The Joys and Pitfalls of a Blog Makeover!
Monday, February 8, 2016
facebook and twitter pages if you like - it's very lonely over there right now!
I have been plotting and planning this for many months now, doing my usual procrastinating and agonising. As I tend to do. The biggest hurdle for me was the name-change ..... more, should I do it than what it would be. I started this blog over seven years ago you see, when my now teenager was only eight years old. A lot has happened in that time and we've both 'grown up', as some may put it.
I think I've outgrown my beloved 'Jazzygal' moniker, if I'm honest. That name choice was influenced by my much-ingrained interest in shows and dancing, and was not intended to belie a more youthful me. Besides I've been continually mis-represented as 'Jazzy Girl' over that period, which I really disliked!
Yes, time for a name change......
But it didn't have to be that drastic a change, and it should reflect all that I am, I thought to myself. And while being a mum to my boy is the most important and enjoyable part of my life, it is not all that I am. I am the sum of many parts, and many components make up my world. My new blog moniker should reflect that and my preference for cheerfully hopping between perceived niches, rather than pigeon-holing me into any particular one. So I finally came up with the non-earth-shattering 'JazzyVille' : a place for me to continue to share some of my thoughts, dreams and opinions - from my world.
Besides, you can take the 'gal' out of the 'Jazzy' - but I tell ya, no-one will ever take the Jazzy out of this gal ;-)
So, having made the toughest decision of all it was full steam ahead with all the other changes necessary for a successful blog make-over. That's gotta be far easier, right?
Well, that's what I thought too.
But everywhere I looked there were stumbling blocks. Like internet tumbleweed it was, tumbling around hither and tither, confusing and driving me insane!
I am not the only one in the blogosphere to have attempted this challenge, so why was I finding it so difficult, I pondered?
I concluded that there are are geniuses out there, to whom this lark comes as second nature. The High Tech Generation. They understand the jargon, the instructions and just, simply 'do it'. Or they like the world to believe they do ;) Then there's others, like me, who can find it a struggle but whom, very unlike me, keep it to themselves and just get on with it.
Now I'm not entirely stupid you know, I have a brain. A muddled midlife brain it may very well be, but it's mostly muddled with knowledge and information gleaned from life's rich experiences! My IT computer 'training' properly began after I left the paid workforce. Yes, you read that right. Maybe I shouldn't be admitting to this but my High Tech Teenager loves this story..... You see, my very first computer experience in the work place was at the helm of a VDU. A Visual Display Unit, for those of you non-Jurassic readers. There was only one such unit per section in the very under-funded public sector, and you had to book your time-slot to get your input work done! While over time we did progress to more advanced equipment the last ten years of my paid working life was in an outdoor role, so I didn't get that much computer experience.
Until we bought a home computer when I went on my, permanent as it turned out, career break. Now that opened up a whole new world to me; of blogging and social media. And a whole new skill set to be learned, on the hoof.
So I was not letting this defeat me! I can do this, of course I can.
So I renewed my acquaintance with google and YouTube, tapped into my good friend Looking For Blue Sky's knowledge (thank you!) and 'got on with it'.
However the biggest problem I found is that all the internet answers assume that everyone knows all the baby steps. Dear Internet..... *NEWSFLASH* ...... not all of us do!
Now I am not going to bore you with a complete 'Blog Makeover Guide for Dummies', I promise, but here's a condensed version of links that saved my sanity.....
Purchasing a Blogger Domain: This must be done through a 3rd party site such as Go Daddy. But that's not all you have to do! No-one tells you beforehand about such things like CNAMEs and 'zone files' - all things necessary to establish ownership and correctly link your blog addresses. And then when you do learn about them no-one thinks to share the baby steps! So, this is the helpful written instructions from Google - includes the 4 important IP addresses but not exactly what to do with them. And this is a really helpful YouTube video showing exactly what to do with all the information - but not how to get the aforementioned IP addresses. See what I mean?!
Purchasing a pre-made Blog Template for blogger: This I did through Etsy and I can tell you that you can ask your seller any question you may have. And no question is too stupid not to garner you a reply. That I can honestly attest to! Also extremely helpful was this Blogaholic Designs Pre-Made Template FAQs. To help avoid asking the really stoopid questions!
Blogger Back Up: Everyone and it's mother knows how to - and that you absolutely should - back up your blog before making any changes. Don't they?! If however you're a little unsure, like me, then this Geekalicious Link from a few years back is still applicable.
Go Private: Everyone knows this too - ahem - but you can of course take your blog temporarily offline while you navigate the blog makeover quagmire ;)
Facebook and twitter: Let's not even go there, ok?! All I'll say is that as there's no iframe it's the first code that pops up for the fan page sidebar setup and don't forget to put 'www.' in front of your new email account when setting up on twitter ...... sigh!!
So there you have it.
A revamped blogging me that still requires some tweaking, and although it may not look 'vibrant' - my 2016 in OneWord word - it took a lot of vibrancy skills and determination to get there!
Now please excuse me while I go bask in my new found sense of achievement, for just a little while longer.....