That's the number of chapters in Melissa Culbertson's new book, Blog Design for Dummies. And while I did not read every single chapter, I did read through enough chapters to hopefully give a decent review. You know, for your average dummy. Because when it comes to design and basic CSS and HTML, I just don't get it. And you can tell by just giving a quick look at my blog, it's design is about as basic as it comes. So as the average blogger, I am here to give you my thoughts.
First let me say that she has packed in a LOT of information. I was actually intimidated because while I have had a blog for a while now, I never really got too deep into the design of my blog. It always seemed so technical and over my head. And the thought of it tying together and being something that more than 5 people might want to read? Surely if you write it, they will come...only they don't always come. But everything in this book is worded in a way as to have you shaking your head in agreement. Because it all makes sense. Melissa isn't clubbing you on the head with the information or drowning you in language that you can't understand. Instead she has broken down the info into terms anyone can understand. Hence the For Dummies part...
There were several chapters in the book that really spoke to me and gave me that "aha" moment about blogging and the bigger picture about why I do it and how to do it even better. I know, you thought that maybe the book was going to be mostly about technical stuff, right? Don't worry, the technical stuff is in there and I did read some of that but the things that resonated with me had more to do with understanding my blog, my voice and my audience. I thought about blogs that I keep going back to and what about their blogs (beside the design) had me coming back and it was simply that they understood their voice and their audience. The fact that they also had a sweet blog design? Icing on the cake.
The technical aspects that caught my attention had to do with things like fonts and why they matter, colors and why those also matter. And lastly SEO basics. I know anytime anyone mentioned SEO, I got a blank look on my face and quickly tuned out. But reading it here? I got it and if I choose to, I know how to apply it.
If you use Wordpress as your platform of choice, there are plenty of plug-ins that are talked about but best of all, you are even shown how to add them to your blog. I've been a Blogger girl from the start and while I have toiled with the idea of switching over...I'm an average, ho-hum blogger and so I will stick with what I sort of know.
If you want a no nonsense approach to kicking your blog up a notch, this is your book. It really does take you from A to Z and doesn't bore you with information you won't ever use. It is a simple way to improve your little space in the internet.
Want to know more about the author? You can find her here. Or here. And even here.