31 Days to a Better Blog – Day 12 & 13, and an update on progress…

The 31 days to a Better Blog Challenge continues

The task for Day 12 is to Introduce Yourself to another Blogger.

“Email another blogger in your niche to introduce yourself and your blog. You don’t need to ask them to link to you or anything – the point isn’t to get any specific outcome other than to touch base and hopefully build a relationship.”

Since this challenge began, I’ve been alot more confident in a making contact with other bloggers, not only in my ‘niche’ but in other areas too. I really recommend this tip, relationship building is definately a key part of communicating via the internet. It’s a little harder than the traditional face to face route, and does require abit more time and commitment, but the results are very worthwhile. I now communicate with a wide range of people regularly across the world that I wouldn’t have formed any connections with, if it had not been for blogging and reading others blogs.

Day 13’s task for the day was to search for an Affiliate Program that fits your blog. Well, as I’m not currently seeking that for my blog and I don’t think many of us are in the challenge that I’m linked into (see more here for the background and more on the participants of the challenge!), I can up date you of what’s been happening here.

Updates

This challenge has been really useful for me to contemplate my blog and help me to define what I want to write about and make my site as approachable as possible.
Over the weekend, I spent some time shifting things around, changing colour schemes of my sidebar again, and de-cluttering it too. I’ve still yet to tidy up my About me page, and am busily preparing some posts which can also be used as guides to blogging, and RSS and so on.
I’ve also added a little introduction text sentance on the home page aboce the first post to explain that this page lists the most recent posts, and in my archives page I have listed what it is about and what can be found.

Accessibility – I’ve also been running the site through accessibility testing, and thankfully nearly all passes on AAA accessibility on nearly all parts (still need to hack the comments form, haven’t tested that in great detail yet) with Bobby’s accessibility validator all except for the search form, which I have done everything I can to tidy up the coding, but still doesn’t validate fully with Bobby. Other validators say fine, and as we know, Bobby is always the hardest one to pass with.
I’ve still to look at colours on my links on my links area at the bottom of the page, make them stand out abit more. I did the one thing I said I’d never do, although feel like it hasn’t caused detrimental effects on usability so far. I’ve made all non-post text (ie – the side panel on the home page and the weblinks section at the bottom of the page,) 10% smaller. I’ve tested it on a fair few machines, platforms and browsers it looks okay to me, but is it okay for everyone? It’s balanced out the page to a degree, bringing in the core content to the front. Blog clutter is quite a big thing to deal with!

I watched a live streaming seminar on Gnomedex the other night, which had some great points Ageism a few days back with Ronni Bennet as the speaker. She was really inspiring, and it also served as a great great visual reminder to bringing accessibility and usability to the fore.
I want my blog to be usable by all.

When I set up my blog originally I vowed to myself that I would only blog one article per week, with my Side Notes (quick links of use to my readers) being updated as often as needed. This challenge has been a big undertaking, which I am enjoying although sometimes at the cost of what I actually want to write about.

Saying that though, there have been some immense benefits though at taking part. I’ve now connected with people in new places, that blog about their experiences and what they do, that I would never have come across otherwise. Also we are all undertaking the challenge with an individual pair of eyes, which makes the social connectivity really exciting to see, how we are all interpreting it differently. (although I think that we’ll have all undertaken days 12 and 13 in a similar manner.)

Also, more participants have come on to the challenge. Welcome to the miniLengends! The miniLegends are Year 3 students – 9 year olds from South Australia. It is the first class to join the challenge and its been noted that chocolate was definitely a motivation. Read Sue’s post on the story for more!
I think it’s great when young people can use blogging like this to share their learning.