Thursday, 27 December 2012

Having a label cloud that works for your readers

When you are posting it is important to assign as many relevant labels to your posts as you can for SEO reasons.  But if you show all the labels in your label cloud or list on your sidebar it can end up being very cluttered.  

I chose to have an alphabetical label cloud - because I think it makes it easier for people to find what they are looking for.  But it is, of course, a matter of personal choice.

Luckily you can restrict the numbers of labels that show in your cloud or list - this will not in any way affect the other labels' effectiveness for search engines etc.

To do this, you go to your Dashboard.  Click Layout and then click edit on your Labels gadget.

You will see under Show the option to show all or select which ones to show.  If you select then you can go through and just tick the main ones - but don't leave it there - move down and  click the orange Save button or all your work will be wasted.  It took me 3 goes to realise this.

And you can go back and revisit this whenever you want.

Pin It

Friday, 21 December 2012

If you haven't already got "You might also like" thumbnails, you should give them a try!

I must have been one of the last Bloggers out there to get onto this... sigh.  But just in case there are some more people out there, here is a post about how to get that neat little thing at the end of each post which says - You might also like and then puts 3 thumbnails of earlier posts there to entice your readers to click through to them.

For months I put manual links at the end of each post - what a palaver.  And then I noticed that many of the blogs I follow had these thumbnails at the end of each post.  I did some fossicking on Google and wasn't very successful at finding what I wanted.  So I did the obvious and asked one of  my blog friends how they did it. (As an aside, I have found everyone that I have asked a question like this - no matter how dumb - to have been very helpful - in a way that is why I am doing this little blog to pay forward all that help).

The first provider of these thumbnails that was recommended to me was Link Within - which is used by lots of people.  I went to their site and installed it but wasn't that happy with how it worked for my blog - the recommendations seemed very random.  I am sure this may not be the case for others.  It is just that I cover a number of quite different topics.  So please do give them a go.  It is free.

So I then found another provider - nrelate - which has been great.  It is also free.  It comes up with the goods for me.  One thing I did get wrong is that when I installed it I chose to have the thumbnails on my posts only and not on my home page.  That was a mistake so I had to uninstall it and reinstall it - with the right box checked this time.

Anyway, whichever provider you use, just do it.  It happens automatically for each new post.  Fantastic.

PS if you have been following this blog for a long time,  you might think this post is familiar - and you are not wrong!  But I thought it deserved another airing now that more readers are on board.

Pin It

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Please check in case you are a no-reply blogger

Here is a link to a great post on Shona Skye Creations walking us through how to check whether you are a no reply blogger by accident and how to fix it.  Highly recommended.
Pin It

Friday, 14 December 2012

Dealing with those blurry Captcha's!

Do you have trouble typing in those pesky "prove you are not a robot" things?  I especially have trouble with the blurry number photo part.

I have posted about how to kill the word verification stuff on your blog here.

One thing that I have found helpful is to enlarge the image - the easy way to do this is just to hit Control +.  You can do it a number of times and each time the page will zoom in until you can see it.

When you have finished you just hit Control - and it will zoom out again.

Another reader has also suggested that if the words are particularly difficult to read that rather than trying to enter them, just hit the little circular refresh button until an easier one pops up. I have found this to save quite a bit of time.

And don't bother doing capital letters etc because the captchas aren't case sensitive!

I do apologise for wittering on about word verification so much - but really!  Having just commented on 60 blogs who linked up to Food on Friday, I am renewed in my campaign to try to eradicate it.

Pin It

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Have you checked that your Pin It buttons are working lately?

When I was pinning entries to the latest Food on Friday, I kept finding Pin It buttons that weren't working properly - they wouldn't find the image or title for the post.  This makes it a lot harder for people to pin your work.

I suggest you go to one of your posts and test this out.  If it isn't working properly you need to change the code you are using for the button.  I have posted about this here.  This is the code I used on Carole's Chatter and it seems to be working fine.
Pin It

Monday, 10 December 2012

You need a search box on your blog!

I am quite often surprised just how many blogs don't have search boxes where their readers can search for subjects that interest them.  Or, if they do have them, they are hidden towards the bottom of the page.  If you have a search box like that I suggest you try searching for something - often the results show up right at the top of the page and then if you want to search again you have to scroll down to find the search box again.

So my suggestion is that you make sure you have a search box and that it is towards the top of one of your sidebars - probably right at the top under the header is the very best spot.

The search box is one of the basic gadgets available in Blogger - and I imagine in other blog platforms as well.  To move it around you just need to go into Layout, add that gadget and then drag and drop it where you want it to be.

Pin It

Saturday, 8 December 2012

How do you reply to comments on your blog?

It took me absolutely ages to realise that it was largely pointless replying to comments on your own blog.  Most people don't sign up to be notified of replies, so they won't see your reply unless they happen to come back to that post for some reason.

So finally I figured out that the best thing was to visit the blog of the person leaving the comment and leave a comment on their blog - sometimes replying to what they said or often just making a comment on one of their posts.

The only replies I do on my blog is where the person doesn't have a blog or I can't figure out which blog they come from.  I do warn people commenting that this is what I do like this:

I have noticed that some people reply to comments by email.  I would be interested in your views on whether this is a better way to do it.  I had assumed that people would prefer you to visit their blog and comment - because that increases the page views and exposure to their blog...

Pin It

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Email and Your Blog

I suggest that you do make sure that you have an email address that is linked to your blog.  It should be shown on your About Me page and on your Contact page (if you have one).  It would also be a good idea to make sure it shows up in your Blogger and/or Google + profiles.  For many people, it is probably best to have a special email address for your blog rather than using your personal or work emails.

I have been receiving a few email reminders about linky parties lately - which is fine - but it does worry me that many people are doing them in such a way that all recipients can see all the email addresses.  It would be   much better for those reminders to be sent via bcc (ie blind copy) so that the only email address the recipient sees is their own.  To do this you can either address the email to yourself or there is an undisclosed recipients address you can use (but I haven't done it so can't tell you how to do it) and then put all the other recipients into the bcc section.
Pin It

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Your email followers on Blogger

Well, I have actually managed to find out how to see how many people are following using Blogger's follow by email widget.  And it confirmed my suspicions that nowhere near as many follow by email as by GFC and Google Reader - or at least that is the case for Carole's Chatter.

To find out how many email followers you have, go to your Dashboard and then to Layout.  Find your follow by email gadget and click Edit.  Don't get nervous you won't be mucking anything up!

The window that comes up will give you an option to View stats and learn more - click that and you will see the summary stats for your Blog.

Then you can just close that window and cancel the edit page and things will be just as they were before.

Pin It

Friday, 30 November 2012

Please put a Pin It Button on your sidebar or in each post

To make it easier for me to pin the recipes on your blog to the Food on Friday pinboards and other Pinboards, please put a pin it button on your sidebar.  This is how you do it.  

You need to go to your Dashboard and then to Layout and add a gadget - the one you want is Configure HTML/Java Script.

This was the code I used:

<a href='javascript:void((function()%7Bvar%20e=document.createElement(&apos;script&apos;);e.setAttribute(&apos;type&apos;,&apos;text/javascript&apos;);e.setAttribute(&apos;charset&apos;,&apos;UTF-8&apos;);e.setAttribute(&apos;src&apos;,&apos;;+Math.random()*99999999);document.body.appendChild(e)%7D)());'><img alt='Pin It' onclick='doPinIt();' src='' style='margin: 0 0 0 0;'/></a>

One last point, if your post doesn't have at least one reasonably sized image, Pinterest won't let me pin it.Pin It

Monday, 26 November 2012

Just do it!

A plea to all of you - please turn off the word verification. My eyes are going crossed trying to type in those blurry numbers and letters!  And it is in your own best interests - I know lots of people just don't bother to comment if you have word verification on.

This is how you get rid of word verification stuff on Blogger.

Just go to your dashboard and click Settings.  And then from the drop down menu that appears Posts and Comments.

Scroll down to the question "Show word verification?" and click no.

That will sort it. But you do have to click the orange save settings button at the top right.

PS  If you think I have been wittering on about this before - you are so right!  If only Blogger would change the default option!

Pin It

Thursday, 22 November 2012

So far, so good, I think I've killed the spam!

You know how I don't like the word verification stuff - and so don't have it turned on, on my blogs.  But on my main blog, Carole's Chatter, I have been getting quite a lot of spam comments.  I think this is because some of my posts have been submitted to StumbleUpon and Reddit and this seems to attract lots of page views - and spam.

Finally I figured out how to kill the spam - without having to use word verification.  All I did was go into my dashboard in Blogger and click Settings.  Then click Posts and Comments. You will find a question "Who can comment?".  I changed from anyone to Registered User - and that doesn't let anonymous comments through.  Don't forget to click on the orange Save Settings button towards the top right or else nothing will change.

I was a bit worried that some legit comments would be stopped - so I changed my little spiel about comments to ask anyone who had trouble to email me - but all the normal comments seem to be coming through just fine.

So if the thing stopping you killing the "prove you are not a robot" thing is the spam - I think this might solve your problem.  And it really is in your blog's best interests to change to no word verification - it does put so many people off from commenting on your blog.

Good luck.
Pin It

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Blogging 101

I just had to share this link to an awesome post by Pretty Providence called Blogging 101.  Do check it out.  This is the link.
Pin It

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Keyboard shortcuts - Today it's Alt + Tab

I find myself using Alt + Tab all the time.  It switches between windows - going back to the window you last visited and then if you do it again you toggle back to the one you just came from.  Unfortunately it doesn't switch you between tabs in your internet browser - but then it is easy to click on the tab you want.

So when I was drafting this and I wanted to go back to my browser to look for an image I just Alt tabbed it!

Pin It

Friday, 16 November 2012

You need to see this fantastic infographic on creating content for your blog

I quite often see great blog tips on A Little Unhinged.  Here is a link to a fantastic infographic on creating good content for a blog.

Pin It

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Handy post by The Thinking Closet on tips for new bloggers - and, in my opinion, not so new as well.

Today I am giving you a link to a post by the The Thinking Closet called "10 tips for new bloggers".  I thought it contained very sound advice - even for some of us 1 year old bloggers!  This is the link

Pin It

Monday, 12 November 2012

No pic following

Today's post is about how you appear as a follower on the blogs you follow.  I have noticed that some followers don't have any picture on their icon but just a silhouette outline of a head.  Now it might be that they are just shy.

However, Google in its infinite wisdom lists followers without images last in its follower lists.  So when a no pic follower signs up to follow you, you will see your follower number has gone up but unless you click right through to the end of your list of followers you won't be able to see who it is.

If you are a "no pic" follower, I suggest that you do go into your Google profile and add an image.  It doesn't have to be a photo of you.  It can be anything.  I have a water scene on my own one rather than a photo.

It is easy to change to being a Pic Follower.  Just go to your profile - one easy way to do that is to go to a site you follow and sign in .  Your icon will then come up and, if you click it, you will go to your profile - up the top right you will see "settings".  Click on that and you will be able to edit your profile including putting in an image.

Just make sure you crop or resize your image so that it will be accepted.  You can't use large image files for this.  Good luck.
Pin It

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Here's a link to a tutorial on making personalised social media buttons

This is a link to a tutorial about making social media buttons from a blog I follow called Charlies and Harry's Daddy.  It seems pretty clearly explained - although I haven't done it myself yet so can't say it works for sure!

Pin It

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Do you really know how many followers you have?

I don't think it is possible to be precise about how many followers your blog has and who they are.  If someone is following you by GFC (ie Google Friend Connect) then you will see their name in the list of followers – either by clicking their thumbnail in your sidebar or clicking Followers in your Overview page on your Blogger Dashboard.  So you do know how many followers you have on GFC.  It is not always easy to tie the follower's name up to their blog – sometimes they don't have a link in their profile.  And of course, some of those followers may not have their own blogs.

But it took me ages to realize that there can be people following your blog that you have to go looking for.  When I learned that you can easily check how many people are following you on Google Reader, I was stunned to find that there were just as many following that way as by GFC.

To check how many are following you, just add your own blog to the blogs you follow by Google Reader – if you are using Chrome, you just click on the big Google Reader icon on the right of the page and then click the red subscribe button in the left subscribe bar.  Just pop your home page url into the box that pops up and click add

You can then go to your blog's name in the list in the sidebar, click it and your posts will show up.   At the top under the search box on the right you will see a box called "Feed Settings". Click that and then click View details and settings in the drop down box.  This will then show you information which includes the number of subscribers.

You can check out how many subscribers other blogs have this way too – should you be so inclined.

I have yet to find an easy way to check how many people follow by email.  If anyone knows could you please comment about it. 

Pin It

Monday, 5 November 2012

Do you make it easy for people to follow you back?

If you are participating in blog hops - which are good at generating new followers, you need to make it easy for people to follow you back.  Just putting your blog name into the comment doesn't do it - unless you code it as a link. (Click here if you want to know how to do that).

When I click on the name of the person who has left me the comment that they are following, or on their thumbnail in Bloggers followers page, it is frustrating to find that the person's blog isn't listed and linked in.  Do check your Blogger and Google profiles to make it easier for people to follow back.

Pin It

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Do you have trouble typing in those pesky "prove you are not a robot" things?

How the heck are you supposed to read that number!  And this is blown up a bit too!
Do you have trouble typing in those pesky "prove you are not a robot" things?  I especially have trouble with the blurry number photo part.  I'm not sure why people persist with having word verification turned on - but have come to accept that this will be the way it is - at least until Blogger stops making that the default setting.

One thing that I have found helpful is to enlarge the image - the easy way to do this is just to hit Control +.  You can do it a number of times and each time the page will zoom in until you can see it.

When you have finished you just hit Control - and it will zoom out again.

Pin It