Many bloggers, like me, suffer from two different mindsets when it comes to their blog design. First, a design gets “old” even after a few months. Second, they are never satisfied with how their blog looks, so they install the latest template they find, or the newest plugin, and the cycle repeats itself. Eventually they spend more time searching and tweaking templates than they do writing their content.
On December 14th, Chris Brogan launched his new site design based on the Generate template from StudioPress.com. (Affiliate Link) Were you expecting fanfare, sirens and confetti? You didn’t hear much except a tweet from Chris and Brian. But Chris’s new site design reinforces the difference between design and content.
There was some Twitter chatter about how Chris and developer Brian Gardner of StudioPress were fine-tuning the call to action and minor CSS issues on the site in realtime.
@bgardner It’s hilarious that the designer is playing with the CSS on the fly like that. My clients would kill me if I did that.
To which Brian said:
@twohourblogger @socialtriggers It’s all about @chrisbrogan being laid back and understanding it’s easier to do it this way.
Yes, the thought of editing CSS live on a popular website may horrify web developers, but it was interesting to see just how transparent Chris was being with his site launch.
The Perfect Theme Design
Many people search for the perfect theme, endlessly installing, tweaking, then installing another theme trying to find the right theme to convey “professional but fun,” “passionate but soft” or some other kind of feeling through their design. I, myself, have installed countless StudioPress and free themes on this blog alone, each carefully customized then thrown away in a couple of months because something just doesn’t look right or professional enough.
Some people were shocked to find that Chris was allowing his theme to be turned into a template by StudioPress. But in fact, according to Brian Gardner:
For what it’s worth, Chris wanted to have his new theme based on something he could sell.
And from Chris himself:
The theme before Generate was a bit more custom. I like that I’m using an “almost” off the shelf theme to good effect.
It’s All About The Content
Chris shows us not to be concerned with another blog having a similar design. The subtext of basing his site on a released theme is quite simple: “I’m using a modified theme. My blog may look like hundreds if not thousands of others. It’s not the design, it’s the content.” (My words, not his.)
As you may notice, I have also switched to the “Generate” template, and am liking it so far. I know I’m no Chris Brogan, and while everybody running the theme may be accused of “copying” Chris, each blogger has a unique voice.
While presentation is nice, YOU make your blog unique.