20 January 2009

Blog Improvement Project: #2


It's task 2 of the BIP, hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness. If you haven't heard of this project, head on over to her blog and read all about it.

Today's Assignment: In a nutshell, this week we're to focus on content and brainstorming ideas. Kim found some good articles on how to come up with fresh ideas for posts and gave us a two-part assignment: brainstorm post topics and come up with a unique feature for your blog.


Progress to Date: As a result of the first assignment, I've made a few changes around here. I'm still working on all my goals, but here's what's different or new:

Blogroll: now a drop-down list
Awards: now a slide show
Social media buttons: now near top of sidebar and in footer of each post
Stats: added blog to a few more catalogs and stat sites
Profile: updated
Photo blurb: updated
Template and html: making progress
Commenting: improving
Book reviews: added headers to help readers and to make it clearer that the summaries are my own

Brainstorming Content: What to blog about is not difficult. My focus is books and book reviews and my weekly photograph. I participate in enough memes that I'm covered for the days that I don't have a review. I brainstormed a bit and decided that I'm generally okay with what I have. I could add recipes or more articles about wine if I needed something new, but I'm happy with my content for now.

Blogging Ideas: I already have a unique feature: My Weekly Discoveries post seems to be a popular item. The number of hits and comments I get on that post each Sunday are increasing, and at least a few people go back and read my old lists as well. I have a couple of ideas for improving that feature to make it a bit more informative. I need to think them through before going public!

17 comments:

bermudaonion 1/20/09, 9:08 AM  

Some posts on wine would be interesting. Your improvements look great.

Sandy Nawrot 1/20/09, 10:20 AM  

Yeah, I second that! I love wine, I love to cook...I could get into that. Even though I love books and they are my first priority, I've been having fun with diversions.

Any tips on how to widen your blogscreen? Mine seems like a bowling alley...can't fit anything on it it is so narrow. I know there must be a way, but I stink at HTML.

Beth F 1/20/09, 10:29 AM  

Kathy & Sandy: thanks for the encouragement for bringing back some wine and food posts. I'll keep that in mind.

Sandy: way down at the bottom of my sidebar you'll find a link to the Blogger Guide. That's where I learned to make a wider posting area.

farmlanebooks 1/20/09, 2:32 PM  

You've made a lot of progress already. The slideshow for your awards is very impressive, as it reduces a lot of clutter. I might have to think of something I can slideshow!

grayskyeyes 1/20/09, 2:50 PM  

That's great, I'm glad you were already able to make some changes! I haven't been following your bog for very long, but I am going to make sure to look for the Weekly Discoveries post from now on.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

Margot 1/20/09, 5:49 PM  

As one of your regular readers I've noticed your changes - all good. Of course, I think your blog is already terrific. I especially like your new image/avatar (not sure what they are called). "She" is very classy, much like your blog.

Bogsider 1/21/09, 5:22 AM  

I am also following your various improvements with great interest and as you know, I am also going to steal some of them along the way. Just haven't gotten around to it yet (the drop-down menus etc).

Wine-posts sounds interesting. I don't know anything about wine myself, other than to drink it occasionally, so that would be a great thing. Maybe combined with reviews of books where they drink wine :o)

Beth F 1/21/09, 5:54 AM  

Thanks to everyone for commenting on my changes. I'm glad to know that I'm on the right track.

Thanks too for your kind compliments.

Jackie/Farm Lane: A slide show isn't all that hard to set up, and I like the way it works.

Kim: Thanks again for hosting this great project.

Margot: I like my "ID photo" too. It comes from an illustration from an old book.

Louise/Bogsider: I like the idea of tying in a wine or food post with a book I'm reading. Thanks--something for me to think about.

Sandy Nawrot 1/21/09, 7:07 AM  

Beth! Thanks for the tips on widening my post space. It worked...sort of. Leave it to me. Somehow I lost my parchment-colored background (now it is dark brown??) but at least I have more space for my stuff!

Matt 1/21/09, 4:38 PM  

I also don't have too much problem blogging since my focus is on books. While I welcome these advices on brainstorming and planning, I also enjoy the liberty of just improvising.

J. Kaye 1/21/09, 8:04 PM  

Wow! You've done quite a bit. I am curious about the template though. Curious to see what you'll do.

amye 1/22/09, 10:40 PM  

Please email me re: link round-up! mypalamy AT gmail DOT com

Elizabeth 1/23/09, 1:11 PM  

Your site looks great; you got a lot done really quickly!

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books 1/24/09, 3:31 PM  

the visual/layout changes are great; everything is neat and organized. I love the awards as a slide show!

I'm impressed with your quick changes and ideas for other features. Isn't it great to be motivated by Kim's BIP?!?

Beth F 1/24/09, 3:35 PM  

J. Kaye: mostly I want to add three cols. to my footer to better display my ning buttons. I'm pretty satisfied otherwise.

Dawn and Elizabeth: Thanks! The changes have a big impact but took very little work.

Red lady-Bonnie 1/25/09, 12:28 PM  

What great changes you have made. I haven't been following your blog that long to notice it all. I like following the blog project posts to see what others are doing. I'm behind on mine and am working on it. Thanks for sharing your links to ways that you've customized your blog. I'm going to check them out as I've wanted to widen my blog, I have the same template. I also want to change my blog to a 3 column blog. I love the slideshow of your awards and your drop-down labels. It looks great!
I like the idea of adding wine and recipes and your new Weekly Discoveries post is a good one.

Beth F 1/25/09, 3:36 PM  

Bonnie: I think one of the links I listed has a way to add a third col. to this template. Thanks for the encouragement!

Thanks for stopping by. I read all comments and may respond here, via e-mail, or on your blog. I visit everyone who comments, but not necessarily right away.

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To The Blogger Guide, Blogger Buster, Tips Blogger, Our Blogger Templates, BlogU, and Exploding Boy for the code for customizing my blog. To Old Book Illustrations for my ID photo. To SEO for meta-tag analysis. To Blogger Widgets for the avatars in my comments and sidebar gadgets. To Review of the Web for more gadgets. To SuziQ from Whimpulsive for help with my comments section. To Cool Tricks N Tips for my Google +1 button.

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