Q&A With One Artsy Mama

Well, friends, the Grow Your Blog series is almost at an end!
I sincerely hope you’ve found at least something to be helpful to you.  I’d love to hear your feedback.  In the meantime, we have one more thing to discuss…your questions.
Here are the questions I received and my best attempts to answer them.  If you didn’t ask yours in time, please feel free to email me or comment here and I’ll do my best to respond.
1. “How do I add a custom signature to the bottom of my posts?” – Heather
To create a custom siggy, go to whatever photo editor you normally use {if it’s Picnik, RUN!}, and create/open a new file that’s either transparent or white.  Size it to be however large you want your siggy to be.  Mine is 116×68 pixels.  Choose your favorite font, maybe one that matches your header, and a color that coordinates with your blog.  Type your name and size it to take up the majority of the space.  Add any embellishments/stickers you want, like my little flower.  Save it as a jpg or png file, then add it to each post just like you’d add any photograph.
2. “How do you keep track of all the different linky parties?” – Jennifer
I have a separate page where I display all the different buttons for the various parties I link to.  I list them out by day so that I know which ones are happening when.  Then, each day, I click on my “Places I Party” page, open the links in new tabs, and start linking.  I’m sure there are plenty of other parties out there I haven’t found yet and honestly, I don’t really have time to link to any more, but that’s how I keep track of the ones I link to on a somewhat regular basis.  My buddy Carrie over at My Favorite Finds has a good idea too; she puts her list {parties organized by day again} into a Google Document, then she can link it to the bottom of her posts.
3. “How do you design the blog buttons?” – Blythe
You don’t, darling!  You pay me to do it for you!  Lol.  Well, I guess if you really want to do it yourself, here are a few tips.  Go to whatever photo editor you like best {if it’s Picnik, hurry fast!}  Create or open a new document with the dimensions you want.  They tend to look better if you create them bigger and then shrink them, so say you want a 150 pixel square; start at 300 x 300.  Choose a background.  It can be the same as your blog background, a coordinating color, whatever you like.  Then, add in text and embellishments however you want them to look.  I recommend using a font and color scheme that matches your blog, like we discussed in the Blog Design post.  Resize it to 150 x 150 and then save it as a jpg or png file.
4. “How do you get social media buttons?” – Blythe
Basically, I made those the same way I make buttons {see #3} except I size them smaller.  I try to match a font as closely as I can to the actual social media logo unless I can find the logo as a png file with a transparent background that I can use.  If you don’t want to design them yourself, there are lots of places, like this one, where you can download free ones that are already made.  Once you have them, you upload them to a photo sharing site, then add them to your blog like you would add a button.


5. “How do you decide the number of labels to put on a post?” – Carrie
Honestly, I never really thought about how many labels to put on a post.  Basically, most of my posts fall into one of a few different categories, so when I label a post, I ask myself which one{s} best describe what it’s about. Does it fall under Kids’ Crafts, Printables, Jewelry, Painting, Home Decor, Linky Parties/Shine On Fridays, or Giveaways?  Does it fall into an additional category, like a particular season or holiday?  And if it’s a tutorial, I always label it as one.  I try to reuse the same labels over and over instead of coming up with a million specific ones for each post…I don’t know if that’s bad or good, really.  But my basic goal is that the labels will help someone who is searching for something particular to easily find it.  Does that help?
6. “How do I add columns in blogger?” – Heather
To change the appearance of your blog and add more columns, first go to your blog’s dashboard.  Choose “Template,” then click on “Customize.”  Once you’re there, go to “Layout.”  You should see this screen.  From there, you can choose how the body of your blog is set up; whether you have columns on the left and right of your posts, just the left, or just the right, and you can double up some of those columns as well.  You can also add columns in the footer section.  I’m wondering though from how you phrased the rest of your comment if you were really asking about how to make two columns of your actual posts…if that’s the case, I don’t know.  FAQ fail. 🙂
7. “I make printables, but don’t know how to share
them on my blog for people to download.” – Jill
Girl, I had the same problem when I made my first one!  I was like, ‘ok, here it is!  Um, now what?’  Here’s what you do.  Upload the printable image to a photo sharing site like photobucket.com.  If you want to offer different sizes, you have to upload each one separately.  In your post, upload a picture of the printable just like you would with any other photo.  Below, put a text link that says “Download 8×10 here,” “Download 5×7 here,” and so on.  The link you use is the Email and IM link, the top one in the list of links that photobucket gives you.  When people click on that, it will send them to the image where they can save it to their computer.
8. “How much time do you set aside to work on your blog?” – Jennifer
Ah, there’s a tricky question!  My schedule is always a little different, depending on the day, and I struggle with the same thing I think all of us deal with as we try to manage our time.  How do we balance time with family, time to maintain the home, time at our outside jobs, and time on the blog?  I am constantly trying to figure out that balance so that my family doesn’t feel like I’m always on the computer and at the same time I’m able to acheive some of my blogging goals.  On any given day, I’d say I spend an average of 2-4 hours working on the blog.   Luckily, LC still takes about a 2 hour nap in the afternoon, so after I’ve done a bit of cleaning and my devotional time, I usually spend much of his nap on the computer.  Sometimes I get an hour or two in the evening as well when LC and his daddy have some special “man time” together.  I get a little extra time on Wednesdays because my grandmother comes to visit with LC and they play together for a few hours.  I try not to do much blogging on Sunday; I mainly just respond to emails and put a few things on facebook then enjoy the Sabbath with my family.
9. “If you’re a smaller blog (such as myself) how do you reach out to people without bluntly asking them to review their product or ask them to do a giveaway on your site?” – Katie
First, let me say that most people are flattered when you ask them to do a giveaway or be reviewed.  But another option is to turn the tables and instead offer to give something away on their blog.  You could also ask them if they accept guest posts and even suggest something you have in mind that you could post about that you think would interest their readers.  All of us are happy to have a day off now and then, and we all like to give things away that our readers would enjoy.  Personally, if someone with a small blog, say less than 50 followers, asks me to do something on her site, it doesn’t do me much good.  Chances are, some of those followers already read my blog anyway, and even if they don’t, it’s not likely to bring me a huge amount of exposure/traffic/followers. {That being said, I often do it anyway because I hate to disappoint people!}  BUT, if a small blogger wants me to give away something from her shop or post about a cool project she did, it’s better for us both.  She’ll get a lot of exposure from my 900+ readers, {who are much more likely to read what’s on my blog than to go and read my guest post on hers} and I’ll get a break from posting, plus the traffic that comes from a giveaway.  Another way to reach out, if that’s still more direct than you’re comfortable being, is to just target a few bigger bloggers and start being a presence on their site/Facebook page.  Leave frequent, meaningful comments so that they get to “know” you.  Sometimes they may write back, which starts a dialogue, and eventually you’ll feel more comfortable asking about collaborating.
10. “How do you find other bloggers in your city or nearby?” – Eva
That’s really a great question, Eva.  I know that there are sites where you can list yourself under a particular state and see other bloggers, but often they don’t have the same types of blogs.  Usually, I find out where people live just by reading their bios or “about me” sections, or when it comes up in “conversation.”  I’ve had some folks comment when they hear me talk about the Ravens and I find out that they live in a nearby area, but really I don’t know too many other local bloggers either.  I actually didn’t have a great answer to your question, so what I decided to do was create a special linky party just for you!  That’s right, girl, you’re that special!  And I do think it’s fun to find out who might be just down the street…soooo, here’s the One Artsy Mama ‘oh-so-official’ “Where in the World Are You” Linky party!
Link up the homepage of your blog and when you type your description, put your name and state, please!!
I truly hope this series has been helpful for you in some way, whether it was learning about design, posting, linky parties, social media, or advertising.  If you had a question that didn’t get addressed, you can always feel free to email me at dancers4life{at}gmail{dot}com and I’ll do the best I can to help!  I appreciate you reading along!  I hope you’ll come back tomorrow to party with us at Shine on Fridays and show me what you’ve been up to this week!  Then, starting Sunday, get ready for a whole week of giveaways!  20, to be exact!  You won’t want to miss it…
Happy Blogging!

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  1. Oh my gosh we’re blog neighbors! I’m in MD too! 🙂 Oddly, I found your series via Eva who I suspect asked the “How do you find bloggers in your area?” question! This has been such an insightful series. I’ve been furiously taking notes. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with the rest of us. 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for posting BOTH my questions!! I am always trying to decide how much time and when to dedicate to my blog! So far the late evenings seem to work best! Thank you for the GREAT posts! Also, do you really design blog buttons for other bloggers? I am interested! e-mail me if you do!!

  3. Amy, you rock! Thank you SO much for doing this little linky. I’ll be checking it daily to see if I can find some friends. 🙂 And thanks for this series. I’ve been catching up on reading them today. Thankful for this Q&A too because someone asked a question that I’ve wondered about but didn’t even think to ask!

  4. I have really enjoyed your series! I have wondered for ages how to do the social media buttons. But ~duh~ I never asked anyone. I’m glad you answered that today. I will be making some soon. I am looking forward to next week!:)

  5. Awesome series, Amy. It is funny how some things don’t occur to you even after a year of doing this,…..thanks for the tips.

  6. I loved these posts Amy! You cracked me up with “if it’s Picnik, RUN!” And I was telling my boyfriend, “Wow, she spends like 2-4 hours a day on her blog. I don’t think I could ever do that.” When he made me think about how much time I spend on my blog, I felt embarrassed to say about 2-3 hours too! I’ve never even noticed!

  7. Of all the posts in this series, I like this one best. All good questions and answers in one place. I used My Live Signature to add mine, but I like your idea much better. I’m going to try that! Thanks for the shout out, too 🙂

  8. This is great info…I pinned it so I won’t lose it! I also am following you on GFC so I don’t miss any of your amaizing posts. I’d love for you to come visit my blog sometime! Have a great weekend!


  9. Oh my word – thank you for the great tips! I’m a new blogger and was starting to feel a little discouraged! Great topic, great series, thank you for putting your time into it for us “newbies” 🙂

  10. Amy – I hit submit BEFORE I added my state (opps!) Anyway, for anyone who is interested –

    Carol @ Are We There Yet is in Florida!

    Thanks and sorry I goofed!

  11. Thanks so much for sharing! I am new at social media and have enjoyed blogging the most of all. This is the first I’ve heard of ‘linking’. Wow! Where have I been? 🙂 Many thanks to Terrie at Hearth and Whimsy for telling me about this great series!!

  12. Hi! I am a new follower and a new blogger. Your series has been incredibly helpful! Thanks for all the great tips! I am going to share this on my FB fan page!

  13. I LOVE your blog, your site, your posts, your projects! I am trying to start a blog and this series has been the most helpful thing I have been able to find anywhere. Thank you so much. I am so glad I happened upon Practically Functional for sending me your way! Love her blog and yours!

  14. By chance I stumbled across your blog; I like your style and the content of this “How to Blog” series. I just started blogging in April,2012 and am disapointed in my low readership. I post a Bible study series (3 mornings a week), I will admit that is never a crowd pleaser, but still…..
    What I really need is some down to earth, technicle advise, probably a little lower than Blogging 101. Well, that is my problem, not yours. My URL is youareadopeted.blogspot.ca
    Thanks for your time

  15. Hi Amy! First of all, I joined your blog (via GFC) a couple a of weeks ago and I LOVE your blog!!! I thoroughly enjoyed your series on ‘Grow Your Blog’! It has been super helpful and I wanted to personally thank you for your ocean of information for new bloggers! I also link up with you on ‘Shine on Fridays’!

    Thanks again!
    Heather (My Sweet Mission)

    1. Heather, thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a sweet comment. I am so glad to hear that the series has been helpful for you and that you are enjoying One Artsy Mama. Glad to hear you’ve been joining the party too! Have a wonderful day!

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