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Hey guys a few major changes to the site yet again, but hopefully without causing too much inconvenience to you my readers, as most of the major work is done using a demo site installed in a sub domain & using a cloned copy of the site to work on. Once everything is just about finished I then simply transfer the cloned site to overwrite the original
Anyway I thought I’d do this article ”Choosing The Best Blog Layout”, because having switched recently to the iFeature 5 theme & now switched back again, I found myself considering many important factors which I may not have considered when I first opted for a Mag Style theme.
Oh & while we are on the subject, the iFeature 5 theme has been replaced for one reason only, the developers inability or reluctance to sort out the sidebar, which for some crazy reason was designed to be 225 pixels wide ! (not much use when you want to display 300px wide adverts). Don’t get me wrong, if you prefer the standard blog layout then the iFeature 5 theme has a lot to offer, but for me personally the narrow sidebar was a huge turn off.
|Magazine Style Layout||Standard Blog Layout|
|click for larger image||click for larger image|
|1. 35 images loaded for the above section only.||1. 24 images loaded for the above section only.|
|2. Some users complain of too much cluter..?||2. Layout is easier to follow & easier to read.|
|3. Higher number of images means site is slower to load.||3. Fewer images on home page means site is faster.|
|4. Mag styles generally are not good for mobile display!||4. Screen displays far better on mobile & tablet displays.|
|5. Analytics show that 95% of click are above the fold !||5. Home page more keyword focused & less diluted.|
|6. Difficult to alter design as each area affects the next.||6. Full length sidebar available on home page.|
1. Ok this was about images..? And whilst there may only be a small difference in what is shown above, for the entire home page there was a huge difference, in fact the standard layout actually had only 1/3rd of the images displayed using the Mag Style layout. Needless to say this needs to be taken into account because even the best optimized images can still slow your page load down drastically.
2. I have heard this said many times ie “I can’t see the wood for the trees” & yes I suppose to those that are fairly new to computers & the Internet, a typical Magazine style layout can seem like information overload and quite distracting to some readers, add to this the fact that premium themes with plenty of white space have grown in popularity.
3. We already touched on this in 1. above, but bear in mind that with the limitations of the Internet browsers you are usually restricted to downloading 4 items / objects at a time and therefore everything else gets queued up waiting for a download slot. Yes a good page cache & browser cache helps, but only for repeat visitors, the initial page load will still take quite a bit of time for an image intensive theme.
4. Now it should stand to reason that if some people find a Magazine style layout overpowering on a typical 1280 x 800 display, then what is going to be the effect on a much smaller display..? That’s right, it’s going to be virtually unusable & unreadable. The big question is, with mobile & tablets becoming much more popular, will this mean the end of the Magazine style theme..?
5. Another important factor to consider is that judging by my analytics on several of my sites, 95% of clicks occur above the fold, so is there any need to have a home page 3 time the depth of your screen (which is what many Magazine style layouts produce), also page loading times come into this yet again..?
6. Finally, if like me, you like to get your hand dirty (so to speak), and like to butcher your original theme in order to try things out, then a Mag style theme is an absolute nightmare to work with. The problem is that everything on the page has critical margins & padding in order to squeeze everything in, so what you do to one small area tends to have a knock on effect to all neighbouring areas.
Although not comparing magazine style against the standard blog style, Bill Mcintosh’s article below does address the importance of blog design & layout, whilst touching on topics that would be very relevant to both , I highly recommend reading his article.
Choosing The Best Blog Layout And Why It Is So Important
Starting a blog is a major undertaking. For your blog to be popular, you need to be able to produce high-quality and in-demand content on a regular basis. Or you need to pay someone who can write that content for you. Content is only one aspect of a blog, however. You must pay attention to how your blog is laid out if you hope to have the most impact. The following tips will help you find the perfect blog layout that makes visitors and readers want to stick around a while.
Original source via Choosing The Best Blog Layout And Why It Is So Important
Well that’s certainly quite a few points to consider & I guess in most cases it’s going to be a matter of striking a balance between personal preference, usability & site performance, whilst constantly listening to your readers! After all you don’t build a blog just to read it yourself now do you
So let’s have your views guys..? which layout do you prefer, the Mag Style or Standard Blog Style..? Let us know in the comments section below.
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