Toni's Guests

Sharefest Saturday With It’s Just Me Heidi D!

Welcome to Sharefest Saturday! I’ve asked specific bloggers to contribute their skills, opinions, and two cents to share here, with us all. Today we feature, Heidi from, It’s Just Me Heidi-D
I know you’ll enjoy her as much as I do. She’s amazing. She’s a great designer, a wife, and has become a close friend through the short time we’ve spent together chatting about this blog. I am so thrilled to have her here and hope she’ll post again on Carrigan’s Joy. So, with no further ado, here’s Heidi

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Hello everyone!

I am so excited to be here today… This is my FIRST EVER guest post! I was all kinds of flattered when Toni asked if I would participate! Me, Toni? You want me?!?!

You see, Toni and I have been working together on redesigning her blog. Today, she has asked me to write about blog design. I have a passion for blog makeovers! I am, by no means, a professional – but I enjoy it, none-the-less.

It started with my blog. I must have gone through a dozen designs before I landed on the one I have now, which I am still satisfied with but struggle daily with the urge to destroy and start from scratch. Once I was done, I was relieved. Little did I know, I would miss it – the tweaking and searching and building. That motivated me to offer to design a blog for my good friend Kayla. I basically forced her to start writing her blog just so I could build it for her! She will thank me later… I hope.

Soon enough, that one was done and I was back to square one – a blog designer with no blog to design. How sad :’(

When Toni tweeted about wanting help redesigning her blog, I was like “MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! PICK MEEEEEEEEEE!!!” It was just what I wanted, a blogger that I thoroughly enjoy paired with my newly developed love for blog design. A match made in heaven! It also gave me an excuse to start a second blog of my own just to play around with design ideas! I love visitors at that site, but it is in a constant state of change as it is my canvas for updating other bloggers sites. I will rarely post actual content there, but if you want to check out my latest project – swing in!

Sadly, I think Toni and I have nearly completed our little project. For any of you that would like some assistance, email me at designsite.heidid@gmail.com. I love to help!

For those of you do-it-yourself-ers… I’m going to share some pointers. Little tricks I have learned while maneuvering the world of blog design and management.

Firstly, blog management:

Number one: Write a good disclosure. You may never need it, but if you ever do find yourself in a position that you need one, you’ll be really happy you did it! I used a simple site called DisclosurePolicy.org – it’s free, easy and well worth your time!

Number two: Copy write your posts! This is HUGE… Again – you may never need it, but should you require it at some point, it is too simple a task not to complete! Again, I have found a site that is simple and free. Check it out at MyFreeCopyRight.com – it could be a lifesaver.

Number three: Need a simple way to allow email subscriptions to your blog? Start an account with FeedBurner.com – yet another free site that allows you to track who is subscribing to your posts. There are a lot of other useful tools at this site, so be sure to check them out as well!

Number four: DOWNLOAD YOUR TEMPLATE!!! Once you have the file safely stored away on your computer – you have guaranteed yourself a safe backup should any of the changes you make completely mess up the works! It’s simple and crucial if you plan to make changes to your site’s code!

Number five: Find a safe place to back-up your posts. Even the servers for your blog can go down. You can still lose the words that you have slaved over… So give yourself an insurance plan! I use the DownThemAll add on for Firefox, but a quick Google search can find you dozens of places to back-up your posts for free.

There are hundreds of easy ways to manage your blog, make it user friendly, and also make it work for you!

Finally, blog design:

There are many ways to go about building your blog. Blogger makes it really easy these days with their new template designer… But that is just the beginning!

To really customize your blog you have to be able to create original images that really represent you as a writer, but mostly that represent who you are! Toni and I discussed many options for her blog. She chose the colors, fonts, wording… There are so many small details to look into. Don’t get overwhelmed. Tackle them one at a time.

Some of the programs that I use are:

~ Microsoft Office Publisher – create custom images and text, also where I watermark my images. Unfortunately, I don’t have a free alternative for you on this one… Sorry :'(
~ Picnik – free online photo editing software.

~ Photobucket – a wonderful (and free) place to store your images.

In closing, my last words of advice are simple. Never overlook social networking, if you want good followers – be a good follower. Be fearless in your design! Don’t be afraid to try and tackle it yourself, but before you do… DOWNLOAD YOUR TEMPLATE.

I am happy to answer questions, offer advice… Whatever! So stop by my blog and click on the contact me tab, or email me at itsjustmeheidid@gmail.com or designsite.heidid@gmail.com – I will answer your questions to the best of my ability!

Thanks for reading today everyone… And thank you to Toni for being my blog design guinea pig as well as allowing me to guest post today!

Take care!!!

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