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Blog Improvement Project Week 4: Blog Basics

This is the fourth week of the Blog Improvement Project. Our task for this week is to focus on the basics of our blog. I’ve been very busy!

I spent ages trying to improve the layout and add a ‘recent comments’ section to the sidebar. It didn’t really look very professional, and I was worried all my messing around was actually making it worse!

Then I upgraded to WordPress 2.7 and everything became much easier! WordPress 2.7 is a big improvement. It is much easier to add things to the sidebar without a knowledge of html, and all the behind-the-scenes management of the blog is much more intuitive.

With WordPress 2.7 it was really easy to add the recent comments section to the sidebar. All I had to do was tick one box!

It also has an option to add a text box, so I added my ‘currently reading’ and ‘top of the TBR’ boxes, so that everyone can see which books I’m focusing on at the moment.

My next task was to try to add a tab to show all the books I have reviewed on my blog. This was a lot harder than I expected. Bloggers seem to want everything archived by date, so it took me a while to find this azindex widget to organise things alphabetically. It is a big improvement to have all my book reviews in one place, but I’d ideally like them ordered by author. I know this can be done using tags for the first letter of an author’s surname, but this would be a lot of work for me. I’ll try to do it one day when I have a bit more time.

I must have done something to improve my blog’s visibility, as I was previously getting between 5 and 10 spam comments a day. I the last 12 hours I’ve had 156!  I’m off to find a good way of getting rid of it!

I look forward to seeing what improvements everyone else has made, and hopefully I’ll get a few more good ideas!

5 replies on “Blog Improvement Project Week 4: Blog Basics”

Your improvements have been amazing! I give myself alot of grief for being technologically inept, but I am starting to think it isn’t all me…maybe it is Blogger. Based on how hard it is to do things, I believe they think everyone is an expert at HTML, which I am not, and I know I’m not the only one! Congrats on your changes. They look fantastic!

Thank you for your comment earlier today – to answer your question, I actually organized my reviews by author manually, which took a little time to set up, but I think I can keep it organized that way fairly easily. I just created a new page and wrote everything from scratch. And PS I think your blog looks pretty cool!

Your blog is very professional and I greatly admire it. Thanks for the tip on azindex. I’ve been wanting to do that too. I know what you mean about the wordpress people and their tech talk. I finally figured out how to import a picture into the sidebar when someone asked for the “fourth grade” answer. That’s what I’m doing from now on.

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