Thursday, 27 December 2012

Having a label cloud that works for your readers

When you are posting it is important to assign as many relevant labels to your posts as you can for SEO reasons.  But if you show all the labels in your label cloud or list on your sidebar it can end up being very cluttered.  

I chose to have an alphabetical label cloud - because I think it makes it easier for people to find what they are looking for.  But it is, of course, a matter of personal choice.

Luckily you can restrict the numbers of labels that show in your cloud or list - this will not in any way affect the other labels' effectiveness for search engines etc.

To do this, you go to your Dashboard.  Click Layout and then click edit on your Labels gadget.

You will see under Show the option to show all or select which ones to show.  If you select then you can go through and just tick the main ones - but don't leave it there - move down and  click the orange Save button or all your work will be wasted.  It took me 3 goes to realise this.

And you can go back and revisit this whenever you want.

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Friday, 21 December 2012

If you haven't already got "You might also like" thumbnails, you should give them a try!

I must have been one of the last Bloggers out there to get onto this... sigh.  But just in case there are some more people out there, here is a post about how to get that neat little thing at the end of each post which says - You might also like and then puts 3 thumbnails of earlier posts there to entice your readers to click through to them.

For months I put manual links at the end of each post - what a palaver.  And then I noticed that many of the blogs I follow had these thumbnails at the end of each post.  I did some fossicking on Google and wasn't very successful at finding what I wanted.  So I did the obvious and asked one of  my blog friends how they did it. (As an aside, I have found everyone that I have asked a question like this - no matter how dumb - to have been very helpful - in a way that is why I am doing this little blog to pay forward all that help).

The first provider of these thumbnails that was recommended to me was Link Within - which is used by lots of people.  I went to their site and installed it but wasn't that happy with how it worked for my blog - the recommendations seemed very random.  I am sure this may not be the case for others.  It is just that I cover a number of quite different topics.  So please do give them a go.  It is free.

So I then found another provider - nrelate - which has been great.  It is also free.  It comes up with the goods for me.  One thing I did get wrong is that when I installed it I chose to have the thumbnails on my posts only and not on my home page.  That was a mistake so I had to uninstall it and reinstall it - with the right box checked this time.

Anyway, whichever provider you use, just do it.  It happens automatically for each new post.  Fantastic.

PS if you have been following this blog for a long time,  you might think this post is familiar - and you are not wrong!  But I thought it deserved another airing now that more readers are on board.

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Sunday, 16 December 2012

Please check in case you are a no-reply blogger

Here is a link to a great post on Shona Skye Creations walking us through how to check whether you are a no reply blogger by accident and how to fix it.  Highly recommended.
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Friday, 14 December 2012

Dealing with those blurry Captcha's!

Do you have trouble typing in those pesky "prove you are not a robot" things?  I especially have trouble with the blurry number photo part.

I have posted about how to kill the word verification stuff on your blog here.

One thing that I have found helpful is to enlarge the image - the easy way to do this is just to hit Control +.  You can do it a number of times and each time the page will zoom in until you can see it.

When you have finished you just hit Control - and it will zoom out again.

Another reader has also suggested that if the words are particularly difficult to read that rather than trying to enter them, just hit the little circular refresh button until an easier one pops up. I have found this to save quite a bit of time.

And don't bother doing capital letters etc because the captchas aren't case sensitive!

I do apologise for wittering on about word verification so much - but really!  Having just commented on 60 blogs who linked up to Food on Friday, I am renewed in my campaign to try to eradicate it.

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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Have you checked that your Pin It buttons are working lately?

When I was pinning entries to the latest Food on Friday, I kept finding Pin It buttons that weren't working properly - they wouldn't find the image or title for the post.  This makes it a lot harder for people to pin your work.

I suggest you go to one of your posts and test this out.  If it isn't working properly you need to change the code you are using for the button.  I have posted about this here.  This is the code I used on Carole's Chatter and it seems to be working fine.
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Monday, 10 December 2012

You need a search box on your blog!

I am quite often surprised just how many blogs don't have search boxes where their readers can search for subjects that interest them.  Or, if they do have them, they are hidden towards the bottom of the page.  If you have a search box like that I suggest you try searching for something - often the results show up right at the top of the page and then if you want to search again you have to scroll down to find the search box again.

So my suggestion is that you make sure you have a search box and that it is towards the top of one of your sidebars - probably right at the top under the header is the very best spot.

The search box is one of the basic gadgets available in Blogger - and I imagine in other blog platforms as well.  To move it around you just need to go into Layout, add that gadget and then drag and drop it where you want it to be.

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Saturday, 8 December 2012

How do you reply to comments on your blog?

It took me absolutely ages to realise that it was largely pointless replying to comments on your own blog.  Most people don't sign up to be notified of replies, so they won't see your reply unless they happen to come back to that post for some reason.

So finally I figured out that the best thing was to visit the blog of the person leaving the comment and leave a comment on their blog - sometimes replying to what they said or often just making a comment on one of their posts.

The only replies I do on my blog is where the person doesn't have a blog or I can't figure out which blog they come from.  I do warn people commenting that this is what I do like this:

I have noticed that some people reply to comments by email.  I would be interested in your views on whether this is a better way to do it.  I had assumed that people would prefer you to visit their blog and comment - because that increases the page views and exposure to their blog...

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Thursday, 6 December 2012

Email and Your Blog

I suggest that you do make sure that you have an email address that is linked to your blog.  It should be shown on your About Me page and on your Contact page (if you have one).  It would also be a good idea to make sure it shows up in your Blogger and/or Google + profiles.  For many people, it is probably best to have a special email address for your blog rather than using your personal or work emails.

I have been receiving a few email reminders about linky parties lately - which is fine - but it does worry me that many people are doing them in such a way that all recipients can see all the email addresses.  It would be   much better for those reminders to be sent via bcc (ie blind copy) so that the only email address the recipient sees is their own.  To do this you can either address the email to yourself or there is an undisclosed recipients address you can use (but I haven't done it so can't tell you how to do it) and then put all the other recipients into the bcc section.
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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Your email followers on Blogger

Well, I have actually managed to find out how to see how many people are following using Blogger's follow by email widget.  And it confirmed my suspicions that nowhere near as many follow by email as by GFC and Google Reader - or at least that is the case for Carole's Chatter.

To find out how many email followers you have, go to your Dashboard and then to Layout.  Find your follow by email gadget and click Edit.  Don't get nervous you won't be mucking anything up!

The window that comes up will give you an option to View stats and learn more - click that and you will see the summary stats for your Blog.

Then you can just close that window and cancel the edit page and things will be just as they were before.

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