A new look for SEO by the Sea

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I decided to go ahead with an update to the latest version of WordPress tonight after learning that one of the plugins I was using to stop spam was also stopping comments from people I wanted to hear from – the people who visit here, and are interested enough in something they read that they want to leave a comment.

Right now, I’m using a default wordpress template. I’ll be exploring some of the wordpress templates out on the web, and probably choose one and make some modifications to its look and coding. I’ve made a few plugin updates and additions, and have more to do. I also want to explore some of the new wordpress functionality I heard about at wordcamp 2006 this summer in San Francisco.

Added – I decided to try out Mike Cherim’s excellent and very accessible SeaBeast template. It may take a couple of days to set everything up. Nice work, Mike.


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45 thoughts on “A new look for SEO by the Sea”

  1. Pretty nice and clear. The top fish attract perhaps too much the eye IMHO and distract from the text, perhaps you could desaturate and/or lighten it a little, like ?

  2. Thanks, everyone. πŸ™‚

    I do have some tweaks to do, and I’m thinking about the images, and whether or not I might make some changes. The layout, the accessibility features, and a lot of attention being paid to small details are what I liked most about this theme.

    I’m not sure why there’s a “reset comments” button, so I may remove that one. “Say it”? Maybe – I’ll think about it.

  3. Excellent theme! Good work πŸ™‚

    I wonder if you can place the “submit” button on the left side to separate it from the “Reset” button.

    Not to mention that you can rename “Submit comments” to “Say it” πŸ™‚

    Oh, sorry, can’t you tell.

    – you enter a site you havenÒ€ℒt seen before and you try hard to supress the urge to send its webmaster a list of suggestions for website usability
    – you do send a comprehensive usability report to a siteÒ€ℒs webmaster on your first visit

  4. That’s most pleasing, Bill. I’ll watch with interest how this evolves. It’s always nice to see the power of WordPress and its themes. However it tends to keep you on the edge. Is now the time to change my blog? It’s just like gardening. πŸ™‚

  5. Bill, the graphic on the right side pulls my eye path too much to that direction, away from the content and meat of the posts.

    I’d also like to see a Slawski original photo as your header instead of the Fish theme and your pic instead of the star fish. Would that kill the sea theme?


    I have to admit however, I do prefer the previous template because of its seaworthiness feel, as I read SEO by the SEA I felt I was on a ship, navigating the rough seas of Search, with Slawski as the captain.

    Sure, I’m positive you’ll find a middle ground between the two designs and am looking forward to the template hacks you’ll be making.

    Best, Loren

  6. I have to agree that the beach and boat photo was more relevant, though it may seem so, because this theme is so new.

    However, the previous pic was so huge it covered about 55-60% of my screen, so I had to scroll every time I wanted to read the page.

  7. Looks great! I dropped Mike a line to let him know – I’m sure he’ll be by shortly πŸ™‚

    I can see that there are bits here you’re still working one – but this is really a beautiful theme. I’m sure it’ll be fun making it your own!

    (And I have to commend the decision to choose one of the few accessible themes out there, of course!)

  8. Thanks, Joe and Stephen.

    Like a new house, I still have rooms that need to be painted, carpet to layout, furniture to move around. Mike’s provided a great foundation though.

    I’m still exploring the template, Mike. You’ve provided a great amount of functionality here, and it’s much appreciated. I’m not sure that I had seen the dynamic site map feature, so I’m glad that you mentioned it. I wanted to include a sitemap in this version of the blog. Thank you very much for making this a lot easier than it could have been, and making such a nice looking function-rich template.

  9. Hi.

    I work as a SEM consultant in Portugal. We’re the first Portuguese firm that is 100% focused on SEM/SEO.

    Our name is precisely Search Marketing.

    I’ve been visiting the blog for some time and I must say I rather liked the old template, even if it was outdated and kinda simple. It had charisma.

    But looking forward to see the changes.

  10. Wow Bill,

    I like the layout, clean, simple and inviting. Oh, and great footer!

    I will partially agree with Carfeu:

    IÒ€ℒve been visiting the blog for some time and I must say I rather liked the old template, even if it was outdated and kinda simple. It had charisma.

    I am not sure about charisma, but did indeed have character.

    Cheers and good luck!

  11. A little confusion there, Mike.

    While your post says to use the links template, your page on creating a site map doesn’t. Took me a few minutes there to realize the errors of my ways.


  12. Love the new design, Bill! The old one made me think of you more as “the old man of the sea” and this one makes me think of you more as “King Triton”. πŸ˜€

  13. Thanks, Donna and Lee,

    Probably some more changes to come in the look and feel of the site, but I do think that it’s more readable now, which is a big plus.

    No worries, Mike. If I get confused in other parts, I’ll let you know. I see some other (very minor) issues that I’m going to look closer at, but I’m really pleased with the theme so far. Thanks!

  14. Thanks for the heads up, Joe.

    I can see it’s still in the works but I’m glad you’re enjoying the theme, Bill. I guess I agree about the reset button. Don’t know why I used to do that but I no longer offer that on forms and such. I do hope you’ll use the dynamic site map feature with the links template.

    If you’re interested, I made a new contact form plugin (complete with a selectable plug-n-play SeaBeast theme). You’d lose the bigger “Contact Me” button/link, but the link would show up in the Blog Pages menu. The reason I mention this is that it’s an improved form… more secure.

    To use it load it up like any other plugin and configure accordingly and test, then answer “no” to the SeaBeast $enable_form variable in the USERS_CONFIG and delete the contact.php file. That’s it. I think there are advantages to doing this. I did make a support post with more details.



  15. You’re welcome, Bill.

    Here is an explanation of how to create the site map and here’s a live example to see it in action.

    It’s just a matter of creating the blank page using the links template, then entering the page ID number if the config. It keeps itself updated thereafter. πŸ™‚


  16. Wow, Bill this was a big change and I like it! It’s nice to see more SEO blogs updating look and feel to match their high quality content.

  17. Hi Marco,

    Good to hear from you. I’m working on those other columns still, but I like having them there.

    No Chicago for me, but I will be in Las Vegas for Pubcon.


  18. Hi Bill,
    really not bad. Personally, I would rather organize part of the columns’ info into pages…don’t like 3-columns templates ;).
    Will you attend at Ses Chicago?

  19. Thanks Daz and Rebecca,

    I’ll likely be making some changes to the look and feel of the site, but it may take a little while. I miss the boat, too, but it was time to make some changes to make the site easier to use, and work with.

    I’ve been thinking of using a Flickr array of photos in one of my unfinished sections, which may take away some of that unsubtleness, Rebecca. The images at the top and side do tend to draw the eye towards them. We’ll see. πŸ™‚

  20. Change is always good. And after change I am still feeling like I am in Sea.

    Good template.

  21. Nice site… perhaps a lot more different to the standard looking blogs that are out there with your 3 columns across instead of the expected 2… like the starfish, cool!… Not so sure about the footer image – the silhouetted fishes made me think I had double vision!

    Gonna miss that boat though…. maybe have the fish at the top feeding off its hull?


  22. Better than the old one, but it could be “subtled down” a bit. Still, if I want to see something green when I’m back in Seattle, I’ll be sure to surf on over πŸ™‚

  23. Thanks.

    There’s a more subtle variation in an optional set of images for this theme, which I may try out, and which may keep that graphic from drawing the eye so much.

    Appreciate the offer of help. Great to get some feedback.


  24. Wow! Quite a change!

    I like it! Great theme… It’s clean and well laid out.

    I do agree with Loren about the image on the right, though. If you could switch the image and the margin over to the left or mirror it on both sides, I think you’d be golden.

    I’m also working on tweaking out my blog… I changed themes, but I’m keeping a similar design.

    I’m sure you have it well covered, but if there’s anything I might be able to help you out with, feel free to let me know!

    Lates πŸ˜›

  25. Wow, it’s wonderful how much feedback you’re getting on the updated look. What a great community.

    Since everyone else is chiming in, I’ll add my two cents: overall, I like the more modern look. But the very first thing I noticed… the title of the blog doesn’t appear anywhere at the top. Upon further examination, it looks like it may be a stylesheet issue (the fish graphic appears to be covering up that part of the header?).

    See you at PubCon,

  26. Hi Melanie,

    Thanks. Great observation. That’s one of the issues that I have to work upon with the new look and feel of the site. The logo image on Mike’s site where the theme can be downloaded includes the name of his site and the description as part of the logo graphic, and the text underneath is is supplied as part of a CSS image replacement technique for that graphic. Upon hover on pages other than the front page of the site, that text becomes visible to people.

    I have two options – one is to make the fish logo not display, or modify the logo so that it shows the title and description. I’m torn between the two choices right now.

    Good to hear that you will be going to Pubcon. I hope that I do get to see you there.


  27. The masthead image covers up the text underneath on purpose. It’s an image replacement technique. The text — your choice of fonts — is supposed to be applied to the image. For accessibility and SEO reasons, the text is present, but not in view. If you turn off images you’ll see the text under there… it’s even styled.

    I would suggest adding text to the image by design.


  28. Right, Mike. I saw that in over on your blog for this template. πŸ™‚

    I’ll be doing probably when I return from Vegas.

    I like the fish, and it goes well with the name of the site, but I’m going to be thinking about other images that might be unique. I may add text to that image while I’m considering others. It is a great image though.

  29. Hey Bill,

    How do these grab you (I must be bored this morning)?
    Static masthead for Seo by the Sea,
    Hover/Focus masthead for Seo by the Sea.

    If you like them help yourself. Just save the images taking the “seobythesea” part of the name off and upload them to the theme’s images directory.


  30. Bill,
    I agree with the others that liked the boat, maybe a bit smaller. Anyway no matter the look I love the content. Don’t know if you noticed or if it’s just me but the first words on the comments are cut off.
    I space here to see any difference.

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