Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bloggiesta Wrap-Up [TSS]

Gosh, the weekend is already almost over!  I know that Bloggiesta doesn't end for some hours yet, but my Sunday will be focused on looking at other participants' blogs and commenting on them, rather than working on my own.  So, what did I accomplish during my first ever Bloggiesta Fiesta?

A lot, as it turns out!  It's funny, I signed up for Bloggiesta just on a whim and didn't even think I'd really do much to participate.  But then I saw everyone else's ideas and then got my own ideas and just wanted to make sure I wasn't slacking on my poor blog, so I got to doing one thing and then that thing led to another, and another and now... well, BookLust is quite different!

I now have tabs at the top of my blog.  This is probably the improvement I'm most thrilled about as it gives me so much more room and maneuverability with my sidebars.  Because of it, I was able to return to a two-column format, which is much appreciated.  I also think the blog looks a lot cleaner and sleeker now than it did before but I may be biased.  I also like that now I can keep track of all the books I read going forward in my "2010 Books" tab.

I cleaned up my labels.  There are many fewer labels now, and I don't think anyone notices that but me, but I feel blog clean-up is more for the blog administrator than for anyone else, anyway.

I graded my blog and it went up from an 85% in mid-December to a 93% earlier today.  That is exciting!  It seems to have gone up in rating solely because I added meta tags and alt descriptions to the most recent entries.  I am not sure how I feel about the website grader.  I don't know if what it grades on is actually important, or is more archaic or maybe is just an opinion.  It didn't really hurt to put meta tags on the blog, and I admit that I'm glad that now Google search results show a blog description instead of the first sentence of the most recent post.  Other than that... I don't know if anything really makes that much of a difference.  I don't think that is going to change my Google page rank that much, or bring so much more traffic to my blog.  But it didn't take too much effort to do, so I'm happy with it.

I also participated in some challenges.  I did the Farm Lane Books back-up challenge and the Bookalicous copyright challenge (thanks to a tip from Marg for help on how to do this).  I also accidentally participated in some challenges from the last Bloggiesta, but they helped improve my blog, too, right?!

I did a pretty minimal Google Reader update by removing all the blogs I subscribe to that haven't updated in several months.  That's about all I did on that goal!  I didn't make a Favicon, either.  I am not sure how to deal with that mostly because I got specific permission from an artist (the fabulous Canadian artist Oliver Ray) to use his painting "Girl Reading" in my header.  I love the painting and hope to buy a copy for myself as a present for getting into graduate school but I feel bad using it too much for my own "branding."  This led to my goal of wanting to rebrand my blog by using a different image set, but that is a bit out of my price range right now and I don't know what I want to do, exactly.

Overall, I'm really happy with my Bloggiesta accomplishments.  I did a lot of things I didn't even consider doing before I started (like re-formatting the entire blog).  I thought I'd just focus all my time on labels, but I didn't.  I hope I can keep up my organization with the image tagging and including all books read in my 2010 Reads tab!

Thank you so much to Natasha at Maw Books for hosting Bloggiesta!  And thanks to everyone who was so nice and supportive about my blog changes.  It's great to start 2010 off on such a hopeful note, full of resolutions on reading, and a new look for the blog.

Now I'm off to read my first book for the Flashback Challenge, The Phantom Tollbooth, my favorite book from childhood.  I'm so excited!!


  1. Your blog looks awesome!! Looks like you got a lot accomplished!

  2. Anonymous1/10/2010

    Congratulations! Looks like a productive Saturday then:) 85-93 is pretty sweet!

    I found it ironic that you "returned" to a two columned sidebar, only because my main problem with my blog is the two columns! I'd love a third, but, I don't like any of the designs that have three columns. Oh, I'm so fussy!

  3. You got load of good stuff accomplished and I love the new sleek look. I'm glad you are happy with your tabs, the do come in handy. Enjoy the new and improved you!

  4. Congratulations, Aarti! You did great. I know what you mean about some of the tags, clean-ups, etc. being for for ourselves than for anyone else, but if it makes us feel better and more organized, it's worth it :P

  5. Everything looks really good! It feels so good to get so much accomplished.

  6. Great wrap up. I am glad to see someone else who isn't really sure about the Website Grader. I have 2 questions:

    1. How do you add the meta tags and alt descriptions (what's the source for the "how to"?)

    2. How did you get the tabs at the top? I could only get mine at the top of a sidebar. Maybe that's because I've got a template from somewhere outside blogger....


  7. The tabs look great! I really must participate next time - everyones' "new look" is so inspirational!

  8. Your blog is awesome! I think this is my first visit here (I'm finally figuring out how to see the Sunday Salon posts over at the main page!), so I have no basis for comparison. But it looks fabulous!

    I need to learn about the "meta" tags, but that will be a different project for another day!

    My Sunday Salon:

  9. Question: I have meta tags for my blog in general, but did you start adding meta tags for each individual posting? If so, where can I find out how to do that???

    You can email me at fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com if you don't want to answer all that here, or you can answer it here. Either way is fine with me!

    Great work on your Bloggiesta weekend.

  10. Great work on the Bloggiesta! An improvement from 84% to 93% is quite, quite good.

  11. Congrats on all that you accomplished!

  12. Aths- Thanks so much :-)

    Another Cookie- I found it ironic, too, since I was SO EXCITED when I got the three columns in my blog last time. But oh, well. We'll see how long it lasts.

    Nicole- Ooh, sleek is a nice word! I agree about the tabs. So excellent.

    Ana & Chris & Kelly- Agreed. It's all about being able to sleep at night ;-)

    HC Murdoch- If you look at my last Bloggiesta post (two posts below this one), then you'll get all my links.

    Rhapsody- Thanks! I'm a little annoyed by the one tab below the others, but not sure how to fix that...

    Creations- Sunday Salon is great, isn't it?! It's the only meme I really participate in.

    Bookshelf Monstrosity- I only did it for the blog in general. I think "meta" is for general stuff, isn't it? But I don't really know. I think it just changes so that instead of your blog blurb on Google being one post, there is a description of the entire blog's purpose on there. So I have the same thing as you, I bet. I don't know how to do it for each blog post. But that would be nice to have a summary!

    Christina- I am not sure what changed it the most. I think the tabs did the job.

  13. Well done on clearing up your blog. You don't want to come and do mine do you? LOL.

    Phantom Tollbooth, I forgot about that one. I can't wait to get started on the Flashback Challenge.

  14. Oh, how I need to clean up my tags, but right now, the task seems too daunting. I'm going to try to improve them from here on out, though.

  15. Looks like you got a lot accomplished too and I agree, I do think we would get along! Expect me to be visiting much more often in the future :)

  16. Your blog is looking great - I love all the changes you've made. Congratulations on getting so much accomplished!

  17. Great job! Amazing that you were able to get so much done and it all looks great! I'm going to email you soon with the info about my feature, keep your eyes out!

  18. You know I noticed the changes right away and I like them. Very practical and oh so charming, I can dig it.
    Have a great week.

  19. i love your tabs at the top! i didn't know blogspot was able to do this. i have been wanting to make tabs forever as i think it will help me mainstream my sidebar. i don't like having too much stuff there but i don't know where else to put it.

    soleilkubo at gmail dot com.

    congrats on accomplishing so much!

  20. Isn't it funny how sucked in you can get to blog improvement? I did tabs too and I love them. I'm going to have to look into meta tags. Do you have a place you can point me to?

  21. Wow! It looks great here and it sounds like you did a heck of a lot of work! I have never participated in Bloggiesta, but now I'm wishing I had. Hopefully I can get in on all the goodness next time around. Great work, Aarti!

  22. The Phantom Tollbooth!!!!! Yesh! Love it! Okay, I'll stop with the exclamation marks now. I have it on my reading list for this year too. Such a wonderful book. Happy Reading!

  23. My plan is to have tabs once I get my new blog layout going...whenever that might be!

  24. Wow, great job with bloggiesta!!

    Here's to keeping it up all year round :-)

    The tabs look awesome!

  25. This was just so much fun! Great job!

  26. thanks for your help. i not only made tabs, but i made metatags for my header too. i think my blog looks much cleaner now! :)

  27. Yay for blog improvement!! Sorry I'm so late in coming over to say thanks for joining the fiesta! I love how you got sucked into blog improvement!


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