Friday, January 8, 2010

Bloggiesta: Goals

I don't really like posting more than once in on day, but it's Bloggiesta and I forgot that I should list my goals for what I'm doing this weekend!

Bloggiesta is kind of a blog spring cleaning, if you will.  It's a weekend over which you try to accomplish all those niggling blog maintenance things you always want to do, but never get around to.  Here's my list of hoped-for accomplishments.  I will cross them out as I achieve them:
  • Write a review policy
  • Write an About Me post
  • Make tabs under my header so that I can clean up my sidebars.  Tabs for:  About Me, Review Policy, Rosie's Riveters, With Reverent Hands, Reviews by Year (Only starting in 2010)
  • Update Blogroll
  • Update & Organize Google Reader
  • Make a Favicon?
  • Research consulting costs for "branding" blog with a very clean new look, gravatar, favicon, columns, etc.
  • Figure out how to make my sidebar background images slimmer to jive with the actual width being used (N/A as I unexpectedly and completely changed my blog layout)
  • Figure out how to properly use the break-up post thing on Blogger so that I can do the "Read More" thing on posts and de-clutter the site.  This didn't work last time I tried it due to sidebar issues.
  • Prepare meme questions for With Reverent Hands series
  • Can I import really old posts from LiveJournal into Blogger?
  • Backup Blogger and LiveJournal posts to both computer and new backup blog on Wordpress
  • Add Meta tags
  • Clean up and possibly decrease number of labels
  • Figure out what "Alt" images are and improve mine. It is far too onerous for me to go back through all my posts and add ALT tags, so I did it through mid-November and will try to make sure I keep it in mind going forward, too.
  • Should I add "Digg" and "Delicious" links to each post?
As of Saturday, just before noon, I have spent about seven hours on the blog.  The last hour has been spent doing the ALT tags, which seem to make a big difference on the "Website Grader" since my score went up 3% to a 93 after I went through my most recent posts and added image tags.  However, I don't know how objective/subjective website graders are, so who really knows?  Anyway, "alt" tags are ways for you to define and describe any images you have on your blog.  Here's a site with information on adding alt tags.

I backed up my blog to Wordpress and to my computer, which meets the Farm Lane Books mini-challenge.
After mulling it over for a while, I decided against adding "Digg It' or "Stumble It" or anything of the like to my posts.  I really am not in a contest to get the most readers and as I am currently not making money from my blog, I don't see the need to find ways for it to be more exposed on third-party sites.  Also, I am not myself a member of Digg, Delicous, StumbleUpon or any of those other sites, so... it would be a bit odd for me to try to get other people to vote up my post on there.

I also tried to import my old LiveJournal posts into Blogger but it's not working.  It keeps giving me errors.  I'm not sure how to do that...I'm not overly bothered as those entries are set up in a completely different way than the ones I write here, so generally, it would be a lot of work to get them in shape for this blog.

I think, instead of sorting all my past reviews by author or title, I will now just create a tab to do that for 2010 and go forward from there.  I can't be bothered to set that up for 2009!

As a couple of people have expressed interest in it, here's the link to the website I used to figure out how to put in tabs in Blogger.  She links to other sites she used, all of which I clicked through to and used as well.  And voila!  It was much easier than I thought it would be!  But does require downloading and hosting images on other sites, so beware.  It doesn't require a change in template at all.

I also put in Meta Tags in my blog's HTML, so now when you do a Google Search for BookLust, it comes up with the meta description "Reactions and musings catalyzed by books.  I read.  Then I react.  Then I share my musings with you."  This jives with my header and description above, which makes me happy :-)

My review policy and About Me section have been updated, but I don't think they're very exciting.  I also cleaned up my labels.  I had a lot of labels by country before, but now only England (because so much fiction I read takes place there) and America have their own labels.  Everyone else is basically by continent (except Asia is broken up to the Far East and South Asia).  I also got rid of labels that had only one or two posts assigned to them.  Some I think will get bigger as I continue reading in new genres, so I kept those (graphic novels, for instance).  This meets the Beth Fish reads mini-challenge.

Some may have noticed that my blog is completely different than it was yesterday!  This was quite unexpected.  I started out by trying to clean up my sidebars.  And then I started to think my sidebars were too cluttered.  So I gave Rosie's Riveters its own tab above, which got rid of a big long list of links.  I also changed the way my archives are presented, making it a drop down menu instead of a hierarchy.  This also made a lot more space.  I got rid of my Google Friends box, too.  I wasn't sure about this, but so many people who subscribe to my blog due it directly through a blog reading service, so Google Friends wasn't really reflecting subscribership, anyway.  Plus, I am currently all about the blog looking clean!

I have my blogroll now imported from Google Reader (which is SUPER easy to do if you're using blogger, as it's just a different way of presenting the Blog Roll feature it provides to you), and I made it so that only blogs recently updated show up.  So if you're on my Google Reader, then you will probably show up on the side bar soon!  This is one I'm really happy about as my blogroll was so outdated, and I didn't want to import everyone new I follow all the time.  So, now it does it for me!

And woohoo!  I got the clutter cleaned up so much I got rid of the 3-column format and returned to two!  I'm quite happy about it, at the moment as now I can do that fun "Read More" feature with jump breaks in my posts!

Well, that is probably far too detailed an update for all of you!  I hope to do more of the challenges and such this evening and tomorrow.  Hope you're all having fun with Bloggiesta, if you're participating!


  1. Nifty! Best to you on working through your list. Looks like you are making great progress. I admit that I don't even know what a few of these items on your list mean! uh oh.

  2. Wow, good job for just 3 hours! Good luck on the rest.

  3. Care- do you mean Meta tags? I didn't really know what they were, either, but apparently they help in searching...

    Debbie- I haven't updated my time yet! I am more around 4 hours now. The label thing takes a LONG time...

  4. So, is the header bar a gadget? How did you learn to create it? Hints would be very helpful.

  5. Hi Kathy-

    I'll update everything in my wrap-up post, but I just can't do it when I go through and do everything as then I'd never get anything done!

  6. Update *with detail*, I mean.

  7. Good luck with your goals!

  8. It looks like you're making great progress. Keep it up!

  9. I agree! Looks really fab now! :)

  10. I like the new look! And I love the tabs! Good work!

  11. It's looking great Aarti! :) I love your link bar--I've been wanting to change mine to something like that. Wish I had time to do bloggiesta right now. :(

  12. Ana- Thanks :-)

    Bermudaonion- Yes, I am quite happy with my progress today. Maybe more tomorrow.

    Aths- Haha, I'm glad! I feel it looks a lot cleaner now. Of course, I thought it looked brilliant when I had the 3-column thing going, too...

    Zee- Thanks! I thought the tabs would be really difficult, and they took time, but weren't so bad as expected.

    Katy- Do you mean the blogroll? If so, it's super easy! I had made my blogroll back in 2006 and just kept updating from there. And then today I realized that Blogger has actually improved stuff, so you can add a "blog list" to your sidebar that directly updates from your Google reader with as many or as few blogs showing at a time, in real time, as you wish. It's so simple!

  13. You've got tons done so far! You rock! (love the tabs, btw)

  14. great goals and looks like you are making some great progress! Keep up the great work. I guess I should update the house spent on the blog soon.

  15. Great job, thats a pretty impressive list, I don't know what some of your goals are...

    I'm still stuck in creating this darn internal challenge list...

    Mexican coffee is in order soon. Caffeine and tequila. :)

  16. Good luck with your goals. You're making great progress.

  17. If Livejournal has an export option, then it is quite easy to import those posts into Blogger as it is just a case of picking up the file that you create from Livejournal and then import it in using the Import option which is on your Dashboard under Basic>Blog Tools> Import.

    You are doing really, really well with your list!

  18. Have fun with the Bloggiesta... it is fun to give your blog a new look isn't it?

  19. Tabs were one of the best things I did for my blog, so I totally understand how you feel. Looking great!

  20. Looks really great! When you do your wrap up I hope you will include link to gets tabs. Or did you have to change template? Not sure I want to do that but I would like tabs. Anyway awesome job so far!

  21. You have accomplished so much already!! Alt tags are for images. Search engine crawlers can't "see" what the image is, so it tells it what it is. I think they are very helpful.

  22. Awesome, you have done so much.

  23. Looks like you are making a lot great progress!

  24. I'm quite impressed with what you've accomplished so far. I have to admit that I am absolutely torn on the whole meta tag thing. Someone told me that Google no longer uses them in searches, and honestly, I'm really not certain how to add them. I've already bookmarked your page on ALT images and will be sure to refer to it as I add images from now on. Thank you for sharing! And good luck with the rest of your list! Go Pedro!

  25. Wow you did a lot of work! I hope to do some of that stuff too and thanks for the links. I'm not doing Bloggesta but hope to next time.

  26. Thanks so much for the information about the blog roll!!! Added my Google Reader to my blog too - love it!!!

  27. I did add Digg and Stumble to the bottom of my posts, but I don't think it makes much difference. Those that use those site will digg something whether you have the button or not and I'm not sure many book blogers use it, so I think you made the right choice - although there is no harm in it.

    Congratulations on completing so many tasks!

  28. Aarti -
    Thanks for all the links that I can research here. This is the first time I have been able to get into my google reader. I will be saving this post for future reference.
    BTW - Great job on the Bloggiesta and I certainly don't mind if you do more than one post. :)


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