Bloggiesta: nearly done

Bloggiesta-S15Thank goodness for Bloggiesta! After a year of thinking about it I have finally installed a new theme that’s mobile-friendly and supports some plug-ins my old one didn’t. It took a few tweaks to get it working but I think it’s there now. Please do let me know if you spot anything strange!

I’ve also tidied up my pages, read lots of great blogging advice and finished reading one of the three books I was in the middle of. (Which is progress of a kind, though perhaps not as much as I’d hoped for. I keep having non-blog chores to do. Damn that real life.)

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Bloggiesta: best blogging advice ever

Bloggiesta-S15Today’s Bloggiesta challenge is to post the best blogging advice you have ever been given. I’ve been blogging about books for five years now and I’ve definitely been grateful for some nuggets of wisdom along the way.

Lesson number one for every blogger should be back up your blog regularly. If you’re self-hosted or have made any tweaks to personalise your blog theme, then this means more than just exporting your posts and comments. Make a full copy of all the files on your blog’s FTP server once a year or so. Believe me: it can be a lifesaver. (You never know when you might need an emergency reinstall. It happened to me a year in and it was super scary, but thank goodness I had the files on hand.)

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Bloggiesta starting post: the spring clean begins

Bloggiesta-S15For those of who already know what Bloggiesta is, yes I am indeed a day late posting this. Oops! (In my defence I was working on my blog last night, I just forgot to write this post first. I was confused by all the WordPress theme choices!) For those who don’t know, suffice to say you’re gonna see some changes around here this week, including a whole new design. (If you’re a book blogger and don’t know about Bloggiesta, do look it up, as it’s a useful prompt to take care of your blog.)

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Happy five years to me! Have a free book!

This competition is now closed. The winner will be announced shortly.

14_colour

This March I have been blogging for five years. Five years since that first tentative post. And I almost forgot about it. Shocking. But thankfully I didn’t entirely forget and here I am a-celebrating. And I’d like to do something for you, my lovely readers.

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Bloggiesta is here!

Bloggiesta

Bloggiesta is an online event for (book) bloggers in which we are encouraged to spend the next three days working on our blog in any way we see necessary. We Plan, Edit, Develop, Review and Organise – no wonder our mascot is called PEDRO! Olé! Bloggiesta is organised by It’s All About Books and There’s A Book.

The Bloggiesta fun begins here with my vague not-nearly-planned-enough to do list; and there’s a lot to be done!

TO DO
1. Change how hyperlinks appear (I don’t like the current style).
2. Tidy up sidebar.
3. Catch up on book blog posts in Google Reader.[Done for now at least!]
4. Contact some publishers about getting their new releases catalogues.
5. Back up all blog content (thanks to Leeswammes for that idea).
6. Read and join in as much as possible with the Bloggiesta discussions on Twitter and other blogs. (If you’re on Twitter, you can use the hashtag #bloggiesta to keep in touch with what’s happening. I am @Nose_in_a_book.)

For me, that last is the real point of all this. I hope to learn a bunch and meet lots of new book bloggers. So, let’s get started!

UPDATE 1 (Sat): I have changed one of my goals to a more realistic one for this weekend because I am already flagging! And catching up with my fellow book bloggers is way more important than most other stuff anyway 🙂

UPDATE 2 (Sun): I will soon be going out for the rest of the evening so here ends Bloggiesta for me. I have achieved everything I set out to and gathered together a bunch of new ideas, not to mention meeting lots of ace new book bloggers (new to me) on Twitter. Thanks to everyone who took part!

Bloggiesta: coming soon

Bloggiesta

Bloggiesta is a blogathon that is all about working on your blog. I have watched it from afar the past two years and this year I’ve decided to plunge in and be a joiner. It takes place on the weekend of 30 March – 1 April and it’s hosted by Suey of It’s All About Books.

What will I be doing? I have a few ideas I want to investigate but mostly catching up on writing posts, reading up on advice from other bloggers and brushing up my HTML and CSS skills. Which is quite enough for one weekend.

Interested? You can sign up here.

Book Blogger Appreciation Week

This week has been (and just about still is) Book Blogger Appreciation Week, which is a fab event for, you know, book bloggers. I sadly have been far too busy to take part properly but I wanted to say a quick hello and thank you to the book-blogging community. You’re ace.

Though I haven’t been able to post on this every day, many many people have done just that. You can find out more and follow some or all of the links to their posts here. Each day this week had a theme for discussion, and today’s is “blogging”.

I didn’t intend to start a blog. No, really! A few different things led me to the idea of creating a website and my initial idea was almost a database of short book reviews, but as I started the design process I looked around the interwebs and realised that a book blog made total sense. And there were lots of them about to share thoughts and ideas with.

Although I was reasonably web-savvy (and had the huge advantage of knowing HTML, thanks to my day job), it’s still a pretty steep learning curve, this blogging thing. I am always learning new things and the main way I do that is through my fellow book bloggers (and indeed some non-book bloggers, who are also great). I can’t join in every meme, readalong, challenge or giveaway but I do tip my toes in. I love that there is such a huge, active community with so much going on.

We’re supposed to include in this post “essential tried and true practices for every blogger and new trends or tools you’ve adopted recently or would like to in the future”. My tried and true are:
1. Follow, read and comment on lots of other blogs that you like.
2. Install Akismet (for WordPress) to catch those nasty spam comments.
3. Don’t be afraid to tell people you know that you have a blog (unless it’s anonymous and/or deeply personal, I suppose!) – most people are really interested and will stop by to have a look.

As for new trends or tools, I recently took part in a couple of blog hop giveaways, which were fantastically successful. It’s a great way to reward your readers and being part of a blog hop rather than just hosting it yourself means that it’s likely at least someone will enter!

One year in

“Happy blogoversary to me,
happy blogoversary to me!”

Today is a ridiculously busy day for me, with bridesmaid dress arrangements, furniture moving, book unpacking, filing and other useful things to be done. However, I am hoping to find time to do some exercise and to bake a blog birthday cake. And post a picture of it here, of course.

UPDATE 1: A fair few things ticked off the list, which is satisfying. Here is a sneak peak at the library project that has been keeping us busy for weeks:

Books books books

I’ll do a proper post about it when it’s complete, with before and after pics and all that jazz. But it’s already looking good, no?

Also, forgot to say earlier, happy World Book Day! All sorts of fun things seem to be going on. Twitter is full of updates on book giveaways and other projects. BBC2 has some special programmes about it on tonight that I can’t watch live because I’m going out but I’m recording them to watch tomorrow.

Right, now for that cake…

UPDATE 2: Well, I baked a carrot cake that smells amazing but it fell apart a bit so…not so photogenic. But I’m still feeling celebratory because I won a copy of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie from Little Interpretations for World Book Night! What a day!

Hic

So you might have noticed that this site was down for a few days. I finally decided to abandon my non-WordPress-friendly host and sign up elsewhere. I may have been in too much of a hurry to do this properly…

It turns out that it’s a good idea to check back-ups have actually worked before relying on them. Somehow the result of my last site back-up is a directory full of empty folders. Not so helpful. So I had to reinstall an old version of my doctored-to-suit-me theme (which thankfully Tim had held onto long after I thought I had any need for it). At some point I’ll go back in and tweak it to how I like it.

Also, I hadn’t realised that the WordPress export file contains only posts and pages. It doesn’t include anything else that you’ve personalised like images, links, site name and description, user name…stuff like that. No doubt I’ll continue finding things I need to update for weeks to come. I also wouldn’t be surprised if there’s very clear instructions on all this on WordPress.org somewhere.

Life is still hectic and I’m getting very little reading done but if you ask nicely I might just blog about the fun and pains of my new discovery: hulaerobics. Yes, it is what it sounds like.