Enter Blog Perfume, which has a decent design overall, clean and sober, yet modern and with things happening. I’m no fan of the header, the background makes it a bit too busy, but other than that it’s nice enough. Also, the search bar needs to pop more.
And the sidebar is great.
On top, the subscribe graphic, precisely where you expect it to be.
Under that, a nice two column categories menu, with a separate background plate to really stand out. It works well with the Feedburner flame in the subscribe graphic above, very nice.
Two ads follows. I see them, they don’t annoy me.
Then the sidebar gets a little more anonymous, something I think is on purpose. Light grey boxes for popular posts and recent comments (which has an overuse of bold type, unfortunately) offer deep linking to the readers, and they do it in a sober and clean manner.
Finally, there’s a bigger square ad at the bottom. I think it’s OK to end the sidebar with a bigger ad, I have no problems with that. On this particular occasion, all ads fitted the layout nicely as well.
Watch and learn, people. No crappy widgets, just clean functionality for the readers, and the necessary ads. A good utilization of the sidebar.