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July 25, 2013

A few more things I've learned...

The blogosphere -- a wonderful place where creatives and writers have their own corners of the Web and can be themselves. I love it so much. Of course, it's always changing and growing, and I'm always learning new things. I'm so appreciative to other bloggers who spill their tips and tricks, so I want to keep sharing what I learn along the way with you guys as well. And I'm thinking about sharing a little bit about my freelance life, too, if you guys would be interested?

But without further ado, here are a few more things I've learned on the subject of blogging....

1. Straighten up your photos. I used to upload my photos to my blog without sizing them appropriately -- so the result was a bit of a choppy mess. It looks so much neater if you take a little extra time to alter your image size so everything flows well. Viewers will read easy as they scroll through your blog...and their eyes will thank you.

Personally, I don't change the sizes of my horizontal photos. In Blogger, I upload these pictures and choose the XL image button. Simple enough. Vertical images require a bit more work. I open these in Photoshop, go to the Image Tab and choose "Image Size." In the pixel box, I update the width to read "638." (Make sure the "Constrain Proportions" box is checked so you don't have to update the height box.) When you upload the pixelated photos to Blogger, choose the "original size" button (instead of XL, for example). The goal is to have the horizontal and vertical images line up neatly and nicely. You may need to go through a little trial and error before finding a pixel size that works well with the layout of your blog, but eventually you should find a magic number that looks great.

2. Install a pretty Instagram widget on your blog. There are several out there, but my current fave is SnapWidget. It's free, it's fairly simple to set up, and it'll share your pictures with viewers as a slideshow on your sidebar. 

3. Use Google Image Search. All the time I will find the awesome photos via the Internet, but no source. I find this especially happens when I find something via Pinterest or a tumblr blog (oy, I strongly dislike tumblr for this very reason). I really, really try not to post anything here without a source, so Google Image Search has saved me on multiple occasions. Sure; you may have to dig for a few minutes, but usually you can find the author of a post or the photographer that snapped a picture pretty easily. It's a nice courtesy to include sources on posts that aren't 100% yours, and I like to think it's a kind of good blog karma, too. So, give credit where credit is due, and you'll feel good about yourself as a result!

4. Add a Pinterest widget to your sidebar. I love Pinterest, and I think it's fun to quickly see what bloggers are pinning when you visit their blog. I added a short widget to my sidebar (over there, on the left!) and one of things I'm currently loving, seen by clicking the heart icon under my blog header, above. You can learn more about setting up a Pinterest widget here

5. Take a class. Have any of you ever taken an online class with Alt or Nicole's Classes? I've taken a couple from each, and I'm a big fan. I recently took Nicole Balch's 30 minute class on Google Analytics and all things "blog stats," through Alt, and I loved it. For example, did you know you can set up Pinterest to tell you who's repinning your posts and who's pinning your blog? I didn't before taking her class. And Alt offers all kinds of classes, ranging from photography to blogging to growing your business and beyond, all taught by field experts and blogging aficionados. Go here to see a current list of classes offered.

I also took an Illustrator course recently via Nicole's Classes, and it was great. It did require a bit more time and was more expensive than my Alt class, but it was worth it because I learned so much in a short amount of time. I'm still not an expert, but I guess that's why they offer a 102 class, right? Nicole's Classes currently offers courses in crafting, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Photography, Design and Web. 

Maybe my most loved class to date was Blogshop. See if Blogshop is coming to your city in the near future, and if they are, sign up! It's a small chunk of money to take the weekend workshop, but incredibly worth it if you want to blog creatively and learn Photoshop at the same time. You can read more about my experience at the November 2012 Atlanta Blogshop here.

And finally, I'm looking into taking a course from my pal Ginny Branch Stelling and friends at their new home for creative workshops: CAMP. Have any of your heard about them yet? These gals are some of the best in the biz -- specializing in styling, florals, photography -- even antiquing! I am definitely interested in signing up for a class in the future, so I've bookmarked their site and started saving my pennies.

Happy blogging!

Top photo by Rachel Whiting via We Heart Home

1 comment:

  1. Natty- I love your tips for blogging posts. They are so helpful, and let me know which CAMP class you decide on taking. I will save my pennies with you :)


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