Perhaps a little more than usual, this week has been a bit of a balancing act between working in my studio and working on this blog. I’ve been on a roll getting the new site for my blog up to where I want it to be (obsessed, some might say). But I’ve also been building up for a soda firing all week. Surprisingly, I think I’ve actually been making good progress in both sides of my clay world. I’m spending my Sunday firing the my first soda kiln of 2009. There are some espresso cups and saucers that are at about 2200° I’m dying to see in a couple of days!
Today’s post is a bunch of odds and ends about blogging that I’ve been meaning to write about. Nothing big enough for it’s own post, so I threw them all together.
Exploring pottery blog(s):
- Take a look at the visual archives (also located in the top tab labeled “Archives”). When I was digging through the old posts and tagging and categorizing everything, I came across a lot of information that is pretty timeless. I wanted to make these older posts really accessible to dig through and came up with this page.
- Also take a look over at the sidebar categories (located in the right hand column. I can’t give you a direct link, you’ll just have to look to the right side of any page). As I mentioned above, I spent a lot of time re-categorizing and retagging all old posts so they’d be extra easy to search through and I created a parent/sub category system that I think should be pretty easy to dig through to find what you may (or may not be) looking for. This took a shocking amount of work, but now that the archives are done, I can move forward and just keep things properly categorized as I go so there won’t be such a big chunk of work moving forward.
- Another new feature that can be found on the right sidebar is some shared posts from other bloggers from my Google Reader. I have been in the habit (not always very consistently) of “starring” posts (a GR thing) that I want to look back at, share a link or maybe comment on. I turned this into a list of posts that you can read on it’s very own page and even subscribe to. Now that I have created this way to share, I’m planning on being a bit more consistent with marking posts that I want to share. If you want to share items from your blog reader to your friends and readers, this will help you get started on your own share page.
- Even if you spent some time checking out my pottery blogroll last week, you should take a minute and check back. Several new blogs have been added. And if you’re interested in using Google Reader but feel like you need a little more help, you might find this interesting.
One of my goals (or resolutions if you prefer) with this blog and other clay blogs I read is to do more commenting and replying to comments. It takes some time and energy, but it is a big part of blogging that I thoroughly enjoy. I like the commenting/ reply system on WordPress better than Blogger and I think it’ll be easier for everyone (including myself) to continue the conversation on beyond the actual blog post. And I’ve been adding in a couple of features that improves upon the commenting system just a little bit more.
- If you’ve been doing any commenting on my blog over the last week, you might have noticed the little pictures (gravatars) that are showing up by some of the comments:
A gravatar is a globally recognized avatar. You can create your own little image and connect it with you email address(es) and it’ll automatically show up with your comment on this blog and on many others. I really like the extra personal touch. It becomes a little more like a conversation than just commenting. It’s easy to make your own gravatar and it only takes a couple of minutes.
- To help continue the post-post conversation: Each time you comment, you’ll see a little box that you’ll need to check so you can get an email when there are more comments and responses to the post that you just commented on.
Some things for bloggers and potential future bloggers:
- Make your own little favicon for your site with this site and this plugin. If you’re on my site, you’ll see a little tiny mug by the url. This little detail makes me very happy.
- This plugin for WordPress will make a nice little excerpt and choice of thumbnails when you post your blog to Facebook, etc… I’ve been really happy with this feature. My old blog would just have the URL, no image and no text which made it not very interesting to post something. Simple and spiffy.
It’s time for me to head back to the kiln and put the second round of soda in. I’m enjoying the warmth from the kiln on a very chilly (and snowy) Chicago night. Pictures of the new pots will come soon!