Come Join Me!

Thank you to those who have followed my online marketing posts since the humble beginnings of this blog, especially those who supported me when I was over on blogger! Since 2009, I’ve shared 160+ online marketing tutorials, often documenting the step-by-step process I followed myself when working towards a solution! The nature of online marketing and social media means things are always changing, especially on Facebook and Twitter, where most of my online tutorials were focused.

New Paths

Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake, Oregon

Since our cross-country trip during the Summer of 2013, my life has taken a new direction, after countless hours of prayer, journaling, and long conversations! My efforts since this shift have moved towards my personal inspiration blog and YouTube channel, LauraCatherineCo, in addition to serving in the community, hosting book club gatherings, developing my yoga practice, and of course, being devoted to my faith and family.

Status of Older Tutorials and My Marketing Blog
It is for this reason I’ve chosen to move a large majority of my online marketing tutorials into draft mode.  I’ll keep them there in case I have the time and desire to update them in the future.  Just as one example, many of my popular Twitter posts on how to set up your header image and background are in need of further updating, as the specs have changed and will likely change again and again.  This is a good thing, but as step into my new routine and embrace more of what I have prayed about, I don’t have the time to keep tutorials in a constant state of being updated.

Want to Join Me?
bunting-header-laura

I’d like to invite you to come join me over at LauraCatherine.co and on YouTube as LauraCatherineCo, for a dose of inspiration, DIY, art, health and travel!  A sampling of my latest videos and inspirational posts is also below.

If you’d like to keep getting my blog posts from LauraCatherine.co, please sign-up for my newsletter here.  I realize the focus is a bit different from online marketing, so I would like to give YOU the opportunity to join me or perhaps not if we don’t share similar interests.

With warmest thanks,

Laura

LauraCatherine.co Recent Blog Posts:

YouTube Video Gallery:
YTLaura

WordPress Themes of the Month via ManageWP

If you manage your own self-hosted WordPress website or blog, you may find yourself looking to do a little theme housekeeping from time-to-time (aside from the usual updates).  For example, the theme you selected when you launched your blog or website may not have the functionality and responsiveness that many of the newer themes offer.  While that doesn’t always mean it’s time to change themes completely (especially with the mobile-friendly plugins that can bridge the theme gap), there comes a time when you may be ready for a change. Or, if you’re creating your WordPress website or blog now, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the many wonderful options to choose from!

I came across a monthly feature on the Manage WP website called themes of the month that I’ve quite enjoyed.  Manage WP features their five favorite WordPress themes (normally free) with easy download links.
wp-themes
If you’re in the market for a WP theme, browse the featured themes here: https://managewp.com/tag/themes-of-the-month.

If you’ve found yourself with a WordPress theme that doesn’t display well on iPhones and mobile devices but aren’t ready for a new theme, consider the WPTouch plugin. I’ve used it in several WordPress websites and it’s a simple plugin that ensures your blog posts display well for mobile visitors.  That said, I’d recommend a WP theme with mobile functionality built in from the start if you’re in the process of launching your website or blog.

Google Reader Alternative: BlogLovin’ ~ How to Set Up a Profile and Create a BlogLovin Button

Two hip bloggers that I follow (A Beautiful Mess and Leonie Dawson) have both recommended BlogLovin’ to their readers as an alternative to Google Reader (which is going away July 1).  I personally have been using Feedly for a few months now and it’s still my first choice, but if you’re a blogger yourself, you may want to pay special attention to today’s post because it’s relevant and may be an important part of your mix.  BlogLovin’ has been around for years and you’ll often see their catchy logo/illustration on the sidebar of many trendy blogs.  Not that the logo is a deciding factor, but I’m sharing it now because you may be curious.
widget_fashion
Pretty stylish, indeed.

There are two parts to this BlogLovin’ post:

  • The first is for people who simply want to make the switch from Google Reader to BlogLovin’ for their own reading pleasure (and because Google Reader is going away July 1, 2013).
  • The second part of this post will be for bloggers like myself to set our profiles up on BlogLovin’ and place a helpful BlogLovin’ button/graphic in our own sidebars to encourage/easily allow our readers to follow us there.  Our readers can add us either way to their BlogLovin’ feeds, but it’s always nice to polish up our own profiles and include the widget for our readers.

So first, the simple process of creating a BlogLovin’ account:

  1. Visit bloglovin.com.
  2. Click to create an account.  Although sign-up with facebook login is a few seconds faster, I always prefer to sign-up using my email address (the fewer third-parties I can grant Facebook access to, the better in my opinion).
  3. Check your email address for the confirmation if you created your account using your email address instead of Facebook.
  4. Click on “import from Google Reader” to import your feeds or skip this step if you don’t have a Google Reader account.
  5. Allow access to BlogLovin’ from Google in the prompt that follows.
  6. You’ll be taken to your BlogLovin’ home screen where your feeds are located on the left and content is pulled into the body, example below.

NOTE: Unless you want email notifications every day, you will want to edit your settings to modify your email preferences.  This is found under account>settings from the top-right hand side of your BlogLovin page. 

Now, if you’re a blogger and want to “claim” your blog on BlogLovin’, add a BlogLovin’ widget to your blog (like you see at the far right of this blog) and review your blog’s profile, here’s how:

  1. After logged into BlogLovin’, hover over your name on the top right and click on “view profile.”
  2. Then click on “edit profile
  3. Fill in your profile info, being sure to include your blog(s) URL(s) next to “blogs by me.”   Don’t overlook filling in the “about” section as well.
  4. After clicking on “add blog,” you’ll want to click on “claim blog” and type in the URL of your blog to locate it.
    claim-blog
  5. Once your blog has been located, a screen will pop-up with a sliver of code for you to copy and paste onto your own blog.  I chose to paste this code into a sidebar widget area of my WordPress blog (found under appearance>widgets from the WP dashboard), but you may paste it into one of your posts as well.
    blog-code
  6. Now click on “claim blog” after you’ve pasted this code onto your blog and you’ll be taken to your blog’s profile on BlogLovin’ (if all checks out with the code you pasted on your blog in step 5).
  7. Onto the handy BlogLovin’ button to add to your own blog…to grab the code for this button, click on “follow buttons” from the top-right navigation under your name or go direct here: http://www.bloglovin.com/en/widgets.
  8. Click on the widget you’d like to add to your blog by clicking “get this icon” and copying the code. Save and close your widget.
  9. Paste this code over the BlogLovin’ code from step 5 above as a sidebar widget.  Or, not sure what to do with the code? They have tutorials for blogger, wordpress and tumblr here.

By now you should be all set as both a reader and with a profile and button for your own blog. Honestly, it’s quite a few steps and feels like more work than it should be.  But, if you’ve made it this far…congratulations!  It took a few steps, yes, but you’ve given yourself a new and stylish way to follow your favorite blogs and you’ve made it easier for your readers to follow your blog as well.  Feedly sure feels easier by now, and it’s still my favorite but I’d be remiss if I didn’t share this as well, especially because if you are a blogger, your readers may gravitate towards one or the other and you want to make it as easy as possible for them to keep you top-of-mind and on their screen(s).

PS – BlogLovin’ has an app (of course), so you may want to check that out as well!  If you do create a BlogLovin’ account, I hope you’ll consider following this blog and my personal blog, lauracatherine.co.  I’ve made it easy by placing the BlogLovin’ button on the sidebar of both blogs, links are also here and here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on BlogLovin’. “Like” and interact with me on Facebook, Twitter or leave a comment below.  Thanks!

Making Blog Content Pin-Friendly (Whether You’re on Pinterest or Not)

Today’s post is for my creative and entrepreneurial readers, as well as anyone who is interested in driving traffic to their blog. It applies to you whether you have a Pinterest account or not! You see, even if you don’t have a Pinterest account, many of your readers do and can easily “pin” your content. Before I jump into my suggestions, rest assured that any photos pinned from your blog or website are linked back to your blog or website automatically on Pinterest. So, free traffic that you didn’t know about and didn’t have to do anything for. That’s a good thing, right?!

Pinnable Photos

Pinnable Photos Example from LauraCatherine.co

Here’s what: If you include photos in your blog posts, your content is “pinnable.”  Your readers with Pinterest accounts have the “Pin It” plugin installed in their browsers, giving them the ability to “Pin” photos from your blog to their own Pinterest boards. With one simple click, the photos from your blog are pinned and ready for action. Since this may very well be happening already with your blog photos, today’s post walks you through how you can have more control over how your photos are presented on Pinterest.

The photos and instructions for this tutorial were taken as screenshots from my self-hosted wordpress website and blog, but you can apply them to your own blog, (regardless of host) with a few tweaks.

How to Make Blog Photos Pin-Friendly: Simple Tip

  • Make your photos pin-friendly by crafting your photo alt tags with care.  If you don’t know an alt tag is or haven’t bothered with them before, I’ll try to summarize briefly. Alt tags are displayed in lieu of the photo if the visitor to your website has images disabled or cannot see your photos because he or she is visually impaired.
  • If you’re on a WordPress self-hosted blog like mine, when you upload a photo the alt tag is automatically pre-populated with the image filename.  So, if you’ve named your file, “headshot117withheavyedits,” this is what will populate over on Pinterest when someone pins that photo.  You see how this could be a branding problem? Example below. Notice the long strong of numbers…that was the image name! It’s not that uncommon when you save Instagram photos to your computer, which is what I’d done with that photo in particular.
    pin with default text
  • The good news is there’s a simple fix for this challenge.  Simply edit the alt tag upon uploading a photo to your blog.  You can highlight, delete and type over the alt-tag that is populated.  Don’t want to bother with that? Take care in naming your files before uploading to your blog. Screenshot below of the upload photo process in WordPress, with an arrow pointing to the Alt tag field. :)

    alt text

Facebook’s Year in Review: What Did Your 2012 Look Like?

As you look ahead to a successful 2013 with fresh, new goals and an inspired perspective, take a moment to look back on everything you accomplished in 2012! Thanks to a fabulous goal-setting sheet from Laura of the Mixonian Institute, I did just that (look back on 2012) on a sunny afternoon in December.One of the things I wrote down was 12 things I’d accomplished in 2012.  This prompted me to revisit the 50 goals I’d set in 2010. I was delighted to be able to cross 44 off the list!

Facebook has a helpful feature that can get you started in the exercise of recapping 2012 goals reached as you plan for 2013.  It’s called their “year in review” feature, and you can access yours by visiting http://www.facebook.com/yearinreview. There, you’ll find your 20 biggest Facebook moments from the year, including highlighted posts and popular stories.



I’ll be sharing my 2013 goals over on my personal blog, LauraCatherine.co and hope you’ll stop by for a visit.

Laura is a marketing professional and blogger who has been active in social media since 2005.  If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to this blog
via Email or  RSS. Laura can also be found on Twitter (@LauraCatherineO), Facebook, and LinkedIn.