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July 30, 2014

Blog Baby Blog-Tips from a Blog Designer

Hey y'all! This is the last post in my summer blogging series.  I think after this week, I'll be fresh out of knowledge.  Hoping I can store some up for next summer because I really enjoyed doing this!

Did you miss any of the previous posts?  Here you go:


Nothing Earth shattering here, but a few things to think about:
Now close one eye and squint.  Can you still read it?  Nobody loves a cute font or fun color more than this girl, but your blog posts aren't always the best place for them.  I have stopped reading posts before because it was just too hard.  You have fabulous vision, and you already know what's in your posts.  That's not necessarily true for the rest of us.  Some of us may be in denial that we need glasses . . . .

That's why people came to your blog in the first place.  Is your post space cramped and narrow?  If you have a three column layout, make sure your post space isn't getting lost in the crowd.  Be careful about making your blog too wide though.  Not everyone has a wide screen computer monitor.  It gets frustrating to scroll over to finish seeing someone's blog.  Frustrated readers don't stay long.

Long hunks of text make us feel like we're back in college.  Even if you break it up with a funny meme or e-card, break it up visually.  Turns out teachers have the same attention span issues as our students.  Even text visuals like in this post help.  I made mine in Photoshop, but you can do the same thing in PowerPoint.  Here's a super duper example from The Bubbly Blonde Teacher:

On your photos that is.  I started doing this more after a photo of mine got hijacked by a hair tutorial blog.  The owner was using popular pins to redirect traffic to his site.  So lots of people pinned my photo but had no way of knowing where it came from.  Even if your photo doesn't get stolen by someone with evil purposes, not every one knows to link back to the original source.  (We all started somewhere right?)  Click here for a tutorial on how to make your own watermark.

What is most important for your readers to see?  Take a look at your sidebar.  You want the most important items to be in the part of the screen that is seen without scrolling down.  Social media links for sure.  Love clipart or another teacher's blog?  That's great, but it needs to go farther down.  Advertise your blog first and other people's later.  Do a little cleaning up on your labels.  Do you have a bunch of labels that only have one link?  Clean them out.


Alright friends! That's it for the blogging tutorials for awhile.  I know many of you are starting school soon or thinking about getting your rooms fixed up instead of fixing up your blog.  It's been a great summer!

July 24, 2014

Blog Baby Blog Summer Series: Pin It Hover {or Not}

Hey there everybody! I'm here with the fifth post of my summer series on blogging.  Summer is a great time for teachers to dive into blogging.  It's about the only time we have to try something new and take time to learn about it.  I hope these series will be helpful to new and not so new bloggers.  Miss one?  Catch up here:

This tutorial is a two parter on how to install the Pin It Hover and block the Pin It Hover.  Brace yourselves.  It involves HTML code.

PART 1: ADDING THE PIN IT HOVER BUTTON

This is an awesome tutorial from Blogger Sentral.

You have to enter the dark side to do this-your Blog's HTML code.  I know, I know.  It's scary in there.  But, back up your template, and just dive in.

You'll want to find this line of code: </body>

**It's waaaaay down there.  Try hitting CMD F when you open your code ( CTRL F on a PC).  A little box will pop up in the top right corner of your template.  Put in </body> and it will find it for you.

Paste the following code above </body>

<script>
//<![CDATA[
var bs_pinButtonURL = "http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-y3xzTGiGzH0/UK4XOaUpdaI/AAAAAAAADw8/Z1MH4Jr4Efo/s1600/pinterestx1_72.png";
var bs_pinButtonPos = "center";
var bs_pinPrefix = "";
var bs_pinSuffix = "";
//]]>
</script>
<script src='http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.8.2/jquery.min.js' type='text/javascript'></script>
<script id='bs_pinOnHover' src='http://greenlava-code.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/publicscripts/bs_pinOnHoverv1_min.js' type='text/javascript'>
// This Pinterest Hover Button is brought to you by bloggersentral.com.
// Visit http://www.bloggersentral.com/2012/11/pinterest-pin-it-button-on-image-hover.html for details.
// Feel free to use and share, but please keep this notice intact.
</script>


**The 5th line of code tells the Pin It Hover button where to "sit".  You can change it to one of these if you like:
topleft
topright
bottomleft
bottomright

Save and you're done.  If it's not working, visit the original Blogger Sentral tutorial for some trouble shooting help.

Want to get fancy and create your own Pin It Hover button?

•Size matters: About a quarter of an inch or a little bigger is a good size.  You don't want it to be so huge that it take over the picture.

•Add it as an image to a blog post.  Switch over to HTML in your post and grab the image's "address".

•Replace the URL address in the third line of code with your own.

•Just delete the post where you uploaded the image when you are finished, no need to publish it.

PART 2: BLOCKING THE PIN IT HOVER BUTTON
Sometimes you don't want the Pin It Hover button to show up.  Maybe it's a small picture.  Maybe it's a linky.  Maybe you're just not in the mood.

Hover over my example:
See what I mean?
A little bit of code can fix that.  
When you are creating a post and add the image that you want to block the pin it hover from, you will need to:
•Switch over from "Compose" to "HTML" (look at the top right corner of your post)
•Find the image in your post.
•Above this line of code above it: <div class="nopin">

•At the bottom of your your image code, add: </div>
Now look what happens to this image when I add that code to this image:
Here is the dirty side (HTML)  of what that second image looks like:

<div class='nopin'>
<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">
<a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-V99UxFu8B_4/U6BdLJEnxyI/AAAAAAAAQNo/R67Jwc1bcl0/s1600/Example.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-V99UxFu8B_4/U6BdLJEnxyI/AAAAAAAAQNo/R67Jwc1bcl0/s1600/Example.png" /></a></div>
</div>

The top and bottom lines are the code I added.

That's it! No you can Pin It hover.  Or not.


July 16, 2014

Some Tips From My Friends

Hi everyone!  I'm back with another Blog Baby Blog post for my summer blogging series.  Missed the first four?  Catch up here:

I'm with my sweet girl in Philadelphia.  She had surgery on Friday, and we got to leave the hospital a day early!  It's been rough, but she's been amazing.

Since I've been a little busy taking care of my daughter, I asked some of my bloggy friends to share some blog tips with you.

#1 Fern from Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas

Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas
Using Blogger, always use the "Properties" feature for the pictures on your blog. Use your blog name in both the Title Text and the Alt Text. For example, Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas Freebie Friday Vocabulary Notebook. This will be hidden in your html and help move your blog up the Google rankings.

#2 Dana from Prepping for the Primary Gridiron

Prepping for the Primary Gridiron
Keep a journal or file of ideas to blog about. Spread your ideas out so you can post 2-3 times per week (if not more). And remember to share pictures - a great visual goes a long way!

#3 Tanja from Journey of a Substitute Teacher

When commenting on a blog post, instead of saying "Come follow me !", you can leave a comment relevant to the blog post, and then a link to your blog underneath your name.

#4 Angela from Hippo Hooray Second Grade

Hippo Hooray for Second Grade!
Always watermark your photos with your blog name. Images get passed around on Pinterest or other bloggers might share your photos on their blog/Facebook page, and you need to make sure people know the original source. Megan has a GREAT tutorial on how to do this :)

#5 Jivey from Ideas by Jivey

Ideas by Jivey
Don't be a no-reply blogger! I have built some of my best friendships by emailing with other bloggers... Many people don't even realize they are a no-reply blogger. Here is a link on my page to fix it! http://ideasbyjivey.blogspot.com/p/no-reply-blogger-no-more.html
**Google is constantly changing things now that they're really pushing Google+, so if Jivey's tutorial does not work for you here is another: Get Connected

#6 Amanda from Collaboration Cuties

Collaboration Cuties
Blogging is a great way to share your ideas and products you've made. Be sure to include pictures of how you use your products and ideas in your classroom. It's much more fun to read a post that shows learning in action than just lists of products you'd like your followers to buy. Only posting about your products will turn your readers off. Be sure to space out your advertising posts with posts that have tips and tricks for your readers to use in their classroom.

#7 Sara from Miss V's Busy Bees

Miss V's Busy Bees
Just be yourself and communicate with bloggers like you would your friends in real life. Being more authentic and personable is the easiest way to gain followers instead of asking for them. This will be completed through simply holding conversations.

#8 Katie from Queen of the First Grade Jungle

Queen of the First Grade Jungle
Make it personal! I think it is important for readers to connect to you as a person, in addition to a writer/teacher. I remember when I first started reading blogs, I fell in *love* with Cara Carroll and Abby Mullins because their personalities just shined in their blog posts! I make sure to include pictures of my family and infuse my writing with ME! It's just like we tell our students: If you are bored when you write it, your readers are going to be bored when they read it!

#9 Gladys from Teaching in High Heels

Teaching in High Heels
Be consistent and give it time! Consistency is super important...it's much easier to lose followers than to build up an audience, so make sure you're blogging consistently 2-3 times a week is perfect! Also, give your blog time to grow. The web is an enormous, noisy place so if you want to be a successful blogger you have to invest more over a greater period of time.

#10 Christy from Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road

Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road
I've grown so much as a teacher through the collaboration and sharing that's done through blogging. Better yet, I've developed many friendships with teachers all over the states and beyond. Building these relationships starts with authentic commenting on other blogs, responding to those that comment on your blog, before you know it you'll develop some truly great friendships!

And the last one is from ME!

If you haven't claimed your blog on Bloglovin', go do it NOW!!! It's the best thing you can do to build followers. Here's an easy tutorial on how to do that.

July 9, 2014

Control Your Destiny-Or at Least Your Blog Thumbnail


This cracks me up:
But you know what?  It has nothing to do with this post.  This is another little blogging tutorial for you from my Blog Baby Blog summer series.
Here's the thing.  Sometimes when I'm writing a post it makes sense to start out with a goofy picture I think is funny (unlike this time when it didn't really make any sense), or a before picture for a makeover post, or whatever.  But it's not necessarily a good representation of my post, and maybe not what I'd want for my thumbnail.

BUT DO YOU KNOW WHAT?  That goofy Mr. Bean photo was not my thumbnail today.  Because I now control my thumbnail destiny.

Here's what I did:

•Went to the very top of my post and inserted the picture I did want for my thumbnail. (At this point, the picture is on twice.  Don't stress about it right now.)

•Now for the scary part.  I switched over to HTML (look in your top left corner under your blog title).

•Delete the first line of the code.

•Insert this line in its place:
<div class="separator" style="clear: both; display: none; text-align: center;">

•Switch back to Compose.

•Boom.  That's it.  You just controlled your thumbnail destiny. (Don't believe me? Switch over to preview.  You won't see your first picture.  But it's there, so blog reader sites pick it up as the first blog post image.)

Will this change your life?  No.  But sometimes I rewrite or rearrange a post because of the thumbnail.  Now I don't have to waste time thinking about it.  Instead, I can waste time on Pinterest with nonsense like this:

July 4, 2014

Finishing the Beast and a Sale


HaPpY FoUrTh Of JuLy EvErYoNe!

This is something that has been on my mind to put together for a while, but life has been a little crazy.  I finally got it on TPT last night after finishing up five new sets to complete it.

I feel like there should be some dramatic introductory music here . . . .
I made five new sets to finish off this bundle: Earth Day, Susy (back to school), Elvira (Halloween), Gobble (you should figure this one out), and Hanukkah.

Today is a great time to grab this bundle or any of my mini sets because my store is on sale for the Fourth of July.

Thanks to my sweet friend Alisha from The Bubbly Blonde who shared this sign with me.  I hope all of y'all have a fun {and safe!} Fourth of July holiday.


July 2, 2014

Get Connected

Hi everyone!  Thanks for coming back for Week 3 of my summer blogging series.  Missed Weeks 1 & 2?  Catch up here and here.

One of the best things about blogging is connecting with other bloggers.  Getting connected takes time and needs to happen authentically, but there's one thing you're not doing that can be shutting it down.

Are you a . . . .
Cue the sad violin music.

So here's the thing, when someone comments on your blog, the comment pops up in your email.  Being able to reply to this quickly through email is important.  Blogs are public for all the world to see.  It's not the place for us to have a conversation.  That's why you mainly get a "Thanks for stopping by!" generic comment from bloggers.

While replying to comments through emails, it's much more personal.  I've gotten connected to other bloggers and built friendships.  It's nice to have that.  Ever try talking to your husband about blogging?  Um, yeah.  Bloggy friends are better for that.

So, how do you ditch the no reply blogger life?  You can watch this tutorial (it's a quick one at under two minutes):

Or follow these steps:

**A note on Step #1.  This is only true for people who have never set up their blogger profile with an email address.  If you previously got rid of your no reply bloggerness, then you may see the GooglePlus profile there.



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