Category Archives: Blogging
Jetpack is a fairly new WordPress feature that allows some of the tools found on freely hosted WordPress.com blogs to work on self hosted blogs. I installed Jetpack because it provides stats on site traffic. What I didn’t realize is that it uses a small smiley face image to track when someone visits your page. Suddenly I had a smiley face in my footer, and I had no idea why it was there, or where it came from. After a quick Google search, I found the culprit, and the solution for making it disappear.
Here is the explanation and the solution from one of the creators of WordPress stats, Andy Skelton:
When we started developing stats for WordPress.com in 2005, Matt thought it would be cute. That’s his artwork.
No doubt, people will want to hide the smiley face. There are wrong ways to do this. Basically, anything that causes the image not to be loaded by the browser will break your stats.
Applying “display:none” to the image will break your stats. Don’t do it. If you want to hide the smiley face, add this to your stylesheet:
Most of the comments I found in the WordPress support forums used the display:none solution which will apparently break the stats function, so watch out for that. I’m using this code from Andy Skelton, and so far, so good.
A little bit of branding
I’ve been busy trying to make all of my various social media channels work together. Basically, I have been throwing my signature and portrait all over everything with a profile page. I’m already sick of looking at this picture of myself. It’s all for a good reason though. I want every social media page I have to look like it belongs to this blog, and I want each one to serve a specific purpose. Often times I see bloggers begging their readers to “Follow Me!” with those little social media icons in the sidebar. What I don’t often see is a good reason for it. Usually you will find the same exact content from the blog, or links back to the blog that you just came from, or sometimes nothing at all.
Giving it all a purpose
I have a plan to make sure that each of my social media links has a reason to exist. Here is how I intend to use each profile:
The Facebook wall does a really nice job of sharing links. When you put a link on your wall, you get a thumbnail image and a short description, both of which are pulled directly from the linked page. You also get to add your two cents with a comment, and other people can comment as well. My Facebook page will act as a sort of shared RSS feed, with the potential for a social dialogue.
Twitter is all about what’s happening right now. I will use my feed to share anything that’s newsworthy and current. I’d like to start sharing more smartphone photos on Twitter, since I’m all about getting multimedia into social media. One thing I don’t want to do is tweet for no reason. I’m not going to post “good morning” as soon as I wake up every day. If you see a tweet from me, it’s because I really wanted to share some kind of news that I think is worthwhile.
The biggest video sharing site is sort of a dumping ground, but with some really nice features. One thing I like is that my Android phone and You Tube are best buds. I can take videos clips from my phone, and upload them to the site instantly. Then I can edit them together using You Tube’s online video editor. It’s an incredibly fast and mobile way to get videos out to the masses. My You Tube channel will be for sharing quickly made videos where quality isn’t as important as mobility and speed.
Vimeo focuses more on quality than quantity. This will be my outlet for video work that I care a bit more about.
Flickr, Picasa, or Facebook?
The last piece of the puzzle is a place to share photography. The only problem is that I’m not thrilled with any of my options. Flickr is kind of clumsy. Picasa feels under developed. The nicest option might actually be Facebook. The galleries are pretty easy to navigate, and it is very social. Since I’m already utilizing Facebook, it probably wouldn’t hurt to start sharing photos and even videos there as well.
Today I started my own set of social media links for my blog. The site is a work in progress, with many more changes to come. Creating the buttons was easier than I thought. I don’t know if my method is the best way to create the links, but it worked. I will describe the steps I took. This is a three step process using a self hosted WordPress account.
Step one: Create the images you want to use as links
My WordPress theme came with icons that I used as a reference. I copied them into Photoshop, and then created my own version based on those. I wanted my icons to look a little like I drew them with a black pen on white paper.
Step two: Save as a .png file, and upload to your site
In Photoshop you can “Save for web and devices.” This creates a small file that works best for the Web. My blog is hosted by GoDaddy, so I used their FTP manager to upload my icons. Be sure to note the directory where you save the images.
Step three: Use a widget to add html links to your sidebar
In the WordPress admin area there is an “Appearance” menu. Under “Appearance” click on “Widgets.” You will see a box full of available widgets, and an area to place widgets on your sidebar. Drag and drop the “Text” widget over to your sidebar.
Now you can click the down arrow on the Text widget, and enter your html links. There are plenty of sources online that will tell you how to create links in html, but I will show you exactly what mine looks like.
Save the changes, and you are done!