Listening to: T.V. Carpio, "I Want to Hold Your Hand." I saw Across the Universe when it came out but probably erased from my memory for the many scenes that were just utter ridiculousness. I should have paid attention to this Beatles cover by T.V. Carpio though as it's kinda killer. Carpio is now starring as Arachne on Broadway for the Spider-Man musical.
Few things make me happier in life than when someone asks me to help them start a blog. My answer is always: "Yes yes, a thousand times yes!" What I like even better is after they've started a blog and kept up with it, I ask them about a redesign. Or maybe they suggest that they need a new look. That's when I know I've got them hooked.
After doing a redesign on Reena's blog, I was starting to get jealous of all the doodads Blogger has. The last time I redid my blog was right before EC came out, which was about two years ago. Technology has come a long way since then and I needed to put my newfound skills to the test. Plus my site was looking dated and I like to keep it semi-fresh.
Let me just say that we are at the limits of my coding expertise. I was fine copy pasting HTML and stuff like that but now Blogger has gotten slightly too complicated for me and there are little things I get stuck on. Ameer suggested we take a proper programming class online through iTunes U but I'm not sure I have the time for it right now. I'm hoping he gets real good at it though, so I can ask him my programming questions. For the record, iTunes U is kind of amazing and I can't believe I just found out about it now.
Below I'm gonna summarize my redesign process, mainly so I can reference this when I do another look.
- Save the old template. This is really the most important step. I also do most of the initial redesign on a dummy blog.
- Think about what could happen with the site in the future. For me, there will be new books, new projects, and just more new. Thus I went with a three column layout. Plus I couldn't figure out how to get to two even if I wanted.
- Pick a template, usually off btemplates.com because they're easy to install. There are a ton of templates on here but I recommend starting with Adapted from Wordpress or one of the categories. Otherwise you'll go crazy looking.
- Use dafont.com to find a good header font. The header drives the entire look of the site I feel. I'm in love with dafont.com because you can preview the text and then download the files very easily. This time around, testing out various fonts took the longest. Font overload!
- Import the new template file and make all the necessary adjustments. Fine tune colors and little details.
- Add on the Sitemeter and Google Analytics code.
- Adjust the Blogger widgets. This step killed me because originally the site was only displaying posts in summary format with a "read more" link. I hate that. I couldn't figure out how to change it but then I hit a magic button and everything worked out somehow. Seriously, I detest websites that make me click to read more. I understand the utility on certain sites, but generally it's just annoying.
- This template auto-refreshes photos on the main page, which was a huge reason why I went with it. It took some time to find and cut pictures to 520x300 specifications and then throw in all the appropriate links and descriptions. I love rotating photos on my blogs so this is exciting indeed.
- Found fun icons for Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and RSS feed on the sidebar. Who doesn't love buttons? This may now be my favorite part of the site.
- The navgation is wonky at the bottom of each page. It's hard to get to later posts or to go from one month to the other without accessing the archives.
- Sidebar links are not in the right color. The small line height also annoys me.
- Redo each EC book page to consolidate them.
- Rewrite my bio and general text info.