Thank You

302831_thankyou

I would like to say thank you to Michele Martin for her article  Why Frances McLean Rocks and How You Can Score Some Chocolate! where she details how the Chocolate Box are now sponsoring the chocolate challenge and I would also like to add that Sue Waters also Rocks and she negotiated with James Farmer for the donation from edublogs

So that means that Frances McLean and Sue Waters both Rock and make a pretty good team I think don’t you?

FrancesSign

31 Days to a Better Blog – Day 5

787433_why Conduct an About Page Audit

The fact that I have been a few days behind doing my tasks has meant that I have been able to see what tasks are coming up. This task of Conducting an About Page Audit has been looming for a while and something I have been putting off even before the 31 day project.

Evidently the About page is one that is regularly visited by new readers and I must admit that I do have a look when visiting a new blog to find who is behind it all.

So this is what I have so far and I will just keep building on it as I go through the rest of the 31 days. I will also have to dig out a photo to add.

Hi my name is Frances McLean  and I write My Technology Addictions. This is just a place where I can write about the things that I am interested in in the wide realm of technology.

I’m am Australian and live in Western Australia. I am married and have 3 teenage children. I work as a Information Technology lecturer at TAFE in Western Australia where I teach a wide range of subjects and levels. I also deliver PD(Professional Development) for staff members and have recently been involved in developing Assessment tools for staff to use on PDA’s(Portable Digital Assistants)

I have always dabbled in things related to IT from web development in the late 1990’s to software development. Over the past few years I have started developing software for mobile devices, specifically Windows based PDA’s (Portable Digital Assistants). This has lead to delivering this content to programming students at Diploma level at TAFE.

One of the best things that I have found with being involved in a blog is the feeling of community and the people you meet as I keep posting different articles. I decided early on that I was not going to try and post every day as it would be too much but on occasions you will see that I have done this. it is all a matter of when it suits I will post, if family or work commitments get in the way then so be it.

I have started a What’s That? page to help new visitors and people who are new to blogs. At the moment it has a few videos but will be building on this.

FrancesSign

31 Days to a Better Blog – Day 4

622738_paper_chain_v_2 Interlinking Post

Day 4 and still about 4 day’s behind but catching up slowly. Today I had to go back through some of my older posts , (which aren’t really that old as I haven’t been doing this long) and interlink posts. The idea is that as I add more content to my blog there will be more opportunity to link posts together. I already do this with new posts link back to previous articles but hadn’t thought of doing it the other way around. I can go to older posts and link to newer articles. This gives the reader updated information about the article they are reading. As I have changed my theme over the past few days when working through the changes that I made after the First Time Reader Audit it was a good exercise to look at older posts and make sure that all images still fitted and that all looked ok.

So I have been and added new links to the following posts:

Windows Mobile 6 Phone Launched

Googleless = the act of not using Google for a day

Challenged in more ways than one

FrancesSign

31 Day Challenge Sweeter Still

chocswirlsml Sponsors come on board for Chocolate Challenge

We have passed the 1st week of the 31 Days to a Better Blog even if all of us are not quiet up to date and we have some great news. We have two sponsors who have come on board to offer chocolate vouchers for the best comment and the blog that has benefited the most from the exercise. You can vote for the best blog and we will look at all comments and vote for that prize.

So make sure you visit all the Members of the Chocolate Challenge – the list is growing and growing Cammy Bean Tim Davies Eklavya Kate Foy Michelle Martin Alex Miller Kate Quinn Sue Waters Laura Whitehead

Just to recap how we ended up with the added chocolate challenge. My girlfriend Sue challenged me to take part in Darren Rowse’s 31 days to a Better Blog project. I thought it would be fun to had the wager of the loser had to buy the winner 1kg of chocolate. Then Sue opened the Chocolate challenge to the world, and the more we talked and marveled over all our new visitors and comments we thought we would also like to offer a prize to the reader with the best comments. As more people came on board we started to wonder about having to send chocolate overseas, so I checked out online chocolate stores.

Sponsors – Chocolate Box & edublogs

I found the Chocolate Box and fired off an email to Marion Adler Bishop. I gave her a bit of back ground on what was going on and links to our blogs. She called me the next day and said that she would like to offer $25.00 voucher to the reader with the best comments. So now all the readers to all the above blogs can be in the running for a prize for your comments.

chocboxvoucher

James Farmer from edublogs as also come on board to help us with the 1kg wager and has offered a $25.00 voucher from the Chocolate Box. This is for the blog that the readers think has gained the most from the challenge,. voted for by the readers.  Any short fall in the 1kg will be met by Sue and myself.

edublogsChoc

You can still join in to be part of the Chocolate challenge just contact me Frances (f.mclean[at]gmail[dot]com) or Sue (suewater [at] gmail [dot] com). And make sure you visit our sponsors please.

You can see all the rules set out on Sues post How Our Readers Can Win Chocolate in 31 Days Challenge!

FrancesSign

31 Days to a Better Blog – Day 3

Colosseum Search for and Join Forums on your Blog’s Topic

Today’s task is to Search for and Join Forums on your Blog’s Topic. So what is a forum? wikipedia defines it simply as: An Internet forum is a web application for holding discussions and posting user generated content.

I have always been a big user of forums and newsgroups. I have found that being a software developer working from home can become very isolating unless you take steps to become part of communities. It is good to be able to have a community of like minded people who you can bounce ideas off, contact when you need help and contribute to and help. I also encourage my students to join and use these forums, become active members to contribute their findings and use when they come across a problem they cannot solve.

msdnForums

Forums can take the form of communities that provide information and provide support for users. One such forum that has many different topic specific components is the MSDN Forums. They offers various forums for software developers about the multiple Microsoft, windows and .NET technologies.

If I follow the definition from wikipedia that would also mean that things like Facebook and Twitter would also be forums. With Facebook and Twitter I have found that I am involved with people who have some of the same interests as the focus of my blog but branch off into many other related areas. This can give me a different and interesting slant on things I am involved with and it is always good to get another’s view, especially if it is not their main focus.

With many forums you can just be an observer and only become a member when you wish to contribute. These sorts of forums also serve a purpose to share information. On occasions I have joined forums only to cancel my membership after a week. The requirement has been to have the forum activity sent as an email each day or week. I found that I did not have time to read all this email and my inbox was flooded. So I suppose it is just a case of try it and if the results of the forum suit you then good if not try another one as there are many to choose from.

FrancesSign

31 Days to a Better Blog – Day 2

770984_screenshot Day 2: Run a First Time Reader Audit

The second day exercise is to run a first time reader audit on my blog. This means getting a friend or family member who had not read your blog, loading it up for them to navigate through while we sit quietly watching. I was to take note of how they navigated through the blog, What they clicked on, What they read and what they missed. Then when they had finished as a few questions about design of the blog, first impressions etc.

So I asked my husband if he would be my first time reader of my blog. Just as Michele and Sue mentioned my husband has not read my blog either. So after he had returned home from working a 10 hour day I made sure I fed him first then got him to go through my blog.

This is what I saw:

The first thing he did was scroll down the page to read the second post. Asked what was my blogroll and MyBlogLog. He liked the pictures and that is what had caught his attention on the second post. Mentioned that there was a lot of information and was very interesting.  He then went on to ask how he would add some of the things I mentioned in the post about Firefox addins to the browser on his laptop.

Now it was my turn to ask him a few questions. His first impression was that it was a nice easy to read design, he liked the colours found it easy to get around. The things he liked best were the pictures and suggested that a picture should be placed at the top of the post rather than at the end, which is how had it on several posts. the things he remembered about the blog 10 minutes after was the design and the pictures that had been included. He also liked the idea (once I explained what MyBloglog was) of seeing who else had visited the blog. He did not know about using the categories or tags to find similar posts or even where if if he could add a comment.

And best of all he finished his tour of my blog with “You know I love you and think all of these things you do are great”  So everyone’s happy.

smile

What I learnt from my Audit

After 25 years of marriage my husband still loves me 🙂

As I have found when developing software – just because I know what something is or what its use is don’t assume that everyone else does.

Pictures tell a thousand words.

Changes I will make

I will change the wording of myblogroll to My Other Sites

Add a list of other blogs I read

I will put pictures closer to the top of a post if appropriate.

Add more images

Think about adding more information for the first time viewer about navigating site and explain things like tags and categories and how to add comments.

All in all a good exercise that should be undertaken more than once and always good to get feedback from readers, so please keep comments coming.

Now on to the next task – Search for and Join Forums on Blogs Topic

FrancesSign