Thursday, 25 July 2013

A simple Blogger tip by A Typical English Home for you today

A Typical English Home has done a tutorial on how to change the message in your comment form.  If you haven't done this before I recommend that you have a look at the post.  It's easy to do.
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Sunday, 21 July 2013

7 Things That Should be on Every Home Page

Before getting to the list, I must say that this is just my view.  And as you all know I am only in my second year of blogging and am still very much learning.
So here is my list:
1.   A contact page where your email address can be easily located – or put it directly into your sidebar.  Lots of people prefer to comment via email (avoids all the ghastly captcha stuff for one thing).  I have posted about this here. 
2.   A search box – people will often want to search for topics/recipes etc that interest them.  Make sure the search box is towards the top of your page.  Go to this post for more on this.
3.   A list of popular posts (including thumbnails) – I use the most popular for the month rather than all time.  Here is a post I did on this.  
4.   Big clear follow me options.  My current fave is Bloglovin but I also have a GFC widget and email etc.
5.   Short blog list of blogs you like – don't let it default to being a list of every blog you follow – that will slow the loading of your page and clutter your home page up.  I select a small number of book and food blogs to feature each week.  (There is no quid pro quo for this – I just like to share blogs I enjoy with my readers) Go here to see more about this.
6.   Restrict the number of posts that will show up on your home page to 6 or less.  Again your blog will load more quickly.
7.  If you are in to Pinterest (and most of us are), put a link to some of your important boards into your sidebar.
Other people will add that you have to have a good detailed About Me page – I don't happen to agree – but it is entirely a matter of personal taste.  I want the substance of the blog to speak for itself and for my readers to get to know the way I think that way.

Finally, although this is not about your home page – I can't help myself.  Please kill the captcha/word verification/prove you are not a robot stuff.  Nothing will put your readers off from commenting more.  If you are on Blogger and want to know how to kill it, go to this post   

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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Spam – not the stuff you eat!

We all hate those spammy comments, right?  In fact I got so annoyed that I killed them by only allowing comments by registered users.  I posted about it here.

But I have noticed that some readers have been having trouble leaving comments as a result.  I suspect it might be a Google/Wordpress thing. So, for now, I have reset the settings so anyone can comment and will see how that goes.

Another thing I discovered is that some perfectly legitimate comments get put into my spam comments folder – I thought that because I moderate comments that all comments would go there first.  But no!  So I recommend that you check your spam folder on your Blogger dashboard every few days.

If you find a comment or two from me there about Food on Fridays, please do still link in even though time has passed.  If you leave me a comment I will be sure to visit and pin your dish onto the relevant Pinboard so everyone can see it.
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Friday, 12 July 2013

Sick of being rejected by Foodgawker?

Update as at 30 July - it looks like Recipe Newz has stopped operating - no reason given.  Very sad!
If you are sick of trying to have your recipe posts accepted by Foodgawker, you might like to try Recipenewz

Once you are registered with them (it's free) you can submit your recipes and they will show up on the site shortly afterwards.  I've already done 4 or 5 and found it easy to do and am already seeing much more traffic as a result.

I find the quality of the food shown on Recipenewz every bit as good as Foodgawker – the only difference I have noticed is that the site is a little slower to load when you click on a picture to go to the post.

Hope you find this helpful, too!
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Monday, 8 July 2013

Make your own cheap lightbox

I've finally done it – made my own lightbox – and it cost me practically nothing.  I got the idea from this BeBetsey post so for more technical details you can go over there.

The pic above is the first one taken in the light box with no artificial light.  The one below was taken in the same light without the light box.  What do you think?  Neither of the photos has been fixed (other than cropping).

Here are some pics of my lightbox.  You can see I used a box (left over from a shift some years ago), some white card for the interior and 2 large sheets of white tissue paper to tape across the holes I made in the top and the sides of the box.

PS  When I say I made the lightbox, it would be more technically correct to say that my better half did most of it – he is much more patient at getting the details right than I am!
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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Tip to make Pinning easy and effective

Pinterest tip

Now, you may all know this already but I discovered by accident (after months of doing it the hard way) that if you just highlight the title of the post/recipe/book review and then push the Pin it button on your toolbar the words you highlighted will turn up in the text box of your Pin – you don't even have to copy and paste them.

Clever, clever Pinterest just knows that's the description you want with your Pin.  If you don't highlight anything Pinterest will grab the title (whether visible or not) of the photo. 

So if you want to make pinning really easy for people, you need to label each photo with something meaningful – ie not IMGxxxx etc.  You don't have to do this by putting on a caption – I just click the pic and then Properties .  Then there are 2 boxes – I put the title of the post into the one called Alt Text and then click ok.  This doesn't just help with Pinning – it also improves your overall SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
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