blogging basics: pictures & pinterest

I’ve been at this blogging thing for quite a while now.  Honestly, I still surprise myself with some of the skills I’ve learned along the way like, umm, HTML.  Seriously I never in a million years thought I’d understand coding.  I’m not advanced by any means but I actually get HTML a little bit.  That’s hypertext markup language for the lay person.  (And that’s the IT recruiter in me coming out.  Yes, my rarely mentioned day job.)

So anyway, it seems that many of you have been interested in blogging basics.  I’ve been able to encourage a friends and family members to start blogs of their own recently and as a result a few questions have come up.  I thought it might be fun to share some blogging basics for the newbies.  Let me start with 2 basics that go hand in hand that I live and blog by.

PICTURES

This is an area that I am always trying to improve on.  I think that will never change as long as I have an online presence.  It is true that a picture captures a thousand words.  So take good ones.  Use natural light.  Know how to use your camera even if it is just a point & shoot or an iPhone.  Cell phone technology has advanced so they can take some pretty amazing pics but they can also take lame ones.  Only post the good ones so you don’t scare readers away.  Let me say again use natural light when photographing your subject. Avoid the flash.

Love your camera.  Bond with it.  I use a DSLR – Canon Rebel eos T3.  How did I make the choice between Nikon and Canon you ask?  I admired another bloggers photos for so long that I finally asked her what kind of camera she uses.  That’s it.  I had no real camera shopping experience but I loved the results she put out there so I inquired.  Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.  I know I still have a ton to learn about photography and my camera even after using it for a year but what fun would it be if there wasn’t more to learn?

And when your pictures need a little extra boost, edit them.  I use www.picmonkey.com.  There are about a zillion ways to edit photos but I like to keep them natural. Once in a while I give them a vintage vibe too.  This website is 100% free and no login required.

I’ve been asked about how I watermark my photos.  This feature can also be found in pic monkey.  There is a text overlay option.  Just click on the P and it will show you about 25 fonts, choose your color, type your blog or .com and voila, you’ve got a watermark.  Yes, you have to do it every single time this way.   I am not sure of how to watermark a lot of photos at once so if you do, let me know!

When posting photos on your blog, make sure they are large.  Seems simple but this is something that took me a while to catch onto.  Look at the difference a small photo

vs. large photo makes.  I tend to post on the Large & XL side but you can find a size that works for you when you upload your photos.

So why watermark pictures?  Not because I think they’re amazing and want to claim all rights to them necessarily.  But as a bibliography of sorts.  Remember before the days of the internet when you researched something and had to reference where you found that info?  Yeah, like that.  Who knows where your picture, idea or story may end up on the world wide web so why not tag it with a reference to your site?  After all, you put hard work into it so you should receive the credit.

Which leads me to my next topic…

PINTEREST

The main reason I watermark photos is because they end up on pinterest.  Have I mentioned the mumkin yet?  Oh yeah.  Well that has been pinned all over the place and the photos were posted pre my watermarking days.  So literally thousands of people have seen that photo without necessarily linking back to my site.  In fact other bloggers have reposted it without necessarily linking back to my site (which is bad etiquette BTW).  So am I kicking myself now for not watermarking that little project as a reference?  No.  I chalk it up to a learning experience.

But let’s get back to the basics about what pinterest is and how to use it for those who have been living under a rock in 2012.  If you are a blogger, not just a DIY or design blogger, you should have a pinterest account.  We are visual creatures and scanning through hundreds of pretty pictures is appealing.  We’ll pin them until the cows come home and then most likely link back to the source to read about that visual. Like I said this isn’t just true for design blogs so if you ahem blog about beer reviews, maybe you want to take a really appetizing picture of your beer paired next to a juicy steak (Suddenly I’m hungry.) and upload that photo in your post.  Then pin it to pinterest.  See what kind of traffic you get from it.  It might surprise you.  Pinterest is my number one referrer and I don’t think that is going away anytime soon.  To do this, install the ‘pin it’ application under your favorites on your computer.  Pinterest provides instructions on how to do this.  Pin photos from your blog posts with descriptions.  You can see what pictures of yours have been pinned and re-pinned by typing pinterest.com/source/yourwebsite into your browser.  For example, http://pinterest.com/source/circadee.com/– see I told you lots of mumkins.

Did you also know that pinterest (and all of the other social networks) provide buttons for you to easily upload to your blog to gain followers?  True story.  After you are logged into your account, go to the goodies page (cheat sheet: http://pinterest.com/about/goodies/) where you will find various follow me buttons along with the HTML that links directly to your account.  Cut and paste this into the widget in your blog’s dashboard. Be sure you are pasting in the text view of your blog versus the visual so it recognizes the HTML code.  Now your readers can follow you on pinterest with just one click.  They don’t need to search for you.  This method is pretty much the same across other social media sites too.  Just look for the button HTML under help and paste like so…try it!

Follow Me on Pinterest

And one more thing about pinning and pictures.  There’s like 100 more things but just one more for today…when you upload your pictures to your blog post, rename them.  I only just started doing this.  Otherwise they are titled IMG_1905 or something non-descript.  You can easily edit the name to something descriptive like ‘Mumkin: easy pumpkin mum fall planter’.  When you or a reader pin it, the title is already there and it helps new potential followers on pinterest find your image who may be searching for pumpkin or fall ideas.  You can then convert that pinterest user into a new follower of your blog!  Plus renaming your pictures is better for Search Engine Optimization of your blog in general.

Oh SEO that is a whole different topic for a whole ‘nother day.

It feels funny to write a post like this being that I’d only consider myself an intermediate blogger but the time seemed right to share these tips since I’ve been fielding related questions from newer bloggers lately.  So if you have any other questions or topics for me, leave it in the comments and perhaps I will do a follow up on blogging basics.

Happy weekend!

106 thoughts on “blogging basics: pictures & pinterest

  1. Such great tips .. I always wondered how to watermark photos – and you are right I should have just asked!! but thanks for sharing all these great tips for us new bloggers!

  2. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences with the blogging world. You are so right. Lots of people are asking the questions that you just answered but have not asked. I love how when you talked about not watermarking your photographs in the beginning and now have the perspective that that was then and this is now and you have learned from the experience.Thank you!

  3. Thank you so much for this post. i have been wondering about Pintrest and wasnt really sure where to start to get my blog and pintrest interacting….your step by step approach has moved this from an idea and onto my ‘to do’ list’ Thanks again for your guidance

  4. Congrats on being FP’d! I would agree except on the watermark part. As a photog I hate when people use my images without ever linking back but I also want to produce the best possible viewing experience, and some large watermarks just totally detract from the experience. It’s a trade off of course, and I use a “mark” with my initials which is matched as my logo on my site so they are easily identifiable though it doesn’t help with getting people back to my site 🙂

    Great post.

  5. An extremely helpful piece. I’m a new blogger and have had this feeling that there are MANY THINGS I DON’T KNOW. I have been hovering around the edges of a seemingly inpenetrable (for the luddite) ball of information. Armed with this new knowledge I will be able to uncover a bit more of the mystery and hopefully make my blog look better….thanks very much!

  6. Thank you for the great tips! They’re practical and simple to incorporate. How did you get started on learning about HTML? Did you read anything in particular?

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is so helpful. I have 2 problems — (1) I am still working on my patience to take pictures but you’re right the beautiful pictures you see everyday inspire you to take some of your own. (2) I have yet to be really patient in understanding the blogging codes as instructed by various sites. It looks like an appliance manual to me. But if everything were written like this post…I think it’d be a lot easier. Well, that’s just me. Thanks again!

  8. Excellent!! I would like to copy and save this FP for future reference. But after spending two hours typing and posting and somehow deleting and starting all over again to post a recent blog, I’m shutting down and getting some zzzzz’s…Hope your post is still up tomorrow so I can grasp the fabulous points….Good night and congrats`!

  9. Thank you so much for this. I have always wondered about the watermarks on the photos. i am new to al this and am teaching myself new tricks all the time and sometimes it’s difficult to even know wheat to google search because i am not all that familiar with the lingo ( like I didn’t know that was called a water mark.) thank you again. I will have to refer back to this post often.

  10. I saw your “mumpkin!”
    I started using Picmonkey and try to watermark mine too. But like you, have many out there that aren’t. At least, throiugh WordPress, my photos are automatically linked to my blog before they are ripped off…..
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  11. Pinterest is great for sharing, but sadly, hardly anyone clicks back to your original site unless there is an obvious “how-to” or “top 10 list” noted somewhere on your photo. People tend to use Pinterest as an inspiration board rather than a bookmark of things to read later. Maybe this will change one day. In the mean time, I still watermark all my photos.

  12. I tried Pinterest but just couldn’t get into it. However, after your post, I can clearly see the value it holds for a blogger. I am totally going to go an un-cancel my Pinterest account and maybe I’ll get a bit more into it this time round!! Thanks 🙂

  13. You know I’ve been on the fence about watermarking. When thinking about sites like Pinterest and others like that, it really makes sense to ALWAYS watermark. Thank you for making me think about this in a way I hadn’t before! 🙂

  14. Thank you soo much for taking the time to post this info!! I’ve had my website for over 6 years, and just now (today) decided to start blogging! You answered many of my questions!! 🙂

  15. If you’re an intermediate blogger, then I am barely out of the starting blocks!
    I had resisted signing up to Pinterest because it seemed to involve an addiction to the “Like” button. If it gets more people reading my blog – with my own newly watermarked photographs – then I am definitely “pinterested”.
    I should imagine that if one always watermarks one’s own photographs, this requires a little more preparation, which in turn has to result in an improvement in the quality of blog presentation.
    Thank you for making the mechanics of it all so easy to understand. 🙂

  16. I’m still so wary of using other people’s pictures. As a journalist (my day job) you spend your whole time so aware of copyright that I’m over cautious on my blog too – which is an issue as I have no photography skills! Do other people worry about that or do I just need to get over it so long as I credit back?

  17. Hey Dana,

    Sorry to hear you mumkin picture has done so well and you didn’t get the credit (very bad karma!)

    Have you thought about using Google image search to track down all the offenders and reaching out to them for the credit you deserve?

    Really interesting tips by the way!

    Gaz

  18. thanks for your tips. Its been only a month since I started blogging and your article was exactly the tution that I really really needed. PLEASE, will you kindly visit my site and give views to improve and make it better? I would be highly thankfull.

  19. That is such a useful post Dana thank you so much. I was particularly keen to know about the watermark technique and have been wondering how this is achieved. HTML is a bit of a mystery to me. Your tips are really useful I hope you do some more soon.

  20. Hi. This was a really helpful post. Thanks a lot for sharing. I do have many other questions, some of which may be really basic of the basics! I have been a blogger on ‘blogger’ for the longest time now and i am totally clueless as to how to go about editing in wordpress. The Themes i choose resemble nothing like the sample once i edit them with my content. I need help. Plz!Thanks again. I am trying to make a site out of the blog. ( i just know the diff between posts and static pages but i have no idea how to edit them on the blog itself).

    1. To edit a post, the easiest way is to look for ‘Edit’ at the end of your post. When you click it, you will be able to edit what you’ve written. If you make major changes and/ or additions to your content you should indicate so, especially if you had previously published the post. If it’s just minor like a spelling or grammar error, it’s probably O.K. to just make the corrections.

  21. Hi Thank you so much for the post. Really helpful. I have many questions which i think may be basic of the basics!! I have been a blogger on ‘blogger’ for the longest time now and i am totally lost about editing in wordpress. My themes no longer look the same as i preview them in sample mode. Really need help on this! Plz!

  22. Really handy post, thanks! I’ve been using Pinterest just to save things I like and definitely haven’t been making the most of it as a way to actually encourage people to my blog – I may have to start pinning my own pics a little instead of other people’s!

  23. Thanks so much for clarifying a little about pinterest. I’m a total newbie to blogging and have been trying to slowly work my way up to biting the bullet, and signing up to pinterest. The thought scared me a little (not sure why!), but after reading your post, it seems it’s not all that bad!

  24. Thanks for this wonderful and inspiring article! I recently started my first blog so that I can share my photographs and experiences to the world, and this has been a really big help! Thank you very much!

  25. This is great. Thanks for sharing! I am interested in trying to start watermarking my photos, purchasing a Canon Rebel (It’s been on my Amazon Wish List for awhile now), POSSIBLY joining Pinterest (I know I’ll love it, but it’s just one more thing to manage), and now… making a Mumkin this fall! Thanks again 🙂

  26. This helps cement for me why Pinterest is becoming so useful for personal branding/marketing and especially for businesses. Thanks for these tips: although I am highly fond of photography, I hardly ever have photos in my blogs. I should work on that 🙂

  27. I have found the Pinterest but I am unsure where exactly under the Widgets block do we post the link to connect wordpress to pinterest. What comes up on my screen is the widgets screen wanting me to move a cell block from the left hand side and slide it over to the Right.

    I don’t think this is correct. could you help basically I am trying to advertise a link on my blog page that would connect my viewers to Pinterest boards.

    Thank you for your time

    1. Cut and paste the HTML code from pinterest into a free text widget after you’ve moved the widget to your side bar. Try that and see if it works!

  28. Great advice with the watermarking! I always thought it was for copyrighting, so I figured I didn’t need it. But you’re totally right! Our blog pics can end up anywhere. I’ve often found myself wondering what the source of a picture on Pinterest is, and people don’t always link back to the blog. So thanks!

  29. Thanks for all the great tips, Dana. Regarding pinterest, I have resisted for a couple of reasons. I don’t want to be on my computer too much, and I feel confident I’ll be sucked in. Also, I didn’t see the necessity with having a humor blog. Now you have lifted the rock off of me and I see the light. I’ll be checking it out. Thanks again.

  30. Thank you for this post. I have followed your advice with picmonkey and will never go back to non-watermarked photos now. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

  31. Have you compared using your Canon vs. a Nikon though? I love love love my Nikon, but I’ve been so tempted to purchase a Canon just because everyone raves about them.

    1. No I haven’t. I honestly don’t know the difference. I’m sure your Nikon is wonderful too. I hear you’re either from the Nikon camp or the Canon camp but can there really be a major difference in the quality they produce since they both have such great reputations?

  32. Dana, just started my blog, “richert images”, a few days ago and absolutely love this post. It is so helpful and you can bet I’ll be coming back to it time and again. BTW, count me as a follower. =)

  33. You have offered several pieces of great information. Thanks! Oddly, the one place where I don’t see any traffic with my blog. I have a new goal now.

  34. I’m new at this whole blogging thing, and was wondering how to incorperate pictures properly. This was a huge help! Thanks!

  35. I’m not a very good photographer, so I thought I might not be arty fartsy enough for Pinterest, but you know what……….. I might give it ago! Ha!
    Thanks for the tips.

  36. I’m always looking for new photo ideas — sometimes just the way somebody says something sparks one! As for batch watermarking, I gave in and purchased Photoshop Lightroom. While it’s not inexpensive, it is definitely paying for itself in time saved.

    1. Since writing this post, I too purchased Lightroom and I’m using the batch watermarking. It is very helpful. Thanks for the comment!

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