Sunday, March 20, 2011

Please tell me what you think

It’s exactly a month ago today since I finally decided to create a blog and published my very first post. Being absolutely ignorant about all aspects of blogging, I chose the simplest possible format and plunged straight in. Since then I’ve had a wonderful time discovering other people’s blogs and writing my own, but in that month I’ve not spent much time actually looking critically at my own as you see it.

Today, after two afternoons of carting logs for firewood, my back is reminding me that I’m not as young as I was and had better do something less strenuous for a while.  So I decided to have a good look at how my blog appears and compare it with others and, not surprisingly, found that there was definitely room for improvement. 

I don’t use photos every time, so there can be an awful lot of uninterrupted text in my posts, and to my shame I found it not as easy to read as I’d thought. I don’t have very good sight and am therefore critical of published material with poor contrast and separation, and yet that is what I was inadvertently producing.

I’ve had fun ferreting around in Blogger’s store of formatting goodies and after some interesting experiments have come up with something that I hope looks more varied and also makes individual posts and other sections of the blog easier to read and distinguish. It would be really helpful if you would take the trouble to tell me whether this works for you, in terms of how it looks and how it loads, and if not, why not, so that I can try to improve it further. After all, it’s you, poor things, who have to read it, so this is your chance to help me get it right. J


  1. Looks great and reads easily. In fact I really like the background picture you have used with the sky and mountains below. Don't think you have a thing to worry about.

  2. I have just discovered your blog and thus far like it very much. Plain and simple is often the way to go. Thanks for the review on Rumer Godden, I have taken note and will try get a copy to read.

    Have a great week I hope to be back for more of your writing...


  3. looks lovely :)
    bless you

  4. I do like the background.
    A tip that Mark of 'Views from the Bikeshed'

    gave me was to use smaller paragraphs as it makes it easier to read on screen.
    As it is i find your paragraph length fine...but if you do any longer posts Mark's tip might be one to bear in mind.

  5. I really love your blog -- and its simplicity is a big part of its charm. So much of what you talk about -- from knitting socks when worried about your sister to wondering where the time went when reflecting on DD turning 40 -- ring so true for so many of us of a certain age! I also appreciate your use of pictures at times -- getting a glimpse of the lush countryside of Wales is a wonderful treat to someone like myself living in the wilds of rural Arizona! I get vicarious joy imagining your living in three very different places! It's lovely that you can share yourself with the world! Your blog is uniquely you -- and doesn't need improvement!

  6. Thank you all so much for taking the trouble to give me feedback.

    Broad, with my love of hills, I really liked the background picture as soon as I saw it. After that it was just a case of tweaking the details :-)

    LG, thanks for visiting and glad you like it. With my very basic knowledge, plain and simple is all I aspire to :-) Hope you like the book as much as I do.

    Fly, the point about paragraphs is a really good one and I will bear it in mind for the future, particularly when there are no photos to break things up a bit.

    Kathy, thanks for your very kind words. I hope to have more photos coming up soon about our other places, when I can get them sorted out :-)

  7. Like the new font. Easy to read. Best thing as you say is to look at other blogs and see what tips you can pick up. And nothing is better than signs that people are reading. You have the signs!

  8. Red, glad you like it. Isn't it fun working it all out?

    Annie, that's a really interesting comment, because in fact the font is the one thing I haven't changed. I chose it when I first started as it's a font I've always liked. Obviously the new format makes posts easier to read individually, which is exactly what I was trying to achieve :-)

  9. PS for Annie. I've just noticed that in you're right about the font in one very good way. As I was making my changes Blogger somehow set the font size one point bigger without my noticing. Doh! Same font but bigger is definitely clearer, as it looks blacker and the contrast is sharper.

  10. You have to sort of find your own way with a blog. I think the format looks good, the posts are very readable in my opinion. Blog on what interests you when it interests you. Blogs should be primarily written for personal satisfaction rather than just to attract readers or commentors. You may find periods when your readership or commenting flags a bit, at those times it is important to be doing it mainly for yourself.
    I think it is great BTW:)

  11. The font size might be just a smidgen bigger than needed (but then I have a decade and a year to go before I catch up with you, which of course, I never shall...) but if you find it suits you then stick with it.

    I agree that shorter paragraphs make for easier reading on screen.

    Lay-out is fine. Background artwork very uplifting (as is your content, Big Sis), so All Systems Go!

  12. Sue, thanks very much for your perceptive points. I started blogging because I enjoy other people's blogs and wanted to have a go myself now I have the time.

    I've surprised myself by how much I'm enjoying the whole process. I just love finding ideas or, more accurately, letting them come to me (sometimes in the middle of the night) and then trying to put them into words as well as I possibly can.

    Comments have been a completely unexpected bonus (the comment box text only went up today and could well come down tomorrow) and though I would miss them if they stopped, I would still post.

  13. Baby Sis, the larger font size was inadvertent, a result of Blogger's workings which I didn't notice until too late, when I'd already saved the settings.

    If I now try to revert to the previous font size (only 1 point smaller) all previous posts end looking much smaller, so I think I'm stuck with it now. Rather a bit big than too small when you get to my age.... :-)

  14. I have just discovered your blog and i like your writing style very much. You had me hooked when I read " knitting to subdue...", this sounds very like the knitting corner in my living room.

    Sending care and huggles, Michelle and my Zebby Cat

  15. Thanks, Michelle. Lovely to meet another knitter. If you find your knitting taking over your living-room, you'll love the Yarn Harlot blog if you haven't come across it already:

    I have most of her books and they are great fun.

  16. Hello, and thank you for commenting on my blog; I hope you enjoy following.

    I find your blog easy to read in terms of its format - my suggestion would be to keep it fairly simple and not have too many gizmos. Reading on screen is different to reading on a page and it helps to have relatively short paragraphs.

    But ultimately, I'm a writer and that colours my view on clarity: it is the words that matter most!

    The best blog posts have a clear message, are succinctly written and engage the reader with some intersting and / or light hearted thoughts.

    Even better, if you can turn a personal thought or experinece into something more universal.

    And finally, I could of course, suggest you consider coming my blogging for writers course - you'd be very welcome!

  17. Mike, thanks for visiting and for taking the trouble to make such useful comments.

    As I said in my comment on your blog, I'm not a writer, so have everything to learn about the art of writing. I'll take note of your advice and try to put it into practice.

    The course sounds good, but we'll be away at the time and in any case I probably need a course on writing for bloggers first :-)

  18. So glad you're enjoying blogging so much.

  19. I really am, Fly, and find myself keeping an A4 pad and pencil by the bed in case ideas come to me when the computer is switched off. Not at all what I expected when I made my first experimental posts.

  20. I enjoy what I'm reading in your blog far too much to worry about what surrounds it!! In fact, through various sources, I've only just realised that you HAVE changed the "edges"!! It's been particularly nice to come back after a break and find you've given me so much to read, and so much enjoyment from reading it. Thanks!

  21. LOL, Jane! I'm really glad you're enjoying it. I get so much pleasure and satisfaction from writing it and it's lovely that others find pleasure in what I write.


I welcome your comments and will always try to respond to them. Thank you for reading.