Blogging hints

Kia ora

Some time ago I sent these hints (below) out in an email, and I’ve since been asked to put them on the support blog for ease of access. They are also included in the new 2020 Blog Editors Guide, a living document were we can collect similar hints and good practices. This is at https://docs.google.com/a/2020.org.nz/document/d/1ruMBk_azTh0ztkjoMcgxSQ6Ef2hZ3PtP3FAVqjKAlIg/edit?usp=sharing

You may well get automatic emails about Google Drive permissions being granted/removed over the next few weeks, as I check out & test hopefully easier ways of making sure people can access everything they need.  I’ll try to minimise these emails – let me know if you can’t access anything you need, otherwise ignore them!

regards

Bill Dashfield

Problems with photo slideshows

Slideshows are a great way of easily putting lots of photos into your blog. But security changes in Google’s Blogger, Adobe and browsers, are stopping PhotoPeach slideshows working on some browsers and devices.  And Google are dropping Picasa(which they own). 

It’s easy to create slideshows as a video in YouTube, and very easy add them to your blog. Google owns both YouTube and Blogger, so problems are not likely, at least in the short term.  In a few minutes, I made a sample slideshow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mVfCRaVfrM&feature=youtu.be, which worked on everything I’ve tested – though slow to load on smartphone.

I found it easy to start an upload of multiple photos from my computer.  The uploading took some time, then it was easy to reorder them and turn into a video slideshow.  Lots of options are possible; I recommend you keep it simple and go for:

  • Slide duration of 4 or 5 seconds – 3 seems a bit fast
  • No slide effects and simple transitions: wipes or fades
  • Either no audio, or at least something not likely to offend people!
  • Image sizes of at least 100KB – some of mine were only 60KB and look grainy on full screen.

How to: Creating a slideshow in YouTube: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1696878?hl=en

Adding YouTube video to Blog entry: https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/41641?hl=en

Addition: If you want to to add an actual Google Slideshow, you need to save the slideshow for the web and then copy and paste the embed code into your blog. Details are here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1WlAv4pjQOidt-ebOeuDuReDcvF4zKzs3vEIEW8gaUPk/embed?slide=id.i18

Care with copyright (updated)

(Since this was posted we’ve decided we can be more relaxed about reproducing articles.)

It’s great if you can get the local paper/website/school newsletter/blogger to write a story about CiH, and given a new angle many will be keen to do this. There’s then a great opportunity to post the story or pictures for your blog.  However, you do need to ask them for permission. If you acknowledge their copyright, attribute the article and photos and link to their website, most will have no objection – it’s free publicity for them. 

Just send the paper’s writer, news or editorial contact an email along the lines of:

“Thank you for your article ‘article headline’ about our project name published in ‘paper’s name’ on ‘date’. It was great to see your support for our work, and thank you for the publicity.

I plan to post/have posted your story on our local project blog at blog address,  with full attribution and a link to your paper: ‘Story and pictures by writers name, copyright paper’s name, read more here.  Please let me know if there is any problem with me doing this or if you have any guidelines I should follow.

Thank you, and thanks again for the article.

Best regards
……………….”  

Then publish the post so they can see it. If you don’t hear back, you can assume they had no objection, but do promptly edit or remove the blog post if you hear from them later.  If they refuse permission – or have refused permission before – it is accepted practice to report that they’ve done the story, with attribution, brief details of some key points in your own words and a link.  Something like:

Paper’s name says Computers in Homes is great

Writers name  of paper said in an article on date that ……

She reported that ……………………… and that someone else said …………………………

Read the full story in Paper

You can use a similar approach with other copyright material:  Attribute, summarise and link.

More hints in www.websitemuscle.com/dos-donts-reposting-articles-blog/

Keep it fresh

People need to see the blog is being regularly updated – at least monthly – or they won’t come back. As well as graduations, if you also post at the start of term (for instance, local plans or schools involved) and middle of term (e.g. progress report, relevant news item or online resource) that’ll painlessly cover off the minimum and only take a few minutes.  Put it in your end of month to do list.  

And if you get a great story that should go nationwide, put it online asap and email me as well please.

Regards

Bill Dashfield

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