Nonbloggers: A tip for you, too: we recommend that you sign up for a Google account (free) if you've been unable to leave comments, just to be sure you can play along on March 20th!
Bloggers! Our blogs are an expression of our creativity - as much as our cards are! It's not as hard as you'd think to add some personality to yours, so we're providing a few ideas for you here....they're not chrome wheels, but they're the bloggers' equivalent of them!
- Watermark your images. It's always a good idea to protect your work! Dawn produced a tutorial for us recently, and it's a FREE site, too!
- Decorate your header. The blog name in the url can't be changed once you start (unless you export the whole thing and re-upload!) - but if you're not pleased with that name, you can change that name and create whatever you'd like for your header!
- There are free header images you can use - check out FWPH, Theme Headers, or The Best Free Blog Headers. Be sure to use any art within the Creative Commons Licenses linked on the sites.
- Add text using the FotoFlexer site to add text to your selected photo, or experiment with your photo editing software. When following the tutorial Dawn produced for us, you can set one piece of type, click off the area, and click the text tool a second time—then you can put a header and subhead, or add your name or byline of some sort (like "I make cards for our heroes!" lol!)
- Add gadgets. Play around with the available gadgets that are available through your blog software. You can have a list of visitor comments appear in the sidebar, a slideshow of your card pictures, a list of all your friends, or links to your favorite sites or charities.
- Add a background. There are so many free sites out there—check out your favorite bloggers and ask how they created their designs. Here's a tutorial showing how to add a background in Blogger. Consider donating a few dollars to the one you choose if they have a paypal link - these are a lot of work to create! Here are a few ideas:
- ShabbyBlogs - for the shabby chic crafter - backgrounds, blinkies, and accessories
- Hot Bliggity Blog - a nice range of patterned paper backgrounds
- Ivy's Inspirations - some really pretty gardening backgrounds and scrappy designs
- My Blog Makeover - a few patriotic designs
- Free Blogger Backgrounds - a number of different styles
- That Blog Place - more patriotic backgrounds
- Turn down the sound. Many bloggers like to have music playing when visitors arrive; and while that's certainly an option, remember that if someone doesn't like your selection, they may decide to just skip to another blog. Music can also seriously slow down loading of your blog. If you have an option to turn it down, or to invite the visitor to turn it on if they want to hear it, consider that as a courtesy. We ask that, during the hop, music be turned off to allow us to all get to as many blogs as we can during that day!
- Open up comments. It's a wise idea to open up your comments to anyone when there's a big event going on! For some blogs, if the comments are embedded below the post, there are some visitors who won't be able to comment on your blog. If you notice everyone else gets lots of comments and yours still just has a few, check your settings!
- Turn off CAPTCHA. We recommend turnining CAPTCHA off just for the day of the bloghop - just to make it extra-easy for the hundreds of visitors to leave you feedback as they stroll by! You can turn it back on after the hop and keep those spammers away.
- Sign your posts. Add a signature to each of your posts by using MyLiveSignature to use a simulated handwritten signature! To add the html to your blog, go to your Dashboard, click Layout, then Formatting, and place the html into the Post Template dialog box. On any new posts created, that image will automatically appear in the window! (The "Your turn" sig below was created using the MLS system...pretty cool!)
What ideas have we missed on the list? Do you have links to other sites for blog tricks that we'd all love to visit?