BBAW 2011: The fun 'techie' side of the blog

Friday, September 16, 2011




And finally it's the last day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week - this has been a fun week, with a break from reviews, and having a different reason to visit blogs, seeing a lot of new faces around and reading some wonderful perspectives on interesting topics. Today's topic about any tools we use for blogging is pretty interesting to me, because I can't think of very many I use. In fact, I'm pretty positive that other than this blog itself, and Photobucket for pictures, and maybe one or two here and there, I don't really use any tools. I'm pretty lazy that way - I like my job to be simple.

I used to love having a ton of widgets on my sidebar. I still do like widgets, but I no longer put everything I like on my blog, since they heavily slow down the site. It took me a while to get there, but I removed all widgets that I didn't think anyone would ever look at. My rule of thumb is scroll down the sidebar quick, and if my eyes get screwed up, remove one more widget. The one thing I have become obsessed with is how fast my blog can load up. Both Chrome and Firefox browsers have really useful tools (Inspect Element in former, Firebug in latter) for people who like playing with their sites - speeding it up, changing colors and fonts, seeing how things look with different layouts, without really making a change in the site templates. I find this a big time-killer, but unless you really love to play with code, it may not be your thing.

Unfortunately for all my obsession with speed, I went and installed a third party commenting system (Disqus) on my blog. Disqus is super-awesome, let me say that, but it loads externally, so it takes its own sweet time. Which means, if you're on a slow connection, you can step out to get a coffee, come back, and still see the 'loading' symbol. But otherwise, you wouldn't notice. Ordinarily, this wouldn't matter, because most of my readers probably have fast internet. Occasionally though, I have heard from a blogger saying it isn't loading up, and I know I myself have seen it at least once. Still, the benefits of Disqus far outweighs its minus points, which I know is kind of shallow to say because it sounds like I'm saying I don't care if you can't comment but the tool is awesome. But no, I did everything I could to try and work it out, at the moment I'm hoping time just speeds it up. I would happily go back to blogger, but I absolutely hate their non-threaded commenting tool. Besides, Disqus eventually loads up, right?

Other than that, I don't really use many tools. I have tried a lot, kept some, abandoned others. I store pictures that I use on my blog almost exclusively on Photobucket. I use Flicker to find Creative Commons-licensed photos, so that I don't run into trouble with the content laws. I use Creative Commons to copyright my blog's content. Then there's goodreads, in itself. All my book links and images are from that website, the one website that first introduced me to the massive online reading community.

What tools do you use?


30 comments:

Amy Reads said...

I like your comment system :) Also, oooohhhh thanks for the link to Inspect Element. I think. I'll likely waste a lot of time there ;)

bermudaonion (Kathy) said...

It seems that I screw things up every time I mess with the layout of my blog, so I generally leave it alone.  I do try to remove outdated widgets, though. 

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.... said...

Great thoughts!


That has me thinking and wondering, does my page load slow? I try to keep my widgets to a minimum too.

CheekyReads said...

I've never thought of using Disqus - will need to look into that. Thanks!

Charlie (The Worm Hole) said...

Inspect element is really useful, I often use it when pictures aren't working with the text.  Great to be able to mess around with the code to know what works before you open up the document and change things permanently.  I wasn't aware that Disque was a comment system, I thought it was a blogging tool, so thank you for that!

Lenasledgesblog.com said...

Great tips. I want to use Comment Luv. Been thinking of installing it over the weekend. I don't like Disqus at the moment for my blog. I tried it for a day and removed it. I forget why, but I would like a new commenting system. I like widgets in my sidebar and other blogs. As long as the sidebar isn't filled with a whole bunch of ads, but with useful information I'm good with it. 

I do like photobucket, I also like picknik.

Gautami Tripathy said...

As our blogs are reflect our personality, we all look out for different blogging tools. One should go for that wchich suits her/his blog. One should always keep the reasder in mind. Afterall, we all want readers on our blog. And comments!

Here is my post:

http://readbookswritepoetry.blogspot.com/2011/09/bbaw-2011-blogging.html

Giving Reading said...

I had Disqus too, but it ate my comments away on blogger and I eventually left Blogger because I did not like Disqus :(

melissa B said...

Ooh, I love the rule of thumb on widgets.  I must go try this on my blog.  And those awesome sites for playing with how fast your blog uploads?  Thank you for sharing.

Athira / Aths said...

You're welcome! I hope you have fun with Inspect Element! It can be a time-waster! :)

Athira / Aths said...

Sometimes I don't even notice that I have an outdated widget in my blog, until much later. Used to be so embarrassing!

Athira / Aths said...

I think your site loads fast enough. For me, the measure is just how long it takes for the comment box to get enabled, and I think it is fast enough at your blog.

Athira / Aths said...

You're welcome! I hope you like it!

Athira / Aths said...

You're welcome! I hope you like Disqus - I'm pretty happy with the tool. And Inspect Element is very handy! I love how it doesn't require an installation at all before using it.

Athira / Aths said...

Have you tried Intensedebate? That's another popular comment system. There are more that I have seen around, but can't remember. Comment Luv is pretty nice!

Athira / Aths said...

I agree with you - I like to make my reader's job easier when they come here.

Athira / Aths said...

Aww.. :( Did you try importing comments from Blogger to Disqus? My blog comments disappeared too initially, but that's because I hadn't imported at first.

Athira / Aths said...

You're welcome! I hope you have fun with them. :)

Katy F. said...

Good advice here. I feel the need to go check my widgets now. :)

gary moon said...

great advice on getting better load times.

Jennifer G. said...

I did not know about Firebug.  I am off to check it out now.

And why doesn't Blogger give us threaded reply comments?  I used Intense Debate for a while, but it was a little buggy and people complained about the sign on, so I've just gone back to blogger.  I miss the option to reply though.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.... said...

Thanks! I always worry about that. 

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.... said...

I'm always worried my "Sweet Blogs" scroll might mess things up :) Thanks again for your feedback.

Debbie Rodgers said...

My blog theme isn't widget friendly (but it's so beautiful I don't want to give it up) so that limits a lot of what you see on it, and what I can use behind the scenes. I do use PhotoBucket and FeedBurner but that'a about it.

I'm a new subscriber (due to BBAW) and feel like a friend already. I love reading your posts :-)

Marce said...

I am 1 of the commenters that have issues at work etc BUT I can comment from my sweeties iPad yaaay. Your blog was important enough for me to figure out how to comment but when I'm not know I'm reading Aths.

ChewDigest said...

I am with you on loving Disqus, even though it does load slow. My internet is practically just a step up from dial-up so I do suffer from the "slow to loads", but I realize all of the benefits that it gives and stick with it:)

Widgets are grand, but the clutter drives me batty, so I go back and forth on the usage of them. One season, I am all minimalist, the next, I go crazy. (guess it just depends on how well my meds are working, LOL)

Helen Murdoch said...

I am so glad that I switched to Disqus for my comments. I love the conversations that it creates. I also agree that too many widgets in the side bars gets really distracting. I use my Picassa account to store my photos and so far it works really well

Nisin Oswald said...

Disqus is great, because it so easily integrates with Facebook, Twitter, OpenID -- allowing more connections across various platforms, all rooted on your blog. That's what social connecting is all about, if you can get people to not only communicate with you, but also each other exploring your content and expertise, you'll build so much faster :-)

odesker life said...

Hello,I like the comment service of disqus and  I have too much interested in the way that it expresses the discussions of us. I am also in compliance of the fact that too many widgets in the side bars gets distracting. I live in central Switzerland and there is a service that I often make use of  in order to increase the visibility of a blog, as I have also many blogs, the only and best method to achieve it is  suchmaschinenoptimierung that has years of experience in achieving it's client's goals and to increase the sales through on-line sites and blogs. Thanks

odesker life said...

Hi,I like this post very much. Thanks.