Post Number. One Hundred in CuteWriting: New Design!

Dear readers, in CuteWriting it’s celebration time. The post you are reading is the hundredth one here. As a feast for you all, here is the completely revamped, professional WordPress-ish template. Now the blog will load a lot faster and work more efficiently.

The Template

First, let me thank Mr. R Bhavesh, for this elegant design, originally crafted for WordPress. The team at eBlogTemplates has modified the theme to be used as a Blogspot template. Thanks to them for the great work. Despite a beautiful professional design, surprisingly, the template is available completely free.

I downloaded it yesterday, and made all the necessary tweaks for the best performance (Later did the W3C validation tweaks).

The Design

The template is simple and elegant, the best choice for those cluttered, unreadable, slow-loading, ads-rich blogs. The major reason why I love this design is its clean, professional appearance. It reminds me of such beautiful websites as A List Apart, PublicLiterature.org (in which I contributed once and which uses the original WP Premium Red Template), etc. You have space in this three column template to stock away everything—ads, social networking widgets, link lists, etc.

Tab Switching Javascript

The most important aspect of the template is that there is a small JavaScript code, which in real time switches between the search box and the categories tab on the sidebar. This is a beauty of a code, which I stocked away in the GooglePages server as an external JavaScript file.

The Ads Widget

The template supports a beautiful ads widget, which automatically centers the ad code you put. It originally supports two 125x125 buttons side by side. But ads of any size will get nicely stacked away in this.

RSS Feed Subscriber Button

There was an inelegant RSS icon in the original template, stocked away somewhere in Photobucket (you can find that button in PublicLiterature.org). I replaced that icon with this cool, transparent blue icon, provided by Ittbox. They have a good range of RSS icons there, which you can download as a package.

Recent Feeds and Comments

There are recent feeds and recent comments widgets available pre-coded in the template. All you need to do is input the appropriate feed leads to enable the widgets. The recent post widget enjoys some CSS tweaking as well

My Tweaks

Editing of the template is an extremely tiresome job, and needs a lot of continuity. For the whole day, I had been at work nitpicking the template and tweaking it for CuteWriting. Now, the blog will load twice as fast.

Template Images

The template originally calls several resource images from Photobucket. However, for CuteWriting, I transferred all these files to my private GooglePages server.

The background images of the template used to steal from load time. I converted all unnecessary images to appropriate hex color codes to make the loading faster. You can use DeGraeve.com to convert your images to hex color codes. I also edited the CSS Stylesheet completely. After enough tweaking, to compress the CSS file, I used CSS Optimizer, but its output was somehow amiss: it didn’t give expected results.

Faster Loading: External CSS and Javascript

I edited out unnecessary CSS code and completely optimized its size.

The best thing I did was that I stocked both the edited CSS Stylesheet and the JavaScript code for tab switching to my GooglePages server. The template calls these files as the blog gets loaded. The advantage of this is that the blog’s entire home page size will shrink. It will also enable the browser to cache these external files, so that it needn’t reload them when another page within the blog is visited. So, your navigation will now be twice to thrice faster.

WP Premium Brown

I edited some part of the template to make it look like the WP Premium brown template, which is a variant of the red one, which is normally available for Blogspot. I fished around the net a lot to find the original brown template for Blogger (that looked cooler), but couldn’t find it. I could, however, find one French website that used the brown template. I looked at their code and mixed and matched the various options to get to this template design.

Now the template is a blend of the original red and brown designs. You may also notice the yellow background image for the top link tab, which is one of the best features of the brown template.

The Old Story

I removed the code that enabled the expandable post summaries. It seems I missed something in it. I enabled expandable post summaries hack with the thought that it will load only the summary, so that the user can load the original post as necessary. I thought that this will decrease the blog’s total size, and thus increased the number of default home page posts from three to ten. But later I found out that the blog actually loaded the full post nonetheless. It made the blog’s total size increase to 400 KB for the homepage. Soon enough, it came to my attention that the blog was loading too slowly. So, now, with this new design, we are going back to the original 3 posts per home page design.

Also, the sidebars are all on the right, so that the post body gets loaded first and then the sidebar with advertisements; this will enhance the user experience (who first wants to read the post and as he finishes reading, wants to check out the links and other widgets).

As I said, the new widget, ‘Recent Posts’ will show the most recent 5 posts for you. Apologies, the new template doesn’t support the expandable archive list as in the old style; however, I didn’t find many readers using that feature. The new search button will offset this limit. [Modification: I have enabled the expandable archive list now, with the later tweaking [written on July 22]]

New Feature Announcement

In CuteWriting, I am planning to open the largest DoFollow search engine. Soon enough, I will announce it in a post. May more of the searchers come and search for DoFollow blogs. [The Dofollow search feature is delayed, and may be added soon. Expect a more recent announcement on this.]

Download the Theme

Mr Bhavesh and eblogtemplates have enabled the download of this theme easy and free for you. You can visit them and download this theme for your site.

Image Credit: http://www.lincolntown.org/

Related Post:

Importance of a Theme on Blog's Success

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008

6 Opinions:

  1. Hi Lenin!

    The site looks fantastic! It is easy to use, pleasing on the eye, and the extras are easier to locate. And yes, the site definitely loads very quickly!

    Good job!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Angie, many thanks for the comment. Glad to know you liked it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Awesome! You're my template heroine!! Your article has great information about design and performance. I admit, most of us can only admire your actions and hope we can one day do the same! I plan to link to this post in my recent article about selecting and living with your first Blogger Design.

    Great job.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi there,

    Thanks a lot for the link to the post. Great to know you liked the design.

    Lenin

    ReplyDelete
  5. This blog is excellant. Style of writing is veru good and appreciated. Neat contents and arrangements. go ahead

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sherin, thanks a lot for the comment. Glad to know you liked it. I have also recently set up the tablist above with blog archives. I will post after doing a complete error checking and validation process.

    Lenin

    ReplyDelete

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