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A New Look For The Frugal Law Student

Written by Brett McKay

The Frugal Law Student has a new look. I’ve been toying with the idea for a while, but felt I didn’t have the know how or time to create a new template. I was going to pay for someone to do it, but yesterday morning I decided not to go through with it because I didn’t know what I really wanted. But some how I started tinkering with some script. One hour turned to two, and two turned to eight, and before I knew it, I had a brand spanking new theme. Today I’ll have to hit the books hard to make up for the time I spent working on my blog.

The Theme

The theme was inspired by Nate at Average Joe Blogger. I recently found his site and was really taken with the design. I looked down at the footer on his blog and saw that his theme was based on Internet Center 1.0 Design by Luka Cvrk. I downloaded that and started tinkering with it a bit. Nate really was my muse for the new layout. I hope I changed it up enough so that it doesn’t look like I’m copying him.

Here’s some of the improvements I’m stoked about:

Cleaner look– The old theme felt really cluttered. The new site has a lot more white space, so it’s not as busy looking. I’m sticking with orange as the blogs main color, but I’ve also implemented a blue and green to the mix that complements the orange. The font I’ve picked for links is Century Gothic and it adds to the clean look I’m going for.

The third sidebar also helped reduce the cluttered look. There’s plenty of room now for adspace and navigation.

Easier Navigation– The big implementation for navigation was the addition of the picture menu at the top of the page. I’m breaking down posts into either personal finance, frugality, law school. productivity, and career. I figure people come to The Frugal Law Student looking for those things, so I should make it easier for them to find. Not all the posts are categorized yet, so bear with me.

The addition of the third sidebar should make things easier to navigate as well. In addition to displaying my most popular posts, I’m displaying my most recent articles, most recent comments, archives, and the expanded list of categories. Hopefully this will help people find what they’re looking more easily.

I’ve also created a “Best of…” page so people can find that without having to dig too much.

Improved Comments– I’ve added threaded comments, so readers will now be able to respond to each other’s comments easily. I’m trying to install MyAvatars, so people can have an avatar show up in the post, but I’m having some trouble with it. If anybody knows how this thing works, help would be appreciated. The sidebar is also displaying recent comments, so people can see what others have been saying about different posts.

Awesome new logo– I’m really proud of the new banner. I created it myself using GIMP. All those blogs on design I’ve been reading (i.e. Life Clever, Typographica) has really paid off. I’m thinking I might turn the logo into a T-shirt. What do you all think? Great idea or no dice?

What I learned during this experience

For starters, I finally learned how to use CSS. While I’ve messed around with PHP a bit, I never really saw the connection on how CSS works with HTML. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a pro, but I at least feel comfortable now making customized blog templates with the assistance of a premade one.

I’m really amazed how far I’ve come in a year. When I started blogging, I new zilch about computer code or web design. Now I’m customizing templates. Who would have thought? It just goes to show when you’re passionate about something, nothing will get in the way at your success at it.

Speaking of being successful, I better hit the law books. That’s one area where I don’t want to fail!

What do you all think? Do you like the new design or should I go back to the old one?

Check Out The Frugal Law Student Forums

Written by Brett McKay

I’m wanting to encourage more reader participation on The Frugal Law Student. I know you all have great ideas about saving money or succeeding in law school. So, in order to provide a platform for you all to share your quick tips, ask questions, or just motivate each other in your personal finance and law school goals, I’ve started The Frugal Law Student Forums.

It’s my goal that The Frugal Law Student Forums will help foster a sense of community here at the site. Stop by the new forum, register, and start posting. If you have any suggestions on how I can make it better please let me know by contacting me.

The Frugal Law Student Month In Review- August 2007

Written by Brett McKay

I can’t believe it’s already September. My second year of law school is well underway. I’m pretty excited about this year. I think I have a lot of good things coming my way. Here’s the August recap of The Frugal Law Student. We had 7, 018 visitors during the month of August. This was an increase from the month of July. Thanks for coming by new readers! I maxed out at 397 RSS subscriptions during August. Thanks to everyone who subscribes. You all keep me writing.

Most Popular Posts

Here are August’s most popular posts based on the number of visits:

  1. Carnival of Personal Finance- Best Week Ever Edition. This was my first time hosting the carnival of personal finance. I had a lot of fun doing it and hope I can host again in the future.
  2. Massive Personal Finance Resource List. This post is still going strong. I wrote it back in May, but it’s still the number 2 most read post.
  3. 180 Money Saving Tips To Turn Your Life Around 180 Degrees. This is my other pillar post that I wrote back in May. It’s still hanging out in the top 5 most visited posts on The Frugal Law Student. I really need to write a new pillar post.
  4. 10 Ways To Make Money and Save Money On Facebook. Facebook’s insanely popular, so it’s no surprise that this is a popular post. My other project, Best Facebook Applications, has been doing really well.
  5. How Long Should You Keep Financial Records? I wrote this one a while back ago. Traffic to this post has come by way of people Googeling “how long should you keep financial records.” Looks like this is something a lot of people want to know.


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8 Random Things About The Frugal Law Student

Written by Brett McKay

Legal Andrew tagged me with a round of bloggy tag. It took me a while to respond, but here it is.
*** begin quote ***
The Rules:
1. Post these rules before you give you the facts.
2. List 8 random facts about yourself.
3. At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names (linking to them).
4. Leave them a comment on their blog letting them know they’ve been tagged!
*** end quote ***

1. I had in aneurysm in my head in 8th grade. It wasn’t inside my skull, so I didn’t have to worry about brain damage. It was a small little bump on my template that pulsated. I had it removed during an out patient surgery.

2. I hate menudo. Menudo is cow stomach and is a popular dish in Mexico. (It’s also a famous Latin boy band.) When I lived in Mexico, I avoided it like the plague. The few times I had to eat it, I would put lots of chili sauce on it and swallow it whole. Writing about it is giving me dry heaves right now. Yuck!

3. I quit Boy Scouts just one rank away from Eagle. I stopped doing Boy Scouts at the rank of Life Scout, one shy away from Eagle. I sort of regret not earning my Eagle Scout now.

4. I played center in football. If you were to look at my average 180 pound build, you’d never think I had the size to play on the line in football. However, in high school I was tipping the scales around 230. I dropped the weight after I graduated and have been about 180 since then.

5. I love Futurama. When Futurama first came out, I didn’t give it that much attention. I was more of a Simpsons fan, so Fry and Bender were eclipsed by Bart and Homer. However, now that it’s on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, I’ve become a huge fan. The show is absolutely hilarious.

6. My middle name is Hurst. Hurst is my mother’s maiden name. I’ve always thought it was a spiffy middle name.

7. I always include my my middle initial when I have to initial things. I started doing this during high school after some funny guy noticed my first name and last name initials were B.M.- as in bowel movement. It was funny for a while, then it got annoying. I started to put B.H.M in order to disarm the potential joke.

8. My favorite video game is NCAA Football. NCAA Football is the greatest video game franchise in video game history. I can play that game for hours.

Alright, now I have to tag some people. This is the part of these blog memes that I don’t like. Here’s my list. If you’ve already been tagged, please disregard it. If you don’t want to participate, feel free to ignore my tag.

Courtney, Make Money Online

Shona, Rich Minx

Sulley, Life Learning Today

Mark, Productivity 501

The Dude, Clever Dude Personal Finance and Money

Silicon Valley Blogger, The Digerati Life

Tyler, Married and Broke

Liz, Fitness By Liz

School Has Started Again

Written by Brett McKay

Today I started my second year of law school. It looks to be a busy semester. Here’s  a short list of what I got on my plate:

  • 13 hours of class
  • writing my law review article
  • doing cite checks for law review articles
  • working as a Westlaw rep
  • providing research assistance occasionally for a professor
  • summer internship interviews

Whew! I’m tired just from thinking about it. Because of my full schedule, The Frugal Law Student will be put on the back burner for a while. No, I’m not abandoning my readers. Instead of the daily post that many have grown accustomed to, I’ll be posting every other day. If things get really crazy, don’t be surprised to only see maybe two or three posts in a week. My wife will  be posting more often, so you can look forward read her stuff.  If any of you would like to guest post, please feel free to contact me.

Support The Frugal Law Student

Written by Brett McKay

I’ve added a new page of different ways that my readers can help support The Frugal Law Student. The success of The Frugal Law Student has come in a large part from my awesome readers. I couldn’t do this without you all. In return for your support, I promise to continue offering great content and tips to help you in your financial and law school life. For those reading in an RSS feed, here’s what the page says:

If you’re a regular reader of The Frugal Law Student and find this sites daily articles and tips useful in any way, please consider offering your support by doing any (or all!) of the follwing:

  • Subscribe to The Frugal Law Student’s RSS Feed in a reader
  • Subscribe to The Frugal Law Student’s E-Mail newsletter
  • Add The Frugal Law Student to your Technorati Favorites
  • If you see a post you like, Digg it, del.ici.ous it, or Stumble it. I’ve made this easy with the social icons at the end of each post. Encourage others to do so as well.
  • If you have a site, link to The Frugal Law Student, or its posts and tell your friends about the site.
  • If you don’t have a site, tell your friend directly through email about The Frugal Law Student
  • Comment, comment, comment.
  • Point me to any news/articles that have interested you. If you have any ideas for a post, I’ll gladly accept your tips. You can drop post ideas through my nifty contact form.