Previous month:
March 2011
Next month:
May 2011

Posts from April 2011

French Word A Day

WHO: Kristin Espinasse
BLOG: French Word-A-Day
TYPEPAD MEMBER SINCE: 2004
WHY WE THINK FRENCH WORD-A-DAY ROCKS: Where else can you learn (useful, fun) words in French whilst getting lost in the daily essence of French life?

French_word_a_day_beauty

Blogger and author Kristin Espinasse has been entertaining and educating her readers with slices of life in France since 1999, when she moved from Phoenix to Provence. What began as an attempt at freelance journalism eventually worked itself into a more suitable self-made mêtier as resident "French Word Artisan" and author. Now Kristen shares her daily life in France via beautiful photos and engaging, entertaining anecdotes, teaching us how to speak French in the process!

FOLLOW FRENCH WORD-A-DAY: TypePad, Twitter, Facebook


(More!) New Tools for Fighting Spam

Last week we announced some new tools for fighting spam and promised a follow-up when we were ready with more features. Today we're releasing the ability for any TypePad user to block spammers. This has the effect of:

  1. Removing the profile you block from your Followers list.
  2. Preventing the profile owner you block from following you again (unless you Unblock them).
  3. Preventing the profile owner you block from seeing any updates about your activity in their dashboard.

You can block spammers from two areas of TypePad:

  1. You can visit a profile page and click the "Block" button that is now under the profile photo.
  2. You can visit your Followers page and block anyone you'd prefer not to follow you. Please note: because we want to give you the chance to Unblock someone from that page if you made a mistake, you will not see a blocked user disappear from your Follower list until you refresh the page.

Once you've blocked someone you can unblock them by visiting their profile page again.

Here is what you'll see on a user's profile page:

Block_user_profile

And here is what you'll see on your Followers page:

Block_user_follower_list

As previously announced, we're going to continue to identify and clean up spammer accounts. While doing that we hope the new Block feature will help you take full control over your Followers list to remove anyone that looks like a spammer and keep your blog spic 'n span.


From Idea To Design: What A Great Banner Can Do For Your Blog

The heart of every great blog design is a fabulous banner image. Among the most popular of TypePad One's Custom Design Services is our banner design, and with good reason. A beautiful, personalized banner image makes your blog truly stand out, yet costs significantly less than a full design would. In today's post, we'll introduce you to Melanie, our talented banner designer, show off some examples of her work, and tell you why we think our Banner Design Service may be the right choice for you.

Question: Melanie, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what's your favorite part of designing blog banners?

Melanie: I am a blogger, photographer and designer who has been designing for the web since 1999 - before "blog" was even a word! My favorite part of designing blog banners is taking the client's idea and bringing it to life in a way that looks fantastic and represents the blog beautifully.

Question: How does the Banner Design Service work? Does the customer get a lot of input into the banner you create?

Melanie: My personal philosophy is that designing a banner is a team effort; my creative vision and experience might be the biggest elements in a project, but it's important to me that our customers love what I create for them, so they get as much or as little input as they would like. I can take the reins entirely, or they can lead the way.

Question: Here are three of our favorite banners that you've designed. Tell us why you're the most proud of these.

Gtbanner1
Above: Gastronome Tart

April1886adj5
Above: April 1886

Xenabanner
Above: Tara Fay

Melanie: These banners are all examples of taking a great idea and turning it into a gorgeous banner in clean, classic fashion without being too simple. They all represent the blogs perfectly, and are a fantastic reflection of the customers' personal styles.

Question: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us and share with TypePad members a little about the work that you do.

As you can see, Melanie does fantastic work. If you're looking for a banner image that will really help your blog stand out, let her bring her artistic vision and sense of style to your design.

The Banner Design Service costs $300. As part of the service, Melanie will create several banner proposals for you. You pick your favorite and she'll adjust it to look just right for your blog then implement the final approved banner in your design. Each banner is created with your input and your unique blog in mind. We think it's one of the most effective investments you can make in your blog. Interested? Sign up today.


Keep It Simple: Keep Your Blog Organized with Categories

When it comes to building an audience for your blog, attracting visitors is only half the battle. The real key is to keep their interest once they've arrived. Having a well-organized blog can be your secret weapon. Readers should be able to see at a glance what topics your blog covers, and then explore the ones they're interested in with just one click. TypePad's categories feature makes this easy.

First, set up the categories you want. The easiest place to do this is the Settings > Categories page, where you can add, delete, and rename categories all at once. Realized later there was a category you should have added? You can do this from the Compose page while you're writing your post. Just click the "Add a new category" link below the Categories listing.


Categories-settings

After you've added all the categories you want, the next step is to assign your posts to them. Whenever you write a new post for your blog, use the Categories check boxes on the Compose page to assign the post to the desired categories. If you have some older posts you didn't put in categories, you can quickly assign them to categories from the Posts tab. Select the posts you want, then choose either "Add Categories" or "Replace Categories" from the "More Actions" drop-down. If you have existing categories you want to keep the posts in while adding them to new categories, choose "Add Categories". If you want to switch the categories, select "Replace Categories".


Categories-compose

Finally, you'll want to display your new categories on your blog. From the Design > Content page, add the "Category Archives (List)" module to display a simple list in alphabetical order. Or if you would like to highlight those categories with the most posts in them, choose the "Category Archives (Cloud)". Now your readers will see a list of all categories that have posts in them and can click through to read the posts on their chosen topic. At Settings > Feeds, you can turn on category feeds for your blog, so that people who use feedreaders can be notified of new posts in that category.


Categories-content

We also recommend displaying each post's categories in the post footer. To do this, go to the Design > Content page again, click the pencil icon on the Post Footer module and put a check next to Category, then save your changes. This way, if people like a post they're reading, they can easily click through to read more posts on the same topic.

Want to get fancy? You can limit the recent posts page by category. For more information on these tips and others, check out our Knowledge Base.


Some Girls Wander

WHO: Emily Martin
BLOG: Some Girls Wander
TYPEPAD MEMBER SINCE: 2006
WHY WE THINK SOME GIRLS WANDER ROCKS: Emily Martin brings her readers charming fashion, photos, books and odds & ends. We're in love!


Some_girls_wander_beauty

Some Girls Wander is a daily look at all things charming, from Emily Martin of The Black Apple. In this side project, she brings us gorgeous photos, a look at her personal style, and nostalgia to spare, all wrapped up with her signature sweet flair.

FOLLOW SOME GIRLS WANDER: TypePad, Twitter


Featured Monday! The Best of TypePad

Over the past couple of weeks, you've probably noticed some changes to featured.typepad.com. In fact, you may have even noticed us reblogging those posts over here at Everything TypePad!

With Featured TypePad, our goal is to showcase the very best TypePad blogs and the people behind them, from designers and entertainers to thought leaders and style mavens - and everyone in between! Featured TypePad is also a great way for you to learn about the different blogs on TypePad; you might be surprised by what you find. Who knows, maybe you'll even find your new favorite blog!

Last week we featured two awesome blogs from food blogger Leslie Sarna, and tastemakers Anne Ichikawa and Melissa Walker. Both blogs are tops on TypePad, and we're super happy to feature them here:

  image from everything.typepad.com

image from everything.typepad.com

What do you think of Featured TypePad? We'd love to know.

If you think your blog is one of a kind and feature-worthy, we'd love to know about that, too! If you'd like to see your blog (or a TypePad blog that you think is really special) on Featured TypePad and Everything TypePad, just head over to featured.typepad.com and click the "Suggest a Site" button! We'd love to see you here!


Weekend Project: Display Content On A Specific Category Page

When using categories to organize your posts, you may feel like a specific category requires a little something more. What we have in mind for you today is adding a note to your sidebar, only on the pages for one specific category, to tell your readers what that category is about.

In the screenshot below, a paragraph beginning with "Books are awesome!" has been added to the "Books" category of a blog. Only when the Books category is being read will that paragraph appear.

image from content.screencast.com

Before we begin, note that the tip we're sharing with you uses Javascript, so you'll need to make sure your browser has it enabled, otherwise you may not see the tip work as expected.

So, how do we get the default sidebar to look like the one in the above screenshot?

To get started, you'll need to take note of the URL for the category you want to add a blurb to. It should be formatted similar to http://example.typepad.com/blog/category_name/. If you use your own domain name with TypePad, mapped to your specific blog, you'll probably see something closer to http://www.example.com/category_name/.

Next, you'll need to use the Embed Your Own HTML module to house the code that needs to be added. Once you've clicked to add the module on the Design > Content screen, you'll be prompted to add a title to the module to remind you what it is, then add the code provided below.

In our example above, we used the following code:

<div id="booksCategoryDiv" style="display:none; background-color: #fff; padding:5px 15px;">
   <p>
      <b>Books are awesome!</b> They frequently teach us things, take us out of our everyday, and they smell good. Yes, books smell good. In these pages you'll be able to read about the books I've picked up, put down, and what I thought of them.
   </p>  
</div>

<script language="javascript">
var pathis = window.location.pathname;
new_array = pathis.split('/');
subdirectory = new_array[2];

var CategoryDiv = document.getElementById("booksCategoryDiv");
    if ( subdirectory == "books" )
    {
        CategoryDiv.style.display="block";
    } else {
        CategoryDiv.style.display="none";
}
</script>

To use this for your blog, you'll need to change the reference to "books" in this line:

    if ( subdirectory == "books" )

to the category name, as it appears in the URL for that category. If your category URL is http://example.typepad.com/blog/knitting/ then you would replace "books" with "knitting".

In our above knitting example, the next step would be to replace references to "booksCategoryDiv" with "knittingCategoryDiv". Make sure the first letter of that reference is lowercase (e.g. "knittingCategoryDiv" NOT "KnittingCategoryDiv").

Note: If you use Domain Mapping with your blog, and it's mapped directly to your blog instead of your account, your categories will be one sub-folder deep instead of two. If that's case, you may need to change:

subdirectory = new_array[2];

to:

subdirectory = new_array[1];

Once you've made the above changes, you'll need to edit the content that's going to display on the category page. In our code above, we used:

<div id="booksCategoryDiv" style="display:none; background-color: #fff; padding:5px 15px;">
   <p>
      <b>Books are awesome!</b> They frequently teach us things, take us out of our everyday, and they smell good. Yes, books smell good. In these pages you'll be able to read about the books I've picked up, put down, and what I thought of them.
   </p>  
</div>

For your purpose, though, you'll want to edit the text between the <p> and </p> tags so that the content is custom to your blog and category. So long as the opening <div> and closing </div> tags are in place, you could even go so far as to remove the <p> and </p> tags. It's possible to even add an image in there, like:

<div id="knittingCategoryDiv" style="display:none; background-color: #fff; padding:5px 15px;">
   <img src="http://example.typepad.com/image.jpg" style="clear:right;padding-top:5px;" />
  <p style="padding:0px 5px;">
     Browse my knit projects and posts about the yarn I fell in love with!
  </p>
</div>

Which will look like this when it's added:

Knitting Rocks sidebar example
Once you have the edits in place, click OK to close the Embed Your Own HTML module, then click the Save button on your Content screen to save the changes to your blog. The final step will be to view your blog, then click the category link the content is associated with and verify that the new module displays on that page!

Generic Sidebar to Specific-Content Sidebar
And that's that! You'll have officially turned your general sidebar into a content-specific sidebar for a category of your choice. With a small code tweak you'll get big impact!

We hope that you enjoyed this weekend project from us. Check back next week for more tips and tricks from the TypePad team!


I Heart Daily

WHO: Anne & Melissa
BLOG: I Heart Daily
TYPEPAD MEMBER SINCE: 2008
WHY WE THINK I HEART DAILY ROCKS: Straight talk on the best style, entertainment, and beauty, all delivered in a gorgeous package, straight to your inbox!

I_heart_daily_beauty

I Heart Daily is a free newsletter of stuff Anne Ichikawa and Melissa Walker like. Each day, you’ll find out about one thing: The band you should hear, the girl who’s kicking ass in the world, the lipstick color that looks good on everyone, the designer who doesn’t have a fashion show yet but is completely amazing… you get the idea.

FOLLOW I HEART DAILY: TypePad, Twitter, Facebook


New Tools for Fighting Spam

We hate spam as much as you do. Unfortunately big systems attract spammers, so TypePad is a target. Today we're releasing two new features to help reduce the amount of spam in TypePad-land.

  1. Now you can Select All spam to delete with one click. This feature is now live for everyone. Log into your TypePad account, navigate to the Comments tab and try it out today. Any and all comments previously marked as spam can all be deleted with one click. Spam be gone!
  2. We've also taken a big step to reduce the number of spam blogs (a/k/a "splogs")  you see in TypePad by requiring Facebook Connect on all new registrations for free TypePad Micro blogs. We believe this will greatly reduce the number of splogs in the system and should immediately reduce the number of new splog followers many folks are seeing

In addition to these two features, we're working on two additional items for release.

  1. 'Block this Follower' will enable bloggers to prevent other TypePad users from following them using TypePad's Follow feature. We realize that this is an issue for many of you and are working hard to get this feature out the door.
  2. We're also hard at work cleaning up the splogs that are already in the system. We're doing this as carefully as possible to ensure that legitimate blogs and accounts aren't affected. Over the coming weeks you should see the fruits of this labor.

We hope and trust these features will prevent spam from infiltrating TypePad and give our bloggers the tools to elimate any unwanted comments or followers. Don't hesitate to share your thoughts below in the comments (we know you will :)