Posts categorized "Weekend Projects" Feed

Add A Drop Down Menu To Your Navigation Bar

Add A Drop Down Menu To Your Navigation Bar

Everyone loves new features and we have a great one for all our bloggers. You can now a add drop down menu to your navigation bar in all Design Lab themes. Easily group together topics or ideas for your readers to browse through. 

This new feature is currently only available to our Beta Team. Learn how to join our Beta Team to be the first to test out new features. 

Let’s get started! 

From the Design tab, click on Content. Here you'll see all the modules for your blog. Click on the pencil to edit the Navigation Module. 

In the pop up, select Use Drop Down. Now you will see folders at the end of every link. Click on the folder to open the menu. 

Navigation Bar Pop Up

Add the title you want readers to see and the URL readers will go to. Once you are done, close the file by clicking on the open file. Now you'll see the file has turned dark to indicate there are sublinks under it.

Sauces Drop Down

Click on OK, then Save Changes. Now go see your blog! There will be an arrow next to the main link to indicate a drop down. When readers click on it, they'll see your sublinks. 

Drop Down On Blog

We hope you love this new feature and would love to see it in action on your blog! Put a link to your blog in the comments and share!


Create A Word Cloud For Your Blog

Create A Word Cloud For your Blog

Word Clouds take all the words from a text source (like a blog post) and create a cloud of all the words used. They're a great way to showcase a post's main themes by highlighting the words used. The more a word is used the bigger it is in the cloud. 

Wordcloud.com is a great tool to help you create the perfect word cloud image for your post or sidebar! Let us show you how easy it is to create a word cloud. 

First, you need to add your words. If you have the post published, you can use Open URL. In the pop up paste in the URL to your blog post and the words will generate from your text. To add your text, either click on File or Wizard. 

Quick Tip: When you use the Open URL option, the URL must be published and can't be password protected.

Upload text to your word cloud

Wordcloud.com offers a few different ways to edit the image before you download it. 

Size

Select the best size for where you plan to put the image. They have pre-selected sizes or you can create a custom size to fit your needs. 

Word Cloud Size

Wordlist

View your list of words and how many times they are used in a document. Delete words you don’t want to use and change the color of the words by adding a color hex value. 

Word List

Gap Size

This is the spacing between the words. The words can be close together or far apart. 

Direction Of Words

Direction Of WordsThis allows you to pick a directions for the words. They can go horizontal, vertical, diagonal, and more. 

Direction Of Words Pop up

Invert

InvertWhen you select a shape, the words can be that shape or have the words show up around that shape

Invert your word cloudShapes

Pick what shape you want the words to take. Pick from their many different shapes or upload one of your own. 

Shapes
Themes/Colors

Here you can select the colors for your words. Themes provide pre-selected color schemes to choose from. With Colors, you can customize the colors you want on your word cloud. 

Font

Customize the font for your word cloud. Pick a font that fits your blog style and brand. 

Now that you have the perfect word cloud for your blog, you can export it and save to your computer. From the File button, click on Save As Image. In the pop up you can give the image a name and select the file type. With the image saved to your computer, you can add it to your blog post or insert it on your sidebar

Here is one we created from a recent Typepad post. 

Typepad Word Cloud CroppedShow off your word cloud by sharing your blog post or blog in the comments. We would love to see how creative you can be! 


Get Started With Amazon Associates

Get Started With Amazon Associate

Now that you have been blogging for a while, you may be wondering "what's the next step?" You work hard to create amazing content, joining Amazon's Associate program is a great way to monetize that content. You can easily start an account and generate code to add to your blog.

Amazon's Associates program is a referral program. When a reader clicks on an Amazon link from your blog, you get a percentage of what they purchase in the next 24 hours. Let’s go over creating your Amazon Associates account. 

Join Amazon Associates Program

From the Amazon Associates homepage you can click on Join Now for Free to either log into your existing Amazon account or create a new account. 

Join Amazon Associate

Set-up Your Amazon Associates Account

Amazon will ask for your personal information. Add your name, mailing address and phone number. If you already have an account, you will see your information there. 

Step 1 Account Information
Add Your Blog URL

Amazon needs to know where you are on the web. Add the URL to your blog along with any social media sites (they only accept Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Twitch.tv). If you have a mapped domain, add your mapped domain and your Typepad URL. Once you click on next, you will need to confirm your blog is not directed to anyone 13 years or younger. This is to be compliant with Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule ("COPPA").

Step 2 Your website

Set-up Profile

Here you can tell Amazon about your blog. What is your blog about? How do you drive traffic to your blog? How many unique views do you receive each month? Most of these questions are answered with multiple choice answers or picking from a drop down menu. You will need to accept their terms of service and then click Finished. 

Payment and Tax information

Tell Amazon how you would like to be paid. You can get a direct deposit after you have earned $10, an Amazon gift card after you earned $10, or have a check mailed to you after you earned $100. If you are unsure how you want to get paid or need to gather information you can skip this part. 

Next, you can add your tax information. You can set it up as an individual or as a business. If you select individual, you will need to add your full name and SSN/ITIN number. If you select business, you will need to select a Federal Tax Classification and add your EIN. 

Congratulations! You've created your Amazon Associates account. At first you are under their Application Review Process. You have 180 days to generate at least 3 sales to continue with your account. Amazon offers several ways to generate sales. Something we will go over in our next post!

 


Quick Tip: Change The Color Of Your Navigation Links In Magazine

Navigation Bar

Our new Magazine Layout showcases your blog posts using a featured card layout. You can further customize this theme by changing the color of the navigation bar links to match your branding. Let us show you how. 

The Magazine layout is available to our Beta Team members. Join our Beta Team and have access to all the new features and provide feedback. To access the Custom CSS you need to have the Unlimited plan or higher.  

Custom CSSTo add Custom CSS, click on the Blogs tab, then the name of the blog. Click on the Design tab, then Custom CSS.

Copy the CSS code below and paste it onto the page. 

.nav-item a, .nav-item a:visited {
   color: #DD77D2;
}

Next, update the color: to include the hex color value you want for your navigation links. Once you are done, click on Save Changes. 

Example of colors:

Black
.nav-item a, .nav-item a:visited {
   color: #000000;
}

Blue
.nav-item a, .nav-item a:visited {
   color: #002fa7;
}

Red
.nav-item a, .nav-item a:visited {
   color: #ff4105;
}

You can customize other parts of the Magazine. We have a great post to help you customize your blog title.

What other parts of the Magazine Layout do you want to customize? Let us know in the comments and you may see a post about it!


Add Meta Keywords and a Description to Your Post

Add Meta Keywords and Description to Your Post

When you need to know something, what's the first thing you do? You Google it! But how does Google know what sites to bring up? Along with a complex algorithm, they use your Metadata. Let's talk about Metadata and how you can add it to your blog.

What Is Metadata 

Metadata is data about your site. Each page and post on your blog has data that tells Search Engines what's on your page. When someone searches, Google uses this data (and much more) to bring up the most reliable pages to answer the search query. You can add Meta Keywords and Meta Description to your post to help Google bring up the right information for the person searching.

Meta Keywords

Google had devalued keywords recently. Some bad apples would stuff their site with valuable keywords to help their site rank higher in search results. It is unclear what weight keywords have in Google’s algorithm but it is still good to have them. We recommend long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are more like sentences about your blog post. They include things like “How to create a get well card” or “How to cook a steak”. Long tail keywords are helpful because more and more people are using Google Voice Search to find information instead of typing it in. (Hey Google!)

Meta Description

This is the description that shows under your post title and URL in Google. It shows a brief description of what the page is about. If the keywords searched for are in the post, Google will highlight it here. This can be generic for you whole blog and detailed for each blog post and page. 

Add Metadata To Your Blog

There are two different places in Typepad you can add Metadata. The first is an overview of the blog itself and the second is for each post or page.

Add To Your Whole Blog 

Keywords and Description for your blogSearch Engines want to know what your blog is about. This Metadata shares with them the keywords and description for your blog on a whole. You can update this as your blog evolves.

From the Settings tab, click on the SEO tab on the left. Here you can add Meta Keywords and Meta Description for your whole blog.

Add To Your Individual Blog Posts and Pages

Pagepost keywords and descriptionWhen you create a post or a page, you can add more customized Metadata that drills down what the particular post or page is about. Make sure to use keywords and phrases that show up in the post.
From the Compose page, scroll down to Keywords. Here you will enter your Keywords for the post. The Excerpt is where you will put a brief description about the post. Make sure to use as many of the keywords you can but sound natural as well.

A Quick Word About Google

You may spend some time crafting the perfect description for your blog, blog post, or page. You use the correct keywords and your readers can easily understand the description. Then you do a quick Google search and that doesn’t come up. Well, Google will do what it wants to sometimes.

First, if you recently published the page, Google may not have crawled it yet. They will use the first paragraph on the post or your blog description. You will need to wait for Google to crawl your page and update their information. If you are updating older posts or pages, you can ask Google to recrawl your page through Google Search Console.

Second, Google wants to showcase the search terms used. If your meta description does't have it, they will use text in the post that does have it. This is to show the searcher your post has the keywords they are looking for.

A great way to view what Google shares is to just search your site. To search just your site add site: before your domain.

Example: site:everything.typepad.com

Tip: You don’t need to add https or www.

Not sure which posts are popular or not? Add Google Analytics to your blog and let them do the tracking. 

Here you'll see the description that shows when your post comes up without keywords. If your blog is older, you may have a few pages to review. We recommend starting with your least popular posts. If you add Keywords and a Description does it impove the page views? 

 


Customize your Blog Title in our New Magazine Layout

Customize your Blog Title in our New Magazine Layout

With the shiny new Magazine Layout, you can share a new look for your blog. The Custom CSS feature allows you to customize the design to fit your brand. (Custom CSS is available with the Unlimited plan. Click here to check your plan.)

The Magazine Layout is currently available in beta. It's easy to join the beta team to take advantage of new features. Learn more.

Now, we are going to share some CSS tips for changing the formatting of the Blog Title.

Change Blog Title Size

At Design > Custom CSS, you can add the below code to the text field:

.blog-header-logo { font-size: 40px; }

Adjust 40px to the preferred size for the title and click Save Changes.

Change Blog Title Font

.blog-header-logo { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; }

Change Blog Title Color

.blog-header-logo { color: #800000 !important; }

(The !important code in this CSS is...important.)

Make Blog Title Bold and Bolder

.blog-header-logo { font-weight: bold; }

Additional options: bolder, lighter, normal

What other tweaks do wish to try out with the new Magazine Layout? Let us know in the comments, and we'll include the CSS in another blog post.


Quick Tip: Align Your Blog Title In Design Lab

Align Your Blog Title In Design Lab

The Design Lab is our easy to customize, mobile friendly theme. When you don't add a banner to your theme, your blog name and description will be centered on the theme. 

You can change it up by adding a bit of CSS code to left or right align the title and description. 

Quick note: If you want to make changes to the CSS code, you need an Unlimited plan or higher. You can quickly upgrade if you do not have this plan. 

Add Alignment to your Title and Description

Click on the Blogs > Name of blog > Design > Custom CSS. In the box, paste in the code for the alignment you want below. Last, click on Save Changes. 

Left Align CSS Code:

#banner h1, #banner h2 { text-align: left; }

Right Align CSS Code: 

#banner h1, #banner h2 { text-align: right; }

Left Alignment Your Blog Title

Right Alinment Your Blog Title

Now that you have aligned your blog title and description share your blog in the comments. We'd love to take a look. 

 


Get Your Account In Order!

Get your Account in Order!

You set up your account information when you start your Typepad account, that may have been ages ago. Take a few moments to make sure your account information is up-to-date. 

To update your information, click on the Account tab on the top right. 

Account Tab Final

Name and Email Address

Make sure the correct owner's name is on the account. The name shows up when you create a ticket and helps us know who we're speaking with. 

Your email address is also your username. Your blog may be a personal blog, make sure it uses an email address you will always have access to. Don't use a company email address in case you change jobs and don't have access to that address anymore.  If you are blogging for a company, use a common email address for that company, like info@yourdoamain.com or typepad@yourdomain.com. This way, if the person who is blogging leaves the company, you can still access the account and get important information. 

If you change the email address on the account, we'll send you an email at the new address. This is to verify the email address is valid. Click on the link in the email to verify the change. If you don't click on the link, the change won't be made. Keep in mind, once you update the email address, your username will change too. 

Don't give your login information to anyone. If someone needs access to the account to blog, create a junior or guest author account for them. 

Password

Only you need to know your password. If at any time you believe your account is compromised in any way, you want to update your password. You can do it here, under the Account tab or if you don't have access to your account, you can use the Forgot Password link from the login page

Creating a secure password can be hard. It has to be easy for you to remember, but hard for bad guys to guess. Check out our guide Creating a Secure Password: the Do's and Do Not's to get some great ideas on how to create a secure password. 

Security Questions

Security Questions are very important for account access. If you ever need help getting access to your account, we'll ask you to answer your security questions. If you don't have your security questions set up or don't know the answer, you'll need your billing information to gain access to your account. 

As with your password, you want to make sure your security question answers are something you will think of but bad guys will not. We have a great guide, How To Create Secure Security Questions, to help you come up with great secure question and answer combos.

Language and Timezone

Typepad allows you to pick the language for your account. Select a language that you're most comfortable with. We have a verity of languages for you to choose from. This will make navigating in Typepad easier for those that don't speak English. There will be some areas that have not been translated. If you are having trouble reading areas of Typepad or have questions; you can reach out to us or use Google Translate to decipher the text. This applies to your Typepad account only. You can type in any language for your blog posts. 

When scheduling your posts, it is important to make sure your time zone is correct. 3PM Eastern time is very different than 3PM Pacific time. If the time zone is wrong, the post will not publish as scheduled and the wrong time can show at the bottom of your published posts.

Join our Beta Team

We're continually updating and adding new features to Typepad. Once we're done testing something new, we release it to our beta team for real world testing. If you're part of our beta team you can have access to these features before anyone else. You don't have to use a feature if you don't need it. If you do use a feature, please provide your feedback or any issues you have. We can then look into your experience and make further updates. This testing is important to us because everyone uses their account in a unique way. Having you try out these new features helps us test in ways we may not of thought of. 

Once you're done updating your Typepad account, take a moment and update other programs you use to blog. 


5 Ways To Clean Up Your Blog

5 Ways To Clean Up Your Blog

The spring cleaning season is here. You may be focused on cleaning your home or personal goals, but don't forget to give your blog some attention. It may be overwhelming to think about cleaning up your blog. Never fear! We have a great checklist to get you started!

CheckmarkNew Theme

Can your blog be read on a phone? If you're not sure, take a moment to check. We can wait... 

Was it hard to view your text? If you find it hard, your readers will too. We recommend you update your theme to one of our responsive options. You can select one of our customizable Design Lab themes or our new Featured Cards theme. Our Design Lab themes, the Design Lab builder, and Featured Cards are all great options.

Our Design Lab themes allow you to customize your blog by choosing your own colors, fonts, and more for each section. Below we have some themes for you to choose. Find one that fits your style, then customize it to make it your own. 

 

We have recently added Featured Cards to our themes. This theme is mobile friendly and has a very modern look. Your blog posts will show as a Magazine-inspired layout. 

Featured Cards

Quick tip: Create a test blog to select and customize your new theme. Once it's perfect, you can apply it to your original blog.

CheckmarkCheck Your Links

When was the last time you clicked through your blog? Are all your links still going to relevant information? Take the time and click on all the links of your blog and make sure they are going to their intended destination. Here is a list of places to check: 

  1. Navigation Bar
  2. Social Media icons or links
  3. Any links on your sidebar
  4. Links in footer

Keep a list of what needs to be changed. The first place to start updating links is on your Design tab. Under Content, you will see all of the modules that you can edit. Click on the pencil to update the module with new links. If your link is in a Typelist, click on My Library then Typelist. 

If you recently mapped your domain, make sure to take a moment and check all to make sure they are using your new domain

CheckmarkDoes Your Custom Domain Work Without WWW 

More and more people are dropping the www when they type your domain into an address bar. You want to make sure if a reader doesn't use www, it will still forward to your blog. To check if your forward works, we recommend you use a browser that you don't normally use or use a different computer. Type in your domain without the www and click enter. 

Does your blog show up? If it does, great! Your forward is working great and no need for further steps. 

If the blog doesn't show up, you will need to check your registrar settings and forward the non-www version of your domain to the www version. 

CheckmarkBanners And Logos

Canva and PicmonkeyWhen was the last time you looked at your logo or banner? Does it need to be updated or do you need a new one? Now is a great time to review your logo and banner and make sure it fits your blogs' brand.

If you want to design a new one, we recommend checking out Canva or PicMonkey. Both are paid services, but they offer free trials for you to utilize. You can see examples to help inspire you. Customize the templates provided or make your own. 

Free Image SitesWhen looking for images to use in your logo or banner, you do not want to grab any old image off of Google. You want to use an image that is free for you to use. There are many free image sites out there that offer Creative Common License images for you to use on your blog. You can search by keywords and use the one that works best for you. Some that Typepad uses are Pexels, Unsplash, Pixabay. There are many more royalty-free and free stock images sites available. Take a look and see what you can find. 

If designs are not your thing, you can hire someone to create a logo for you. Typepad's design team can create a custom banner for your blog. We can take an existing logo or design you have and update it. Outside of Typepad, two of the most popular are Upwork and Fiverr. Many design professionals are on these sites and can work with you to create a banner for your blog or a new logo to help stand out. They make it easy to find someone, collaborate with them, then pay them for their services. 

CheckmarkUpdate Your About Page

Your readers are curious about the person behind the blog. Your focus may have changed since starting your blog. Update your About page to include any new information to share with your readers who you are and what the blog is about.

Some information to consider for your About Page: 

  1. Contact info. How can people contact you about your blog?
  2. Include links to all your social media sites. The Other Accounts feature will allow you to link to social media sites on your blog and your About Me page. 
  3. What is the blog about? Create a short summary of what readers can learn from your blog.
  4. How/why did you get started blogging? Are you an expert in the field or do you want to share your experiences? Are there others helping you with the blog? Who are they?
  5. Are there any important milestones or interesting facts about your blog? Was it featured in any well known publications?

CheckmarkMeta Keywords And Description

Your meta keywords and meta description are used by search engines to classify and describe your blog content. As you start blogging your message can evolve. Make sure the content you're blogging about is represented in the meta data. 

The meta keywords help search engines know what your blog is about. You want to add keywords and phrases that describe what information is found in your blog. You want to use long-tail phrases as that is what people tend to use to search. 

For example: What to cook vegan for dinner, How to cook vegan meals, How to find vegan restaurants,  Find vegan recipes, Vegan, Cooking, Vegan Food, Cook Vegan

The meta description is what shows under the search engine results. It is a brief description of  your blog. The primary goal of your meta description is to showcase the value of your blog and to encourage searchers to click. It can be any length, but Google tends to truncate after 160 characters. It should be written in your blogging tone and voice. Include your meta keywords in a natural conversational way. 

If you are thinking to yourself "when will I have time to do all this?" We are here to help! Our Design Team offers a Tune-Up service to review your blog, identify areas that could use improvement, and then make all the changes for you. 

After you have cleaned your blog, post a link in the comments. We would love to see your new and improved blog! 


Why You May Want Multiple Domains

Why You May Want Multiple Domains
A top-level domain (TLD) is what comes after your web address. It is usually .com, .org, or .net. These would be the most common TLD out there. You may not know that there are many others that you can use to explain your blog and add pizzazz to your domain.

For example, you may be a band that runs a blog to keep your fans informed of all your tour dates, new albums and more. It would be fun to have a .fans TLD to help your blog stand out.

Here is a list of all the top-level domains offered by Typepad:

.attorney .dog .jobs .org.uk .tech
.band .es .kitchen .photo .tel
.bargains .eu .lawyer .photography .theatre
.beer .family .lgbt .pictures .today
.best .fans .life .property .trade
.biz .fashion .live .review .tv
.blog .feedback .love .reviews .us
.business .futbol .me .sale .us.com
.ca .game .mom .shop .vet
.co.uk .games .name .shopping .vote
.com .garden .net .site .website
.com.au .group .news .social .wedding
.company .help .nl .software .wiki
.cooking .in .nz .store .work
.de .info .online .studio .world
.desi .ink .org .study  

 

Wow! That is a lot of TLD to help you stand out.

Universally when you think of a domain, you automatically think of .com at the end. If you use a different TLD, we recommend you purchase the .com version of the domain and forward it to the main domain.

Forwarding is also handy if you have a commonly misspelled word in your domain, you can purchase the misspelled domain and forward it to the correct spelling of your domain.

Forward Your Domain

Let’s stick with our earlier example of the band. Their blog is at bandrules.fans, but they want fans who go to bandrules.com to land on their bandrules.fans site.

First, you will need to purchase the domain you want to forward (in our case bandrules.com). In Typepad click on the Account tab, then Domain Mapping. Here you can purchase your domain. After the domain is purchased do not map it to your blog. 

Once you have purchased your domain, you will need to log into our domain registrar. This is different than your Typepad account.

https://domains.typepad.com/

Quick Tip: If you are unsure of the login information for the registrar, please contact us and we will be able to get you access to the account.

Once logged in, click on Login (Your Name), then My Account. Under Manage Orders, click on List/Search Orders. Here you will see a list of your domains. Click on the domain you want to forward (bandrules.com). Here you will see an overview of your order.

Scroll down to Domain Forwarding and click on Manage Domain Forwarding.

Add www to the Sub-domain prefix. Under Destination URL, select https:// from the drop down and add the www version of your main domain (in this example www.bandrules.fans).

Domain Forwarding Image 1

Click on Advanced Settings to turn off URL Masking. Turn on Sub Domain Forwarding and Path Forwarding. Save your changes.

Domain Forwarding 2
It may take up to 15 minutes for the forward to start working.

Now you have 2 domains pointing to your blog. You will not miss out on any readers of your blog if they don’t use the correct domain. Share with us what unique TLD you use for your blog in the comments.