Quick Tip Friday: Start Using ALT Tags

Image Reminder To Use ALT Tags on your Blog Posts.

Let’s talk ALT Tags for your images.

ALT tags are pieces of HTML that give an alternative description for an image. This is helpful for anyone that may be “listening” to the site due to a disability, and it also tells search engines about the image (and hopefully your topic).

In addition to using it for search engine optimization, Pinterest pulls in the ALT Tag for an image as the default description when someone pins a photo or graphic for your page.

What should you write? Keep it short. Five to fifteen words is ideal. Describe the photo and its topic and don’t forget to include the text if there is text in the image.

Where do you write it? ALT is an attribute in the IMG tag. In WordPress, when you use “Add Media,” there is a box called ALT Text where you can type it in.

Do you need to go back and fix all of your photos on your site? Not a bad plan, but for this quick tip, commit to diligently adding an ALT tag moving forward.

Check out previous tips to help improve your blog!

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Quick Tip Friday: Delete Unused Plugins


Today’s tip is a reminder to take a few minutes to delete any plugins that you aren’t using.

Letting those plugins that you don’t need hang around can cause your site to load slower, and they can also be an invitation for a hacker to exploit an old plugin’s code.

Make sure you need the functionality of the plugins that you have left, and also make sure they are up-to-date.

Commit just a few minutes to doing this now, and it will be a huge check off your list for blog maintenance.

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Quick Tip Friday: Know Your Competition


There is plenty of room for us all in the great wide Internet, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a certain amount of competition for eyeballs and time. Think about who your blog is written for and what information they would come to you to find. Then, go out and find 3-5 bloggers who write the same topics for the same people. Try to find a range of blogs in terms of size and popularity. As your browse, take note of the following:

  • Does this blog have more readers than yours or less?
  • Are the readers engaging with the blog via comments?
  • How does the layout and style of the blog appeal to you? Is it easy to navigate?
  • How does the writing style compare to yours?Is it clear who the audience is? Do you think it’s easier to relate to or more difficult? Why?
  • How often does this blog update? How much do they use their social media channels?
  • Does this blog use long or short posts, or a combination? Do they do a lot of giveaways? Use a lot of images?
  • Do the author or authors seem knowledgeable about the subject matter?

Looking at other, similar blogs can help you think about the success of your blog. Look at your own site and ask yourself the same questions. What can you learn from your “competition?” What can they learn from you?


Photo Credit: Jayhem, via Creative Commons License


Quick Tip Friday: Update Your About Page

We’re assuming right now that you’re a professional (of sorts) blogger. You want opportunities. Maybe you want to work with brands, maybe you want a book deal, or maybe you’re promoting your other business. Whatever your goals, your About page on your blog is a stepping stone to getting there, so make sure it’s ready for the Big Time and up-to-date. We’ve got some tips to get you on track.

Focused – Your About page should include information relevant to your blog and/or whatever business your blog is promoting. Sure, you can include a few fun facts that make you easier to relate to, but unless it’s relevant to your blog topic, leave out medical issues, financial woes, and other trauma/drama. Your goal is to draw the reader in, not make them feel uncomfortable or sorry for you.

Confident – You don’t have to brag about every little thing you’ve ever done, but this is the place to put your best foot forward. Think about relevant speaking gigs, degrees, honors/awards (stick with the quality here), and accomplishments, as well as other blogs/sites you write for/work with, work experience, and anything else that shows your expertise in your chosen area. If you write about homeschooling, make sure we know that you have teaching experience or that you’ve homeschooled for 5 years already. Crafter with an art degree? Or maybe you’ve been baking since the age of two and now you’ve got a food blog. Why should we listen to you?

Succinct – Get to the point.

Current – If your kids are no longer toddlers, make sure your About page doesn’t say that they are. Got a great new job or skill? Be sure to add them. Moved towns? Changed marital status? Switched topics? Time for an edit. Not only does it help match you with the best clients, opportunities, and products, it shows that you’re on top of things.

Clean – This may be the most overlooked aspect of the About page. Check your grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Read it out loud to make sure it all makes sense. Have your (honest) friend read it over and give (honest) feedback. Once again, this shows your professionalism and attention to detail.

Personable – Whether tiny blogger or larger business operation, include at least a short bio (with name or pseudonym) of each person behind the blog. Even on the Internet, readers want to connect with other (real) people. Bonus for including a headshot or fun photo, depending on what is appropriate for your site.

Contact – You must have contact information. Period. Non-negotiable. Put your email address (not just a contact form) on your About page or another obvious location. You can spell it out or otherwise mask it from spammers, but make things easy for the legitimate people who are trying to connect with you.

Do you have About page pet peeves? Other suggestions for making About pages that stand out?


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Quick Tip Friday: Remove admin As A Login


Today’s tip is for WordPress users in particular but also a good reminder for those that use blogger that logins and passwords are important business matters.

The reason you would do this is to make it harder for someone to hack your site using the combination of your login and password. If you’re still using “admin,” which is the default login, you’ve done half the job *for* the hacker.

First up, backup your blog. That’s a good idea anyway. But it’s a really good idea before you make big changes.

Next, you’ll need to create a new username for yourself and assign an administrator role. Then you’ll need to actually delete the “admin” username making sure to assign all the posts you’ve done to your new username.

Here are a Step-By-Step Instructions.

If you’re not sure about this process, contact your host support to see if they can help walk you through the process.

If you’re not a WordPress user, be sure that your username and password are not an easy password to guess. Here are some tips on how to pick a strong password.

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Quick Tip Friday: Install Google Analytics

How To Install Google Analytics

Already have Google Analytics installed? Pat yourself on the back and skip down to our advanced tip to find out even more about your visitors.

Statistics are a bloggers best friend. They can be used to get insight about the visitors that are currently coming to your site and they can also be used to help make decisions on next steps if you are looking to increase traffic.

If you are beginning to engage with brands that want to work with bloggers, you’ve likely been asked for statistics about your site traffic. Unique Visitors per month (UVM)? Or maybe page views? Many will ask for those statistics that are reports from Google Analytics (GA).

If you don’t have Google Analytics, the first great piece of news is that it’s free! It’s an online tool offered by Google, and it measures your traffic based on a little snippet of code that you put on your site.

It’s not just beneficial for working with brands though, you can find out a lot of information about your audience in Google Analytics which provides perfect research for planning content that will keep your readers engaged.

Now, let’s get to work.

Step 1: Visit the Google Analytics web page.

Follow directions for creating an account. You’ll need to link to a Google account (it will walk you through creating one if you don’t have one.)

Once your account has been created, you’ll add your site information.

Google gives you a tracking ID that begins with a UA. They will also provide you with some code. At this point, you can do one of two things.

Option 1: The code needs to be on every page of you site including any new page that is created moving forward. Some themes make this easy by offering up an custom field for you to input your tracking ID (the UA number). Check out your theme if you are using wordpress. Or your options if you are using blogger or another platform. If it’s offered, use that. You can also sometimes include this code in a header or footer code.

Option 2: You can also use a plugin to achieve this on WordPress. Something like Google Analytics by Yoast. Plugins can slow down your site and need to be kept updated, so if you can insert the code in your theme, that’s the way to go first.

You’ll be on your way to knowing more about your blog in no time! Have any tips for great ways to use stats to improve your blog? Leave them in the comments!

Advanced Tip: Already have Google Analytics installed and running? Check out this post about how to use it to dig deeper into the behaviors of your visitors.

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Quick Tip Friday: Update Your Pinterest Account to Business

Pinterest Business Account


If you’re like most bloggers I know, you probably have some sort of goals around building your site and pageviews. And why not? What good is all of that writing if no one is around to ready it? We all know that Pinterest is hot. The right Pin can skyrocket your blog from anonymity to fame.

One way to help promote your pins and your site is by switching to a free Pinterest Business account. It takes just a couple of minutes. You’ll find analytics to help you track your most popular pins, as well as to get a sense of what your followers are looking for. There are tools like widgets and buttons. And, maybe best of all, are Rich Pins. These are specialty pins that allow you to share recipes, articles, products (for those of you who sell things), and more.

Already have a Pinterest account? Try one of these quick tips:

  1. Sign up for Rich Pins
  2. Add location information to your travel images
  3. Pin 5 new pins (some from your site, and some from other sites)

What are your favorite Pinterest tips? Leave us a comment.

Miss the last tip? Quick Tip Friday: Change The Copyright Date On Your Blog

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Quick Tip Friday: Change The Copyright Date On Your Blog

How to Change Your Copyright Date on WordPress Blog Footer

We’re starting a new series for 2015! Every Friday, we will put up a tip that is meant to be something that will improve your blog and be accomplished fairly quickly.

Our first tip takes care of business and celebrates the new year!

Change the copyright date on your blog.

If you are blogging on WordPress, how you change the copyright text is typically dependent on your theme. A lot of copyrights are included in the footer of a page (although they can also be found in sidebars). Here are instructions for changing the footer a few popular themes:
How to Change Footer in Thesis Theme
How to Change Footer in Genesis Theme
How to Change Footer in Headway Theme
How to Change Footer in Woothemes

There are also several plugins available for WordPress that can help manage your footer and/or sidebars. If you use Blogger, changing the text will vary by template.

And how do you get the cute little © symbol in the first place? First, if it’s already there you can just leave it and change only the year. If you want to add the symbol, use this code for the symbol: ©.

Here is one suggestion from WordPress.com on text to include in your copyright notice. The post also has some other good strategies for protecting your content.

© [Full Name] and [Blog Name], [Current Year or Year Range]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [Your Name] and [Your Blog Name] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Here is another great post with suggestions on wording to use for a Copyright notice.

This is also a good time to think about other places you might be using a year that needs to be updated. Do you watermark your photos with the current year?

What other new year tasks are on your to-do list for your blog? Share yours in the comments below.

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Win Tickets to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

KAP_2601When you think about holiday icons the span the generations, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is bound to top many lists. It is the 50th Anniversary of the first airing of the television special, after all. Now Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical is heading to the Citi Shubert Theatre in Boston December 9-14, 2014. You can nab tickets from the Citi Performing Arts Center Shubert Theatre or you can enter to win from one of our member giveaways below.

Meet Our Members: Danielle from Finding Silver Pennies

Danielle from Finding Silver Pennies
Let’s meet Danielle Driscoll from Finding Silver Pennies.

Where do you live?
South Shore of Massachusetts

What do you write about?
I write about my passion for painting furniture, DIY (on a budget), my family and coastal living on the south shore.

How long have you been blogging?
Three and a bit years. I started my blog on August 3, 2011.

What are some of your favorite blogs to read?
Many of the blogs are design and DIY blogs.

Here are a few I love:

Miss Mustard Seed

Craftberry Bush

Chronicles of Home

What inspired you to start a blog?
I was inspired by a few blogs I read and also wanted a creative outlet to express myself. My crafts, furniture painting and DIY has grown out of the desire to write and share my experiences.

Favorite blog post that you have written?

I enjoyed writing this one on Scituate -http://www.findingsilverpennies.com/2014/10/scituate-stroll.html

My fall home tour is also a favorite – http://www.findingsilverpennies.com/2014/10/coastal-fall-home-tour-2014.html

Our dog Poppy was sprayed by a skunk last March. It was so horrible, the smell and the whole ordeal, horrible. We did our sunroom over due to this incident. We’ve loved every minute out there: http://www.findingsilverpennies.com/2014/07/sunroom-reveal.html

How many kids?

How old are they?
John is 8 and Conor is 5.

Why did you join Boston Parent Bloggers?
I joined Boston Parent Bloggers to meet some local bloggers and make connections. I really love the world of blogging and how generous and helpful most bloggers are.

Any favorite tips, tools, or plugins?
I LOVE Instagram and Pinterest. I started on blogger and am now on WordPress which I love. PicMonkey is great for free editing and I’ve just started using Lightroom over the summer which has made a huge difference.