blogging 201-4: blog on the go

today’s challenge is fun since it requires me to admire my recent work on various tools.

(it’s like when you take that really awesome selfie and you sneak a peek at it every so often, and make it your new avi everywhere because you know you look great and want others to bask in that glow as well.). just me? oh ok. moving along..

Today’s assignment: make sure your site is mobile-friendly, and familiarize yourself with the features of responsive design.

most of my blog posts are written from the laptop, occasionally via the wordpress for iphone (but i find it less intuitive/user-friendly than it used to be). i haven’t accessed the wordpress for android on my tablet.

first world problems.

first things the iphone. i still love the cleanliness of it, the icons still translate. however, i notice that i lose the side bar (categories which is important to me) and the mission. i’m going to try to enable the mobile-ness, but if not, will have to repeat the same info in 2 places and create a page. boo.

photo 1 (1)

the theme is deemed to be mobile friendly, but it changes the look to some generic theme, removes the colour scheme and icons. me no likey.

photo 2 (1)

went to the tablet, and it’s still all good. so continued to play with the mobile settings..

photo 3 (1)

nope. i guess mobile friendly means certain things? it’s a little disappointing, but the great thing about today’s assignment is making me look at my site through a readers eyes as opposed through my own in the dashboard.

exercises like these are important, since we all know people have little patience for slow loading site, hard to read from phones sites and the like. if the goal is to have people read, gotta make it as easy as possible!

great assignment!

[amy]

 

 

blogging 201-3: looks mean everything

testing, testing...

testing, testing…

wordpress asks: Your houseguests will be here in two hours. Does that send a mild wave of panic over you, too?

answer: depends on the guest and what the state my kitchen is in. lol.

alas.. let’s get to the assignment

Today’s assignment: experiment with visual changes and see whether you can refine your brand further and add more dimension to your posts.

i will admit that im doing some cheating. tomorrow is a holiday, so i’ll have a day off (eeee!!! the excitement!) after a nap will be able to actually do some of the things from yesterday’s assignment.

these sort of things, if it’s going to represent me – can’t be rushed for a challenge sake. finding the right theme, font, colour, tagline, blog name is like picking wallpaper, shoes (or bra), an appetizer (or dessert) and a name for your child (or pet).

it requires thought. testing it out. trying it on. sniffing it if possible.

(ooo…wordpress can you get on a scratch n sniff theme? please and thanks?)

all this is not that conducive if you work full-time during the day. (which they of course mention in the editor’s note at the bottom of the post.. which i read..after i started to type. oops)

buuuut..since i have time and i like to try to DO things i’ve been told to do.. for blogs sake – i tried out a few themes. screenshots of them are below. the caption is my thoughts on it. the best part about trying on a theme, is how quick and easy it is. hit preview, then add to the yes, no, maybe pile.

 

tonal – i like the colours.

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 8.49.28 PM

quadra/circa. i like it. simple. pop of colour. titles in lower case font. a contender.

quadra/circa. i like it. simple. pop of colour. titles in lower case font. a contender.

like the size of the post. but not the title (lower caps is my thing!)

illustratr – like the size of the post. but not the title (lower caps is my thing!)

espied - almost perfect. in the top 5 for sure.

espied – almost perfect. in the top 5 for sure.

fictive - really like this one. simple but good visuals without being overwhelming.

fictive – really like this one. simple but good visuals without being overwhelming.

singl. no. stay single.

singl. no. stay single.

sorbet. similar to one of the 1st ones. i see similarities in what im drawn to. hmm..

sorbet. similar to one of the 1st ones. i see similarities in what im drawn to. hmm..

dusk to dawn: love the colour change! but wish font was bigger.

dusk to dawn: love the colour change! but wish font was bigger.

too dark.

too dark.

confit - doesn't this go against what today's assignment said?

confit – doesn’t this go against what today’s assignment said?

ithemes: partial to this because it's the background for one of my twitter pages. i also like the comment bubble. (i really do look at those things)

ithemes: partial to this because it’s the background for one of my twitter pages. i also like the comment bubble. (i really do look at those things)

no.

no.

no again.

no again.

why is the title so giant? yikes! stop yelling at me!

why is the title so giant? yikes! stop yelling at me!

i do like the post layout/size though.

i do like the post layout/size though.

oh no.

oh no.

not for me. but i've seen it work for another blogger201 participant!

not for me. but i’ve seen it work for another blogger201 participant!

too busy for me.

too busy for me.

one of my biggest frustrations is the inability to customize free themes. i get that at some point, you have to pay for things – but i live in a world of free apps, free movies, free tv shows, free music.. what do you expect! LOL. i’m very particular about the fonts that i use, and know generally what i like – so playing around in a free theme to only not be able to make the changes are hurtful!

based on some recent revelations, i know that i’ll be making some investments into what i want it to look like so that it falls in line more with who i am and the image/brand i want to create.

in the meantime, i’m going to test drive one of the ones that spoke to me the most for a little bit. see how it feels and handles me.

[amy]

what’s your word?  any of the themes above you like better than others? skinnier posts or larger fonts? dark background or white background? so many questions! i’ll still go with the one that speaks to me the most, but we’re here for feedback right?

update: also important – hit activate instead of preview. esp if you have fonts from previous samplings save. some of the ones above that i liked were completely different once i hit activate and made it live. yikes.

 

blogging 201-2: brand audit

Today’s assignment: audit your brand — look at all the ways you communicate information about your blog, and make sure they’re consistent, focused, and say what you want them to say.

i think this is the scary part of having a blog/being a blogger. you have to make sure that it represents you on multiple levels! from the font, to the colours, the writing style and everything in between.

sure, for most (like myself), it’s not a springboard to other things (i’m not looking to get paid for my writings any time ever) – but some are. and you want to make sure the readers and followers you collect along the way can identify you as you. your voice isn’t the only important thing to consider.

(sheesh. is it too late to do blogging 101?)

First, focus on your goal. Think back to yesterday: why do you blog? What do you want to accomplish? What is the thing you’d like your blog to be known for? This will be the lens you use to dissect your blog.

i blog because i can. because i should. because i need to. because it’s fun.

i want to accomplish goals i’ve set and constantly revisit and resetting them when they are achieved. i want to keep you entertained.

i want to be known for being a fun chick on the interwebs adding positively to the noise.

Second, examine your blog from header to footer. Consider your theme. Look at every widget, page, and image and ask: does this clarify and reinforce my focus?  How will this help me meet my goal?

whew. i got some work to do. what is becoming clear is that if i want to achieve my goals – i will have to invest in it. this is a lightbulb-aha kind of moment.

in always just considering myself a chick with a blog as opposed to being a blogger, i felt it was unnecessary to invest money into it. but if it’s going to reflect me – it should from head to foot. and free comes with restrictions.

 

  • What are my title and tagline saying? What about my post titles? My About page?: the tagline goes more with the original name of the blog i considered. i’ve gotten better with post titles and my about me page i think is pretty awesome. but then again.. i wrote it. LOL.

 

 

  • Do I have a consistent visual identity? Am I choosing images that support my brand, both in posts/pages and widgets?: i like to think my visual identity is consistent and supports the brand. i like clean, clear pics (or gifs) that add a pop of colour (if possible), and is directly tied to something that was written. sometimes i write a sentence with a picture in mind.

 

  • Are there elements that are counter to my brand? Why have I included them? What role do they play?: i didn’t have a lot of widget info to add, so i included the hits counter. and it’s something i’ll remove once i play around with the theme as it’s not something that is important to me and contradicts the humble aspect of having people even visit my space. i added it to take up space/add visuals to a very bland theme. clearly.. i have some theme work to do.
  • Does all this carry through in the other places my blog has a presence (FacebookTumblrTwitterPinterestInstagram, or forums/sites where I’m active?): for this blog, the only other SN used is twitter. i have separate voices/brands for each site. (which is exhausting and considering the consolidation)

Third, start introducing changes that reinforce your brand. Here are some easy starting points:

  • Add or update a tagline to give more context to your title.: yes
  • Add a text widget with a pithy description of your blog’s mission: yes
  • Create an email address for your site: (kinda cheating because i’d already done this..but juiceboxamy@gmail.com)

all this is making me re-evaluate everything about my life blog.

i guess this blog challenge really IS a challenge! i welcome it because who knows blogging better than those wordpress folks?

nooobody!

[amy]

what’s your word? as a reader/visitor/follower – any thoughts on the blog? i welcome the feedback from the eyes of others!