My Blog Site Design Journey – BlogEngine.NET and WordPress

BlogEngine.Net

I’ve been working on websites for a few years now, but I had not messed around with blog site until this past year.

I started by searching around for different options. WordPress and Blogger are the big boys, but I was after something that was coded in ASP.NET A few google searches quickly brought blogengine.net to the top of the list… I downloaded it, downloaded some additional themes (which are not all that easy to come by… broken links, expired posts, etc), uploaded the blog to my domain, and started playing around with it. Within a few minutes, I was hooked. I love the blogengine.net platform… easy to use, but not too “wizard-ish”. I customized a few themes, made a couple different blog site of my own, and away I went.

Well somehow or another… *cough*social networking site*cough*… I met up with Jenn Berg, a professional big mountain free skier, and offered her a blog website of her own. A way for her to chronicle her adventures as a pro skier and connect with her fans. When she accepted my offer, I was shocked! Here I was offering web design services to a person I have seen in many ski films… and she actually said yes?! Crazy!

So I took one of the blogengine.net themes (newspaper by JankoatWarpSpeed.com) and started customizing for her. Adding images, rearranging, updating colors and fonts, custom pages for videos, photo galleries, music playlists… the whole nine. Well, I should’ve passed a few options by her… because as it turns out, she didn’t really like the original that I had put together. I think she was just too nice and felt wierd telling me at first, but I finally dragged it out of her that she wanted something “black on black”.

I foraged around the internet and found another theme that fit the bill (stargazer by Jason Lay). I emailed her the link and she loved it. At that point, I took the work I had previously done and mashed it up with the new theme that I had found for her.

The final result… JennBerg.com – a mashup of 2 different blogengine.net themes… then customized even more. I added extra static pages, widgets and whatnot. The weather page ended up being super cool… a series of weather and satellite maps that were given to me by Pete O’brien.

WordPress

Before being contacted by Pete O’Brien, I had not had any “real” experience with WordPress… other than click on someone’s link and finding another squared off, super template looking website that was powered by WordPress.

In this case, he had actually gone out and purchased a super cool WordPress theme from StudioPress.com.  I’m sure WordPress users have heard of them, but if not… go ahead and check out their site, StudioPress.com has great themes, but most importantly… they have great support.

Many of the issues that he was having were css related and a few missing tags, but there was one major customization that he wanted to have done to the site. Luckily, he’s a smart dude and had researched the issue ahead of time. He knew what he wanted, he knew that it was in fact possible to do, and he had the link to the article on how to do it…. So rare!

Tubular - Before Tweaking

Tubular - Before Tweaking

Usually, people come to me with none of those criteria met, but he managed to do the right homework. I logged in, searched through the forums for information, and when I posted my question on one of the strings… I received a reply back within minutes.

The moderator even helped me dial in a fully custom feature that Pete wanted for his blog. There was none of that nerdy “I made that, so you shouldn’t change it” kind of vibe… the guy was super cool and told me exactly how to dial the theme in for Pete.

Check it out… a slightly tricked out version of the “Tubular” theme: PeteObrien.com/blog

Tubular - After Tweeking

Tubular - After Tweeking

Pete’s website has some great photos and video footage, so go check it out when you have a minute. Amazing work in the action sports arena and beyond!

Here’s to new friends… and their kick ass blog sites! :-D

JennBerg.com

PeteObrien.com/blog

December 7, 2009 0 Comment
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