Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I'm Blogging - But Not the Easy Way!

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may have noticed that I did not publish anything yesterday.  I have been busy making some changes to this blog, which I am writing about today.

If you are not a blogger, probably all you need to know is that: 
  • I have added a Topic Index, so you can view previously published posts by subject. (There's still some work to be done to complete this - but I hope to have all past posts indexed soon!)
  • If the Topic Index doesn't show what you are looking for, you may find it by typing a related word or phrase into the Search Bar. (See photos below.)
  • The layout and organization of this blog is constantly evolving. Look for more improvements in the future!
Beyond this information, non-bloggers may find the rest of the content of this post a little dull. Instead, perhaps you could find a topic that interests you in my new index! Or, maybe this previously published post (click here) would be more interesting to you. (It might even provide an idea for your Halloween costume this year!) 

Any guesses who I am dressed up to be?
If you are a blogger, I hope you will read on ...

My blog changes worked - but I suspect there's an easier way!

Even though I am the author of a blog about making the most of every moment, I confess I probably accomplish a lot of things the hard way!  When it comes to blogging, I know this to be true.  

I've learned a lot through trial-and-error, but there is undoubtedly an easier and quicker way to do some of the web page set-up work that I have done! I am ever-so-grateful for the many tutorials specific to the Blogger platform that I studied before attempting the following changes myself. 

I'm not an expert on blog design, but it is my hope that by sharing here what I have learned, I might save another blogger a little time.

1. Blog Organization 

Topic Index
I write on quite a variety of topics. I am experimenting with using topic labels on each post, which link them to a list in my sidebar. Essentially, I am creating an index of blog topics, using the Blogger Labels Widget. (The Blogger Help Forum tutorial, Label Your Posts” explains how.)

Hopefully this new index will make my previously published posts easier for readers to find.

This is what my new blog post index looks like so far.

My advice to new bloggers would be to add some topic specific labels to each post as you create them ... trying to go back and add them to almost 200 posts has been a lot of work!

Ideally, I would prefer to create an index of just linked thumbnail photos and titles , rather than the full blog posts under each topic - but I have not discovered how to do this yet on Blogger!

Search Bar
If you are looking for a post on a particular subject, and can't locate it here, you might also try typing that topic in the search bar.  (Blogger provides an easily used gadget to install this.)

The search bar on my blog looks like this!
In an effort to make this blog more user friendly, I have been tweaking headings and rearranging things. I hope you like the changes!

2. Blog Button or Badge

At first I had no clue what a blog button even is. In case you also wonder, these little squares are created to represent a blog, and then can be used on other sites to link back to a blog.  A blogger "grabs" or copies the text in the box below an image, and pastes it (in html code format) where they want it.  The image will (hopefully) appear, and when clicked upon, it should then link directly back to that blogger's site.

I felt challenged to create one of these buttons -but it turned out to be more puzzling than I had hoped!  I studied the advice of half a dozen websites, and then had to tweak the code some more myself. 

Mrs. Lindsey, at Teacher Blogging Basics provided some of the most clear instructions for creating a blog button that I was able to find.  Her process seemed to work, except my “grab code” did not show up in the text box.  A number of other people commented on her blog that they had the same problem - but my guess is that we were all doing the same thing wrong, or something has changed on Blogger since the tutorial was written! 

I kept playing with the code, and did some creative cut-and-paste until I seemed successful. I couldn't recreate the process now, even if I tried!  I just hope it actually works!  

Here's a zoomed in version:

A photo of my blog button, as it appears on my blog.

  • Is my blogging experience similar to yours? 
  • Has this been helpful, or do you have any good tips for me?  
  • If you grab my button - please let me know here if it works and is easy to use.
  • What do you think of these changes to my blog?
Your feedback means a lot to me. Please leave a comment with your thoughts!

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

the most - - of every moment


  1. Susan, I LOVE what you've done. I always look to your blog to see what I should be doing, and these are all great ideas. I know how much work it is - but everything looks wonderful!

    1. I hope it is helpful to you then, Lana. I see lots of things I would still like to change - but don't know how! That is half the fun of blogging though - learning how to do new things every day!

  2. These are great ideas and so helpful...I thought I commented a couple of days ago at my lunch hour...I'm not sure if I wrote something wrong, or if it just didn't publish (sorry either way) - it's been a little hectic at my office and even when I am eating at my desk and clearly reading a blog certain people ask "oh you're at lunch do you mind...." anyway great tips" and I really like what you are doing with the place -----:)

  3. there is no end to the improvements one can make on their blog...good job on the index.

  4. I'm new to your site. Found you on IBA but the information is actually quite timely. I am new to blogging and still using a free blog but looking into purchasing one at the beginning of the new year. I am dreading that change. I am actually thinking of pinching pennies and hiring someone because I am so fearful. Your post didn't make it sound easy, but it did make it sound doable. Thank you for that. :)

    1. Hi Clearissa - welcome to blogging! I probably do a lot of things the long way around, but I'm not very computer savvy, and I have still been able to do all that I have wanted to. GOod luck with changing your blog over. I blog on Blogger (free site) and am still very happy hear. If you have not done so, I would really advise you to purchase your domain name as soon as possible though. That way, the name of your blog is yours and can move with you when you do. Thanks for commenting!

    2. Thanks Susan. I did purchase my domain name. Since it's my name, I thought that would be a good idea. :) Your post was very encouraging and again I thank you. I have a 9 - 5 as well so I don't have all the time I wish I had to devote to making the changes, but I will get it done. I'm determined. Again, I am so glad we connected. To your continued success.

    3. Your site is very impressive Clearissa! After I visited, I thought it was you who should be giving me advice! I am glad we connected too - and I look forward to supporting each other in this blogging venture!


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