Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blogging 101 (Part Six)

We're at Part six of our series focusing on how to beautify your blog (and make it more functional at the same time). If you have been living under a rock for the last several months click here to read the first five parts of this series. They're pretty useful and informative, if I do say so myself. ;o)

This time I'm going to give a little talk about WORD VERIFICATION (the evil captcha) and I'll also walk you through how to use the Linky Follower Tool. Finally I'll show you how to use Mr. Linky, the meme tool that allows your readers to link up to your blog for challenges and such.

Ok, first my little spiel about word verification. I am a word verification free blog site. I don't want to inadvertently annoy any lovely commenters with superfluous anti-spam measures. Blogger does a wonderful job of filtering out offensive comments (I've heard, since I've never actually had the privilege of getting one) and someday if my blog has so many loyal followers that I collect some complainers then I'll add comment moderation. I'm betting that'll never be necessary, not that I won't grow to be über popular but that anyone would want to make a rude comment seems just silly, lol!

I know that it's possible that something heinous will get by both Blogger and me but I'd rather not annoy the (hopefully) thousands of people who are kind enough to comment for the possibility of one troubling commenter. I'm thinking that you, my reader, will thank the Gods for no strange, s t r e t c h e d  out, blurry words that look like a drunk person wrote them. When I'm on a blog, I hate having to guess at these words just to say something encouraging, something I don't HAVE to do. In fact, many times I'm very tempted to leave when I encounter the dreaded word verification. So, I am very happy to say I'm a WORD VERiFiCATiOFREE blog because I don't want to lose you.

Please, no offense to those who want to use verification on their blogs, go for it, it's your blog. You just won't have to do that here. You're welcome. ;o)

Ok, now, if you want to join the WORD VERiFiCATiOFRErevolution then here's what you do. Go to your Design page (back room) by clicking in the upper right hand corner on "design". It'll look like this, so you'll know you're in the right place...

I'm using a blog I've just started with a friend...
You're gonna want to go to the "Settings" tab at the bottom left of the above Design page. After you click "Settings" then click "Posts and Comments". Your page will then look like the following...



Ok, so now, if you look, you can change how your blog deals with comments. To change the word verification you want to click "show word verification?" and choose NO (as I have above). If you're still worried about spam or bad comments getting through you can put on "Comment Moderation", which means that you'll get an email for every comment and you'll have to tell blogger that it's ok to show it. I don't think it's necessary but if you want it the choose Always and it'll ask you to type in your email address that you want each comment to be sent so you can moderate them. Remember to click "SAVE SETTINGS" in the upper right hand corner of the page (not shown in picture above for space reasons). That's it, easy peasy!! Now your a word verification free blog too and we LOVE you for it!!

On to adding the Linky Follower Tool to your site! First, click on this link when your ready to do all the following steps. To the right is the page you'll see the linky page you'll land on first when you click the link above. Click the "Sign Up - It's Free" button at the bottom of the page. Funny enough, you'll land on a word verification page to prove you're human, fill in the word and click "Validate". You're now on a page where they want your particulars. Fill in your email address (later you'll be able to choose NOT to have that show), pick an email that will be valid and you can get access to. Fill in your name and a thumbnail message. I've thought of this a lot, your thumbnail message is the short message that appears when anyone mouses over or hovers over your little avatar picture that will be in any linky tool you sign up to. I put "Jenn @ www.JustAddWaterSilly.com" because I want people to know it's me AND, more important, MY BLOG ADDRESS. So, if anyone mouses over my pic, wondering who I am it says I own the blog Just Add Water Silly! After you put your message, then pick a password you'll remember (minimum of four characters). Click continue.

Now you want to put your blog name and blog address. If I were signing up Just Add Water Silly I'd put:


If you actually don't have a blog but want to be able to sign up with other people's blogs as a follower then check the box at the bottom saying you don't have a blog. Now click continue.

Now you're on a page that says the following:

NOTE:When you click the button below:
  1. You will receive an email to confirm and activate your account (If you don't receive your confirmation email within a few minutes, go to the website and contact us - www.linkyfollowers.com); and...
  2. And, you will be taken back to the blog you just "followed" or back to Linky Followers if you signed up from there.

Finally you can click "Sign me up, Scotty!", lol. You'll then have to go to your email and when it comes in, click the link to confirm that you're signing up for Linky Follower tools. Clicking that link will send you to the log in page where you put your email and password, then you'll go to the dashboard. You can change anything you want here and also get the code to place the Linky Follower Tool on your site. 

Here's how you add the Linky Follower Tool to your blog. In the center of your Linky dashboard is a little box that says "Quick Widget: Quickly get the code, display a widget on your blog". There is then a link to click to get the code.

It looks like what you see on the right. Click "Get Widget". This will take you to a pop up window where you will be asked to pick your blog then given two options for code. If you have a Blogger blog, choose the upper option, the simpler code. Copy the code and then go to your blog's Dashboard and click the "Layout" tab on the left hand side then add an HTML/Javascript gadget to your sidebar. Paste the code you've copied into that gadget and click "save". Now you can move that gadget down your sidebar to where you want it. I recommend as close to the top as possible so potential followers can find it OR just above your Google Friend Connect follower tool so people can choose between them. (Remember that GFC will be dropped by Google at the end of this year, that's why I recommend adding the Linky Follower Tool as a great substitute!) Below is what the code page looks like when you're on the linky site.


Onward and upward, people! Let's teach you how to add Mr. Linky to any blog post. Mr. Linky is a cool little tool that allows your readers to sign up for your challenges etc. by adding their link to a Mr. Linky tool. A Mr. Linky Platinum subscription can be purchased for $10/year and this allows you to use the most sophisticated and easy linkies that are offered. Silver and Gold subscriptions are also offered but I just love the copy/paste ease of the Platinum subscription! If you're doing sign up type things on your site this subscription is seriously worth it. I'll show you how to use your platinum subscription as that's what I have. I'd go through the sign up with you but I'd have to purchase again and I don't want to do that!!

Ok, once you have your subscription (you can still use Mr. Linkies for free, just not the totally easy copy/paste ones) then go to the widgets site, it's a green page with tabs at the top. Click the second on, "wizard". Now you're on the page with all the different kinds of linkies. It looks like this...


This is the "Wizard" page (above) and it allows you to choose from six different widgets and twelve different blogger platforms. I'm assuming you have a Blogger blog but if you use another platform you're going to want to choose that platform. So, first pick "Blogger" as your platform and click it's button. Then pick a meme (that's what they're called. If you look up the definition of meme its kind of confusing but basically the blogosphere has defined meme as a set of questions or a challenge where many come and sign up to participate. Think of it as a blog gatherer or a coffee klatch for bloggers, lol.) My Artist's Play Room Challenge every week is considered a meme, get it kind of?? As clear as mud, right, ya, for me too! Ok, onward... You've chosen "Blogger as your platform (where you blog), now pick a widget there are six to choose from:

  1. Button Linkies
  2. Original Auto Linkies
  3. Easy Linkies
  4. Pop-up Comments
  5. BlenzaPlus (for Wordpress Platforms)
  6. Thumb Linkies
I always choose #6, Thumb Linkies, it allows you to show a small thumbnail picture of your art (or blog badge) and it's SO easy to use. It is available to Platinum memberships, I don't know about the other memberships. Ok, so choose the thumb linky then scroll down and you'll see a few other choices...

Mr. Linky allows you to name your linky meme and when you do the name will show up as a choice every week from then on. In the drop down list for instance, there's "Artist's Play Room" and "Inspiration Ave. Weekly Challenge". Both my site and IA do weekly challenges so our meme name is in the list! At the very end of the meme list is "Create your own Meme!", if you want to do that then select that, here's what that page looks like...


Put an appropriate name for your meme (I used Artist's Play Room so that's taken, lol). Tell them what day of the week you usually hold your meme or choose "monthly" from the drop down menu. Put the URL of the page where you're gonna give "rules" for your meme. Now that you know they'll ask for that you can use the previous Blogging 101's to learn how to create a static page and to grab it's URL so you can put that into your "for more information" window. I skipped the Technorati tag, then if you want others to be able to use the code and put your meme on their site and show the same link up then check "allow other users to subscribe and use this meme". I don't check that box, my memes are mine, no need to share. That's it, click create and you now have your own meme title that will appear in the drop down menu every time you make a new meme.


Finally, go choose your new title from the drop down menu and click "Generate Code". You'll go to a code page and all you have to do is copy that code exactly the way it is, DON'T change it AT ALL. (Your code will look generally like the box above.) Now, take that copied code to your blog post. Click the HTML button on the top left of your open draft blog post. Put your meme at the BOTTOM, below ALL the other code. After you've pasted the code into the HTML section of the bottom of your blog then go back to the "compose" which allows you to see the pretty way your blog post will look. You'll see a grayed out Mr. Linky with a border around it, like this...

this is what the Mr. Linky looks like in a draft blog post. It will look normal when the blog post is live.
It is VERY important NOT to get anywhere close to that section because you don't want to change the code AT ALL. What I do is I usually put a line a couple spaces above this box so I don't go below that. Any change makes it not work.

In fact, I recommend adding your meme at the VERY END, after you're TOTALLY finished writing your blog post, then you can add your meme AFTER all the code, at the bottom and GUARANTEE that NOTHING gets inadvertently changed in the meme code. That would work best as I've seen many a meme get screwed up without the author knowing HOW it ended up broken.

 When your new meme post goes live and someone adds their thumbnail and link to your Mr. Linky, you can go and edit it or delete it or anything by going back to the blank green page (Mr. Linky main site) with the links at the top. Now choose "widgets" and you'll go to all your linky memes. You can now click on a meme and edit links etc. You'll see when you get there. We're done!! Now you know how to NOT use word verification, add the Linky Follower tool to your sidebar to collect new followers AND add and use a meme from the Mr. Linky site!! Cool, huh? Did you ever think you'd be this smart?? Now, go forth and feel superior to all your bloggy friends, or at least the ones who haven't found the Blogging 101 series, ;o)

Best,

Just in case you missed it, here are the last several posts, including APR for this week. Our challenge is "Ink, Pen & Parchment/Paper". To go to the post, just click on the icon!
Poet's Desktop StudyArtist's Play Room #19
I'm reading: Blogging 101 (Part Six)Tweet this Post

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for spreading the word about getting rid of Word Verification. This feature was not too much of an imposition when you could read the letters. Now it's just ridiculous. I have decided that I will no longer even try. If WV pops up, I'm gone. Life's too short.
    It's a shame because we all like comments and it spoils the interaction. Moderation is better because it doesn't interrupt the commenter and they can be sorted through at the owner's leisure. So, if you're worried about what comments you might get - moderate.
    I don't do either. I have the power to delete anything anyway :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for being a word verification free website. i often don't leave a comment because of it OR i type in what i think i see and it's wrong and i have to do it twice - yuk

    i have just recently received 2 spam comments but blogger caught both of them...not offensive but i wouldn't want to click on any of their links

    ReplyDelete
  3. awesome, as always. i actually knew how to do these - that's a first :). i do not like word verification and often do leave those blogs without commenting - half the time i can't make out the correct letters and it's a nuisance. thanks for these great posts - what a help they are!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi there, Sweetie! You're absolutely right (as usual!) about how insipid CAPTCHA verification is. I've often encountered total blur in trying to decipher the anti-robot code, and have to try, guess, punch angrily at my keyboard, etc. More than once, I've missed so many times that CAPTCHA has deleted my pithy comment and I won't waste time rewriting it.

    (I'm verbose! I don't ever waste my words with meaningless robotic comments such as "GREAT JOB! TYFS!" Have you noticed??!)

    Anywhooo, also wanted to thank you for the reminders about Mister Linky widgets. I've been wanting to enroll for a while now and just never had the trigger. I'm not sure exactly how I'll use it in the future, but I am so sure that I will that I purchased the Platinum membership on the basis of your recommendation. It's $20 (not $10) annually now, FYI.

    Thank you again for your Blogger 101 posts. I know you think you're repeating yourself or running out of topics, but believe me, there are always dolts like me out here who need our hands held.

    Love and joy to you and yours,
    Ellen ♥ CardMonkey

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a great page for info to help people like me ! I have been trying for=
    weeks to delete some blogs that I no longer want. (Hardly anyone needs 6 b=
    logs) Looked it up on FAQ. The process sounds simple until I try to do it, =
    and then it just doesn't work. ....anyway, I am following your blog and enj=
    oying it a lot. Thanks. Marilyn (groovygramma

    ReplyDelete
  6. So in depth and helpful, as usual. Like everyone else, I don't like or use word verification and have never had an issue. It seems the word is getting out because I'm encountering it less frequently.

    I signed up for Mr. Linky quite awhile ago but what I didn't like and can't remember to do is go back and manually enter my newest post. Do you still have to do that? I like RSS feeds - it's SO easy but many blogs don't offer that option - have you covered that? I imagine many don't know or understand the convenience of using it.

    I actually made a master list of all blogs I subscribe to, 99% of which are on Google Reader, but I don't want to lose any at the end of the year, so I try to keep it updated so I can verify it later. I imagine there will be a period of difficult adjustment as everyone tries to remember blogs they read regularly.... Some changes are just a bother!

    Thanks for offering all this blogging help in such clear terms. You're a gem!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey, Jenn, long time no see. I just stumbled across this posting and I'm so glad I did as I was just recently telling a stateside friend about removing her word verif. widget, but couldn't remember how I did it. I forwarded this post.
    Hope you are having a wonderful life. Good for you for posting such helpful things for the blogging community.

    Coleen in Ukraine

    ReplyDelete
  8. BTW, the "click here" to read the earlier lessons doesn't work. So I clicked on your side badge for it, but it took me to this lesson. No problem...I decided I'll just work backwards from here as I saw lesson 5 below. Just thought you'd like to know.
    Hugs, Coleen

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks Jenn, just turned mine off!! I thought I had switched the awful Captcha thing off! Am in the process of obtaining Mr Linky...having a lil technical issue :(

    Fi x

    ReplyDelete

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