Friday, June 27, 2008

hitching a ride

I think I posted a similar photo last year. :-) The big dragonfly is a decorative yard ornament, part of a sprinkler actually. It seems to attract the real dragonflies though, which is a fun sight to see.

In similar fashion, I've hitched my blog to a couple of others. Okay, it's not all that similar, and it was a stretch as a segue, but I've done some tweaking and I want to give credit where it's due.

I recently updated my blog template. Rather than going with another set template, I decided to tweak Blogger's Minima template--basically it's a bare bones template that gives you a head start on the coding instead of starting from scratch. I'm tempted to add a third column, that is, a second sidebar, but I'm content for now with the new background and bigger real estate. The design is fairly simple, but it's mine. :-)

A few things that I've done in the interest of making things easier:
  • I've tried to make subscribing easy by having not only links to feeds but I've also added the option to subscribe via email. I really like subscribing to blogs. It's just more efficient, especially if you follow a bunch of them.
  • I've made my header image clickable--it links back to my main page. That's something that just makes sense to me. If you've followed various links and want to get back to the main page, that's a quick and easy way to get there.
  • I've added a link at the end of each post so that it can be printed out. You don't see the printer icon on the main page. It's just on the individual post's page. Now I've noticed that this is one of those things that varies depending on the browser you use. You should be able to print out the post, any pictures, and comments without the blog header and sidebar. It works in Safari and in Internet Explorer for me. Firefox handles it in a weird way and only "sees" the first two pages for some reason. Just FYI.
  • Tonight I added the comments box to the end of individual posts--these are called embedded comments. Again, you don't see these on the main page, but if you click to leave a comment, you'll be taken to the dialog box at the end of that post on its page. I like that Blogger will be making this an option for users. It's nice to be able to look back at the post when making comments, rather than the box being on a separate page.
Here are the two main resources that I used for my tweaking:

Blogger Buster

Dummies Guide to Google Blogger Beta

Both have loads of information and have some great step-by-step instructions and tutorials. If you're thinking of tweaking, these are a couple of super places to get ideas.

Edited to add: I thought that my list of labels was rather long and bulky. Still, I wanted to be able to find things easily, even if that meant dealing with a large number of labels. My compromise was to turn that list into a drop-down menu instead. It's in the sidebar, closer to my lists of tutorials etc rather than at the bottom of the page. I think this might help the main page load faster, too.

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