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Grab Some Free 125×125 Banner Advertising

February 27, 2009

~  free  ~
photo credit: alicepopkorn

Hey, guys! I’m glad to be finally be back and updating SuperBloggingTips.com on a regular basis again, so I thought I’d show that with a quick little giveaway. This is also a big thank you to everyone who’s stuck around, and of course any new readers as well. If you’ve got a blog or a website, or even if you have a friend who does or any organization you want to get the word out about, here’s your chance at a grab for a little free promotion. Absolutely anyone can enter!

There’s not much involvement in this one; all you have to do is subscribe to Super Blogging via email. You can easily do that here. After that, all you’ve got to do is go the email you used and confirm your subscription – then you’ll be registered to win. And if you’re already subscribed by email, then your entry still counts and you’re ahead of the game. ;)

This simple contest will end two weeks from today’s date, on March 13. After that I will go through the list of subscribers by email and choose two random winners to each receive a free 125×125 banner that’s worth one month of advertising. Everyone has an equal chance, including YOU, so get in on it now by clicking here.

What are the bonuses of subscribing to Super Blogging via email? You’ll be among the first on the web to receive new updates and content conveniently in your inbox. That way you’ll never miss out on a thing.

Thanks, and I cannot wait to announce the winners. Good luck to you all!

Going With a Minimalistic Design

February 21, 2009

Love yourself....
photo credit: Atilla1000

Most sites that you see in the blogosphere these days are excessively “Web 2.0” with shiny colors and gradients; rounded edges; Flash; Java; complicated layouts; and widgets, forms, videos, and graphics all over the place. This kind of design can look very impressive and, if implemented correctly, can really set your blog or website above the rest. But when is it just too much? Maybe when you buy quality logo products to promote your site or just invest a ton of your personal savings to continue adding more features.

Take a look at the famous blogger John Chow and his site’s homepage, for example. I believe that a new first-time visitor to his site would be very overwhelmed. At the top you’ve got the horizontal and floating pop-out ad box hovering there, as well as several buttons, widgets, links, and yet another rectangle ad for PepperJam Network. You see the “Featured Articles” box that scrolls through five different posts too quickly. There’s a push for a free “Make Money Online” ebook, encouraging you to fill out the form and sign up to get your copy. Then you scroll down a little more and see nearly a dozen excerpts of his recent blog posts, all stacked one over top of the other. Beside that is the featured video, a large graphic advertisement for a premium sponsor, five lines of recent photos that light up as you hover over them, ads for TTZ media, and then an excerpt of a biography of John Chow himself. Even further toward the right of the page are eight 125×125 advertisements, a large chunk of link advertisements, recent Tweets from John Chow’s Twitter account, a poll, a top commentators list, and then half a dozen links to his social networking profiles. Below these three columns, at the bottom of the page, is even more “content”. You’ve got a box linking you to all his blog’s categories, and three more boxes for recent comments, a MyBlogLog community widget, and a blogroll linking to many other sites. Last but not least, the page ends with copyright information and a small line of other important links.

Whew, that was a mouthful! At first glance John Chow’s site looks like it’s full of content, but so much of what he displays is just a filler and not truly relevant. Upon visiting his blog even I don’t know where to look or to begin, and it’s not only intimidating but also somewhat frustrating. As a reader, where do I find what I actually want to read? John Chow only gets away with this because he’s, of course, John Chow. He can write hundreds of posts about food and cars and have a migraine-inducing design but still have thousands of beginners flock to read all about what he says. If someone starting their new blog or someone lesser-known tried to pull this off, they’d get dozens of complaints and little visitors.

So instead of trying to be all flashy, think about going with a minimalistic design. Everyone has a different idea of what classifies as minimalism, but in the end you should try to eliminate unnecessary elements while still managing a beautiful look and feel. Choose or create something with a simple color and font scheme. Don’t get too complicated with the organizational system. A main column and a sidebar will usually suffice, apart from four different sections divided into three columns apiece with a large header, footer, and sidebar to boot.

Apart from all else, only include the content and information that is absolutely relevant and necessary. That would be things such as your navigational links, header, your blog posts, RSS subscription area, search bar, categories, and advertisements if you have any. Of course you can add more, considering what I listed is normally the bare minimum. But going all out with all kinds of images, widgets, and unneeded areas will only hurt you. If there is something you’d like to show on your blog but isn’t essential to most or all your visitors, then put it on a separate page that only someone who is interested has to see. Less is more! All of your readers will thank you for minimalizing the clutter and making your blog easier on the eyes.

Good blogs with minimalistic themes that I read include Traffikd, Vandelay Design, Court’s Internet Marketing School, Skelliewag, and BlogStorm. I have also chosen to go in the direction of minimalism here at Super Blogging. Another good resource is the compilation of beautiful minimalistic themes over at Vandelay Design that you can use for inspiration.

It’s also possible to have a clean and simple theme while still adding other aspects and have a good-looking blog. This is demonstrated at Pro Blog Design, Anywired, and Freelance Folder, among others. They choose to cut the clutter and only show what is necessary, but spice it up to make it a little more interesting.

Basically, the importance is to keep a good balance. You can’t have your site looking so bare and bland that no one remembers it, but even more so, you shouldn’t have it too overdone and cluttered as to annoy or frighten away your visitors. If you can land right in the middle you’ll be on the road to success and your site will be appreciated by all. Appearance and readability of your blog is essential to making that first impression and capturing a new reader.

7 Domain Name Generators

February 11, 2009

Sky Palette
photo credit: Nicholas_T

Coming up with a new domain name is usually quite difficult, and most all bloggers have gone through that struggle at least once in their lives. You’ve got to come up with something catchy, memorable, and preferably short. It obviously should be relevant to your site’s topic and contain a good keyword or two. Your domain name should reflect your site perfectly and always have the capabilities of being very marketable and doing well in the search engines. So with all of these aspects in consideration, and also knowing that once you make up your mind you cannot change it, figuring out a domain name is a stressful task.

Luckily, there are some free handy tools to help you along this tough path. Whether you’re struggling to come up with good keywords to begin with or you already have an idea but would like some variations or want to know what else is available, these domain generators are tremendously helpful. I hope that this list compiled here will help you in your journey. And, as always, if you need any advice or suggestions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment and ask.

1.) NameBoy – This is a helpful generator which allows you to enter keywords and ideas and comes up with a unique and intelligent combination for your domain name. It also has a couple checkboxes such as allowing hyphens or rhyming. When it gives you your results it shows the possible extensions that the domain is available in.

2.) Domain Name Generator – This is a very intelligent tool which comes up with great name creations based on the criteria your provide. It is very detailed and offers options for languages, prefixes and suffixes, character length, and more. Highly recommended.

3.) Whoix? – The Whoix? Domain Name Wizard is great if you already have an idea of what you’d like to call your site, but you need plenty more suggestions and variations. It’s simple: all you do is enter in a domain name and extension you would like, and Whoix? offers you other ideas. Quick, easy, but immensely valuable.

4.) NameDroppers – With this, you can quickly search for, create, and register your domains if you’d like. There are a lot of options you can select through, including keyword order, character length, excluding numbers and certain keys, what extensions you’d like and which ones you don’t, and more. There’s even the ability to choose whether you’d like to view only nonexistent domains, already registered ones, or both.

5.) Domain Name Generator – This one is extremely simple to use. You only have to fill in one box, which is your relevant word or phrase, and it offers you possible domain names and alternatives. On top of that, this site also has some other great tools, so check them out as well!

6.) SnapItNow – This neat domain generator has nine options, including ones for keywords, categories, hyphens, flip-flopping your keywords, hiding taken domains, choosing certain extensions, etc. There’s not much involved so it makes your job a whole lot easier.

7.) Name Generator – And last but not least, there’s the Web 2.0 Name Generator. This one is different from all the others but it still has something to offer. Instead of coming up with domain alternatives, this one randomly gives you unique names that you can use to title your own site or blog. Upon clicking the “Generate Name!” button it offers you a new choice, so you can go through them until you find one you love – and then when you do, you can click another button to check its availability. And so you don’t lose any names, it neatly lists all your previously viewed ones in the sidebar. Try it out!

Other places to find great tools and resources: VandelayDesign.com, Traffikd.com, SmashingMagazine.com, SEOBook.com, SEOChat.com.