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So long spam followers!

May 16, 2011

If you've been following our posts regarding the efforts we've taken to reduce splog (spam blog) accounts (read more here and here) you'll be happy to know we have also successfully removed many of those accounts from your Followers list. The completion of that task means some of you may be seeing a sudden reduction in your Followers count, reflecting a more accurate count of legitimate followers. As ever, we will continue our efforts to tackle spam-related issues that affect TypePad and its users.

SAY + Jane = xoJane.com

May 16, 2011

Janevenn

I want this to be the no-bullshit women's site.

Jane Pratt

Today is a big day for SAY Media. We're launching our first home-grown, owned and operated property, xoJane.com, and are excited to announce that Jane Pratt has joined the SAY team as editor-in-chief of xoJane.com, and editor and creative director of Style. You can read more in our press release, or in last Friday's AdAge story.

via blog.saymedia.com

[this is good]

We hope the TypePad community will check out the newly launched xoJane.com and really engage in the community that Jane is building. Click through to the SAY blog to read all about it!

Weekend Project: Styling the Blockquote Tag

May 14, 2011

Blockquotes are used for a myriad of things--think recipes, quotations, poetry; it's something that has enough significance, or requires emphasis, to be set apart from the rest of your blog text.

Our goal with this Weekend Project is to show you a few ways in which you can style your blockquote tags to make what you emphasize stand out that much more.

This Weekend Project requires CSS, but this is a tip that all levels of TypePad bloggers can use. Note, however, that it'll be much simpler to setup (think "set it and forget it") for our Unlimited and above members. Plus users will need to manually add the CSS to the blockquote tags via the HTML tab. Don't worry, we'll give you the lowdown on how to implement the CSS in both ways. If you want the ability to only have to set it up once, though, we recommend upgrading to the Unlimited plan.

To get started, you'll need to think about your blog's design, what kind of impact you want to make with your blockquotes, and what fits your personal blogging style. Do you prefer simplicity, bold colors, lots of flourish? If we don't give you the exact example you're looking for, a quick search via your favorite search engine, and the tips we give you, will head you in the right direction.

Here are the examples we've setup for you at this time...

1) This blockquote is styled with a dark gray background, white text, and a thin, white, dashed border. It's also padded on the top, right, bottom, and left (5px, 15px, 5px, 15px, respectively). Here's what that looks like:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum rhoncus, est sed congue sagittis, sem elit fermentum urna, ac posuere orci turpis quis nisl. Mauris et arcu libero, a hendrerit nunc. Aliquam tempor posuere libero, sit amet facilisis velit tempus a. Vivamus purus risus, cursus et venenatis nec, tempor non.

Unlimited+ users can go to Design > Custom CSS, or Design > Templates > Stylesheet if you're an Advanced Template user, and add the following CSS:

blockquote {
  background-color: #333; 
  color: #fff; 
  border: 1px dashed #fff; 
  padding: 5px 15px;
}

And that's it! Preview your changes, then, if you're happy with them, click "Save" and forget about it. You don't have to do anything else; just apply the blockquote in the editor and the CSS will do its magic to transform it using the settings you put into place.

Plus users will need to compose their post, select the text they want to offset, then click the blockquote icon (quotation mark) in the editor (note: you'll need to do this for every blockquote, manually via the HTML tab). Once that's in place, click the HTML tab and look for the <blockquote> tag. Then, add the CSS like so:

<blockquote style="background-color: #333; color: #fff; border: 1px dashed #fff; padding: 5px 15px;">

2) This blockquote is styled with a dark gray drop-shadow, and is padded on the top, right, bottom, and left (5px, 15px, 5px, 15px, respectively). Here's what that looks like:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum rhoncus, est sed congue sagittis, sem elit fermentum urna, ac posuere orci turpis quis nisl. Mauris et arcu libero, a hendrerit nunc. Aliquam tempor posuere libero, sit amet facilisis velit tempus a. Vivamus purus risus, cursus et venenatis nec, tempor non.

Unlimited+ users can use:

blockquote {
  padding: 5px 15px; 
  -moz-box-shadow: 3px 3px 4px #000;
  -webkit-box-shadow: 3px 3px 4px #000;
  box-shadow: 3px 3px 4px #000;
  -ms-filter: "progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Shadow
(Strength=4, Direction=135, Color='#000000')";
  filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Shadow
(Strength=4, Direction=135, Color='#000000');
}

Plus users will need to use:

<blockquote style="padding: 5px 15px; -moz-box-shadow: 3px 3px 4px #000; -webkit-box-shadow: 3px 3px 4px #000; box-shadow: 3px 3px 4px #000; -ms-filter: "progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Shadow(Strength=4, Direction=135, Color='#000000')"; filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Shadow(Strength=4, Direction=135, Color='#000000');">

3) This blockquote is simply styled with a 2px wide border in red (the hexadecimal--#c00000--can be changed to a color that suits your blog), displayed only on the left side. It also has padding on the top, right, bottom, and left (5px, 15px, 5px, 15px, respectively). Here's what that looks like:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum rhoncus, est sed congue sagittis, sem elit fermentum urna, ac posuere orci turpis quis nisl. Mauris et arcu libero, a hendrerit nunc. Aliquam tempor posuere libero, sit amet facilisis velit tempus a. Vivamus purus risus, cursus et venenatis nec, tempor non.

Unlimited+ users can use:

blockquote {
  border-left: 2px solid #c00000;
  padding: 5px 15px;
}

Plus users can use:

<blockquote style="border-left:2px solid #c00000;padding:5px 15px;">

4) This blockquote style is a classic, using a simple background image of a large quotation mark. There is a greater amount of padding used on the top, right, bottom, and left (25px, 15px, 5px, 75px, respectively). Here's what that looks like:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum rhoncus, est sed congue sagittis, sem elit fermentum urna, ac posuere orci turpis quis nisl. Mauris et arcu libero, a hendrerit nunc. Aliquam tempor posuere libero, sit amet facilisis velit tempus a. Vivamus purus risus, cursus et venenatis nec, tempor non.

Unlimited+ users can use:

blockquote {
  background:url(http://www.example.com/image.jpg) 
no-repeat top left;
  padding:25px 15px 5px 75px;
}

Plus users can use:

<blockquote style="background:url(http://www.example.com/image.jpg) no-repeat top left;padding:25px 15px 5px 75px;">

5) This blockquote style actually uses a couple of things we've already made use of in the above examples. The blockquote is set to only be 430px wide, is styled with a background image at the top, which is centered and dragged up -7px, and has a white background color. The perimeter of the blockquote has small gray dots on the left, right, and bottom. There's also padding set for the top, right, bottom, and left (30px, 15px, 15px, 15px, respectively), to push the text away from the inside edges of the blockquote border.

Here's what that looks like:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum rhoncus, est sed congue sagittis, sem elit fermentum urna, ac posuere orci turpis quis nisl. Mauris et arcu libero, a hendrerit nunc. Aliquam tempor posuere libero, sit amet facilisis velit tempus a. Vivamus purus risus, cursus et venenatis nec, tempor non.

Unlimited+ users can use:

blockquote { 
  width: 430px;
  background:#fff url(http://www.example.com/image.jpg) 
no-repeat center -7px;
  overflow:visible;
  border-right:1px dotted #c0c0c0;
  border-bottom:1px dotted #c0c0c0;
  border-left:1px dotted #c0c0c0;
  padding:30px 15px 15px 15px;

Plus users can use:

<blockquote style="width:430px;background:#fff url(http://www.example.com/image.jpg) no-repeat center -7px;overflow:visible;border-right:1px dotted #c0c0c0;border-bottom:1px dotted #c0c0c0;border-left:1px dotted #c0c0c0;padding:30px 15px 15px 15px;>

Note: The last couple of examples use background images, and if that's something that interests you, you'll need to first upload that image to your File Manager. Once uploaded, click on the file name of the image you uploaded, then copy the URL out of the address bar. You'll be using that URL to replace the http://www.example.com/image.jpg example in the CSS code above.

We hope you'll find these examples useful, possibly the oomph! an occasional post or two in your blog needs. Go ahead and steal some moments this weekend to figure out what works best for your blog. Remember: you can preview your blockquote changes, make some edits and preview again, then save when you've perfected the look you're going for.

Featured Friday: Roundup!

May 13, 2011

When we started our new Featured TypePad blog just over a month ago, our goal was to introduce you to the very best TypePad blogs and the people behind them. Since then, you've suggested lots of fantastic blogs for us to feature there via our handy form, and we've been sharing them - keep those suggestions coming!

We do hope you've been following along, because we've been showcasing everything from parenting blogs to soccer blogs over the past couple of weeks, and the interaction in the comments has been great - talk about a good way to build community with your fellow bloggers!

Here's some of what we've been talking about (just click the image to read more!):

Some_girls_wander_beauty

French_word_a_day_beauty

The_virginity_project_beauty

Us_soccer_beauty

Read more about these great blogs at Featured TypePad, and look for new blogs there every week!

No Impact Man

May 12, 2011

WHO: Colin Beavan
BLOG: No Impact Man
TYPEPAD MEMBER SINCE: 2007
WHY WE THINK NO IMPACT MAN ROCKS: It's a blog about learning how to make the world a better place to live, and coming up with a happier way of life along the way, and that's pretty sweet, if you ask us.

No_impact_man_beauty

No Impact Man began as an lifestyle experiment, wherein Colin Beavan and his family traversed the range of lifestyles from making a limited number of concessions to the environment to becoming eco-extremists. This experiment spawned a book, a film and a non-profit project.

FOLLOW NO IMPACT MAN: TypePad, Twitter, Facebook

US Soccer Players

May 11, 2011

WHO: The US Men's National Team Players Association
BLOG: US Soccer Players
TYPEPAD MEMBER SINCE: 2004
WHY WE THINK US SOCCER PLAYERS ROCKS: They cover the US National Team, Americans playing abroad, MLS, and whatever they find interesting from the world of soccer.

Us_soccer_beauty

Owned by the members of the US Men's National Team Players Association, US Soccer Players connects fans and players, bringing their readers photos, news, game details, statistics, and commentary to spare, straight from those on the inside.

FOLLOW US SOCCER PLAYERS: TypePad, Twitter, MySpace

Simple changes that can make a big difference

May 11, 2011

Discover TypePad Services Two of our favorite features on Everything TypePad are the "Did You Know?" and "Keep It Simple" posts we publish every week. Why do we love these series? Because they highlight simple changes you can implement on your blog that make a big difference! While each tip by itself may seem small, when you add them all together you have a blog that is better organized, easier to read, and optimized to maximize reader engagement. This "simple changes that make a big difference" idea is also the philosophy behind our Blog Tune-Up Service. If you've been reading Everything TypePad for awhile, you've likely heard of the Tune-Up Service. We've been offering it for over two years and it's still one of our most popular services.

The Tune-Up Service costs $349. We evaluate your blog in nearly 20 areas (many of which have been covered as individual tips here on Everything TypePad), provide you with a report listing our recommendations, then implement the changes for you. All three phases are covered in the price. You can read more about the areas covered by the Tune-Up Service here. Whether you would like to improve your blog to get more readers, but aren't sure where to start, or if you would like to have somebody else take care of tweaking your blog design and features so you can concentrate on writing great content, the Tune-Up Service has you covered. Sign up now!

P.S. Looking for a great new banner image for your blog? Learn more about our Banner Design Service.

Did You Know?: Domain Mapping

May 09, 2011

You may see TypePad blogs at their own domain – like www.iheartdaily.com – and wonder how you can set it up for your blog. The answer is simple—use domain mapping.

Domain mapping allows your blog to be at your own domain. This can help you create your own brand or identity, and makes your blog URL easier to remember for your readers.

For domain mapping, you need to create a CNAME record with your registrar. It’s usually a pretty easy process and we’ve got general instructions to help you get started here. We also have specific instructions for the registrars GoDaddy, Yahoo!, PairNIC, and Network Solutions.

If you aren’t sure if your registrar allows a CNAME to be created, we’ve got information on what you need to look for, and even a form letter you can send your registrar, here.

After you’ve created your CNAME record, and the DNS change has propagated, you would simply go to Account > Domain Mapping and follow the on-screen directions for setting up domain mapping on the TypePad side. You’ll need to choose if you want to map the domain to a blog, a Photo Album, or your whole account. You can see more information on setting up domain mapping here.

Dmapetpost
Domain mapping is generally an easy task to accomplish, but if you have any questions, or need additional support, you can always open a Help ticket by clicking the Help link in your account.

We hope you found this useful! Check back every other week for more "Did You Know?" tips to help make your blog even better!

Weekend Project: Optimizing Your Most Popular Posts

May 06, 2011

It goes without saying that all of your posts are gems but once in a while, a post will shine brighter than the others. As a blogger, you have a chance to make the most of these star posts, whether you want to generate revenue from them or simply direct more attention to them. This article will help you not only figure out which of your posts are the most popular but how to optimize those posts for maximum effect. This is a 'weekend project' because it's a little more time-intensive but it's time well spent!

Finding Your Star Posts

It's usually pretty obvious when a post is popular - you might get a slew of comments, the Facebook Like button gets a lot of clicks, and your Stats show many pageviews for that post. But let's dig a little deeper. You might have much older posts that get a lot of traffic from Google and other search engines because of the high quality content. Those types of posts are the meat and potatoes of your blog - the content that brings new readers to your site and keeps current readers coming back.

There are a couple of ways you can find these posts. First, we like the Top Posts widget from PostRank. You just put the widget in your blog's sidebar and Post Rank populates it with the posts that they rate the most popular on your blog. Not only will you get to see which of your posts are the most popular, your visitors will be able to see the list as well. This will help draw lots of attention to those posts.

If you don't want to share a list on the blog itself, a second option is Google's Analytics service. It's totally free and very easy to integrate with TypePad

Analytics To see your top content inside Analytics, log in and click View Report next to the blog you're working with. From there, look for Content Overview at the bottom, right side of the Dashboard page. Then click View Report to see more. The full report page will show all of your blog's pages in order of content performance. The listing is for all of the pages, including categories and archive pages. You'll want to focus on just individual posts for the purposes of this project.

Check Grammar and Spelling

Now comes the part that isn't super fun but we think is pretty important - editing your posts for spelling, grammar and overall correctness. Maybe you have a really popular post that you dashed off in a hurry. If so, you'll want to make sure to check for spelling and grammar errors. It's often helpful to have a friend or colleague read through the content for you, just to double check for any issues you might not spot yourself.

Another good idea is to read the post out loud to yourself. Does it sound natural and conversational or clunky and awkward? You can also check to make sure that outgoing links to other sites are still functional and that those sites or pages are still up.

These might seem like unimportant details but content rife with errors can flag a lack of credibility to the reader. It's worth taking some time to edit and correct any mistakes.

Enhancing Your Content

This part is more fun. Do you have a picture that would complement the content of the post? Go ahead and add it in, especially if you can place it near the most important part of the post. Simply stated, readers love pictures so don't be shy about adding a couple to your popular posts. Keep in mind that you want to keep the focus of these posts on the text itself so while pictures are great, too many might be distracting.

Your top posts present a great opportunity for getting people to subscribe to your feed, find you on Facebook, etc. You can add some text to the top or bottom of the post inviting new readers to subscribe, follow you on Twitter, or however else you like readers to find your content.

Another idea is to link to other posts within the same category or topic. There are widgets that will do this automatically for you but you can also link directly to specific posts that you want to drive more attention to. This can be a simple series of links at the end of the post.

Monetizing Your Very Best Content

There are a few ways you can use your top posts to generate extra money from your blog. In fact, you might find that using your best content to target specific ads is the best way to monetize your content.

Link to specific products via affiliates

Let's say you have a very compelling post about do-it-yourself carpeting. It makes sense to include a link to a product that you mention in the post itself, either as a text link or with a small, eye catching banner image. There are affiliate programs you can join that will pay you a small amount with each sale you generate from the link on your blog. There are many affiliate programs out there - some popular ones include LinkShare and Commission Junction.

If your post is about a smaller service or product, you could also consider contacting the owner of the business to see if they'd like to set up a direct affiliate relationship. These types of ads are less common but it certainly doesn't hurt to ask to see if the opportunity is there.

Link to your own products

If you have your own product - like an ebook or Etsy store - you can link to that product at the end of the post. This can be just a simple text link or an image of the product with a link. The format is up to you.

Use Google's Adsense or other targeted ads

Programs like Google's Adsense look at the keywords in the surrounding text and serve ads relevant to that text. It makes sense that if you put a Google Adsense ad in a post that's rich in a specific keyword or topic, the ads will be complementary to that content. Readers tend to click on ads more often if the links are related to their interests, so targeting your ads this way can lead to more click-throughs.

What are your favorite tips?

Of course, there are probably a million other little or big enhancements you can make to your most popular posts to make them even better. If you have any tricks that have worked wonders for your blog, leave it in the comments. We'd love to hear your tips!

The Virginity Project

May 05, 2011

WHO: Kate Monro
BLOG: The Virginity Project
TYPEPAD MEMBER SINCE: 2007
WHY WE THINK THE VIRGINITY PROJECT ROCKS: Compelling, often funny, sometimes heartbreaking, this sensitive subject is always approached by Kate in a brilliant way.

The_virginity_project_beauty

Kate Monro is the blogger behind the popular blog The Virginity Project, and she is also the author of the brand new book The First Time: True Tales of Virginity Lost and Found (including my own), which is out today. Instead of giving you a short paragraph on what the blog is about, we asked Kate to do a bit of an interview with us so that we can find out more about the project and what it means to her. The First Time is out now in the UK, Europe and Australia, and can be purchased from UK Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith and other retailers.

Follow Kate on TypePad, Facebook, and Twitter, and read on for what was a truly compelling conversation about the subject of virginity loss, taking writing from blog to book form, and how blogging can change your life.

Continue reading "The Virginity Project" »

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