October 3, 2009

Weekly Geeks #38: Reader Friendly

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So this week's Weekly Geeks was my idea, inspired by recent conversations on blogs and Twitter. They brought up both ideas I had been thinking about and ones I hadn't thought of before.

I've been feeling dissatisfied with my blog template for awhile now. I think I've done all I can do with it. There are things I'd like to change. I could play with the code but I don't think it's worth it. I'm currently shopping for a new template. I'm not sure if it will help my readers or not but it will motivate me to clean up my blog. I'm going to stick with a clean easy to look at design. I'm also thinking of buying a domain name since I've heard that Google likes blogs that do that better than ones that don't. I've thought of picking a new blogging platform like Wordpress but since I'm not interested in self-hosting I don't think I'll go that route. Besides, even though Blogger isn't perfect I don't think it's the devil.

I do not do glittery graphics or music. I hope the text is readable to everyone. I will promise to use less acronyms in my posts.

I did a little housekeeping: fixed some links, added a tab at the top for my 2009 reviews, cleaned out a few old widgets. I also backed up my blog because as Gautami reminded us, it's important- you never know what might happen. I did the meta tag thing a few months ago with a little help from my blogging friends. I've tried to make it as easy as possible to comment- I only use verification when I have a spam problem.

Do you have any ideas for me before I get started on a new template?

14 comments :

  1. Chris, one of the principles I used in selecting a template was that my blog post must take up most of the available space - I don't like those blogs that only use the centre part of the available space.If you look at my blog, you'll see what I mean.
    On the other hand I like the clean feeling of your blog. The text is very readable.
    I haven't actually ventured beyond the templates that Blogger offers though.

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  2. I think you should move your blog archive links near to the top of your middle column. That will make navigation more efficient. Thank you for stopping by earlier.

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  3. Were the horizontal tabs difficult to do? I really want to do that with my blog so I can get rid of one of my side columns (with all the challenge stuff), but I haven't found anything that looks easy.

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  4. I love your "Subscribe to RSS" image!! :)

    It makes me wanna jump and dig right in (but I'm already a RSS subscriber, darn).

    A wee suggestion from my side (sort of subjective so feel free to ignore it) would be that, in the sidebars, perhaps it would be better if you put the images lower down, and the content higher up. For example I noticed that your labels are somewhere very near the bottom -- but they would be more likely to interest a new reader than the said images. Or so I think :)

    Oh, and setting up a domain of your own to work with Blogger is a piece of cake. I did it myself a while ago (although I have moved to Wordpress since). At the time I was the newbiest newbie in the field of domain + hosting + everything else related and yet I had no problems with it (I bought it through Google so they took care of all the DNS settings for me).

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  5. I agree with Kay about moving the images down in the sidebar. Except the subscribe button...keep that on top!

    I'm convinced that the more you mess with your template (playing with the code), the more devilish blogger becomes. So try to find a template that only requires minor tweaking.

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  6. Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'll keep them in mind when I'm setting up my blog.

    Trish- I'll send you the instructions I used.

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  7. I love your blog. I think it's user friendly and clean while still being fun!

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  8. Visually, your blog is one of my absolute favorites! I love the flower and all the white space. Once I know a blog, I rarely notice anything but the top post.
    That said, wordpress.com is different from the wordpress.org that all the self-hosters use. wordpress.com is just like blogspot in that they give you everything, no changes other than pick a template and go. I first started with blogger but switched to WP and am quite happy. Best to you as you tweak and work on this!

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  9. I really like surfing through a blog which has lots of white space. It's a much nicer experience, than surfing blogs which have loads of ani-gifs as the background, which don't scroll with the text.....

    I've always been on wordpress, and am now contemplating the move to self-hosting.

    PS: I love both, your twitter icon as well as your rss one :)

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  10. Chris,

    I love the look of your blog, but I can relate. I'm not happy with mine at all. I don't like the thin center text, don't have tabs at the top, don't have any meta data and those are things I just have no idea how to do. I'm a little nervous about changing my template and, actually, I don't even know how to back up, although I keep copies of all my posts in an inbox file. I just haven't felt like prettying up the blog is something I have time for. Maybe when swim season is over.

    I'm not interested in self-hosting, either. But, man . . . I so wish I knew how to do such things. I noticed if I look up my own blog, someone has substituted images that aren't even on my blog at all in the links. That is truly weird and I haven't got the foggiest idea what to do about it. Your blog looks beautiful to me. The only thing I personally dislike is third columns but just about everyone has those, now, and I'm used to them.

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  11. Lola- Thanks!

    Care- Thanks for the Wordpress info.

    Cookie- Thanks, those icons I found online. They are cute, aren't they?

    Bookfool- Glad I'm not the only one then. I have limited knowledge of code and most I have learned by trial and error. I just couldn't self-host and I know it.

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  12. I love the new layout! It's a real comfort to the eye :)

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  13. I love this template. It loads faster too. Your previous one used to take a while.

    Weekly Geeks: Blogging Tips

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  14. Gnoe- Thanks!

    Gautami- Good to know that. I had no idea it was slow.

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