Saturday, July 21, 2007

Why I prefer 3 column templates for my blogs

The section of your blog above the fold (what you visitor see without have to scroll down vertically) is the most important part of your blog. Businessmen like ground floor shop space, and that section above the fold is like ground floor shop space. Just as shoppers are lazy to walk up the stairs the second floor (the third floor would be worst), surfers are often lazy to scroll down your site to see the rest of the page and will quickly surf away if nothing catch their eye. So depending on what your objectives are, you should try to put what you want your visitors to see first above the fold. And the best way for you to do this is to use a 3 column template and not use a deep graphic Header that takes up most of the space above the fold. You may find it makes your blog attractive, but you will be unable to put many things above the fold.

Sometimes you are forced to compromise, like I compromised by putting a sitesearch box at the top of the main column above the post. But I feel it is useful because visitors can't miss that and hopefully they will use it to find topics in my blog and thus stay in this blog longer than otherwise. I think it is a worthwhile sacrifice. If you want a similar sitesearch box, you will need a Google AdSense account. You can apply for one via the "Generate revenue from your website. Google AdSense" text link at the top of the right sidebar of most of my blogs, including this one. (sorry, I got mixed up with my other blogs. I was forced to put it in the Header section because I set it so that visitors can search the web, this blog as well as 2 related blogs of mine. This made it too wide for it to fit into the main column)

If you want the sitesearch box for your blog, these posts may help you add implement it:
Add search box, AdSense ads, "stick post" at the top of main column (click BACK button to get back to this page)

Generate script for Google search box

Blending colors of your Google search box with the colors of your site

Add searchbox, graphic, AdSense ads unit or link unit, etc, to blog Header.

Plus here are some sources and demonstration blogs of 3 column New Blogger templates:

(click BACK button to get back to this page:
New Blogger template modified by Stavanger
Dots New Blogger template with Header
New Blogger templates modified by Ramani
New Blogger templates by Isnaini
New Blogger templates by Thur
Ramani's New Blogger Neo template
New Blogger template by Final Sense





If you want to do something

I think 3 column is useful as it helps you put more stuff above the fold (what you visitor see without have to scroll down vertically) that is helpful. I suggest you start using labels and then add a Label List to the first left column. Helps your visitors find relevant new/old posts quickly (I put Labels (Categories)) when I add a Label List as other bloggers using different blogging platform are more familiar with the term categories.

It is probably possible to get rid of one sidebar with some tinkering of the CSS and if you don't want to have an empty space in its place, you will have to change the main column and sidebar widths plus do some calculations. As I am a 3 column addict, I have no interest in trying and lots of other things to do. I hope you accept my suggestion above as I really think 3 column is very useful. Many surfers are lazy and if they don't see the thing they are looking for when they first land on your blog, they will quickly surf away without bothering to scroll down to see what else is there in the rest of the page below the fold.

20 comments:

  1. Hi Peter, I completely agree with you, and will move to three columns soon... Only I am a bit afraid of the complexity in managing widths for different browser or similar problems...
    Regards, Doppiafila

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi doppiafila,

    If you are worried about complexity in managing widths for different browser or similar problems, do something like me. Use a template like Hackosphere 3 column New Blogger Minima template. Visitors will see empty space on both side of the screen, but I like to keep my small screen visitors. Also there is this readability study mentioned in this post Best template for your blog.

    But choice of template is very personal.

    Peter (Blog*Star)
    Testing Blogger Beta (now New Blogger)

    ReplyDelete
  3. nice post i am really amazed by all your tips and tricks...

    www.earnsimple.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Peter,
    Here I am asking for your tips!
    This week I stopped receiving notification of new comments in my blogs.
    I checked all the settings, everything seems to be ok. I asked some bloggers, none of them is experiencing this!

    What can be wrong?

    Congratulations on your granchild!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Terasa,

    Thanks for your congratulatory message. I guess you must have seen either photos of Lewis or the musical slideshow at My First Grandchild.

    Regarding problems with problems getting email notification for comment moderation, as you can see, I too have a problem, but it is only occasionally. Looks like you have a more serious problem. I have been regularly posting my problems to Thread on email notification for comment moderation in Blogger Help group. I suggest you post your problem there and I will try to draw the attention of someone from Blogger to your problem, but whether they can do anything about it, no one knows.

    Peter (Blog*Star 2006 and 2007)
    Generating Revenue from your Website

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Peter,
    I only saw the the musical slideshow now, and I loved it! But I had read what you wrote about it.
    Lewis is lovely, you must be a very proud grandfather!
    Congratulations once again.

    Now... for my problem... Thanks a lot for your very ready answer, but this time the problem isn't with blogger, as I discovered after my comment here. The problem is with my Gmail account, which was sending all notifications of new comments directly to the spam folder, although I have no filters at all. I'm trying to solve it.

    I also must thank you for you great post of August 6, 2006, How to prepare a post to be published in the future.

    I did exactly as you said, I copied one of my posts (pictures and a Youtube video included) and I posted it in a secret blog I keep for experiences. I considered the time was five hours less than Lisbon time... I set ir for three minutes later and... it worked wonderfully!!! Such a useful thing!

    Thank you so much! You're always willing to help, and I find that simply amazing.

    All the best!

    A Gota de Ran Tan Plan

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dear Mr. Chen.
    I would like to thanks for the 3 column you have modified. I enjoy the template. But, I have one problem. I would like to change my header with my own picture as before when I still used 2 column of Minima. I tried many times, but failed. I am only a beginnner in blogging. I hope you could help me how to change my header as I need.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Herman,

    Hope these post will help you:
    Add a graphic to your blog Header

    Add Graphic Background to your blog Header

    Another way to add graphic to your blog Header (I think this post will need editing as the result can be much better than in the demonstration blog).

    Add a logo or graphic at the side of your blog Header

    Special fonts for your clickable graphic Header.

    Peter (Blog*Star 2006 and 2007)
    Dummies Guide to Google Blogger
    "online book" in progress

    ReplyDelete
  9. First off, I'm a dedicated viewer of your blog, a must for any Blogger user.
    My problem is this; I'm trying to convert my blog http://heinouberspace.blogspot.com/
    into a 3-column Minima template. Any attempt to upload XML files always results in an error message (Xml parsed wrong or similar)

    I've resorted to trying to hack the Minima code myself - cutting and pasting code from other sites -I've managed to widen the site but I still can't figure out how to create the 3 columns.

    I've lost all my widgets in the process of my meddling with code, but thats OK. Back-up your widgets - advice for all!

    ReplyDelete
  10. -Thanks for the tutorial link, I'll look at this for clues.
    I would prefer a ready-made 3 column template but cannot successfully get one to work - I get error messages from Blogger when I try to preview or save the new template - Xml/HTML errors.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi thudlike,

    Which template are you referring to?

    Peter (Blog*Star 2006 and 2007)
    Testing Blogger Beta (now New Blogger)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for the links Peter.

    I've sort of cobbled together a 3-column template copying code from different blogs, previewing the results. Not quite what I want the site to look like, but getting closer thanks to your help.

    "Which template are you referring to?"
    ANY XML template I try to upload results in an error msg (code parsed wrong)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi thudlike,

    New Blogger is very fussy unfortunately and I too have this problem sometimes, but not always. But these templates:

    New Blogger template modified by Stavanger
    Dots New Blogger template with Header
    New Blogger templates modified by Ramani
    New Blogger templates by Isnaini
    New Blogger templates by Thur
    Ramani's New Blogger Neo template
    New Blogger template by Final Sense

    all have demonstration blogs, meaning they have been able to save OK. So don't know what is causing your problem. Unfortunately can't seem to help much.

    Peter (Blog*Star 2006 and 2007)
    Earning Online

    ReplyDelete
  14. hi peter,
    i've been making a few changes to my blog at www.linkstores.blogspot.com.i found it truly amazing.thanks for all your eforts to make a blog look good.i would request you to take a look at my site and suggest a 3 column template.as i've been reading about many 3 cloumn templates,i'm confused which to pick up.recently in one of the reviews of my site,a visitor commented that teh long list of items look lengthy.so i've decided to change the template to 3 column.i would like to have a template which look professional but not plain or full white in color.i prefer color to be light and cool looked.i'm tired of the age old blogger templates.plz help me out peter.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Crazy Guyz,

    3 column templates are my first choice. See What is the best template for your blog. However, taste is a very personal thing. I prefer plain. Others prefer flashy. Best is I show you the examples and you decide for yourself. All the posts have links to blogs to illustrate. Take your time to look through them and make your choice. There is more, but just cannot find the time yet to add them at the moment:

    New Blogger template modified by Stavanger
    Dots New Blogger template with Header
    New Blogger templates modified by Ramani
    New Blogger templates by Isnaini
    New Blogger templates by Thur
    Ramani's New Blogger Neo template
    New Blogger template by Final Sense
    New Blogger templates by BloggerBuster

    Peter (Blog*Star)
    Natural Remedies

    ReplyDelete
  16. Regarding long Label List, perhaps you would like to look at Scroll box for long Label List for New Blogger

    Peter a.k.a. enviroman
    Enviroman Says
    (floods in England, polar ice and ice caps at moutain peaks melting, I think more severe and frequent hurricanes in US, rain when it is supposed to be a dry season in my country, someone from Queensland recently contacted me if I noticed the weather changing. I replied when I was young I had to sleep under the blanket, but now I sleep topless. If I remembered, he said it is freezing in tropical Queensland and now he has to sleep under a blanket. Please folks, take good care of our one and only Spaceship Earth which have no lifeboat. It may not affect us severely now, but it has every chance of severely affecting our future generations. Then they will have lots to be "thankful to us)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think your blog is so very interested.
    By the way, i want to have a very interest blog like yours, so please go to my blog :
    www.butgirl101.blogspot.com and guide me some comment please!!
    hope you can help me Please!!
    Thank!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. your web is so awsome......

    http://topfashionblog4pk.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Good article. Personally, I prefer a two column sidebar with both sidebars to the right but that's only my opinion! You can check out my two column sidebar here:
    www.askwillonline.com

    ReplyDelete

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