pages before getting distracted and/or moving on to something else.

These days, as previously mentioned, I do the overwhelming majority of my writing on my laptop. It’s just quicker that way. That said, I do still have a couple of favorite manual writing supplies that I can say a couple of words about, for the sake of this post:

1. Cambridge City Vinyl Notebooks
I’ve used a lot of different notebooks, but this one has to be my favorite. The vinyl front and back covers feel almost like a supple leather, and the spiral binding is very tough and stiff so you don’t end up with those annoying bent spirals that constantly get your pages all caught up. The pages themselves are beautifully ruled, as beautiful as ruling can be anyway, and all in all the notebooks are a pleasure to write in.

2. PaperMate Capped Ballpoint Pens, Fine, Blue
You might think I’m kidding about this one because these are quite possibly the cheapest pens on the planet, but I’m totally serious. I’m a bit of a pen nut, and these ones remain, to this day, my absolute favorites. They write smoothly, they’re comfortable in the hand, and as previously mentioned, they’re quite possibly the cheapest pens on the planet. What’s not to love?