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Design Posts

About this category:

While a design may not make or break your business, an elegant, clean design with good navigation will always trump a chaotic, disorganized one. You don’t have to be pretty to succeed but it certainly helps.


Should You Turn Off Comments?

keep-calm-never-read-the-commentsIn putting together the Day One Advice, Mike Piper of Oblivious Investor told me something I found shocking.

His advice? Don’t be afraid to turn off comments.

What!? Turn off comments!? Are you nuts!?

Comments have been a part blogs since the beginning of time itself. It’s such a popular idea that news outlets have integrated comments to their articles, in the hopes that it increases engagement. Comments are integral to blogging and few people have considered removing comments entirely.

Mike is a seasoned blogger who has been writing Oblivious Investor for many many years. He’s found tremendous success taking his knowledge and codifying it into eight digital books he sells on Amazon. So when he told me he shut off comments on his site, I perked up.

Here was his advice:

Mike Piper, Oblivious InvestorDon’t be afraid to turn off comments, once it feels like the right thing to do. I found that most comments on my sites were (1) “Great job”-type comments from other bloggers. Just personal preference, but those drive me crazy, and I deleted every one of them. (2) Questions. They’re great but I’d rather get them via email and answer the question as a future article instead of in the comments where very few readers would see the reply. (3) Political crap.

I eventually realized that I didn’t enjoy spending time dealing with comments, and I was doubtful that they served any significant business purpose. But I worried (for roughly two years) that turning off comments would make people angry.

Earlier this year, I turned them off. I wish I had done it sooner. The questions still come in via email. I don’t have to spend time moderating. And the handful of people (maybe 10-15ish) who used to write informative/insightful comments still share their thoughts via email, which is great.

He’s hardly alone. When I sought out other examples, I found many. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits doesn’t have comments.

Mainstream media outlets are also joining in the demise of comments. Popular Science did it in late 2013 and New Yorker dug a little deeper.

Shutting off comments is perfectly OK, it will not kill your blog.

Is it the right thing to do?

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Should I Open Links In New Window?

Credit: Leshaines123

Credit: Leshaines123

When I’m surfing the internet, I open all links by clicking on my mouse wheel, which puts them in a new tab. I use tabs like a short-term bookmarking system to remember what things I need to address during the day. It’s not the most efficient process in the world but it works for me.

It never gets excessive to the point where I have 30+ tabs but there are days where it gets up there. 🙂

So I never gave today’s question much thought until now.

Lance of asks:

The user experience question I have is whether or not I should set up all of my links in articles to open in new tabs. I do this now, but am beginning to think it may not be a good strategy for bounce rates, not that it particularly matters.

I feel most users are advanced enough to know to right click and open the link in a new tab if they don’t want to leave the current page, but I thought I’d see what your thoughts were.

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Why Social Proof is Your Blog’s Silent Champion

Wisdom of the CrowdsDo you ever get an invite from someone on Facebook and have no idea who they are? What do you do? You look at the their profile to see if they’re real. You look to see if you have mutual friends or if they have a business that you might have interacted with. If you see that they have very few friends (none of which are mutual) and they have a very thin profile, you think they’re some spam profile and you ignore their invite.

When someone sees your blog for the very first time, they’re going to try to figure out whether or not they should trust you. It’s more than about making a good first impression. If you don’t make a good impression within a few seconds, that visitor will be gone and unlikely to ever come back. Showing that you are a credible and trustworthy site is absolutely crucial.

What they’re looking for are trust signals.

And one of the clearest signals of trust is social proof. Social proof is a simple concept, it’s when you use the reactions of others to help you know how you should respond. If someone says a joke and everyone else laughs, you laugh too – even if you didn’t hear the whole thing.

Whether you realize it or not, you do the exact same thing when you visit a blog for the first time. A fellow blogger emails you because they want to write a guest post for you, but you aren’t sure if this person is legitimate or just another linkbuilder looking to publish an article they bought for $3. So you go to their site, you look for signals that a legitimate blog would have – among other things, such as design and age, you will look for social proof. You look for comments, the commenters, subscriber counts, or even traffic figures if they’re published.

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How to Create a Favicon

Credit: lwordish2010

Credit: lwordish2010

Favicon is a portmanteau that combines the words favorites and icon. It’s the little icon that appears in your tabs when you browse, it’s what is saved when you add a site to your favorites, and it’s a very simple, yet useful, way for you to identify your site at a glance.

Our current favicon is a very simple Greek letter μ – which is the Metric prefix for micro. I’m a bit of a nerd and until I can think of a more clever icon, μ will do!

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