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What DiCioccio’s Paintings Can Teach Us About Blogging

After taking some time to look at Lauren DiCioccio’s paintngs, I think they are really good examples of how bloggers should want to layout their blogs. I have come to this conclusion after reading the “10 Blog Layout Tips” article we had to read for homework. A lot of the tips the article gives can be seen in Lauren DiCioccio’s paintings.

This first tip given in the article is vertical alignment. The point of the tip is to make sure everything in your blog fits in it’s rightful column. This is to make sure nothing looks like it is randomly sticking out and to keep your blog looking neat and organized. If you look through Lauren’s paintings, you can observe that they all contain vertical alignment.

The second tip given is having white space in your layout. You want to have white space, or sections/columns of your blog well spaced, so that it is easy for your readers to read. In Lauren’s paintings, all of her paintings have white space. Her columns are filled with colors and they are also well spaced so you can easily identify separate columns and paragraphs or images.

I am skipping down to tips 6 & 7 because tips 3, 4 and 5 ( uncluttered sidebars, accessible info and short description) are elements we can not necessarily draw an accurate comparison to blogging, since these paintings are made up of dots and not words.

Tip number six is typography. Typography is having a low amount of fonts in your blog. I think Lauren’s paintings are a good representation of consistency with fonts because in all of her paintings, for the most part, the dots are the same size.  There are also only dots, so the consistency of shape is also made throughout the paintings. We do not see any squares or triangles mixed in. Sometimes there are bigger dots to represent a title or quote perhaps, but other than that, there is consistency of shape and size with the content that is representative of the words.

Tip number seven is colors. You want to add color to your blog to make it appealing and to draw attention to your readers. Lauren’s paintings are a good example of the addition of color because her paintings are filled with a variety of colors. She places colors in the dots and sometimes the images. This in combination with the white background really makes her paintings stand out. The colors really capture your attention while looking at her paintings. That is what you want to achieve with a blog layout. You really want to be able to capture a reader’s attention and the use of color is a very simple way to do that.

These are just a few of the tips that resonated with me after looking at her paintings. They really do set a good example for how bloggers should look to layout their blogs. If bloggers are having trouble envisioning a nicely executed blog layout, I think they should look at Lauren’s paintings because they are definitely a great representation of what a blog layout should look like.

Three Blogs I Love – Check Them Out!

Three Blogs I Love:

http://www.dancebloggers.com/

This blog has a similar theme to the blog I am in the process of making. It has this theme of bringing dancers together, except in this case, it is strictly bringing dance bloggers together. In the “above the fold” part of the blog, there is a lot going on. The title is at the top, which is apart of the header of this blog. In the navigation bar, there is a home button. There are no categories. Below the navigation bar, there is a subscription box. Next to that in the middle of the page, is the most recent post. Then on the right of that is their only social link, which is a link to their Facebook page. There is a box for tags, but there are no tags. There is also a box for popular posts, but that is also empty. There is a list of contributors on the right. It is a very long list with all the dance blogs they link to. The rest of the blog consists of all their posts. I like this blog because I think they have a great idea here and a lot of potential. They also bring all these dance blogs to one place, which is really cool. There is a lot of content, they just need to promote it more, and also the blog is kind of plain. If they promote their posts more through social media and get people commenting, that popular posts box can get filled and they can make their blog bigger. I think a more exciting design will also draw viewers.

http://dailydancenote.blogspot.com/

The first thing I liked about this blog was the background design. It draws you in because of the use of multiple colors and the splatter paint design. In the “above the fold” you see the title in the header, and below that there is no navigation bar, but there is a subscription bar. You also see the most recent post and the beginning of the sidebar. As you go down past the fold of the page, you are able to see more posts, and what the rest of the blog includes. It has a list of people who follow the blog, the blog archive and an “about me” section. I like this blog because the posts are motivational and they teach you stuff if you are someone in the process of learning to dance or trying to achieve a career in dance. I think this blog could improve by updating a little. The last post was in 2012, so they should add some more current posts. I also think they should get social media accounts to promote their blog and add the social links here. I feel like nowadays, social media is a must have for blogs because of how big it is in this current generation.

http://t-h-e-d-a-n-c-e-b-l-o-g.tumblr.com/

This dance blog is probably my favorite. In the “above the fold”, there is a middle section with the most recent posts. There is a sidebar on the left that shows all the blog has to offer. The categories include, Instagram, Me-Dance photos, Dance Blogs List, Dance Tips, Personal/Photography Blog, and How To Dance Videos. The categories show this blog has a lot to offer to dancers and people who like dance. I think the photos this blogger posts are really cool. There are a lot of action shots, which is awesome to see. This blogger also has an archive section, an “ask me” section, a submission section, and links to other blogs. I think those are important sections to have because it allows readers to really interact with the blog and get involved. I really like the content of this blog and the design is also nice and put together well. I did not see anything I thought called for improvement.

Blogs I Love

The blogs I have chosen to focus on today are MoscatoMom, HoseMaster of Wine, and Call Me Cupcake!

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The reason I chose these blogs is because they incorporate some of the different aspects of the things I’m going to be talking about in my blog. For example, MoscatoMom tackles easy recipes and happy hour–two of my most favorite things! Her blog is more geared towards a a lifestyle approach. She talks about fitness, eating, crafting, entertainment, and traveling. So while her blog can seem a little bit overwhelming to navigate all at once, she definitely has tabs for everything you’re looking for. One thing I will say is that her above the fold is a bit cluttered, there almost seems to be way too many selections and way too many to get connected on social media. A solution to this might have been to move all her social media icons more towards her footer so that the reader can actually get a feel for her blog before being bombarded by the ever present Facebook button. Shudder. Other than that her blog is really neatly organized and you get to know a lot about Lynsey and her family, who are always prevalent in her posts. She has a search button for her posts, which is great! But sadly, no archive. You have to actually go through page by page to get to a specific month or day which can be a bit tedious is maybe you’re just looking for some fun fall treats. Then again, hopefully the search bar tackles that issue straight on even if you’re not sure what you’re typing for. That would be my only downside to that.

The other blog I took a look at was Call Me Cupcake! Also blog dedicated to food but more specifically desserts. Linda’s blog is really more antique-y looking as compared to MoscatoMom who is all pink and Cosmopolitans. However, it goes along with her personality and writing style. Linda has a strong love for photography and baking which makes the pictures on her blog look absolutely drool-worthy. Seriously, every shot you can practically taste the glaze on the cupcake. Even better though, Linda did have a super easy to navigate archive which made it a pleasure to go back and see exactly how long she’d been running her blog. Unlike MoscatoMom, Linda puts her links to social media at the bottom of the post and instead of linking to a million different sites she simply has a small Facebook button down next to her comments so if one should feel so inclined, they can share. I do wish her font was a little bit bigger in her posts however, her pictures are marvelous and take up the entirety of the screen (which, thank you jesus, means more icing ogling for me) but then her actual posts are severely overshadowed by this itty bitty font. I just wish it was a bit more substantial so I wouldn’t have to zoom in my screen and distort the picture in order to read her post. Her actual formatting is really cute and demure, which doesn’t overshadow the works she’s doing in her actual posts and she even has these little cute cupcakes next to the comment section. Overall, a really pleasing blog to visit and learn from.

The last blog I took a swing at was HoseMaster of Wine which stems from Ron who has quite a few decades of wine-knowledge from which to contribute to this blog. I chose this one because it focuses mostly on wine but in a way that is less about simply taste-testing and more about story-making. For example, Ron talks about his experiences at vineyards and wineries and also talks about some of the literature of wine. Since I talk about literature that incorporates wine, I knew I had to get the details on this site. What I love about Ron’s blog is its straightforwardness. However, his blog is completely dominated by words. Aesthetically its a little overwhelming because there’s nothing being broken up. Its text after text after text. Even in his side bar, which features his prominent about me. I think I would prefer a little bit more of a break up in between his posts so it doesn’t feel like I literally have to read an entire screen to get anywhere.

Mayhem in the Kitchen

mayhem-in-the-kitchen_logoOne of the blogs I decided to follow is Mayhem in the Kitchen. I chose this blog initially because above the fold I saw a picture of a pug with cupcakes. Immediately, I knew this would be up my alley as I am both a dog and cupcake-lover. I should specify that I am more so a complete push-over for anything dog or food related. So sue me, I have major weaknesses. Could be worse. Anyway! The header was simple but still descriptive and contained the title “Mayhem in the Kitchen.” Initially I read this as a sort of commentary of the characteristic of who it was that was working in this kitchen and creating a mess. Going on to read the about me, however, I soon realized that Mayhem was in fact the blogger’s dog. A 4-year old adopted pug, too cute for words. The blog doesn’t seem to be hosted by anyone as it ends in the more traditional .com without another server or rather, platform, attached to it. The navigation bar was pretty straight-forward and definitely featured above the fold so it was easy to click through and see the options. Her tags were more towards her footer and I had some trouble finding her archive, I think there was overall much more of a focus on her tags.

The blog is so easy to navigate and the gist of the posts are comprised of a photo detailing the recipe that Leesha will be undertaking that day. She’s a vegetarian so all of her foods cater to that lifestyle and she tends to use organic ingredients for mostly everything she makes. In her about me she details the blog as a site where she will post about super healthy and clean eating but also really delicious not-so-healthy for you treats. Any place that can combine an amazing dessert with a nutritious meal is fine by me and so it was really fun to scroll through and see her different attempts.

What I liked about the recipes is that they’re very straight forward. You can scroll down her blog to see pretty much every recipe she’s tried but you actually click on the picture to jump to the permalink for the recipe. So for example you can pretty much bypass all of her healthy food choices to get right into the desserts. The posts themselves are pretty simple. She will showcase the picture of what the food should look like when its done and then give you a brief synopsis of her own experience making it. Then to replicate it yourself, she has the actual directions and ingredients. That way if you’re feeling particularly creative you’re welcome to try them out or even improvise based on her own mistakes or successes.

Overall, its a very cute little blog. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of regularly scheduled postings but so far all of the recipes have looked great, and easy enough to manage. An archive would definitely be an easier way of navigating, I think, than having to scroll past every month. Though, the tags do help in specifying what you are looking for.