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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tossing It Out Tuesday: Blog Remodeling

        It's been a long time coming, but I finally made the plunge in changing the look of my blog page.  I'm nowhere near where I would like to be, but at least I took the first step.  I kind of miss my old page--it was so simple.  Now I have to figure out some of the other things I'd like to do with my page.  So, I'm going to turn to you for your advice, know-how, suggestions, and what have you.

        I'm going to toss out to you what I'm thinking about doing and if you happen to know how to do it you can toss out that information back to me.   You can tell me if you've tried some of these things and how they worked for you and if they are still working. 

        Here are some of the things I would like to add:

 Title -- I've added a picture to my header, but I've got this big empty space next to it where I'd like to put my blog title.   I keep messing around with this but I can't seem to figure out how to move my blog title into that space and use a larger and perhaps different font.    Does anyone have an idea how I can do this?

  Tabs --  A while back Blogger sent a notification that we could add tabs to our blogs so there could be additional pages just like a regular website.  I didn't do anything at that time and now I cannot seem to find anything about it.  Can someone tell me if this can still be done and where do I go to find out how?  If you've done this to your blog, how's it working for you and do you like it?

On Page Stat Counter -- I've found many of these and I'm wondering if it's worth having on my site and which is the best.  I currently have Google Analytics and have noticed that I can now put a counter on my page.  I tried the Analytics counter but the number that it gave was different than what the Analytics stat page showed.  Any thoughts about on-site counters?  Do you pay attention to them?   How about those nifty little widgets with the flags that show where in the world your visits come from?  I personally don't pay much attention to them, but they look kind of cool.  Any thoughts on those?

Slideshows --- I've got all of these awards and buttons and stuff on my sidebar and they are really taking space.  I was thinking about making a separate page for these if I can figure out the thing with the tabs.  However, I also have seen the slideshows that some of you have put up to display the awards and those look rather attractive.   Do the slideshows cause the page to load slower for your visitors?  Or do you prefer the the awards and such on a separate page where most visitors will probably rarely go?   All I know is that I seriously need to clean up my sidebar.

 Other Stuff-- Are there any gadgets or widgets or other thingamajigs that you think I could use on my page?   I see pages out there that are absolutely dazzling with all sorts of sparkling and moving things on them, but I've also had people say that these are difficult to load.  I don't really need fancy-schmancy since I'm mainly concerned with written word blog content.  But if you can think of any other buttons or doodads that might be good for my site I'd love to hear your suggestions. 

          I'm sure the answers to my questions can be found online somewhere, but if someone is able to just come up with answers for me it would save me time.  A lot of you have already been redesigning your own blogs and have probably run into some of the things I'm asking about.  Perhaps others are wondering the same things that I am.  This is a good time to share some knowledge and maybe even gain some new knowledge.  

          We're listening--what can you tell us?  Anyone want to rate my blog appearance as it stands now?   If you have already changed your blog look, how much of a challenge was it for you?   If you haven't changed anything and are considering it, what's holding you back?

          On Thursday I'll tell you about the photo that I added to my header.

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34 comments:

Misha said...

Hey,

To add pages:

1) go to new posts.

2) look above the window used for writing. One of the links shown should be edit pages.

3) click on said link.

4) follow instructions provided to create new page.

Then go to the design page to change the order and placement of pages, and the edit templates page to change the look...

Hope I helped. :-)

Tori Cooper said...

Hello Lee,
This is Tori, it's been a while but I wanted to say Hi and tell you that I really like the feel of the new look... especially the pic... not sure what to say about the title issue, but I think I can help in other areas...
1. Tabs-Go to "Design" link on upper right corner near Sign in, then when you get to next step, click on the "posting" tab, Click "Edit Pages", then "new pages"... Once you are done creating the pages you want, save and publish. Then go back to "Design" and click on "add a gadget", a window will pop up and the third option should say "pages", click on pages, then open up to edit. Check mark pages you want to utilize and how you want them to be situated (top or side) and that should do it.
2. On-site counter- click on "design" again and then add a gadget. The second one on the list should be called "blog stats" click on that and then determine how you want it to look on your page. It will save on side links of gadget area, move to where you would like. It is a basic counter.
3. Slideshows- I personally like the tab idea and putting them on their category but it takes time to copy and paste... worth it though.
4. Other- another site I found that was pretty cool was wufoo.com, which offers 2 free opportunities to build a form- any kind of form and embed into blog.
I hope this helps... :-D Let me know if it does help... Talk later! TORI

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lee, go to "design" in your blog and select the gadget "pages." That will give you tabs. I really like mine.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I have kept mine simple as I am not very techincal, but who knows during the long winter months may expereiment,
I like the changes you have made, the picture I guess indicates the juggler you were/are which is very good, if you have the know how go for it.

Have a nice day
Yvonne.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

The best way to use the space next to the photograph (really cool one, incidentally), is to create a long banner shape, cut and paste the photograph on one side, and do whatever you want on the other. Upload that collage as the header pic.

DEZMOND said...

yes, when it comes to the banner you should go to some of the programmes for drawing and designing, you must have PAINT at least, and make a picture you like. You can use this one that you have now, and just write the tittle beside in some lovely font, use lovely colours and then save the picture and attach it here in your banner space.
If you want, I could try to make you a banner :)

Jules said...

Okay I'll do my best:


First, if you are using the new template designer I have had no luck with figuring out the coding.

1. Rayna has the simplest way. Using photoshop or similar header and importing image. If you do not have this software this will have to be hard coded into the template.

2. Tabs are pages. As indicated above. What I'm trying to learn is how to make them load with only the gadgets I want on them. I don't need follwers on every page, etc..

3. Stat Counters to me are not as important as putting your blog on as many directories as you can find, thus my little button section.

4. "Listen to the Voices" blog gave the go to do a marque. You can add this to the awards widget, really easy.

5. social media buttons, not required but some people follow through them. I have created pages for my blog on both Twitter and Facebook.


If can help you in anyway, please feel free to email me or just comment on my blog. :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Mary said...

Wow, Lee, I would just be repeating everyone else but I'll say I learned a lot today. Hoped it helped you too.

Karen Lange said...

A blog is always a work in progress, isn't it? Whether the design or posts or whatever. Like what's shaping up here. I added a tab to my blog and was planning on adding more - I thought the feature was right there in the design area, but I'll have to check and let you know.
Have a good week,
Karen

Will Burke said...

I like the maps, and the slide shows are pretty sharp, but distracting. I get irritated with the moving pictures in my periphery while I'm trying to read.

Arlee Bird said...

You bloggers are a great bunch! So much helpful info. I've got the tabs figured out now and have started them. Now I just have to work on each tab and add a few more. Thanks for all of your help.

Misha -- You got me started on the right track. I didn't realize it started on the posting page. Very easy! Now it will be time.

Tori -- So good to hear from you! Strangely enough, I was just thinking about you yesterday and planning on visiting your blog. I will have to explore wufoo.com -- looks interesting. Next it will just take some time to do the blog work.

Alex -- I'm on my way! Let me know if you can think of any other things that would look cool.

Yvonne -- I keep learning more. Take it bit by bit and I'm sure you can add more to yours as well. You could add separate tabs about your book(s), Paul McKenna, "Danny Boy", awards, favorite music, etc and have a separate page for each. That's what I'm going to try to do.

Rayna -- It sounds like an upcoming project I will have to try.

Dezmond -- If I become totally befuddled I may take you up on the offer. I appreciate it.

Arlee Bird said...

Jules -- You make a lot of good suggestions that I will have to follow up on. It will be a step by step process I'd say, unless I just immerse myself into it for a few hours. I will contact you if I can't figure out some of this, but I've gotten some good help to get me started so far.

Mary -- I'm learning a bunch, and it's even better if others can learn something new at the same time.

Karen --You are so right about a blog being a work in progess--continually. For me, it comes down to blog or to work on my blog and blogging usually wins the time and effort. The interactive blogging activity is what it's really about, and the blog maintenance seems to come in increments as I find time.

Will -- I think I'm with you on the distractions, and I tend to get distracted easily. I might go for some maps or flags eventually, but I don't know how truly functional it is.

Ellie said...

Great start Lee, I look forward to see how your blog progresses~ I just hit design and then header and add my pic there. There is so much to it. I have wondered about some of these gadgets myself; You are right some are quite dazzling~
I will be by soon, to see what you have done!

Gregg said...

Lee as far as the picture and space at the top, I finally figured it out today. I found a site you don't even have to register called picnik.com. It is a photo editing. Click on the upload photo and then click on resize and resize your photo to your desired size. Then click on design from your dashboard, click on the header gadget and type in our slogan or tag line, then chose from the three choices where you want it and then upload the photo that you sized and saved.

Take a look at mine today and then tomorrow. I am trying three header pics that I resized and saved. Please help me choose one.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

r-LEE-b
>>...the disco-hippie juggler. I'm posting about the photo on Thursday.

Hey, I'm really looking forward to hearing (er... "reading") about that.

As far as the blog design goes -- I much prefer just "the basics". In his classic book 'Walden', Henry David Thoreau (one of my heroes of sorts) wrote: "Simplify, simplify."

I'm fond of saying that it would have been simpler if Thoreau had written "simplify" only once. But you know me, always the wiseass.

But what I'm implying is that I almost always think simpler is better. I love the simplicity of my 'Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends' blog; that basic white, black, and light blue look. Over time, I even came to wish that I'd used the same template for my 'Stuffs' blog.

To my way of thinking, blogging is first and foremost about words. Words before images and words way, way before gadgets, whistles and bells. I find too many thingies on a blog distracting and a visual turn-off. LESS IS MORE, LESS IS MORE. (Oops! I caught "Thoreauitis" there. Quick, give me the antidote!)

What bugs me more than anything is a blog that loads too slowly. And anything longer than "instantaneous" is "too slowly".

I get F-R-U-U-U-U-S-T-R-A-T-E-D waiting for a blog to load. And the more "stuffs" on a blog, the slower it loads. Your older version of this blog took about 5-10 seconds to load. I didn't like that, but since you're a true friend of mine, I could put up with it. I'll tolerate more from a real friend. But in the past, I have ceased "Following" a couple of blogs for no reason other than that I couldn't stand to wait 30 seconds for the things to load.

Speaking selfishly, I hope you won't add so many unnecessary whistles and bells to this blog that it increases my already overloaded frustration level. LES' IS MO'.

One last thing: Run - don't walk - to my F-FFF blog and read the comment I left there in reply to yours. Thanks!

Yak later, Brotherman.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Hey, my header is off center, so I'm not the one to ask! Think everyone's answered about the pages though.

DiscConnected said...

Lee-

I am giving you no technical information, no insight, and not even any feedback.

It isn't even offensive, so you can't call it spam.

This is a comment totally devoid of any redeeming social value whatsoever.

I think it may be being optioned for a reality TV show.

LC

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

LC ~
Good comment, man! Good comment! If it becomes a reality television show, I will tune in EVERY week! (Besides, I ain't got nuttin' better to do.)

~ D-FensDogg

Paula Slade said...

Your new blog look is very nice Lee. (I assume the picture is you juggling? Cool if it is!)

I can't be of much help with your formatting questions as I haven't done any major changes to my blog(just a few tweaks.)

However, I utilize StatCounter as an analytic source and I keep it behind-the-scenes.

The Golden Eagle said...

I think people have already covered the technical stuff I was going to mention . . . but I think the reason for the Analytics difference is that they start tracking at different times. My Flag Counter says over 6,000 pageviews, but the stats on my Dashboard are only 4,000 or so. I got the FC earlier, and the Blogger-In-Draft's tracking started later.

Jemi Fraser said...

I almost broke the universe last time I changed my blog template, so I'm afraid I'm not much help! I am going to bookmark this page though because it looks like your other bloggy friends are coming through with great advice! :)

Diana said...

Hi Arlee,
I love, love, love the header photo and can't wait to hear about it! What a charming young man!!!
I'm sorry that I can't help with the technical stuff. I tell my oldest daughter what I want and she does it! Isn't that great?!
Love Di ♥

Arlee Bird said...

Ellie -- I will be working on it, maybe not quickly but hopefully carefully.

Gregg -- Thanks for the tips you've given me and I'm watching the progress of your site as well.

StMc -- I too prefer simplicity and I'm trying to avoid having a blog that loads too slowly. That's why I'm asking the questions. I want simpliciy, but functionality and some of what a website would give me--hopefully that will be coming next.

L. Diane -- I like the way your header looks. And yes I've gotten some great help.

Larry -- Oh, a wise guy, eh? and then you've got your buddy McCarthy jumping in with you. The two stooges.

Paula -- I too have my stats behind closed doors, but maybe I might consider a site counter.
Yes, the photo is me in younger days.

Golden Eagle -- Your explanation sounds logical.

Jemi -- Aren't our blog buddies wonderful!!

Diana -- I wish I had a technical person to deal with all this techie stuff and to take care of my computer for me. It all makes my head hurt.

DiscConnected said...

Lee-

That may be the only way I get to be referred to as "wise"

Larry

Margaret Duarte said...

Hi Arlee. I cover some of this stuff on my blog, such as creating a custom header, etc. at http://www.enterthebetween.blogspot.com. You'll also find some cute widgets at Shabby Blogs and The Cutest blog on the Block.

The Old Silly said...

This looks great ... nice job!

Ellie said...

I love the tabs, very cool~

Stephen Tremp said...

Looking forward to that story. I tried juggling with oranges once. Its hard.

Stephen Tremp/

Carol Kilgore said...

I think I can tell you how to separate title from photo, but I'm not sure. So I hope someone else has already done that :)

If not, you can email me - the address is in my profile - and I'll pass on what I know.

I have a question for you. When you create a page, can the pages be laid out differently from the main page or do things stay the same?

Thanks.

Pam Torres said...

Looking forward to seeing more. I like what you have so far.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Looks like everyone already gave you info for doing pages, which is the only thing I could've helped with.

I recently changed my blog too. I don't really like your polk-a-dot look. Feels very 50s-ish, but maybe that's what you're going for.

I also like simplicity. I don't post awards on my blog sidelines. Seems like I always have a million things taking up space anyway. I have a blog counter, but you can't see it, so it's mostly jsut for my informaiton.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee .. you've picked up a wealth of information here .. and are obviously acting on it .. well done

& will be useful to come back to refer to .. thanks for asking the relevant questions!!

Have a great rest of the week .. Hilary

Arlee Bird said...

Margaret --- I will be checking this out. I still have a lot of work to do on this site.

Marvin-- Thanks!

Ellie -- I'm so glad I finally got those tabs.

Stephen -- Sounds like a complex way to make orange juice.

Carol-- I'm going to mess with it hopefully soon and if I really get stumped I'll be calling for help. I'm not sure you can get rid of the sidebars etc using Bloggers tab system since it's basically the same as creating a post.

Pam -- Thank you.

Tamara -- I am going to move all my awards to a separate page and try to clean up the blog page.

Hilary -- Everyone's been great coming to my rescue on this. When I have a tech question I can usually get it answered thru the readers.

Wanda said...

You've already gotten some great advice. An alternative to use Photoshop is Paint.net or Gimp. For other tips and tricks in blog design I'd suggest you visit http://sneakymommablogdesign.blogspot.com/