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New name, new look - same great content!

Hey there reader! You may have noticed the blog's new name and layout. This is no longer the "YouTube - Google+ Integration" blog. Instead it's "Peggy K's Tips & Tricks (for Creators, Collectors and Curators)".

It was long long overdue for a change. My posts haven't been exclusively about YouTube integration with Google+ for a long long time, and now that integration has largely been undone.


What's different? 

A new header that better reflects the content of the blog.
Out with the old!
In with the new!
A new template. I'm using a customized version of the new Blogger "Notable" theme. It's designed to "adjust to any screen" and load quickly.
Old Theme - based on Simple

New Theme - based on Notable

Gadget spring cleaning. My old sidebar had gotten a bit cluttered with gadgets that were out of date.

Blogger comments only.  I had been using comment code from blogger xpertise that let you choose between standard Blogger Comments and Google+ Comments. However, I get few comments overall, and almost all of them are Blogger Comments. If you are a Plusser,  I would love to have your comments on my posts over on Google+ itself.

The content isn't changing!  I'll still be posting Weekly Updates and YouTube, Google+, Blogger and Hangouts tips. The design will hopefully make my blog a nicer place to visit.

It's still a work in progress, and I'll be tweaking the settings as I settle in to the new design.

Here's how you can update your own blog to one of the new Blogger Themes:

So that's what's happening.

If you are interested in some of the backstory, read on.

A little blog history

I started this blog in September 2013, when the integration between Google+ and YouTube (and other Google products) was in full swing. At the time, the process was confusing and many YouTubers were unhappy(1) that they were being prompted to connect their channel with a social media profile.

Much confusion was due to YouTube starting to push users to link their channel to a Google+ Profile almost a year before there was an option to link to a Google+ Page, leading users to understandably assume they were required to change their channel name to their real name (even though that wasn't actually required).

My first post - How to unlink your new YouTube channel from a Google+ Profile - is an expanded version of instructions I posted multiple times a day in the YouTube Help Forum and (now defunct) Google+ Help Forum(2). That option was finally removed in January 2014.

While I could have used the Google+ comment system for my blog, I left that optional, since I figured my target audience was users who weren't keen on using Google+ in the first place.

But nothing lasts forever. In July 2015, Google+ announced they were changing direction. Google+ no longer would be a social layer across Google products, but rather would focus on becoming an interest-based social network, standing on its own. YouTube immediately announced that they were working to separate from Google+.

Over the years, some of my posts have been edited literally dozens of times as Google+ integration came and went.

Now, here we are in March 2017, and it's once again possible to create a new YouTube channel unconnected to Google+.  Almost all formerly Google+-based features on YouTube are now independent of Google+, and YouTube has introduced new commentingsharingcommunity, and notification features all its own.

And Google+ now stands on its own, with a new streamlined interface, and a focus on Collections and Communities.

Along the way Hangouts became its own product, Hangouts on Air moved to YouTube, Google+ Photos was spun off as just plain Google Photos, Picasa Web Albums were finally retired, and Google+ Pages moved to Google My Business, then back to Google+ and the new Brand Account dashboard.

It's been interesting (and sometimes frustrating) to watch the changes.

As the only constant is change, I'm sure there will be exciting updates, along with some bumps in the road. I hope you continue the journey with me!

(1) The "Fuck Google+" thread in the YouTube help forum was active from January 2012 through July 2016. For a while it seemed like it would never die. But it didn't really have a purpose once YouTube integration with Google+ was largely removed.

(2) The Google+ Help Forum was replaced by the Google+ Help Community, which is still going strong

(3) Google accounts became mandatory in January 2011, but today there are still regular questions in the YouTube help forum about how to sign in to "legacy" channels


Posted by Peggy K

Comments

  1. The new theme does look quite nice here. It's a shame that the sidebar gets hidden behind the hamburger menu though. It seems like that might have a negative influence on potential new subscribers or traffic to other pages within your blog. I'd be nice if the sidebar could be pinned open or else those widgets brought back to the sidebar (I'm guessing they did that to avoid having two templates: one for mobile and one for desktop?)

    I just started playing around with the CSS, so maybe there's a happy medium somewhere. Your customizations look great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The sidebar does display on a wide enough screen. I think most people are familiar with the hamburger icon and would think to clock that to display a menu.

      But that does mean not having anything that's absolutely crucial to display on the sidebar.

      But with the old Simple template, the sidebar was not accessible at all on mobile devices. So any visitors on mobile never saw it anyway. Now my sidebar is available everywhere.

      Delete
    2. Peggy, I've got a 27" screen, and the sidebar is still hidden.

      This is one issue that is holding me back from using one of these very cool themes. I have more than 700 posts on my main blog, mostly evergreen content. At this point my biggest challenge is finding ways to get it before my readers. The sidebar helps a lot with that!

      Mobile is a different story, I think. That is where the sidebar becomes more clutter than it is worth. But I still feel it adds a lot of value for my desktop readers.

      PS Yours looks great!

      Delete
    3. Thanks Adam. I did check it on a 21.5" iMac display and the sidebar showed when the window was full screen, but I'm assuming most people won't see it by default.

      Looking at my Google Analytics, I get about 25% of my views from mobile devices, and those are folks who would not have even had the option to see the sidebar using the old template.

      But your blog has that really useful index by apple variety on the sidebar, which I'd expect people would use to navigate. So it probably would take some customization to have that always visible.

      Delete
    4. Ah you're right. In my current resolution I have to manually click to view the sidebar, but if I "zoom" out to 80% it appears. Good to know!

      I had certain sidebar widgets set to appear in the mobile template on a blog of mine. I haven't experimented yet, but I wonder if the old "mobile=yes" code would work to make these pop-out sidebar widgets appear on mobile? Or if there's some way to code the template so that the "pop-out" sidebar is re-positioned opened and below the content, like the old style. Wordpress themes tend to do this, and I think it looks/behaves better. The new Blogger themes have that sleek Wordpress style so it'd be nice if there were some way to choose or specify that.

      Anyway re: the comment issue, you may have fixed it already but your comments look fine to me. If you ask me, the comment box update is the best part of these new themes.

      Delete
  2. Love the new look!! Seems easier reading to these older eyes. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Andrew! Easier reading is part of the reason I updated it.

      Delete
  3. the text reads easier, but these BOLD comments, not so much

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diana: the comments look to me like the same font and style as the post text. Are they appearing as bold to you?

      Delete
    2. Peggy, I am seeing comments as a very black (that is typography-speak for ultra bold) condensed sans-serif font. Here's a screen shot.

      Delete
    3. Adam, I'm seeing what Peggy is seeing.

      Delete
    4. Adam: Whoa, that is way different from what I see. Would you mind sharing which browser and OS you're using? Hopefully it's something I can sort out, but that's hard if I can't see it too. Here is what I see.

      Delete
    5. Peggy, I assumed you weren't seeing what Diana was talking about! I'm on OSX using Firefox and Chrome. It is true that i have Privacy Badger enabled, but when I disabled it and reloaded your page it did not change the display. (Or show the sidebar, btw.)

      Question for you: Do you have the font "Impact' installed on your Mac? Because I do, but if I didn't, it would default to generic "sans serif." Kinda like what you are getting.

      Impact is pretty common, it is or was part of the standard MS distribution, so if I am right a lot of people will see this.

      Delete
    6. Thank you! That's what I get for fiddling with the fonts on my Chromebook. It should be back to the default font now and I'll fiddle with it later when I'm on my Mac instead.

      Delete
    7. Diana: if you're still reading the comments, thank you so much for saying something! It would have taken me a long time to notice, as I use my Chromebook most of the time for blogging.

      Delete
  4. Congrats on the new blog layout Peggy - Looking forward to watching it continue to grow. I've been tempted to do my own for ages!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ash! You should give it a try :)

      Delete
  5. I am catching up, as I am still finding the courage to change to the Shiny New.

    The bold is gone - thank you.

    But I have that issue that the font, as I am writing the comment, is smaller. Not an 'issue' here but some blogs have a MINISCULE font when we write.

    Once published it is larger (but deliberately different to the post's font?)

    I need to keep my blogroll on the visible sidebar - as that brings and leads traffic.
    Didn't realise that my very few mobile readers would never be able to see the sidebar. Sigh. Steep learning curve ahead. Going to experiment with my test blog first.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Diana: I have no idea why the comment input box shows the text smaller than the way it displays after it's posted. Too many settings...

    It isn't so much deliberately a different font, as I haven't figured how I want to look and so it's just set to the default :)

    I've been tweaking things here and there and by the time I'm satisfied there will probably be a new theme.

    I'm not sure what the best solution is if your blog roll is important. With this theme the sidebar can be accessed on mobile, which is good. But it's not visible by default on desktop on most screens.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Peggy, it is still possible to choose a hover colour for links?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For this theme, yes it is possible. If you go to Theme Designer > Advanced > Body you can set: Link Color, Visited Link Color, and Link Hover Color.
      (I have all those set to the same color)

      It is probably also available to set the link hover color for the other themes, but I haven't checked.

      Delete
    2. I can see a filter link colour and an action colour.
      But no visited link or link hover?

      Since I have changed to the Soho theme my blog traffic is picking up.
      Yours too?

      Delete
    3. My blog traffic is up, but I've also been posting more frequently recently, so it's hard to know if the change in theme made a difference.

      It looks like Soho is the only new theme that does not have an easy way to configure the link hover color. You should be able to set that with custom CSS if you feel inclined to delve into that.

      Delete
    4. I used to post weekly. This year I have been posting every 10 days. And I see a clear spike on the day I changed to Soho. Lots of m URLs and devices on my StatCounter now!

      Delete

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