Last week I learned how to generate free QR codes for work and it’s easy and kind of fun to do, so I thought I’d share what I learned here. First of all, do you know what QR means? I had never thought about it much, but it stands for Quick Response.
We’re going to use a QR code for print materials and I’m still figuring out how it would be useful in the digital world for bloggers versus just using a link, although the code definitely works online. This article from Wasp Barcode Technologies talks about using QR codes for print and something like that on Facebook, Snapchat and Spotify. For authors who use print materials, even a business card, it’s a simpler way to direct people to your work. Anyone with a phone can use the camera function that recognizes the codes and takes you directly to your site.
Paid versions let you track stats and customize your code even more. I think the free one I made looks pretty good and although I love tracking stats, I don’t think I would upgrade to be able to access them.
It’s a wild idea, but I’m thinking of having a t-shirt made with my blog’s QR code on the back!
One of the things I’ve found frustrating about Facebook pages is that the news feed feature disappeared one day without explanation and the pages I liked through my pages wound up on my personal news feed. That feed is now a mess. I barely look at it and never interact because it’s just too complicated to switch back and forth between my personal account and my pages.
I recently got a tip (thank you A!) that if you change your pages to business pages, you can access the news feed so I jumped on Facebook to check it out. At first, after I switched them to business pages, I had trouble seeing the news feed, then I found a hack that instructed me to add /news_feed to the URL. Voila! It was back, or so I thought. When I went through my feed, I only found posts from a few pages I liked, but most of the feed looked like paid posts.
I hopped over to my Books to Pen page, did the hack and got an official welcome to the Facebook News Feed. Yay! I followed the steps that prompted me to follow pages I’d already liked and off I went, tapping Follow for each. About halfway through, I was bounced out of Facebook and had to log back in. When I got back on the Books to Pen page, I had a new button for News Feed and a pretty healthy feed, although I have no idea if all the pages I like will actually show up, since I wasn’t able to follow all of them. The same thing happened for my dad’s page.
Today I went on Facebook to look at my pages’ news feeds and the buttons were gone. So I typed in the hack and got a message that the link was broken. Boo!
Well I fiddled around, jumping back and forth between my pages and using the hack and I eventually got the news feed button back for two of my three pages and I can access the third feed if I add news_feed to the URL.
I don’t know. Does Facebook even like us? And do they want us to interact with other FB folks?
Have you tried accessing the news feed for your pages? Leave a comment below.
You’ll feel like a graphic artist once you get familiar with how Canva works. It’s a graphic design platform with thousands of templates to use on your blog (like my new banner and this blog’s graphic) on social media and for other print items. The free version has loads of options. I had to learn how to use it for work and I’ve started using it more for my blog. What I like best about it is that the images you create are custom-sized for posts on a blog, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. so you don’t have to worry if you have the dimensions right. And I also like how they suggest color schemes based on any images you upload. Really great!
I learned about Linktree from my boss. You know how on Instagram you can only have one link in your profile and that any URLs you include in a post are not actually linked to anything? And on Twitter, even though you can include live links in your tweets, you can only have one link in your bio. Kind of frustrating. Well Linktree lets you put all your links in on one link – it’s clean and easy and the free version is all that I need. Thanks, Boss!
I hope these are helpful tips for you, too. What new things did you learn this year about blogging and social media?
After a lot of talk and several blog posts about the new block editor, I finally made the switch. That’s why my blog looks a little different. I have to say, I mostly like it, but I’ve been frustrated about a couple things. I figured one out, but I’m pretty sure there’s no way to do the second one.
Anyone have trouble finding where they are? After clicking around and around I finally looked it up and discovered it’s easy:
In Edit Post, click on the greet Jetpack icon located in the upper right of your screen. The Shortlink is about half-way down the vertical scroll sidebar. Problem solved!
Wrapping text around images
This has really puzzled me. That was one of the features in Classic Editor I used a lot. There’s a block called Media and Text that lets you put text next to an image, but it doesn’t wrap when the text runs below the image. Here’s what happens:
Here’s a nice image of a Thanksgiving turkey that I downloaded from Pexels. I used the Media and Text block. I selected Normal size font and you can see that once the text block becomes longer than the image, it doesn’t wrap around it.
Has anyone else run into this problem? How would you fix it? I’ve tried looking it up and after about twenty minutes, I gave up. I’m wondering if I care enough to figure it out or if I should just adapt to the new way of doing things. I guess you could end your text block just as it reaches the end of the image…
In general, I like the block editor and I really like the star rating block. That comes in really handy and I like how you can use the half stars.
What has your experience been? Leave a comment below and thanks for visiting!
Hi Everyone! Today I’m sharing some random thoughts about blogging.
The blogging world is constantly evolving, whether we like it or not. Technology has changed dramatically since I started my blog seven years ago. I’ve always been interested in how things connect and for me, blogging and connecting though other social media is fun, but time and patience have their limits, don’t they?
I’m not dreading the new WordPress editor. I’ve already used it on my new blog, Books to Pen, but I’m in no hurry to convert Book Club Mom.
My blog has grown slowly, but steadily over the years and my focus has changed during this time. I’d like to have unlimited content ideas, but I don’t! That used to bother me, but now I don’t worry about it and wait for an idea to come to me.
I have a good idea for a new YouTube video, so stay tuned for that.
As for growing a blog – I wish WordPress would make it easier to follow and be followed. Even when I search for blogs and get a list, it’s still cumbersome. And it would be nice to see what blogs my favorite bloggers follow. Twitter has it all figured out in that department IMO.
I see a lot of swishy new blogs out there and I’m always looking for ways to update my look. I like my basic blog design but I’ve recently changed some of my banners. Last year I tried displaying book covers in more creative ways, but I moved away from that. I like the creative displays, but doing them myself felt like a force.
I’m getting ready to start an Instagram account. I resisted at first, but now I’m ready.
A month ago I wrote about how I thought the coronavirus was going to affect me. I said, “I’m planning to read and blog more and pay more attention to my Twitter account.”
Was anyone else thinking something like that? Although I’ve been reading about as much as I did before we started sheltering in place, I haven’t been reading voraciously or blogging any more than the regular amount. And my Twitter account has been pretty idle. Some of that is because I am tweeting on my library job’s account, a lot, and by the end of the day my brain is a little tired of coming up with tweets, liking and retweeting other tweets and finding new followers. I’ve also started contributing to a new library blog, writing about three posts a week over there, and by the end of the day…well you get the idea, right?
The other issue has been focus. One result is that I have been reading other people’s blogs less. That bothers me a lot, but I’ll be back to doing that soon too. I did manage to re-watch the first season of The Sopranos and I’ll be moving on to the second season next week. Seinfeld and The Office are also keeping us entertained.
But you know, being healthy and employed means there is no excuse for complaining about anything. It’s just a matter of adjusting to staying at home all the time. And this week I find that I’m doing better. I’m in the middle of an excellent book, A Hero of France by Alan Furst and you’ll be seeing a review on that soon. I also started a new audiobook today during my walk: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. It took me a bit to understand what I was listening to, but I’m already into the story and will blog about that soon too.
I hope you’re all doing okay and that your families are healthy. What has surprised you about all this time at home?
How are you at shifting gears? We’re all doing that right now! If you’re anxious about the Coronavirus and all the changes and restrictions we are going through, it may be tough to relax. But finding ways to “get away from it all” is a trick we’re all going to have to learn.
Are you working from home? Do you have more family in your house than before? Are you or your kids shifting to online learning?
Our library is closed for the next two weeks. So I won’t be working there, but I’m also going to be busier with home and family things, like keeping the house cleaner and cooking more.
I’m planning to drink more water, more camomile tea (to stay calm – not joking, either), read and blog more and pay more attention to my Twitter account. I also want to binge watch a show or two (depending on how long we are home) and watch some movies.
I hope you’re all doing okay and that your friends and families are healthy. And I also hope that the grocery stores have everything you need, including paper goods (currently an issue here).
Tell me how you are coping and, if you are at home, what you are doing. Do you plan to read or blog more? What is the current situation and what are the restrictions where you live?
To cheer us all up, I’m peppering this post with a few of the free happy reading pics from WordPress. 😀
Have you noticed something different about your WordPress Home Page? My Home popped up on my blog this week, with a reconfigured format. I haven’t tried everything, but what caught my eye is that now WordPress offers a Free Photo Library of 40,000 stock photos, provided by Pexels.
I’ve been using Pixabay for a few years to find good copyright free photos, but now there’s an option built right into WordPress.
Another good thing I noticed is that you can also upload photos right from Google Photos. I like that! I’m not sure if that’s new, but I’d never seen that before.
And here’s how to access the photo library.
Go to your My Home screen, open the Site options and select Media.
Click the down arrow on the top left banner dropdown to see WordPress Library, Google Photos library and Free Photo library. Select Free Photo.
Type suggestion in Search bar, select an appropriate photo and select Copy to media library.
Your image is ready for you to insert into your next blog post. Photo credits are included in the uploads.
Curious to see what kinds of free images are available, I did a few searches and here are some.
They are generic like all the stock images out there but they are free and I can see myself using these for certain posts.
We all say we don’t care about followers, views, likes and comments, but let’s be honest, it’s nice when people show an interest in what we’re doing. For me, it keeps me on my toes and helps me figure out the best way to say things on my blog. I want to post interesting content, so I’d rather know if I post a clunker.
Recently, Facebook, owner of Instagram, announced that they will begin an experimental “hiding” of likes on posts. Account owners will still be able to see the stat, but total number of likes will disappear from Instagram’s main feed, profile pages and permalink pages. I don’t have an Instagram account, and I’m not going to get too into the details, so if you want to read more, check out this article on CNN Business. What I’m interested in is the concept of removing a public view of likes and other interaction on social media.
You can already remove likes and comments from WordPress posts and some of the blogs I follow do that, for all their posts, or just some. It’s easy to do: to remove likes, go on your Dashboard and select Settings, Sharing and turn off your likes. To remove comments, from the Dashboard, go to the Discussion settings and turn them off. If you want to turn off total views and followers on your page, from the Dashboard, go to Widgets and remove those options.
As an active blog reader, I like seeing all the faces of people who have liked posts I’ve read. Is that weird? It makes me feel like I’m part of a group! And I also like to leave comments, though I understand why some posts have the “no comment” status. It’s fun to scroll down and see what other people have said and more and more, I’ve noticed that commenters jump on to other people’s comments, making it a big conversation. That’s really fun!
Now I totally get the negative side of obsessing over your popularity. I think that’s really the case on other social media platforms. I don’t get too worked up if a friend posts a picture of her painted toenails sipping a piña colada on a chaise lounge, and gets hundreds of likes and comments, because that stuff isn’t important to me. I’ve never tried to do that, though, so I might feel differently if I took that risk and got minimal likes. I recognize the trap, especially for teenagers and young adults, so hiding likes on Instagram and maybe Facebook sounds like a good idea to me. I don’t know how brand influencers feel about that, but that seems like a silly career to me anyway (just an opinion!).
As for WordPress followers, I like seeing that number grow, although I’m resigned to a slow, gradual climb. On Twitter, it’s great to look at other people’s followers because it helps me find new accounts to follow.
I think it’s different on WordPress because we’re not trying to showcase our popularity or look beautiful. This seems to be a much more grounded group. I think bloggers are mostly interested in getting their words out, with a side of likes and comments.
What do you think? Do you ever turn off your likes and comments on WordPress? Tell me what you think – comments are turned on 😉!
It’s common knowledge that most blogs don’t make it a year before they go silent. But what happens when a blog that’s been going on for nearly six years suddenly stops?
I’ve been thinking about that a lot because last week, I didn’t blog and I didn’t even go on WordPress. What was happening? Nothing, really. I was busy with work and life and trying to exercise more and get the house in order. Spring has a way of making me want to clean things up a bit. And I took a mini trip.
Time is finite. I couldn’t do all those things and also spend the usual time on my blog. It worried me. Was I tired of reading books and talking about them? Was I burning out? As the days passed and I continued to find other real world things to do, those questions nagged me.
I think I just needed a break. Now I’m refreshed and ready to jump back in. I have 107 unread blog posts waiting for me, a bunch of comments to reply to and the regular feed, so it could take a while!
How have you been? Have you ever found yourself in a blogging slump?