Blog Makeover: Sketch And Stamp – Come Join The Fun!

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Blog Makeover

I gave our Stamping and Blogging BLOG a new make-up and we are launching Sketch & Stamp!  It’s our weekly Sketch Challenge.

Go to SketchAndStamp.com to join the fun or just enjoy our new look.
This is a mobile friendly theme too!

 

SketchAndStampSnapShot

 

Want to join in….Watch this video on how to upload your artwork to our Sketch Challenge!  The Design Team artwork is featured and they will pick a winner every week.

 

Stamping And Blogging itself is a premiere membership site loaded with almost 450 videos (we are closing in), with over 70 dedicated to How To Setup a Blog.

Unlike ANY other site,
we cover Blogger, TypePad and WordPress!

If you’re a paper crafter, Sandi contributes the most beautiful projects – the latest class is called More Fun Folds! Join Us Today!

Guess What? Exciting News From Blogs By Heather….

Hi guys! I'm back!!!!!

Yes, you heard it right. I resigned from my full-time job that I enjoyed over the last 2 years…but now am able to come back to what I love mostBlog Setup & Design – and supporting you 😀  So, if you're looking for blog help…read on…and book your date with me! 

For those of you I'm already corresponding with,
you do not have to schedule an appt. – you're all set!

Using VCita For Online Scheduling

I needed to find an online scheduling program

  • so clients can book their Blog Setup & Design, Newsletter Design, Blog Tune-up, Go Mobile Friendly services,
  • that allowed them to pay upfront,
  • and more importantly let them know where they are on the wait list – when their site would be worked on.  

With VCita, there is no guess-work. You book your date/time, pay via PayPal (or credit card via PayPal interface), and we're all set.

I'll have a separate article on how to add this to your site…
or I'd be happy to add it for you…
book a Blog Tune-Up service.

ImBckVcita


Blogs By Heather Services

Check out the cool tool that pops-up when you visit my sites – Blogs By Heather (this site) or Blogs By Heather WP Hosting.  It allows you to quickly and easy schedule any of these services:

  • WordPress Setup & Design
  • TypePad / Blogger Blog Setup & Design
  • Newsletter Design (such as Constant Contact Newsletter Design)
  • Blog Tune-up
  • Go Mobile Friendly (Blogger)
  • Go Mobile Friendly (TypePad)
  • Go Mobile Friendly (WordPress)


Graphic Design Included

All the "Design" packages (the 1st three services listed) include all the graphic design work such as a banner, signature, watermark, sidebar buttons, headings…for your setup & design. Again, it is already included in the price!

I'm super excited and cannot wait to work with all of you again!

 

An Alternative

StampingAndBlogging-JOINKeep in mind, we have an entire "How To Setup a Blog" video/PDF library inside Stamping & Blogging; how to create a Constant Contact, MailChimp, or Aweber newsletter template; and at present we are adding videos on how to make sure your blog is Mobile-Frienldy!  So if you're a DIY type of blogger, then join today for $14.95 and have access to more than 400 stamping and blogging videos (we are a few away from 450!! – so a new badge coming soon).

App Indexing for Google Mobile Friendly Websites

I just read an article from Convince And Convert about "5 Things You Need To Know About Google's Mobile Changes", and most you may have heard before…but I wanted to take a moment to concentrate on the App Indexing (although only for Android smart phones at the moment).  

So how does this work? First, you must have a website to accompany your app. Developers need to implement the App Indexing API into the mobile app to get started, and then annotate their website pages with app links that can be opened in the mobile app. Read more about this and consult your app developer on the best way to implement these changes. Here at Bluebridge, we’ll be proactively consulting with our clients about rolling out these changes in addition to other best practices as they evolve. (Convince And Convert, 5 Things You Need To Know About Google's Mobile Changes)

 

What Is App Indexing?

Google explains it best:

App Indexing allows you to connect pages from your website with specific content within your smartphone app. This enables smartphone users who have your app installed to open it directly from relevant mobile search results on Google.

 AppIndixing

(Image from Google's site)

Click here for Google's article.

Click here to learn how to implement App Indexing on your website.

 

 

Is Your Blog Mobile Friendly?

It's easy to find out…go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ and enter your site's URL.

MobileFriendlyTestURL

And you'll get your answer…..Sandi's site is mobile-friendly!  This site, Blogs By Heather is not! So we'll go thru that later….

MobileFriendly

Review of Terms

Let's review quickly two terms you probably keep hearing, Responsive and Mobile-Friendly. They are two separate things. Your site could be Responsive, but not Mobile Friendly.  

Responsive means that it auto-resizes to fit any screen…whether it's your desktop, laptop, iPad or smart phone. For example, you can see this site on your smart phone, it resizes beautifully…but can your read it?

That leads us to Mobile Friendly….Just because a website or blog is responsive and can be scaled proportionally, it's usability and readability is not so good.  

A site is mobile-friendly if it can be easily read and navigated from your smart phone without having to take out a magnifying glass or zooming in to read a blog post.

So, when a site is Mobile-Friendly is contains the same great information, but appears in a different layout.  Check out Sandi's site for a great test. http://stampinwithsandi.ca.  Look at it both on your ipad or desktop and then watch it change when you visit it from your smart phone!

Many mobile-friendly sites have the form of a logo at the type (in place of a banner), and a vertical layout of your navigation bar, followed by excerpts of your blog posts, and then your sidebar elements are normally towards the bottom of the page, again in a vertical layout.  Sandi's is beautiful :D 

So, how do you fix it? How do you make your site Mobile Friendly?

Let's review Blogger, TypePad and WordPress. 

Blogger Responsive,
Mobile-Friendly Design

Well, you have to figure this one would be 1-2-3 easy and it is! Google Blogger has a Mobile layout built-in. You just have to turn it on and viola!!! Done. In seconds!!!!!!

From your Dashboard, go to Layout and there is the Mobile layout!

 

BloggerMobileClick on the Settings icon, I chose the layout on the right and clicked Save! That's it.  This was available long before Google's April 21st announcement.

BloggerMobileSettings

Yea Blogger!!!!  Check out my old paper crafting site, http://handstampedbyheather.com, on your laptop, ipad, and then via your smart phone.

Again, this video will be a snap for us to create for you at Stamping and Blogging. Stay tuned 😀

WordPress Responsive,
Mobile-Friendly Design

Many WordPress themes are Responsive and Mobile-Friendly, such as Sandi MacIver's new Canadian blog: http://stampinwithsandi.ca.  Check it out on your desktop and iPad. Then go to that site via your smart phone and check out how easy it is to now navigate the site and be able to "read" everything.

When choosing a WordPress theme for your site, be sure to read the description and that it's at least Responsive.  Although a WordPress themes may be Responsive, it may not mobile-friendly yet, so you'll need to add a plugin. Most popular are:

In Stamping and Blogging, we'll experiment and create videos for WP Touch…I'll let you know when it's ready 😀  If you need help setting up a new WordPress blog or installing a new Mobile Friendly theme, contact me.

TypePad Responsive,
Mobile-Friendly Design

TypePad will be the more challenging change for many of us that have custom designs.  You can see here in my mini-tutorial on switching to a Responsive Design and using CSS code to load the custom banner. TypePad Everything support jumped in to share with us special code that would help the custom banner become "responsive".

However, TypePad also shared this tip in their article (on how to optimize your blog for mobile devices) for those using the Classic Theme Builder, which many of my clients do…so this may help get you started….(but it's only for BETA users at present).

At Design > Theme Builder, check the Create as Responsive box and click Save Changes to make an existing design responsive. To create a new theme, go to Design > Choose A Theme, select Theme Builder, and click Choose. Then, you'll have the option to Create as Responsive and apply the new design to your blog.

Lastly, TypePad shares this article in response to how to make your TypePad blog mobile-friendly.

So I will share with you my experience as I transform this site, Blogs By Heather from Advanced Templates to a Responsive Design.  The biggest challenge I'm thinking will be the dropdown menu….but we'll see 😀

(Updated May 11, 2015) I will use one of my customer's sites as an example. I'm actually preparing to move over to WordPress and can instead share with you how I do that!

Additionally, in Stamping and Blogging we're creating videos on how to convert to a Responsive Design using one of the three Responsive theme TypePad has available currently for all users.

 

What happens if your site is
NOT Mobile-Friendly? 

In closing, this new Google algorithm does not impact your desktop search results ranking. It only impacts your mobile-ranking and how Google identifies and lists those sites resulting from a search people are doing from their smart phones (mobile devices). 

So first, make sure your site is at least Responsive. And then follow the above tips to make it Mobile Friendly or join Stamping and Blogging for step-by-step videos!

Cool Tool For WordPress Users: WP Post Signature plugin

Have you ever wanted to have the same signature to appear at the bottom of every blog post so you don't manually have to do it? YES!!!! And now you can do it without much code and messing with the Editor!

In my previous tutorials, there's a lot of coding involved in getting this to work (and it does work), but those who have WordPress blogs can breathe a little easier with the use of a plugin called WP Post Signature! NOTE: Click here for my tutorials for Blogger, TypePad, and WordPress.com (free WordPress). 

  1. So…for those using WordPress…go to your Dashboard, Plugins, and Add New.
  2. In the Search box, enter WP Post Signature.
  3. When it finds it, click Install.
  4. Then click to Activate it.

Next, to modify the settings and add the code that will then be placed at the end of each post. If you want an image signature, you have to first load that image to your Media Manager. Click Edit, and then select and use that Image URL (you'll see below where to put it).

  1. To edit your new plugin, go to the Dashboard, then Settings, then WP Post Signature.
  2. Enter 1 in the 1st option and Save Changes. This will put your signature ABOVE the LinkWithin widget that many paper crafters use.
  3. Then in the section below, set it to ON and at the bottom of your posts.
  4. Add the HTML code you want to use – such as the code for a shop online button and linking it to your website.  Or simply enter the text you want to appear at the bottom of each post.
  5. When you're done, save changes.

    WPPostSignature

Stamping and Blogging

For more tutorials (video and PDF) on building your WordPress site, join us at Stamping and Blogging! We have a ton of videos including how to create post and pages, add sidebar items, edit HTML code like that used here, and so much more!

 

 

Cool Tool: Ahrefs – Complete BackLinks Analysis

Here's a great new SEO tool for you! It's called AHrefs. Pretty cool name right? YES, since it's all about links…specifically what is known as "backlinks".  Backlinks are simply those sites (which contain links) that link to you!

Backlinks Analysis

I used to to find those that I have lost…. Lost Links. Which normally means the post or page has been removed from the source or is now a broken link in that I may have deleted the page or post they were linking to, etc.  

To help build your SEO ranking and overall online presence, you want high quality links to your site!

Ahrefs

Now, I have not been posting like I used to back in the day…but I used my site as an example anyway to show you the Dashbaord and all the great info you can gain from this type of tool.  I do have many links to my site, which is great 😀  But I have lost some links too.  Anyway…give this tool a try!  Visit https://ahrefs.com to get started.

 

Ahrefsdashboard

 

Stamping and BloggingWant to learn more on SEO and how to better build your blog…then join us at Stamping and Blogging for our complete How To Setup a Blog (over 70 videos), Better Business Blogging in 21 Days, Top Ten SEO Tools and tons of articles on blogging in general! Click to learn more about Stamping and Blogging!

Cool Tool: Pingdom

Want to know how fast your site is loading? No? Well, you should. If your site doesn't load in approximately 5 seconds or less, then you're already lost a potential new follower, new customer. 

You only have a few seconds to gain their interest.  So in addition to having a site that loads fast, make sure it looks good (great!) and that you have a clear mission statement and call-to-action!  They need to know what you offer and what the next step is.

Okay, so back to page speed.  Check out this free tool by Pingdom.  Simply enter your blog's address and wait for the results.

Pingdom

Enjoy!

Heather Wright-Porto

Stamping and Blogging

Want to know more? We are on Day 19 of our Better Business Blogging in 21 Days, and discuss even more tools for page speed and discuss the most common issues and how to fix them.  Click to learn more about Stamping and Blogging!

Cool Tool: Create interactive images with ThingLink!

As part of the blog maintenance at Stamping and Blogging, I'll be providing these beautiful images you can then use to create your own links and bring your post images to life! 

  • In this example and lesson on ThingLink, we have two clickable areas (called tags) for the Holiday Catalog – one to shop and one to download the PDF. 
  • Additionally, on the Blendabilities image we have a tag that will pop-up and play a video (how cool is that) and the other to go to the online store.
  • And a link to the Weekly Deals (Stampin' Up!).

Want to learn how?

Want to use these image(s) each month to promote Stampin' Up! products on your site, to link to your DBWS store in a NEW, fun, interactive way….then join Stamping & Blogging

We have step-by-step instruction (PDF and video formats)…for Blogger, TypePad and WordPress! We always cover all three!

But what's more is that we'll create beautiful new images every month so you don't have to…and you can spend your time instead building your business 😀

 

ThingLinkSB

Want to experiment on your own?

Then go to ThingLink.com, create an account within seconds with your name, email and password…and get started today.

  • Upload an image you want to use.
  • Click to add a bunch of tags – choosing which type of tag and a tag icon for each one.
  • Save and then Share and you're on your way!

Happy Blogging!

 

Cool Tool: StampinBuddy for Stampin’ Up! Demonstrators

Have you ever wanted to quickly link to a bunch of products in your blog post?  And have them link to your DBWS store page so you readers and customers can quickly purchase them through you? 

YES!? Well then, here is your answer….

www.StampinBuddy.com. 

It's a wonderful, FREE tool for Stampin' Up! Demonstrators that will have your products appear in a blog post (or page) like Sandi's!

CM Capture 3(snapshot from Stamping with Sandi)

It's very easy to use, but if you're looking for step by step, instruction, then come on over and join us at Stamping and Blogging.  Enjoy! 😀

 

 

Cool Tool: Create a Word Cloud Using Tagxedo

StampingAndBloggingWordCloudHave you ever wondered how you can create a cool image like this for your blog? It's called a Word Cloud and there's a free tool you can use to create it!

With Tagxedo, you can:

  • make word clouds instantly online, available immediately.
  • customize the look – changing font, theme, color, orientation, and shape.
  • save as images for printing, sharing and for your site.
  • view your word clouds as thumbnails
  • choose from a library of fonts or use custom fonts (e.g. downloaded from Font SquirrelDaFontFontSpace).
  • constrain the word cloud to selected shapes (heart (like in my example), star, animals, etc. or use images as custom shapes (e.g. a portrait, an animal silhouette).

Just click CREATE to get started at http://www.TagXedo.com.

Want step by step instruction? Join Stamping and Blogging to view the PDF and video on this fun tool and many more tools to help you setup and maintain your blog!