Three Things to Put in your Blog's Footer

The footer space in your blog is often an underutilized and overlooked opportunity to share more content with your readers. While trying to ensure all of your important information is shared throughout your site, many details are often put in the sidebar. Although your sidebar is a crucial element of your blog, some items are better left for the footer as to keep from cluttering too much of the blog. Three things you can quickly and easily relocate include:

Community badges/buttons

Showing support is one of the best things you can do in the blogging community, and sharing buttons and badges from your site can be a great way to do just that. However, it can become messy in your sidebar quickly if you try to show too many of these. While putting a larger number of these badges on a separate page to take them off of your home page can be a great solution, you can use your footer to highlight a few of the main ones you want to showcase.

Social Icons

One of the easiest way to foster communication is by making it as easy as possible for your readers to connect with you through social icons on your blog. Give them multiple options to follow you on Twitter, Like your fan page on Facebook, or subscribe to your RSS feed. These are items that should also be in your sidebar, but repeating them in the footer gives them a bit more of a feature.

Favorite Posts

Depending on how much information you feature on your blog, your footer can be a long way down. Even if it’s not, you have managed to keep a reader’s interest enough to investigate your blog further. If they have made it to the bottom of your blog, you want to give them somewhere else to go. Make a list of your favorite posts or use a plugin that displays readers’ favorites. Make it easy for readers to browse more of your content.

These are just some of the items that can find a home in your footer, helping you to keep your blog neat, uncluttered and more organized. Always make sure that ways to contact you are easily found throughout your blog, even if you include it in your footer as well. This is a perfect opportunity to take a look at your blog and see what you can reorganize.

What are some of your favorite uses of the blog footer? Leave a link to an example if you have one! 

How to use free resources to make a header

One of the best things about the blogosphere is all of the talented people who have lots of great tips and tricks to share. Today, I’m bringing back Kristi from Creative Kristi designs to further help you create your own header.

Hi there! I’m back to continue on the topic of creating your own header!

Last time we talked about the ways to find commercial use graphics & fonts. This time I made a quick video to show you how to use a free image manipulation software to create your header.

I used the free downloadable image manipulation software Gimp to create this header.

Storefront image is from the Boutique Storefront kit from Babystar Designs on MyGrafico.com

Fonts used: RNS Camelia & Riddle

Colors: Black ( #000000) & pink (#f42467)

 
Neither Creative Kristi or Business 2 Blogger is legal counsel or the ‘expert’ on all the legalities of graphic and font usage. Please read each and every Terms Of Use you come across for fonts or graphics/photos you plan to use. When in doubt consider it for personal use only. Neither Creative Kristi nor Business 2 Blogger can be held liable or responsible for any damages/lawsuits that arise from failure to properly use/credit font makers/graphic designers/photographers.

If you like what you just read please consider Subscribing to Creative Kristi for more tips & tricks!

Pinterest Tutorial References

Pinterest has been taking the social media world by storm lately. Pinning this recipe, sharing that board, sharing your pins on Facebook and Twitter. As a premier content curation and sharing site, Pinterest has taken social media to the next level with a buzz of excitement not seen since Twitter erupted onto the scene. So, with all the buzz about it.. how exactly do you use it and what are some tips?

Here, we share some great references for Pinterest.

Getting Started:

Usage & Tips:

Extra Reading:

 

How to change your Twitter Name

As blogs and businesses continually expand and change their focus, there is often a need to rebrand themselves. While this can be a long and complicated process with many steps, it is not nearly as daunting when you break the steps down one by one. One important step in rebranding is to remember to change your Twitter name. As an important way to connect with others in social media, keeping your name consistent with you and your brand is key.

It is important to note that you can change both your username and your actual name. So, when you see someone’s profile, you will see their name and their handle. In my case, my name is Ashley and username is @PorchSwingMom:

To change your details:

1. Log in to your Twitter account at https://twitter.com.

2. Navigate to the “Settings” Option underneath your username and image on the upper right corner.

3. On the main page of your settings is your username. This is also what displays as your profile link, ie twitter.com/usernamehere. This is what you want to change to reflect your branding change.

4. Click on profile settings if you want to change your actual name:

You’re all set! You now changed your Twitter username and/or display name.

If you’re thinking making this switch, make sure to review MomComm’s Twitter Name Change Checklist so you don’t miss a thing!

Have you ever changed your Twitter name?

 

 

 

 

3 quick ways to improve your blogging efficiency

1. Set a schedule

While this may seem an obvious detail, it can actually be one of the most often overlooked things as well. Set aside the times you will spend on your blogging and social media activities. Try breaking it down into several sub-categories, such as time to spend blogging, time to spend commenting and visiting other blogs, and time you will spend on various social media platforms. Keep in mind that this can be used as a guide and does not have to be followed to the second- but, having a written-out schedule can help increase your efficiency.

2. Turn off distractions

What? Twitter can be counter-productive?! While it can be hard to turn away from the latest tweets whizzing by or the most current Facebook updates, turning off any distractions is crucial to efficiency success. Set a timer and write for a designated amount of time- you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish when you are focusing solely on blogging.

3. Keep posts in draft.

Do you ever have a great idea pop into your head when you are way too busy to stop and write? Or have you ever sat down with time and focus to write, but stumbled into writer’s block? Keep a running list of topics as you think of them, and develop the posts when you have dedicated writing time. Maintaining backup posts is great for times you are unable to blog or are just plain stuck.

What are some of your suggestions for improving blogging efficiency? 

SOPA what? How to understand what SOPA means

If you have spent any time on the internet (or watching the news… listening to the radio… etc) lately, you have probably heard about SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act. Okay, stopping online piracy- sounds good right?

Except it’s not.

What exactly is SOPA?

From Wikipedia, ” The bill, if made law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who makes the request, the court order could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators from doing business with the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites.”

What does that mean?

That means that if you- and yes, I mean any one of you with content on the web- is found to have infringed on some copyright,  you can be prosecuted criminally, have sites like paypal refuse to work with you, google refuse to list you in search engines, and more.  While touted as a means to protect people and businesses from copyright infringement, it instead worries many as a frightening piece of legislation that has the coloring of future censorship.

Mashable provides great insights into the entire legislation. Pertaining to many web sites is this section:

Furthermore, you may be painted as infringing if you, the site owner, “take deliberate actions to avoid confirming a high probability of the use of…the site to carry out acts [of copyright infringement or circumvention].” This means if you deliberately decide that it’s not cost-effective to screen every piece of content and determine whether or not it is copyright-free before it is posted to your site (whether there is infringing content on your site or not), then you are labeled as an “Internet site…dedicated to theft of U.S. property.” Simply the act of not actively screening every piece of content makes you a criminal under SOPA.

Read the full analysis of the bill from Mashable here: http://mashable.com/2012/01/17/sopa-dangerous-opinion/

What’s the deal with the blackout?

From Wikipedia: “This is a project page to determine what action is required on the part of the Wikipedia community regarding the Stop Online Piracy Act(SOPA) and our response to it (if any). Jimmy Wales asked for community input on a possible database lock, similar to what the Italian Wikipedia did in October 2011 in response to a proposed bill in the Parliament of Italy

Read more and follow updates here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative

Government issues are always tough. It’s important to manage copyright infringement– but it’s more important not to be censored.

Be sure to read more about SOPA:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.3261:

http://sopastrike.com/

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57360665-503544/sopa-pipa-what-you-need-to-know/

http://mashable.com/2012/01/18/sopa-dark-ages/

http://mashable.com/2012/01/17/sopa-dangerous-opinion/

Why you should participate in blog memes

Today’s post comes from a blogger who has successfully started and ran a meme for nearly two years. Shell’s Pour Your Heart Outmeme on her blog Things I Can’t Say let’s readers connect & share each week. Here, she shares why to participate in such memes. 

As you are reading blogs, you probably notice that there are often link ups on different posts: where you can write about given topic and then link up your post. The idea is that you then hop around and visit the other linkers and they visit you.

It’s a good idea to participate in these link-ups, also called memes. Here’s why:

1. Memes help with blogger’s block. If you aren’t sure what to write, you can easily find inspiration. You can find everything from themed photo link ups to creative lists to writer’s workshops. Get inspired by these ideas and write your own take on them.

2. You will find a new audience. By reading the other linked posts and having the participants read yours, you will meet new bloggers. This is an easy way to find new bloggers to read and to read you.  Find a link up that gets many participants or who has a different readership than you do to help grow your blog.

3.  Memes give you an excuse to try something new.  Maybe you never tried writing fiction, but want to: link up to a fiction prompt. If you don’t usually blog about food but are dying to share a recipe, link up to a menu-planning meme.

4. Old content gets new life in a meme. You might read a prompt and realize that you have already written a post that fits perfectly with that link up. Go back to your post, add a note that you are participating in the meme, and link up.

Do you participate in memes? Which ones are your favorites?

WordPress Quick Tip: Open Navigation Links in a New Window

WordPress is a powerful blogging platform with a multitude of options. With so many plugins and details involved, there is so much more beyond writing and sharing your words. While it can be overwhelming at time to have so many different options, it’s best to take it one step at a time and figure it out slowly- so you can keep focusing on your great content that got you started.

While working with people on improving their blogs or customizing changes, a common question often comes up. WordPress intuitively provides menus for blog or website navigation. While these are easily set up and customized under the appearance– menu option in WordPress, there is one detail that often eludes many bloggers. How can you get the links to open in a new tab?

If you are sitting there fearing a bunch of custom coding and involved steps, take a deep breath– we can do this in just a few clicks!

1. First, login to your WordPress dashboard. (Bonus tip- if you don’t have a login link on your front end, type in http://**yourdomainhere**.com/wp-admin for quick login access)

2. Navigate to the Appearance–Menus screen and select the navigation you want to edit.

3. On the upper-right hand side of your screen, select “Screen Options”

4. When the options are shown, under “Show advanced menu properties” make sure the “Link Target” box is selected.

5. Go back down to your navigation options. Select one of the Navigation tabs to open it’s options. Make sure the checkbox for “open link in a new tab/window is selected”.

How to decide whether or not to attend a blog conference

how to choose to attend a blog conference

The holidays are behind us and with the new year, comes new goals. Many bloggers have lots of resolutions for blogging in 2012, and one such resolution for many is attending a blogging conference. With Blissdom heading up the year of conferences in Nashville next month, many bloggers start to wonder: is a blogging conference right for me?

You should consider attending a conference:

- If you are looking to expand your community.

A conference is a great way to meet other bloggers and gives you a chance to connect in person, and that relationsihp can translate online in the form of blogging support. You make connections through blogging and twitter, but being able to chat with someone face-to-face and bond in person will deepen those relationships.

- If you are looking to work with brands.

going to a blog conference puts you in front of the very brands who like, respect, and want to work with bloggers. Attending a conference with brand presnece allows you to connect with them and get an idea of what they are working on (it’s also a great place to recommend Business2Blogger to these brands- I’m just saying.)

- If you are looking for inspiration.

Do you feel unsure of where you want to take your blog or feel like you are stuck in a rut? The ideas you will hear in sessions or by talking to other bloggers can inspire you to try something new or reaffirm that you are heading in the right direction with your blog. The creativity flowing through the conferences, along with the ability to share and brainstorm ideas, can be just what you need to rejuvenate your blog

You may want to wait on attending a conference:

- If you expect immediate financial return

Blog conferences are a great place to meet new people, companies and bloggers alike. However, it’s important to manage your expectations. While blog conferences are great ways to network and find opportuntiies, it doesn’t mean you will see an immediate payoff. It can take months of planning, networking, and communication until you start seeing returns on your conference investment- and sometimes, even longer.

- If the conference is out of your reach, price-wise.

While there are options to find a sponsor, not everyone can get one. Keep in mind that while it can seem on twitter that “everyone” is headed to an upcoming conference, that isn’t the case. Search out info on other conferences; ones close to home will cut down on your costs.

- If you are not ready to commit to taking things further.

If you are happy blogging just for your family and aren’t looking to do more than that, you could still have fun at a blogging conference, but might not feel like the sessions are for you. There are definite approaches that each conference takes, and the mission behind the conference may not line up with where you’re ready to take your blog. And that’s okay- there is nothing saying you must attend a conference immediately. Pace yourself and choose the appropriate conference when the time is right.

What things do you consider when thinking about blog conferences?

NEW: Business 2 Blogger Affiliate Program

Please don't use this button! Your button and text link choices will be given to you on the ShareaSale site.

Holly’s got a problem.

Actually she’s got a lot more than one, she’ll readily admit…But this one involves her email inbox.

She gets emails from businesses every day wanting to work with her. Only most of those businesses aren’t right for her blog, or are offering things she isn’t interested in reviewing or endorsing.

Not wanting to burn any bridges with any brands, she replies, “Thanks, but I’m not interested. Good luck with your promotion!!”

But wait…

What if Holly could make money simply by referring those companies to Business 2 Blogger??!!

Today, we’re proud to announce the Business 2 Blogger Affiliate Program…

Jay Cooney
@JayB2B @Biz2Blogger