Monday, April 27, 2009

Today's Lesson Plan: Spring Cleaning with Scribbit

Don't know if you've noticed, but I've been doing a little Spring Cleaning the last couple of days. And I owe Michelle over at Scribbit a debt of gratitude for my new sense of self and purpose.

Michelle, you see, has written an ebook, specifically for female bloggers. Blogging in Pink is 175 typed pages of Pure Blogging Bliss. And it's free!

"The most successful blogs are the ones that are able to generate the most conversation," Michelle writes in her intro. She then takes the reader thru 24 chapters that cover the range of blogging, from Getting Started, to Getting Organized, to Getting Noticed.

While I'm taking Michelle's whole message to heart at little bit at a time (hey, I'm still a Bloggy Neophyte over here. RSS, HTML & SEOs are not yet a part of my fully developed blogging vocab, but I'm getting there!), the section of this fascinating read that stood out to me the least in the past 4 days...was Chapter 10: Housekeeping Tips for Your Blog.

Some of you have been regular readers since I launched My Grand Experiment more than 1 year ago. Remember when The Scholastic Scribe was all "out there," with a black background & the Haight-Ashbury snap? Well, I do...It was a tad Gothy & hard to read, don't you think?

Back in the Day, I also had stuff scattered Willy Nilly all over this space. I fooled around with très mucho Bells & Whistles; basically, much of what Blogger has to offer, & then some. In addition to trying to find my online "writing" voice, I was looking for a face, too.

And frankly, Dear Readers, that face needed a good scrubbing. Hard, with a Brillo pad.

I finally came to my senses around the turn of the New Year, and put a softer, more gentle Scribe out there. In fact, I took a fancy to one of the Blogger Templates called "Scribe," and tried to make it my own. I think I more or less found my voice, too, in early January.

It's no coincidence that I started writing more in the first person, referring to myself with the occasional personal pronoun, & less in the third person, although I still refer to myself as "Mrs. Scribe" from time to time, 'cause that's who I am, after all!

I spent 3 after-school afternoons reading Blogging in Pink. Michelle's message, that "even blogs need a good spring cleaning from time to time," really resonates. And so I went about following her sage advice.

I've got the publishing regularly & planning ahead that Michelle advocates down to a science. But organizing my ever-burgeoning info really needed to become a priority.

So, My Friends, when you take a look at the New, Improved Scholastic Scribe as it stands today, you'll notice 4 "organizational" changes. First off, a new Header. I've been restless ever since I dropped my previous Tag Line: "Notes from the Underbelly of High School Journalism" had morphed into "Notes from Beyond the Underbelly of High School Journalism," which then had morphed, by January, into no Tag Line at all. Michelle points out that I was a goof for losing the Tag.

"While tag lines are often catchy and cute, generally they do nothing to help a blog," Michelle lectures in Chapter 20 (OK, so I'm implementing suggestions from both Chapters 10 & 20 in today's new look). She emphasizes the importance of keywords...even in the Tag getting one's blog noticed.

So I got funky with Google's Keyword Tool, & came up with a Tag that pretty much sums up the journey that this blog & I have made together over the past year: "Lessons learned in the classroom & beyond." It so goes with the blog's title, don't you think? And while I was at it, I re-did the whole Header, to emphasize my message, I hope. Or, at least, to class up this space a little.
And I've taken a few more steps to tidy up. Much of my voluminous info has been organized under some nifty new buttons in my sidebar.

To keep current on Yoshio Nakada's case, with all that entails, please click on Yoshio's Story. I've been able to organize photos, links, stories and more, for y'all to peruse at your leisure. There's so much to learn, so I might as well make it available all in one place, right?

To see my social media, please click on Social Climbers. There you'll find my SITS button, Twitter account, Best Posts of the Week, and the gone, but not forgotten, Blog Around the World. And thanks to Johanne Brunet for the Superior Social-Climbing Snap.

I'm also pretty proud of my updated profile, catalogued under About Moi. I just started writing one nite, so if this all seems like a little too much for Modest Me, please let Mrs. Scribe know! But suffice it to say that I'm tickled enough by this piece o' work to count it as one of my April entries in the Random Complexity Writing Challenge. It clocks in at 557 words. Hmmmmmmmm...guess I think a lot of moiself, huh? Or was that the pinot noir talking?

And finally, y'all, there's the reason that Mrs. Scribe keeps putting herself out there, day after day. I consider Mrs. Scribe Recommends to be more than a Blog Roll. It's a testament to the give-and-take we're engaged in here in cyberspace. Consider these links my gift to you. I also think this method will help me in keeping my Blog Roll current. We'll see, anyway.

There you have it, in a heckuva lot more than a nutshell. I thought about keeping this post short & sweet, as they say, but I guess I got carried away in the end. Thanks again to Michelle's Blogging in Pink. She & her Scribbit are more than an inspiration...they're the spark that started a fire under Mrs. Scribe to become a better blogger.


Koe Whitton-Williams said...

Melissa - the new look is great and explaining how you got here was a very nice read. . . Thanks for posting it and thank you for your comments.

Our vacation was great. I have a photo of DC coming up soon. . . Have a great day.

Lynda said...

I remember the old look... the new one is wonderful :)

Scribbit said...

Looks fabulous! I'm so glad it's been helpful.

I love redecorating, whether it's in a room or on a blog.

Susie said...

Everything looks great. There is so much one can do to improve their blog. I have implemented some things a little at a time.

Tiffany said...

I like the new header. Spring cleaning is always a good idea. I'll have to check out the e-book.

LadyStyx said...

*looks around*

Nice, very nice!

Shawn said...

Looks great---I often change my background, etc. but I can't do much more than that....

HappyChyck said...

Spiffy and clean!

Yeah, I'm Still Here... said...

I grabbed a copy of "Michelle's Blogging in Pink" and am excited to get started reading it. Every thing is new to me still.

I love the clean, simple, straight to-the-point-tag line and header design you have! Nice work!

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

This must be a fantastic help. I need to look into it, as well. :) Some very interesting information. I struggle so much with the "look" of my blog, I just don't know what to do but keep changing it until it feels just right.

Marrdy said...

I really like the new "do". But I like the others also. And thanks for the great tips. I will have to read this because I really don't know what I'm doing!

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