28
Feb

The Designer Behind My New Custom Blog Theme

Several days ago I wrote a guest post for John Chow about some basic things you can do to improve your blogging and earnings online. One of those things was to leave comments on other blogs. If you don’t think that works, you should probably talk to Tom Ross of Push Standards, because that’s exactly how Tom got my attention and more importantly, my business.

Tom At Push StandardsTom left a comment on a post here at Affiliate Confession and as I do to many who leave comments, I visited his blog and was really impressed with what I saw. I had been semi-actively looking for a designer or company to give Affiliate Confession a custom look and the web sites Tom features in his online design portfolio caught my eye. Tom’s work is uncluttered, pleasing to the eye and being that I spent 7 years designing Yellow Pages advertising, his designs just made me want to hang out and study them for awhile. I love to look at nice work and think, ‘I wonder how he did that?’ or ‘Hmm, how many Photoshop layers did he use on that one?’

Since Tom is an independent “Young entrepreneur and web designer” as he states in his blog header, I thought I’d shoot him an email through his Hire Me page and see what we could work out. Now, if you’ve seen the prices that some of the larger design companies like Unique Blog Designs have been charging, you know getting a custom WordPress theme is an expensive endeavor. But after sending a few emails back and forth to confirm what I wanted and the look I was trying to achieve, Tom’s rates were very affordable. I can’t give you an exact quote because there are specific things that you have to work out with Tom, or any designer. However, the level of complexity in a blog design has a lot to do with the price.

Not knowing what to expect when dealing with a designer completely online, I was very impressed with Tom’s professionalism, enthusiasm and patience. The whole process from my initial contact to finished project and getting the theme implemented, took about 20 days and Tom was incredibly helpful in working with me to get the design online and in working order. He researched problems, emailed me code a couple of times and patiently explained some issues to get things working just as I wanted.

When you are ready to get a custom design for your blog or want to put together a nice, clean looking web site, I highly recommend Tom at Push Standards. I know you will be pleased with his work.

Now, if you already have a cool looking web site that’s CSS based and not full of tables, Tom has another interesting project he’s recently completed. CssGalleryList.com promises to be a constantly updated list of sites that accept nicely designed CSS sites. I guess a problem with many of these gallery sites is that they come and go and Tom wants to help out designers and owners of custom designed sites by keeping his gallery list updated.

Tom has already compiled a list of nearly 50 galleries to submit your site to and links directly to their submission page for your convenience. It only takes about 30 minutes to submit to all of these sites if you don’t get stuck like I did, looking at cool designs. Some of these galleries have nice PR4 and PR5 rankings and would be a great asset to get an incoming link from. However, don’t think you can just submit a Blogger.com site, a standard WordPress template site or just try to spam these galleries. They are looking for high quality, customed designed sites.

Many thanks goes out to Tom Ross for helping me brand Affiliate Confession and giving me the custom look I wanted. If you need a designer for your blog or web site please contact him and remember, keep commenting because you never know how it will turn out.

Alan

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12 Responses to “The Designer Behind My New Custom Blog Theme”

  1. glad to know a little behind scenes of affiliate confessions. It is definately a well done job by Tom.

  2. Wow, thanks so much for the kind words Alan! I’m very flattered, and wish you the best with your future ventures.

    Thankyou also Syed, I’m glad that you like the design :)

  3. […] Alan was actually nice enough to dedicate an entire post to crediting me as the designer, a really nice gesture on his part. You can see the post here. […]

  4. Ei… I like your new design, nice logo… tough concept.

  5. The design is really awesome, I love it ! Great work by Tom.
    Alan, you have a great site. Keep up the good work.

    Alright, time to visit Tom’s site now 😉

  6. Hi Alan! I’ve just found your site through pushstandards.com, and have to say Tom did a great job! I like your articles, I can learn a lot from them, so I’ve added you to my feed! I’m a new blogger and have just launched a contest on my site, I want to invite you here: http://megavegalicious.com/2008/02/27/my-very-first-contest-everyones-invited/

  7. I like your new theme, and the layout is clean and it’s very eye catching. I guess what I don’t understand is why certain things are missing. I hope you don’t mind just a little constructive criticism:

    1. The homepage just says “affiliate confession” in the html title. it should have the theme tagline too to take advantage of all the keywords you can and better SEO. You can fix this with the plugin I mention in #2 next.

    2. You have meta description tag on any page – that’s just blasphemy (sorry I couldn’t resist)! Your search result descriptions are really bad as a result.
    I should probably post about this again, but I wrote about how to fix this using the wpSEO plugin awhile back.

    3. Your category pages have no original content setting you up for a good old fashioned google whacking for “duplicate content”. I wrote about how to fix this last month in Better SEO and $$$ with WordPress Category Templates.

    4. You have no sitemap that I can see at all, is your site registered with google webmaster tools, yahoo site explorer, and MSN live search?? Coincidentally I wrote about this just today in Increase Traffic with MSN, Yahoo, and Google.

    5. You’re not taking advantage of WordPress for any of it’s “Page” functionality at all, you only have an “about” page. The entire rest of the site is “posts”. I’ll write about the importance of this in the coming week.

    This is no reflection on Tom’s theme work at all – these are all other WordPress related behind the scenes setup things, and SEO work is not the same as theme work (although the two can be worked on at the same time).

    Fixing these items will not “make or break” your blog, but having better SERP’s and better food for the search engine crawlers (and a sitemap) will bring you many, many more visitor’s from the search engines. Using the WordPress Sitemap plugin I mention in the link in #4 alone will notify google, MSN, and Yahoo and their search crawlers every time you write a new post or modify old content.

    I hope all this helps, a site this good with a bright and shiny new theme deserves to have all the SEO it needs to bring in as many new quality visitor’s as it can.

  8. ^ All good points. Thanks for the kind words also everybody, it’s great to see a leap in Alan’s subscribers :)

  9. I love this new blue theme. It looks really good and professional.

  10. Visually, the new theme looks great!

  11. I’m glad that you like it guys :)

  12. Alan, thanks for the link to Tom. As you can see from my site it badly needs some designer love so I can update it. I’ll email Tom because I’ve found it impossible to find a nice looking design that has those 125X125 ad spots.

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