I know what you mean when you can't define “professional“ and I myself am at a loss as to what makes a site “professional” and one that isn't.
when life gives you nazis, make lemonade
Your guidelines are good, but I think it has less to do with fixed width boxes and more just liberal use of whitespace and fonts that don't leap out at you. You don't have to necessarily fill the space but it does have to … flow nicely.
Now, out of these three sites
which looks more professional, and why? What about:
--Sean Conner Fri Dec 17 23:53:34 2004
Actually I think the third link is the most professinal...too much whitespace is probably worse than too little, whitespace usually should be used for border for the entire content...something like that.
--Kirk Sat Dec 18 13:59:33 2004
Wow? My blog has a professional design? Wow …
--Sean Conner Sat Dec 18 19:22:29 2004
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