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Could You Be Too Cute With Your Blog Or Website?

Posted by on Jun 21, 2012
Wow, something’s different around here today. I can’t quite put my finger on it; can you? Maybe you can, and maybe I can, but I have a story to tell, a story with a lesson of sorts, and we’ll come back to this.

A few days ago, I went to a guy’s blog based on a link that was shared on Google Plus. I thought it was a pretty good article, but since it was a Disqus blog I knew I wasn’t going to comment on it. But I wanted to share it on Twitter because I thought it deserved some press.

Only I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t find a button to share it on Twitter and I couldn’t find this Twitter button with his Twitter account name on it. Since I knew him I went to Twitter and found it, and I did the copy and paste thing for the link to give him some love.

Eventually he saw it, and when he wrote me back he said that there was a Twitter image on the page and that I’d just missed it. So I went back to the page and I looked around, and I did finally see it. And it was pretty large as well. Thing is, it was gray, and so were the images for some other accounts he could connect to. I still never found an article sharing button on the site, but it might have been there.

Sometimes many of us get creative and do something that throws everyone else off. I mean, let’s face it; we’re used to the blue Twitter bird or the blue Twitter “t”. We’re used to the Google+ button being red. We’re used to the little LinkedIn box being blue. If you decide to get creative and shake things up, it could disorient your visitors. If visitors don’t see things where they expect to see them you could lose sales or business. You could lose the opportunities of someone sharing your information with others, which helps spread your influence.

Goodness, what will people think about this particular post? Who expects a black background in the middle of all that white space? In this case I think I’m okay, but I hope the point has been made. At least I didn’t leave it with red letters; I actually wanted that but when I looked at it my eyes hurt. See, I do care about you, the readers. 😉

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Yes, you can be too darn cute. I use the standard “tweet this article” icon, but I do get fancy with my site twitter link. It matches the look of it’s fellow buttons. However, it still has a twitter bird and it’s twitter blue.

I rarely read blogs that have white, yellow, whatever color text on black.

On a side note, is your comment editor a plugin or part of your theme? It’s really nice.
Southpaw recently posted…Hidden Amongst the OrdinaryMy Profile

June 21st, 2012 | 10:00 AM

Southpaw, I’m not always big on black backgrounds for blogs or websites either, but that won’t stop me from visiting them. Yes, it’s a plugin, Ajax Edit Comments.

June 21st, 2012 | 12:15 PM

Thanks for the info.

There is one white text on black site I do still visit – he suckered me in with good content.
Southpaw recently posted…Hidden Amongst the OrdinaryMy Profile

June 21st, 2012 | 1:31 PM

I have experimented with reverse high contrast similar to your article, in most cases it was working well, until a member of my website publish picture with white background and I didn’t like it.

June 21st, 2012 | 9:09 AM

Carl, I was amazed you were still up when this post went live. lol I don’t expect I’ll be doing anything like this again but when we make people change behavior they’re not ready for, something nothing good comes from it.

June 21st, 2012 | 12:11 PM

It is difficult to rest now, I have torn muscle on my chest and it feels like elephant have step on me, as well can lay only on one side, so this make relaxing tricky.
About the rest your are right, ideas can to too much radical or probably most people would not like it. Same like interface of new operating system, it need time until adjust the habits.

June 22nd, 2012 | 4:46 AM
Mitchell Allen:

Point taken, Mitch. I always learn something from you. I used to have some “cute” social buttons back when that was all the rage. I got rid of them in favor of the defaults. They may look boring to us, but our readers need visual shortcuts, like you said.

One thing I am experimenting with is placing my Twitter avatar beside the blue “T”. that’s only because I have more than one.

As for the background/text, I’m old school – those monstrous CRT monitors actually had crisp, readable, yellow text on black background. I love it, still. 🙂



June 21st, 2012 | 9:59 AM

Mitch, you’re definitely a throwback. lol Actually, I remember either white or green against a black background, and I always hated the green. You know, when people take a look at this blog they notice that none of my posts have lines in them, yet the posts always have links in them; well, often they do. That was risky for me to do and I’ve always hoped that hasn’t messed up people checking out other things I put on there because they’re so used to the line that they can’t see anything else as a link.

June 21st, 2012 | 12:13 PM

I know the feeling all too well Mitch and sometimes I scratch my head wondering what they were thinking.

Probably trying to be color coordinated or just different but like in this instance with the guys social icons all being gray, they just blend in and we miss it. I’ll spend just a few seconds searching for it and if I don’t easily see it I’m gone too.

Glad you aren’t keeping that black background! lol…

Thanks Mitch and I enjoyed our chat!

Adrienne recently posted…The Best Opt-In GiftMy Profile

June 21st, 2012 | 4:42 PM

Adrienne, I had a blast and I thank you for the time. As for the background, no, I’m not overly crazy about that sort of thing either. I wasn’t even sure if the software would allow me to code it to change the color so I could make a point with this post. It’s okay to diversify and do some different things, but some stuff needs to remain, well, as it is, or people risk missing the benefits of all their regular efforts.

June 21st, 2012 | 6:22 PM

Love this post and the point, Mitch! We need to carefully choose which things to shake up a bit and which are better left alone, just sayin’.
Jesse recently posted…best way to learn photographyMy Profile

June 21st, 2012 | 6:11 PM

Exactly Jesse, and I’m glad you got it. Nothing wrong with experimenting but if we mess with the “norm”, we might not get the results we’re hoping for.

June 21st, 2012 | 6:56 PM

Creativity is good when you’re looking to impress your audience but social media buttons are pretty common and we’re very much used to. So I don’t think it’s a good idea to change it as visitor can skip it as you did.
Aasma recently posted…Software Development Company in Delhi Noida India | Rancor InfotechMy Profile

June 22nd, 2012 | 4:17 AM

Thanks Aasma; yeah, there are certain things that should be left alone.

June 22nd, 2012 | 1:32 PM

That’s why I make everything simple yet elegant. And I’m trying to avoid unnecessary stuff there to make it friendly user otherwise it’s nothing but a destruction.
mali recently posted…Where to Get the Latest Silver Bullion PricesMy Profile

June 23rd, 2012 | 4:38 AM

It’s the smart way to go Mali, unless you’re trying to make a point.

June 23rd, 2012 | 4:46 PM

You are right several times being original works better thank being creative as in this case. I always use the official button on my blogs.
Rajnish recently posted…Android Database AppMy Profile

June 23rd, 2012 | 4:15 PM

Good thinking Rajnish. Maybe subtle changes are fine but going too far the other way could mess things up.

June 23rd, 2012 | 4:46 PM

Just curious if this will be a non issue for most since twitter sent our a notice that you must only use their new icon. I really don’t want to use it. Anyone else staying with their current icon?

June 24th, 2012 | 6:00 PM

Jennifer, Twitter can’t tell people what they can do on their own site in general, so that’s not an issue at all. What they’re trying to make sure of is if someone is using their logo for commercial purposes that they not modify the bird or use anything else to indicate that they’re being supported by Twitter. And let’s face it, there’s almost 185 million blogs and 125 million websites; what are the odds that they’re going to show up at our sites and start busting on us? 🙂

June 24th, 2012 | 7:38 PM

So, the lesson learned is “stay classic?”. I believe change and creativity is effective, sure some people might no “see” it but that’s what creativity and new stuff is all about.
I’m speaking in general terms here but I think it also applies for social buttons to some degree.
People who will really want to share, will share, you’re proof.

June 27th, 2012 | 8:17 PM

Not necessarily Cristian. The lesson learned is that there are some things you just don’t breach without the risk that you’ll fail because it’s too much. Not sure if you’re old enough to remember the New Coke/Classic Coke fiasco but that was a case where what people wanted was taken away, we rioted, and they reversed themselves and brought back what we wanted. It depends on what you want. If you want to shake things up without worry, go for it. If you want to shake a few things up, good deal; don’t be stale. But some things are kind of standard, things people are used to, and if you have the possibility of confusing your audience, such as writing a post on puppies when your blog is supposed to be about car racing, do it, but realize that your audience might not ever come back.

June 27th, 2012 | 11:04 PM

Mmmm. Having recently added a few sharing buttons to my posts, but having gone for the ‘generic’ versions, I suspect I’m guilty of the ‘grays’ too… however, when I think of the number of people out there with colour-blindness, I reckon there are people who still wouldn’t see a button that’s red or a button that’s blue or whatever.

I’ve two reasons for doing it the way I did. One is that I can see at a glance from my stats page more details of what’s got shares than with the conventional buttons, the other is that I spent a lot of time on my theme, layout and background so that it has a cohesive look and I don’t want to ruin it with the whole ‘in your face’ stuff! 😉

PS. I like your change of post look! (But wouldn’t like it all the time, lol!)
Val recently posted…The Consciousness of NatureMy Profile

July 24th, 2012 | 6:20 PM

Thanks Val. Color is important and too much blending of the wrong kind will mess with your visitors and keep one from getting all the bang from responses they were hoping for. As to this page, well, it was a little something different, and I’m with you in saying I wouldn’t want to see that all the time either. lol

July 25th, 2012 | 9:45 AM