Tag Archives: Wordpress

Busy, busy, busy

Why is it that life gets in the way so often? Unfortunately, this blog is one of the first things to go when I am pushed for time. Not the running – that will be almost the last thing! (Feeding my children will probably be last.) Behind the scenes I have been very busy organising fundraising events as well as keeping up with my training. I have quite a few posts coming up so keep tuned but today’s post is about my training.

Dare I say it? I think it is going quite well.

My work in the gym is paying off and I am definitely getting stronger. I am now doing squats with a 20 kg weight. That is nearly one-third of my body weight! I am celebrating.

I am sticking with the yoga. Whether I am improving is harder to say but I am definitely enjoying the deep stretching along with the time out (Adriene calls it a rest for the brain!).

I think that I am getting fitter re my running but that is hard to say. Yesterday I ran 14 miles. It was hard towards the end but I did it :).

My biggest problem is where to go to keep my runs interesting. A week ago yesterday I think I was more stressed about where to go than the actual run itself; road, trail or a mixture. If I did a mixture what shoes to wear (trail or road). The weather was on the cool side. The ground was partly frozen but not completely so I knew that I would get muddy.

In the end I just went for it. I had a bit of a plan but nothing set in stone – I had definitely not measured out a distance. I did a mixture of everything. Here is my run in photographs:

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A wooded area

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I live near a ‘dyke’ – a raised bit of land.

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A muddy bridle path

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A not so muddy bridle path

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A cycle path

So you see – a bit of everything. Being mainly off-road this was quite a slow, tough run but all good for building strength in my legs. I even found some ‘hills’ which for me is a real novelty. I went exploring and found new paths , worried that I was trespassing and generally following my nose. These are the best type of runs.

How do you keep repetative tasks interesting?

What activities are the ones that are the last ones you drop?

 

 

Adding links into your posts.

DaniellaJoe has asked me how I put in the direct links within my posts. I figure that others may not know so thought I would do a quick post as it is something that is really useful to know how to do. It is also easier to explain with pictures rather than just words.

1. Highlight the word you want the link to appear in.

2. Click on the chain-like icon.

link copy

3. This screen then pops up. Simply paste your web page address and click on the add link. It should then work. 🙂

paste

Note:

If you cannot see the link icon make sure that you have highlighted part of the text. If you still cannot see it then you may need to click on the kitchen  sink icon:

kitchen

Finally, if you want to break the link then highlight the ‘link word’ and click on the ‘broken chain’ which appears to the right of the link one.

Really hopes that this makes sense – please ask if you need any clarification. Hope this helps DaniellaJoe?

5k and Marathons

I am in a bit of shock tonight as I type. The unimaginable has happened. I have got a place in the London Marathon. It was my first entry into the ballet and I got in. That is really not supposed to happen. What is more my friends haven’t got in. I am scared and excited and worried all in one go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway. Onto events closer to the here and now. A while ago I read a post about an international running event: the Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k. All WordPress blogs are invited to join in but I cannot see why anyone of you cannot join in. It is an idea that has captured my imagination. How great to be running a 5k alongside people from all over the world? Not often you get to do that.

Automatticians running a 5k in 2012

In fact you don’t have to run it – you can walk it, swim it, cycle it – in fact whatever you fancy as long as you cover about 3.1 miles. The idea is to do it on Sunday 29th  although officially you can do it anytime until that date. You then blog about it using the tag: wwwp5k.
If you are not on WordPress then you can link it back to this post.

So how about it? Fancy joining in? I shall be participating – so watch out for the post.

When do you blog?

Two weeks ago, I asked the question,

Why did you start blogging?

I was so pleased that I did ask this and a huge thank you to all of you who joined in. I learnt so much. It seems that I had a very narrow idea on the subject!

When thinking about this, current post, the obvious questions that came to mind following the ‘why’ are the ‘what’ and the ‘when’. I think that we have covered the what, so this week I am asking,

When do you blog and how did you decide on this?

  • Is it on an adhoc basis? Does this depend on when you have something you feel worth sharing? I definitely started like this. I had the simple aim of blogging once a week – this worked as it also coincided when I was able to produce something that I felt it was worth blogging about.
  • Is it meticulously planned? Currently, I fall into this category. In my head I have this plan where I blog three times a week; once on a Sunday when I share my crafting and join in with Handmade Monday, once on a Wednesday when I do my Blogging Buddies post and then on a Friday  – my fitness post. Originally this ‘plan’ came about because I read somewhere that blogging regularly is ideal when trying to increase readership. I am not  sure whether blogging on regular days is exactly what is meant but I tend to form little rules that I have to follow and this is what I have fallen into.

Handmade Harbour

I suppose that on one level it is important to keep blogging rather than having long gaps in between each one, that goes without saying really….but how often is regular for you? Once a week? Twice, everyday? What have you found that works for you?

This is one of a selection of free blog planners found on heartandmade

Some people take it a step further and keep a diary of blog posts planned ahead of time – similar to a calendar. Are you one of these? On the one hand, I really admire these people and would really quite like to be able to do this but I am simply unable to do this. I am, shall we say….slightly more disorganized and spontaneous.

  • Finally, some people may take more of a scientific approach: By this I mean using your blog statistics to assess which days your blog gets the most views. On WordPress your stats are easily accessed through your dashboard.

I

If you go through to your actual page by clicking onto the graph:

You can find your summaries here. Scroll down and you will get to a summary by day:

Mine tells me that there is not really any one consistent day that is stronger than any other.  Not sure why…..Is this the same for anyone else?

How many posts do you think is ideal? Is there ever any such thing as too many posts in a week? How do you decide when and how often you blog? Do share you thoughts as I am sure that there are many more reasons that I have yet to identify. If you fancy joining in then you can leave a link below. Thank you 🙂

 

 

Pinging and Blog Directories

I am sure that all of you of you who blog want to encourage people to visit your blog? More visitors can mean more followers. (Go on admit it I am sure you check your stats on a fairly regular basis!) I have read somewhere that all bloggers want readers whatever they may admit and I am sure that there is a lot of truth in that.

I recently read a great post written by Hilary on Craft Blog UK. It is entitled

My big fat useful links for crafters.

In it she lists different sites that can be useful for you in getting your blog out there. Some of the sites are what you would expect: e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google plus etc. (No I have not yet managed to get my head around Google plus yet – have you?)

There is also a list of craft forums which I would love to find the time to spend time on but simply just can’t manage it at the moment. The  one  section that I am going to go through today is the one entitled:  Pinging and blog directories. Yep it confused me too!

I decided to do a bit of investigating and go through the list of the sites that she mentions:

  1. Submit Start: http://www.submitstart.com/

This states:

SubmitStart allows you to submit an unlimited number of web pages to search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing (MSN) for Free!

I had never thought I needed to do anything like this as I believed that WordPress takes care of this side for me. I did, however think that there is no harm in registering with this site (Hilary has a lot of experience in blogging and I assume she knows what she is talking about).

2.Zimbio.com: http://www.livingly.com/for-bloggers/

Submit your blog to…

1. Share your opinions with a wider audience

2. Interact with our community of like-minded bloggers

3. Promote discovery of your content, helping new readers find your blog

4. Get featured on the Home Page!

Sounds great to me. I have registered – did you spot my lovely new badge shouting it out to the world? I shall again let you know how I get on with this.

3. http://www.dmoz.org

This is a directory of sites – a bit like a huge catalogue. In order to submit your site you have to find the category that is the best match for your site. I have submitted and am now waiting to see if I am accepted. 🙂

4. http://pingomatic.com

Ping-O-Matic is a service to update different search engines that your blog has updated.

This was really easy to do – I filled in my blog name and checked some boxes. It then sent out the pings. I was then told to bookmark the page so I can return and ping later on. Simple and easy. Thumbs up on this one.

5.http://www.bing.com/toolbox/submit-site-url

  • You want traffic and we can help you find it.

    Getting traffic to your site starts with being listed in the search results shown on Bing. Our tools can help you with this step.

Sounds good to me. On a quick glance it looks a bit like google analytic’s (which I am not great at using either.) I have, however signed up for this one as well.

6. https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url

Again, very quick and easy to submit.

There are a couple more that are listed but I couldn’t get to work:

http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/au/free/submit

http://technorati.com/%20

I shall update you and let you know if I notice any improvements (or otherwise). Should you wish to check out the rest of the post on craft Blog UK you can follow this link.

Let me know if you find any good ones won’t you? (Or if you know any others that you use).

Blogging Tips – using SEO

Last week I wrote a piece about setting the categories and tags for your posts which help the WordPress reader put your post into the correct place thus helping people to find your blog. This week I read a great piece about how to get your blog noticed by Google.

 

This is definitely something that I have investigated before, but like many things, it slipped off my radar slightly more recently.  Another name for this is SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This term often results in people rolling their eyes and quickly changing the subject. (I have dismissed it in the past). It needn’t be like that really. You are probably already doing most of them:

 

  1. Write relevant content with well-chosen tags (not too many).
  2. Write a tag line that correctly reflects the content on your blog. (Google uses this to work out what your blog is about).
  3. Write regular posts or updates on your blog or website. (This allows Google to see that it is an active site).
  4. Use Key Words sensibly through your post. You really don’t need to think too much about this as if you are writing great content then  you are most likely already doing it. When you are writing a post you need to think about what people would use to search for your piece and then use them sensibly throughout. If, for example I am writing about a beaded necklace that I had made I would ensure that I use this phrase in my post. See – easy as that. Don’t use it too many times however as Google will pick up on it and disregard it (It will also not read very well thus turning people away from your blog!)
  5. Use Post slugs: (yes I know this is new to me too!!) This is the bit at the end of the posts URL.  It can be changed to make it more applicable at any time. On WordPress when you are writing a new post the slug can be found under the title at the end of the
    Writing

    Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

    . WordPress will put the title in. You can have any title as long as you make the slug relevant to your title. Thus my slug for this post will be Blog SEO. Short and to the point!

 

You can also use Google Analytics for more detailed information and I shall attempt to write a piece about this next week so look out for that.

 

Should you wish to read more on this have a look at this or this.

 

I am now going to change my slug for this post (or try to!).

 

Happy Blogging 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning Blogging: Categories and Tags

A couple of weeks  ago we looked at how to encourage more readers to your blog, after all it is really nice to think that you are writing for an audience. Today we are going to look at another part of this which is also a way of organising your posts on your blog.

CATEGORIES:

When you are adding a new post you will notice down the right hand side a box titled categories. This is a way of grouping your posts together under main headings. Think chapters in a book. If you read a book about food you will expect to find chapters entitled, starters, main meals, salads, deserts etc. If you were doing this on a blog each of the chapters may well be one of your categories.

If you wish to add categories then you can click on the +category underneath the category box. You can sub divide your categories further by selecting an existing tag to be its ‘parent’. e.g under deserts you could have sub categories of hot and cold.

For more detailed info on altering categories then go to: here.

TAGS:

Tags, along with categories help people to find your blog. If you like the categories are the branches on your tree and the tags are the leaves. They give you a bit more information about your post. When you are ADDING A NEW POST the tags box is under the categories box down the right hand side.

As you type in content you will see that some suggested tags come up. You may or may not choose them – it is up to you. You can also add any of your own by typing them in the box.

You do have to choose your tags carefully – they need to be relevant. If you mention something in passing then it is probably not relevant to use it. It has to be part of the main content – I always think: ” What I would type into Google in order to find this blog post.”  It is the categories and tags that WordPress uses to place it in the Reader, thus helping people to find you.

A few tips to make the most out of tags:

  • If you include more than 15 tags and categories (total) on a post, it won’t appear on the topic pages — that’s our way of helping ensure relevance.
  • If your blog is private, your posts won’t show up in the Reader, so check Settings >> Privacy in your dashboard to confirm your settings.
  • If you regularly post material that is offensive, not safe for work, or not suitable for minors, we might flag your site as mature, and mature blogs aren’t included on topic pages. (You can contact support if you think your blog may have been accidentally flagged.)
  • If you’re misusing the tag feature, your blog may not appear in the Reader. Misuse includes tagging your content with misleading or irrelevant tags; and posting affiliate links, marketing material, and unoriginal content.

Taken from Learn.Wordpress where you can also find out a bit more information about tags. You will also find information on how to set up a tag cloud in your side bar and also a little exercise to ensure that you are choosing tags wisely and effectively.

I am now off to check that I have my categories neatly organised in the best way 🙂 As always let me know if you want to know anything else.

Happy Blogging 🙂

Beginning Blogging – Customizing your theme

This series has prompted me to re-look at my own blog through critical eyes this week. I am sure that you haven’t noticed but I changed my tag line. When I first started this blog, like many I wasn;t sure exactly what I was going to write about so gave myself a very wide brief. Something along the lines of:

Knitting, crochet, running and family life…

Most of this is still true but I very rarely talk about my family …. and I wanted something a bit more catchy. So I headed to my dashboard, went to SETTINGS – GENERAL and then changed my tag line.

I also had a look at the about me information. This had a bit of a spruce up too:  DASHBOARD – USERS – MY PROFILE. I read this week that even if your blog is about a business your about should contain a bit about you or the story behind the business at least.

I then started to look at the HUGE variety of themes on offer. I spent a long time looking…and couldn’t decide on anything new…. maybe I should just think about changing the colour a bit??

I then had a lovely tweet from SuziGuy.  I asked her if there was anything that she wanted to know in particular. Her answer was ….how to change the background. Perfect so here we go:

Changing the background on your blog:

DASHBOARD – APPEARANCE – BACKGROUND

This is the first place I went and found out something new yet again. You can customize your background by uploading your own photograph. This, at first seems like an awesome thing to be able to do, although when you think about it again it is littered with possible catches. For example: most photographs have the subject in the centre. This will not be seen due to the blog posts! Also – anything too busy and it will be a distraction from your blog content. If you are braver than me and have a go at this do please put a link below so that I can see 🙂

For the rest of you, you need to go to: DASHBOARD – APPEARANCE – CUSTOMIZE

This takes you to a page on your blog (how everyone else sees it) with a menu opening up down the right hand side. I shall take you through these:

SNAPSHOTS – ignore unless you want to pay.

COLOURS – allows you to change the colour of the background as well as the colour of your Heading. Simply click on the box you want and select the colour. Do not worry about changing it for good – if you don’t click on save it will simply revert back to the original version  when cancel is pressed.

HEADING: behind my header there is a picture based on my Gravatar. This allows me to remove it. If you wish to add one you go to APPEARANCE – HEADER

BG IMAGE: This allows you to add a background image. (As discussed above).

FRONT – this allows you to have your latest post as the front page or to have a static page at the front which remains the same each time someone visits.

CUSTOM DESIGN – I think this costs so haven’t explored too much (too tight!)

SITE TITLE – Allows you to change the title and the tag line.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I went through the customize menu for my theme when researching this post. It is my understanding that some themes are more customizable than others thus your menu may differ to mine.

As always I hope this is useful, please ask if you have any questions…..

Happy Blogging 🙂

 

Beginning Blogging – adding photographs

Last week I learnt that WordPress have updated their Learn.Wordpress site. So my big question to you all is:

Should I carry on with this series or shall I just link you all to this site?

Initially I thought that this was it – I had done all I needed to do, however I am not so sure:

1. I have learnt a lot from this myself, (did you see my last post with a rainbow of headings?)

2. I think that it may actually be worth while having someone go though installment at a time. It gives you time to work though each thing before starting on another.

These are just my thoughts. Please let me know what you think – I do not wish to flog a dead horse!

So for today I shall keep it very short:

How to add pictures and photos to a post

Now this is a very important skill. It breaks up the  text making it easier to read and also adds interest, catching people’s eye. Looking pretty is important 🙂

If your blog is about things that you have seen, done, made etc then the best way to add pictures is through the addition of photographs. If you have photographs on file on your computer all you have to do is to go to the add media button at the top of your ADD NEW POST page. When you click on this you go to a new window. Click on the UPLOAD FILES which is again towards the top.

You now go the middle and click on UPLOAD FILES. Choose your picture you want to use, double-click and then wait until it uploads.

Once it has uploaded you will be able to fill in a title, a caption, tags (important as they help search engines find you) and a description. (Description is important because if the photo doesn’t load it will give your description instead.) You can also align your photo – left, centre or right.

And there you have it! You can copy and paste into your post but beware of copyright. Down the bottom right of your page when writing a post you will find a group of photographs as below.

There is a search box here too. This will give you some suggestions for pictures that you can use that are free from copyright. In my experience you cannot often find what you are looking for unless it is very common. It is quite useful still however and I do use it from time to time.

So there you go. Not only will you be writing great posts – they will look pretty and eye-catching too.

Do please let me know if you wish to continue with this series or not. To help you with this decision here is the link to the Learn.WordPress site:

http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/learn-wordpress/

I have added an extra box to encourage you to have your say and leave feedback. Please be honest 🙂

Beginning Blogging – Writing a Post

I do believe that we are now all ready to actually write some content onto our blog (otherwise known as a post). There are several ways to do this:

1) When you log into WordPress you may see something like this.

The blue ‘menu’ bar along the top gives you a variety of options:

READER: shows you the latest posts from the blogs you follow or allows you to search the blogs according to your choice of categories or key words.

STATS: Will take you to a page that will give you all sorts of information about your blog, how many people have visited, from what country, how they found you etc.

MY BLOGS: Gives you an overview of your blog along with some quick links.

FRESHLY PRESSED: Gives you a selection of blogs that have been chosen by the ‘powers that be at WordPress’ giving you a selection of the best current blog posts.

Over to the right you will see a pen and the words NEW POST. I hope that I do not need an explanation to this?

If you click on this you will get taken to a page looking like this:

I refer to this as the quick posting page. It gives you the choice of format you wish to use. This is useful as it shows you that a post does not have to be long and complicated, a simple photo or quote is enough. I will not go through each option as I think that they are fairly self-explanatory.
2) The way I usually go to get to the correct page in order to write a post is by going back to this page:
Click on the posts link and you will be taken to a page like this (from your Dashboard)

Down the left hand side , under POSTS you will see ADD NEW. Click on this and you will go to a page like this:

This is also the page you go to using the quick post method from above.
You will see that this page is a bit like word.  At the top, just under the words ADD NEW POST you can see a blank box. This where you type your title. The large blank bit is where you write your text. See, simple :). If you are familiar with word you will recognise the images for bold, italic and crossed out writing. You can either type, highlight and click on the symbol or click on the symbol before typing. Next there are the options for bullet points and quotes. Following this comes the text orientation
Left                                                              central                                                                               right
This can also be used for pictures. Highlight the picture and then click on the orientation button required. I usually use the central one.
The symbols that are not easy to see are the link and break link buttons. These are very useful. They can be used to link back to posts that you have made and other sites on the web. All that you need to do this is the web address of the page you wish to use. If, you wish to create a link to a previous post such as the one I wrote last week on widgets. Simply highlight the word (or picture) you wish to use for the link, go up and click on the link symbol. This will bring you a window like this:
All you need to do is paste the web address into the URL box. (I often have several tabs open so I can easily move between several pages). This is all you need to do although you can add a title. Simply click the add link box and the word you highlighted will become underlined like this. If you then click on it you will be taken to the new page. Should you make a mistake then all you need to do is re-highlight and then click on the broken link symbol.
The abc tick is spell checker.
The next few symbols I have managed to not use up until now as I had never really explored them. Oh I do wish I had!!! The box with the arrows in is DISTRACTION FREE WRITING MODE. Quite simply this gets rid of all the bits around the side (including the top menu) and allows you to type your post as it will appear on your blog. A really useful tool especially if you are juggling photos around etc. If you do need the basic tools all you need to do is move the cursor up the page.
This ….
……..instead of this:

The final symbol (again something I had not used) is the KITCHEN SINK  show/hide symbol. This gives you more options such as text colour, layout, underlining. The rest of the tools you would expect from word really (and I had been wondering why they weren’t included. DUH. I am so glad I am writing this series! Thank you 🙂

The bottom row is the kitchen sink row.

Again I have twittered on long enough. Next time we will look at adding photographs, a very important part of blogging and also tags and the other bits around the page. (For now you can copy and paste pictures for ease if you wish.)

Finally please, please do not make the same mistake that I do – SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. You can save it as a draft and come back to it later, even another day so there is no pressure to publish it at all. Wait until you are ready.

Have a good week and do please leave any links to posts that you write below so I can have a look (I will leave a comment, I promise 🙂 )