Midweek @ Musings: If you give a blogger a cookie …

One of my favorite children’s books is If you Give a Mouse a Cookie, where an adorable mouse gets a little boy to give him a cookie, and then a glass of milk, and then a straw, and one thing keeps leading to another.  When my daughters were small they loved hearing this story, and I never tired of reading it to them.

If you Give a Mouse a Cookie came to mind the other day, when I began a bit of blog housekeeping.  The “cookie,” in this case, was my recent decision to read according to my mood, and no longer take part in reading challenges.

I soon realized my blog categories needed a bit of tweaking, and I created a “projects” category.

Then I had to re-categorize some of my posts.

And then I realized my blog menu tabs were all wrong.  I couldn’t very well have a “Challenges” tab, could I?

And then I was thrilled to find out I could add sub-menus.

I created a “Projects” tab.  With sub-menus.

Ooh!  It would be fun to have a “Features” tab as well !  With sub-menus!

And then this mouse-blogger stalled out.  And here’s where you come in.  I need your advice to finish the job.

If you’re reading this in Google Reader, Feedly, or another RSS reader, please click-through to the site.  It’s OK, I’ll wait.

Thanks!  Do you see the menu tabs at the top of the page?  Hover over “Projects” and the sub-menus will appear.   I hope it’s clear that the sub-menus correspond to my various reading projects.  Sometimes the sub-menu takes you to another page (like The Booker Prize).  Sometimes it displays an archive of posts in that category (see Virago Modern Classics).

  • Does this make sense?
  • Is it okay to mix pages and category archives, or should every sub-menu lead to a page?

Now, what about the Projects page itself?  This is a real hodgepodge at the moment.  I’ve included my 2010 Reading Goals there, but I plan to remove them at the end of the year.  Imagine for the moment that they’re no longer there.  WordPress automatically puts the sub-menu pages at the bottom of the page.   I added a brief description of my other projects, and a photo for interest.  But … meh.  I’m just not thrilled with it.  How can I improve the Projects page?

Thanks for your help! May I have another cookie, please?

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16 thoughts on “Midweek @ Musings: If you give a blogger a cookie …

  1. I love the projects tab and the drop-down menu – I think that helps to make your site even more easy to navigate.

    I’m not sure about mixing pages and categories though. I think that in an ideal world you should have a page for each, but I realise how long it takes to do these things so don’t worry about rushing into it.

    • Thanks Jackie. I really appreciate your advice on this. Even though creating & maintaining more pages could be time-consuming it might also be worth it!

  2. I really like the way it is with the tabs and sub-categories. Makes it very easy to find stuff.

    Re: Projects tab. Can you just have it go to the dropdown items or do you have to have a Projects landing page? I think it’s better to have everything on the menu rather than trying to do a main page with, as you say, a hodgepodge on it.

    If you do have to have the landing page, I suggest you make it identical to the Features landing page, i.e. either just links or links with short descriptions (I actually like the latter better than having the linking images to Sunday Salon, etc.).

    btw, I’ve never read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but one of the children’s current favorites is If You Give a Pig a Pancake. The plot sounds very similar! It’s a great book.

    • Terri, I haven’t figured out how NOT to have a Projects landing page (I don’t think my theme provides this option). I appreciate your thoughts on how to structure the landing page, that’s very helpful!

      As for the book … Mouse/Cookie is the first in a series! Pig/Pancake is, apparently, the third. More info on the If You Give series on LT of course.

  3. It works fine for me, as is: no problem getting around or understanding what things are about. Exciting that your new reading goals have inspired housekeeping!

    My WordPress theme allows me to tick a box that makes the top menu item unclickable (if there are items below, otherwise it’s clickable), which does, as Terri’s suggesting, avoid the question of a summary page altogether. Handy.

    I like the image of your VMCs on the Projects page; I wonder if you might like the presentation of it more if you had other images, even just a few books from each category snapped, or something visual to represent each project. But that, too, as Jackie said, is surprisingly time-consuming.

    • BIP, sadly my theme doesn’t appear to have that feature. You almost got me started on the ultimate Mouse/Cookie adventure, choosing a new theme. OMG, no. Not. right. now. 🙂

      Good suggestion about a visual for each project … thanks !

  4. Thanks again to everyone for your helpful comments. I’ve redesigned both the Projects and Features pages with additional images, as suggested by BuriedinPrint. These changes were pretty quick & easy to do. I also like Jackie’s idea to create pages for individual projects, and may move in this direction over time. Thanks again for the help!

  5. I don’t use WordPress, so I’m not much help with design/layout questions, but I have noticed how quickly these little blog projects can morph into something a lot bigger than you planned! It’s worth it, though.

  6. I have a tab like that and I personally love it. I don’t really know if anyone else likes it.. I do have a problem with content on the project pages as well.

    • Iris, I love your projects menu/sub-menus! In fact I’m thinking of adding something like your “Complete Works of …” at some point. I also like your review directory! Do you have to maintain that manually or is there some way to have reviews automatically appear there as you publish them?

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