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I admit I am a diehard fan of Facebook and Pinterest. Facebook is my favorite because I’m definitely a people person. Since I work on websites most of the day at home, I haven’t found it as easy to get out and about. Facebook fulfills my need to communicate with others, at least somewhat. Plus, I live up a rather steep hill overlooking the San Fernando Valley, so leaving the house has to be strategic.
Pinterest is eye candy.
I simply love the photos. I don’t get too excited looking at most of the marketing images that online marketers are using on the site. Even though the infographics are cute, I find it a little annoying. My interests go more for food, travel, design, clothing, artistic shots, and, of course, funny pet photos. If you are in a niche that covers any of these areas, or is visual, Pinterest may be for you. It is a great way to increase traffic to your site.
I recently launched a food blog myself and had to make some adjustments so that my blog was Pinterest friendly. Originally I had horizontal featured images that were sized 610 x 230px. They looked cool on the page, but when pinned to Pinterest, they totally sucked. See below.
If you notice, the photo next to it with the water is a nice large size and stands out.
I adjusted the image on the page to 600px wide (which is approximately the amount of space I have available on my blog page, and the natural depth without cropping came to 450px. The photo now shows up like this:
This is probably where I’m going to leave it for now. The maximum width for a Pinterest photo is 600px. To make the photo appear longer on Pinterest, you may want to shoot it vertically, rather than horizontal. A perfect size would be 600 x 600px. You can also upload a larger photo and embed it into your blog at a smaller size. The problem with this is that the larger the photo, the more bandwidth is used up on your server. This can slow down your loading time. I’ve been on blogs, that have huge images on the page but loads so slow you can barely scroll down. I’ve found this particularly to be true on Blogger.com blogs. They are notoriously slow.
Because I want to keep my featured image a uniform size on my site, I am going to stick with 600 x 450px.
To resize and crop your photos just go to www.picmonkey.com. It’s super easy.
Picnik – my fave, shut down and went over to Google. PicMonkey is being run by former Picnik peeps.
Personally, I am using a program called Snagit, by Techsmith, that I love. It costs $49.95 (a one time fee) but is worth every penny. You can create screenshots (like the ones in this post) arrows, make banners, buttons , add borders, edges, etc.
Make sure to add Pin it buttons to your site.
I found an excellent share button plugin called: Twitter Facebook Social Share by Kunal Chichkar. You can feature Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and a couple of other share buttons if you want and they all line up perfectly. It’s easy to configure and works great. I use them on this blog.
(to add a plugin, go to your WordPress dashboard – Plugins – Add new – Search for your plugin or upload from your computer – activate)
Oh, and make sure to follow me on Pinterest.
Now on to Facebook
Facebook just released its own official plugin for WordPress. Click here to view the plugin. This is pretty remarkable because now we won’t have to worry about 3rd party plugins not working correctly Facebook’s API key. (sorry, this is a geek term) The Facebook plugin lets you send your blog posts to your Facebook profile and pages. It also has a comment system, Like, Subscribe, Send and Recommendation options.
I’m not sure about the comment option yet as it appears to take out the WordPress comment system. I’m in the process of testing it out, so please leave a comment so we can see how it works.
The Facebook plugin is a little tricky to install. You must go to the Facebook developers page and create an app. Before you freak out, check out theinstructions by clicking here. If you’re still freaked out, contact me, and I can help you.
Other Big News
WordPress just released yet another upgrade 3.4, and this one is a major one. That means, don’t hit the upgrade button on your blog unless you know what you’re doing. I like to wait a week after the release to do the upgrade so WordPress can work the bugs out first. You will need to make sure you have a complete backup of your site first. Also, it is always best to deactivate your plugins and use the default WordPress theme, when doing your upgrade. (go to Appearance – themes – Twenty Eleven or Twenty Ten – activate) We offer a monthly blog maintenance service that gives you 1 hour of blog editing work each month plus WordPress and plugin updates. Click Here to find out more.
Google Analyticator, a plugin that shows you your Google Analytics on the dashboard of your blog, will be shutting down in July. Apparently there is a problem with the Google API. If you have it installed, you may want to deactivate it and make sure your Google analytics tracking code is installed in your blog. (On Genesis child themes, such as this one (Focus Theme), you can insert your tracking code into your blog using your Dashboard – Genesis – Theme Options – Header area – insert the code) Google analytics lets you see how many people are visiting and clicking on your blog pages and posts. It is an essential tool for website owners. (sign into your Google Account first – www.google.com – Sign in or create account)
I decided to delete the Facebook Plugin from this blog as it slowed down my blog a bit and I was basically testing it for a client that wanted to use it. I tested the loading time using the P3 Plugin Performance Profiler Plugin and it was the heaviest loading plugin I had installed. It’s a pretty cool plugin, however and I would recommend it to those who would benefit from it. One thing I noticed is that there doesn’t seem to be a way to have both Facebook Comments and WordPress Comments at the same time.