Sunday, 29 March 2015

Bloggiesta Wrap Up

I only planned to dip into Bloggiesta this week as I had a very busy week without adding anything extra to it...but there you go....I went and did it anyway!

And what a gem of a week it turned out to be.

For anyone wanting to update/refresh their blog this is the place for you.

The wonderful folk at Bloggiesta have now created a separate blog page to keep all the posts - old and new. It's a fabulous resource. You can visit any time and check out the posts and suggestions left from previous Bloggietsa's.

It covers everything from design, style, readers, comments, twitter, facebook and how to organise your blogging life. Guest bloggers write posts that they are knowledgable about, providing tips and helpful hints. And bless their cotton socks, they answer your dumb questions and pleas for help with grace and good humour.

I was simply planning to tidy up my google+ reader by adding a few folders to make it easier to keep track of the blogs I want to read often, occasionally or for special events.....until!

I read Andi's inspiring post about feedly - here.

I had already quickly discovered the limitations of what I was doing with my google+ reader - that is very few bloggers actually have google+ accounts and/or link them to their blog.

So I set up feedly...and quickly saw the light!

It is very easy to add favourite blogs and keep track of what their up to.
Following Andi's advice I set up a Daily and Weekend folder. Because my mind tends to categorise bloggers by how I first met them or in what way I connect with them, I also set up a Classics Club folder, a Memes folder and an Australian Bloggers folder.

What I love about it, is that it is easy to interact with on my PC (which is where I prefer to do the admin/organising side of things) and very easy to use on my phone (which is where I will do most of the actual reading of other blogs).

The bonus has been the spring (or autumn in my case) clean up of my phone apps as feedly also allows me to have a News folder.

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself but then I stumbled across Brianna's article about IFTTT.

And my blogging world changed forever!

IFTTT stands for If This Then That.

It allows you to create 'recipes' or commands that automatically posts your latest blog article to fb, twitter etc. You can create recipes for email notifications, instagram pics & linkedin updates...you can even use it to find your phone! Each recipe can be fine tuned to your specific needs & requirements.

And it's easy.

Which isn't to say that I haven't experienced some teething problems...the main one being how to specify which image on my post is the one used when linking it to my fb page and to twitter. Brianna & I are still trying to fine tune this one.

The week has also had some mixed blessings.

I have been wanting a fresher, cleaner looking blog all year & have played around with a few options. But then on Thursday I read through the Weds chat recap post.

These two sections caught my eye in particular:

What makes a blog look nice and readable?
  • lots of white space
  • light backgrounds
  • no script fonts
  • no colored type (or very little)
  • breaks in text
Sidebars and Menus
  • maybe just have one sidebar with minimal content
  • three column layouts are out!
  • maybe you can get away with no sidebars? Maybe have stuff in a footer?
  • drop down menus are nice, but no more than 5 to 7 links
  • only have one row of tabs
As these points confirmed what I already experienced myself in all but the 3 column layout, I decided it was time to abandon the 3 columns to see what it looked like.

The disaster was saving the new look before I was really thinking about what I was doing. When I checked the new look all my special add on features had gone! Poof! No more social media icons, let alone the ones that rotate. My centred header - poof! Gone!

The real disaster occured when I couldn't find where my computer had saved the backup template.

Thursday, my day off work to rest & play & get lots of things done, became a Thursday tied to the computer trying to fix my big boo-boo!

It took all day to find the blogger help sites that showed me how to add the rotating SM icons in the top right of the page & to fix the new layout to accommodate the one & only sidebar.

I ended up tweeking everything - from date formatting, to font sizing, header spacing & column widths & I added a quote to my header for the first time.
I may still tweek the actual background design when I have more time to explore some of the free options out there, but for now one of the simple blogger template designs will suffice.

And this time I saved my updated blogger template in an area on my PC that I can find it easily.

How was your week of bloggiesta?
What were your successes, dramas and lessons learnt the hard way?

Thank you one and all for your support, positive messages and oodles of provocations.
It's been fun.
Really!

3 comments:

  1. I dont remember what it looked like before, but your blog is great now, simple and easy to read. I was in that Twitter chat about the side bars, and it wasn't that people didn't like two, they just thought you shouldn't have so many images and lists that you NEED two. I got a lot out of Bloggiesta, too, and learned about some new apps that I am trying out.

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  2. Wow, a very different look! And I like how you described the week in terms of things you learned...and a few things that were challenging.

    I had a challenging couple of days after I deleted images from my Media files on the blog, thinking I was decluttering...and imagine my horror to discover that those images on my posts had disappeared. Duh! So I spent a lot of time re-inserting images.

    Here's my week: BLOGGIESTA POST

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  3. Congrats on a productive Bloggiesta! Sorry you had to spend your day off trying to fix everything, as that's no fun. But at least it worked and now everything looks great! I've been thinking about getting rid of one of my sidebars, but really like how balanced the 3 columns look so am holding off for now. Love the Frank Zappa quote in your header! Great job!

    Terri @ Alexia's Books and Such...

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