New Hand Drawn Blog Design on Leland.info

Say bye bye to the Simply Minimal theme, and say hello to this new hand-drawn-style blog design on Leland.info. It was designed by Keith Donaldson (including all the custom drawings and icons). It also uses the Pointy font, designed by Pointy Design, for the headings rendered through Cufon. I, of course, coded the design into the WordPress theme you now see on the site.

I’m not sure why, but I’ve been a fan of hand-drawn-style designs lately. After seeing Keith’s hand-drawn icon set (previously linked) I thought I would contact him about making a minimal hand-drawn-style blog design for Leland.info. I think it turned out pretty nice.

By the way, Keith has also designed a number of themes for Theme Lab, including Cool Stripes, Photabulous, and Bravissimo (XHTML/CSS only).

Maybe if enough people like it, I could create a generic version of the theme for release. Love it or hate it? Let me know in the comments. It’s also a work in progress, you may see me adding/removing different things over time.

And yes, I know the social bookmarking icons below the posts don’t work. Do people actually use those anymore? Clicking social bookmarking icons, not the actual social bookmarking sites.

Clients From Hell: Funniest Site Ever

I recently came across a site called Clients From Hell and I’m hooked. The site describes itself as:

A collection of anonymously contributed client horror stories from designers.

Although I’ve never done any freelance design work myself, a lot of these horror stories sound all too familiar, since I do freelance web coding and consulting.

Pretty much all of the quotes on their are priceless, but here are a few of my personal favorites.

An animation budget of $1200 for a movie like “Finding Nema” – Link

“The unicorns don’t look realistic enough.” – Link

“Can you make the blue match the color of the sky right now?” – Link

This one hit a little too close to home, sounds like a lot of emails I get from Custom ThemeLink

I browse it every now and then for a good laugh. I know it’s funny but try not to get hooked, it can be pretty distracting.

Simply Minimal WordPress Theme

I’ve been using this SimplyMinimal template ported to WordPress on Leland.info for about a month now. A number of you have asked for this WordPress theme to be released, so here it is.

Download

The theme does require a few things to set up. Here’s a quick set of instructions below:

  1. Download the .zip file from the fat download link above.
  2. Extract the /simply-minimal/ folder and upload to your /wp-content/themes/ directory.
  3. Activate the “Simply Minimal” theme under Appearance → Themes.
  4. Once activated, create a page called “Home” and use the Homepage template.
  5. Create another blank page called something like “Blog” or “News” for your posts page.
  6. Go to Settings → Reading and set your Front page and Posts page.
  7. Go to Appearance → Simply Minimal Options and fill in the settings.
  8. Use the Optional Excerpt to control the excerpts displayed on the homepage.
  9. Add widgets of your choice to the “Sidebar” and “404” widget areas.

Yeah, I know the download link is on Theme Lab, but that’s only because my hosting account there has a ton of bandwidth. This should be considered an “as-is” theme by me, and thus I can’t offer any free support. This theme has threaded comments and it won’t work in anything below WordPress 2.7.

There aren’t any links in the footer or anything, but it would be appreciated if you left a link back to this page so other people can find the theme, as well as the free XHTML/CSS template and PSD template versions.

Hope you all like the theme. Let me know what you think in the comments here.

How Not To Respond To A Domain Offer

Yesterday I found a domain that I wanted to buy. The domain was a two-word .com domain. It was more of a brandable name, not one with much resale value, although I had a specific use for it.

I contacted the owner asking if it was for sale, and got the following response:

I still own it. I don’t recall my asking price. Make a reasonable offer, and you can own it.

Fair enough, I made a $50 starting offer, and here’s the response I got.

Obviously no way. What an insulting offer nowhere near my asking price. Good luck finding names that cheap.

Excuse me? First of all, this guy didn’t specify any price range at all, yet claims my offer was nowhere near his asking price.

Second of all, how does he know that was my final offer? I was willing to pay more, but who would want to deal such an abrasive individual? Not me.

There’s no reason for a rude response like that, and it may put off a potential sale. You never know who you might be dealing with, and how much they are actually willing to pay if you abruptly end negotiations like that after a single offer.

Here’s my advice to all you people who receive what you would consider a “lowball” offer. Politely decline and move on. It might even help if you specified an actual price range too.

How would you react in such a situation? From both the lowballer and seller standpoint. I’d be interested in hearing your views.

Stop Whining About Digg

First it was the DiggBar, now it’s the “hijacking” of Digg shortened URLs. Here’s my opinion on this whole controversy, summed up into two words:

Who Cares?

To be fair, it seems a lot of people do, but I don’t. Here’s a few questions you should ask yourself before whining about Digg.

Is anyone forcing you to use Digg or their URL shortener? You can use tr.im, TinyURL, bit.ly, and many others for your URL shortening needs.

Did you notice there’s a little “X” button in the top right corner that users can click to remove the frame?

And to all the SEO people out there: do you realize there are other things you can do to improve your rankings besides getting a direct link from Digg?

I wonder what would happen if Digg decided to nofollow all their outgoing links. What a firestorm that would create in the SEO community.

New Theme at Leland.info

As I’m sure some of you have noticed, there is a brand new theme up at Leland.info. I used the Simply Minimal template designed by insicdesigns and ported it to WordPress.

Less emphasis is being placed on the blog with more being placed on social networks such as Twitter, as evidenced by the homepage template. I also plan on releasing a portfolio here with some of my work. For the sidebars, I used a little widget goodness with some techiniques discussed in my article at Smashing Magazine: 5 Useful And Creative Ways To Use WordPress Widgets.

Finally, is this a WordPress theme you might be interested in? I’m not sure of the licensing of the template so I’d have to check with insicdesigns to see if it would be okay to release over at Theme Lab. The theme still needs some work, but I’m just trying to gauge interest here.

4 Reasons Why Flippa Will Suck

SitePoint recently announced that they would be phasing out the website and domain sales sections of the SitePoint marketplace and move them over to a new site, Flippa.

The SitePoint marketplace is (or was) widely regarded as the premiere place to buy and sell websites on the internet. It is frequented by many big buyers, and subsequently, many big sellers.

So why does it seem like they’re shooting themselves in the foot by moving it over to a “brand spanking new” site? I don’t know, but here’s why it’s a bad idea…

Continue reading “4 Reasons Why Flippa Will Suck”

Three New Sites

Okay, I bought/built three new sites in the past week. I figured I’d just combine all these into one post.

The first two sites are ones that I bought from Eric Sizemore (aka SecondVersion). I got a pretty good deal on them.

Domain Cleaner – This is just a simple tool that will take a lot of jumbled text, and extract a nicely formatted list of domain names from it. It’s an extremely useful tool if you’re scanning domains for availability and can’t get a clean list. I’ve used it a lot in the past so when I saw the opportunity to buy the actual site, I took it.

RSS2JS – This is another pretty cool web-based tool that will take any RSS feed and convert is to a Javascript snippet, which can then be placed on a website and then styled with CSS.

The third site is one that I created myself.

Themelets – This is a site where I can showcase all the WordPress child themes and theme frameworks I come across. At the moment, I don’t think child themes are allowed to be listed in the official WordPress Theme Directory, so I guess this also fills a hole in the WordPress child theme sub-niche.