Blog Sabbatical and Site Updating

I have been on a blog sabbatical and updating One Foot In Reality for about 5 days now.  I am making progress and the upgrade/update about 85% complete.  Why did I feel that my site needed updating?

Last Monday night during #gardenchat we talked about Blogging and I got to looking very critically at my theme (a big mistake for me).

I personally liked the colors, but it just wasn’t “right”.  It just didn’t project the image that I want long term for “One Foot In Reality”.

Which Theme?

Then on Wednesday while in hurry up and wait mode for getting dad out of the hospital, I had time to think and look around for themes that I liked better than the one I was using.  I found several, but for various reasons, it came down to just a couple and I finally settled on the Mimoza Theme ported over to Blogger by Lasantha Bandara .

So I have been playing around trying to get the theme just right and have taken time off from Twitter and posting very much to my blog since then – I snuck a couple of Tweets and posts in too.  I have really focused on making my blog, look the way that I want it to look.  No I don’t know how to code, so there is a LOT of trial and error going on here and more than a couple rants and ravings.

Slider

I have learned that I don’t like sliders. I don’t think they add a lot to my blog and are high maintenance items to keep up-to-date.  Someday I will go back in and clean out the slider code that is still here to help streamline the coding in my theme and speed up loading times a little.  That is a back-burner todo item, while I work on getting everything else settled in.

Header/Tool Bar

Now I have to figure out how to make the header image for the entire header, instead of just this little bit.  I know it has something to do with the theme/header width and going in and changing (playing with) the code.  Will play with that a little bit tomorrow, but it is not high on the priority list yet. I can live with the blue background for now.

Figuring out what goes on tool bar was tough and I still have quite a few sections that are U/D (Under Development) and that might not change right away.  I don’t really want to stick something in a tab that readers do not need or are simply spaces wasters.  If you have any ideas on what I should have to have in this slots or what would interest you, please let me know.

Blogger Label System

By the way have I ever told anyone that I think the label management system in Blogger sucks, now let me tell you how I really feel!  Never mind I don’t want to get in trouble. I think that said that plainly and succinctly enough. In spite of the archaic way Blogger has to manage their labels, I was able to go from almost 1500 labels to 78 active labels, but it took almost 10 hours of work to get this far.  Unfortunately, there is no easy way to update/change/clean-up/delete labels to over 600 posts other than doing it manually for each individual label you have created (no bulk deleting or adding). I wish there was a more user friendly way to manage your labels, than how Blogger’s label management system is currently setup.

I put the label widget cloud at the bottom of the posts, so that I could have a wider cloud and take up less real estate on the theme itself.  Can’t tell that I used to be a teacher and very involved in Special Education and Educational Technology.  Many of my posts before June 2011 were in some way related to Education, if you want to read my views as an active teacher (in other words the posts were written with a lot of self-censoring) on Education related issues there are a bunch of them you can look at.

A reflection to me is looking back at something that happened or how I did something and discussing it, yes this is a lot of what I do on this blog – reflect on things.  I could probably divide this label into more specific topics, but right now just want to have general sections, since I am trying to eliminate labels not create more.  I am still up in the air on this one, I do wish that Blogger had sub-labels to give another level of organization to help readers find what you have written about more easily.

Why No Amazon or Blogger Follower Widget

Now I have to figure out why Amazon ads or Blogger Follower widget are not showing up????  They do on other themes, but not this one, I will figure it out at some point, but it is not a critical issue. Not when you are making less than a dollar (a lot less) a day and have 11 followers – doing this blogging stuff.

Enough Bitching

There that is enough bitching about Blogger, because I really do like it for my blogging platform, it is just when I have to spend a lot of time on one section of a project due to something that doesn’t seem to have been updated very much since Google purchased Blogger that I get frustrated.

I like the Mimoza Theme by Lasantha Bandara .  The Black/Blue/White color scheme it reminds me a lot of the Langit Theme only it is a two column instead  of 3 column, that I really liked on one of my previous blogs. Mimoza has been updated to include a few more icons and a tool bar, which makes my theme much cleaner looking.

While I am not crazy about getting into the code on a theme and trying to make it more my own, I still go in and muck around enough to get things close to what I want.  Someday I will hit the lottery and actually have someone build my site the way that I want it to look and act without beating myself up over it, other than to say can we do this or that doesn’t look quite right. I have a feeling it will be money well-spent, but it is a ways off on my present fixed income budget.  That is why I always have to go for the free themes and work on it myself and hope I get it close.

Several of the additions to this theme, I have gotten from over at My Blogger Tricks.  His site is where I got the Table of Contents Widget and bottom footer Widget areas and he has a lot of other neat additions to Blogger templates, that I really lik and those other ideas that I might try after getting things settled in for a bit to see what works and what doesn’t work.

The reality is

that after everything is said and done, that I have a lot of time invested in this update and I like the direction the blog is heading (focus wise), that the theme is easy to read, isn’t cluttered looking and I like the color scheme.

What do you think of the changes that I have made here?  Do you have any beneficial suggestions or ideas to help me continue to improve One Foot In Reality?  If you do please comment below or use the Contact Me tab with your suggestions or ideas.

Thanks

Harold