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Blogging 101: Choosing a Layout – Part 1

by Jamie on September 13, 2011

Okay, admittedly I have gotten a little behind with the Blogging 101 Series, but my inbox has been overflowing with some great questions and topic ideas, so I have decided it’s time to get on the ball and create some new content.

I have enlisted the help of same amazing bloggers to assist with this series and we are hoping that you find the topics informative and useful. Together we will try to provide you with helpful and honest information as you step into the blogging world or make adjustments to your current blog.

We’ll also provide you simple and practical tips ranging from how to engage your readers more successfully to our tips on getting the best photo. We’ll try to give you a heads up on upcoming topics, so if you have questions you can ask within the post or email us at questions@mybakingaddiction.com.

One of the most asked topics in the past month has been about design, so I thought we would devote this week to blog layouts. Katie and I collaborated on this post and are discussing the basic elements of a blog layout: header, footer and sidebar(s). Tomorrow we’ll give our opinions of the Do’s and Don’ts of blog layouts.

What do I mean by Layout?

A Layout the way in which your blog is set up to display the information and images. Most blogs consist of a header, columns and footer.

What’s a Header?

A header typically appears at the top (head) of your blog. This area usually contains text (name of your blog) and image(s) that help identify your specific blog. It can also be used to “brand” your blog. The colors, images and fonts you select will combine to give your blog a certain feel and hopefully help your readers know what your blog is about just my taking a quick a glance.

What is a Footer?

A footer is the area at the bottom of a blog it typically houses things such as:

-copyright statement
-terms of use
-privacy policy
-link to web developer and/or designer
-contact information

But it can be customized to display a variety of information. MBA’s footer has the following elements: Recent Posts, Popular Posts, Links to Social Media, An Email Subscription Form, Copyright, a link to Chris (my designer) and some legal stuff. Some of these sections require use of WP Plugins, but we aren’t going to cover those today.

Katie’s menu links so readers don’t have to scroll back to the top of the page to access those links. She also displays Recent Comments which detail the reader’s name and a snippet of their most recent comment.

Whatever you decide to put in your footer, make sure you utilize the space. Mine sat empty for ages until Katie talked me into taking advantage of the area.

What is a sidebar?

Think of this area as a way to engage readers with content beyond what’s on the first page. Perhaps someone new has stumbled on to your blog by chance and sees something intriguing on the side bar – that information will keep them on your site longer, and hopefully convert them into a regular reader. It’s also a popular space for advertisements – which is something that we will definitely cover in a later post.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where we’ll delve into our Do’s and Don’ts of blog layouts.


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie September 13, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Thanks for doing this series! I just started my own blog a few weeks ago and I was referencing back to some of your earlier Blogging 101 posts while I was getting set up. I’m really excited about my blog, so I’m looking forward to learning more about being a good blogger :)

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shirley@kokken69 September 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Can’t wait for your next instalment, Jamie!

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Samantha @ Ferraro Kitchen September 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm

This is so helpful! I still feel so lost with my blog and am learning all on my own as I go along! There is space I’d like to make better use of but I’m so techy challenged! Its all a work in progress I guess :)

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Nik September 14, 2011 at 12:28 am

This series has been so helpful! I’m also starting a blog, and have been spending time searching for answers to my questions. How wonderful to find some of them on one of my favorite baking blogs! One thing I am struggling with is how to make the recipes printable (as in, just the recipe at the bottom of the post). Thanks in advance, and thanks for all the fun I have reading your posts!

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Naina @ chow bella September 14, 2011 at 3:30 am

I really like this series. As a new blogger myself, I really appreciate all the advice you have to offer!

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Katherine Martinelli September 14, 2011 at 3:44 am

This is a great series! I’ve had my blog for a year now but I had to teach myself everything at the beginning – a resource like this would have been so helpful!

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Kathryn September 14, 2011 at 4:38 am

Really looking forward to reading more in this series – it’s so helpful!

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The Sweet Cupcaker September 14, 2011 at 8:33 am

such help! can’t wait for tomorrow’s edition!

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Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray September 14, 2011 at 9:44 am

I’ve been waiting for the next installment of this series! Can’t wait for more, I need all the help I can get ;)

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cluttercafe September 14, 2011 at 9:45 am

Thanks Jamie and Katie for all your help. My site is fairly new and I look forward to your series to help guide me. Thanks again! lisa

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Carol September 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Thanks so much for the info! This series is very helpful. Please keep them coming!

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Anna September 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Thanks so much! These are really helpful!
Would love to see some blogging 101 posts about financing and how you make content engaging

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Kayleigh February 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Hey. Thanks for these tips. I have another question for you. Sponsors/earning income from a blog – how? I love blogging and I love food, but I’m at the place where I could use a little extra money too. Any suggestions?

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Jamie February 28, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Kayleigh-
Thanks for stopping by. I would recommend looking into an ad network such as BlogHer. There are also several others like Federated Media, Plateful, Martha’s Circle etc. Hope this helps.
-Jamie

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Andy September 13, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Do you copywrite your material? Use a copywrite company? Or just do the symbol and statement on the bottom of the site?

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Jamie September 16, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Andy-
I am not using a copyright company at this time. Thanks for stopping by.
-Jamie

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Baking Secrets January 9, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Thank you again for teaching! Could you please write something about food photography? I am curious about design. How do you prepare photography place? What is most import (without lighting)? How to make successful photos of our food?

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Marnie September 25, 2014 at 3:59 am

Your recipes are fun slash delicious I really like the look of the tiramisu trifles I might be making them soon I can not believe they only take under 20 minutes thanks for putting in the effort to make your blog for all the natural cooks I do not consider my self one though cause I am only 10 but all my family say I am a very good cook today I made a white chocolate cheesecake it turned out pretty good

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Jamie September 25, 2014 at 10:14 am

Thanks for visiting Marnie!

-Jamie

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