If you can think all the way back to January when I shared my goals for the year, you might remember that one of them was to get in front of the camera more. It’s not necessarily something I feel comfortable with, but something I think is important as a blogger to do.
Up until now, I’ve taken my head shots myself with a tripod or with the help of my ever so patience boyfriend. Sometimes you have to work with what you have, right? I decided that it was time to upgrade now that I have pink hair. And what better time than with my trip back to SF so could work with Portraits to the People!
I ended up doing a combination of in studio and outdoor shots so that I would have a variety of images to use. If you’ve never worked with a professional photographer before, let me tell you, it’s amazing! At least that’s the experience I had with Sarah. Continue reading…
My two friends, Joy and Melissa, are starting a pretty bomb, hands-on conference here in Portland on October 8th-9th called The Hello Sessions. If you’ve been wondering about the next step for your blog or creative business, this is the perfect event, especially if you’re looking to get to the next level.
The speaker line up is beyond amazing (folks like Lisa Congdon, Molly Yeh, and Tiffany Han just to name a few) that I’m still pinching myself that I’m on the list! That’s right, you can come learn all my Instagram tips and tricks in an hour and half workshop.
AND! For the next week (until July 29th at midnight) you can get 10% off the ticket price by entering code : CRAFTED10 at checkout.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll be sure to help you out!
I 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 email@example.com for more details.