Issue Three

What's New

A Premade Site Worth Viewing

This month's featured site is one that kills me. No, really. That Kills Me is well-known petpage template site that offers some of the best coding in Neopia. You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't know about Shingie's fantastic templates. The Cookie Cutter review site template is the most used one. Many of the newer review sites use this template, as it's user-friendly and sitemaker friendly. Everything is laid out in a logical matter and buttons are aligned automatically. It's no wonder that many choose to use this template.

I have to say that one of the best concepts for petpage templates lies in the Three-Column Newspaper template. Besides having the generic several columned look that helps lend a more "newspapery" feel, this template gives you the code used for the News Flash on the Neo homepage. That's right: you can have all of the hovery banner changing that Neo's used for a while for your site. I haven't seen this layout used in practice yet, but this layout is one that is sure to stun with the right tweaks here and there. In addition, the One Column Newspaper template lets you have those nifty captioned pictures that we associate with papers.

In conclusion, the place to go for templates in the future is That Kills Me. The distinct style and flare that each layout has is instantly recognizable and lends a nice touch. With such wide variety, you don't have to look far for a layout to suit your site. As the motto of That Kills Me states, these layouts are: "Simple. Clean. Practical."

Opinion Editorial

Good First Impressions

Premade layout sites are one of the most popular kinds of sites. Many people can't, or simply don't want to spend the time coding their own layouts, which is where premade sites come in. The kinds of layouts a premade site can provide range from very basic coding templates, to elaborate graphics based styles. But what kind of layout is the best to provide on a premades site?

Different kinds of layouts cater to different needs for site owners. For example, fully coded, image based layouts may be used most often by individuals who want to open their sites quickly and have a decent layout, but will often be replaced as soon as possible when the owner gets a custom layout.

Black and white template coding may be used more commonly, since they offer the site owner a completely customizable and unique layout. However, since customizing a template requires coding knowledge and a good eye for color and layout design, it may cut down on the number of users. Template sites are still very useful though, especially if a simple guide on changing the coding is also placed on the site along with a few color scheme ideas.

Fully coded css layouts are possibly the most popular, since they have the most diverse uses. They can be easily customized, unlike a graphics based layout, but do not demand customization like a template since they can be used as they are. One downfall of css based layouts, however, is that they are often too simple and plain to be used without any kind of additional graphics.

Premade layouts that contain graphics, but are not based around an image, are more interesting to look at than plain css. These kinds of layouts contain more minimal, generic graphics to spice up the layout, but are still based primarily on css. They are less plain than css layouts, but like any premade graphics layout, the images can't be customized, meaning that there will be half a dozen pages that look almost the same.

There is very little way to make just one kind of layout that can suit anyone, since the requirements are too contrary. One person may want an elaborate layout they can use as it is, and one person may want only basic coding so they can form their own layout from next to scratch. So, the best option for a premade site, to get the most use, is to offer a few different layout styles.

Offer some that are completely image based, some that have more minimal graphics, some plain css, and a few basic coding templates. By offering layouts that cater to different groups, more people will be able to use your site, instead of only being visited by the people who use the one kind of premade you provide.

Another tip for the owners of premade sites is to allow for customization. Some premade sites, both graphics based and even simple css, demand that not even the colors of the coding be changed. Although how you decide to let people use the content you have made is completely up to you, you may drastically cut down on the number of people who will use your layouts if the only option is to use them exactly as they are.

The main benefit of a premades site, as opposed to a custom request site, is that you can get a layout quickly and can still make it look unique. Even though the base of the layout will still look similar to the same layout being used on other sites, being allowed to alter the coding somewhat lends the layout originality. Being forced to use coding as it is means that their site will look exactly the same as someone else's, which can deter them from using that particular layout at all. They can simply use coding from another site that does allow them to change it.

If you are concerned about receiving less credit for a layout if you allow it to be changed, make it one of your rules that the credit on the layout not be moved or altered, and, having owned several premade sites myself, it has not been my experience that theft occurs any more often when you allow for customization. It will not harm your site any to allow the layouts to be changed by the users, but you may find you get much more traffic.


Readying Yourself for a Review

When was the last time you ever applied for a review? Sure, we've all considered it at one point, and we've often taken action to do so as well. But was it really the right choice? Did it really help your site? While it may obviously be helpful, there still are several things you can personally do to make the most of a review.

First, a review is the process of someone looking through your site and pointing out mistakes and how to resolve them. At this point, a review must seem very helpful, right? Right, but sometimes, you can make it even more helpful. A successful review requires some sort of cooperation between the reviewer and the reviewee. After all, it's not all up to the reviewer to ensure that you'll have a high quality review. In fact, there are a couple things that reviewers find somewhat annoying while writing a review that you can avoid doing and thus making the overall experience better.
When someone doesn't change straight-forward and indisputable mistakes, such as a typo or a very obvious grammatical error.
When I put so much time and effort and consideration into a review for a site, and then the site owner does not use any of my suggestions, and does not even tell me they are dissatisfied.

These are only some of the many frustrations that reviewees frequently cause reviewers.

Clearly, it seems that the reviewers feel like their time was wasted and their review wasn't appreciated. Like any reviewer will tell you, the point of a review is to help your site, not to get high scores. So how are you helping your site when you don't fix any of the problems? The answer is that you aren't.

In this way, reviewing is slightly different than making requests. The purpose of both is to help the visitor, but reviewing requires effort from the visitor as well. The job of the reviewer ends once the review is done. It's up to the reviewee to make the suggested changes and improve their site!

Note that the opinions stated are not mine, but that of several owners of review sites.

Interview With Monky

The girl with the memorable first and last impressions

Seeing as how the theme is 'First Impressions', I though that Monky, who runs Utopia, would be a superb person to interview because her impressions, first and last, are always memorable.

Q. You are very talented with your button making; it's no wonder you're up with the top eight request sites at Soroptimist! What inspired you to start making buttons, especially with that colorful creative graphic style that you use?
A. Well I think it's safe to say I didn't wake up one day and say "Hey! I want to open a button request site!" I started out making awful buttons just for personal use, for guilds I've been in or early buttons for Fontosis, my old font site. I was inspired to make a site by the other button sites back then. Mainly Buttoness, Cloud Nine, and Dreams are Reality. And as I progressed in my button making abilities and Utopia got more popular, I began to really LOVE making buttons. It's fun to me! (:

Q. Where do you get your inspiration?
A. I try to find inspiration everywhere! There's an endless amount of possibilities in button making. I mainly get images from Neopets whose images really allow editing and coloring well. Of course I find inspiration in the AMAZING button sites in the site community as well! (:

Q. What are some tips you could give to amateur button makers on how they could improve their buttons?
A. Never upload a button you wouldn't use yourself! I see it all the time. People say things like, "I really didn't like my buttons today. They didn't come out well" or something like that. Requesters deserve the best button you can offer them! Wait and redo the button the next day. Consistency is key!

Q. If I remember correctly, you used to run a font site. What ever happened to that?
A. I just kind of stopped liking font making. See, with font making you are SOOO limited! You have a character limit, font limit, everything is limited! With graphics like button making, all you're really limited to is a 88x31px canvass on which you can do whatever you please (:

Q. How long on average does it take you to make a button? What is your favorite part of the process?
A. It takes from 5 minutes to 15 minutes, depending on the level of detail! I like editing the base the best. ^^

Q. Have you ever taken any graphic design courses, or did you teach yourself how to make buttons and such?
A. I learned to make buttons through the guide at Create Impressions, the animation tutorials at Dreams are Reality, and lots and lots of trial and error. I would get an idea for an animation, try it, and if it didn't work? Make it work. Try again! But no I didn't take any classes or anything.

Q. How do you try to make a lasting impression with your buttons?
A. I think having a really colorful button makes a button stand out and leave an impression. Sometimes when I'm making a button and it seems dull, I turn up the saturation just a bit to give it that extra oomph!

Q. By comparing your old buttons with your new ones, how well do you think you've improved? Have you learned anything by looking back at your old techniques?
A. Looking back, a lot of my images were just horrid! They're foggy looking and fuzzy and just.. ugh! I've definitely gotten better at editing images and I think I've developed my own style in how I edit my images. Also I know a lot more tricks! I can do more animations and I have a lot of techniques I did not have when first starting out.

Dear Grace

Here To Answer Your Questions

Q Dear Grace,
How do I get more views on my site? I have a perfectly fine site, but no one is seeing it!
Love, The Hitless Wonder

A I suggest you check out the range of perfectly fine directories at Soroptimist Directory that people DO look at everyday. Directories aren't the same as affiliates, as there is no limit to how many sites you can get your site linked in. The more, the better, really!
I also recommend a select number of high quality affiliates - any number from 15 to 30 is probably suitable, depending on the space on your page, and your popularity. These are the main ways of advertisement for your site, but there are other ways, too.
Several sites (like TypeWriter) allow users to post advertisements and announcements of their own. You should definitely try writing something interesting and persuasive that will intrigue visitors into visiting your site.
Finally, there are so many contest sites and various activities that you as a site-maker can get involved in. Why not make the most of these and get involved in the site-making community around you? Not only will you increase the awareness of your site, but you will most likely make a few new friends, too.

Hope that helped, and good luck!

Do you have a question? Would you like to see it answered? Grace will be happy to answer it for you! All you have to do is follow the few simple rules below, and you might see your question featured in TypeWriter.
1. All questions must be site related.
2. 1 question per issue.
3. Neomail the form below to Grace.
4. The Subject of the neomail should be Typewriter Advice Column.
5. We will sign your name and add a link to your site, unless you tell us not to.

(textarea) Your Name: (leave blank if you want your username to be used) Site URL: (leave blank if you want it to link to your userlookup) Your Question: (/textarea)
Ask Grace!


A new issue of TypeWriter will be available every month.
Last Issue August 1, 2011.

Link Back

Featured Site

Farmostash is a new premades site with great premade layouts and an always entertaining to read blog. Not only that, but Aaron offers tutorials and resources for viewers to use, as well. The site always has a classy layout making for a great first impression. It is definitely a site worthy of your visiting.


when voting, please make the subject in the neomail: Typewriter Vote

How important are first impressions compared to content quality on a scale of 1 to 5? (1 being the lowest, 5 being the highest)
• 1
• 2
• 3
• 4
• 5

This poll created by The Editor In Chief Jayy.
To submit your own poll ideas, please neomail our stand in poll master with the subject Typewriter Poll Suggestion, and you may see your poll on Typewriter!

Want to be the poll master? Check out the sitely page!

Last Week's Poll
What quality do you look for most in a site?
• Superb content (52%)
• Really nice layout (30%)
• Other (specify) (18%)
→ Meeting the owners (nice/friendly owners)
→ Fun-ness
→ Epic Artwork! • A variety of content to choose from (0%)
• A really well known/loved site (0%)

Letter to the Editor.

Dear Readers,
I wanted to apologize for the shabbiness of this site. The real thing is that it's kind of low on my priorities, so I don't spend much time organizing, editing, and writing for it. A lot of our editors put a lot of time and energy into researching, writing, and coming up with ideas for their columns, and they should be recognized for that. When you're reading the articles, take time to realize that work went into creating it. Hopefully next issue will be better.
xoxo, Jayy