Monday, 2 April 2012

Bloggiesta 2012 Wrap-Up

This has been an absolutely amazing weekend for me. I didn't get everything done that I wanted to, but I've learned a whole load of things that I'm going to work on implementing from now on.

This was my original to-do list: 
  • Finish displaying the other places my blog can be found - Facebook, etc.
  • Somehow make my sidebar prettier
  • Organise my review archive better
  • Attach Amazon Associate links
  • Improve page-to-page linking
  • Wrap-up challenge post 
  • Create a button 
  • Cross post my reviews - Goodreads etc
See, on first glance it looks as though I only achieved half of what I meant to. And that's not exactly untrue. But I also paid close attention to the mini-challenges and now I know all sorts of new things!

Considering I didn't do anything at all on Sunday (I was ill and looking an awful lot like a sunburned toad, so I hid in bed all day), I don't think that's half bad :)

This is what I actually got done - 

Mini-Challenge #1 - SEO

So I've concentrated a lot on SEO-ing my posts. I knew a few bits about it, but now thanks to April I know more about it. It took me a while to sort because the options I needed in the Blogger interface to insert metatags weren't visible, but I then realised I needed to switch to the new version of Blogger.

I realised lately that I wasn't getting as many hits from search engines as I could, so this was especially helpful for me.

These are five of the posts I chose to work on - 

Book to Movie #1: The Great Gatsby (December 2012)
Review: The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler  
Review: Moon Over Soho (Peter Grant series #2) by Ben Aaronovitch 
Review: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark 
Books My Boyfriend and I Have Argued About: Harry Potter and the Deathly Silence  

Mini Challenge #2 - Writing Reviews Faster

I'm a ridiculous procrastinator in absolutely everything, but especially when it comes to writing blog posts. That's why one of the mini-challenges for the Bloggiesta was so useful - all kinds of helpful tips to keep you on track :)

Read about the Five Tips To Write Book Reviews Faster! 

I used these tips to write my review of Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. It took way less time than normal even though it was a hard book to review.

Tidying up my sidebar

This was one of my self-set goals and I've now completed it. I hate having cluttered sidebars - I just don't want my blog to have tons of buttons advertising giveaways. It doesn't bother me on other blogs, but it's not for me.

So I played about with the organisation and now I've got it mostly even. There's still a long tag list, but I can live with that :) 

Mini-Challenge #3  - Backing Up Your Blog

The Book Vixen challenged us all to back up our blogs this weekend. Can you believe that I've never ever done that, despite Booking in Heels being nearly a year old? Well, I now have completely backed up design layouts and post content, aren't you proud of me? :)

Mini-Challenge #4 - Social Media Buttons

This was actually on my own list of things to do this weekend as well. But, ladies and gentlemen, if you direct your gaze to the upper right, you will see a shiny new row of SOCIAL MEDIA BUTTONS.

Try not to be too impressed. I am but human. 

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Book Challenge Wrap-Up

One of the things I'd planned to get done this weekend was write up my quarterly progress report for participants of my challenge. 

I managed to get this done only a few minutes ago, despite all those book titles starting to blur together by the end. Don't believe me? Here it is!  

Organising my Review Archive

 I didn't actually get this one done, as such. But I've been looking at drop-down menus, which it turns out are a hell of a lot harder to implement than I thought! That said, I have an explanatory page bookmarked and I'll have a poke at it soon :)

All in all, I think it's been a fairly productive weekend. What did you all manage to get done?


  1. How on earth did you do the buttons? I've been trying to find out how to do them, and found a great post on how to do it, but it just wouldn't work for me. Grrrrrr. They look so pretty and your sidebars look great!

    1. Hang on a second, I'm e-mailing you :)

  2. Well you've just convinced me to do more with my blog! God I missed out on this one. *smacks work in the stupid face*
    My sidebar is cluttered but but.. I like my buttons D: /flail. HALP!
    I'd like to make my RSS subscribe button stand out more.
    I need to re-do my categories because they're still so half-arsed. Work out how to transport my old posts to another blog or just delete them.. perhaps. I dunno. But my categories are a MESS.
    I want a button that makes my Looking For Associate Reviewer post easier to find.
    Rewrite my review policy.
    Sort out my blogroll.. again.
    Tidy up my challenges and review archive page.. maybe.
    SEO and back-ups are things I really really should look into as well. And writing reviews faster, though I think I may have that down. I've taken to working out what I want to talk about so I'll list characters, writing style, story, or whatever and then embellish on that, save draft, read through, edit, until I'm happy. Check through my notes for any additions and voila.

    Wow. I did miss out..

    Love the social networking buttons!!

    1. I'm so, so grateful for the SEO thing. I can't believe how much stuff I DIDN'T know, it's ridiculous. I'd check out that mini-challenge anyway, just for the help! It's so, so useful.

      I'm so proud of the social networking buttons. I've had like, four different people ask me how I did them. First time for everything lol.

      My review archive still needs doing, but it was harder than I expected...

    2. I'm so glad I put together a review archive but I think I'll undo categorising and just stick to alphabetising by author name. I do keep on top of it at least, though.

      I have found the list of mini-challenges for this year and last year so I'll DEFINITELY go through those to make many improvements to the blog. :D Plus my own personal goals list. Bit sad that I missed out on another chance to network but hey, maybe I'll get my commenting act together soon?

    3. Ahhh, I hadn't thought of checking out last years challenges! I might do that later on. I'm not TOO bad at keeping up to it - I usually add them in groups of three or so though. I such at cross-posting to Goodreads etc though!

  3. I'd like to do the dropdown menus too and bookmarked a how-to months ago but haven't got round to it. I did find out the other week that Google does a lot of SEO stuff for Blogger blogs anyway so they have the upper hand to WP if people are searching via Google. There's still stuff that can be done but I didn't agree with the using special words approach that a lot of plugins promote. I'll write what I like even if I'm not using the right buzzy words ;)

    1. Really? I thought WP blogs were better for SEO? That's good news lol. I just can't help but feel that I should be getting MORE search hits - it's a really low percentage at the minute.

      I don't use any SEO plug-ins. Keyword-y posts tend to annoy me. I tried using one of those similar keyword searches things, but didn't really find it that useful.

      Dropdown menus are a bitch. Just saying. :|

  4. Your social media buttons are beautiful! I also read the SEO post, but I ended up with more questions then answers (maybe because I'm using Blogger and not WP?). I did manage to add alt-tags to all my images in reviews.

    I'm reading "dropdown menus are a bitch" and all I can think is...Challenge Accepted! lol I'm now off to do some research and we'll see how this goes!

    1. Well I FINALLY found a page that I could actually understand about dropdown menus. Took me forever, mind! All the tutorials seem to be aimed at Super Bloggers... Prod me if you want a link :)

    2. I think I might have FINALLY figured it out. I'm still playing with the colours and whatnot, but it all seems to be working fine so far...

      The hardest part was figuring out where in the heck to place the HTML! I didn't always have the keyword they told me to search for to paste the code after.

    3. Looks like you must be one of those Super Bloggers I was talking about :) It looks good though!

      I tweeted you (I think) about the SEO problem you had, cause I think I had the same one. If not, just thought I'd add my two cents anyway...

  5. Oh my goodness, how did I miss your blog the first time around? I LOVE the title and tagline :) I just turned 30 and my birthday gift was the freedom to purchase a pair of designer label shoes of my choice. Who says you can't be well-read and stylish at the same time? ;)

    1. I have to ask, what shoes did you choose? :)

  6. I loved the mini challenges too! My husband had to do my social media buttons for me last time, but since I followed the mini challenge I know how to do them by myself now. Yay for independence :) I cleaned up my sidebar too. Your blog looks very stunning and organized. Even doing half the things on your list is still a big accomplishment! Glad I found your blog through Bloggiesta. It's darling :)

    Jessica @Books: A true story


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