Adventures in Dressmaking: Little blogging tips part 5, and a shout-out!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Little blogging tips part 5, and a shout-out!

It's been a while since I shared my top blogging tips, but here I go again, this time with a couple of technical points and then an important social and, uh, philosophical? suggestion.

Suzannah's blogging tip #13: Simple: make your photos all the same width.

It's so funny, this is like, a common tip nowadays, but when I first started my blog I paid no mind to photo widths. In fact, I'm embarrassed to admit, I used to make my photos "Large" instead of "X-Large" because my post column width wasn't quite wide enough for the X-Large. I also always used 4x6 photos, a mix of vertical and horizontal, and they look totally choppy and staggered as you scroll down the post. Ugh!

See? Yes:

No!:

There are lots of ways to standardize your picture widths: in Picasa, Photoshop/Lightroom, or PicMonkey or whatever you use, and export to the right width/dimensions (I recommend 640px wide for typical blog layouts). You can do it in the post with a larger photo, but it may make your blog slower to load--to resize in the post, resize manually in the HTML or use Windows Live Writer to write your posts in preview mode. To resize your images manually: in the post editor, make the photo "Original size," then edit the HTML of the post and add

width="640" height="960"

or whatever the dimensions (make sure you use the right numbers to keep the dimensions). A 4"x6" photo is 640px x 960px, and a 3"x4" photo is 640px x 853px, for example.

Ideally, make your photos the same width as your posts. You can easily change your post column width in Blogger > Template > Customize > Adjust widths, and I'm sure on other hosts, too. Find a blog width that works for you and on most monitors, and stick with it--and make your photos match!

Suzannah's blogging tip #14: Make a stat tracker for each month.

We talk a lot in blogging about your "stats"--that is, the important figures that measure the size and reach of your blog. Often this is your monthly pageviews (tracked by Google Analytics, easily installed on any blog or website), followers (via a variety of tools--Google Reader, Facebook, Twitter, BlogLovin, etc.), and more. If you have a goal of growing your blog and influencing more people, for whatever reason--maybe you want to attract sponsors, gain credibility, do collaborations...--then your stats are likely very important to you.

I only just recently recognized one really easy way to keep track of blog growth and strength: aside from checking your stats regularly (in Google Analytics and on your networks), make note of your figures on a regular basis. That is, make a spreadsheet or a document or a piece of paper!, and every month at the same time, write down how many pageviews, visitors, etc. you get! Try making a column for each of the goals you have--pageviews, Twitter followers, whatever it is--and watch how your blog changes over time.

To see a great example of a stat tracker, you can check out and download the free set of blog planning materials from the most recent Portland Bloggers event about blog goal-setting.


Suzannah's blogging tip #15: Take it to the real world. Join a group of bloggers in your city, talk with a friend or two who also blog, or connect one-on-one with bloggers you know and admire in the blog world. Make personal connections with others who have something (important) in common with you: this crazy online world!

So, speaking of the Portland Bloggers, I'm very fortunate to have found this awesome group in my area. Every time I see these folks, I come away inspired and energized and more informed, too, and ready to tackle the next thing for my blog. The group's events are often informative, such as the photography workshop or SEO workshop, but are also social, and I've made some great friends by meeting other bloggers in person!

The last event was about our resolutions and goals for our blogs in 2013--what a great way to start off the year. Really got me thinking about all kinds of goals for this year! It's going to be an exciting one!
Images by Jenni

Those are my little bloggings tips this time around! Have anything to add??

13 comments :

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  1. Thanks for the tips! I just started my blog nearly a month ago, and it's totally a new experience. I can't quite figure out the picture thing, in fact my post today is just terrible now that you mention it...

    And wow, so many printables to look at. Thanks!

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  2. awesome tips!! I never really thought about the photo width thing but you're so right, it looks much nicer. I'm going to do this from now on. I use photoscape for my pics and it's very easy to re-size (and it's free!)

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  3. I never really thought too much about the different widths - this is definitely something that I will look into. I feel like I need to set up a personal meeting where you can teach me all of your knowledge?

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  4. Thanks! These are great tips and I just started blogging. Can't wait to figure out the width issues on my page

    Tailoring my life

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  5. Picture width is more important than most people think. It makes a blog look professional. It's actually be proven (scientifically) that if the pictures are the same width, readers will stay on the page/post longer.

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  6. I think I successfully added Google Analytics! Well, it takes 24hrs. So I'll know for sure tomorrow. Thanks for the awesome tips! Have a great weekend!

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  7. love a good tip or two to help step up my blogging game!

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  8. Great tips Suzannah! Thanks for sharing :)

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  9. Thank you for the tips! I've just started a new blog and am finding it an amazing new experience. I thought my photos were huge, but maybe I'll make them bigger now!
    By the way, my new blog is www.sleeksilhouette.com if you're interested!

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  10. Hello! Thanks so much for the great tips! I have a question though, if you have time to help me out?

    I blog just for fun and so have a little blog with only a few followers, so don't worry if you think I'm using this as a way to gain exposure, I'm genuinely not, I'm happy with my friends being my most avid readers!

    I've always tried to get my photos the same width to suit the width of my blog and so automatically adjust them to be 400 pixels wide. Occasionally though I get random photos that either won't be shrunk (so come out too wide) or shrink too much. A recent example of this is here. I end up centering the smaller photos to make it look less messy but it still looks bad! The thing is, when I check Flickr the photos are the correct width, they just seem to show up on blogger as too narrow. I used to have a similar problem with photobucket but they were occasionally too wide instead of narrow, which is why I eventually switched to Flickr, thinking it was photobucket's fault. Now I'm wondering if it's a blogger problem. Any thoughts, oh wise blogging guru?!

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  11. Waoh, this is so timely! I've just moved to the US and the first thing I'm going to do is find a blogging meet-up in my local area. Thanks a lot for the inspiratio :)

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  12. Interesting tips... I started my blog yesterday and I truly need some tips! Just like many other folks, I never thought of the picture width thing. I also wish I'll get to know bloggers, so if anyone reads my comment, don't be afraid to go to my blog and leave a comment. I'd love to find new blogs to follow!

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