Things I wish I'd done in the past no. 362: taken screen caps of my blog before I changed it's look and layout....
How come I can remember to take photos of the house for 'before' and 'after' shots, but when it comes to my blog it's only after I've messed with it I go "Doh! Should have screencapped the 'before'"?
Although I had several websites since 2005, I only started blogging proper on moving to America in 2009. Those of you who've been with me since the beginning might remember that this blog has had 3 names:
They Don't Like It Up 'Em
and finally, the current Fanbloomingtastic.
The only things I can find of the first two are some banners. This was my very first for They Don't Like It Up 'Em, when I was with Blogger:
I didn't even know how to put a title or text on a photo at that point!
On moving to Typepad (where I've stayed since) the blog became Redwheelbarrow. That first year in the USA I studied hard all the books in our local library on creating blogs and using html and the blog became very floral ;) Again I WISH I'd taken screencaps, because this is all the evidence I have:
But the overall look stayed when Redwheelbarrow became Fanbloomingtastic in 2010 (I changed the name because there are just too many websites called Redwheelbarrow around, I had the co.uk until 2011 but I was competing in search engine listings with a .com, .org, .ed, .net etc versions, so rarely made it past page 3 on Google searches....nobody else had a Fanbloomingtastic when I checked WHOIS, and it's not only a word I use (too often), it represented what I wanted the blog to feel like.....something happy, uplifting, silly).
Fanbloomingtastic stuck and I'm still very happy with the name, and the floral look first adopted with Redwheelbarrow hung around for a while but I started learning to use CSS....gradually. Here's my first FBT banner:
And here's a slightly updated banner, though clearly I was having difficulties with CSS for widths and my first attempt at a navigation bar....I think I'd just increased the width of the blog for most people getting larger monitor screens. This was what it looked like at the start of 2012:
It wasn't too long after this I started to drop the floral background and side bar buttons:
Although I loved the happiness and colourfulness of the florals, I started to think they were a bit much with the new larger photos I'd started putting in my blog posts.....and they meant the blog took waaaay too long to load.
This is where I'm sad I didn't take screencaps (although I desperately wish I had one of day one of They Don't Like Up 'Em.....but I'd just moved continent, remembering to feed myself then was difficult).
So as all the way through last year's Sew Weekly year, I'd been regretting not being able to do more maintenance on Fanbloomingtastic, on Black Friday last year I bought myself the Blog (Design) Love e-course from A Beautiful Mess:
The observant (or those who pop to see the blog frontage proper instead of just getting posts in readers) have probably been noticing the gradual changes.
But if you haven't had a chance to look recenly, the blog now looks like this:
It's still colourful and light and airy, but I'm hoping it's less hectic than it used to be and through lots of clever coding, little tricks and tons of use of image editing using Pic Monkey (paying slightly extra for the Royale features is soooooo worth it if you're a blogger like me who doesn't own any Photoshop software), it should all work a lot smoother and definitely you should be able to find interesting stuff around the blog MUCH EASIER.
I cannot recommend the Blog (Design) Love e-course highly enough. If you're a brand new blogger, I'd probably start out with A Beautiful Mess's Blog Love e-course which discusses blogging basics and creating content amongst lots of other gems. But as I'd been blogging for over 3 years, had loads of content and photos to work with and learnt and implemented some HTML and CSS coding before, I skipped to the Blog (Design) Love e-course. And it's seriously given me the wake-up/freshen-up I needed.
I haven't finished implementing everything I've learnt:
- to be honest, the file size of my banner is still too large to make loading the page mega-quick, but I really love it and haven't found an alternative I like yet, I don't do minimal,
- my navigation bar is still pretty basic,
- my footer needs prettifying,
- and I'm building a Doctor Who archive page.....which will seriously come into it's own in November for the Doctor Who Sew Along for the 50th anniversary...
...BUT the Bowie Sew Along is taking up too much of my time this month to work on these improvements just yet. So watch this space. Fanbloomingtastic by the end of the year might be all singing and all dancing!
However, some of the improvements I have managed to implement since starting the A Beautiful Mess e-course include:
- my 'Things I've Sewn' archive page, with a gradually growing collection of icons to click on that link to full posts on my makes:
- learning how to create a table via Typepad typelists to make a horizontal social media link list amongst other improvements:
- circular archive buttons for links....which seriously shrink the file sizes of photos to make pages load quicker, and I have a serious thing for circles....they make me happy....is that weird? Don't care:
So there you go. Just thought I'd let you in on some of the things I've been doing 'behind the scenes' and to persuade you stick around for more ;)
...especially with the horror of Google announcing it's closing Google Reader....if you follow Fanbloomingtastic via RSS, just to let you know there are alternatives:
Feedly - which I currently use on my PC and is really cool, see a screencap of my Feedly homepage below. It's easy to adapt the settings to your preferences and to add blogs, I even read all the Tumblr sites I follow through it....and I've started using today on ipad and iphone. Feedly has promised a seamless transition method from Google Reader too, which is why I'm trying it out on ipad and iphone rather than my current:
Feeddler - which I currently use on my ipad and ipod...but it is a Google Reader client, so although the Feeddler twitter account last night announced...
....I'm just checking out viable alternatives. I do love Feeddler, but am a little concerned as to whether it will surive and continue to be as good...I have a feeling I might move all my blog reading over to Feedly.
There's also Blog Lovin' of course, which I know lots of you love but isn't for me. However, welcome all of you who've added Fanbloomingtastic to Blog Lovin' today....I've seen a huge increase in subscribers, so hello!
Other alternatives are Flipboard, Newsblur (which I tried out today and doesn't seem to be coping very well with the huge influx of people using it, keeps crashing), Pulse, Netvibes etc. But if you want to know some expert views, here's some articles:
And if you're looking to add the Fanbloomingtastic RSS feed to any of these alternatives, here's a link via Feedburner (yes, which I'm also worrying about it's future...will be looking into alternatives in case Google gives up on this too in the future):
Add Fanbloomingtastic to loads of RSS readers:
To add Fanbloomingtastic to Feedly, click on '+ website' at the top left of your Feedly dashboard and a window will open for you to search, type in fanbloomingtastic.com or fanbloomingtastic.typepad.com/blog and it will find the blog, then click on the plus sign and decide if you want it in an existing folder or to create a new folder. Here's my current homepage:
And if you're a Blog Lovin' Lover, you can add Fanbloomingtastic to your reads here:
Hope all of this helps and you choose to stick around with me for more adventures!