Monday, February 17, 2014

Clean Up Your Blog - A to Z Preparation

Updated repeat from a 2012 blog post:

I'm fine tuning my blog in preparation for the, hopefully, gazillion visitors I'll have during the month of April. Okay, so maybe not a gazillion, but a lot more than normal. I just read and implemented some of the tips on Sommer Leigh's blog post, Sommer’s Top Ten Tips for A-to-Zing it in April.

There was one tip that REALLY caught my attention since I recently vented about it: Blogger and Word Verification [rant] If you want people to comment, you really need to make it easy for them to do so. Check your blog to be sure, and while there check to be sure you allow anonymous commenters as well (as mentioned by Sommer).

One missing tip that helps keep your blog looking professional as well as identifying it once loaded. It's time to add a favicon to your blog. For years professionals have used favicons to identify their websites. For those with blogs hosted on their own domains, it's an easy enough process to create the .ico file and upload it to the home directory. I use the freeware program IrfanView to create .ico files from images. You can easily crop, resize and 'Save As' with this program (and much more).

But for those of us using Blogger, we were left out in the cold. Not any more! If you look at your browser tab, you will see the icon with my face (from my blog header). I use that for my blog as well as my website, DonnaMcNicol.com.

Blogger has made the process even simpler, you just need an image that will be quite clear (keep it simple) and square (you will get an error if you are even one pixel off). Then you upload it. Blogger will handle the conversion to a .ico file. If you don't like the result, just chose another image. HINT: Irfanview will let you resize and match dimensions so your image is square. Just uncheck the box "Preserve aspect ratio". 

Here is a blog that explains the process in more detail: How to Add or Change Your Favicon in Blogger and here is how it will look to you (the steps are the same). Click to enlarge.


Don't be afraid to try several images. Once loaded you will see the small image on your Blogger layout page. Don't like it? Not clear enough? Load a different one.

Here are a couple of place to search for icons: Find Icons and Icon Finder Think about what you want to represent your site. It could be as simple as your initials, a logo you already have or something connected to the purpose of your blog. For me that was easy....I am a writer, thus the pen. Happy icon hunting!

Want more good tips on cleaning up your blog? Check out Anne R. Allen's blog series:

14 comments:

  1. Thanks. You're tempting me (again!) to join you in the A-Z

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    1. For us retired folks, it's great to get it done in advance. Removes the pressure and lets you visit other blogs during April. I plan to start mine by March 1st.

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  2. Hi, can't get my favicon picture to be a perfect square. Do you have a tool I can use?

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    1. Mary, download and install Irfanview (link in the post above). Open your image, choose IMAGE, then RESIZE/RESAMPLE. I do this in two steps, first I resize smaller to get a better sense of whether it will work or not. Using 32 pixels helps but you can still see it. Then I resize again and UNCHECK the retain ratio box and change the odd dimension to 32 as well. Then save it if it looks good. Hope this helps!

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  3. Yes, please turn off word verification. The favicon is also a neat idea.

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    1. I cringe every time I want to leave a comment and have to pass the CAPTCHA of the day. UGH!

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  4. Thank you for inviting me to participate in the A to Z Challenge. I signed up and have been reading a lot of posts about how best to get ready. I'm making a list of things to double check, set up, and do to make sure my blog is ready. Good luck in April.

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    1. Good for you! I'll be looking forward to your posts.

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  5. I actually added a favicon because of this post... Of course I need to alter it because it looks more like a little bit of dirt on the screen then the image I chose - but it's a start - thanks

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    1. Whoo-hoo!!! Glad I could be of assistance.

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  6. Fantastic post, Donna! Please do join us tonight on #AZchat (6pm EST) to share some of this--the favicon thing is totally new to me (and now I'll spend a good bit of the afternoon fixing mine, hehe), and I'm sure lots of people would appreciate the tutorial. Thanks for sharing this!
    Guilie @ Making History: join the #AZchat!

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    1. So sorry I missed the chat...we had just returned from Vilcabamba and were getting settled back in to our routine. Next round!!

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