Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

A Blogaversary

Mmm, this blog is four years old today. How time flies...

...I'm still winging it ;)

Thanks for all your lurking, comments and bloggity blog fun :)

It might not look like it, but I've recently been making quite a few changes to the blog under the bonnet to celebrate today's blogging milestone:
  • I've widened the template slightly so the posting area is bigger and I can present larger photos
  • There's slightly less stuff on the sidebars, so what's there has greater visibility
  • I'm starting to make use of the increased number (up to 20 now) of Pages available in Blogger. I've put my list of Popular Posts in there and it made sense to have a page dedicated to Chippenham, seeing it's a central subject on my blog
  • There's an introduction to my blog's layout (another new page) for anyone new to them
  • I'm also revamping the static content (i.e. Pages) in the light of what I've learnt at BlogCamp and the Writing for the Web course
The only thing I have left to decide is whether to fully revamp the look of the blog's layout. You can already have a look at my blog using the magazine version of Blogger's new Dynamic Views (see top left sidebar) if you want. Threadspider showed me the other day they're not yet readable on the iPad, so it'll remain as an option rather than a permanent move.

However, I'm toying with the idea of having the white background version of the Travel template. The default colours will need changing if I do, as grey text on white isn't very readable. As ever my Avatar and Header photo will remain as they are, so you'll know it's still me.

What do you think? Would you like a clean white look for a change, something else, or are you happy with the way things are? Is there anything else you'd like to see? It'd be great to have your comments...


  1. happy blogaversary! does this mean the cake is solely virtual? ;)
    for myself, strictly white background is rather glaring. so, how much it is softened with text colour matters a great deal.

  2. Happy blogiversary, VP. It's good to keep things fresh, although I rather like your earthy colour scheme, which goes nicely with veggies and, well, plotting.

  3. Petoskystone - the cake may be virtual, but it is scrummy :)

    Thanks for your feedback - I've read so much about how 'good' blogs should have a clean white look, but it's more worthwhile finding out how real people like your self actually find them.

    Helen - good point and that was the look I was trying to achieve when I made the change over to this template many moons ago. It's quite hard to find something that's still readable from the many options available. Avoid red and green because of the most common form of colour blindness; avoid white on black because that's too glaring etc etc. When I first started in computing, the research at the time said black on yellow was the most readable, which I did have in an earlier version.

    I remember Esther commented once she found the link colour a bit user unfriendly, so perhaps I should have a play around with the colours for that at the very least.

  4. Congratulations VP, that's a lot of blogging! I think if you fancy a change then you should go for it, but unless you are seeing a drop off in followers I think that's the only reason. The web is like anything else, there are lots of fads and fashions. For what it's worth, I like the wider layout. I also like the different background to the main panel, it makes it easier to concentrate on the content,so if you do end up changing scheme I'd suggest that you give the side panels a slightly different background colour.

    You're clearly happy playing with CSS, so why not go and explore, find some blog sites (whether gardening or not) that you like the look of and take inspiration from them? Then pick the blogger template closest to what you want and tweak away. With so many different screen sizes around now it can be hard to find something that looks good on everything from an iPad to a 28" mega monitor, though in fairness most people with wide monitors don't use maximised browser windows. A simple background image or texture can be nice but it needs to be really big to work on a blog, which can have a lot of scrolling. I personally find heavily tiled background images really distracting, but there again, pretty much everything about this is so very personal! So long as you use a clear font with good spacing and strong contrast between text and background you should be fine, everything else is down to what you like, because you will never please all your fickle followers, we're too diverse! Whatever you decide to do, or not do, good luck with the next 4 years of blogging, and I look forward to carrying on following along for the ride.

  5. Now I never knew that, so it gives me some ideas for a revamp too.

    Four years old - soon you'll be old enough for school!

  6. Cor - 4 years - doesnt time fly when you are enjoying what you read?

    Happy Blogaversary and here's to many more!

  7. I admire your stickability - I have only been blogging for six months and sometimes find it a strain to keep finding something different to blog about. The design of blogs is a very personal thing - I personally love the colour of my blog but others may find it too sombre - I do have a little play now and then, but always come back to the original

  8. Happy Blogaversary VP and how grown up the young blog has become!
    I like a white background personally, but as you can 't please all the people all the time, I think you essentially have to please yourself. It is your blog, after all.You can always try it and ask the question again .... :-)

  9. Hey there VP girl Happy Blog Birthday .. sort of and not quite exact as most women say about their birthday ? LOL
    It is always good to tinker with our blogs .. we need to shake things up every so often .. I will be doing that too once I get myself down to it.
    So hubby likes Amy Pond ! haha
    Having a wee bit of red hair myself makes me support our cause which is more redheads on TV darn it ! haha
    Thanks again for dropping by .. we sort of sailed away eh ?
    Joy : )

  10. Happy Blogaversary to you dear VP and long may your blog flourish and prosper. I think that Vegplotting was one of the very first blogs I discovered. I find the colour scheme on your blog most soothing on the eyes. Quite like white too but really, really struggle with black backgrounds. Need to do something about my too many greens - on the to do list for this winter.

  11. Coongratulations on your blogaversary! It seems there are quite a few of us who started in '07. I still remember how I found your blog - Jodi's "Where in the World are You" meme in the depths of winter. I've enjoyed your cataloguing of the offbeat advertising and happenings in Chippenham & environs, along with watching the development of your garden.
    Good blogs are about content, not the color of the background. "Clean white" can look antiseptic & boring. But that's just my opinion, for what it's worth.

  12. Janet - thanks. You've just reminded me how odd my blog looked the other day on my friend's widescreen monitor. All the photos were completely distorted :(

    Mark - re my blog going to school - I was thinking of that only yesterday morning ;)

    Zoe - awww, you're most kind x

    Elaine - I see you're feeding several blogs, which takes a lot of doing. You're right that blogs are a very personal thing, but they also need to be easy for people to read if you invite others in to read them. I'll remember your wise words about pleasing me first though :)

    Threadspider - I keep swapping between the Travel template and back to this one and I can't decide. Perhaps we can have a look the next time we get together?

    Joy - you're right about us sailing away, but I always think of you around Halloween :)

    Anna - I remember you saying the current scheme was more soothing for you when I swapped over from the last one. Ironically that was the supposed more readable black on yellow scheme.

    MMD - Jodi's meme was such a good one. I think I might have found you through that one too :)

  13. Happy blogaversary! As you know, Veg Plotting was one of the first blogs I started reading, and I've always found it entertaining and informative. Here's to many more years!
    PS: Black on yellow and yellow on black are frowned on in newspaper layout. But black on pale beige (or parchment, or ash - as our latest beige factbox colour is called) are quite popular.

  14. Four years! Goodness. I started a bit later but always remember you were the first person to comment on my blog. I was so excited. I never imagined my blog would still be going after 3 years - I used to blog several times a week but used up all my ideas too quickly that way!! I think now that I use the blog more for me than for any potential audience. The blogging community has expanded hugely in that time but I do miss the early days of it being a smaller, more intimate, community.

  15. Victoria - that's v interesting thanks. I wonder how much reading newsprint differs from screens?

    Arabella - first commenter - yay! I'd forgotten about that - I remember you'd left a comment on GM's blog, so being nebby I came over to find you ;)

  16. Happy, happy blogaversary 4 years well done, although I must say - it has gone very quickly and I have been reading you from nearly the beginning!


  17. Thanks Karen - I wonder how many of us are still going?

  18. So sorry I missed sending you my Congrats at the time on ‘Four Blogging Years’ (want to use your name here) :-) Guessing you’ll still be happy to accept my belated good wishes for another blogging year!!

    Smiled at Mark’s comment… that was going to be my line for later this month when my blog hits five years… here in Scotland, we go to school at five :-D

    Keep up the good work... you've got it all sussed now! Oh yes... experiment away all you like with your look (I understand), that's always fun... people will always come back as it is your posts that bring them here :-D

  19. Hi Shirl - good to hear from you as always :)

    Many thanks for the good wishes and encouragement - not just here, but behind the scenes too :D

    As you know I do like to experiment. I've been having a look at the Disabled Discrimination Act (DDA) and what it has to say about websites. Will be posting about it soon - there's a few things we could do to make our blogs more readable for everyone, even if we do blog primarily for ourselves...

  20. Happy blogaversary, VP - sorry I'm a bit late.

    My first thought was that I'd find too much white a bit glaring, but thinking about it some more I realised that I read most blog posts on my akregator and that has a white background, so it can't be too much of a problem for me. I like your brown background, but I'm also happy reading blogs with black, green, blue, purple, and white ones. The ME does effect my eyesight though, and I can't look at sites which have too many jazzy colours, or text over text (for instance, ironically this otherwise good ME site is completely unreadable to a lot of people with ME, myself included), but the main problem for my eyes is moving or flashing images. I'll be interested to hear what the DDA has to say about the issue.

  21. Juliet - lovely to see you as usual and I see you've been in for a major catch up on my blog, thank you :)

    I don't have flashing images for the reason you've outlined and I must go back and reacquaint myself with what the DDA has to say on the matter. Quite a bit of the DDA guidance is covered already by using standard templates such as the one I'm using now. However, there's quite a bit that isn't. It looks like my planned post on blog readability needs to be split into 2 parts to cover it all...

    Whilst the DDA doesn't really cover blogs (I believe it's aimed at commercial websites) quite a lot of it is common sense and anything we can do to make our blogs more readable (to everyone) has to be a good thing.


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