Home

Introducing Worrify! A place to share worries

I started a new project/website yesterday: Worrify! 

The vision behind this site is simple: we believe that the burden of our worries can be relieved by verbalizing and sharing them with the world. We combine the words of your worries with beautiful imagery. You can bookmark and share them as a reminder of the world’s beauty even at the brink of despair. Someone else may read your worries and let you know you’re not alone in your anxiety. You may read another’s worry and find humor in the commonality of our fears.

Check it out, send your worry so we could beautify and share it for you at  worrify.com

Don't Panic! Worrify! Lose Your Worries Through Sharing

Differentiate and spark your creativity – Roy Gattinella

Differentiate and spark your creativity - Roy GattinellaI went to Roy Gattinella‘s session at the North Bay Designers hoping to get my creativity sparked (as the title of the event was “Spark your creativity”) and got much more out of it. Roy was hilarious: we, about 40 of us, laughed through most of his session. His background and ratings are impressive. The extra, unexpected lesson of the meetup was his advise for designers/marketers:

  • Customer Focus: because we are all different
  • Differentiation: because we’ve seen it all and there are too many choices

These lessons were hammered over and over with lots of, mostly visual examples. It was a great session. If/when the slides become publicly available I will update this post with a link to them.

Where/how to get images for your (WordPress) website?

If you have budget to purchase quality images for your website I recommend checking any number of sites offering “royalty free images”. Otherwise here are my recommendations where/how to get them legally. No matter where you get the image I strongly encourage you to contribute to the artist/company/people who created and shared them. Most of the services listed below has an easy way to do so. They deserve it, so give when you can.

Favourite three resources

  1. If you are doing most of your writing/editing in WordPress itself add the ImageInject plugin (nee WP-inject). It searches Flickr, copies the selected image over to your site, provides proper credit to the source, has options for different sizes and alignments too.
  2. Flick licensesSearch Flickr yourself and select the the  appropriate license (see on the right.) Once you found the right picture
    – click the little share button on its bottom right that looks like a curved arrow
    – select the “HTML” or “Iframe” tabs
    – select the image size
    – copy the code
    – go to your post in your WordPress site
    – make sure you are in “text” and not “Visual” mode
    – paste in the code.
    Pro tip: The British Library’s images are there to be used too
  3. Google Image search usage rightsThe widest net you can cast in your search for the right image is at Google’s image search, where you can also restrict your search by “usage rights”. This feature shows up if you click the “Search Tools” button (see right). It is slightly less convenient, because it requires a few more clicks to track down and download the image and then create/code the appropriate attribution.

Sites with images

All of these have built in search feature, so I will only mention it if it has something extra. (I boldfaced my personal favorites.)

  1. 1MillionFreePictures: mostly collections of random images, but they are taged. They are focusing on “ways to make money from our public domain pictures”.
  2. AnimalPhotos.info: By animal name
  3. Europeana.eu: “Explore millions of items from a range of Europe’s leading galleries, libraries, archives and museums. ” The site’s search engine allows to limit results to images that can be used with attributions.
  4. FreeImages.co.uk: hierarchical organization of tags
  5. Gratisography: One person’s (Ryan McGuire) photos in his unique style. No search and only six categories to choose from.
  6. New Old Stock: Tumblr based archive with a new picture every day. Check the unlinked archive for quick overview of pics and styles.
  7. Open Clipart: 73k+ free clipart
  8. PDPics: “Thousands of free public domain pictures…clicked by our in-house photographers.” 18 categories + latest and popular images available
  9. PhotoPin: you can sort the search results by “interestingness”, not just recency and relevancy
  10. PickUpImage: Besides latest and popular, you can filter the photos by photographers. Has cliparts too.
  11. Pixabay: Great faceted search; images available in multiple sizes. The first row of images no the search result page are coming from Shutterstock, so if you don’t want to buy an image (for money) don’t click from there.
  12. PublicDomainArchive: Dozens of categories and premium membership is available.
  13. PublicDomainPictures.net: You can sort search results by relevancy, popularity, ratings or date. Premium membership/images is available too and you can make money by uploading your own pics too.
  14. SplitShire: Good drill down by categories. Single images are free, and for $20/year you could get a one year subscription with bonus features like “no manual download.”
  15. Wikimedia Commons: “a database of 26,522,521 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute”

Other

  1. LittleVisuals.co: used to provide “7 hi-res images zipped up in your inbox”, but the photographer passed away. Past pictures are available on the site and it is raising funds “to provide a number of schools or sports areas with portable defibrillators.”
  2. Unsplash: “10 new high-resolution photos every 10 days”. You can search the pictures and/or filter by subject. Because of the low-contrast design it might be hard to see that the search box is above the first image on the left.
  3. Viintage: “Hundreds of Thousands of Copyright Free Vintage Graphics” they are in the process of moving to a paid model right now. E.g. $10 for “Unlimited downloads.”

Some of these I learned about from a WPTavern post

WordPress links (January 2015)

WordPress LinksHowtos, tips, tutorials, guides from the world of WordPress

Plugins

Other

What to do now that Facebook pages' RSS feeds are gone?

Facebook Platform ChangelogAs you may have noticed Facebook page’s RSS/XML feed stopped working (see official announcement)  on January 28. If you are like me you had lots of RSS feeds organized into folders in a feedreader. Going through my list every morning was an effective way of learning what’s new on the Facebook pages of the organizations I am interested in. Using this method I didn’t rely on the mercy Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm to decide what is worthy for my attention and what is not, I could decide for myself. As this method is no longer available* I devised a new one that works for me and may work for you too. Caveat: checking a long list of Facebook pages takes somewhat longer, so I am open to suggestions to find an even faster way. However it is faster than manual opening or waiting for posts to show up on your Facebook wall. It is a three step process, but the daily routine only requires the last one:

  1. Export your feeds
  2. Turn the XML code into a list of URLs
  3. Open them programmatically in new tabs

Let’s see this step by step.

Export your feeds:

Most RSSreaders allows you to export your feeds. Here are the methods for two popular ones

Inoreader ->Preferences -> Import/Export -> Click this link to export your data. ->Download OPML subscriptions file only

Feedly -> Organize -> Save as OPML -> Click here to download your feedly OPML

Turn the XML code into a list of URLs

You want to extract the URLs of the Facebook pages and optionally their names. The XML file may look like this

<outline text=”Vision Nest Media’s Facebook Wall” title=”Vision Nest Media’s Facebook Wall” type=”rss” xmlUrl=”http://www.facebook.com/feeds/page.php?format=rss20&amp;id=135597909175″ htmlUrl=”https://www.facebook.com/”/>
<outline text=”Jewish Film Festivals and Films’s Facebook Wall” title=”Jewish Film Festivals and Films’s Facebook Wall” type=”rss” xmlUrl=”http://www.facebook.com/feeds/page.php?format=rss20&amp;id=277145242310507″ htmlUrl=”https://www.facebook.com/”/>

Through a series of search and replaces you can convert that to this format

Vision Nest Media http://www.facebook.com/135597909175
Jewish Film Festivals and Films http://www.facebook.com/277145242310507

Then you can keep this list in a spreadsheet or just the URLs in any kind of text document

Open all links programmatically in new tabs

You can load the URLs into a utility that opens every one of them in a new tab. My favorite is rapidlinkr.com, but there are others, e.g. penmultipleurl.com, bulkurlopen.com

Once you have the open you can page through the tabs quickly and just see the latest date of the top post. If it is not today’s (or since your last visit), just close the tab.

* Facebook suggest to “call the feed edge on the Graph API’s Page object: /v2.2/{page_id}/feed.” However that method requires authentication, which in most cases I don’t have to other people’s Facebook pages.

WordPress links (November 2014)

News, tips, tutorials and more from the world of WordPress

that I found interesting and/or useful

Plugins

WordPress links (September & October 2014)

News, tips, tutorials and more from the world of WordPress

that I found interesting and/or useful

Plugins

Lightning Talks: Blogger Basics (Bey, Haden, Hockley)

Talking to Robots by Josepha Hayden

Official description:

The most important first step to writing for the web is understanding that you will forever be writing to dual audiences. Join Josepha for a look at what to do, and not do, when it comes to optimizing your content for search engines.

My notes:

  • Writing for dual audiences
  • Five in five
  • Peeps (consumers) vs bots (search engine bots)
  • Only onsite today
  • Writing to peeps:
    1. Use keywords in a natural way
    2. Identify the person you’re writing to. Build a persona. Name them.
    3. Install analytics and use them. Not just volume, keyword reports, top content
    4. Write at an eight grade level. Not fifth grade level, like news organizations do now.
    5. Build a content strategy. Editorial calendar, including third party channels, where you will market the post.
  • Writing for bots
    1. Use varied keywords: 50 and their permutations. Not more, but it gives them context
    2. Fresh content attracts robots
    3. Inbound and Outbound links are important. controversial, because of people game them
    4. Don’t use deceptive keywords. you are flagged as less quality
    5. Insist on flawless grammar and punctuation.
  • Don’t be a piece of writing that you already have and replace keywords in them

Online shopSmarter Shopping Carts by Pamela Bey

Official description:

Is shopping on your site user friendly? Are you losing people because your checkout process is too complicated. Creating a delightful shopping experience can increase your sales by more than 50% and build customer loyalty. Whether you’re a blogger looking to generate more revenue for your writing or selling products, Pamela explains how to increase the income on your site by creating a great user experience.

My notes:

  • We shop online, because it is convenient
  • No lines or bad weather, parking not an issue
  • Times when it is not convenient. Undelightful experience
  • 67.44% people abandon carts – Baymard Institute stud in 2012
  • controllable reasons for abandoning: presented with unexpected cost, slowness,
  • There are uncontrollable ones too
  • 1. No one likes unexpected costs: $4.99 item with $14.95 shipping
  • Overseas shipping twice the price of the product quick delivery
  • Re-stocking fee
  • Put the sipping cost up front
  • 2. Clean layout and buy buttons
  • White space to show what to purchase. Loud buy buttons
  • 3. Trust signals – for security
  • 4. Easy purchasing for 1st and return buyers

More Than 1,000 Words: Power User WordPress Photo Tips by Aaron Hockley

Official description:

Learn how to better use photography on your website in this fast-paced tour of WordPress image tips. Get the most out of the built-in features in WordPress, learn how to select and prepare images for the web, and discover how strong photography can help your website.

My notes:

  • You can embed a photo in WP from another site without any code
  • Grab flicks, instagram, imgur… URL and paste it into a blank line in the post (oembed)
  • Where to find photos for your website. Take a lot of photos and use on your site
  • Flickr and 500px has pictures available for use. Use attribution.
  • Use stockphotos for a few $
  • Changing themes may change sizes of photos. use the “regenerate thumbnails” plugin
  • If you forget to set the featured image  use the “featured image reminder” plugin
  • Retina devices, higher dpi: use the “WP retina 2x” plugin to resize them
  • Cropping the thumbnail to the center is not ideal, but is the default: use the  “my eyes are up here” plugin
  • Check out wp-photographers.com

 

Finding and Maintaining Your Blog’s Voice by Christine Harkin

Notes from  Christine Harkin‘s talk at WordCamp SF 2014 on “Finding and Maintaining Your Blog’s Voice

Official description:

Finding your blog’s voice isn’t as simple being honest, honoring the audience’s interests, and crafting the best tone and structure for a story; except that maybe it is. Trace the evolution of my blogging voice through personal and professional blogs, group blogs, corporate blog ghostwriting, and blog awards. Hear stories of how writing and design choices, gaffes, and observations become blog voice. Because, in the end, finding your blog’s voice is about both a journey and a destination.

Finding your voiceMy notes:

  • Naptimewriting.com; editorplease,com
  • This process is individual.
  • Unpacking the title:
    • Finding = search quest journey;
    • Maintaining = awareness and planning
    • Yours  = totally mine
    • Blog = somewhat frequently updated web content
    • Voice
  • 23 million hits for “finding your voice”: we are all individuals
  • Blog voice doesn’t have to perfect and not forever
  • Write the way you talk(caveat) But you don’t talk the same way to clients and friends. Not using jargon and abbreviations
  • Share what you know(caveat) . You are also sharing what other people know
  • Tell the truth as you know it (caveat) . It is dicey: forever or not.
  • Voice is not about topic: Tina fay’s and Chris Lema’s style is different no matter the topic.
  • What you bring to a topic is perspective, personality and experience: these together is your voice
  • Author voice can be wry, dry. It gives clues of what you are
  • Voice: WHY you choose to say what you do (passion)
  • HOW you choose to convey your truth (style)
  • We are creating something that can only come from you
  • Copyright notices can be changed, see theblogess.com, thebeardedirish.com, hyperboleandahalf.com
  • If you go all Hobbesian on us, we take away your Internet.” naptimewriting.com
  • Voice = expression, visual and verbal, of how and why you blog
  • Examples of photoblogs: 500px.com , jamesnord.com, stuckincustoms.com, theanimatedwoman.com
  • The HOW and WHY of voice has to be honest. Really honest.
  • An early post of hers: way too long, honest and “me” and it worked.
  • Paper highlighted her post: she was drunk with power.
  • Being genuine is all you can bring
  • Maintaining voice is simple if you write what you know, the way you talk, and write
  • “Find out who you are and do it on purpose” – Dolly Parton
  • She started to blog to prove her brother wrong.
  • Why will you blog? What do you have to say and how will you say it?
  • Two months after she started her favorite author died. She grieved publicly. She thought she would lose her readers and worried because people wouldn’t want to read it. People awarded her for being raw and real. On her personal blog
  • She has a deep interest for her industry too. But it is different. Talking about death there would be career suicide.
  • She has multiple voices and its OK. If you have a different HOWs and WHYs it can work.
  • Should you edit? Did you put every pictures you took in an album.
  • Editing is for the audience. That’s why you have to edit it.
  • Post about loving audiobooks – changed it to a secret love letter that the paper books cannot know about it
  • “The first draft of anything is sh*t” – Ernest Hemingway
  • “You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.” – Arhtur Plotnik
  • Blogs exist for two reasons: because we want to move people to action and/or we want to connect with people
  • When your HOW/WHY changes sit down and think about it. Kill your blog and start a new one.
  • QA
    • Introduce the guest blogger and then let them go with their voice.
    • Groupblogs have their own voices, set them up visually differently, e.g. bylines. About page is front and center. She does it for literature blogs.
    • Legalese is different font than the content. Set them visually and linguistically apart.

Artful Blogging by Kathy Cano-Murillo

Notes from  Kathy Cano-Murillo‘s talk at WordCamp SF 2014 on “Artful Blogging

Official description:

In this session, Kathy Cano-Murillo, the Crafty Chica, will share how she took her knowledge and experience from being a newspaper features reporter and applied it to create her award-winning blog, CraftyChica.com. She’ll also share her comical-yet-insightful lessons learned, as well as her insider tips that elevated her blog to a lifestyle site that spun off a series of books, a product line, web series, brand partnering and more. She’ll share her best practices for pinpointing a mission statement, and creating engaging content to support that. While Kathy‘s blog is grounded in DIY, she will share how she takes liberty with that “creativity” theme and applies to food, shopping, diary, entertainment, books and more.

GlitterMy notes:

  • Her first time. Blogging is her life
  • Started as a newspaper journalist
  • She didn’t know she was building her own brand while blogging
  • Spreading the gospel of glitter.
  • Weekly column was picked up by 100 newspaper
  • She has books, deals now
  • Tools she used
  • Passion: is the source, the nucleus, the foundation, the heartbeat.
  • If you don’t have the passion, don’t do it
  • Have purpose and personality: know why you are doing this. Make all arrows point to that.
  • Look at your personality and be that. Embrace who you are. She loves micro-crafting
  • It is OK to go against the grain what everyone is doing.
  • Lots of people who have minimalist site. not her.
  • Now she has magazine format. With features, including the 3000 tutorials.
  • People come back to the home page.
  • Right style /theme increased her site’s traffic.
  • Brand recipe: create a visual representation that shows what your brand is. Need elevator speech, but need more.
  • Her brand: Hallmark channel, Oprah positivity and add glitter
  • Use pop culture references
  • WOW factor: Make them smile, sniffle, or say OMG. Leave them wanting more.
  • “How to glitter your floor”
  • What’s the big WOW project of the month that will get people’s attention
  • Dia de los muertos craft.com , because that’s what people were looking for.
  • Think about what’s coming up, what’s trending.
  • Roundup of friends; site is good traffic generator.
  • Diversify: Chubby girl delights food), Crafty Cinema (movies), Geeky Chica (tech), Reader Chica (books)
  • Brand is universal
  • “Don’t reinvent the wheel, but find new hubcaps”
  • Be newsworthy. Always have something press release worthy
  • Find your lane. research what works for you. build your platform. Focus on what’s best for you. Go with that and make the most of it.
  • Visual Destination: Plan to “level up” to give your brand legs. Plot a goal roadmap, with timeline.
  • Brand everything: make your own font…
  • Prepare for opportunity: book, product line, meeting, media kit, hi-res photos.
  • Be truthful: always have a takeway, offer solutions, inspiration, ideas. Tweet it out to celebrities. She made an “Orange is the new black” dessert that got retweeted.