Behind the Curtain: Burning Feedburner and other site updates

Posted on January 23, 2015 «
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Urged on by posts from Brittany at Book Bumblings, Rachel at Parajunkee.com and Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer, I’ve made some slight improvements to the way things look around here.

New Coat of Paint

I updated my main background to a light grey from the black and put a complimentary grey around my blog posts. I find that it really draws my eye in towards the content on the page without being so in your face. The black was depressing me a bit. You’ll also notice I made my banner brighter and added my social media links to the lower left of the image.

I also updated my social media banners and changed my profile picture to actually be a picture of myself. Hopefully, I found all the places I have an active profile!

Revamped Sidebar and a new Meet the Cast (About Me) Page

Be honest, my sidebar was kind of a mess. I liked a lot of the content, but it was just kind of sitting there. Not even I was interacting with it.

My first step was to install the Display Widget plugin. This gives me the flexibility to hide/show different widgets on different pages. So when you head over to a review page, you’ll see different widgets than on Center Stage.

I moved my social media icons to my header so I didn’t have to dedicate sidebar space to them. You’ll notice I limited the number of social media icons as well. Thanks to Ashley at Creative Whim for helping me out with the image map name.

I still have a blog roll, but I moved it over to my Meet the Cast page. The blogs I follow are connected to who I am as a blogger. The bloggers I feature provide great content and they are also social bloggers. They interact with me and I interact with them. They have helped shape who I am as a blogger. In addition to the blog roll, I added a list of recommended books that link back to GoodReads.

I also changed up my profile to be a bulleted list. I listed the six things that define me as a person at this point in time and provided a brief explanation. Overall, I love the way the page turned out.

New Email Newsletter…Fan Mail!

Thanks to Brittany at Book Bumblings for setting this out as a task. I signed up for a MailChimp account, migrated my WordPress users and Feedburner subscribers over and got some signup forms setup. You’ll notice a few pushes to the emails in the sidebar and in every post. In addition to using MailChimp, I’m using Optin Forms and SumoMe to insert the option to subscribe in various places on the site.

My favorite thing about the newsletter? The header banner I created.

Second Run Reviews Fan Mail Header Image

Please checkout my campaign archive if you are torn about whether to subscribe.

Removed old plugins and widgets

I tried a few different plugins and widgets to manage my new mailing list, but decided I wasn’t a fan of them. So I uninstalled them and got them off the site.

 

*dusts off hands* So there you have it fans, that’s what I’ve done so far to freshen up thing around here. What do you think? Do you like it? Do you have any spring cleaning plans for your blog? What is the most favorite thing you’ve taught yourself to do related to your blog?


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16 responses to “Behind the Curtain: Burning Feedburner and other site updates

  1. This is fabulous! You are quite awesome to be able to do all this…I honestly DIE when it comes to making things work better. >_< I love your about page with the scrolling thingy too. OMG YOU ARE SO CLEVER!!

  2. Julie S.

    All the changes look awesome. I didn’t realize the sidebar changes depending on what you are reading. That is so awesome!! great work!

    • I’m really happy with the changing sidebar. I was looking for a way to promote some of my reviews and thought if someone is reading a review, they probably want to see what reviews I have coming up and what I’ve reviewed recently. I think I’ll do something similar on my discussion post pages.
      I’m not 100% happy with the banner yet. I think I want to make the social media icons a tad smaller. My eyes are instantly drawn there instead of my logo. But maybe I’ve been staring at it too long!

      Terri M., the Director
      Second Run Reviews

  3. Tanja

    Well I leave this all hard work to Glass xD I do like computers and all but my talent for design of any kind is not within me. I really like what you did here and sidebar looks great. I have to see and change something on ours. Great post, Terri 🙂

    • I should create a post regarding all the great sites I used when I had my site over on Blogger. I learned a lot of basic HTML 5 and CSS while trying to get Blogger to do what I wanted it to do. It’s not nearly so difficult on WordPress. 🙂

      Terri M., the Director
      Second Run Reviews

  4. Woot! Look at you – so much work done! I have some spring cleaning to do too, but not sure when I’ll have the time. I’m on my RSS reader right now, but I’ll swing by later when I’m on the computer to take a look at everything, I’m sure its awesome 🙂

    • The changes are subtle, but I like them. When you head to the site, take a look at the sidebar and then dive into a review post. You’ll notice a bit of a difference. 🙂

      Terri M., the Director
      Second Run Reviews

    • I think the warmer weather in the Midwest the last week or so had me thinking of spring. Although I know, in the back of my head, that Mother Nature is just tricking us. We got snow again on Sunday and today.

      Terri M., the Director
      Second Run Reviews

  5. I love it! It looks streamlined and not a lot of blogs use grey. I use it a little bit too in my design and I think it looks lovely! I added Optin Forms after Ashley’s recent blog post on it too and I’m really happy with how it looks.

    PS – the Behind the Curtains title is so cute!