WordPress Wednesdays: How Many Columns?

Published on Oct 31, 2007   //  WordPress

Here’s a question that plagues anyone looking to start a new WordPress-powered blog. With countless free WordPress themes available on the Internet, in addition to an infinite number of custom designs, there are an unfathomable number of options for your new WordPress blog. Before proceeding with your choice, you must first decide on this very crucial issue: how many columns should your WordPress theme have?

One Column
It doesn’t get any simpler than a one-column WordPress theme, but this presents many severe limitations. You must include the navigation in the header and you cannot simultaneously present more than one piece of information at a time. Without a sidebar, it’s difficult to feature things like top commentators, RSS feeds, and blogrolls. Very few blogs — both personal and professional — make use of a one-column layout.

Two Columns
Many of my favorite blogs feature a two-column design, including the BlueFur blog and Beyond the Rhetoric. The key advantage to a two-column WordPress layout is that it is typically a lot “cleaner”-looking, because it has far less clutter than its multi-column counterparts. Unfortunately, with only one sidebar, there is a several limitation in the amount of space for web 2.0 widgets and other information. Blogs like John Chow dot Com have overcome this with the creation of “fat” footers. I personally like two columns the best and it seems much of the blogosphere agrees.

Three Columns
Many blogs feature a three-column design, because it can still take on a “clean” and uncluttered appearance when applied correctly, while providing lots of extra room for advertising and other secondary content. I am currently experimenting with a three-column design on my new fighting games blog, because it gives me more room for advertising. Three column layouts are more conducive to commercial blogs, I find, than personal blogs. For Hadouken Online, I have a sidebar on either side of the primary content, whereas Contest Blogger has two right sidebars. There are pros and cons to either selection, but I find having two sidebars on one side emphasizes too much asymmetry.

Four Columns
Very few blogs make use of four columns, because it severely restricts the space reserved for the primary content. I highly recommend against a four-column design unless you have a very specific version for doing it. Anyone out there with a four-column WordPress theme want to chime in with their rationale?

How Many Columns For Me?
The number of columns in your chosen WordPress theme is largely a matter of personal preference. As I said, I am partial to two-column designs, though I recognize the advantages of having three columns. I’d love to hear from the BlueFur community to see why they chose the theme that they did for their respective blogs. Let the world know through the comment form below.

Community Poll

Published on Oct 31, 2007   //  Polls

Weekly Community Poll

Last week we asked where should our polls go and the winner was both in the sidebar and in posts. This weeks question is…

{democracy:3}

Happy Halloween

Published on Oct 31, 2007   //  Cartoon
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Happy Halloween

Community Evolved Hosting – Wiki

Published on Oct 30, 2007   //  News Worthy
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Evolution

Last week we added polls to our blog as part of growing our BlueFur community. This weeks evolution to growth is introducing our BlueFur Wiki. The wiki is setup to provide a living knowledgebase where support, customers and visitors can add content.

To get involved you will need to create an account at the wiki. Once you are setup with an account you can add or edit pages. The wiki today has our basic knowledgebase pulled in to it. In the coming weeks we will be working on adding more topics to the wiki so the community will be able to contribute to it.

What topics do you want to see covered in our wiki?

Did You Know: Entrepreneurs Value Work-Life Balance

Published on Oct 30, 2007   //  Did You Know
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It sounds obvious enough, doesn’t it? I wrote back in June about finding a healthy life-work balance and then I followed up early this month asking whether we really need to separate work and play. It’s a concern that plagues just about everyone, but it doesn’t hit any harder than with people who own their own businesses.

In a recent report produced by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, 55% of entrepreneurs choose self-employment “for reasons such as independence and balancing work and family.” From the outside looking in, most 9-to-5 workers see their entrepreneurial colleagues enjoying a fair bit more freedom and flexibility in their schedules. They assume that because they may not necessarily have a set work schedule, these entrepreneurs can get up from their jobs on a moment’s notice to take care of a family concern. This simply is not the case. Independence, yes. Balance… that’s a different issue.

I’d argue that working for yourself — especially from a home office — only blurs the lines between what is considered work life and what is considered home life. Managed properly, a healthy work-life balance can be achieved, but it does not come automatically with the territory. This is a common misconception that conventional employees may have and it is one that they have to better understand before taking the plunge into self-employment. This hasn’t stopped the exodus from the office, however, as the number of self-employed Canadians increased a solid 30% from 1990 to 2004. More and more, we’re working for ourselves.

Speaking for myself, the greater value of entrepreneurship is in knowing that every success that you enjoy is wholly yours. If you land a huge contract and put in some fantastic work, the reward is wholly yours because it is your business; you’re not working for someone else, making money for someone else. Bear in mind that entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. To see how you stack up, check out the self-assessment tool at BDC.ca.

Monday How to Movie

Published on Oct 29, 2007   //  Video
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This week and almost every week I get asked how do I change permissions on files. Certain scripts do require that files and folders be writable (chmod 777). Just a word of caution if you make your files and folders writable it can leave your site open to malicious use. If your script needs to update a config file I suggest setting the file back to unwritable when you are done.

Here is the video of how to update file permissions using File Manager in our cPanel. This one comes from our own knowledgebase.

Do you have a question would make a good video? If so post a comment.

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