Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It was out of control...

What was out of control? My blog label list in the sidebar, that's what! It was way too long, making scrolling through the first “page” of the blog tedious. There was also some duplication of similar labels. I had tried modifying the label list so that it would display differently, but somehow just never got it right.

So? I did some organizing. I've created several "categories" or "sections" along the sidebar breaking up the long label list and, hopefully, making it easier for my readers (you) to find things. Now, I realize that many of you (as I do) use a feed reader to read blogs so you seldom visit the actual blog. Therefore, this change won't matter to you. But I was thinking of some family members (there are several who actually do read my blog – yay!) or someone who arrived on the blog through a search query. Perhaps this change will make it easier for them to find a particular surname or topic. I sure hope so because it's taken me much of the last two days to add the sections and clean up that horribly messed up label list ;-) It's better than it was but it's still not quite how I want it to be, so there's some tweaking that needs to be done.

What's new in the sidebar?
  • A link in the upper right corner so you can send me an email ;-)
  • Mom's Ancestors (Replaces the Index Posts that were listed. Separated Mom's and Dad's lines. Depending upon the number of posts, some links go to the Index Posts and some will display all posts with that label.)
  • Dad's Ancestors (Links to posts with the selected surname label.)
  • Collateral Lines/Related Families (Posts where the surname is mentioned. Families of siblings of my ancestors and other relatives - people connected in one way or another.)
  • Resources and Research Tips (Links to posts with the listed labels)
  • Other Topics (Links to posts with the listed labels)
  • Favorite Family Photos (Links to specific posts, will occasionally change.)
  • Selected Posts (Links to specific posts. The posts listed will change periodically.)
  • Bits and Pieces of Personal History (More than you ever wanted to know about me.)
  • The Journey – Where I've Been (Links to posts that use the various state labels)
You may have noticed that two sections (Collateral Lines and The Journey) are formatted differently than the other sections. That's because Blogger now allows the use of the labels gadget more than once! And, it has an option to use a list or a “cloud” to format the labels. That's nice. So now when I add a new state or surname in the label of a post I'll have to remember to edit that list and specify that the new label should be included. Only takes a second to do so it really shouldn't be a problem and I believe it will be worth the effort.


Thomas MacEntee said...


I love the job you did with the sidebar - what an inspiration! I think I may reference your "remodeling" in a post soon: I am finding that when I lecture at conferences, those new to blogs get frustrated not finding what they need right away from a blog. Yours is a fine example of a well thought out sidebar.

Apple said...

It looks great! I like how you've created your index pages by family group rather than by individual and may copy your idea with some of my index pages. It's also great that you wrote a little about each family on the index page rather than just putting the links there.

Becky said...

Thank you, Thomas and Apple! I'm really glad y'all like the changes. It took a while to figure out what I wanted but it was definitely worth the effort. Finding things on any blog is frustrating at times. Feel free to emulate or modify as desired. If what I've done can help others in any way, so much the better.

Carol said...

VERY NICE!!! Good ideas here!!

Taylorstales-Genealogy said...

Becky, I am not surprised you came up with a better way to organize your side bar. You come up with many great ideas! Thank you for once again sharing your ideas with us!

Lisa said...

Nice job, Becky. I recently went through the same process at 100 Years in America. It's good sometimes to step back and view what we see every day through the eyes of new visitors.

100 Years in America
Small-leaved Shamrock
A light that shines again
Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture