Blog Layout Tip 2, Columns

Another aspect of your blog layout is the choice of how many columns to have and how wide each one will be.  It’s important because it has a major effect on how your blog looks.

There are several basic designs to choose from.

1. Single Column

I honestly have not seen a blog using a single column layout since the early days of blogging in the mid 1990′s.  I think the main reason that it was used then was because monitor resolutions at the time were either 640 or 800 pixels wide.  This didn’t leave a lot of room for sidebars without producing a horizontal scroll-bar in the visitors browser.

2. Two Column

From the late 1990′s into around 2003 or so many blogs used a two column format.  This fit within the 800 pixel wide space that most monitors used at the time and provided the main column for posts and a sidebar where navigation links and advertising could be placed.

The width was hard-coded into the them and if the browser window was not large enough it would still produce a horizontal scroll-bar, meaning the visitor could not see all of it at once.

Later many themes in this width were designed with a flexible width that allowed the blog to automatically re-size (within limits) to fit whatever size browser window the reader was using.

3. Three column

As more and more people began using 1024 pixel (or wider) screen settings three column formats started appearing.  This gave a lot more freedom about where to place navigation links and advertising.  Most of the three column themes that I have seen use a flexible width design.

My Choice

For this blog I chose to use the “Prosense Grey” theme.  It is a fixed width three column design that is 950 pixels wide.  It looks good in any browser window that’s 1024 pixels wide and these days it seems to be the smallest size most people use.

I came to that conclusion after looking at the screen resolution stats for another of my websites.  This information was gathered by javascript that is part of the site’s statistics tracking.  It showed me that 85.9 percent of people visiting the site were using a screen resolution of 1024 pixels or wider.

It also showed that 45 percent of visitors use Firefox, 22 percent use Chrome, 9.8 percent use mobile browsers and only 9.6 percent still use Internet Explorer.

Prosense looks great in a 1024 pixel window and if the window is larger the grey background expands, keeping the content and two sidebars in the center of the window.

It also fit my requirement of black text with the background color behind it white for ease of reading as I talked about in my last post.

Prosense is also “widget ready” which means you can easily add widgets from the admin panel of WordPress and arrange them in whatever order suits you best.

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