Showing posts with label Tips for Writers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tips for Writers. Show all posts

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Reviewing The Traffic Transformation Guide

The Traffic Transformation Guide by Lena Gott
The Traffic Transformation Guide by Lena Gott
Lena Gott's Traffic Transformation Guide focuses on 21 strategies she used to go from 17K to 400K+ monthly page views in just 10 months.

I first came across Lena Gott when I purchased the 2016 BC Stack, her ebook - How I Went from 17k to 350+k Monthly Views in 9 Months was included in the bundle I purchased.  As I read through the book I realized that I did know who she was as I have read a number of articles on her blog - What Mommy Does (I always thought it was a cool name for a blog).

I enjoyed the way Lena wrote and I discovered something I had never known before and I immediately started to implement it!   I have been writing online for over 10 years and am constantly learning new things especially as the internet seems to change almost weekly!

Most of what was covered in her book I had read or knew before, however the way she wrote spoke to me and sometimes you can hear things over and over before they click.

If you're new to blogging and want to increase your page views then I really recommend getting Lena's new book as she openly shares everything she does and explains it as though you were sat down talking to her.   If you've been blogging for a while you might not get quite as much value, but personally I found it to be well worth it.

When I was told that Lena had an updated book out - the one I'm about to review for you my finger quickly tapped on the buy button and I looked forward to seeing what other nuggets she may have discovered.

There's a lot of information in the book which can be a little overwhelming, but Lena herself recommends reading all the way through it first before settling down to go through the steps at your own pace - she even has worksheets and pages to take notes at the end of her ebook which you can print out.

I have finished reading through the book and even though I had read the first book and found the introduction a little repetitive the rest of the book was well worth purchasing.

When your blog traffic explodes - the traffic transformation guide

One of the things that Lena sees as important is to learn something new every day and I think that it's a good philosophy to have in life and an essential one to have if you plan on making money blogging.  I think this book is a great investment for anyone who is or wants to blog; anyone who runs a website or just about anyone who has a business with an online identity.

Although the main focus for readers of Lena Gott's Traffic Transformation Guide is bloggers I believe that anyone who wants or needs to use social media in their business would benefit from reading this.

Do you need to be a geek to understand this guide?

Absolutely not!  One of the reasons I enjoyed this book is because the way Lena writes sounds like she could be any other soccer mom, workmate, old school friend etc just talking to you about something she does using 'normal' every day language.

If you want to get a feel for the easy going language that is used then you can check out Lena on her blog What Mommy Does or in her Facebook group - Adventures in Blogging.   Alternatively try her prequel for free! - Free Blog Traffic Bonus Guide.

Definitely no 'geek speak', just plain language designed for both the new blogger and the experienced one alike to understand.

Get traffic to your site in 21 steps
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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Add a Large Image to Tweets on Twitter with Twitshot

Add a Large Image to Tweets on Twitter with Twitshot
Twitshot makes adding large images to your Twitter tweets easy! 

Most of us don't have enough hours in the day to spend a lot of time on each social media site to share each article.  Finding an easy way to share eye-catching images quickly, makes every blogger's daily schedule more manageable.  

Twitshot is my all time favorite shortcuts to beautiful tweets that include big images with the necessary textual information.

Normally a tweet includes a thumbnail size image that is often overlooked when scrolling through tweets.  Large images are not as easily overlooked or bypassed.  

Getting traffic to your article often starts with catching a readers attention.  The best way to do that, is with images and not words.

NOTICE:  Unfortunately, Twitshot has closed.  We do not know if this is temporary or permanent.  I recommend using Buffer (there is a free option) instead.  Please check back later.


Appearance of a Regular Tweet 

If you use the Twitter button on an article, this is the way a published tweet will look.  As you can see, it has the small thumbnail picture.

 How to add Large Images to Tweets on Twitter

Appearance of a Twitshot Tweet

If you use Twitshot, this is the way your tweet will publish.  The photo is center stage and very eye-catching due to the size of the image.

How to add Large Images to Tweets on Twitter!

You can even include a short text description if you need or want that article summary normally shared beside the thumbnail image.  140 characters are allowed on Twitshot with your large image.  In the case of the movie review below, I had to shorten the summary for it to fit, but the text is still descriptive enough for readers.

Learn How to Add Large Images to Tweets on Twitter

How to Use Twitshot

It is so easy to use Twitshot.  You simply enter the article url into the box on Twitshot and select the image you want to accompany your tweet.   

Hover over the image to optimize your image to the recommended Twitter image size (1135 x 600).  However, you can select an image that is square instead of oblong.

When You Enter The Article Link, This is What You See
Learn How to Add Large Images to Tweets on Twitter

Here is a Mark-Up of Exactly What to Do to Add and Tweet With a Large Image
If you don't like the images that are auto selected, you can paste an image url, search for an image, or upload an image.  
How to Add a Large Image to Tweets on Twitter

Click Here to Visit Twitshot Today and Start Tweeting with Large Images!

You can also add a TwitShot Button to your Site for Sharing.  Click Here to Get the Code

More Tips & Tutorials for Blogger

Add a Large Image to Tweets on Twitter with Twitshot Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Review of Picmonkey Photo Editing Site

Why I Love, Plus Tips For Using It

Picmonkey review

Until I discovered PicMonkey, I was stuck with using the free photo editing program that came on my HP laptop, and using Paint, the standard accessory in the Windows platform for computers. But now I am hooked on PicMonkey! It is my favorite free photo editing software! 

I never got around to buying Photoshop, and though I tried to use Gimp, it just was too hard for me to decipher. (Gimp is touted as a free version of Photoshop and many of my friends swear by it, but maybe I am software challenged.) So I thought I would show you some of the ways I use PicMonkey to edit and embellish my photos for articles on the internet and how you can too.

First of all, if you don't have an account,  just go to and sign up for an account. Once there you will see a page that varies as far as the image, but at the very top you will always see this:

Picmonkey header photo

You can see that I am signed in, but if you are not, just click on "Log In" on the right, and then you can begin editing.

You can also see the 4 buttons in the center that show where to start your photo editing project. For basic and advanced editing of your own photos, click "Edit." I will cover "Design," and "Touch Up" and "Collage" further down this page.

Once you do, it will show a screen asking you where to get the photo you want to edit. You can choose your computer, Facebook, One Drive, or their own new platform, Hub. Most people are probably going to choose a photo from their own computer so I will explain using that option.

Once you click on "Computer" it will open a window to your own files. Just scroll to your photo folders and click on the photo you wish to edit. That will place it on the screen in PicMonkey.  You will notice that on the left is a row of buttons. At the very top is a symbol of lines and dots and if you hover over that, it says "Basic Edits."  If you click it you see a list of edits you can do.  Here is an example of a photo I uploaded to the editor with the sidebar showing the menu:

PicMonkey Review

The first thing I like to do is open the "Rotate" button. (3rd button down on the left) You can rotate your photo in all directions, to change the orientation from horizontal to vertical and also to change the top to the bottom, just by clicking the arrows. But what I like to do is play with the "Straighten" slider. I guess I don't hold my camera steady as I often have photos that are crooked. But that is an easy fix in PicMonkey. Just slide the arrow till you have a straight photo and click "Apply." It even has guidelines to make it easy for you.
PicMonkey Review

Then I like to open the "Crop" button. The reason I straighten before I crop is that straightening sometimes takes part of the photo off, so I want the whole thing straightened before cropping.  Here you can see the crop lines I am going to use. You can drag the lines around till you are happy with your photo.

PicMonkey Review

Here it is after I clicked on "Crop." You can move the crop lines wherever you want them. When you are satisfied, just click "Apply" and then your photo will be magically cropped like this one.

PicMonkey Review

Then I like to do some basic editing so I click on "Exposure." The first thing I do is click on "Auto Adjust." This is often all that I do, as it seems to make my photos pop and look great. But you can also play with all the sliders and if you like the way a photo looks you can click "Apply" and those changes will be done.  When you are satisfied, just close that little window by clicking "Cancel" or "Apply," whichever is the case. Here  are how the other sections look when they are open. On this rose photo I have not done any other edits. I just cropped it and auto adjusted the exposure.

PicMonkey ReviewPicMonkey ReviewPicMonkey Review

If you make a mistake, there is an "Undo" button. At the very bottom of the screen is a backwards arrow. Just click that anytime you are not happy with your design and undo the last step! You can actually keep hitting "Undo" until you get back to a place where you are happy and then continue your design from there.
PicMonkey Review

More Tricks for Using PicMonkey

Now besides the  "Basic Edits" you can do a lot of different effects. One I use a lot is the "Text" function to add text to photos. This is great for making photos for Pinterest and other media like Twitter. So just click on "Text" and you will see this: (photo on the right)

Notice the slider on the right. Use it to scroll through all the choices of Font you can use.

I am going to use Marcelle Script so I just click on it and change the color of the script in the little box that pops up. I will use a very pale shade of blue but you can pick whatever you want. Move the box wherever you want and drag the edges to make it bigger or smaller. Then start adding text in the box. Example is below.

PicMonkey Review

And below is a picture of it after adding the text. Just click on the photo somewhere else besides the text box when you are finished and the text box disappears and your text is there.

Peace-Love-Travel-Light blog

Now let's say I want a background under the text. You can add any number of special effects by clicking the buttons on the left and scrolling till you find a design you like and clicking on the photo to place it. You can also move it around on the photo. Just click on it once and drag it wherever you want it. Here  I have added a ribbon. Once I clicked on it and placed it I changed the color to White. Then I added text over that.

Peace-Love-Travel-Light site

There are plenty of other effects you can use on the left too. The "Touch Up" ones are great for faces! And if you want a set of photos in a theme, there are lots of themed effects. They have a Zombie theme, Victorian theme, and lots more!  Just click on any of them to see all the things you can do. It would take me hours and hours to go over all the wonderful effects you can create, but the easier and more fun way to learn it is to add a photo and play with all the buttons to see what you can do! PicMonkey also has tutorials explaining how to use all the functions. Just scroll down on the Home page and you will see them.

Here are a few things I did to the image after I got the text and the ribbon trim on it. First are different edges. One is a simple box edge and next is a craft scissors edge.

State Flowers of the USA Coloring Blog

Best Coloring Books for Adults Blog

Then I added an effect called "Frost" which adds the color of the frame as a brushed effect all around the edges, and on the lower one I added a "Bokeh" overlay to make it sparkly. These are just a few of the effects you can get!

Aurora Art Supplies Colored Pencils
State Flowers of the USA Coloring Blog

PicMonkey Review

Using PicMonkey for Graphic Design

You can also use PicMonkey to design graphics and my favorite, Facebook covers. Up above where it says "Edit, Touch Up, Design, Collage," click on "Design." Then you will see a square, a Facebook cover, different sizes, and a custom option. To do a Facebook cover, just click that option and it opens up a screen with the exact size you need. Next click on "Overlay" on the left. You have your choice of many there, so you can scroll through and have fun designing your own cover by adding a combination of effects on the screen. Or you can add your own, just click on "Your Own" at the top. Here I have used the same photo of roses by clicking on the file in my computer and then dragging the edges out till the whole template is covered. Then I have added some text on top of that. It's now ready to upload to a Facebook page.

PicMonkey Review

One more thing that I think is pretty cool is that when you are designing, you can choose your background or even make a transparent background for designs you might be doing for Zazzle or other design platforms. For that you go to "Basic Edits," and click on "Canvas Color." If I wanted to make a round logo for example, I would choose a transparent background and then overlay a circle from the "Geometric Shapes" overlay section. Then I would put whatever design I wanted inside the circle, like text, colors, and/or textures. Once I have saved the design I have a round logo. Here is the one I designed for my Aurora Art Supplies products and website.
PicMonkey Review

And here are some Photos I edited in PicMonkey and added banners and text to use on my Amazon ads for my Aurora Art Supplies Colored Pencils and Water Color Pencils.

Using PicMonkey for Website Design 

Okay let's say I want to design a background for a website. And maybe I want a Blue sparkly one. First I would add Blue as my background color. Next I would go to the textures in the "Overlay" section and start adding them till I have an effect I want and then save it. Then I would go to the editor in my Wordpress theme and where it says to add a background, I would upload that file. Voila, a custom background. Here is one I made so you can see. I used a Blue solid color, then "Space" overlay,  then a "Bokeh" overlay. I played with the saturation till I liked it and saved it.

PicMonkey Review

There are so many effects you could really play for hours and design any number of cool things. And I didn't go into the "Collage" function, but all you do for that one is click on the "Collage" button above, pick a style from the left side menu and add photos to the cells by dragging them to the one you like. You can even design text boxes and add them as one of the photos of the collage. My friend Kim is a master of PicMonkey collages. Here is one she made for her educational site for kids to learn State facts.

PicMonkey Review

A very useful function that I use all the time is the "Resize" function at the bottom of the "Basic Edits."  Just click on it and you can make your photo whatever size you need! Very useful for websites!

So I guess you could say I am a PicMonkey addict now! Try it and I bet you will be too!  But a few of the fonts and effects are premium so you have to pay extra for those. Well I wanted them for a project so I signed up for one month only ($5) so I could make some cool designs. Then I reverted back.  A few days later PicMonkey sent me an email asking me why I cancelled the premium version and one of the answers you could pick was "It costs too much." That's what I picked and then they offered it to me for $33 a year, or less than $3 a month.  So if you want the premium version, that's how you can get it for less. Try it for a month at $5 and then cancel. I love  bargains, don't you? Thank you PicMonkey! 

*Of course, this may have been a one time offer, I can't promise that the offer will always be there. But it doesn't hurt to try, does it? 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Using Easy Product Displays to Create Home Page Featured Articles

How to Create a Blogger Home Page Review and Tutorial

Previously, I published How to Create a Static Home Page on Blogger.  In that article, I shared that I used "Easy Product Displays" to generate the code for our Quick View Home Page here on Review This!   With EPD, I can easily create a truly awesome code that features the article images, with captions, set side by side.  

This provides a viewer friendly page that our guests can view quickly and select an article on Review This that they wish to read.  Because each photo is linked to the review article of origin, a visitor need only click the photo to be redirected to that page.  

It truly is the perfect Home Page set up for Blogger.

How to Make Your Own Home Page Features Using EPD

I was asked by several people to share a step by step tutorial on how to use Easy Product Displays (EPD) to create the Home Page features.  Since I change our Quick View Home Page features each week, that is a very easy request to fulfill.  

I will show you step by step photos of the process, but you will need to join Easy Product Displays to use their service and generate the code.  You can join for your free trial and set up your first home page code, by simply clicking the box below.

Note:  Setting up a featured article page is not the intended purpose of EPD, it is just a fantastic alternate use of their service.  
What Easy Product Displays offers to affiliate marketers with their search tools, buttons and displays is much more valuable.

Step by Step Instructions for Creating Your Featured Article Page

  1. Select Your Setting on the EPD Dashboard - Be sure you Select "None" for the Button Type.  I also select "No Border" for the Border Style

  2. Add the Number of "Boxes" for Photos/Articles You Wish to Display

  3. Fill in the Spaces with the Article URL, the Title, and the Photo URL

  4. Select Your Layout - As you can see the the screenshot below, there are a variety of layout styles.

  5. Click the "Get Code" tab in the upper right corner, then select "Copy to Clipboard"

  6. Move to your Blogger Page and paste the code copied to clipboard on the Blogger post using the "HTML" tab page.

Additional Notes:

If you wish to add line spaces in the captions under the pictures, you would simply add <br /> <br /> where you want the break.  

A Screen Shot of Our Quick View Home Page 

This is a miniature screenshot taken at the time this article was written of our Quick View Home Page here on Review This!  I wanted you to easily be able to see the results, but you are always welcome to visit our current Quick View Home Page.
Review This Quick View Home Page

If you have any questions, or need additional information, please ask in the guestbook below.

More Tips & Tutorials for Blogger

Using Easy Product Displays to Create Home Page Featured Articles Tutorial Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


Friday, August 5, 2016

How to Create a Static Home Page on Blogger
Blogger is a great blogging platform that is perfect for beginners, as well as experienced bloggers.   However, as our blogs grow, we need to find ways to make them easier to navigate.  We want our older posts to be easier to find by our readers.

Those of us who write on blogs already know that the newest article will be featured at the top of the blogger site.  The older articles will be shoved down the blog landing page and eventually to the "next" page.  Depending on the frequency of publishing, that can actually happen pretty fast.  Articles that are still very relevant are no longer seen on the landing page and become harder to find.  One could almost even say they are "hidden" by the newer content.  So, what can we do?  

We take navigation very seriously on Review This!  In addition to having every article listed in our drop down tabs, we have a "Quick View Home Page".  Each week, our contributors select articles to feature on that page.  It looks & feels like a Home Page on a website.  

We opted to have our Quick View Home Page set up as a separate page that our readers can easily visit, as opposed to setting it as our static home page.  However, you can certainly set one up just like it to be the landing page for your blog. 

Step by Step Instructions for Creating a Blogger Static Home Page 

Blogger has a default "Home" that takes any guests to the "line up" of published articles.  It is necessary to do a redirect in order to have a static home page on Blogger. 

1)  Create a new page with an appropriate title and Publish it.

2)  Set the Redirect on your Blogger Dashboard.  Go to Setting > Search Preferences > Custom Redirects

Fill in the blank squares.  The site url is auto-filled:  
  They will look something like this.  Be sure to add the / at the end of your current home url

3)  Check Each of the Boxes Click Save

4)  Click Save Changes

5)  Check the main url link to make sure it is properly redirecting to your new home page.

6)  Go Back to the Page you created at the beginning of this tutorial and add the content you want showing on your new Home Page.

You Now Have A Static Home Page on Blogger!

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Click the button below to see the Review This Quick View Home Page.  Each week, I use EPD, Easy Product Displays, to generate the code for the page that allows the images with captions to be set side by side.  

I have published a step by step guide "Using EPD to Create Home Page Featured Articles" in a separate post.  Please click this link to see that companion tutorial.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


The Review This Contributors

Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasBev OwensBev OwensWednesday ElfWednesday ElfBarbRadBarbRadOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010Renaissance
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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner