Saturday, 30 March 2013

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Getting Your Gmail Inbox Under Control

I don't know  about you but I got a bit tired of having my inbox full of linky party invites.  But because I have participated in those parties I didn't want to ask to be taken off the list or to mark them as spam (which has nasty consequences).

So to manage the invites more efficiently I found out that gmail lets you apply a filter that will send those invites directly to a special folder without going through your inbox.  They are still there so you can check what parties are running.

To apply a filter just click on the email and go to the More tab at the top.  When you click it, you get a number of options.  The second to last one is "Filter messages like this"

Then copy into the has the words box the name of the linky party.  Then click "create filter with this search" (in blue at the bottom right).

You need to click "skip the inbox" and "apply the label" – the first time you do this you will also need to give a name to the folder such as "Linky Party Invites".

Then click create filter – and every future linky party invite from that party will bypass your inbox and go straight to your special folder.
This might seem like a lot of work – but once you have done it your inbox will be just beautifully uncluttered again!

PS  I know that I do send out invites for Food on Friday and Books You Loved to people who follow my blog and/or have linked up before.  I have worried about doing that but most people seem to appreciate it.  If you do want a rest from it, either just let me know and I'll sort it for you or you could filter the reminders!

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Thursday, 21 March 2013

Here's a link to a tutorial on how to add an image to your header

Bonnie at A Little Unhinged  has done a good tutorial on how to add an image to your header.  I haven't tried doing this yet but should.  I like what she has done with her header.  Click here to go to her tutorial.

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Monday, 18 March 2013

The shocking news about Google Reader - tell them if you are upset about it

I'm sure many of you are just as appalled as I was to see that Google is going to "retire" Google Reader - what!!!

I don't know what I'll do as an alternative yet and will be looking out for some good advice.

In the meantime, I have signed up to the 2 petitions to save it - one on and the other on

I have also put messages on Google's forums.

While I don't have a lot of hope that Google will relent, it would be great if you also expressed your views as Google users.

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Friday, 15 March 2013

Google Search Tips

OK - I am no expert on techho things. But I thought you might be interested in a few easy tips for improving your Google search results. I poked around on the net to find an article for you but the ones I found were very geeky. So here goes, in my own words.

  • If you want Google to only find sites with a particular word in them put + followed immediately by the word eg +search

  • If you want Google to find you sites with a particular phrase, put that phrase between quote marks eg "searching Google"

  • If you are getting too many results that are irrelevant you could try adding a word or words for Google to exclude. You do this by putting a minus sign directly before the word eg if you wanted results about Searching Google that didn't include SEO information you would put "Searching Google" -SEO

  • My last tip, is about using what is called a tilde (who knew). I found it on the keyboard on the left hand side just above Tab. It looks like this ~ . This is a really useful one - if you put it before a word you are searching Google won't just search that particular word but all other words that it believes means the same. So if you were searching for "can opener" for instance if you put ~can opener, Google would also look for tin opener.

Happy searching. And apologies to all of you for whom this is old hat.

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Saturday, 9 March 2013

Google removed your blog - don't panic straight away

Google (Blogger) has on about 4 occasions now put up a message saying that it has removed my blog!  After some major stress I have discovered that they do this when there is unusual traffic to your site apparently with the motive of protecting your blog!

The best thing to do if this happens to you is first and foremost to log in to your Blogger Dashboard.  I used to do that by clicking the little B at the top of my home page but that isn't there of course if you get the removal message.  So I have now put my dashboard onto my favourites bar.  When you do click on it, it will ask you to log in and then will ask for a captcha to be completed plus your password again.  On each occasion this has restored the blog - which can be seen by the world again.

This is an absolute pain - particularly if you are in the middle of a linky party.  Once I was off the air for almost 12 hours because it happened around bed time and I didn't know until the next morning.  Arggghh!

If you ever get that message, it would be fantastic if you emailed me to let me know!

I guess I shouldn't be too critical of Google and Blogger - it is a free service after all!

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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

How do you reward your loyal supporters?

I was nominated for an award today and that got me thinking about the ways available to us to show our loyal supporters how much we appreciate them.  I'm not sure my approach to this is the best I can do so I would love to get your ideas on the topic.

Currently, my approach is to acknowledge my supporters in the following ways:

1.    Visiting their blog and leaving a comment (this is visible to everyone who visits which is why I choose this method rather than an email)

2.     Doing showcase/features posts from links submitted to Food on Friday, Books You Loved and Your Favourite.  I try to put a short explanation of why I chose to feature their entry.  I also visit their blog to let them know they have been showcased.

3.    I have 3 featured blog lists – food blogs, book blogs and personal blogs.  I do a new list each month for food and book and each second month for the personal blogs.  Every time I update these I let the newly featured blogs know.

4.    Visit your supporters blogs and click on any ads they have up that you are interested in and/or Google+ their interesting posts and/or Stumble their post.  The ads might generate a bit of income and the Google+ improves their SEO a bit.  Let them know you have done this by commenting.

5.     If you see an interesting post, you might like to link to it from your blog so that more people will see it.  I do this mostly on my Blog Tips blog.

6.     If you participate in linky parties, put the party's button onto your blog.  I have now created a Link Ups page for this.

7.     Do a thank you post to all your followers on important anniversaries and milestones.

8.     As you know I post a daily cryptic crossword clue.  While this is pretty niche, I do like to give a shout out to the first person who solves the clue (and comments).

One thing I haven't been doing is participating in awards or button swaps.  I also haven't run any giveaways.  To be honest I am not sure how to start.  Being in New Zealand I very rarely qualify to enter giveaways and so don't really understand how they work.  If anyone has posted about this I would love to know.

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Saturday, 2 March 2013

The power of a fantastic graphic

Today I just wanted to show you the type of fantastic graphics that Justin Gilbert does in his blog Behind the Bites.  Click here to go to his blog and see more.  I have no idea how he does this - it is just so clever!

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