Craig's Clicks - ActiveRain Blog Themes (#3)

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Education & Training with Tech Training for You!

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 Cadenhead
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 DeBord
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 Leibel
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.

PS - meanwhile you may want to check out www.bannerfans.com -- Joel Kruse on AR wrote this post on how to use it. Keep in mind that you will want a custom sized banner of 960x130.

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Rainmaker
226,846
Tom Waite
Thomas Waite Real Estate Broker - Cypress, CA
So Cal-Apartment Bldg Investments

Gotta bookmark this one.

Great blog and very useful to the average agent.

I'll use these techniques myself.

Nov 20, 2010 02:40 AM #41
Ambassador
1,092,682
Robert Hammerstein -201-315-8618
Christie's International Real Estate - Hillsdale, NJ
Bergen County NJ Real Estate

Craig - yes this is something I need to work on as well... Gotta find the time of course to get in there and do it still... Thanks for the reminder

Nov 20, 2010 02:54 AM #42
Rainmaker
1,157,329
FN LN
Toronto, ON

Craig - Great information about ActiveRain blog themes.  I'll be taking this post into consideration when I redo my theme.

Nov 20, 2010 03:04 AM #43
Rainmaker
50,505
Dustin McClure
Mossy Oak Properties Outdoor Realty - Mooresville, NC

Do you design blog headers?

Nov 20, 2010 03:13 AM #44
Ambassador
519,233
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Dustin - yes - please email me if you want to chat about it

Nov 20, 2010 03:20 AM #45
Rainer
22,696
Rick Wilson
Virgil Adams Real Estate - Olympia, WA
Olympia WA Real Estate

Bannerfans here I come - I used this to customize my outside blog (a work in progress) but I haven't done it here yet.  It was a very easy program - first thing Monday morning!  Thanks for these great examples.

Nov 20, 2010 05:17 AM #46
Rainer
137,264
Brent Wells
The LivingWell Team - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Broker serving all of North DFW

Craig,

Those are great examples. Now I am fired up to get after it...

-Brent

Nov 20, 2010 05:31 AM #47
Ambassador
672,549
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

As always Craig, you are spot on... I have a lot of work to do in these areas myself.

Nov 20, 2010 05:50 AM #48
Rainer
241,676
Michele Miller ~ REALTOR®, LMC, HSE, CHS, SRES, CMRS
ERA Key Realty~Worcester County Realty Group - Worcester, MA
'Helping You Make the Best Move"

Craig,

I am seeing more and more of these members use the www.bannerfans.com.

You gotta love technology!

Nov 20, 2010 09:20 AM #49
Rainmaker
509,386
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

Three great picks Craig! And congratulations on another feature.

Nov 20, 2010 03:37 PM #50
Rainmaker
152,075
Denise Roberts
New Colony Properties, LLC - Pinehurst, NC
e-PRO, REALTOR - Specializing in Pinehurst, NC Area

I started using Bannerfans.com after reading one of your earlier blogs.  It is sooooo easy!  Still tweaking it every now and then, but I like how simple it is to change my banner with that tool.  Now, I think I need to work on my 'Signature'.  It is soooooo 'common'.  I think I want to add some pics there, too.

Nov 21, 2010 01:23 AM #51
Rainmaker
888,557
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY
Broker-Owner

LOL I find my graphics very fun to do. A picture says 1000 words, but a really crappy picture says 1000 words emphatically. =)

Nov 21, 2010 06:20 AM #52
Rainmaker
650,447
Barbara Hensley
RE/MAX Properties - Rockwall, TX
Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas

Craig, thanks for the info.  I love the "Craig's Clicks" name.

Nov 21, 2010 10:19 PM #53
Rainer
325,365
Bernadine Hunter, SFR, ACRE
Keller Williams Greater Columbus Realty - Pickerington, OH
"Finding Solution to Your Real Estate Needs"

I definitely need to check this one out. You always learn something new in AR.

Nov 22, 2010 12:33 AM #54
Rainer
241,977
Justin Dibbs
Pearson Smith Realty - Ashburn, VA
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale

Looking forward to the "how to".  I really like Sam's page.

Nov 22, 2010 01:22 AM #55
Rainmaker
544,437
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Cool. I'm gonna check this out. I've been kinda looking for a way to make a banner/header lately, and now I think I'll be able to. Thanks!

Dec 17, 2010 01:39 PM #56
Rainer
26,192
Michelle Hatmaker
Real Living - The Hatmaker Group - Galveston, TX
Houston Galveston Real Estate

This helps soooo much!  I've been trying to figure out how to make my blog look a little more interesting.  Thank you!

Dec 19, 2010 11:39 AM #57
Rainer
26,192
Michelle Hatmaker
Real Living - The Hatmaker Group - Galveston, TX
Houston Galveston Real Estate

This helps soooo much!  I've been trying to figure out how to make my blog look a little more interesting.  Thank you!

Dec 19, 2010 11:39 AM #58
Rainmaker
257,950
Joyce Godwin, Realtor, CRS
RE/MAX Elite Properties; Serving Cypress, Spring, Tomball, NW Houston - Houston, TX
RE/MAX Elite Properties

Hi Craig, You really have lots of good info in your different series!  Could you look at my banner and signature and critique - from a buyer and seller standpoint?  Even if it means stepping on my toes!  You can be brutally honest.

Dec 30, 2010 01:40 AM #59
Ambassador
519,233
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Joyce - I will email you with some notes as soon as I can - thanks for stopping by my blog :)

Dec 30, 2010 01:58 AM #60
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