Hello everyone! And once again, Happy New Year! January 1st – 3rd are public holidays here in Japan, so I started back at work today. I enjoyed the short break, but I am also looking forward to getting back into a routine. Neither can I wait to start making some more progress on my preparations to reapply to Automattic!
Renovations On My Blog
Ever since I thought about applying to Automattic last year, I started searching for information on Automattic as a company, its culture and the application process. To my surprise, there is actually a lot of information out there about all that on the internet. (I guess as WordPress – a blogging platform – is Automattic’s biggest product, it is easy for their employees to write and publish to the world about their company. Neat!)
Something else I have been trying to do recently is, whenever I find a current Happiness Engineer’s blog, I follow it. If I find other want-to-be HEs, I follow their blogs, too. I am trying to soak in as much information as I can before I reapply. I want to make sure I am ready and that this is the job for me.
In doing so, I found the blog of a Happiness Engineer in Hokkaido, Japan. Actually, he was the one I initially heard about the job opening from last summer. (You can read about that here: My First Application as a Happiness Engineer) Right about the time I started following his blog, he posted the following post… LIVE CONSTRUCTION AHEAD! He was making major renovations on his blog and he did a few follow-up posts after that explaining what he had done. I thought that was a cool idea. So, I made it a goal for the new year break to work on my blog a bit and change it up from the initial default look to something more along my tastes. And, finally, here I am! There is still a bit I want to do on this blog, but I will work on it over time and let you all know about it as I do.
How To Improve Your Blog
So, exactly how do I go about improving my blog? What are some characteristics of a good blog? I had a few specific things I wanted to do, like change the theme and create an about page, but I wanted to do a bit more. It was around that time that one of my followers posted on her website 30 Ways to Improve Your Blog. Wow, just what I was looking for! A practical guide that lists things you may not have thought of when renovating your blog! (Thanks, New Lune!)
30 is quite a big number and I am still working through different items. But I thought I would give you all an update so you can check out the new features on my blog. If you like them, maybe you can incorporate them into your blog, too?
Changes I Have Made So Far
1. Changed the theme of my blog to Intergalactic 2
I chose this theme mainly because, although photos supplement each of my posts, the text is the main feature. In this theme, the title of the post is placed on top of the featured image, which might be a problem if you are using your own photos. However, I don’t (usually) use my own photos. They are there as attention-grabbers, so to say. So I actually liked the look of having dark photos with text over it.
One other feature that caught my attention was the pop-out menu button at the top right. Exactly what I was looking for! I didn’t want my menu open the whole time. Being able to put something away when you don’t want it is always nice. ??
2. Created an About page
Until now, I have had the post My Introduction featured at the top of my site, giving an introduction of what this blog is about. I still have it at the top as my featured post. (I may remove it from that position soon. I’m not sure.) But I thought it would be good to make a static page, not a post, that would give a bit more information to those who are new visitors. Most times when I visit someone else’s site, their About page is one of the first things I look at. I thought I should have one, too.
3. Created a menu
I don’t remember now how I had the top menu of my blog in the old version. (Tells you how much thought I had put into it ?) But I fiddled around a bit with this new menu, trying to get both the content and the layout look just how I wanted it.
(Around the same time, I was helping someone out on the forums, trying to help them get their menu look like the demo site they had seen for their theme. I imagine this sort of enquiry would be one of the common topics I would encounter once I’m an HE.)
4. Worked on widgets in the footer area
The theme I chose has three footer areas for widgets. Again, I played around a bit here, too, trying to get the “perfect” look for my site. And if you look there in the center, you will notice there is one particular widget I added that has so much meaning to me…
5. Chose a date that I would reapply to Automattic!
So, I have been talking about reapplying for over a month now but had never decided exactly when I would do so. Now, I have! I have added a timer to the bottom of my site that is counting down the days until I send in my reapplication.
The timer is set for Friday, February 22nd. Why this day? Well, because it will be the exact three-month anniversary of my blog! Ta-dah!! My first answer on the WordPress forum was written on November 20th. So, this date will mark about three months from when I concretely started working towards my reapplication.
There is no rule that I have to wait three months before reapplying – at least, not that I know of. It’s just that I am the type of person who works well with deadlines. (Also, my current work situation is just temporary, so I would really like to find some stability in life SOON! ??) I plan on writing another post within a couple of days about my progress towards my reapplication. But considering all I have done and all I want to do before reapplying, I felt this three-month mark was a good spot.
So, that is about all for the moment regarding the new look of my blog – or as I am personally calling it, Bsan’s Blog 2.0! Let me know what you think about it! Also, if you’re viewing this post in a reader or on a mobile device, you probably haven’t noticed that much has changed at all. That is because WordPress.com sites, by default, show in a different theme on mobile devices. (More about that here, if you’re interested.) When you have a moment, go and check this site out on a computer. Go and check out other sites you follow on a computer, too. And let me know if you find any interesting differences.