Saturday, January 25, 2014

Blog Reno

When I started this blog a few months ago, I wasn't really sure it would work out. So, my attention to detail was a bit lacking.

The beauty of the internet is that you can learn to do just about anything if you are willing to search for answers one step at a time. And so I did.

Here are some resources that I used that others might find helpful.

Photo Editing: PicMonkey
Free, Online photo editing that gives you all the effects & more with just a click - sort of like the image filters on Instagram. There is a free version and a paid. The paid simply gives you more options. But with either, you will be able to add filters, overlays, clipart, text and even make photo collages. It is very simple to use. My children actually enjoy using it to edit photos.

Here's the link:

And here's the 1st header I made for my blog. Hint - If you are using Blogger, a header of 300 pixels x 100 pixels is recommended.

Social Media Buttons
The options seem to be endless. Getting them onto your page is a bit tricky but here are some resources.

#1 - This site has a list of buttons offered in many colors as well as concise instructions about how to place them on your blog. Google Social Media Buttons and you will find more options than you could ever imagine. I kind of like the hand painted ones in this picture.

#2 - This site, Fabulous, has endless information about blogging. Here is a link to her posts about media icons which includes creating your own & sources for premade.

Professional Help
Sure, I can probably build this on my own but it might be apparent. Like our 100 year old house - there are projects that we have hired someone to do and there are those that we've done ourselves. I'd like to tell you that there is no visual difference... but I'd be lying.

There are few blogs that I follow regularly but one that I do is Ginny Sheller's "Small Things" blog documenting her life as a homeschooling mom of a large family. I like the way her blog looks and feels. It's relaxing and peaceful and documents their daily life in a beautiful, unposed way. The mechanics of the blog blend in and don't overwhelm it. But it is also a very successful blog. She has a solid following, is doing an incredible job of documenting her family's life and it appears to be providing some financial income. All gret things that are on my list of goals. So, let's not recreate the wheel. If she's sourced a talented professional, I think I'll follow her lead.

If you scroll all the way down to the bottom of a blog page, in tiny print you will find the name (and often a link) of the website developer. In this case it is "The Blog Maven" at The site has some great information and it appears that she provides very focused, effective help with blogs and websites. Might be worth a peek.

An eclectic homeschooling method guarantees a lot of time spent researching. This is why I am starting to love blog link-ups. I've found one with other homeschooling family blogs, one for knitting and sewing project ideas but there are a few areas that would be really helpful for me that I haven't found. So, I'm considering adding one.

With blog link-ups, on one page you might find 200 thumbnails of projects that link to a person's experience-based review of that project. Tremendously helpful and time saving. I initially thought it would involve hiring someone to set it up on your site. But apparently, my favorite ones are using a service provided by InLinkz. Here's their link.

Financial Support Without Using Those Annoying Ads

Sidebar Sponsorships
Being a little adhd, I just can not read a blog that has ads. It's too much and it's so intrusive. But the small pictures of sponsors in a sidebar aren't bad. In fact, if they are products that are complimentary to what we are doing on the blog, it seems helpful.

The Blog Maven (mentioned above) offers some clear guidance on her site about creating a media kit. Here's the link.

Ok, that's it so far. I'm working on my Amazon Affiliate Store, finding appropriate link-ups and connecting to a Facebook page. One half-hour-in-the-wee-hours-of-the-morning-while-everyone-is-asleep at-a-time.

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