Recommended Blogging Etiquette for Kid Bloggers

The KBN is an awesome place for lots of reasons, but foremost, it’s a place where a group of bloggers come together to support each other and help each other grow. Lots of other blogging genres have reputations for trying to cut each other down – but that’s not us, which makes us special.

Since we do share so many resources – Pinterest boards, Facebook share days, round-ups, etc, it’s really nice to be as considerate of others as we can.

As such, Asia of Fun at Home with Kids, Allison of No Time for Flash Cards and myself have developed this guide for recommended etiquette. It’s just a way to be sure we’re being thoughtful of each other in this shared space, and to foster a collaborative, rather than a competitive, environment.

blogging-etiquette

Here are some common FAQs about etiquette:

What do you do when a post on another site gives you a great idea for something similar?  

A nice way to thank that person for inspiring you is to link to them in your post.

When you link, you want to link to the activity that inspired you (not to the blog’s homepage).

It is also nice to say the name of the blog that inspired you (vs. saying “I found it here.“).

What do you do when you see a really cool activity/tutorial/recipe on someone’s site and you want to blog about that same activity/tutorial/recipe?

If you’d like to blog about an original activity/tutorial/recipe from another blogger, the ideal situation is one where you are able to share the traffic from that post with them (the source).

In the situation above, the link is a nice way to give them an SEO boost (it lets search engines know that the post you link to is valued), but it doesn’t lead to a lot of click thrus/traffic.

So, how do you drive traffic to them?  

If it is a tutorial you are replicating, you may want to leave off all the steps or maybe just the last few – this will get readers to click through to get the full story.

If it is a recipe, either leave the ingredients and the amounts or just the amounts on the source site.  Readers will then click through to get the recipe.

If the activity isn’t one where you can easily refer people to the source site for information, you could either share your photo of the activity on your Facebook page with a link to the source, or if you really want to write a blog post about it, I’ve seen people mention a few other posts on the source site they love to give people a reason to click through.

If it is a printable, link to the original post where you found the printable, not directly to the printable itself. Do not ever, ever upload the printable to your own site to download. That is an incredibly big no-no.

How do I know if an activity/tutorial/recipe is original or not?

If you can’t tell, ask the blogger. You can privately message them via their personal Facebook page or through their blog’s Facebook page.

What if I have an activity planned or completed (but haven’t yet posted) and I see someone post a super similar activity?

No worries – you can still post. If you’d like, you can message that blogger and give them a heads-up that you were planning or are about to post something similar.

What if I see that someone has done something similar to me on their blog or Facebook page – is it OK to leave a link to mine?

In general it’s best to avoid leaving links in comments on other people’s blogs, Facebook pages, or pins.

This kind of behavior can be seen as spammy, and if you are trying to get them to cite you remember that they may have been inspired elsewhere or come up with the idea on their own.

It’s always best to contact someone privately if you have something you’d like to discuss with them.

Give them the benefit of the doubt.

What if I feel like someone has been inspired by or replicated one of my activities?

First and foremost, please remember that overlapping ideas is something that commonly occurs.  Try to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

If it is really bothering you, try messaging them privately (as politely as possible) to clear things up.

The above suggestions are those that most bloggers agree are best practices for blogging etiquette.

recommended-blogging-etiquette

Please remember that the KBN does not have the resources to mediate any arguments between bloggers – we hope instead that you will work together to find a mutually acceptable conclusion as members of the same community. The KBN is not responsible for how a member blogs, but does hold high standards to the quality of members within the Facebook group.

Do you have any blogging etiquette FAQs to add or answer? Ask and share in the comments!

Setting up a Call to Action

Call to Action

setting up a call to action for your blog posts

You have a traffic spike, your post has gone viral are you making the most of it? What I mean is with those visitors are you getting them interested in what you have to offer, wanting them to find something else on your blog or become a regular reader if so then you need a Call to Action. Something that will get people’s attention and get them interacting or basically converting those new visitors to regular readers and explorers of your blog.

What is a call to action?

A Call to Action is a simple statement that you add to a post which will get your readers to do something you could ask them to

  • Follow you on facebook
  • Visit your pinterest account
  • Stumble you post
  • Subscribe to your RSS feed or Email
  • Get your newsletter
  • Share the post in some way or the other
  • Read another post on your blog
  • or anything else you would like them to do….

How you create a call to action?

I would set up a call to action on all of your posts for a start, if you notice on Blogging with Kids we try and pose a question at the end of the post, which is our call to action to invite you to comment, as well as invite you to join our community with each post.  We use WordPress and a plugin to create the call to action at the end of the post – in blogger you can create a gadget at the end of your posts and put in the Call to Action there so that it appears on each post.

WordPress Plugins for creating a Call to Action

  • Socialize – we use this on Blogging With Kids – scroll to the bottom of the post to see it in action
  • What would Seth Godin Do – I use this over on Rainy Day Mum, it uses Cookies to identify when a visitor is new to the site or returning and presents a different message based on this
  • WP Greet Box – this identifies where the visitor has come from and presents the call to action based on the referral e.g. if you visitor comes from Pinterest then you could set up a call to action to let them know that you are also on Pinterest and invite them to follow you there

Blogger Call to Action set up

From asking people in the know (bloggers!) the best way to add a call to action in blogger is with Post Template. To get to Post Template go into your blogger dashboard, then settings and post template – in the post template write you call to action with links in HTML code and save. This will place your call to action on all NEW posts that you write.

An example would be if you wanted to people to pop on over and like your facebook page you could have a call to action like the one below using the HTML tags <a href=”…”> for your links

If you would like to see more great ideas shared regularly then please come and like our <a href="http://www.facebook.com/bloggingwithkids"> Facebook Page </a>.

This will add a hyperlink to your text Facebook Page.

What to write in your call to action

You want to give the reader something to do specifically – are you trying to grow your RSS subscribers if so that should be your focus -make sure that your call to action is in your voice not a generic statement and go ahead and add it.

If you already have a call to action set up then why not take it a step further……

With your 10 most popular posts add in an extra call to action go and do it now and then come and share what you have done

Tutorial – Adding a Facebook Like Box

Adding a Facebook Like Box to your blog

Tutorial on Adding a facebook like box to your blog

If you followed our tutorial on how to add social media buttons to your blog you will now have a way for you readers to connect with you on social media. However, they have to leave the page which you don’t really want them to.

Instead, adding a Facebook like box to your blog is a good way to build a Facebook following without your reader having to leave your page. It also enables people to see whether they already like you without having to leave your blog as well (and whether their friends like your blog as well, which can also encourage people to like your page).

Add a Facebook like box to your Blogger blog

Although it’s more difficult to add the like box to your blog when you use Blogger, it’s not difficult, it’s just a case of making sure that the settings are correct before you begin.

Getting your like box created

First off, you need to create the like box to use on your blog.

You can do this at in the Developer’ Like Box section of Facebook (no need to freak out, its really simple, I promise).

You can also find this page by going to your Facebook page:

  • Click on ‘Edit page’ in the admin section
  • Choose the first option, ‘Update Info’

how to add a facebook like box to my blog

  • Choose ‘Resources’ from the side menu a
  • Click on the ‘Social plugins’

facebook social plugins

  • In the Social Plugin, Choose ‘Like Box’

The other options will give you options to have most recent posts etc but the set up for each is the same.

Set up your Facebook Like Box to your liking

Here you need to set up how you would like the Like Box to appear on your blog.

creating a facebook like box for your blog

Add your Facebook page URL to the top box, make sure that the Send button is unchecked, input a width that will fit in your side bar and decide on the other settings specific to your blog and your preference.

  • Then click “Get code”.
  • From the popup box, select the IFrame tab.

Iframe Like box code to copy

  • Copy and paste this code for your page.

Adding the Facebook Like Box code to your Blogger blog

In your Blogger dashboard, go to layout and add a new gadget to your sidebar. From the menu select HTML/Java Script and then paste in the IFrame code to the box.

Adding a facebook like box to blogger

Click Save and then Save Arrangement in the layout screen. You now have a fully functioning Facebook Like Box on your page.

Adding a Facebook like box to WordPress Blog

To add a Facebook like box to a WordPress blog you can use one of the many Facebook like box plugins for example the Facebook Like Box Widget.

We would love to connect on Facebook!

Come over and share your page on our Facebook wall.

Save Blog Space: How to Resize Images in PicMonkey

Whether you are using Blogger or WordPress, resizing your images is going to be critical with the more posts that you write. Each system has a finite amount of storage space for your media and images take up a lot of space, so getting your images to the optimum size for your blog is essential. A huge image takes up more space in your storage than the perfectly sized image for your blog. Here’s how to resize images using PicMonkey, the free online picture editor.

How to resize images in PicMonkey

On Blogging with Kids we have worked out that an image size of 640 pixels wide is best for our main post space when we want a large picture – this leaves a little white space around the edges of the image and is eye-catching. However, our camera’s generally produce images that are considerably larger (my little point and shoot does ones that are around 1536px wide and take up quite a bit of memory, so not good for using directly onto the blog).

PicMonkey is a great online FREE tool to edit your photos and you can resize the images very easily.

Resize images in PicMonkey

If you want to, you can resize the image in PicMonkey when you start to edit the picture – using the BASIC EDIT function in the tool bar at the side go to the bottom of the list and click on Resize (the cookie cutters), or you  can resize once you have edited your image.

Using image resize in PicMonkey

Make sure that ‘KEEP PROPORTIONS’ is checked, otherwise you could end up with a very odd (disproportionate) looking image and then adjust the first setting (which is the width) to your blogs ideal width and click ‘APPLY’.

Resizing Images in PicMonkey

Have you found out what is the optimum size for images for your blog?

How to Make Your Own Printables for Free

This Blogging Tip is brought to you by Erin of Royal Baloo and Logi Bear Too! She’s wonderful at making printables and sharing them on her blog, and she’s sharing how to she does it all here on Blogging With Kids! Erin also recently shared some photography composition tips too!

I love making and offering free printables to my readers.  I get a lot of questions about how to make them and thought I’d offer a quick tutorial to anyone who is interested.  I use all free programs and mostly free clipart.  Free is my favorite word 🙂

What to use to make Printables:

I use gimp to alter any clipart I need or to make general changes like rotating or resizing.  Gimp is basically the free version of Adobe Photoshop but with a bit of a learning curve.

I use OpenOffice to put everything together and export to PDF.  More specifically, I use OpenOffice Write and OpenOffice Draw. (OpenOffice is a free office software to download, very similar to Microsoft Office.)

A few places for free clipart:

As far as free clipart comes, I pretty much only use those sites.  If I can’t find what I want there, I go to etsy.com.

For paid clipart, the only 3 sites I go to are:

How to Make Printables:

Now that the basics are out of the way, I’m going to include some techniques I use in OpenOffice.

I do most of my work in OpenOffice Write.  And I use tables on almost every page.  It just helps me to line up everything easier.  Here is how I’ve lined up a prewriting practice page:
How to make a printable

On this page I don’t want the tables to show up.  Making them invisible is very easy luckily!  Right-click in the table, select Table Properties and under the tab ‘borders’ select none.

How to make a printable

Now, I’m going to add a picture to the first cell on the left and the cell on the top right.  I want these pictures to be facing each other so I have to flip one horizontally.  This is one of the few changes I can make to images in OpenOffice Write.  After inserting the picture simply right click on it, select Picture… and under the ‘picture’ tab click the box next to horizontally.
How to make a printable

I’ve got both pictures how I want them and I want a line in between.  This particular sheet is for toddlers so I like to do a thick line.  There is a line tool in the lower left hand corner.  Click on it and you can adjust the line thickness at the top.

How to make a printable

You can see my settings in the picture above.  I change the color to light gray and adjust the thickness until I find what I want.  Then you just draw your line wherever you want it!

After you’ve finished all your pages you are ready to export!  Simple click on File –> Export to pdf.
How to make a printable

I strongly suggest setting a permission password so your PDF cannot be tampered with.  This is also a requirement of some clip art artists.
When you select export to PDF you will get a popup.  Click the security tab and set the permission password.
How to make a printable

The next step to sharing your printable is uploading it to the internet.  If you have your own host I recommend uploading it to your FTP directory.  This varies based on host so if you don’t know how to do it you’ll have to contact your host.

If you do not have your own host there are a few sites that will host files for you for free.  The only one I have used is 4shared.com.  I’ve had a good history with them and I feel that their website is very easy to navigate.

Update your printable and you are ready to share!