Don’t you get frustrated with mess? I do! But I’ll procrastinate how I can clean up the mess until I can’t take it anymore. Only then will I take action.

Today was my blog cleaning day! I’ve finished what I can but still not happy (are we ever totally happy with blog cleaning?). Anyway let me show you what I’ve done so you can give me your thoughts :)

Importance Of Blog Cleaning

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Unfortunate fact of life, we do judge a book by it’s cover! People are more likely to both read our posts and subscribe to our blog if it’s pleasing to their eyes.

We need our blogs to immediately engage first time readers, highlight that we offer great information that they will like, so they want to subscribe to our blog.

Photo from Flickr uploaded on October 4, 2007
by metz79 licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike 2.0.

Changed Block Image Header

I use Cutline theme for my blog because I want a clean template, with pages along the top and ability to add a tagline.

The concept behind a blog tagline is to create a memorable phrase that sums up the tone and premise of a blog. Ideally all blogs should have a tagline since they instantly tell first time readers what your blogs all about and whether you write posts in topic areas that interest them.

Unfortunately Cutline doesn’t include a tagline but it does include a customisable header which means I can add the tagline to the image in my blog header.

But I’m not the most creative person so wasn’t happy with my image. Hoping my new image header with a person staring at the ocean and my tagline Helping Others With Web 2.0, e-learning and m-learning are better.

This is what my previous header looked like:

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Decluttered My Sidebar

Sidebar clutter is bad because it can make your blog look messy and pulls readers attention away from what you want them to do (read your posts)!

Saying all that I think Kirsten’s comment on my I’ve Gone Widget Crazy post is important to consider:

I sort of view sidebar widgets as being partly for the blog owner and partly for their readers. So I guess if they make you happy then that’s what counts. I don’t see them as distracting, but then I’m a total global spatial and my mind is probably full of widgets.

But some of the clutter had to go!

1. Removed my blogroll

Bloggers often feature a list of their favourite blogs in the sidebar of their blog; this list is commonly called a blogroll and these are important to edubloggers. One of the reasons for adding a blogroll is so your readers can use this list to locate other blogs worth reading — you are saying “these are some blogs I like – which are worth checking out!”

Trouble is my blogroll list overwhelms my side bar so I’ve relocated it to a page on my blog. Sure some won’t be happy with this but it was that or no blogroll. And now have a pretty link to it :)

Check out my blogroll here!

2. Rearranged My Subscribe To This Blog Links & Information

I want new readers to subscribe to my blog!

Your RSS feed, email subscription and advice on how to subscribe to your blog needs to be obvious! So I’ve made it look nicer and hopefully it’s grabbing readers attentions with the icons I’ve added (check it out at the top right hand side of my blog).

3. Added a Translate This Page Widget

I’ve added a Google translator widget to my blog to make it easier to read my posts in words other than English as I have many readers that English is not their main language.

I also tried to find an Aussie slang translator but had no success. My readers definitely need this! As Kate Quinn pointed out in comments I used this aussie slang “main drag to refer to the main road through the town” in a post.

4. Changed the name of My Categories Widget

Tags, categories and search widgets are important because they help your readers locate the information they want on your blog (read more about the difference between tags and categories here).

I’ve changed the heading of my categories widget to “Some of the things I write about” because I felt the word Categories didn’t have much meaning to many of my readers.

5. Customised My CoComment Widget

Kirsten convinced me of the value of having a Cocomment widget on my blog when she said on my I’ve Gone Widget Crazy post:

As a blog surfing addict I like the cocoment reader widget – if something you have commented on else where catches my attention then I can follow it and explore further. I also know can come back to your site and follow other comments of interest – so I like that widget

So I’ve adjusted the size of the widget and changed my cocomment widget’s title to “My Comments on Others Blogs.”

6. Where I Share

I wanted to add a Show Yourself Widget like Vicki Davis has on her blog (located in her left sidebar under the title of “Where I Share”). Unfortunately this is one code I can’t seem to embed in this blog. So instead I’ve added an About Me Widget from MyBlogLog but it’s not really what I wanted.

If you know of a better widget please let me know :)

Added A Visitors Map

While I was busy decluttering my sidebar I couldn’t help looking at more widget to add.

I fell in love with Ronaldo Lima Frappr visitor’s map and had to have one. Absolutely no logic in my desire and since it caused clutter I’ve added it to my About page — which makes completely no sense!

But cheer me up add your name to my vistors map!

FINAL THOUGHTS

What have I missed? MyBlogLog for “Where I Share” isn’t working for me. Can you recommend a better option?

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