Build a Better Blog... turning WordPress themes into custom Rain blogs

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marti garaughty, The Art of Marketing YOU

 Hi guys, it's been awhile since I wrote something for my Build a Better Blog series and since I've had a lot of questions and emails about my outside Rain blog, here goes...

 

marti garaughty, The Art of Marketing YOU

 First I thought I'd give you a quick overview of what I did to make it look so different from the standard Rain blogs and I'll point out a few things that might not be obvious until you play around with it. The fact is that what you see on my outside Rain blog is actually a theme I had designed on WordPress

 Here are a couple of photos of a default AR blog theme I used as a starting point...

marti garaughty, graphics, design, branding, WordPress

 In the first photo above you can see that...

- it has a custom blog header designed to fit the default space of 960 pixels W x 134 pixels H

- the BIG TEXT title which is standard on the outside blog

- and it filled up the entire screen from left to right on a standard monitor (screen resolution of 1024 pixels wide i.e. iPad in the horizontal position)

 

In the second photo below you'll see the standard AR outside blog footer (bottom of the page area)...

marti garaughty, graphics, design, branding, WordPress

 

Now let's take a look at the makeover to see how I cleaned it up and gave it a more polished look ...

marti garaughty, graphics, design, branding, WordPress

 In the photo above you'll see that...

- I removed the BIG TEXT title since I wanted to add my own text with color and a shadow in the new header

- I designed a new header sized 700 pixels W X 200 pixels H so I'd have more "breathing room", I find the standard AR blog header much too narrow for adding graphics

- to add even more breathing room, I added some space between the blog header and the content

- the fonts were changed and the links were given a more web standard type color 

- you can see I also reduced the size of the content area and the sidebar so I could have some of the background showing through

- then I added another graphic to the background along with a shadow area behind the content so it would pop off the page a bit

- if you go to my outside blog(see link below) and scroll down the page, you'll see that the background is fixed or static, meaning you always see it no matter how far down you scroll

 

marti garaughty, graphics, design, WordPress

 And last but definitely not least. I wasn't too thrilled with all the "stuff" in the standard blog footer area(bottom of the page/posts) so...

- I removed all the "stuff"

- and added a very simple graphic

 If you've been reading me for awhile you know that I'm a big fan of clean, minimal design. I could have also added a logo or a bit of text but for now I decided to leave it as it is.

 I have a ton of ideas for other ways to pimp out Rain blogs so my outside Rain blog will probably look very different if you're reading this weeks or months from now but for the next little while, you can see the live version of this design at...  http://garaughty.activerain.com

 While Rain blogs don't have the kind of features you find in WordPressPosterous or Tumblr, they do have some nice possibilities which we'll take a look at in some upcoming posts.

 For more information about super affordable custom designs for your Rain, WordPress, Tumblr and Posterous blogs you can reach me at marti@garaughty.com  Later...

                                                                                               marti garaughty, The Art of Marketing YOU

marti garaughty, The Art of Marketing YOU

If you have additional topics you'd like to see covered or would like more information about custom graphics, themes or to book a 1 on 1 consultation to create or customize your WordPress or ActiveRain blogs, you can reach me here Later...

For more info about how we can help you stand out from the crowd, contact GiselleStCyr@garaughty.com

garaughty.com

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garaughty, abstract art, graphic design, WordPress consultant, branding, marketing

 If you'd like to participate in any of our upcoming marketing partnerships, surprises for your clients, goodies and giveaways or to stay on top of all the new tech stuff and graphic goodies...

garaughty, abstract art, graphic design, WordPress consultant, branding, marketing

 You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and by email...

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Ambassador
1,591,721
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Marti, your blog designs I always consider pure artwork not even custom but ART!!!

May 10, 2011 09:58 AM #20
Rainmaker
343,521
Marti Garaughty
garaughty.com - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type. The Art of Mar

Gary... thx so much, my art background helps in the design process so I use it whenever I can. 

May 10, 2011 10:12 AM #21
Rainmaker
754,256
Larry Brewer
Benchmark Realty LLc - Nashville, TN
Nashville Real Estate

Marti - I love your designs, and thanks for showing us how to do this.

May 10, 2011 10:20 AM #22
Rainmaker
398,421
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

You have never done anything I haven't like Marti. I suggested and bookmarked as well. Lot's of updating and cleaning up to do for me!

May 10, 2011 10:28 AM #23
Rainmaker
343,521
Marti Garaughty
garaughty.com - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type. The Art of Mar

Larry... it was all done with CSS techniques, not something I'm going to try and teach here but since I get a lot of emails asking if AR blogs can be tweaked, I guess the answer is yes. ;-)

Shar... thx so much, you have an amazing eye for design so I really appreciate that!

May 10, 2011 10:38 AM #24
Rainmaker
562,555
Steve, Joel & Steve A. Chain
Chain Real Estate Investments & Mortgage, Steve & Joel Chain - Cottonwood, CA

Marti,

Great and dynamic results. A far cry from a static blog to be sure.

Thanks for the thought provoking post,

Steve

May 10, 2011 10:45 AM #25
Rainmaker
377,507
Bob Jakowinicz
National Realty Centers Livonia--Bob Jakowinicz - Livonia, MI
734-578-6561 - Michigan Real Estate Agent

Looks like I now have some ammo to go back to my sites and blogs with.  Thanks for the info

May 10, 2011 10:56 AM #26
Rainmaker
343,521
Marti Garaughty
garaughty.com - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type. The Art of Mar

Steve... thx, framing the content well is part of the overall picture we present online.

Bob... cool, enjoy!

May 10, 2011 11:12 AM #27
Rainmaker
309,354
Susan Brown
Keller Williams NE, Kingwood Texas (Humble & Atascocita too) - Kingwood, TX

Marti, Enjoyed the makeover.  Wow.  You really changed it up for the better.  Thanks for the plan.

May 10, 2011 02:15 PM #28
Rainmaker
343,521
Marti Garaughty
garaughty.com - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type. The Art of Mar

Susan... my pleasure, I already do this on WordPress and a few other platforms so the transition was quick and painless. ;-)

May 10, 2011 02:24 PM #29
Ambassador
371,784
Bill & Cyndi Daves
Hiawassee, Young Harris, Blairsville, Hayesville, Murphy and Beyond! - Hiawassee, GA
TeamDAVES - Your REALTORS In the GA/NC Mountains!

Marti - as always you come through with something that is so fantastic!  It's clean, uncluttered and easy to focus of what is important!  Thank you!!!!

May 10, 2011 03:33 PM #30
Rainmaker
343,521
Marti Garaughty
garaughty.com - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type. The Art of Mar

Bill/Cyndi... it sounds so perfect the way you describe it. I wish life in general were like that. ;-)

May 10, 2011 03:57 PM #31
Ambassador
816,754
Debb Janes
The Carl Group, LLC - Camas, WA
REALTOR®, EcoBroker Camas, Washington

Love it too. Very nice. I can't believe the number of blogs with so much going on it makes me dizzy to try to read the post. Yes, less is more. I'm just wondering if anyone else is still having trouble trying to customize...it keeps giving me an error  message and the "pear shaped" comment.

May 13, 2011 11:15 AM #32
Rainmaker
343,521
Marti Garaughty
garaughty.com - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type. The Art of Mar

Debb... hi there, re "I'm just wondering if anyone else is still having trouble trying to customize...it keeps giving me an error  message and the "pear shaped" comment"

 The outside blog customization I did is not a standard Rain feature, I custom coded the deisgn.

May 13, 2011 11:56 AM #33
Rainmaker
682,900
Evelyn Kennedy
Gallagher & Lindsey, Alameda, California - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA

Marti:

You are a clever girl.  Thanks for sharing.  I don't think I can do this.  Maybe later, much later.

May 14, 2011 01:50 AM #34
Rainmaker
343,521
Marti Garaughty
garaughty.com - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type. The Art of Mar

Evelyn... hi, clever guy actually, the profile pic is from my artwork The Inner Child. The blog makeover was done with CSS techniques, not something I recommend most people try unless they really know what they're doing. I just wanted to show the flexibility of Rain blogs since I've received many emails asking about design tweaks.

May 14, 2011 12:24 PM #35
Rainer
86,418
Alison Shuman
Appraisal IQ LLC | (512) 585-4758 - Austin, TX

Nice! I'm going to try to do this to my AR blog - been having trouble uploading a header, so maybe it's time to try some different sizes to see if that is the problem.

May 18, 2011 09:27 PM #36
Rainmaker
343,521
Marti Garaughty
garaughty.com - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type. The Art of Mar

Alison... hi, for Rain blogs the dimensions are 960 pixels W X 134 pixels H. The custom version you see on my outside blog isn't  something available as a standard feature.

May 18, 2011 10:07 PM #37
Rainmaker
183,430
David Gibson
Broker / Owner Colorado Home Sales LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, Denver, Parker

Marti refreshing is an understatement. I’m going to have to put money in the budget to hire you. I’ve also subscribed to your blog.

Sep 05, 2011 04:46 PM #38
Rainmaker
343,521
Marti Garaughty
garaughty.com - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type. The Art of Mar

David... awesome to hear that, I'm always open to helping out with interesting, new projects. Have a great afternoon.

Sep 06, 2011 02:40 PM #39
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Rainmaker
343,521

Marti Garaughty

a highly caffeinated creative type. The Art of Mar
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