Help a blogger out, would ya?
Today I’m participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You’ll find me posting over at Clara’s Closet about celebrating Mother’s Day year round, and I’m excited to welcome Andi from Bringing the Sunshine to Call Her Happy. Consider subscribing and never miss a post!
Have you ever consider tackling a 365 project?
An avid 35mm hobbyist for years, I bought a digital SLR a decade ago, in the early days of digital but never learned much about post-processing. I took a lot of pictures of Sarah Kate, my first child, because, well…she was FIRST. Everything was new and different and special back then. She was also a preemie born with a mild-to-moderate case of cerebral palsy, so we documented each and every milestone because so many of them – like walking, which she didn’t achieve until age three – were so hard won.
But then I heard about something called a 365 Project.
At first, I couldn’t imagine taking a photo every single day. What would I photograph? But what I could envision was creating an image every day – maybe a photo that I edited and posted a few days later, so if I had a few good ones one day and nothing the next, I could keep it up. That was how my 365 project was born, on January 1, 2011 – and I haven’t missed a day since. When I decided to tackle 365, I set up a Flickr account and a blog that posted to my Facebook account, because I wanted to have a way to stay accountable. My friends and family (i.e., grandmas!) see my daily images and comment, and when I goofed and accidentally posted only to my Flickr account, I got chastised. My friends and family (i.e., grandmas!) notice if I don’t post.
Maybe. But maybe not.
As a mom with two children who have special needs, I don’t take any achievement for granted. Once upon a time, I barely dared to hope that one day Sarah Kate would be able to walk independently. This spring, she played softball on a regular team without any special accommodations. No, she wasn’t able to run, but she was able to hit the ball. She grounded out countless times, unable to reach first base as quickly as her defender, but she was also credited with many RBIs.
Why don’t you start today?
- Capture Your 365 – A great site for sharing, learning, and gathering ideas for each day’s photo. Includes a supportive community (you’ll find me there as “Violet Film”)
- Project 365: How to Take a Photo a Day and See Your Life in a Whole New Way – A simple overview of how to tackle your own 365 project
- Shutter Sisters: Musings on Project 365 – Reflections on what can be gained from a 365 project (other than the photos)
- You can view all my 365 photos on my Flickr photostream or selected photos on my blog, Bringing the Sunshine
Take that Google+! The creative people of the universe have blessed us with not one but two fantastic replacements for our beloved and late Picnik! Check out PicMonkey (released TODAY!) and FotoFlexer to get your favorite and easy photo editing features. Bam. You’re welcome.
I get a lot of emails and messages asking for help on websites I frequent. In response, I thought like a teacher: if a few people have these questions, a lot of people might have the same questions! So, for your convenience, and mine too, I guess, I am writing a series of tutorials for popular websites. Over the course of this series, I will cure your ails with Pinterest, Twitter, Blogger, Google Reader and Picnik. I will give you the basics on the problems that are troubling you most, and if you have any other questions or sites you would like me to explain, please let me know in the comment section below.
Seasonal: Seasonal is where all of the holiday and event folders are archived until they are put in the featured section. So, if you’re editing you Halloween photos this weekend, take a look there!
Are there any other questions you have about Picnik? Perhaps a feature you would like to know more about? Let me know in the comment section below!
4. Every site where you signed up to follow via RSS will appear here. As you scroll through, your reader will mark your items as read, but you can always go back to visit them by starring your favorites or emailing them to yourself. The email option can be found at the bottom of each article.
5. There are plenty of other options available with Google Reader, and they are pretty self explanatory once you are logged in. The above steps will enable you to sign in and start reading – simple as that!
6. If you don’t feel that you have the time to read all of the articles in your feed, don’t be overwhelmed. A reader is meant to make your life simpler, not more stressful. Just mark them all as read or read as you have time. Don’t worry about staying on top of it if it’s not a priority to you.
What do I do next?
Well, you can sign up to follow my blog via RSS. Do you see my RSS symbol? If you scroll all the way to the top of my blog, it’s in light blue.
So, did this tutorial help? What else would you like to know? What other sites would you like to learn to use? Tell me in the comment section below!
2. Click “Get Started”
1. This allows you to view your blog as others see it
2. You can create a new post, edit one you have already started, or add new pages to your blog
3. If you want to add a usable website to your blog, click Link to add it in
4. Click here to add a photo to your post
5. Click here to add a video to your post
6. This is called a jump break. If you want your readers to only see a preview of you post and then have to click to read the rest, use a jump break. Add it in where you want the preview to end.
7. Edit HTML is for advanced blogging. I wouldn’t recommend touching this unless you know how to code.
8. Use labels to add tags that your readers can click on to see other similar posts. For example, this post is labeled Simple Tech Series. You can click that label and see any posts that are under that label as well.
9. If you want to schedule your post to publish at a later date, click Post Options. Then, click Schedule and type in when you want your post to be published.
The Dashboard is where you control most of your blog. Follow the numbers below to decode how each function works.
2. When you save a post, go to Edit Posts to edit it or publish it when you are ready. To view your actual blog how readers see it, click View Blog.
3. Click here to moderate your comments. You can delete comments, block commentors or just read what people have to say. You can also read comments under each post on your actual blog.
4. In the Settings tab, you can change how readers view your blog, how people leave comments, how people view your blog from a mobile phone, and many other options. If you leave your blog as is when published, it will work just fine, but if you are looking to modify things, go to Settings.
5. Design allows you to change your template or add custom HTML code. Unless you are advanced in computer language, don’t worry about custom HTML. Hire a professional or email me and I’ll see what I can help you with.
6. Monetize allows you to add advertisements to your blog through Google AdSense. Each time someone click on the add on your blog, you make money (we’re talking fractions of a penny). After a certain amount has been accumulated, you receive a check. Unless you get thousands of views a day, this option might not be all that lucrative.
7. Stats is one of my favorite features of Blogger. In Stats, you can see how many people are reading your posts, where they are reading from, what type of device and browser they are using, your most popular posts and trends over the life of your blog. These stats are fun to look at when trying to grow your blog, but they become even more important when you analyze them in order to create more meaningful content for your readers. Don’t worry about this too much if you are just writing a blog for you and close friends.
8. Click the Help option for a variety of questions. It will lead you to a forum of other Blogger users. I almost always find someone who has the same problem as me, and most of the time I find an answer as well.
Gadgets are tools that you can add to the sidebars of your blog to enhance a reader’s experience. I have a poll, Google Friend Connect, options for following me on various social media sites and other ads and things. To add a gadget:
1. Click Design on your Dashboard
2. Click Add a Gadget on the sidebar
3. A window will pop up where you can search for different gadgets
4. Some of the most popular are:
Follow By Email: Allow readers to get your blog posts by email
Followers: Allow people to follow via an RSS readers (we will go over that next week)
Slideshow: Add photos to your blog’s homepage
Finally, when you start your own blog, let me know. I would love to follow you. Next week, I will show you all about following your favorite blogs with Google Reader.
So, those are the basic steps for using Twitter. You can use it as another social network, a way to get your news and gossip, or as an advertising tool. You can upload links to websites and pictures. You can follow friends, companies and celebrities. The world of Twitter is forever growing. Get your tweet on and join the fun!
Was this tutorial helpful? What other questions do you have? Tell me in the comment section below!
p.s. Simple Tech Series will resume after the holidays!