Blogging 101: Common Pin It Button Mistakes

Blogging 101: Common Pin It Button Mistakes (and how to fix them!)As a Pinterest addict and full time blogger, I have read more blog posts than I can even count. And since I mainly discover new blogs through Pinterest, I’ve also come across a fair amount of common mistakes bloggers are making. The good news is that these mistakes pretty easy to identify and correct. Here are a few I’m seeing with the custom pin it button:

Problem: Pin it button is only grabbing current page URL.

Okay, so let’s say that someone finds your project on Pinterest and clicks through to see the full tutorial; however, the person who pinned the project originally was on the home page, not the permalink, and the post is over 6 months old by now.  What ends up happening is that the person coming from Pinterest will land on the main page again, while the tutorial they want is far back in your archives. It sends them hunting for a post, which may cause them to leave instantly even though they were initially interested.

Additionally, let’s say that someone reads your blog post, they comment, and then they decide to scroll back up and pin an image. Because commenting often changes the URL to the comment thread URL, (ie http://thecraftedlife.com/watermelon-nail-art/#disqus_thread) if your pin it button isn’t grabbing just the permalink, when someone clicks through, they will be taken directly to the comment section of your post, not at the top where the content starts.

Solution : Make sure whatever plugin you’re using (talking about WordPress here) for displaying your Pinterest share button is passing the permalink URL in the share button code. For mine, all I had to do what check a box (see image below). Easy peasy. And if you’re not using a plugin and are just putting the share button code directly into your theme, this may help.

Blogging 101: Common Pin It Button Mistakes (and how to fix them!)

Problem: Pinterest pre-filled text is blank or the file name of the image.

Solution: This one is super easy– just fill out the alt text when inserting an image! If anyone shares your post, this also goes for Facebook, you can control the caption with what you fill out in the alt text box. By leaving it blank, you are missing out on an opportunity to optimize repins/shares for more click throughs.

Blogging 101: Common Pin It Button Mistakes (and how to fix them!)

So while it’s smart to optimize your photography for Pinterest, you should also make sure the backend is running smoothly to have even greater success. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, my developer is offering a discount to anyone who mentions this post. Drop a note to Gabe at gabe.ragland@gmail.com and he’ll be sure to help you out!

Blogging 101: How to Buy a Domain Name

Blogging 101: How to Buy a Domain NameI am SO excited about this new series, y’all! When I first started blogging three years ago, I didn’t really know what I was doing or where to even begin. This column, Blogging 101, will share the ins and outs of the business side of blogging and how to get started. If there’s any particular topic you’d like to cover, please leave it in the comments! I am totally open to suggestions and want to make sure that I’m answering your commonly asked questions. So let’s do it to it!

For the first post, I thought it was only right that we start at the very beginning: how to buy a domain name.

1. What is your blog’s name? Believe it or not, but this is actually one of the hardest parts about getting started. And it’s something I wish I would have put more effort into with my first blog, 52 Weeks Project. The reason for that is simple. The first question people will ask you when you tell them you have a blog is, What’s your blog’s name? It’s going to be your first impression to brands and strangers and it will follow you and your work around as long as you’re publishing content. No pressure, right?

For my rebrand, it helped me to make a long list of names without judging any one too critically at first. Let me tell you, things got a little wacky. From there, you can start weeding out the ones that clearly aren’t a good fit or perhaps too similar to other sites already out there (you don’t want people to confuse you for someone else).

One of the biggest tips that I can give you is to call someone outside of your industry (I call my dad, which is why I call this my “dad test”) and tell them the name you have in mind. If they understand what you say and get it, you most likely have a great name. But you need to be sure that name isn’t taken, which leads me to my next point…

2. Is the domain available? When you’re narrowing down your list, it helps to see if the domain name is even available before you get your hopes up. A great resource for this is Domainr.  It’s essentially a domain search that checks to see if anyone owns it or not. If you also have ideas of what words you want in your domain, but aren’t 100% on the name, Lean Domain Search allows you to type in words you want in your name and tells you what domains are available.

3. Are the social media handles available? If the domain you want is available, it’s time to check social media. Almost as important as the domain are the social media handles. Check for each major platform, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, even if you aren’t sure if you’ll be using them or not. The last thing you want is for your blog to take off then realize that someone has your handle (and others can mistake them for you.)

4. How to Register a Domain. Name? Check. Social media handles? Check. Now you’re ready to commit. Yahoo! There are a few sites you can use to buy a domain, but I recommend Name Cheap and iwantmyname. Go Daddy may be the one you’ve probably heard of, but here are a few reasons I don’t support their service.

To purchase, you basically check out, just as you would when shopping for anything else online. You might also want to consider buying varations of your name if available for future use (ie craftedlife and thecraftedlife). Domains typically run ~$15/year. If you see a price like $2k, it’s most likely because someone else owns it and are trying to sell it. You also don’t need any extras or hosting when checking out (they’ll add them on), and if you ever do, you can add them later. If there’s an option to set up auto-renew, select yes. They will email and remind you, it’s just always good to have these things locked down.

So that’s it! Hopefully that wasn’t information overload. Next time I’ll cover what to do now that you have a domain, so stay tuned :)

**If you’d like to dig even deeper into blogging, I also now offer consulting as a service! Email me at hello@thecraftedlife.com for more details.

10 Reasons Why you Should Attend Craftcation 2016

10 Reasons to attend CraftcationYou may be thinking to yourself, reasons to attend a conference a year from now?! I know, crazy. But after my experience this year, I feel like you should go ahead and mark this conference down in your calendars because there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll want to attend.  And although this list could be double in length, here are my top ten reasons why I think we should meet at Craftcation next year:

1. The people. The people that attend are the best. Everyone is kind, open, and just willing to help you out with your business. There are no cliques and no feelings of superiority that you might find at other events. To follow with that…

2. The environment. There’s such an energetic buzz that surrounds Craftcation unlike any other. People just want to kick ass at owning their own business and seem to be happy to be connecting with others who feel the same.

3. You get to actually make stuff. Like stuff you’d actually want to make. A lot of times, conferences can be an overdose of information. To balance that out, there are TONS of hands-on craft and food workshops for those moments when you want to switch gears.

by @thecraftedlife on Instagram(via Instagram)

4. It’s on the beach. Had to, because it’s amazing.

5. It’s laid back.  You can wear jeans and sneakers, you can wear lipstick, you can wear dresses. It doesn’t matter. There’s less pressure on changing outfits multiple times a day and more focus on what you’re going to takeaway.

6. Bernina. I first learned to sew at this conference on a Bernina machine and haven’t looked back. Their reps are also just the sweetest.

7. It’s affordable. Tickets are only around $400 (less I think?) for about 4 full days of panels and workshops; the hotel around $160 a night.

by @thecraftedlife on Instagram(via Instagram)

8. The Information. The panels/classes are jam packed with key things you absolutely need to know for your business, ie: bookkeeping, how to build your newsletter and brand, how to take better photographs.

9. City of Ventura. You can wonder downtown (a 2 minute walk away) to wonder in and out of the great thrift shops, restaurants, and of course Superbuzzy. You also get to each lunch at city hall, dinner at the fairgrounds, and some of the workshops are even off site. You aren’t stuck in the hotel the entire time. LA is also only an hour away, great for squeezing in a quick trip.

10. Nicole and Delilah. If you haven’t connected with these women yet, you absolutely need to. Not only do they plan and execute the entire event, but they are present and engaging throughout. They sit on panels. They take the photos. They meet and great you at registration. They genuinely want to connect with the people that come and that energy is felt.

 

Have you ever been to Craftcation before? What are some of your favorite conferences?

 

 

7 Places to Take Classes Online

7 Places to Take Classes OnlineOne of my favorite things about the internet is the amount of knowledge that’s being shared. You can learn essentially anything you’ve ever dreamed of in the comforts of your own home, all for a more affordable rate than most universities. So grab your sweatpants, computer and a notebook, and learn something new today with any one of these seven places to take classes online:

1. Creativebug— art & craft video classes by expert makers. Can access on desktop or through their mobile app. Membership gets you unlimited viewing of classes and is $9.95/mo with a free two week trial.

2. Coursera— classes from top universities that you can do for fun, specialization, or certification. Learn law, medicine, business, etc from professors at Yale, Stanford, Johns Hopkins and more. Membership is $0 (that’s right, free!).

3. Skillshare— creative classes you can watch on your own time. You can also engage and collaborate with other students in your class. Membership ranges from $0-$10 a month.

4. Treehouse— Video classes that focus on web design, coding, business and more. Practice your skills through quizzes and challenges to earn badges and connect with other students in the class. Membership ranges from $25-$50 a month.

5. Atly— Classes that range from business to food, to photography to language and more. Can upgrade account for instructor feedback to help you improve your skills. Enrollment fee varies by class.

6. Udemy— Largest online learning marketplace with a huge catalog of classes (22,000+) on almost any topic. Can even take courses in different languages. Enrollment fee varies by class.

7. Craftsy— creative classes in knitting, quilting, cooking, arts, and more. You can also shop the supplies and pattern section to get the materials for your classes. Enrollment fee varies by class.

*Have you tried any of these platforms out? Know of any others?