Blogger Tips & Tricks: How to Add Social Media Icons to Your Blog

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Since I just posted some freebie icons in my new Fun Stuff for Your Blog feature I thought I should do a short tutorial on how to add those to your site as well. If you have any questions feel free to ask.

First, you need to upload your new icons to a image hosting site like Photobucket. Next add a HTML/Javescript gadget to your sidebar. Then your going to copy and paste this code below into your the gadget:

<a href="YOUR URL" target="_blank"><img border="0" alt="SITE NAME" src="DIRECT IMAGE LINK" /></a>

Your going to have to include your info in those spots. For the site URL you need to put the link to your profile. For example: https://twitter.com/Loriimagination

For what site is you would put Twitter. Then for the image URL you get the direct link that the image hosting site gave you. The finished code will look like this (except with your links)

<a href="https://twitter.com/#!/SouthernBBs" target="_blank"><img border="0" alt="Twitter" src="http://i913.photobucket.com/albums/ac339/Loriimagination/southern/sbbtwitter.jpg" /></a>

You’re going to repeat that for every icon that you want to add (all in the same gadget). You will just add in your links for all the different sites you want, like Facebook, Goodreads etc.

The last thing you want to do is center them. It makes the look better most of the time. So at the very beginning of your codes put this <center> and at the very end put this </center>.

Save and you will will have some icons on your site!

Blogger Tips & Tricks: How to Schedule a Facebook Post

How to schedule a Facebook postI’ve been doing a few improvements around the blog lately, or at least trying to. One thing that bugged me was posting to my Facebook page. I definitely felt like I was utilizing my page. I know some people argue that FB pages are semi useless these days, but I’d still like to use it to the best of its ability. My biggest problem is that I’m usually online very early in the morning. If I post about my newest review on Facebook at 7 in the morning it’s not going to be seen by lots of people. I thought….I wonder if you can schedule a FB status. Turns out you can and it’s really simple. This solved all my problems so I thought I’d share it with you guys. Especially the little button that you click to schedule has always been there and I just never paid attention to it. Maybe you aren’t paying attention to it either. Here’s how you schedule Facebook post for later:

how to schedule facebook posts for later

Go to your Facebook Page and write/link whatever you want to say. Then click the little clock on the bottom left.

Then fill out the info for the year, month, date, and time. Click Schedule and you’re done!

How to schedule a Facebook Post
I hope that nifty little trick helps you guys out as well!

Blogger Tips & Tricks: Adding a Header Image to Your Twitter Profile

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Some of you may have already noticed, but I just thought I’d alert you to the fact that you can now add a header image to your Twitter profile! It’s super easy and it seems like most normal sized pictures are fitting in there well. If you’re savvy with these kinds of things and want to make your own the dimensions are 1200 pixels x 600 pixels. Here’s how you add your fancy new header.

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Go to Settings then Design.

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At the bottom of that page it says Customize Your Own. The first option if Change Header. Click that upload your image and save. That’s it! Now you have a pretty picture!

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Blogger Tips & Tricks: Give your subscribers a great reading experience

 

This blogger tips & tricks is in two parts. Part 1 is all about your Feed Reader’s experience and part 2 is about a new WordPress Plugin I’ve found.

Most of us bloggers probably use Google Reader, right? I know I do and I would be completely lost without it. What I really want to talk about today though is being conscious of what your feed looks like to others.

There are a few things that can make your RSS readers experience better and most of you are probably already doing them but here are just a few tips just in case:

  • Make sure you have full feed turned on.

It’s so easy to just skip right over shortened posts or snippets in Google Reader. To make ensure that your entire posts are showing do this:

  • Don’t use a light colored font in your post.

If you change the color of your text within the post area, chances are that it’s showing up that color in your feed. It probably looks great on your blog but it might be unreadable in rss readers. There’s no super simple alternative to this except…don’t change it. But if you have your entire blog’s text color set to a light color (within your Template designer) then it usually automatically changes it for your feed. This brings me to my most important tip…

  • Follow yourself!

You’re never going to know what it looks like unless you see it yourself. So I definitely recommend subscribing to your blog via Google Reader and email. That way you can always see if there’s something amiss.

  • Put your subscription links on the sidebar.

Blogger makes this super easy. Just add the Follow by Email and Subscription Links gadgets. That way your reader can easily add you to their favorite readers or inbox.

New WordPress Plugin That I Adore:

Easy Content Template! I love this plugin! If you aren’t using it you should be. It gives you the ability to save ‘Templates’ ie. things you write in lots of posts. In my case I use it for my review info, my WoW credits, my Top Ten Tuesday credits etc. Anyway, you save the text and/or images that you want, you name it, you publish it and then it shows up in a nifty little drop down box and your posts page. All you do after that is select which one you want to use and it will show up in your posts. That means you never, ever have to type the same things over and over!

I hope you found this mildly helpful. You can see more tips and tricks here. If their is anything in particular you would like me to talk about just let me know.

 

Blogger Tips & Tricks: WordPress Plugins

I did a post last week about why I moved to WordPress and my experience with it so far. I can tell you that my experience is definitely positive. I love WP and I couldn’t think of being back on Blogger now. My #1 reason for loving it so much is Plugins! That’s what this whole post is dedicated to.

If you’re wondering what a plugin is:

I’m going to start off with an explanation of what a plugin is. I think a lot of non-WP users aren’t clear on what they are. I couldn’t find a definition of Plugin that wasn’t super confusing so…here’s my definition:

A WordPress Plugin is basically something you download that extents the ability of your blog. You find a Plugin you want, you install it, and like magic it’s doing the work for you. The easiest thing that I can think to compare it to it Linkwithin for Blogger. Most of us use that and it’s the most comparable thing on Blogger. Except there are thousands of WP Plugins. Just about everything that you can imagine.
See WordPress Codex for the confusing definition.

How does a Plugin work, you may be wondering? Well, it’s really simple. There’s a Plugins section on the dashboard. You go there and you search for the plugin you want or you can browse the popular ones. Once you’ve found what you want you click install. Then you have to activate it and depending on the Plugin sometimes you have to go to its settings and set it up how you want. The majority of them as really simple and make life so much easier.

If you’re still a little confused maybe this will help. Here’s a list of my favorite Plugins and what they do. Listing my Plugins was inspired by this awesome post at Miss Remmers Reviews.

The Must Haves:

  • FD Feedburner — This one will redirect your feed links to your feedburner link. Which is very, very awesome.
  • Broken Link Checker — After switching, lots of my links were broken and this nifty little Plugin will find those broken links and list them for you. It even checks your comments.
  • Akismet — This is spam protection, so obviously it’s s must!
  • WPtouch — Makes your blog mobile!
  • Jetpack — This opens up many more options for widgets and such.

The Fun Stuff:

  • All in One Favicon — Easily set a favicon for your blog and your dashboard!
  • Share Buttons & the Pin It Plugin — Add the buttons to all of your posts in just a couple of steps.
  • CommentLuv — You’ve all seen this right? This is the one that picks up on your feed when you comment and adds your newest post link in!
  • Comment Reply Notification — This one will email your reply to the original commenter!
  • Duplicate Post — This will set up a new draft for you using the same template as the original post. This is super helpful for posts that are the same or mostly the same every week. Like my Saturday Situation posts.
  • Tweet Old Post — This will randomly tweet old post links for you. You do have to set it up to not post certain things, but I really love it!
  • WordPress Editorial Calender — See all you posts in a calender format and drag and drop them to the days you want. I love this one!
  • Thank You — I have this but I haven’t set it up yet. The first time someone comments on your blog it takes them to a special Thank You page that you set to say whatever you want.

The Plugins You Need:

  • All on One Webmaster — This one is just awesomeness. You can add all of you stat tracking sites without having to add something to your coding. Like Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Sitemeter etc.
  • SEO by Yoast– I started out using this one, but now my StudioPress theme has SEO built in. This is a fantastic option for SEO.
  • WordPress DB Manager — This one backs up your database on a schedule set by you and then emails it to you. It’s so, so important to have a backup!

Some of the SEO and Webmaster ones can me a little hard to set up, but I always just Google and find a tutorial. There’s endless ones! For the most, though, they are super easy to set up and make blogging so much easier.

I hope that gave you a better understanding of Plugins! If you’re a WP user, what are some of your favorites?

Blogger Tips & Tricks: What’s a the fuss about WordPress?

I’ve been on WordPress for 4 months now and I really wanted to take the time to let y’all know about my experience with it. Some of you may be thinking about making the move and I hope some of this might help you one way or another.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that lots of bloggers made the move to WordPress in the last few months. It all started with the treat that Blogger could delete your blog any time they wanted to, but for lots of bloggers, including myself, it was just time to make the switch. I’m going to try to explain my reasons and why people keep saying ‘WordPress is just better’.

Firstly, I think the .com vs .org thing confuses lots of people. I know I was confused at first. WordPress.com is a free blogging platform, like Blogger. WordPress.org is for self-hosted blogs. Meaning you have to have a hosting account and pay a yearly fee for your hosting. You then own your blog and have complete control over everything. In my humble opinion there’s no point in switching to WP unless you self host. Here’s why: WordPress.com is fantastic but it’s limited. There’s tons of fabulous options but there’s tons of fabulous options on Blogger. The big deal breaker for me is that WordPress.com doesn’t allow you to customize your design html easily and there’s no plugins on the .com site. Some might think that WordPress.com is still better than Blogger but I honestly don’t think it’s worth the hassle of switching. Self-hosting is definitely worth it.

So why switch?

  • The SEO options are amazing. I’m still learning but I’m really in love with them. I know Blogger has SEO options now but I haven’t looked into it. I can’t imagine that it would be as extensive as some of the WP plugins.
  • Plugins, plugins, plugins. When I switched I really didn’t comprehend the awesomeness that is plugins. It’s really became my most loved thing about WP. Imagine just downloading something that will do all the work for you. It’s incredible and if you have no other reasons for switching, plugins should be enough reason. Stay tuned next week for a post all about plugins!
  • Design aspects. There’s so, so much more.

Why I switched:

  • I’ve been blogging for 3.5 years and it was really just time to grow my blog in ways that Blogger wouldn’t allow.
  • I wanted to learn how to do WP design….and for that I needed a WP site.

Really, that’s all. Looking back it was maybe a rash decision that just happened to work out very well. I couldn’t be more pleased with WP. It’s definitely not for everyone. If you’re more of a casual, post once or twice a week blogger than a free site is probably a better answer for you, but if you want to grow your blog and get nearly limitless options then you should look into self-hosting.

 

If you have any questions about WP feel free to ask away!

 

Top Ten Tips For New Bloggers

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the awesome people at The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s topic is: Top Ten Tips For New Book Bloggers

1. Captcha is not your friend.
Honestly, it’s not. You should consider it your enemy. I did a post about why you don’t even need it.

2. Twitter is your friend.
Join Twitter and use it for more than just posting links. Talk to people, discuss things, make friends.

3. There’s a fine line between spam and promotion. Tread softly.
Spamming people’s comments with links to all of your WoW’s, IMM’S, TTT’s, and giveaways of the past month is spamming. Posting you links to your TTT post on my TTT post is fine, but posting links to your current giveaway on one of my reviews drives me crazy.

4. Do memes but not all of them, everyday.
You have to have real content, but memes are a fantastic way to get your foot in the door. Find out which ones you like and participate regularly. But make sure you have plenty of other content besides memes.

5. The drama is only temporary.
Drama happens and it seems like lately lots of drama has happened. I know that it can be discouraging to new bloggers, but it usually blows over quickly and it’s best to just ignore it.

6. Designs are important.
Your blog design is important. I think if you have a nice, user friendly design people are more likely to visit you.

7. ARCs are not everything.
Really, they aren’t. They made seem like the holy grail of book blogging but with them comes responsibility and sometimes stress. Don’t get in over your head and try not to feel left out or jealous when other get ARCs.  Remember that that book will be released eventually and you’ll get to read it then.

8. Network, network, network.
Comment on other blogs! Make friends! We’re all here to discuss books anyway.

9. Don’t bug authors.
More than likely they cannot send you an ARC of their book and you are probably the 800th person that’s asked.So instead of bugging the author do a little research on who to contact at the publisher.

10. Have FUN!
This is what it’s all about! Sometimes it’s easy to forget that.

For lots, and lots of really helpful advice visit The Story Siren and Presenting Lenore.