Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Few Updates and a Plea to Bloggers

Wow, I've missed you guys! I've spent the last several days squeezing every experience I could from the time spent with my kids who were visiting us here in Idaho for the first time. But now I'm back and it's time to catch up a little, plus to talk about some blog "business."

We had a wonderful five days with my son, who flew in from North Carolina, and my daughter, who came from New York City. Both of them are city dwellers, so spending a few days in the "wilderness" with us was a big change for the kids. Since they both have stressful careers, though, the peace and quiet seemed to agree with them.

A more detailed post will follow soon with pics, but a quick run-down of the activities included a couple of hikes through knee-deep snow in the woods, watching our first skijoring tournament at the Sandpoint Winter Carnival, touring a brewery and sampling some interesting beer, gambling at the casino, shooting pool, visiting the local wolf sanctuary, playing lots of cards, building a snowman, relaxing in the hot tub, and eating. Lots and lots of eating.

Image from Funky Junk Interiors
While the kids were catching up on the news and their emails on their iPads (I was jealous, by the way), I had a few moments with my laptop to try to catch up my blog reading. I came across Carmen of the Primcats' post with a plea for fellow bloggers to turn off their "prove you're not a robot" feature on their blogs, and I nearly stood up and cheered. Thank you, Carmen, for bringing this up.

Carmen had read the post originally done by Donna of Funky Junk Interiors who had posted a tutorial titled "How to Make Your Blog More User Friendly." Donna's post was long, detailed, and extremely helpful showing not only what you can do to make your blog more user friendly, but why you should do it, and how you can do it.

In a nutshell, Donna suggested that you:
  1. Turn off word verification
  2. Turn on comment notification
  3. Turn off comment moderation
  4. Activate your Blogger profile and turn on your email
  5. Embed comments under your posts
  6. Set up a Contact Me button on your sidebar
  7. Disable music (or make it easier for a reader to turn it off quickly)
  8. Respond to your readers' comments
  9. Set up an automatic siggie in your emails with your blog's URL
And then Donna goes on to show you exactly how to do all of the above. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I'd like to add one more suggestion to Donna's list:

10. Remove the fancy handwriting font from your blog posts.

Edited to add one more...may as well just let it all hang out!
11.  Please don't make your blog posts font too small or too large. Once again, it makes them hard to read.

I hate to say this because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but I have a hard time reading handwriting fonts in large chunks, and I think that other people do too. Those fonts are great for post titles and sidebar titles, but aren't meant for your blog posts. So please, please, please...change them to a simple serif or sans serif font.

I would love to leave more comments for other bloggers, but all the hoops that you have to jump through make it very difficult and time-consuming. A lot of the comments that I tried to leave for folks got eaten by the computer because I clicked out too quickly, not realizing that there was another requirement.

I know I've not done everything Donna suggested in the past, but I'm going to work on it in the future, especially the commenting back part. I try, but don't always succeed, at that one. I've also turned off comment moderation, except for really old posts because the majority of my spam seems to be from old posts. The rest I was right on track with, so hooray for me!

Also, I understand that Google Friend Connect will be disappearing soon from non-Blogger blogs, much to my dismay, and I'm concerned that it may eventually go away entirely. To give you another way to follow, I've set up a Linky Followers widget on the sidebar and will be keeping an eye out for other ways for you to follow, just in case Google decides to do away with GFC from all blogs. Please sign up! (Edited the paragraph above for accuracy...thanks to Carmen for pointing out my blunder.)

One last thing...if you haven't yet signed up for my giveaway of "Sisters of the Quilt" you need to hurry up! Entries end tonight and the winner will be picked at random and announced tomorrow. So click on the giveaway button on my sidebar and join in on the fun!

Hugs,
Pam



15 comments:

  1. Well now you have gone and hurt my feelings. :P

    Just kidding. I love my font. And when I had my blog designed I specifically requested that it be kept on writting paper in cursive because of all of the compliments I got on it. No doubt it can be harder to read sometimes (I know that because after my eye surgery I had to blow everything up including my own blog). But alas... I still love it. :)

    Also... google friend connect is not going away for blogger blogs. Just for other websites that use it. Blogger blogs are all safe... for now. :)

    Carmen and the Primcats

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  2. I am with you on the cursive writing..it does make it harder to read..just plain old fashioned type is great for me..;) glad you had a great time with your kids..can't wait to see photos.;)

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  3. Carmen, you know I love you! It's nothing personal, just an honest opinion. As I've gotten older, I've started having more and more problems focusing my vision, and my new glasses don't help as much as I'd like. The handwriting font makes it tougher to read peoples' posts, especially long posts; my old eyes just have a hard time with it.

    You'll notice that I keep coming back, though...and it's all because I adore you and your blog. *hugs*

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  4. Yes, Pam, great post. I so agree with all except that email thing. With respect, it is never safe to make your email address a hot link or written out as "dot com" for the world to see. It does help those who are really interested in your blog, but at the same time it is readily available for hackers and spammers. The free comment forms, with a Contact or Email Me sidebar button, are safer b/c they don't reveal your email address. The url to the comment form can be put in your Blogger Profile's email space :)

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  5. I'm so glad you had a wonderful visit with your kids! That's so great! Enjoy the rest of the week! It's been crazy around here...but I love it! ♥

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  6. Thanks for your input, Danice...you're preaching to the choir! LOL If you'll read my post a little closer, you'll see that I passed on Donna's recommendation to include your blog's URL in your signature in your emails, not on your blog itself. I agree, posting your email address on your blog is an unsafe practice. I also seconded Donna's suggestion to create a Contact Me button for your sidebar.

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  7. Hi Pam,
    Sounds like you had a great time with your kids.
    Love the snowman that you made...too cute.
    hugs,
    Cindy

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  8. Hi Pam~
    Just passing through and your blog caught my eye!
    In the past, I've posted about the verification thingy..
    and had just started on a post regarding the PALENESS of the printing on blogs.. You've done a great job here!
    Now if folks will just seriously take heed to these suggestions!
    warmest hugs..
    Loui♥

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    Replies
    1. Welcome, Loui♥! Thanks so much for visiting my blog...hope to see you again soon!

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  9. What a great bunch of activities you and your family enjoyed! Amen on the word verification!

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  10. O.K., I got rid of the WV. I'm confused about the email and the sidebar comments. I have my blog URL in my email, you're suggesting I take it out? I got that. I have a contact me button on the sidebar and if you click it you go to an email form and if you hover the email shows up in the bottom corner. How should I have it? If you can straighten me out with this quick

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    Replies
    1. Susan, I sent you a private message to try to explain better.

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  11. Hello Pam~
    How wonderful your children came for a visit to beautiful Idaho! You live at top of the state and I am on the bottom, SE corner! The week of events sounded great. We attended our very first "skijoring" event a few weeks back. What a great day it was, we had so much fun!
    I have to agree with you on the fonts that some of them are very difficult to read. I have to take care of a few of these suggestions on my blog-I do have music and try to keep in fairly conservative though.
    Now, to figure out why I am not getting your posts. I signed up some time ago to be a follower, but yours isn't the only one that doesn't show up either. Hmmmm?
    Take care.
    Blessings,
    Sheila
    http://seasonsofthyheart.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Sheila, I sent you a private message with a suggestion for getting the blog feed to work.

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  12. Great suggestions Pam - I never had WV, wasn't crazy about it before, and was driven completely mad when they added the second word and scrambled the letters and made be sulk away from my computer thinking I really was a robot. I, too, have a problem with the handwriting script. And, yeah, I know the music thing is a touchy issue - but I just can't resist. Some day I'll grow up too. ;o) Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

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Your comments always make me smile. Thanks for taking the time to leave me a sweet note!

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