Essential Keystrokes is…

where I share my favorite tips, tools, reviews and commentary on web design, marketing, blogging, new media and related topics. For more about this site and the voice behind it, check out my About page.


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Archive for Web Design


Essential Keystrokes Gets Flexxed

Posted by: Char | Comments (3)

flexx-your-websiteI have been talking about a redesign for this site for some time, partially because as a designer, I was getting tired of my old design and because the theme I had used as its base was starting to show its age everytime I did a WordPress upgrade (probably two clicks from self-destruction!)

The big question was what to use for this version. I opted not to create a custom theme from scratch because frankly, I don’t have time to reinvent a wheel that already works great. There are so many great free and premium themes readily available to use as a base, starting from scratch really didn’t make sense. Read More→

Categories : Web Design, WordPress
Comments (3)

Its October again and just a few days into the month more than 500 websites have gone pink in support of Breast Cancer awareness (including two of mine). Its not too late to get involved – and you don’t have to turn your website pink to do it – how about a pink Twitter background or give your avatar a pink sheen. If you are looking for pink inspiration, here are 13 more beautiful Pink for October site designs to go with my 13 favorite pink themes from last year.

Pink for October

Diary of a Website did the design for the main Pink for October site this year and used the same theme for her site. Very nice!

Pink for October

A little paisley and a little pink makes Adventures in Motherhood very eye pleasing.

Pink for October

Brendan Cullen does a nice job with the black and pink – I like how the footer is tied into the design as well.

I love the combination of the vertical stripes and the simple layout on the interior of

Pink for October

Swank Web Style always has something fun in the works – including their Pink for October look.

Pink for October

I love this shade of magenta! Blissfully Aware takes pink to the extreme.

Pink for October

Retro comic book funk is the best description for The New Pink – love it!

Pink for October

Anidan Design takes a very minimalistic approach that really works!

Pink for October

A little bit of sass and professionalism rolled in to one gives MarnieB my vote.

Pink for October

ScribbleScratch made my favorites list last year and has a new design this time around – she also has quite a few pink WordPress themes available for download.

Pink for October

Bonita in Pink has done an amazing job of customizing my favorite Adii theme. Very striking!!

Pink for October

Who can resist a cupcake? This is one of Scribble Scratch’s yummy designs.

Pink for October

One of my design pals, Selene of iDesignStudios, gave her normally pink design an extra bit of punch for October.

If you have a favorite Pink for October design, please take a minute and share it with us. Or let us know which of these designs you happen to love. Thanks to all the designers for taking time to support a great cause by sharing your creativity and voice with all of us.

Categories : Web Design
Comments (6)

Website Optimization Book Review

Posted by: Char | Comments (7)

Website OptimizationWhen you hear the phrase “Website Optimization”, what is the first thing that comes to your thoughts? Is it how a site ranks in the search engines? How about ways to make your site more user friendly? Or how to make your site faster? Or do you think about the user experience and how to make a click turn into a lead or sale?

Regardless of which of these answers came to mind first, you were right. Each of those concepts is part of website optimization. In Andrew King’s most recent book, Website Optimization: Speed, Search Engine & Conversion Rate Secrets, he methodically takes you through all aspects of website optimization from:

  • Search Engine Marketing Optimization
  • Pay-per-Click Optimization
  • Conversion Rate Optimization
  • Web Page Optimization
  • CSS Optimization
  • AJAX Optimization
  • Advanced Topics (Server Side and Client Side Optimizations)

While Website Optimization is well written with plenty of screen shots, useful graphics and case studies, this is not the kind of book that you sit down and read in an afternoon. Rather, I recommend focusing on one chapter of the book at a time – reading, understanding, then implementing the recommendations.

Andy King’s first book, Speed Up Your Site, was released in 2003, but the web landscape has changed so dramatically. His new book takes the trends, tools, and technology of today into account. For example, in 1997 the average web video was 45 seconds – but thanks to faster computers, faster connections, YouTube, Flash, MySpace and digital video cameras, the average web video in 2007 was 192 seconds. As a result, his new book contains about 10 pages on optimizing multimedia for better server and end-user experiences.

Website Optimization: Speed, Search Engine & Conversion Rate Secrets, is a great reference book not only for web professionals, but anyone who wants to know how to tweak a website so it performs at its very best. You can also visit theĀ  companion site of Website Optimization Secrets for sample chapters, chapter summaries, full-color figures, and the latest news.

Comments (7)


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