Better Broccoli by Octoblog!

Hey loves!

I want to thank you SO much for all the heartfelt comments on yesterday’s post! Knowing that I have your support and encouragement during these recent struggles means the absolute WORLD to me! While I feel a little better after some sleep yesterday, I plan on doing more catching up over the weekend and hopefully be good as new come Monday!

Since my eats have been off lately, I thought instead of food post, I’d do something a little different today! Perhaps you guys have noticed a few changes popping up here recently? Well, I’m no techno genius, but I HAVE managed to do some things to give the ol’ broccoli a bit of a sprucing up! ๐Ÿ˜€

A few of weeks ago, while catching up with Allison, I discovered the Octoblog Challenge! It’s totally free and while there are no “real” winners, it really helps motivate and inspire bloggers to update and enhance their websites, social media spaces and more!

Octoblog

I have a bad habit of creating a bloggy to-do list and then promptly forgetting about it. While I tend to be a bit OCD in real life (the man-friend oogles over my super-organized filing cabinet), the inside of my laptop tends to be a dark and scary place! So when I saw this challenge, after already getting pumped reading HLS recaps, I finally got the fire lit under me and set to work!

I still hope to update my “About Me” section before the end of the month…I haven’t touched it since I started blogging almost 3 years ago! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ
But this is what I’ve done so far…

Kiss My Broccoli Header (Small)

I created a new header!

Then I created ANOTHER ONE a week later after you guys failed to clue me in on the fact that I spelled broccoli with THREE FREAKIN’ C’s?! Seriously people?! You’re lucky I like ya! Otherwise I wouldn’t remind you to check out this tutorial for making your OWN header withย Pic Monkey…but I do hope you screw it up a few times before you’re done! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Jetpack Plugin for WordPress

I started making good use out of some old plugins!

FYI, when I’ve posted screenshots of my site stats before, it was from Jetpack. There are SO many customizations you can do with this plugin and it’s incredibly easy to use! I love it!

Site Stats JetPack

Oh and speaking of site stats, let me just share a little happy dance moment with you all…those two big columns there would represent the traffic KMB received after I posted my Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pancakes! Woop Woop! ๐Ÿ˜€

Not only can you keep up with site stats, track the sources of your blog traffic, and view your top posts, but you can ALSO make this sweet little Twitterย widget!

Twitter Feed WidgetNeat-o Frito, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

And speaking of widgets, I’ve basically done an overhaul of my sidebar if you haven’t noticed. I cleaned up my welcome blurb, added a Bloglovin’ widget, and my two FAVORITE additions…

Social Media Widget Icons

Social Media Widgetย for super cute follow icons and…

SnapWidget Instagram Feed

SnapWidget’s customizable SCROLLING Instagram feed! :)

Shareaholic Plugin

Pin It! PancakesI also added theย Shareaholicย and the JQuery Pin It plugins for more social media shares which I showed Meghan last week! Check out this post for her step-by-step tutorial!

Other than that, I’ve been working behind the scenes to make things easier to navigate her in Broccoli Land…transferring old recipes to Recipage (a never-ending task!), cleaning up categories and tags, and going back and LABELING my images! Seriously, I can’t believe I didn’t start adding titles to my pictures until last year…it’s been SO hard to find things! Which reminds me of one last little tip I want to share…

When you label your pictures, make them Pinterest friendly!

Pin It Pinterest LabelPinterest-Friendly Labels for Recipe Images

The “Pin It” plugin just adds the post title to the image description box (so think about titling your posts to go along with the images), but before I activated the plugin, I started labeling my pictures for people pinning on their own. I make sure to describe the recipe and also add a link to my blog which will help drive in more traffic!

Edited to add: Megan just informed me that if you go into “settings” under the “Pin It” plugin, you can change the default to your individual photo titles! ๐Ÿ˜€

Now, while this post may seem that I’m totally obsessed with blog traffic and statistics, that is SO not the case. Honestly, I rarely ever look at my stats and, besides a couple of compensated product reviews, I haven’t made any money doing this…until now! I actually just had my application to GLAM media accepted yesterday (yay)! I’m not looking to make a career out of blogging, but will be nice toย get a little money for all the hard work I put into this! :)

Bloggers: What are some of your favorite plugins/widgets?ย 

Everyone: What do you think of the changes I’ve made?
Any requests/recommendations for more user-friendly additions?

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46 Responses to Better Broccoli by Octoblog!

  1. WOO! Go girl! Doesn’t it feel so great to do a little spring cleaning on the blog? It can be a bit of a hassle, but it always makes things feel so much better. Everything is looking fantastic, and congrats on the acceptance to Glam! Definitely nothing wrong with getting a little bit back for the effort we put in :)

    As far as plugins go, you’ve mentioned a lot of my favourite ones… But I’ll definitely have to look into the scrolling Instagram one — love it!

  2. Lisa says:

    I didn’t get the chance to comment on your post yesterday, but just read it and seriously Heather you are incredible. You have made so many giant steps in beating this thing and I think you’re doing an amazing job. It’s not about the number of binges you have, but how you approach them and recover from them <3 You deserve only the best.
    Anyways, back to this topic…I think this is a great thing to do! And the new changes look great! I definitely need to spruce my blog up a bit! And this may just be the inspiration I need to get my groove going.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Awww, thank you so so much Lisa! And you couldn’t be more right…it’s ALL about how you handle the past and move into the future! I’m just happy to be at a point in all this where I’m able to be more forgiving of myself and logical about the reasons why I stumble. I’m definitely a lot more positive about things now than I’ve been in the past and I owe so much of that to all the support from you guys! <3

  3. The new changes look great! I love the new header…but it’s probably a good thing that you spelled ‘broccoli’ properly ๐Ÿ˜‰ And I need to go check out that instagram feed widget!

  4. i am SO effing impressed. lol this is so above me and i’d actually hire you and PAY WITH GOOD MONEY for you to do some of this stuff for my blog! i just am totally not capable of doing it :p haha i am so OCD too and get really worked up over this sort of stuff that it would never get done ๐Ÿ˜‰ way to go girl! p.s. i read your reply to my comment! ๐Ÿ˜€ i’m free saturday night ๐Ÿ˜€

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Haha! Honestly girl, if this completely computer illiterate gal over here can do it, anyone can! I expected some of this to be harder than it was, but there are a lot of really great tutorials out there that make it super simple! :)

  5. Kat says:

    This is something I REALLY need to do. I would love to revamp my blog a little, and just change the layout a bit and maybe add a few things to it. I’m just SO technologically challenged lol

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      You and me BOTH! Seriously, I know NOTHING about computers…like, umm…quick, turn it off and back on and then see if it works! <- yeah, it's that bad! I was honestly surprised though by how easy some of this stuff was to figure out...and for everything else, there's always Google! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Chrystal says:

    I woke up to a new theme today! I started with a Genesis/StudioPress theme but had some difficulties and went to a freebie WordPress theme. I found someone to help me in the Photoshop department and now I am good to go. I’ve been on this huge debate about whether or not I should take my photos with titles for Pinterest. I know The Gracious Pantry has a complete set of photos JUST for Pinterest and she does very well with them. I do it for my other sites. I also see food photography/food sites not do it and they do well without them. But I know personally when I am scrolling through Pinterest I like to know what I am pinning.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Oh Chrystal! It looks great! I love the little frying pans…too cute! And I’m totally with you on the personal pinning…I like to just pin and go. I don’t want to have to sit and label every picture when I get on one of my random pinning sprees! Ha!

  7. I love blog stuff. LOVE it. Like, I think I might be addicted. Within the past few months, I updated my about me section, went self-hosted, got my blog designed ($$$$$$), and started realllly finding my blogging voice. It’s the best feeling in the world.

    Aaaand now I need to go check out some of these plugins and widgets.

  8. I think it looks great! I definitely noticed the Instagram and cute social media buttons. I think an updated about me is a good next step. Can I ask you what you mean by “labeling” your pictures? AND…. congrats about GLAM! That is so so awesome :) have a lovely weekend!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Thanks, Amy! What I mean with the pictures, is what you title them before you upload them to the blog…like instead of just IMG1234, you give it a name so it’s easier to search for both for you and for your readers! Oh and I just found out that you can actually customize the settings further with the “pin it” plugin so that when a person clicks to pin, the image title will come up instead of the post title! I see you installed in on your blog so let me know if you need any help changing the settings! :)

  9. Coincidence I was accepted to Glam yesterday too?!?!?! I THINK NOT. Glam sisters yo! Now to figure out how to install all the ads…if you have any luck will you email me? I’m am computer illiterate!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Oh God! Seriously, I know less about computers than I do about my camera…which isn’t a whole lot to begin with! Haha! I might come crying to YOU!

  10. Is that the same Pin It button plug in I texted you or did you find something better? Also, can you make over my blog next? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Emily says:

    Woah- you are awesome, lady!
    I need to hunker down and do a major overhaul on my blog too. No more procrastinating! Thank you for the inspiration.
    I LOVE your new header, by the way!

  12. Ellie says:

    Hehe you must feels so refreshed! I think all the changes you made are great and essential to keeping organized website, and it’s so funny how you mention about the Pinterest labels because just yesterday I realized that you can do that

  13. Congrats on the GLAM acceptance. Great news!!

    And great tips, which will of course go on to my never ending Blog To Do list. That is, until you come visit again. Actually, I promise to do some of them on my own. I even added a page devoted just to the Week in Review this week and that was on the list. I’m sure that’s why it’s not nearly as popular as I think it should be. Yeah; that’s it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Oh my gosh, I’m SO glad you added that! It looks great and it’s a good way to give people somewhere to go to see how the whole thing goes down!

      PS, I really need to figure out some sort of teleportation device…I am seriously missing me some Meghan!

  14. Oh thank you so much for all these tips Heather! I can not believe how LAZY I’ve been with my blog design since I switched to WordPress. I started, and then did…ugh…nothing??!! It’s all the same since more than 1 year! I really NEED to sit down and change some stuff – thank you for that kick in the butt!

  15. Such a great idea! I need to do a better job of keeping up with bloggy stuff!

  16. Yay another challenge participant!! :) I’ve been making some big changes recently, although I recognize many people might not even notice. I think Shareaholic is my favorite plugin, just easy. :)

  17. Bahaha I was a bit nervous to send you that email about ze C’s but I was SO GLAD you took it nicely :) Just trying to help a blogging buddy (typed biddy at first, whoops) out! I definitely like all of your updates — I need to do a better job about titling my pictures. Currently, I don’t give them any info… Whomp, whomp.

  18. Wow, look at you go with blog work! I’ve got to admit, I was really motivated after attending HLS, but I haven’t really worked on my blog at all since then. ๐Ÿ˜›

    I’ve been wanting to add that Shareaholic plugin though, so thanks for the link!!

    My favourite plugin is the one that sends emails when I reply to comments on my blog – I like that it makes my blog that much more interactive.

  19. Ummmmmmmmmmmmm I am useless with this – maybe I ought to have you do mine! I don’t even understand half of what you wrote! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  20. This is so helpful buddy! the other day I followed Megan’s one for the pin it! button because although I had it, It wasn’t activated properly. Dumb chicken here.

    Going to look into the instagram one- Love the blog header!

  21. Awesome stuff – I love the new header especially! I love to see bloggers getting down and dirty and doing some “under-the-hood” improvements. I’m definitely a tech nerd, and love to constantly re-vamp and update my site so it runs best. Next thing you know, you’ll be learning to code!

    I *love* all the plugins you mentioned, and I’m the worst at making things pinterest friendly. I’m just plain lazy, haha.

  22. Which plugin do you use for the featured recipes in your sidebar?

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      That is actually a widget that comes along with using Recipage, which is a free recipe organizer. I’ve been using it for over a year now and would definitely recommend it…very user friendly! :)

  23. Heather,
    After reading that recent article about right side bars I think you’ve got the right idea!

    Here it is, in case you haven’t seen it: http://www.nngroup.com/articles/fight-right-rail-blindness/

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  25. Wait … Didn’t a certain broccoli fiend tell ME to pass along any blogging advice should I stumble upon it? Seems like you had it all down to a T, lady :). Not like I hadn’t been a huge fan of your blog before but it looks even fancier after your make-over. Any way I can convince you to spruce up my blog? How about cat-sitting for some time in exchange ;)?
    Oh, and congrats on GLAM! Actually, though, I think they should be the ones happy to be allowed to work with you!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Awww, you are TOO sweet, hon! Honestly, I’ve only stumbled upon most of this stuff in the last week or so and I swear it’s a miracle I haven’t shut down this thing with all my poking around! Luckily, I remembered exactly what I did once and was able to go back and correct it after I refreshed my screen and saw “PAGE NOT AVAILABLE”! I totally freaked the heck out though for about five seconds! Haha!

  26. Brittany says:

    AHH I need to do some fancy stuff with my blog…I really want to switch to self hosted, but am taking my sweet time! Amazing job with all your fun changes.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Thanks, Brittany! Let me know if/when you decide to “take the plunge”! I’ve been self-hosted for a little over a year now and absolutely love the company I’m with! :)

  27. Your Peanut Butter Pumpkin pancakes certainly deserved a lot of traffic!

    I think the Octoblog challenge sounds so fun… and productive too. I considered doing it but not being self-hosted that limits things. Also, I couldn’t think up 30 items at the time… Of course now I have bunch in mind that I could change on my blog right now. Maybe I need to do my own little blog challenge for myself.

    I would love to see a Blogroll page of yours. I never know who other bloggers read and I always feel like I’m missing out on some great ones :)

    • Speaking of which, I need to update mine because it’s SO outdated.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      You know, I was JUST thinking about that yesterday! I used to have a blogroll before I went self-hosted, but it somehow got lost in the switch! Then I wasn’t really sure if people cared about it or not…so thank you for the input! Adding it to the to-do list now! :)

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