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Update: This post was written in 2009 when I was still blogging on Blogger. Much of the information below is still timely/helpful, but some things will have changed and no longer be relevant.
Don’t tell anyone, but today I’m sharing some of my blogging secrets with you…but only you. We can’t let everyone know, because then their blogs might be as fancy as ours. So this is just between you and me…got it? Ok, here goes…hope you enjoy this post and hopefully it will answer some of the questions you’ve been asking.
Blogger has a brand new Post Editor…it is similar to Live Writer…read all about it HERE. If you would like to switch and start using the new post editor, go to your Dashboard, Click on “Settings” and under “Basic Settings” just scroll down until you see the option “Updated Editor.” It sounds much more user friendly!
How to create a link in your post that will take your readers to another blog, website or maybe to an older post of yours when they click on a single word or phrase:
Example: To see more great tablescapes, visit Between Naps on the Porch. If you wanted to make the words, Between Naps on the Porch, in the above sentence act as a link, so when someone clicked on it they would be taken to the BNOTP blog, here’s how to do it:
While creating your post in the “compose” screen, highlight the word or words that you want to act as the link…in the above case it’s “Between Naps on the Porch.” Once the words are highlighted, click on the icon that looks like a world…or some folks would say it looks like a frog’s face. A box will pop up. Erase the writing that is in the box and copy and paste the URL or web address for the site or post you are linking to….in this case, it would be the blog address for Between Naps on the Porch.
Then click “ok” and you should have your link. If it’s one of your older posts you are linking to, you just bring that post up in a separate screen and copy and paste the address that’s visible in the address bar into the box that popped up. Once you have the address copied and pasted into the box that popped up, click on “ok” and you should have your link.
How to participate in a blog party (like Metamorphosis Monday or Tablescape Thursday) that is using Mr. Linky:
It’s super easy to sign up via InLinkz by following these simple steps:
After you have “published” your MM or TT post to your blog, stop by BNOTP blog and scroll down to the end of my MM or TT post where you’ll find InLinkz awaiting your link. Just follow the directions that will pop up as you enter your information. Please be sure to put your PERMALINK in the sign up box and not your general blog address.
What’s a permalink? A permlink is the direct link to your post, as opposed to your general blog address. It’s important to always add your permalink to InLinkz when signing up to participate in a blog party. Why? Because if someone visits BNOTP days later and clicks on your link, they will be taken directly to your MM or TT post instead of having to search back through all your posts in search of your MM or TT post.
There are two ways to get your permalink. One way is to click on the title of your MM or TT post, then copy and paste the URL address showing in the address field at the top, into the InLinkz box when it asked for your link.
Click on “Enter” and you are all done!
The second way to get your Permalink is to right click on the title of your MM or TT post, select “copy shortcut” and then paste this link into the URL box on the Mr. Linky sign-up. These two methods for getting your Permalink will work for any blog party you are participating in across Blogland.
To add an object or picture to your sidebar:
First go your Dashboard, Click on “Layout,” Click on “Add a Gadget” and then select the item or “gadget” you wish to add from the long list that pops up.
How to add a button or logo like the Tablescape Thursday or Metamorphosis Monday button, to your sidebar:
How to add the MM or TT button to your MM or TT post:
You can copy and paste the html code that you’ll find under the MM or TT button on my sidebar, into your post when you are creating your post. You will need to switch over to the “edit html” screen (not the “compose” screen) to add it using the html code. OR, if you prefer, you can just copy and paste the logo button to your desktop, just like you would a photo or picture and then upload it to your post like you would any other picture.
The program I use to create a mosaic:
I use Picasa, but there are several programs out there that can be used to create mosaics or collages. Whenever you load pics to a post on your blog, those pics are stored in Google’s online Web Album called Picasa…at least that’s the way I understand it. I had been blogging for a couple of months before I realized this.
Anyway, Picasa offers a lot of neat “things” to do with your photos, one of which is creating a collage or mosaic. Click HERE to go to Picasa. OR, just go to your Dashboard, Click on “My Account” and you should see your Picasa Web Album in the list of products. You will need to download Picasa to your computer in order to take advantage of this free feature.
Laurie (Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie) did an excellent tutorial about Photoscape…click HERE for her post.
Fastest, easiest way to access your Google Blogger Dashboard from any blog:
Click on the orange “B” in the upper left corner of any blog.
The camera I use…and a few tips from an amateur (that being me) on how to take pics for blog posts:
First let me say, I am not a professional photographer. The tips I am about to share with you are what I find works for me. I hope you will find them helpful, but you may not. Just take what you can use and discard the rest.
I am frequently asked what camera I use to take the pics you see posted at BNOTP. I used to use an older Olympus camera up until a couple of months ago. Recently I have been using a newer camera, a Nikon D40. Update: As of December 2011, I’m shooting with a Nikon D7000.
1. The most important tip I can share for taking pics: NEVER, EVER USE A FLASH, NO MATTER WHAT. Let me repeat that, NEVER, EVER USE A FLASH, NO MATTER WHAT. Flashes suck the life right out of a pic…it makes them feel cold and flat.
Raise the blinds, throw back the curtains, open the shutters, turn on ALL the lamps in the room, bring in lamps from other rooms, turn on the lights in the adjacent rooms, light lots of candles on your tablescape…do whatever you need to do to create a lot of natural or indirect lighting in the room where you are taking your pictures. Just don’t use the flash. Basically, forget your camera has a flash…no kidding.
The flash on my camera will automatically pop up if I don’t have it on the correct setting, so get out your manual and it will tell you where to turn the knob so you disable the flash.
2. Invest in the best digital camera you can afford and handle. The better cameras will take pretty decent pics in low lighting. Also, I was pleasantly surprised at how much more of the room you can capture when taking pics with the nicer cameras. The good news is, you can get a great quality digital camera for not a lot of money these days. The Nikon D40 that I have is an SLR, which is supposed to be a good thing. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t have what they call, “Live View.”
They now have SLR cameras on the market that do have “Live View.” Don’t want to get too technical here, but read up on SLR cameras and Live View before you go camera shopping.
3. Take A LOT of pics. When you are taking pics and not using a flash, some will be good and many will be bad/blurry. I take lots of pics, download them to my computer and then delete the blurry or bad ones. I may take a 100 pics to get 20-25 I like. Yep, I really do.
4. Use a tripod when you can. When you are taking pics in low lighting and without a flash, the shutter speed is much slower and any movement at all will cause the pic to be blurry. Some folks use a tripod. I’ve never used one, but I am thinking of buying one. A tripod may not be practical to use if you are taking pics at unusual angles, (like tablescapes) but it would be good for when you are photographing a room or an object.
Since I rarely use a tripod at present, I sometimes brace my arm or hand on chair backs or on any available, stable surface…this help steady my hand and the camera. If you can’t brace your arm/hand on a chair back or some other object, try standing with your feet slightly apart and tuck your elbows down into your body for more stability.
I also find it helpful to breathe slowly out through my mouth when taking pics. If I don’t consciously remember to breathe out slowly, I find myself holding my breath, which seems to make my hands shake a little.
5. Give your audience some close-ups…we love it! For tablescape posts, it makes us feel like we are sitting right there at the table with you, admiring the beautiful china and crystal.
Encourage your readers to leave comments:
A while back, I had a poll running on my blog for several weeks. It asked my readers if they found having to type in a “word verification” a deterrent to leaving comments. The overwhelming results of the poll indicated this was a definite deterrent. Unfortunately, many bloggers do not realize their blog is set up to require a word verification for comments because I think it may be the “default” setting in Blogger.
If you have your settings that way on purpose…that’s fine…no need to change it. But if you don’t have it set that way intentionally and would like to make it easier for your readers to leave a comment, here’s how:
Go to your dashboard, click on Layout, click on Settings, then click on Comments.
Scroll down to the setting that says, “show word verification for comments.” Choose “no” and you will make a lot of your readers very happy people.
Don’t forget to hit “save.” You may still keep the “moderate comments” setting for your comments, if you are worried a spammer will try to post annoying advertisement-type comments on your blog. That will allow you to reject anything objectionable.
I’ve been blogging for a year now and haven’t had any problems with having my blog set where it doesn’t require a word verification to leave a comment. Some blogging programs/formats may require a word verification, in which case you won’t be able to turn it off. But if you can turn it off, based on the poll results, I’d do it. Again, it’s fine if you don’t want to…it really is a personal preference for every blogger.
Encourage communication with readers/visitors by having an e-mail associated with your profile:
It a great idea to list an e-mail under your “Profile.” Sometimes a reader of your blog may have a question for you that they don’t want to leave as a comment. The importance of having an e-mail contact listed, really hit home for me recently when I noticed a few bloggers had their comments settings accidentally turned off. Noone was able to leave a comment and since they didn’t show an e-mail listed in their profile, there was no way to contact the blogger to tell them what was wrong. It breaks my heart to see that because I know the blogger must be thinking that no one is visiting and reading their posts…when in fact, folks are visiting.
So, please list an e-mail in your profile, then there will be a way for your readers to contact you, if need be. Just to be safe, I wouldn’t list a personal e-mail address that shows your last name. You can get a free e-mail account from Google (Gmail) or from Hotmail or from Yahoo Mail. I went with G-mail and so far, it’s worked great.
More Fun Things For Your Blog:
To learn how to embed a You Tube video into a blog post: Go: HERE. There are written instructions and a video that explains how.
Add a Guestbook for your readers to sign when they visit:
Create a Blog Button for your blog, with html code underneath:
10 fun Google Gadgets for your Blog:
Create your own magazine cover:
Need to translate comments left in a foreign language:
Create Post-it Notes like you see me use as reminders for TT and MM:
Get detailed statistics about traffic to your blog:
For Sitemeter, go HERE. Sitemeter doesn’t involve making any changes to the html code of your template.
Been wanting to add Google Analytics to your blog…click HERE for the best tutorial/instructions I’ve found. Be patient after you add the code into your template…it took several hours for it to indicate I’d added it and about 24 hours before it began giving me any data/stats. Warning: This involves changing the html code in your template so DO NOT do so if you are afraid of losing your whole blog. Make sure you follow the directions EXACTLY.
Added 02-21-10: To Add the Header Subjects (what Blogger calls “Pages”) across the top of your blog:
Go to your Dashboard
Click on Layout
Click on Add a Gadget and choose Pages from the list
Your Pages Gadget will appear on your Sidebar.
If you want it under your header pic, just click on it and drag it to that area under your header pic. The area will automatically appear when you drag it there…yes, it will…amazing.
Now you will want to create all the individual header subjects/ pages, so…
Go to Dashboard
Go to Layout
Click on Posting
Click on Edit Pages
Create your header topic…like “About Me” or “Favorite Posts” or “Contact.”
Then you may want to write “Under Construction” in the body until you have time to go back and add the information you want your readers to read when they click on that header option. Or, if you have the time, go ahead and complete the information for the page right then. I created all my headings and went back later and added in the information.
Click “Publish Page” Click “Edit Page” to continue creating new headers or pages.
Your pages will not be in the order you want them to be across the top of your blog, so you’ll want to fix that…here’s how:
Go to Dashboard Go to Layout Click on the Pages Gadget and drag the different pages you have created to place them in the order you want them to be. Don’t forget to “save” it.
To add in your information under each header: Keep going to Layout and Edit Pages and click “edit” on the page under which you want to add information. Example: If you created an “About Me” page, and just wrote, “Under Construction” there initially…now you can go back and add in the information. I’ll be adding to this post from time to time, as new questions arise…so you may want to bookmark this post. Hope you found this information helpful…and don’t forget….shhhh, it’s our little secret.
Pssst: Looking for more Blogging Tips:
Click HERE to read about the photography equipment I currently use.
Click HERE to read about one really important thing I wish I’d had known before I began blogging
Click HERE for 9 Tips for Better Blog Photos
Click HERE to learn how to make a Blog Button with a Grab Box Underneath
Click HERE to read about one really important thing I wish I’d had known before I began blogging
Click HERE for 14 Free Photo Editing Sites