Blavatar…Small Yet Mighty

One of my goals as an amateur (charming, of course) blog fanatic lover is to gain wisdom on the craft of blogging. Sometimes it is easy to overlook little items our readers see as they scroll through our blog pages.

If you use an iPhone to follow favorite blogs or web sites, adding their blog icon to your phone’s home screen avoids unnecessary repetitive search time when you want to return to their sites.

As I added favorite blog sites to my phone, I noticed something interesting.

WordPress blog sites that upload with a custom blog image icon distinguish themselves over the ones using just the general WordPress icon – small yet mighty…

Photo credit: herzogbr via flickr

A lovely image but common, yes?

Well, you know, in my ignorance, I too sported the general WP icon, but not anymore. Thanks to WordPress Support and One Cool Site – Gravatar, Avatar, Blavatar, I discovered (took me long enough), the Blavatar.

The following is a brief look on the term, Blavatar, its usage, and how to upload a custom image for your site.

First, a blavatar is a WordPress term that combines two words:

Blog + Avatar=Blavatar.

A Blavatar appears in the following places:

1. Browser’s address bar and browser tabs
2. When you send a pingback, it appears in the blog’s comment section
3. As a bookmark and icon on iPhone/iPad home screen

Whether you choose to customize your Blavatar is purely your call. If you want your blog site to stand out, however, this is a small step in that direction.

Feel brave…Upload your custom Blavatar:

(Time saver tip – have an image in your computer file ready to load. The recommendation is 128 x 128 pixels image. There is a crop image feature if your selection is not perfect before the upload.)

1. Go to the side bar of your Dashboard→ Settings→General
2. Once in General, you should see: Blog Picture/Icon
3. Click on button: Choose File or Browse (depends on your browser)
4. Find the image from your computer file
5. Click: Upload Image ~ Congratulations!

What are your thoughts on the small yet mighty, Blavatar?

♥♥♥

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I Have Been Categorizing and Tagging While Blindfolded!!

It is true; I have posted in my ignorance. This, no-excuse behavior, is equal to blogging while being blindfolded.

How this can be, you ask. Well, let me explain.

When I started blogging, like most some of you, I was like a fish out of water. Everything about blogging was new for me. (Uh, still is.!?!) Starting with the writing for an audience; the learning of the WordPress system, and prior to pressing the publish button; checking the proper category boxes and tags for the post.

Things moved in the direction I had expected, although the shaky beginning posts became worrisome when nobody came around. As you know, eventually readers came and some even chose to stay, yay, and I thank you!!!

I Think, Therefore I BLOG - (Being Normal is n...

Photo credit: marsmet451

The blogging life was good; however, the one area that stayed so elusive to my understanding was categories and tags (C&T). The main reason is I did not educate myself on this subject, up until yesterday. As I was getting ready to put the final addition of C&Ts to my post, it suddenly dawned on me that using the same tags as my categories did not seem proper.

I dismissed my questioning mind, closed my eyes; secured the blindfold, and randomly categorized and tagged my post and hit the publish button.

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Random tagging and poor categorizing truly showed my total ignorance. For example, if my post were about the current heat wave we are going through, I would check in my category boxes the following:

Post a Day 2012
Writing
Uncategorized
Sunday Post or Weekly Photo Challenge (if applicable)

Then, for the tags, I would add words that applied to the post and then go crazy n’ wild. Here are some ‘wild’ tags I would throw in even if it did not apply to the topic in my post:

Write
Writer
Woman
Blog
Blogger
Journal
WordPress
Journey
Blogging
Coffee (I wanted to use this one just because I wrote the post while drinking coffee!!)

Moreover, I believe I had more tags that are random and not mentioned here that would find its way out on a published post. I would also *gasp* repeat some of the checked categories in the tag section. The classic ones were, Weekly Photo Challenge, Sunday Post and 5- Minute Friday. They would be in both my category and tag section!

This behavior was a dumb and ignorant move on my part.

Thank goodness, my fairy blog mother came by yesterday and whispered,

“Girl, you need to get some help over at WordPress Forum/Support and pronto!”

As I had expected, the message I received by my fairy blog mother’s very speedy helper, Time Thief, indicated it was time to stop posting while blindfolded and get edu-blogmacated!

Here is my question and my quick answer from forum:

Me: Is it better not to repeat a category title when tagging a post?

Forum:

Don’t do it! Never use the same keyword or keyword phrase as both a category and a tag. Search engines treat the two in exactly the same way so it looks like you are spamming to them. Worse still, if you do that you will create an editing mess in your blog.”

Therefore, you all know what I spent most of my free time doing yesterday, and it is still incomplete! I am now in the process of cleaning up my category section by merging some categories into others and creating categories that are more concise and on target for each post after this.

(This is a fine example of the consequences of not having a clear mission statement formed as you begin in the blogging adventure.)

As I understood from the brief research on C&T, a category is like the table of contents of a book; it should tell your readers exactly what your blog focuses on as a good table of contents would do. For example, if my blog was about nature photography, then my categories should reflect this and not have a random category like couture fashion.

Tags, however, are words or several key words that should reflect what is in your post. I guess my choice of using the tag ‘coffee’ just because I was drinking coffee when I wrote my post can no longer find its way as a tag, unless I happen to be writing about coffee.

When tagging, stick to key words that apply to your post.

Finally, most of us want our post seen by many people, and I was in the same mind frame when I wildly attached any tags that came to my head prior to publishing. My thinking on tags were, the more you used, the better chance of exposure for your post.

Wrong. If a post has too many C&T attached to it, the post usually does not even make it into the Topic section of WordPress (fewer people finding you) and possibly, your post be considered as spam! The recommended number of C&T combined should be around 15, total.

As I slowly take off my blindfold, I am squinting from the light of all this new knowledge and I would love to hear how C&T play out in your blog life. As I continue to learn more about blogging more effectively, I have included other sites below that I find explains C&T far better than I have here.

Do you have any interesting trivia on how to handle Categories and Tags properly?

How did you go about creating your own categories for your own blog?

FIX your Default Settings…

Great information sent from fellow blogger at Kana’s Notebook. I hope you take a few minutes and fix your “default settings” and pass it on to your readers….Thanks!