Wednesday, September 25, 2013

7 little ways I've primped my Blogger blog

I have my little piece of blog real estate. A small, humble piece, but I like to try and keep it tidy and manicured. So I'm no expert, but I'll share what I've learned.

I've started a Pinterest board for blog-related ideas and tips, and of course, the interwebs is FULL of tutorials like this, but I just wanted to list a couple of my favorites and give links to the sources, of course (cuz that's what you do in the blog world, you share endlessly but never anonymously, gasp!)

And I say "primp" because it's just a couple of little changes, I didn't really "pimp" it, because I don't know how to do more than I've done so far. So clearly, if I can do it, you can, too. And if you have a little personal blog that you enjoy 'touching up', then this list is where I'd start.

1. I added the matchy-matchy colored share buttons
This tutorial here at I Gotta Create was fantastic! You can choose your color to match the rest of your blog 'theme' and go step-by-step to add as many share buttons (I chose Facebook, Bloglovin', YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, Google +, email, ETSY, and Feedburner), or as little (maybe just twitter & facebook for you) as you want.

You could also just consider adding the bloglovin' button so as to encourage followers. Find the widgets here.

2. I widened the writing/reading portion and enlarged the font [because I'm blind] I played around with the "Simple template" and clicked on the 'customize' button to start trying different options. Maybe it's too much...but then again, I'm too much...

3. I made a 'grab this button' button. Although not for the blog, but for a specific post. Again, just to experiment. But it would be easy to create one for your blog using this tutorial at Code it Pretty and you put it on your sidebar and maybe other bloggers would want to 'grab it' and add it to their sidebar to show some love and/or admiration. I created it for my "Bikini Pledge" post, so other bloggers would show their support of the idea that we should all be showing body confidence for our children by sporting some bikini confidence.

Grab button for THE BIKINI PLEDGE
<div class="THE-BIKINI-PLEDGE-button" style="width: 150px; margin: 0 auto;"> <a href="http://twynmawrmom.blogspot.com/2013/07/true-confidence-bikini-pledge.html" rel="nofollow"> <img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-TudvdVz9xJA/Ud4ovkJKF_I/AAAAAAAAAC0/-wgeSu-R4oU/w545-h579-no/pledgefinal.jpg" alt="THE BIKINI PLEDGE" width="150" height="150" /> </a> </div>

4. I added a sponsorship/swap ad placement to share those buttons, or to sell ad space like a bigger blogger would. Just to experiment. This was a 'page' on my Simple Template's menu bar for awhile, which I'm constantly playing with. I see what people actually look at based on the number of 'hits' per page, and if something just doesn't fit, well, people don't actually look at it, so I took it off for now (honestly I don't get enough traffic to sell ads, but thought I could at least 'swap' buttons with other bloggers for free just to get started.) It was easy to create ad sizes and 'names' (like Octomom for the big one, Twynmom for the smaller one, chuckle chuckle) using a template by Passionfruit ads. So this got me thinking, and, I finally added an "about" page, thinking it was redundant based on my other self-identifying pages/roles, but it got a lot of hits right away so I see the functionality of having that quick rundown of who/what you are. Although I like to play around with the writing there, too.

5. In December I made a Facebook page, and now I have a Google + page. Facebook pages have different rules from your personal page; they want to get you to start buying ads and paying to promote your page, so in order for your audience who actually 'like' your page and want to follow it to actually see your posts, you need to keep them constantly engaged (I try to post once daily), and they, in turn, need to "like" a few posts to see more regularly. Google + is more like twitter, in that you can engage with a lot of people you don't know and who don't 'like' you, but I find it to be almost more International, or even more West-coast based, so it's better for me to connect with people on specific subject matter/posts (for instance, triathlon posts in the triathlon community, and quilting posts in the quilting community), rather than to build a following as a whole.

6. I finally got the [dot] com working!! Or, should I say, my Dad did. Although it was his idea to begin with, and then we got all in a wordpress tizzy, and now we're out of the tizz-woods, thankfully, and I can look a tad more professional again.

If you were to start from zero on this process, I believe Google/Blogger will make this real easy if you go into the 'settings' tab, type in a prospective domain name you are interested in, and it will offer you a purchase service for about $10/year. You could, alternatively, go through one of the other domain registrar sites like GoDaddy and BlueHost ... but if you are happy with your Blogger format I would advise against self-hosting through them...make your life easy: just buy the domain name and keep tending to your current blog before considering a major move to a different format. Unless you are starting from square one and are certain of your direction, html, and future success. Then I don't know why you are reading this. Live long and prosper to you.

7. I changed the favicon. Again, still working on what the favicon should be...my photo? The twyns? An artistic rendering/image? It's hard to come up with something that will read in that tiny a space. Here's the first thing that came to mind:

Oh yeah, what's a favicon? It's the little box in your search bar that identifies your website. It's cute and super easy to change based on this tutorial from Blogger Sentral.

I've created a lot of the 'photo-work' and text-work like this on my blog via PhotoShop Elements (less expensive and complicated than Photoshop), but you could do a lot of editing with some new apps out there (to add text and tints to photos; I like Over), and even through the photo editer of Google Plus. Try adding a photo to Google Plus, and when you click on it to 'edit', it should give you a menu of all kinds of fun add-ons and texts. That's where I first found my TwynMawrMom font, and I heart it so.

By the way, ALL that I've learned and will learn from other tutorials, I've pinned and will continue to pin on my Pinterest page! See the "blog" board here.

If you need any help with any of this shoot me any type of communique you prefer. Homing pigeon, email, twit, message in a bottle...

Great, now I have that song in my head. 

You're welcome!

What's on your blog primp [have-done or wish] list?



1 comment:

  1. Nice! I'm forever working on mine and have tons of changes I'd like to make. I'm self-hosted wordpress so there's all kind of coding and custom widgets I'd like to build. I don't know why I have to work for a living - I could get so much more done if I didnt work or sleep!

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