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!
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
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!
|Event photo by Jenni|