In case you haven’t noticed, we haven’t been around in a while. Have you missed our lovely photography, design and blogging tips? Well the reason for this is there is a lot going on in the I Heart Snapping camp at the moment. Lucy only went and had a beautiful baby, and Katie is busy growing one. Therefore due to a combination of sleepless nights, overactive hormones and baby brains, we have neglected this lovely little space on the interweb recently.
But alas fear not, we aren’t gone for good. I Heart Snapping is still very much another baby of ours, and we will be back soon to fill this space with all things lovely. We may not be posting as regularly as before, but we are still chuffed to bits with the amount of traffic and love this blog gets, and we are determined to keep it going.
Expect lots of lovely new tips, hints and exciting posts on their way soon.
A couple of weeks ago we told you all about a really clever little app to add label style fonts to your photos- Labelbox. However if you want just a really good, general font app then you really need to be checking out Phonto. Phonto is by far the best font app I have found although there are quite a few out there.
There are literally hundreds of different fonts on there, and they certainly aren’t boring- in fact there is loads of choice. You can choose the position of the font, the size, the way it tilts, the colour, the background colour and the style. It is really easy to use, you just click on the screen to add a font, scroll through the fonts you want and then you can position it by dragging it across the screen. In fact it is so easy it doesn’t even need a tutorial. You can really go to town with the colours as you can tweak them and make them match any of the colours in your picture.
Here are some examples of some photos that I have used with Phonto.
These are just some really quick examples but if you check out Phonto you will see the huge variety of styles you can use for your photos.
Best of all? It is completely free! I guarantee it will be one of your favourite apps for its easy of use.
So you have a blog, and you have started to get traffic. Yippee. However you have decided you want to go further and really improve your blogs search ability on the web. How do you do it?
One really handy free tool that you can use is Google Webmaster Tools- after all we all know that Google is the biggest search engine and of course we want to be on the good side of Google!
First of all you need to make sure your blog is signed up on the tool. Go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ and log in using your google account. (or register for one free if you haven’t got one) Then on the main dashboard page on the right hand side there is a big red button which says ‘Add a site.’
You will then need to verify your blog so webmaster tools will be able to pick it up. To do this really easily on wordpress go on to ‘alternate methods’ and use the html meta tag method. If you need to do it on another blogging platform, it is also really easy.
You will then need to make sure that you have installed the ‘Google Webmaster Verification’ WordPress Plug In. You can find this easily by searching under ‘Add New’ Plug In. Once you have done this go to the ‘Google Webmaster Verification’ plug in which you will find under the ‘Settings’ menu on your wordpress dashboard.
Simply then add the code from Webmaster tools into the google site verification box at the top. Remember to only install the code rather than the whole thing. Please see below as an example.
Save changes and voila! Your site is now verified. It will take some time for it to fully update your information- the details I am using below aren’t fully up to date for I heart Snapping but it doesn’t matter as it will give you an idea.
There are a few things which are really useful for bloggers within Google Webmaster Tools. Here are just a few of them.
1. Firstly pay attention to your searches as it can give you a really valuable insight into why people are finding your blog.
Impressions are the number of times pages from your site were viewed in search results- the number of days per period defaults to 30, but you can change it at any time. Clicks are the number of times your site was clicked in search results for a query e.g instagram post, and the percentage increase and decrease in the average daily clicks compared to the previous period. (again default of 30 days) CTR is the click through rate of your site for that particular query and the average position is where it will appear in the search results for that particular query. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look that great to start with, it can take some time to collect all your data.
2. Submitting a site map- It is really important to submit a site map because it helps google know what pages to index. As blogs are slightly different to websites which have hundreds of different pages, you can get away with using your RSS feed. Just go to optimisation, click sitemaps and add a sitemap by typing in your RSS feed to the URL box.
3. Links to your site- this is so important as good quality, stable links are essential for good SEO. Go to ‘Traffic’ and then links to your site. From there you can see how many links you have in total, who your top linkers are what your top linked pages are. It is really interesting and you may find sites linking to you which you didn’t realise were doing so.
There are lots of other really interesting aspects to Webmaster Tools, we have only just scratched the surface. If you haven’t set it up already, it is well worth doing so, especially if you are like me and nosey about just what is going on with your website.
We have been taking a little break at I Heart Snapping, which you may have noticed by the fact that our posts haven’t been as regular. This is due to a combination of things- the main one being computers breaking, holidays and of course a little weekend trip away to BritMums Live. Therefore because of this reason there won’t be any links we love this week. Don’t fear though- we still have the I heart my snap linky open for you to link up your favourite photos. The rules are so simple- just link up any photo or photos you are particularly proud of, it could be an old post or a new one- we just want to see the photos that make you smile. If you fancied visiting some of the other entries and leaving a comment, it is always very welcome, as we bloggers love comments!
We will be back on top form next week with some more great posts.
We got lots of lovely feedback for the hand drawn social media icons we gave away last week, so we thought as we are super generous we would give away some more. This time we have some rather snazzy glittery heart icons for your blog. Now obviously we are appealing to those who like their blogs to look a little girly and pretty- if that is you then you will love these icons!
As usual all you need to do is download or grab the image off this post (I have made them large so you can resize them to fit in with your blog dimensions) and then put them in to whatever you use to edit your photos. (e.g Photoshop, Pixlr, or Picasa) Just cut around each photo using the cut out or crop tool and then resize and add to your blog. If you need any help in doing this please let us know and I will be happy to talk you through it or help you add them.
We have done them in two colours just to have some variety. We hope you like them.
FREE FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY.
I often get people asking how to add text to photos. Well today we are going to let you into a little secret and that secret is the Labelbox app.
Labelbox is perhaps the most simple app in the world to use and you can create some really great looking text for your photo captions.
It really is as easy as that. Swipe the tape across the screen to place it where you want, type the text and voila….a really easy way of putting funky text on to photos. Here is us playing around to give you some examples of the labels you can use.
Best of all? Labelbox is completely free. You get eleven free labels with the free version but if you want any of the others you will have to pay for it. However there is a wide range with the free version as shown above.
We would definitely recommend Labelbox as a quick and easy way to write on your photos. As always if you use it on any of your blog posts let us know and we will RT your link.
Have you ever taken a photo and then looked at it only to realise that it has a yellowy or blue tint to it? However when taking the photo the light and the scene looked completely normal? The reason for this is that images taken in different lights have a different colour or temperature to them. E.g if you take a photo in artificial lighting it may come across as having a slightly blueish tint. There is a large range of temperatures and colours and this range is known as the Kelvin Scale.
White Balance is an important part of photography that people sometimes neglect to take into account. Put simply the reason we adjust white balance is to get the colours in our images as accurate as possible.
The naked eye won’t notice these slight changes in colour, but although our cameras are pretty damn smart, they sometimes don’t have the capabilities of making these adjustments automatically- it might need a little bit of help to get it spot on. In cooler light, blue or green, you may need to tell the camera to warm things up a bit and in warmer light, yellow or orange, you may need to tell it to cool the colour down.
Many DSLR cameras have special presets meaning that you can adjust the white balance really easily. Below are the settings on my Nikon camera:
Auto – this is where the camera makes a best guess on a shot by shot basis. It generally is pretty good and can quite accurately estimate the colour and temperature, however for trickier lights I find it struggles.
Tungsten – this mode is usually symbolized with a little bulb and is for shooting indoors, especially under bulb lighting. It generally cools down the colors in photos.
Fluorescent – this compensates for the ‘cool’ light of fluorescent light and will warm up your shots Really good for artificial lighting such as those horrible strip lights you get in certain places like schools.
Direct Sunlight – This is basically a ‘normal’ white balance setting. It generally will make the light slightly warmer.
Cloudy – this setting generally warms things up a touch more than ‘direct sunlight’ mode.
Flash – the flash of a camera can be quite a cool light so in Flash WB mode you’ll find it warms up your shots a touch.
Shade – the light in shade is generally cooler (bluer) than shooting in direct sunlight so this mode will warm things up slightly.
It is definitely worth playing around with the white balance settings and not just keeping it on auto as you may find that you like some of the results more. I shot my little piggy here at around 3pm in the afternoon in the house with a window behind me.
While the ‘Auto’ setting is ok, I much prefer the Fluorescent setting, it just makes the photo slightly warmer and more appealing. This is just an example but I have seen many shots that would have looked so much nicer if the white balance wasn’t set to auto. Auto is ok and good for snapshots, but if you want to get more creative with your photography then it is definitely worth having a play round with it. Be brave and take it off auto!
Access your white balance menu by going into your camera’s menu settings. The settings available will differ from camera to camera but just have a play around with it and try it out in different lights when you have a bit of time. You will be amazed the difference it can make to your photos.
I stumbled across this app a while ago, and while I was secretly tempted to keep too myself, it is too good not to share!
Meet Cinemagram- quite possibly my most favourite app I have downloaded in a while.
If you follow my personal blog Mummy Daddy and Me makes Three you will know that I am a big fan of GIFs- moving images that can spice up your blog posts. I use Photoshop to make my GIFS but they can be complicated to do if you don’t know how, and also we are aware not everyone can afford the hefty price tag for Adobe Creative Suite- I am lucky I have a designer husband!
However you can make great little GIFS for your blog using Cinemagram.
Here are some examples of some of my Cinemagram’s.
These are just some really quick examples but you can play around for hours making fun little images- there are some really amazing ones on the cinemagram app community. The best ones are the ones that are completely still except for a tiny bit of motion- you will get lots of inspiration on there.
The community side is very much like instagram, although it isn’t quite as popular yet- a quick scan of my friends on twitter revealed there were only 2 using cinemagram.
If you like gimmicky photo app’s then it is definitely worth a look- it is predicted to be the next big thing in the app world.
If you do go on there make sure you follow me so I can see your attempts- I am mummydaddyme.
You have started a blog, you have started to get some readers…but how many? Some people are interested in how many people are looking at their blog and how they are finding it, and if you want to attract PR companies in order to do reviews, then it is useful to find out what your ‘stats’ are.
Blogger has a free statistics tool that you can use if you have a blogger blog. It is really useful in checking out the basic information you need to know- like the amount of visitors and the amount of page views.
Just go to your main blog dashboard and click stats…
The tool is really easy to use, and has more than enough information. It is measured in real time, meaning you can see exactly what is sending you traffic and when.
The next tool worth mentioning is probably the most famous- Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a powerful, free tool that helps you monitor a huge amount of information about you site and it can be used on any blog platform.
To sign up you will need a google account which is quick and easy to set up. If you then go to www.google.com/analytics you will be able to sign up for a analytics account. Once you have done this it will ask you for a little detail about the blog you want to track and then it will take you through to a page which looks something like this.
You will need to paste the above code into your website just above the
</head> tag. If you get stuck then just ask us as it is really easy to do.
Once that is done you are ready to use Analytics! You can track your visitors, traffic sources, keywords and it really gives an insight into who is visiting your site.
Another great free site is Stat Counter and that is the one I use for my personal blog. It works very much in the same way as Google Analytics but I just find it a bit more visually easy to use. It is free, straight forward to use and does the same things as Google’s Analytics tool.
You can see how people are finding you through search engines and break it down either by year, month, week or day…
Here is an example of how people have found my blog via search engines this morning.
You will see that they are really quite random! But they can be a lot worse than that- I have had literally the most crazy keywords! If you click on the magnifying glass it gives you some more details about the search, including how long they stayed on the site and what google ranking result you were.
You can also see links of where your traffic is coming from- this is the part I use the most as it shows you how people are finding you- it is always useful as sometimes you won’t even realise that someone has linked to you.
You can do so much but another thing I like is that you can see what each visitor is doing on your site and what links they are using to exit and what posts they are looking at. For example this one….
You can see how often they have visited the site and what they did on their last visit.
It is certainly worth checking this tool out because you can do so much more than what I have mentioned, it is just to give you an idea.
Finally the last statistics tool which I think is worth a mention is Hit Sniffer. This site is similar to the others, but it just again looks different. It is another quite visual tool and uses a lot of graphs to show you where your traffic is coming from. You do have to pay for it but depending on your traffic, it can work out as just a couple of pounds a month. You can also have a 7 day trial to see whether you like it enough to pay the monthly fee.
It does all the same things that the other tools I have discussed but one thing that it does too which is totally crazy is that you can see how many people are visiting and actually live chat with the visitors that are on your site. I would never ever do this because can you imagine how freaked out you would be if you were the visitor, but I still find it a really clever tool!
So there we have it- our top stat tools for your blog. All the tools I have mentioned here I have tried at one point and I can recommend them all. I nowadays just use Stat Counter as it does all that I want it too, but it is worth having a further look into them to see which one suits you best. They all basically do the same thing, it just depends on the feel you get for them as to which one you prefer. Some people may get on ok with just the basic Blogger stats but some people may want a little bit more information.
The main thing to remember is that whatever your stats are, unless you are blogging for business or to make an income, blogging is just a bit of fun and therefore you shouldn’t get too hung up on checking them too often. However when you do want to check, these tools certainly are a great way of seeing who is looking at your site.
I am sure many houses up and down the UK are looking forward to the long bank holiday weekend, after all it is rare that we get two days off in a row. Even if you aren’t in the UK, I am sure you have seen something about the Jubilee celebrations- HRH Queen Elizabeth has been on the throne for 60 years. Wowee. We are looking forward to seeing some lovely photos of what you got up to on the long weekend but without further ado here are my favourite links of this week.
We love these photos that Lauren took at the beach. So cute and doesn’t it make you want to go and visit the seaside?
We love this post from Charlotte, how cute is her birthday party theme? And I love that she had a photo shoot for the bears too!
We are all about sharing the tutorial love- Mammasaurus has started doing tips to help you too- we really like her first post on how to use google web fonts on your blog.
If you ever see any blog posts that you think our readers would love be sure to link them below.
Now do you want to join in the easiest peasiest photo linky in the land? Just link up a photo or photos that you are especially proud of. It can literally be anything. And do make sure you share the blog love and comment on others too