Monday, 14 October 2013

Here's an article you may be interested in

If you would like to find out when people pin things from your blog you will be interested in this 
Article about Pinterest notifications by Kludgy Mom!  EnjoyPin It

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Here's a link to a fantastic Picmonkey tutorial!

If you want to make images for your blog like this, just head on over to this great tutorial over at A Typical English Home.  This gave me the push I needed to get more creative.

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Thursday, 19 September 2013

Taking a screen shot and putting it into a post

The snippet above is part of an old screen shot of my main blog, Carole's Chatter. I posted about this ages ago - before this little blog had any followers so I thought it might be helpful for you.

The screen shot can be of anything you like.

First, you probably all know how to do a screenshot - I didn't - probably one of the last few in the Western World! But just in case, for most pc's you will find a button labelled "Print Screen" just above the "Insert" key in the block of buttons to the right of the main keyboard. On my laptop it is the row of buttons at the top just to the right of F12 and is labelled "prt sc". On some laptops you might need to push the function or shift button at the same time to get to it.

Now, it doesn't actually print the screen - it saves it to your clipboard. Then you need to crop it to just show the bit you want to copy in to your blog. There are probably heaps of different ways you can do this but I did this (sorry Mac users I don't know if you can do it like this):

Open Paint. You will find this by clicking the Windows icon right at the bottom right of your screen. Then click All Programs, then scroll down to Accessories and you will find Paint listed there. I actually dragged it onto my bottom toolbar so I can get to it quickly each time I want to use it.

Then click Paste - at the top left and bingo, your screenshot will appear. Then you have to select the area you want to copy. I found the best way to do this was to click select (just a bit to the right from paste) and then click free form selection and then go back and click rectangular selection - for some reason this makes selecting easier. You then click at the top right of the part you want to copy and drag it diagonally until you have it all in the box. Then click Crop (which is one to the right of Select).

Then all you do is go to the Blue tab above paste and click on the little arrow beside it and it will give you an option to Save As - save it in whatever folder you want (I now have one called Blog Tips).

Then you just insert it into your post the way you would any image.

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Friday, 13 September 2013

Some Favourite Blog Names

Just for a bit of fun I thought I would share with you some of my favourite blog names.  I would like to hear from you about yours, too!

Give Peas a Chance – a food blog with a lovely allusion to the Beatles number – Give Peace a Chance – always makes me smile.

There's Always Thyme to Cook – another word play makes this name memorable.

Annie One Can Cook – fantastic!

I Believe I Can Fry – would you believe it took me a while to get the musical reference!  Fun!

Given to Distracting Others – reminds me of some of my own school reports!

Vanilla Clouds and Lemon Drops – just conjures up lovely images

Jarrah Junglenice alliteration – and Jarrah is an Australian wood – great name for an Aussie blog.

Ms. En Place great name for a food blog  - word play on the restaurant term – mise en place

Or Until Golden Brown – great allusion to what many recipes say about cooking times!

Between the Coversclever name for a book blog although I suspect it gets some hits for quite different reasons!

Killer Bunnies – why is this in the list – well I just think it is such a quirky name for a vegetarian food blog.

I have linked the name of each of these blogs to their homepages so you can check them out easily if you would like to.

If only I had put as much thought into my main blog name – which is pretty bland – but I'm not going to change it!  I've grown accustomed to its face  name!

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Monday, 26 August 2013

14 Do's and Don'ts of Blogging

I thought this article by Modern Mint Designs, about 14 do's and dont's of Blogging was worth a read.  Hope you agree!

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Monday, 19 August 2013

Is watermarking your photos a waste of time?

I have just read this article on Pro Food Blogger called "Why I Stopped Watermarking My Food Photographs".  It certainly gave me food for thought.  What do you think - will you stop?

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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

4 Reasons why Bloglovin is my new Bestie

I am now so glad that Google forced me off Google Reader – I was annoyed at the time but really Bloglovin is a much better option for me.  This is for 4 main reasons:
One -     It's easy to group and read the blogs I follow – I am keeping up with them much better.

Two -   When you look at a post via Bloglovin, that blog gets a page view – this didn't happen either on Google Reader or when looking at a post in your Blogger Dashboard.

Three - Bloglovin emails me every time a new follower signs up to follow – so I can then check their blog out and follow them right on back.  You need to set this up in your settings – you can choose other notifications as well.

Four - Bloglovin also helps you find new blogs to follow.  If someone you follow is on Bloglovin you can see who else they follow or who is following them.  And you can also look at popular posts or blog types or use the search function.

I do find Bloglovin to be a bit slow at times.  Hopefully they will sort that out.

Ps  It is sad that Recipenewz has disappeared – hopefully it will either come back or someone else will set up another site like it!

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Saturday, 10 August 2013

Thursday, 25 July 2013

A simple Blogger tip by A Typical English Home for you today

A Typical English Home has done a tutorial on how to change the message in your comment form.  If you haven't done this before I recommend that you have a look at the post.  It's easy to do.
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Sunday, 21 July 2013

7 Things That Should be on Every Home Page

Before getting to the list, I must say that this is just my view.  And as you all know I am only in my second year of blogging and am still very much learning.
So here is my list:
1.   A contact page where your email address can be easily located – or put it directly into your sidebar.  Lots of people prefer to comment via email (avoids all the ghastly captcha stuff for one thing).  I have posted about this here. 
2.   A search box – people will often want to search for topics/recipes etc that interest them.  Make sure the search box is towards the top of your page.  Go to this post for more on this.
3.   A list of popular posts (including thumbnails) – I use the most popular for the month rather than all time.  Here is a post I did on this.  
4.   Big clear follow me options.  My current fave is Bloglovin but I also have a GFC widget and email etc.
5.   Short blog list of blogs you like – don't let it default to being a list of every blog you follow – that will slow the loading of your page and clutter your home page up.  I select a small number of book and food blogs to feature each week.  (There is no quid pro quo for this – I just like to share blogs I enjoy with my readers) Go here to see more about this.
6.   Restrict the number of posts that will show up on your home page to 6 or less.  Again your blog will load more quickly.
7.  If you are in to Pinterest (and most of us are), put a link to some of your important boards into your sidebar.
Other people will add that you have to have a good detailed About Me page – I don't happen to agree – but it is entirely a matter of personal taste.  I want the substance of the blog to speak for itself and for my readers to get to know the way I think that way.

Finally, although this is not about your home page – I can't help myself.  Please kill the captcha/word verification/prove you are not a robot stuff.  Nothing will put your readers off from commenting more.  If you are on Blogger and want to know how to kill it, go to this post   

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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Spam – not the stuff you eat!

We all hate those spammy comments, right?  In fact I got so annoyed that I killed them by only allowing comments by registered users.  I posted about it here.

But I have noticed that some readers have been having trouble leaving comments as a result.  I suspect it might be a Google/Wordpress thing. So, for now, I have reset the settings so anyone can comment and will see how that goes.

Another thing I discovered is that some perfectly legitimate comments get put into my spam comments folder – I thought that because I moderate comments that all comments would go there first.  But no!  So I recommend that you check your spam folder on your Blogger dashboard every few days.

If you find a comment or two from me there about Food on Fridays, please do still link in even though time has passed.  If you leave me a comment I will be sure to visit and pin your dish onto the relevant Pinboard so everyone can see it.
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Friday, 12 July 2013

Sick of being rejected by Foodgawker?

Update as at 30 July - it looks like Recipe Newz has stopped operating - no reason given.  Very sad!
If you are sick of trying to have your recipe posts accepted by Foodgawker, you might like to try Recipenewz

Once you are registered with them (it's free) you can submit your recipes and they will show up on the site shortly afterwards.  I've already done 4 or 5 and found it easy to do and am already seeing much more traffic as a result.

I find the quality of the food shown on Recipenewz every bit as good as Foodgawker – the only difference I have noticed is that the site is a little slower to load when you click on a picture to go to the post.

Hope you find this helpful, too!
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Monday, 8 July 2013

Make your own cheap lightbox

I've finally done it – made my own lightbox – and it cost me practically nothing.  I got the idea from this BeBetsey post so for more technical details you can go over there.

The pic above is the first one taken in the light box with no artificial light.  The one below was taken in the same light without the light box.  What do you think?  Neither of the photos has been fixed (other than cropping).

Here are some pics of my lightbox.  You can see I used a box (left over from a shift some years ago), some white card for the interior and 2 large sheets of white tissue paper to tape across the holes I made in the top and the sides of the box.

PS  When I say I made the lightbox, it would be more technically correct to say that my better half did most of it – he is much more patient at getting the details right than I am!
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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Tip to make Pinning easy and effective

Pinterest tip

Now, you may all know this already but I discovered by accident (after months of doing it the hard way) that if you just highlight the title of the post/recipe/book review and then push the Pin it button on your toolbar the words you highlighted will turn up in the text box of your Pin – you don't even have to copy and paste them.

Clever, clever Pinterest just knows that's the description you want with your Pin.  If you don't highlight anything Pinterest will grab the title (whether visible or not) of the photo. 

So if you want to make pinning really easy for people, you need to label each photo with something meaningful – ie not IMGxxxx etc.  You don't have to do this by putting on a caption – I just click the pic and then Properties .  Then there are 2 boxes – I put the title of the post into the one called Alt Text and then click ok.  This doesn't just help with Pinning – it also improves your overall SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
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Thursday, 13 June 2013

Get started with Bloglovin' right now!

Ok, it's official - I am a complete convert to Bloglovin'.  I thought I would never recover from the imminent loss of Google Reader - but what do you know - I like Bloglovin better!

It was easy to sign up and very easy to transfer my Google Reader blogs over to Bloglovin.  Everyone needs to do this (with Bloglovin or someone else) - within the 3 weeks left until Google Reader disappears for ever.

The things I really like about Bloglovin include:

  • They send you an email every time someone follows you so it is really easy to check if you are already following them and to follow them back if you aren't
  • When you use Bloglovin to read posts, the blog you are reading gets a pageview out of it - this did not happen in Google Reader (I have noticed an uplift in my own pageviews which I suspect is because of this)
  • It is very easy to keep up with blogs you follow - I have put them into different folders so I can quickly go to want I want.  Whereas with Google Reader I never seemed to catch up I am now finding it much easier to manage.
So don't delay - make the change - you won't regret it.

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Monday, 10 June 2013

Tips for using PicMonkey

Plucky's Second Thought has been running a whole lot of guest posts with great Blog Tips.  This one is full of ways to use PicMonkey to make your Blog banner or photos pop.

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Monday, 3 June 2013

I need to improve my food photography - this article was great

This article on Sally's Baking Addiction is truly fantastic.  If you want to improve your food photography you should have a look at it.

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Thursday, 30 May 2013

Monday, 20 May 2013

An article for you on using Gmail shortcuts

Blogelina has posted an article called "37+ GMail Keyboard Shortcuts – Use These Tricks To Email More Efficiently!"  I don't use many of these shortcuts but am going to try out a few as a result of having read this.
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Thursday, 16 May 2013

How to verify your blog for Pinterest

I found this article about how to verify your blog for the purposes of your Pinterest account - it worked for me - but I must say I am always terrified any time I have to go into the template section of the dashboard!

I will also be keeping an eye out for any good basic guides about Pinterest for you.  If you know of any please just let me know.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Testing a replacement for Google Reader – Bloglovin

I have now signed up for Bloglovin and have imported all my Google Reader Feeds into it – this only requires a single click to do (although it did take a while). I am going to run both readers in parallel for a while to judge whether Bloglovin is the best alternative for me.  I'll let you know how it is going.

It was easy to put the follower widget onto my sidebars, so that worked well.

At this stage I can't figure out how to get a more compact view – apparently there is a way to change your view settings – but do you think I can find it?  Anyone out there know what to do?