Are you still on Blogger? I am too( on another of my blogs), so here is a nice set of tips/hacks I found: Miss P’s Blog Design tips.

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Troubleshooting Shareaholic

Love it, but it started to put loads of share button repeats at the bottom of the posts. I deactivated, deleted, reinstalled and changed the position to the top of the post. Seems to work properly now.

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Using Evernote

evernote
How Evernote clipper looks in the sidebar

Since discovering this app ( it isn’t new, just to me), I installed it on my phone, and in the browsers on both the laptop and desktop. I hope that this, plus dropbox, will get me up to speed  in my endeavor to become serious in writing and blogging.

It isn’t that I am not serious about writing, just that it had to take a back seat to homeschool and my duties at home. At age 61 I am just now over the the hurdle of the homeschooling demands and while I’m much slower than I used to be, the raising of a family is no longer as effort and time intensive.

I really like the Evernote Clipper that is ready to use in the browser.

I am starting to “get it”.

  1. Download Evernote into your computer
  2. Practice using it- they make it easy with video and prompts.
  3. Get  the app for your phone
  4. Get the extension for your browser(s)
  5. Start clipping.
  6. I also downloaded Skitch which is integrated into Evernote now.

There could be 7.  or more steps but this is as far as I’ve come on this portion of organizing and blogging efficiency, Have more tips that I can use? Leave me a comment please.

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About The Google Adsense Plugin

adsense plugin
Plugin I’m using

Here are things I noticed when using the new Google Adsense Plugin:

  • It is easy to install. I downloaded it from the WordPress repository, uploaded the zip file, it installed without a hitch. I then activated it.
  • Once activated, though I had turned off a previous adsense plugin, I forgot about some ads installed in my widget areas. There was a warning that in order to use Google’s plugin all other Adsense ads must be removed. Once I did that , it worked.
  • The interface is very nice. Little red circles with plus signs appear in place on the page where I can choose to have ads. Automatic installation with a few basic choices.
  • I went to “my ads” after I had made choices for each page and post type and saved the designs. There I was able to customize the colors, etc. as usual.

The one snafu was that the plugin told me I already the had three ad choices, even though I only seemed to have chosen one. This may or may not be a bug.

So far, it works well as a very basic ad plugin. No frills, but it might control the problem of added code, and the fact that some plugin authors were taking earnings from people (by surreptitiously inserting their own adsense ads).

I think I may experiment with Googles new plugin here, although I don’t have much traffic.

Why Use Adsense At All?

Hosting, domain names, and all of that take money to purchase and maintain. That is not counting time spent by the webmaster to run the site and the efforts and more time spent writing, making graphics, working on social media to make the work done available to those who would best benefit from and enjoy it.

So much is required for blogging now, that it is no longer just a hobby for those of us who run our own sites. Many of the individual bloggers I remember from years past have stopped, just like the free graphics designers closed shop. We may love to give it all away for free, but the realities are that it is costing us.

I don’t mind that, I love to blog, and for years everything was done for free and without any ads of my own ( Geocities always placed their ads on the free servers”). B”ut the reality is that something has to help defray the costs. I  work at trying to create an income, trying different streams of revenue. So far, it is still hobby!

Adsense is one stream of revenue to try.

 

Flickr photo credit

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Google Adsense Meets WordPress With A Plugin

Reading their Google Adsense Newsletter, I saw the wordpress plugin that was added to the WP repository. Added it today on the only site that makes me any money ( though it has dropped to very low amount). I’m giving it two weeks to see if there is any difference. Then switch it to another of my sites if there is little improvement  ( I want to keep watching it)

 

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Gimp Tips

Since I use my Mac laptop for most of my work, I switched from my old Photoshop program to Gimp. Needing to make a graphic for one of my posts, here, I wanted some free brushes to use for the illustration. But how to insert Photoshop brushes into the Gimp program? It was simple once I learned how.

Here is the link

Basically you find the brushes folder inside of Gimp through ‘Finder’, then drop them in and restart Gimp. I did it, but needed the walkthrough with illustrations.

Found some tips for using the program, too. Inside the Gimp.org site, of all places.

Enrich My Gimp

Have fun learning.

 

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The SEO Puzzle

I am like you, trying to puzzle out what in the world will get my page read, found in search…even listed in search. And that all boils down to learning about SEO.
I am writing this for people like me. We don’t really get the complex, insider details about how to optimize our site or posts. But I work very hard to read and implement the advice of those who do understand. I try to get cues from the way large sites are changing to become friendlier to Google. Especially post Panda and its other Google update personas.

What Are Some Big Changes On The Horizon?

Some that make me hopeful that it will become more about the writer and the reader, and less about those who game the system.

Here is a short list of what may be changing:

  • Optimizing for mobile will be more important
  • Localizing will add value
  • Author authority and Google authorship
  • Detailed and data rich articles
  • Fresh and well-researched
  • Or mature and reliable

Now, the question will be how the search engines define some of those qualities, but some of what we bloggers can improve are:

-Connect our work with Google authorship.

-Connect with Google Local.

And, of course, improve how we write posts and articles. This is probably going to mean changes for those of us who picked up bad habits in the meantime.  I have always written carefully for my garden site, Ilona’s Garden, but some of my other work has suffered from sloppiness. The garden site has always been the mother ship since the early days of Geocities, so it sees the improvements first, like switching to responsive design,  working on keywrods, etc.

Oh, About Keywords

 

Apparently they won’t figure in as much, or maybe at all in the switch to well researched and relative content. That is something that some of us will appreciate. Yet, all of the information is rather arcane in the light of the fact that Google doesn’t reveal its secrets and SEO experts work at guessing what the next step will be. But what I’m giving you is the insights they have been building over time.

These are pieces of advice that I am going to actively follow, some which I have already been implementing.

You might want to read this article

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New PC with Windows 8.1

 

I am finally using my new computer, after being disappointed that I couldn’t seem to transfer Photoshop into it. For now I instead have downloaded a freeware program to handle simple jobs needed for blogs.

image viewer program
FastStone viewer

It is a program recommended by someone on Copyblogger (whose blog seems to be on my regular reading list lately). This program is only for windows and works nicely ( I used it today for my Garden Journal post. A simple photo editing program, FastStone Image Viewer is freeware and works lightening fast.

While it is a hassle to set up a new computer, I like the ease of using a large screen and the touch feature, though it takes some getting used to… I had been using my laptop almost a 100% of the time. Maybe being older, I like to sit at a desktop. After all, I spent lots of time looking for a comfortable desk chair, which I bought at Ikea a few years ago.

I gave my old PC to my daughter, who is using it for games, mostly. It is a Dell, and I wouldn’t recommend that brand, although mine lasted for as long as you might expect. This is an HP, the brand of my previous PC. I like it better and feel it is more reliable.

One thing probably totally unrelated to the brand, is the difficulty I have in getting the Canon printer and this PC to talk to each other. Sometimes I can get things working smoothly and sometimes it just won’t.


I like mine, but others didn’t rate it so highly. This is what I mean when I say “photo card reader”

Another thing. I have Sony memory cards, and it got stuck in the slot on my new computer. I don’t think I was supposed to put it in without some sort of resizing sleeve. Took a bit of work to jimmy it out. So I hooked up a Targus USB card reader I had bought while on a vacation (to handle uploading into my laptop). I use it quite a bit. It makes things easy, which is what I need right now- simplify things for me! I have too many tasks to do to waste so much time troubleshooting why my stuff won’t work.

Which reminds me. This computer automatically… or maybe I accidentally… synced the logon with Microsoft live. Took me forever to recover the password. Such a complicated process…since I use different emails than usual. Finally have it written down on good old paper.

That is story so far of setting up. There is far too much automatic stuff for a regular, semi-techy person to keep track of… so much is tied up with social media, too. It really is a web, now; but sometimes more tangled than I’d like. So I started using file cards, in a recipe box. Very old fashioned I know, but it works for me.

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Magnetic Headlines

direction
magnetic forces at work?

I know nothing about them, but Copyblogger knows plenty, so I spent some time on Brian’s famous site reviewing some of his helpful information. You can go straight there or listen to me chat a bit.

How To Write Magnetic Headlines

I went there through a twitter link ( I follow Brian and some others from the days I was in ‘Third Tribe’). I seem to struggle with the actual how-to for some reason, but I have learned so much about copywriting, marketing, and other foreign subjects from reading people who taught in his grand experiment.

I wasn’t ready. Maybe I will never truly be ready, but I’m taking the plunge in many of the things I learned. After all, I don’t wish to only write for myself. Like on this site!

This is classic : Headlines that get results.

Make Sub Heads

Attempt to make them relevant and interesting

That is a lesson found in some of the information ( I tend to follow a rabbit trail of posts on some of these sites). I think I format my posts better, but I have been experimenting like crazy with themes that give me styling and possibilities that I want.

But writing headlines? I used to be so wordy and esoteric ( See? I use words like that). Then I switched to prosaic and dull, ” just the Key words, Ma’am, please.” Now I am supposed to captivate you. At sixty+ I don’t feel captivating. But I will try.  Sometimes daily writing drums you down, but I like the idea of further refining your focus. That is what I am trying to do in life, so why not my writing?

My latest post on Ilona’s Garden was in a post format called “projects” that was built into my Theme. I still struggle with making my own post formats. And now that sentence is an example of what not to do: digress.

Anyway I wrote a resource page on Composting, which I hope to grow into a major source over the coming year. Composting is important to me, and I personally want to do it better. I figure there might be others like me.

Example

Look at the page and then tell me what you think of the headline, etc.

Composting, A New Pile Of Info

Offhand, I’d say that while it has a nice pun, it is too broad in scope. Also composting articles have been done to death, but usually they are scarce on good, complete information. The best ones are specified to particular categories of the composting process.

I wanted something where you can read it and go out and make your compost that very day ( you know, set it up, to actually make the compost takes time).

So. Did I accomplish the goal? What would draw a reader deeper into the page?

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Post Formats In WordPress

I have had a devil of a time trying to use post formats in themes that don’t have them automatically included. I have a number of uses for the formats in mind for one of my sites, but am committed to a theme that doesn’t include them.

As post formats have come and gone from the core of WordPress, they are now supposed to be included through plugins (or in the case of themes, written into the functions.php)

So if you would like to use post formats, one plugin to try is WCK which adds the post type and new taxonomies. I’m am working with that to solve my problem of getting the formats without hacking my theme’s functions (which is hard work for someone like me).

My Premium Themes

I have been using Elegant Themes for a number of years, and their newer themes have custom post types that are often included in only one theme. I hacked the functions to transfer my post-types and get them to show in another theme change. In the meantime they developed their Divi theme which, once you are used to it, is fantastic. I love its look, and feel I can finally have a theme that is truly customized to the needs of my site.

I think part of the challenge is the fact that WordPress has evolved so radically. It can do so much more, more easily, than in years (versions) past.

If you are wishing to include post types in your theme, and have little to no coding skill, get one of the post type plugins that are being developed. I expect to see more come online in the near future.

OR… you could go with a theme that has them built-in (like the native 2014 theme for WordPress).

There are times you need all the bells and whistles, and that is when to go for a premium theme. There are ‘lite’ versions of premium themes that are quite good which might be adequate for your needs; but they usually have limited support if you need custom solutions or are trying to troubleshoot something that has gone awry.

More about starting with wordpress

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