With the start of spring comes the need for spring cleaning. I did some virtual spring cleaning here on the blog this past weekend – and I’d like to share my finds and experiences with you.
First up: Paring down your sidebar.
When it comes to sidebars, you don’t need too much there. I stick to the following widgets:
- A text widget with a quick welcome message
- Social Media Buttons*
- A search bar
- An archives list**
- An Instagram feed***
*Here is the simplest tutorial ever on how to install social media buttons (you can also find some cute buttons on her site). A quick Google search will find you tons of button images, or you can buy them for a couple of bucks (Etsy has tons of shop owners who sell them). If you’re looking for something minimalist and clean, I highly recommend iconmonstr.
**I had been looking for the perfect expanding archives widget forever and finally found it in jQuery Archive List. It’s super customizable and simple to use.
***The only Instagram widget worth using is SnapWidget. It couldn’t be any easier.
Second: Custom Headers
This isn’t entirely about custom headers. Up until this past weekend, the impossibly annoying shadows that plagued every image on my blog were the bane of my existence. They prevented me from using a custom header for so long because you could clearly see where the header ended and the background began, making the whole site look less than professional. I don’t know why I didn’t find this remedy sooner, but I’m glad I did in any case. Turns out, all I had to do was paste a code into the end of the stylesheet. (Get the code + support here) I think it took a total of one minute.
I created my header just using Microsoft Word (this is the font I used), as I have yet to splurge on Photoshop and just wanted something simple anyway. My next problem was that the header image appeared below the navigation menu – turns out that was a quick fix too. This may be a bit more theme-specific than the last solution, but here’s the link. (If you use the same theme as me – Twenty Twelve – and have this same problem, you should only need the code + info at the very top of the forum)
Finally: A fun mini-project for those looking to become more code-savvy.
I was always amazed by bloggers who had custom “Pin It” images appear over their photos when you hovered on them. This is a little more involved than a cut, copy and paste, but following this tutorial, the whole process (including making the button – I created a picture in Word using my same Pinterest social media button and some simple text) took me about a half an hour or less.
If you use any of these tricks, be sure to let me know! I’d love to check out the results.
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