As I've told you a few times over the last couple of months, I've been wanting to get my blog looking more like I envisioned it for a while now. Over the last few days I haven't been very well so have spent a lot of time in my bed being bored. What better time to do a bit of redesigning? I'm in no way, shape or form an expert in blog design, if truth be told I bumble my way around a lot of it and just hope for the best, but I'm pretty happy with how it's turned out thus far.
'Pin It' Buttons
Ever since I added the 'pin it' button a few weeks ago I've noticed a fair amount of traffic increase from Pinterest, so I knew that I wanted to keep the button on my main blog images. However, it was appearing on my header too, something which has bothered me since I installed it. When the ever helpful Jona of Oh, Wholly Vegan! pointed it out to me too I knew it was time I sorted it out. With a little perseverance and help from Jona, I managed to get it removed from my header whilst still allowing my main images to be pinned.
For months now I've been debating whether to keep my home page displaying my one latest post, or whether to create page breaks in my posts and display numerous posts on my home page. I asked for opinions on both my Facebook page and Twitter, and the answer was overwhelmingly that I should have numerous posts available. It's actually really simple; just type your post out as normal, and find a place where you're happy for the post to be cut (I chose after the first photo, as I almost always write an introduction before it), put your cursor in that area and click on the icon between 'insert video' and 'alignment', it looks like a ripped sheet of paper. Then go to 'layout', click on 'edit' on 'blog posts' and choose how many posts you want to appear on your home page. Because I post four times a week, I chose to display 5 posts. The one thing I was slightly concerned about is Bloglovin' and whether having page breaks would mean that my posts would appear there cut off. Some of my favourite blogs have 'click to read more' on the app and it drives me nuts, often I won't bother reading the full post because constantly switching from app to blog is so annoying. Thankfully that isn't the case and my posts are still appearing in full.
I changed the font here a couple of weeks ago, and initially I loved it, I thought it looked great, but over the last week or so I've noticed that some of the text was getting blurry. I don't know if it's the font I chose, the colour or the size, but it just wasn't looking as I wanted. So I went back in and kept the same colour and size, but changed the font to a very similar one, but is slightly more simple. I think it looks so much better now. It's clear and easy to read, and that's the most important thing I look for when reading other blogs too.
Follow by Email
This is one feature that I'm ashamed to say I never gave any merit to, I always assumed that if someone wanted to follow a blog they'd either have Bloglovin' or would manually check for new posts. After seeing someone complain on Twitter that so many blogs don't have this feature I dug a little deeper and found that it's actually expected by a lot of people. It's super easy to set up in Layout, just 'add a gadget' and click the relevant gadget. It takes up so little space, but if someone doesn't have Bloglovin', they can still follow me now and have my posts delivered direct to their email address.
This is one of the first things I wanted to do when I decided to dedicate a lot of time to changing things. My pages tabs used to be below my header, but I never liked them there. They looked cluttered and blended into the header too much, so I knew I wanted them above it. I also wanted my pages to stay on the screen even when you scroll down the page, this was the tricky part. I Googled lots of tutorials on how to do this, and it took a while, but I finally got there. I really couldn't tell you how I managed it in the end, but I think it looks better now it's not clogging up the top of my post.
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Up until the end of last year I was using nRelate at the bottom of my posts, but all of a sudden they stopped the widget from working, meaning that I didn't have any related posts to recommend to you at the bottom of each one. I've tried a few different ones since nRelate stopped, and I haven't been happy with any of them so went on the hunt for a new one. Engageya is the one I settled on, and I'm really happy with it so far; it shows posts that are actually related to the one you've just read, doesn't recycle the same suggestions and you can choose from loads of different options if you want to make it look a certain way.
I've had the same write-up in my 'about me' section for months and was getting a bit tired of it. Since I've now written an 'about me' page, I felt that what I had beneath my photo was pretty much redundant. I decided to make it very short and to the point, and if people want to know more about me, that's what my pages are for. I also changed my profile picture back to square from round, I think it suits the style of my blog better this way.
As I told you in my New Year's Blog Resolutions, I've been wanting to install Disqus for ages now, but always failed whenever I tried. Don't ask me how, I think it was a total fluke, but I finally managed it. I find it so much easier to stay on top of the comments now and have been getting much less spam, something that was taking up loads of time before I installed it.
As much as I really like the changes I've made to the blog over the last few days, if there's anything that you're not happy with please let me know. I'd love to get your feedback, and if there's something you'd like to change or some way you think I could continue to improve the look of it, I'm all ears. I'm particularly interested to hear your thoughts on the Disqus commenting system, are you just as likely to leave a comment now? There are a still a few little changes here and there that I want to make over time, but the look and general theme of The Vegan Taff make me proud to call it mine now.