A blog is for life, not just for Christmas

Author: Lee Aplin

Substrakt have recently released a fair few new websites which boast active blogs. For example the Brightspace run blogs Project Platform and Creative Careers, which has just launched, which will have plenty of regular posts. While it is great that sites are getting some love from regular updates, over time the quality of the blog might slip as more and more things are added to it.

Embedding stuff

Most sites now allow you to embed some sort of media or another, but unfortunately most of this embedded content is not so elegantly styled. For example if you embed a YouTube video onto your blog by default it will be sized at 480 pixels wide. This is fine but it looks pretty ugly to have a box of this size embedded on your site if the rest of your blog content is a different width. Joined with Flickr galleries which default at 500 pixels wide and 600 pixels high. This is pretty big and if your blog layout isn’t that wide then its going to break something.

Freshen Up

So how do we make sure our blogs stay beautiful and look fresh as time goes by? Don’t let your standards slip. When you get a brand new website you want to fill it with awesome content and make sure it looks as slick as possible. Just because your site matures a bit and has a lot more content than when it was launched, doesn’t mean you need to let it get into a state of disrepair. Get into the habit of resizing your images to fit. Obviously sometimes some media just wont be the same width as your blog and theres nothing you can do about it, but more often than not you can customise embedded content to fit.

If you are embedding content from YouTube, Vimeo or Flickr, look out for something like this:

<object width="480" height="385">

It is usually in the first line of the embed code. WordPress 3 now has an auto embed function, for security reasons, and to make things easier for the end user. When you paste a YouTube link into your post content, it is automatically converted into a video player on the site. If you look in the media settings tab you can change the size of any media which is auto generated.

Details are important

Paying attention to these small details makes a huge amount of difference, and can be the difference between a tight professional looking website and casual blog, so give your blog some love and don’t neglect it after a couple months.