New Image

I’ve been thinking for awhile that my blog has been looking a little busy. I had left and right sidebars with a lot of widgets. What finally pushed me into action was visiting Jan Smith’s blog Re-Siever. It looked so clean and sophisticated, and the content is great too!

Choosing a Theme

It can be daunting choosing a theme, but luckily Sue Waters at The Edublogger wrote two posts back in July which were really helpful; What To Consider When Choosing Your Blog Theme and The 100 Edublog Themes Separated Into Categories To Make Choosing Your Next Theme Easier. Using Sue’s posts I decided what I wanted in a blog theme and started checking out the ones that seemed to fit. Well, after lots of thought and consideration I went with the theme that I really liked… the same one that Jan Smith is using (Ocean Mist by Ed Merritt). They say that imitation is a form of flattery, and Jan’s most recent post is titled Steal This, Please. I have personalized the theme though–right now that’s a photo of my youngest running through the spray at a water park.

Some Bumps Along The Way

I’m finding that a few things got lost in the transfer (like Clustr Maps) and I’ve been trying to re-jig things. I took my blogroll out of my sidebar and given it a separate page to try and reduce clutter. I’m still playing with the layout so that it works for me.

Your Thoughts?

What do you look for in a blog theme? Are you a 1, 2, or 3 column type of person, or does it depend on the blog content? Have you considered changing up the look of your blog? Do you have any suggestions to make my blog layout/set-up more reader friendly? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

Image: Bump, bump, bump by gwen

7 thoughts on “New Image

  1. Glad my posts helped. What you need to focus on with the sidebar is the most important information needs to go at the top. Since this is what first time visitors see.

    So my thoughts are:

    You have two Blog Archives. Unfortunately the top one is part of the search widget so I would remove the bottom one. Move your search to the top followed by the Subscribe in Reader and Subscribe by email. Unfortunately I don’t think in this situation your photo is working because you have only one sidebar so I would have it only on the about page.

    I would bring Categories and tags up to below the Subscribe by Email Subscription and place the Recent posts below Tags and then then ClustrMap below Recent posts.

    Maybe change the word Subscribe as a Page Title to something that newbies will relates

  2. Now, it’s going to sound totally self-serving to say “Wow! I just love your new theme!” 🙂 The photo of your son is perfectly charming, and emphasizes the exploration that is at the heart of blogging.

    I am a two-column person, but there are still things I would change about this theme. I am not a fan of the search–it is visually confusing. I don’t like a cluttered look or things that move (not a Voki fan, but know why kids like ’em)

    One thing about the (temporary?) slowdown with Edublogs–the banner image can be slow to load.

    But, I do find this easy on the eyes, and used it for my class blog, too. Maybe I’ll rearrange the furniture sometime soon…good thing there’s no heavy lifting.

  3. @Sue, thanks for your feedback–I appreciate your time analyzing my sidebar! I agree about the photo of me–it fit just fine with my previous theme, but not here.

    @Jan, my previous theme was 3-columns because I just wanted to have so many widgets! It was time for 2 columns though. I debated having the sidebar on the left–I’ve read that people viewing webpages use an ‘F’ pattern (their eyes spend a lot of time on the left side) and this might be more brain friendly for people to have all the widgets on the left. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Wow, I am very impressed with the practical feedback that Sue gave you. I hadn’t noticed the subscribe page. I think I’ll put something similar on my class blog so I can let parents know how to receive regular updates from our class and eventually student blogs. and I will get to play with Jing to create visual directions. Thanks again for the idea, Claire.

  5. @Jan, yes, it is wonderful to have someone like Sue analyze your blog and give such thorough feedback! Thanks again Sue! I still haven’t thought of a better page title than ‘Subscribe’, though. I know what Sue means about making it newbie friendly. I know that all of Sue’s posts end with “And if you’re enjoying this blog, please consider subscribing for free” with a link to her subscribe button. Perhaps that’s the way to go.

  6. That’s okay Claire. I’ve gone back and checked my blogs. I’m using “Read how you can be automatically notified of new posts from this site!” as a link on my sidebar as opposed to my page links at the top of my blog.

    However perhaps this is something I need to reconsider. If you look at my Mobile Tech blog I’ve got approx. 600 page views for each of my pages along the top of my blog compared to 34 for Automatic notifications since January. mmmm makeover again?