Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Facelift for 2008

Yes, 2008 is fast coming up in a couple of days. While others are busy thinking about what new year resolutions to make (or break), I’ve also been busy getting a face lift. For my homepage-cum-blog, that is. Yes, not just a new WordPress Theme, but I’ve also ventured into Adsense¬†advertising! My homepage-cum-blog’s resolution for 2008 shall be to make some money for me!

Choosing a WordPress theme has always been rather frustrating for me. One of the reasons is that I have a requirement that the theme must produce web standards compliant markup (e.g. XHTML 1.0 Transitional). Few web designers actually bother very much about standards. They are mostly concerned about the output that appears in the browser they happen to use (which they assume the rest of the world must follow).

It doesn’t help much when even the “big name” websites like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, CNN, etc produce non-standards compliant markup. (For the record, the W3C, IBM and Microsoft do markup their homepages properly.)

The other “strong” requirement I have is for the page width to be fluid (i.e. variable, not-fixed). I dislike fixed-width pages. Publishers who put up sites with fixed-width pages don’t understand that the web can be read from all sorts of devices. Sometimes, your web visitors don’t have a choice that their Nokia N810 Internet Tablet’s screen is only so wide. Even a PC user with a 1280×768 display may not want his or her web browser to occupy the whole screen.

Then, of course, the theme has to look nice, look clean, easy to modify, supports widgets, free, 3-column, yadda yadda yadda. All that tends to quickly narrow down the available choices

So, well, eventually I do decide on a new WordPress theme. Ironically, while the theme does produce standards compliant markup, the addition of Adsense has technically made my homepage-cum-blog non-compliant. The reason? The Adsense markup from Google is non-compliant. But well, at leas the offending Adsense markup is contained in an IFrame. So as far as validators like W3C’s are concerned, my site is still compliant overall.

Next, why Adsense? Well, I’ve heard how others are earning pocket money. So, why not? Besides, it is something new to try.

Then, why Adsense? As opposed to other advertising setups? Well, there are certainly a handful to choose from, including some of the local web advertising companies. In the end, I decided to go with Adsense because: The adverts are generally non-intrusive, you get lots of control over presentation and customization, integration is simple, and it’s pretty much a configure-and-forget setup. Ok, I’m annoyed with the non-standard markup, but nevermind.

So… ring in the new year! May Google cheques rain down on this site.

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