Mummy, you’re a blogger! – JD, 4
Last August, just after my 29th birthday, I borrowed my husband’s old digital camera and took some snaps for the first time. I loved the way they recorded our day with such clarity, so I decided to start up a blog: a place to record the progression of our little family in words and pictures. No pressure, no work, just fun.
So I’m more than a little amazed to say that today I’m finalist for not one but TWO national parent blogging awards.
Loved By Parents Blogger of the Year finalist
What an honour. The lovely judges put me into the final with four other amazing bloggers and now it’s gone to the public vote. If you’d like to vote for me, please visit the voting page and choose Special Awards -> Emily Leary. I’d be absolutely delighted.
Britmums Brilliance in Blogging – photography (SNAP) finalist
There was some voting, then there was some more voting, then the finalists were announced and somehow I made it into the photography category. Thank you so much if you voted. The finals are being judged by a panel of experts and we’ll find out the results on awards night in June.
I’ve already said it, I know, but thank you so much for all your votes. And more so, thanks for reading, thanks for your comments, thanks for the conversations, thanks for the inspiration, thanks for making this fun.
Is ‘blogging’ making people happy? – JD, 4
A little while back I was thinking about what makes a successful blogger. What makes a blog stand out? What keeps readers coming back?
So, I asked 50 of you for your very best tips for blogging success in 2012. Here’s what you said (in no particular order):
50 tips for blogging success
Do you agree? Disagree? What would you add?
Thanks so much to all who contributed.
The event for women who blog – Cybher 2012
I’m very lucky to be going to Cybher in May, where I’ll meet lots of lovely, talented bloggers.
I’m also very pleased to say that I’ll be there as a speaker, sharing some of the experience I’ve gleaned in my day job. In case you didn’t already know, when not taking a break to raise small people, I work in online communications, including acting as Head of Digital for an East Midlands communications agency and a stint as digital content manager for BT.com.
Anyway, that’s the work blurb *cringe* now a bit more about me:
Name: Emily Leary
Blog: www.amummytoo.co.uk and www.thinkingcomms.co.uk
Twitter ID: @amummytoo and @emleary
Height: 5ft 8.5 (the half an inch matters)
Hair: Jaw length, messy, dark brown (or blue-black when I get round to dying it)
Five things you should know about me…
- I’m super, super geeky. Seriously, I make the guys in The Big Bang Theory look cool
- I lived in London until shortly after JD was born and miss it loads…
- …but I love the countryside too and can be found playing outside with JD even when it’s freezing
- Sian, the lady behind Cybher, was the first blogger I spoke to (as opposed to tweeted) after becoming a mummy blogger
- I can’t dance, at all. Please, please say there won’t be any after hours dancing
You can see who else is coming / add you own ‘meet and greet’ post via Sian’s Linky.
If you’re not going, boooo, why not?! And if you are, hurrah! I can’t wait to meet you / meet you again.
Ooh, I’m [some small number] visitors off [some round number]! – me
Blogging is not, not, not about the numbers. I actually don’t really care how many visits I’m getting…that is unless I happen to look and see I’m near a round number. 368 vs 863 reads? Who cares? But 993? No, no, no! You’ll find me glued to my live analytics at the turn of the day / week / month, willing seven more people drop in at the last minute and make it a nice round number. Lunacy.
So today is the day of @JBMumofOne‘s weekly meme, #ISpy and this week it’s something beginning with M – any guesses?
No one will steal my images, surely! – naive me
I was playing around with Google Image Search on Saturday morning looking for inspiration when I decided to use their image tool to find photographs considered visually similar to my own.
The first result that came up for my picture of a heavily pregnant me was on someone else’s site and was not credited! Grrr. Worse still it was for weightloss *cries*
I started searching through and found this has happened dozens of times to dozens of my pictures. And that’s not all: I haven’t been through all 450 yet, so the scale of the problem is probably much worse. It’s shocking, isn’t it, that people would be so disrespectful as to effectively steal another person’s work?
So here’s what I’m doing, and what you might want to do, too (bearing in mind I’m not legally trained):
Step 1: Find out who’s been stealing from you
- Grab the URL of the image you want to check. In most browsers this means hovering over it with the mouse, right clicking and then choosing ‘copy link’, ‘copy target URL’ or similar
- Go to Google Image Search and click the little camera icon to the right of the search bar
- Paste your image URL into the pop-up box and hit Search
- Make a note of any site using your image without permission (I actually had to start a spreadsheet to record all of mine)
- Repeat for every image on your site – or every image you care about, if preferred
Step 2: Contact them
- Write to each of the sites that has used your content without permission. (There’s usually an email address or form somewhere in the Contact or About pages)
- If you want them to take it down completely, put something like: “Hello, On this page ([LINK]) you have used an image I own without my permission, therefore breaching copyright. Please remove immediately. Thanks, [YOUR NAME, YOUR URL]“
- If you would be happy with a credit and link back, put: “Hello, On this page ([LINK]) you have used an image I own without my permission, therefore breaching copyright. Please either a) remove immediately or b) add a caption beneath the image to state it is “© [YOUR SITE NAME]” AND add a hyperlink on the image pointing to [YOUR SITE URL]. Thanks, [YOUR NAME, YOUR URL]“
- If you don’t hear back after a few days, you could contact them again saying: “Hello, I contacted you a few days ago regarding the use of my copyright image on this page ([LINK]) – please remove or add a credit as previously requested within 5 days or I will be forced to report this matter direct to Google and your site host. Thanks, [YOUR NAME, YOUR URL]“
- Note: You might well want to be friendlier about it, particularly at first, but that’s the gist so you can tailor from site to site and depending on how your image has been used
Step 3: Report them
- If the site fails to respond, you can report them to Google. It won’t get the content removed from the site, but in clear cut cases like this, there shouldn’t be a problem getting it removed from Google’s listings
- Note: a copy of each legal notice Google receives is sent to a third-party partner for publication and annotation. As such, your message will be published on to Chilling Effects, with your personal information removed.
- Submit a complaint to the host, known as a DMCA notice – there are full instructions on how to do this on Ravenfea’s site
Step 4: Copyright stamp your site
- Make sure you have ©[YOUR SITE NAME] on your blog somewhere, so that it appears on every page – this doesn’t stop people stealing your work, but it does make it clear that it’s not a free-for-all
- You’re also welcome to add the badge below to your site somewhere where it will show on every page (e.g. in the side column) so as to make it even clearer to visitors that copying your content is stealing
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.amummytoo.co.uk/2012/01/are-people-stealing-your-images/" target="_blank"><img title="This site is copyright protected - Click to get the badge" src="http://www.amummytoo.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/copyrightbadge.png" alt="This site is copyright protected - Click to get the badge" /></a></div>
Step 5: Add a watermark to your images
- Note: don’t change any images until AFTER you’ve made any necessary claims with Google, as the upload date on your image is one way you can prove it’s yours
- Add a protective mark to every image e.g. your logo or the name of your site, so that if it’s stolen, it at least bears a label showing that you’re the owner.
- In most image editing programs, you can simply type “©[YOUR SITE NAME]” over the top corner of the image in a high contrast colour (e.g. white) like I have done in the 4th and 6th images below
- If you have the ability to create ‘layers’ in your image editor, you might instead want to:
- Create a new layer on top of your image (“Layer” > “New” > “Layer” in Photoshop Elements)
- Type “©[YOUR SITE NAME]” over the top
- Reduce the opacity of the layer to 20-30% (in Photoshop Elements the opacity control is just above the list of layers on the right hand control panel; in PhotoScape you doubleclick the image layer and it brings up a slider)
- Your watermark should now show faintly on top of your image and can be saved as a JPEG or PNG
- (In Picassa, it’s even simpler – you just use the ‘Add a watermark’ check box when exporting images and it handles the whole thing for you)
Finally, I’d say if your content is being used without your permission, don’t stand for it. Keep searching and keep complaining. People do this because they think it doesn’t matter and no one will mind, some do know it’s wrong but think no one will find out. Let’s send a message that it’s not ok.
Want more readers for your blog? More comments? More back links? Well here are some magic beans… – Snakeoil salesman #1,134,877
There is, sadly, no instant success scheme for bloggers. It’s a case of putting in the hard work, writing good quality content, sharing it in the right places, responding to comments, and becoming an active part of the community your blog belongs to by talking, engaging and, you know, being a human being.
Love All Blogs
From this coming Monday, I’m going to be helping out on this new(ish) blogging initiative, so I thought I’d take a moment to tell you all about it.
Love All Blogs is an idea from the unstoppable force that is Mammasaurus, and so far there are six main areas to get involved with:
- Love Cookery Blogs (the one I’m helping with)
- Love Mummy Blogs
- Love Dad Blogs
- Love Craft Blogs
- Love Photo Blogs
- Love New Blogs (for blogs under 12 months old)
How it works
Love All Blogs is a way to showcase your best blog posts. Here’s how it works:
- Each week, choose the blog post you want to promote (there’s a one post per area, per week limit)
- Choose the ‘Love X Blogs’ area(s) most relevant to your post
- Submit a link, excerpt and pic on the “Join In” page by midnight Friday
- The following Monday, see your excerpt up in lights, including a back link, in the Monday Showcase
- Each excerpt can also include a link to your Twitter and Facebook pages, if you wish
It’s a great way to get your posts in front of readers, and because people come back each week, it can also help build a loyal following.
I regularly submit to the cookery, mummy, photo and ‘new’ areas and also go around reading and commenting on the other submissions. They are on topics I’m interested in and it also helps build my own following.
And stay tuned because in January 2012 there are even more new developments afoot. See you on the blogging circuit x