Have you seen that I've started handing out gold stars? This blog series I'm calling "Craig's Clicks". If you want to go back and see previous posts, that link will list them for you. I'm featuring blogs three at a time in these different categories: blog theme, blog profile, and blog signature.
The purpose of the series is to find good examples that inspire us for ideas on our own blogs. I'm clicking around ActiveRain as much as I have time to and if I see something that I like, I'll mark the click with a gold star in my book. Once I've gathered three, I'll post the features.
I'm looking at the presentation of you in the virtual world. If your presentation is attractive to the eye, engaging, tells a concise story about you to someone who has never met or seen you before then you will get my attention too.
These next three stars are also going out based on the blog theme (appearance). I'm looking specifically at blog banner and background image or color.
(These settings, by the way, are editable if you go to My Home > Activerain - Customize) I will soon be writing how-to articles on the topic, but for now we are looking for inspiration based on a job well done (and that we can learn from) The next three stars go to...
Charita has an interesting banner. Besides her portrait and her company name, she has all of her own contact information. Want to contact Charita? It is easy to find how. The background of the banner is also well done in the dynamic radial lines coming from the company name. She also uses an illustration of a house and not a photo - different and interesting. The background color of the page is complementary to the theme. Notice also that the top menu bar has a different from standard color and matches her theme. This also is controllable by you when you setup your blog page theme. Good job Charita! (wow gold stars and winning iPads all in one week, must be nice!)
Sam's banner image serves as a nice foundation to the "what" question about him. What is one thing he specializes in... waterfront. The text in the banner also lists his specialties. It shows his name and number and also his website reference. Good combination of not too much information but just the right amount. Also what caught my eye is his background. Notice the darker shade of blue AND on the left side is a subtle watermarked kind of image. Notice subtle is key. It doesn't repeat over and over and over like you see on some blogs. Remember the background is not the focus for the reader the content of the blog IS. (PS - in order to not have the repeat, repeat, repeat tiled image effect you need to choose a background image that has sufficient width and height in pixels so that it covers the complete "canvas" of the page - I'll try and blog about that in more detail soon)
update: you'll notice that Sam's menu bar is black and the menu text is black. The result is that the menu functions become invisible. I suppose it could be argued that this keeps a consumer (who found you on AR via google) on your specific pages. Whether or not Sam intended that we might have to see if he wants to comment on that or not. I have mixed opinions about doing that by intention and I would weight towards always being able to read the menu.
Mike has similar good points as Sam does above. He uses a wide enough background image that does not cause the dizzying repeat pattern. His banner graphic is a good balance of not too much text and not too little text (some banners I see have NO text). He shows his phone number and website, his tagline and his company graphic on top of a very nice panoramic shot of his city.
Well there you have my next three "Craig's Clicks" gold stars in featuring blog themes.
Stay tuned for future posts where I will teach you how to do some of the things that we see here.