After a year of puttering around the blogosphere I've figured out how to do a few things beyond your basic blogging and as I regularly get "How do I?" emails and A Coach for Life sent me a blogging advice meme I'm taking a minute to give some instructions on a few key techniques.
1. How do I make a graphic into a linking button? If you see the advertisements on my sidebar to the left you'll see that each little picture, when you click on it, will take you to the website for that business. To make one of these is an easy thing, first you take a tiny image in a standard "jpeg" or "gif" file (or a file ending in .jpg or .gif) then you upload it from your files into an online site such as Photobucket where it can be assigned a URL address (you'll have to open a free account there first). Next, use the following HTML:
<a href="http://scribbit.blogspot.com/"><img src="http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e98/amitton/Scribbitlogoopaque-1.jpg" alt="Scribbit | Motherhood in Alaska" /></a
but change the "http://scribbit.blogspot.com/"
to whatever URL address you wish to link to and the
to whatever the image's direct link at Photobucket is (you'll see a field underneath your uploaded photo that says "Direct Link" followed by a URL, that's the address you're looking for). Easy enough? If you're putting the button on your sidebar you may have to put "p" tags around the whole thing. "P" tags are just HTML markers that signify a paragraph and they look like this: <p> and </p>. Put one at the beginning and one at the end of your new HTML and it'll make sure your button doesn't get pushed in with things you don't want it touching.
Now where it says "alt=Scribbit | Motherhood in Alaska" change the text after the equal sign to whatever you'd like your image to be called. Then, when people hover their cursors over the image they'll see a tiny block of text pop up with that image title in it, and if there's ever a problem with Photobucket showing your picture, the alternate title will be displayed instead. Got it? Next time I'll have to show you how to resize your images and add text so you can make your own tiny buttons.
2. How do I put in Technorati tags in my posts? Well there is debate about whether this does much for your traffic, I've written two other posts about Technorati and tagging here and here but if you want tags at the bottom of your post you must manually insert this HTML into the end of each of your posts:
Technorati tags: <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/blogging" rel="tag">blogging,</a> <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/tips" rel="tag">tips,</a> <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/momblogs" rel="tag">momblogs,</a> <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/organization" rel="tag">organization,</a> <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/blogging+tips" rel="tag">blogging tips</a>
Make sure that you change the tags to whatever is pertinent to your own post--if it's a two word phrase such as "blogging tips" the words must be separated by a "+" where they first appear.
3. How do I properly give attribution to another blog? I don't get this question as often as I would like actually, and there's no quicker way to irritate another blogger than by reprinting her content in a non-Kosher way. If you want to reprint an entire post (which I wouldn't recommend and I'll tell you why in a moment) you should write the blogger and ask them if you may reprint it. They may say yes, they may say no, they may have conditions to be met but you should ask first as it is their content.
If they do agree to let you reprint the post I would recommend only reprinting the first paragraph or two, enough to whet the appetite of your readers, then do a link at the bottom that says, "To read the entire, masterful and amazing article by Michelle Mitton at Scribbit click here" or something like that then link back to the original piece so that you encourage traffic for the person who did all the work coming up with the content you are using. It'll score you big points I promise.
If you are just using a small part of someone else's post you may not need to ask for permission (though it never hurts and will impress the other blogger) but you MUST mention their blog and properly link to it. It wouldn't hurt to mention their blog, linking to their homepage URL and mention their post's title and link URL in a separate link.
Please, please, please don't use someone else's content and then merely mention them in passing by first name. You may use first names like that if you're just talking about them, saying you love them, handing out an award or saying that you liked their post, but give them proper credit with their full blog title and/or post title if you've used their words. It's only fair.
I've had people lift entire paragraphs from my site and then reprint them as their own without linking to me or by just mentioning my name (as if there aren't a million Michelles out there) and it chafes a bit I must say. Don't do it, it'll come back to haunt you I promise, if nothing else it leaves you looking very uncool.
4. How do I put HTML into a post? You see that red HTML that I have above? You can't just put in regular HTML and have it come out looking like that, you have to change it slightly. Go to Stephen Chapman's page and plug in the code you want displayed, click "convert" and it will spit it out in a way you can use in your post. Easy schmeezy! Thanks Mr. Chapman!
5. How do I put a PDF document in my post? Say you have a pattern that you want to share with your readers and want it in a format that they can print off and use. First you must scan your picture into a PDF document (a file ending in .pdf) and your readers must have Adobe Acrobat to be able to view these .pdf files but they can download the program for free if they don't already have it.
Then there are a couple ways you can go from here. To embed the document in your post so that it shows like any other image go to Scribd, create an account and then upload your .pdf file document and use the following HTML in your post to display the document, replacing the PDF_Format.pdf part with the new code for your image:
<embed width="600" height="400" src="PDF_Format.pdf">
The other way is to link to an outside page that contains your .pdf file. Go to Google Pages and upload your document then using the newly-created URL link Google Pages provides go back to your post and insert a link the same as you would with any other website or URL link. I prefer this second way because it takes up less space and is much easier.
For other basic blogging how-to's here are some other posts:
* Ten SEO Tips
* Stumbleupon in Five Easy Steps
* Five Good Blog Tools and Three Bad Ones
* Five Housekeeping Tips for Your Blog
* How to Optimize Your Blog Photos
* Photography Tips for Your Blog
Technorati tags: blogging, tips, momblogs, organization, blogging tips