Hi, I'm Bernadette, and I write over at the Barefoot Hippie Girl. It is a great privilege to be writing over here today at the Blog Guidebook. Thanks girls for lending your space to me. I live by your 13 Tips to Blog By. (here) All great suggestions that I try to incorporate in my blog and its posts.
Barefoot Hippie Girl writing a post for The Blog Guidebook. Yeah, who would have thought? I was/am totally the target audience for Blogging for Dummies. I know nothing about code and very little about anything computer. HTML? What's that?
Writing the Barefoot Hippie Girl blog has been a huge learning experience for me.
Here are some top tips and sites that I found most helpful for tech-challenged me. Things that I wish someone else could have/would have told me. It would have shortened my learning curve by a wee-smidge.
You can call it, Barefoot Hippie Girl's Guide to Tech Challenged Blogging.
1) Less is more. There is a clear delineation between the white Word Press themes, and the colorful Blogger themes. Personally, I am not going to go with primarily white, because everyone else is doing it. Which means I won't. It's just my nature. But, white's popularity also means there is something to be said for it.
And, when given the choice between 2 columns or 3, pick 2. Feel free to try out different widgets and gadgets, but keep your lines and sidebar as clutter free as possible. You don't know what you like, and want until you try it. But, feel free to tweak as needed.
2) Show me the white space! I am embarrassed when I look back at my older posts. Huge paragraphs. Impossible to read. Short paragraphs, with spaces between are more readable, and draw your readers in.
3) Cutest Blog on the Block, Shabby Blogs.Com and even Blogger, have lots of free templates that you can tailor to fit your blog.
You can find various views and templates, then change widths, colors, fonts, sizes and gadgets. You can add or subtract to your heart's delight. It is all found under templates and customize on Blogger. Remember, it is always a good idea to download a version before you switch things up so that you can get back to where you started. Especially if you end up not liking what you came up with.
4) Picmonkey is an awesome photo editing site. And it is free. You can add your own watermark to your photos, resize them, add type. Practically do whatever you want.
5) Social media buttons are the bomb! They are needed for people to easily maneuver between your web presences. Maneuvering=follows. There are many great sites with free buttons. I have made my own by playing around on three sites...Picmonkey, Iconfinder and Image Maps. On Picmonkey, I build a picture using shapes, and free social media icons I've gotten from Iconfinder. Then I save the photo to my computer, and down load it to Image maps. Image maps allows you to (head ache free) plug in your own social media addresses to your picture collage, and then generates a code to paste into your gadget section. It really is that easy.
6) Google is a life saver. Seriously. I can't tell you how many times I have google searched how to do something bloggy. I can always find multiple tutorials made by people much smarter than I. Pictures, codes, videos, screen shots, and step by step instructions.
7) Tweetdeck. Or Hootsuite. Both are musts for ease of blogging. Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are both social media management platforms. They each have strengths and weaknesses. I use Tweetdeck in order to schedule tweets for my posts days in advanced. It also allows you to make as many columns as your heart desires for managing your twitter feed. Its weakness is that you can't post to Facebook. It is strictly for Twitter. Hootsuite allows posts to both Twitter and Facebook, plus other social media platforms like Linkedin. Its weakness is the limited amount of columns (5) you can have. Pick which best suites your needs.
8) Permalink. If you are on Blogger, in the section you write your posts, you will find a right hand column. It lists labels, schedule, permalink, location and options. Permalink is an amazing feature. By clicking on permalink, you will see a code that is copy and paste-able. You can use this code to schedule tweets and Facebook posts. That way, even if you can't share your post to Twitter and Facebook right when it goes live, by using this code and scheduling tweets (see #7) your social media can still be working for you.
9) HTML. When you write a post, you write in compose mode. If you are writing a guest post, like I am at this very minute, you type your post in compose mode, switch it to HTML mode, copy, paste, and email it off to whoever you are sharing it with. They then can copy and paste that code into their html mode of post writing, and voila'! it's all there. Maybe you knew that already, but I had no idea. I didn't even know what html mode was.
10) If you like a widget/gadget that someone else has on their blog, but you can't find it on Google, you often can simply click on the widget in their blog, and you will be sent to the site where you can download it on your blog.
So, maybe you knew all this. Maybe you learned something new. Maybe you wonder just how a person couldn't have known this. Maybe you think the Barefoot Hippie Girl is your new best friend. Well, I have to say I about exhausted my tips repertoire, but I hope you enjoyed the ride.