Cool Cat Teacher’s Quest for a Cool Site: Come See My New Site!

I took a couple of hours today and FINALLY redid my blog. (If you experience problems with my feed, PLEASE let me know. )

Give me feedback
It is important to me to do a good job. I survey my students (It makes me a better teacher!) each year to see what they liked and didn't like. I want to know what helped them learn. Now, I'm asking you! What do you like? What do you wish I'd tell you more about?

So, I'm asking you to take a small six question survey to help me improve my blogging.

Click here to take survey

In particular, I'm debating on the graphic in my title bar (at the top) that came with this template. Is it too risque for me? Do I need to redesign it? Please give me your feedback.

I am going to share my answers over spring break so that you bloggers can learn from this feedback as well. Meanwhile, I look forward to your feedback and hope you'll take the survey!

How I did it!

I customized a blogger template at one of the free blogger sites and it took some real HTML coding to get just like I wanted it. Unfortunately, you cannot really use Blogger 2 and these templates and you have to understand a little about HTML (particularly TD and TR tags for tables).

Remember, if you do this, notepad is your best friend! Copy and paste your old template into notepad before you ever start!

I also went back to all of the places where I do things online and snagged their newest codes for how to do things!

Some Cool Places for blogger templates:

I know WordPress and some of the others may look cooler, but it is about being found Google and Blogger are related! (I also discourage changing URL's and blogging platforms, it is like being reborn literally!)

So, help me be better and I'll share more with you later! Been a busy day and I'm ready for a little chair therapy!

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8 thoughts on “Cool Cat Teacher’s Quest for a Cool Site: Come See My New Site!

  1. I tried to take you survey but Monkey told me it was closed. You may need to go in and make it open to the public (hey, that’s who I am!)

  2. The survey’s working fine now. Your post came through fine in Google Reader too.

    To be honest, I don’t think that the header graphic seems very “you.” I bet if you gave your students a contest to develop a new graphic that they’d come up with some great ideas.

    I also think that the color contrast isn’t high enough. I love the blue, but I think it is too dark for your background. Your h2 tag especially is really hard to read at the top. The JuicyStudio Color Contrast Analyzer is a great tool for seeing if you have enough contrast in your site to meet the WCAG guidelines (and general good design). It’s a Firefox extension that I use to evaluate my own sites sometimes. (Confession time: my blog doesn’t actually pass everything either. Apparently I need to spring for the CSS upgrade and start tweaking.)

    Overall though, I think the design looks more polished. Just a few more tweaks. Hope you get lots of survey results!

  3. Hey, Kevin, Thanks! I messed up on one vital piece of anything going live, I was so busy watching the video I uploaded to youtube today (see post below) that I forgot to test my survey!


  4. Vicki,

    I will definately take your survey, but first I want to direct your attention to Notepad++. Your comment about Notepad being your best friend when editing HTML used to ring true to me until I found Notepad++ and discovered that this is REALLY your best friend when working with code. Give it a try and let me know what you think. You can download it (free software btw) at


  5. Vicki, I took your survey but I’d just like to query your point about changing url’s and blogging platforms. If your blogging is worthwhile and you are writing on topics of substance then your readers will make the effort to track you down regardless of your changing cyber-address. In fact, try an experiment one week. Open a WordPress account and blog there for a week and see how long it is before you are discovered or you get e-mail querying your whereabouts! I dare you…

  6. I agree that the column layout is good in this template. Once you adjust the colors and header, I think it will be fabulous.

    I’m looking forward to seeing your final results!

    As for switching addresses–I know I would follow you to a new address, and lots of others would as well. However, I think you’re right that you would lose traffic, especially initially. While many people would find you again, you probably would lose some casual readers. I don’t really know much about SEO, but what you’re saying makes sense.

  7. Christy –
    I think so too, it sort of is, but sort of not, so I am going to do some work on it. My students are so busy on projects, but I’ll talk to them about it and see if I have any takers.

    As for the colors, I’m going to play around with that as well. This was a predone template and I loved the column structure on the left and right, I have some to redo!

    Brian – I will try that out, thanks for the pointer.

    Graham – Actually, I already set up a word press blog back when this whole thing started. I am usually pretty private about my traffic but let’s say that a significant portion of my new traffic comes from Google. Yes, some will find me, however, it would mean:

    1) Starting over on all ranking services and
    2) Losing the momentum on my current blog

    Although I love the word press format, I think I’m pretty much stuck over here.

    I was in the web industry before coming into the school environment and spent a lot of time with search engine optimization, it is very obvious that google is more tightly integrated with blogger and right now — google is gold.

    Thanks for the challenge, though.

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