Monday, December 03, 2007

Five Things Every Blogger Should Know

Five Things Every Blogger Should KnowAfter 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

"http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e98/amitton/Scribbitlogoopaque-1.jpg"

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&lt;/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:

47 comments:

Simply Stork said...

wow this was helpful...thanks for posting it :o)

~simply~

Midas said...

This is a very helpful post.

Do you manually insert the related post lines in the bottom of each post too?

Shoshana

Robin said...

I've never managed to successfully make the linking buttons. Thanks for explaining it so clearly.

frog ponds rock... said...

THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU

cheers kim :}

Jacki said...

WoW! You must have been reading my thoughts! In just a few short months my blog has evolved into something bigger than I thought it would be and I am experiencing "growing pains." You've answered many of my questions with this and other posts.

jennwa said...

Thanks for all the tips. I need all the help I can get.

soccer mom in denial said...

This is, as we say in my part of the country, a wicked awesome post. Thanks so much for taking the time to write it all up.

I am pretty horrified when folks piltch material. I also don't like when I stumble on a blog that is ripping something I wrote, without warning me.

Janet said...

I've never taken someone else's actual writing, although I did once do one of those quizzes, but later I did go back and say which blog I found it on.

~JJ! said...

Awesome info. Thank you.

Janet said...

I went back and read the 5 good and 3 bad blog items, and I'm still laughing over "blogging lemmings," because while I was at the back of the pack, and pretty wishy-washy about it, I did jump right off the cliff with everyone else, eventually.

Nap Warden said...

Sooo helpful...thanks!

angie said...

So helpful. Thanks for posting, and for touching on blogging etiquette!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Michelle,
This is a fantastic post. I am going to link to it in the future for my readers to benefit. Thanks for your generosity.

Susan

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Thank you. Number one was one I've actually been trying to figure out.

Cocoa said...

I've been trying to figure out how to add PDF files to my blog. Thanks a million!

Coach J said...

Oh, yay!! This is such good stuff! I've needed to know how to do #1 for, like, FOREVER now!
I will never again say you are too big to take on a meme. You are the greatest. Thanks, M!!

Leslie said...

This is a great post with so much good information.

Although, when I read, "How do I properly give attribution to another blog?" I had an attack of paranoia. I was all, "Aw, nuts. I just linked to her recently. I bet I did it wrong and this was written just for me!!!" (Because it's all about me, you know.) But, I went back and checked and I did it right. Whew! And Yay Me!

I think it's awesome that you addressed that, though. It's important to give credit where it is due. And linky love is my favorite kind of internet love.

Maddy said...

I may need to print this out or maybe just book mark it.

Don't suppose you could explain why blogger comments format has changed for me?

If not, here I am =

Please try my duplicate "loads like a dream" blog over "here."

Meredith said...

Michelle! I needed to learn four out of these five items, and I've been blogging for almost three years.

Thanks for translating the technical stuff into something even I have time to process : )

An Ordinary Mom said...

I so agree about the blog attribution tip! I know some people don't bother using links because they say it takes too much time, but that is a bunch of hog wash. Give people the credit they deserve for their written words.

Tamara said...

Michelle,

Thank you for sharing this very practical and helpful information.

Love your new header!

jubilee said...

informative and helpful, thanks

Patois said...

You're always so helpful with your sharing of tips. Thanks.

Amber said...

What a timely post...I needed #5 and will remember #3 when it actually works for my Winter Bazzar post on Wednesday!

Thank you! Thank you!

Pieces said...

Great tips. I still have some of your other posts about blogging bookmarked and refer to them occasionally. Thanks!

WorksForMom said...

I too agree about the blog attribution tip! Good post.

Janean said...

Great Tips! ThankS!
I've always wondered how to do some of those things.

Are we having Write Away this month?

Kelli said...

Thanks for the great info!

Another great site I've used a bunch is

http://www.bloggingbasics101.com/101/

It's simple, comprehensive.

Miscellaneous-Mum said...

I use this to insert my technorati tags:

http://www.blakeschwendiman.com/gh/technorati-link-generator.php

So wonderfully quick

ZAM said...

Great tips. Thanks.

Michelle A. said...

You are so nice to do this, I had started my own "helpful hints" post, but you've mentioned most of them! Such great helps!

tiff (three ring circus) said...

Thank you. That was a great post. It is going to help me alot, I think.

Irene said...

Thanks so much for all the blogging tips. I still have so much to learn and I love reading other's suggestions and opinions!

Babystepper said...

Great information, as always.

I do good to get a simple post up more than 3 times a week, so the technical stuff has remained elusive and nebulous.

Diane said...

Oh, you're so nice to share! I've really wanted to know how to make one of those linking graphic thingies (see how techie I am?) so now maybe I can finally tackle it!

cheeky said...

Thanks M for sharing more tips. I remember reading your 5 good and 3 bad ones post. I am annoyed with snapz. LOL
It's really nice that you have put something together that is organised and can help those out there saying, "How do you do that?" I know I stumbled and asked that same question, searched the web, tried, tried again and am still learning new "tricks", as I like to call them.
I almost asked you about tags a couple of weeks ago but I went to Technorati and figured it out from there.
There are some good blogs out there dedicated to helping those who are not "in the know" and I'm glad they exist.
Thank you for sharing the love.

Eileen said...

Tips great! VERY new to blogging myself after keeping a website for years - yours is a great example of full use of the technology. Andrew the amazing cage fighter clued us into Scribbit and the HATS. The hats are all the better because of the cute kids.

Kathy in WA said...

Thanks for the great collection of tips. I can always count on your wonderful blog to be helpful!!

Dh is up for Homeschooling Blogger Dad award. Can you find a writing contest category that would fit this hysterical post on a "typical homeschooling day"? :)

Duckabush Blog

Alyson, Brett & Girls said...

Thank you so much!

Rachel Anne said...

What "frog ponds rock" said: THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU! I've been trying to figure out the image/link thing and I think I can do it now. Great tips!

Oh, The Joys said...

These were really helpful, THANKS!

Sonja said...

I needed this! Thank you for sharing your wisdom! If you don't mind, I'm going to post a link to this article on my blog. Thanks again!

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

Great great post...I second the 'wickedly awesome' comment. I'm happily stumbling around trying to do things on my own. Susan from foodblogga had a link to yours, & some great words about you. She's absolutely right! Have a great day!! :0)

Kathy said...

I just followed your link from Zoot's blog. I'm always looking for blog tutorials. Thank you.

urai said...

Thanks for your post, I'm new blogger & add you to my favorites.

Ashley said...

Thank you for this fantastic help!

Julie said...

Thank you! I've referred to this a few times already.