So with an unusual amount of time on my hands this week, mostly due to the minor surgery from last week, I found myself at a bit of a loss as to what to do with myself. This is where I usually get myself into trouble. Idle hands, and all that.
What I finally decided on was an update to the blog. It’s been looking a little tired to me lately, so I decided to try a different template. I’d never really set it up properly, and it was getting rather long and awkward to scroll through, with all of the posts on one page. Time to fix that and organize it a bit better.
Of course, one thing always leads to another. Changing up the template led to experimenting with the different widgets (which, admittedly, I had no idea what most of them did), and that led to testing out a bit of HTML coding (which I can do, but never thought to try in this application), and that led to a re-vamping of our Facebook Fan Page, and … well you get the idea. It’s kind of like pulling a loose thread. It’s only a matter of time before everything starts to unravel.
The long and the short of it is, I’ve gone from infrequent poster to a full blown obsessed maniac. But this is what happens when I’m not kept occupied, lol.
It all started with the theme. While I liked the previous template, I found that the all-black background was heavy, and a little hard on the eyes after a while. Also, after poking around a bit in the settings, I discovered that some of the things I’d like to add to the site were not available with this particular theme, so off I went to find another that I liked better. I finally settled on Baskerville 2, for several different reasons, not the least of which it allows me to randomly change my header image with each visit/page change. It also offers a light background, making the text easier to read.
From a design perspective, it’s not bad. There are still a few little things I’d like to change, but for that I’d need to become a Premium member, and until I can get the number of followers increased, I’m not really willing to pay extra for that. (Mike prefers the term “frugal”, I’m more of a realist. I’m so cheap, I won’t pay attention.) Although, as a graphic designer, it’s a little frustrating to not be able to change certain things and feels like my hands are tied.
In the meantime, I started into the widgets to see what I could and couldn’t do. Turns out, way more than I thought I could. Our full-color logo is now prominently and permanently displayed at the top of the sidebar. I didn’t care for using the “Blogs I Follow” widget, since it limits the number it displays, and orders them from newest to oldest. After a bit of digging, I found that if I used the “Links” widget instead, there was no limit to the number I could display, it automatically alphabetizes them (making it easier to search through them) and I could also include a quick description for those who may not be familiar with a particular blog. Admittedly, it took a bit of typing, as I had to add each link separately, but it allowed me the flexibility I was looking for.
I’ve also added a map that shows where we’ve been, a copyright disclaimer, a list of our favorite video blogs and a direct link to my graphic design portfolio. As well, there is a new gallery page, a “Welcome” landing page, and the actual posts are much more organized and easier to navigate. There’s even a new link to my Etsy shop in the header. All in all, it’s still a work in progress, but I’m much happier with the site. Now to find the self-discipline to post more consistently. Ah well, it’s always something…
Once I got the blog to (mostly) where I wanted it, my attention turned to our Facebook page. The updates were pretty dry, since about the only thing I’ve ever done with it is use it to share the latest post. So over the last week, I’ve turned into my own social media manager. I’ve set up a posting schedule, and been gathering up links, tips, tricks, and lots of other info. Everyday, the page posts something new, sometimes I’m looking for interaction, other times I just want to share information, a chuckle or an interesting quote, but there’s always something going on. Hopefully, it will help us gain a bit of momentum.
I’ve also decided to post a “Featured Nomad” once a week on the page. Anyone with a blog who has been kind enough to follow our ramblings is eligible to be featured. It gives our readers the idea that we’re not alone in our desire to roam, and it gives our like-minded travelers a little extra exposure, so win-win. Give us a follow if you’d like to have your blog front and center. I promise we don’t bite.
So, even though I’ve been sitting most of the week, I still managed to get a mountain of work done. Well, it seemed like a mountain to me. Granted, it’s still a work in progress, and things may still change from day to day. Ideas, suggestions, comments, constructive criticism? It’s all welcome, please feel free to chime in. But I feel it’s a better road we’re on, and I’m much happier with the view.