Monday, January 16, 2012

What I've learned: Year 1

I started this blog a year ago.  I had moved from Maryland to Texas, but hadn't made any close friends yet and I was missing my old ones.  I wanted to invite them over to hang out, talk about our kids and books and for them to all say "Oh Pretty" about my latest project.  My youngest had started school, and I found that without park days and play dates I wasn't quite sure how to make new friends. I've had a family blog for years-which is mostly about the kiddos, but I thought it was about time that I have one of my very own. So here's what I've learned over the past year.

1. This blog has given me a huge sense of accomplishment and purpose.  It has really helped me to try new things and to finish projects.  I have always felt fulfilled in my role as a wife and mother, but have also really enjoyed having something all my own.

2. Link parties: I participate in a ton-maybe even too many.  The larger ones bring the most traffic to my blog.  However, I enjoy the smaller ones more.  The host will usually actually visit my blog and many times even leave a kind comment.
3. $$$$$-Making money has never been my goal, but click here to see what's worked for me:How to make $
4.What annoys other bloggers-Click on the link to read the entire list, but word verification (turn it off people!!!), music auto-play, "comments like-"I'm a new follower, follow me back" and being a no-reply bloggers are top offenders.  
5. How to make a button
6. How to search yourself on pinterest-I don't remember where I first saw this, but if you want to see what has been pinned from your blog type in: blog address/  for example, I just need to type in and it shows me all the stuff people pinned from my blog.
7. How to fix weird margins:  When I redid the blog, everything looked great-except for the posts w/my linky parties.  The margins were all messed up and instead of my sidebar stuff showing up at the top of the page, it wasn't showing up until the middle of the page, and then it was overlapping unto the links.  I contacted Brent Riggs of Linky Tools and he replied:

Sounds like you have a theme with some style sheets that aren't playing
nice with the column count...

If you are using "IGNORE COLUMN COUNT" and still getting this effect,
then uncheck that, and manually set a column count that fits.

If you are already using a manual column counts, sounds like the body
area of your new skin is more narrow than the previous.

You might try just making the blog post area wider first before having
to manual adjust your linky list column counts.

Not a lot of this made sense me to, but I went into the last linky party and unclicked the box that says "Ignore column count" and the problem was solved!

8. How to add a pin button to your blog- I tried to use the method in the "goodies" section many times but failed. Then, just a few days ago Clickin Moms posted how. 

To add a pin, switch to "edit HTML" and add the following code to each post:
<div><a href="javascript:void((function(){var%20e=document.createElement('script');e.setAttribute('type','text/javascript');e.setAttribute('charset','UTF-8');e.setAttribute('src',''+Math.random()*99999999);document.body.appendChild(e)})());"><img class="aligncenter" src="" alt="Pin It" /></a></div>

9.Water mark your photos: Have you ever tried to click on something you pinned and not be able to trace it back?  Now I watermark every picture with my blog address, so people can trace it back here (also I get all the credit).

10.  In the past week, I've had trouble with pages not loading.  I switched to Google Chrome as my browser, and so far no problems.

11. Use "link with-in".  It will automatically put a few more posts at the bottom of each posts and will increase the traffic to your site.

Here are some things, I'm just not sure about

1.Features-I truly love when one of my projects is featured on a blog.  I'm not sure what to do with that button to show my appreciation.  For a while, they were all on the sidebar, but it started looking crowed.  Than I put them on the bottom, but it felt a little like bragging.  Now they are on my link page.  Suggestions? 

2.  Following-I only use GFC to follow other blogs and honestly don't know how any other system works. This is probably something I should figure out.

3.  Photo skills-I think I need to take a class or something.  A great picture of an average project will get so much more attention than an amazing project with an average photo. I think my photo skills have improved, but I still think I have a long, long way to go.

4. Editing-I do proofread posts, my brain just auto corrects stuff and so I don't see the mistakes.  I am making a better effort.

So there you have it, all my knowledge and wisdom.  What have you learned lately to improve your blog? Check out all the comments for more great tips and helps.

UPDATE: To learn about being a no-reply blogger-click on this post by Pleasant Home. She says it way better than I ever could.

Pin It


  1. hmmm... lots to think about here. The blue man's freaking me out alittle though!! hehe. take care.

    1. That Blue man is the man of my dreams-although unless it's Halloween-he's a little less blue :)

  2. Sounds like you have learned alot this first year, for sure, and I think you are doing a great job. (Yup, I "party" with you every week because of your efforts too!)

    About adding Pin It buttons. I have a Tut (with step by step photo/screen shots) on my blog too if you wanna peek. That's because I don't care for pin-it buttons on every post I do, just crafty ones, I did it each by each. You should check it out though, Tara :)

    Your personality is very likeable, I think. New RL (real-life) friends will me.

    Smiles, Suzanne in NW Illinois

  3. Happy first birthday!!! I hope that we will spent much more of them, here on your blog :)

  4. Thanks for the list! As a newbie it is so great to see the things I can cross off and the things I need to keep working on. I always wondered how to know what was being viewed on Pinterest...thanks for the tip!

  5. Yep, thanks for the tip about seeing my stuff on Pinterest. Makes me feel a bit better about my craftiness...thanks!

  6. Great list. I have had my blog for just over a year and feel the same about a lot. As for the feature buttons, I only put mine on the actual post that has been featured at the bottom saying "this post has been featured here:" It may be a little braggy, but it's an acomplishment and I think you have a right to show it off. :)

    I'd love for you to link up and share:

  7. There's also one other thing I wanted to share that I have learned...just recently in fact. When you add a link in your post, make it pop up in a new window {there's a check box at the bottom when you are adding your link URL}. You don't want people to stray from your blog when a new link opens. :)

  8. I tried turning word verification off, but soon after, I received the message that Blogger had deleted my blog due to suspicious activity. I followed the prompts and they hadn't deleted it, just disabled it. Probably not related to having word verification on, but my heart sank when I got that message.

    I agree totally with #2. It's great when the host takes the time to comment. My feature buttons are in my side bar, but I resize them so they are all the same size. I also have a 'Featured' page so I can see what was featured and where.

    As far as the look of my blog, probably the biggest thing I've learned is a little htms so I can:
    - resize buttons so they are the size I want them to be and so they all line up
    - how to create tables

    Great post!!!

  9. Great list! I can really relate to some of it, and I can there is much I need to learn. :)

  10. Oh, so many of these things are spot on for me too. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has those same struggles.:) Happy one year.:)

  11. Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog. I enjoyed reading this post! I just a hit one year as well...woohoo! I see how you are able to reply to individual comments. Spill did you make that happen? Thanks!

  12. Thanks for the link! That was helpful too but actually I was referring to you being able to "reply" dierectly to people making comments here in the comment section. Mine doesn't have an option like that and I do have Google Chrome. Hmmmm...

  13. Alot of great tips, thanks so much. I am a new blogger and I love the 10 things I hate about your blog post! Thank you for your input and honesty!

  14. I think you do a great job and I enjoy your blog...glad that it helps keep me connected to you.

  15. Great tips! I have been blogging for a while now, but have SO much to learn! Thanks for the ideas.

  16. Great tips. I was wodering ow to find out if anyone pinned my projectd.thanks.

  17. have certainly learned a lot in a year!! Thanks for the link to linkwithin - often wondered where that came from! Thanks for all the tips - very informative

  18. So I read that link about "no-reply bloggers." I'm guessing that I'm one of those annoying people. I just assumed that bloggers would reply to my question in their comments. I get annoyed when someone has already asked a question I want to ask and the blogger hasn't responded. Now I get that they have probably responded personally. But it's not worth it to me to add my private e-mail. So I'll keep annoying you!

    I think your blog is really fun and I especially enjoy that you add stuff all the time. It's the first one I check each day. Keep the fabulous ideas coming!!

    1. Kammy, You could never be annoying. Your blogs is one of my favorites too. I love that you screen all those books for me. My thing with no-reply bloggers is that I don't want to spend a lot of time answering a question in the comments and not knowing if they'll ever come back and check. I scrolled back-the only question that was asked about the post is "how to watermark" photos. Both Picasa and Picnik are few photo editing programs and allow you to add text.

    2. Right. That makes sense. I just click "subscribe" or whatever when I ask a question. Plus replying directly shows your readers you care. I haven't noticed you not responding, but I have on other blogs, now I get it.

    3. This is actually a new thing that my blog is letting me do. I'm not sure why, but until last week I had no way of responding to no-reply bloggers. Also, I know how to contact you other ways so it's not an issue for you. For most people to reply to you that you don't know in real life:

      Sign in to Blogger and bring up your Dashboard or Profile Page. Click on EDIT PROFILE.

      See the third box down (SHOW MY EMAIL ADDRESS) there should be a check mark in it.
      Scroll down; see the section titled IDENTITY. See the box labeled EMAIL ADDRESS. Your Email address should be in that box.

      If there is no email in that box or if you don't have the Show My Email Address box checked. You are a NO-REPLY blogger.

  19. Thanks for sharing all these tips- I am working on my first year and have been surprised by all that I have learned, but also by how much I have left to learn! Glad to have you at Things I've Done Thursday!


  20. wow, thanks for all those great tips! I have just added the "pin it" button to my posts :) i am currently pinning like everything!! xx alice.

  21. Thanks for sharing your tips at my link party! I hope to see you at tomorrow's party as well :)

  22. Going to search for myself on Pinterest now! And following you, so I can keep up, I always get here eventually, I'd just like to be a more regular visitor:)


  23. Thanks Tara. I just quit being a no-reply blogger (didn't even know what that was or that I was one till just now). I'm going to try the link within stuff too. :) And I know you in real life so you can always find me that way too.