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What everybody ought to know about blogging

Via Sharon B’s blog, I found this useful set of links to blog posts entitled What everybody ought to know about blogging.

I have only worked my way down to the third link so far, which is 50 tips to unclutter your blog. My sidebar is very full – what links do you like and which annoy you? Should I move the archives and the blogroll to separate pages, or don’t you care? Any thoughts and comments will be carefully considered!

Blog page size

I have a question for you.  Is my blog taking ages to load with all the photos?  I have just reduced the number of posts on a page to 6 instead of 10 because I thought that some people who have a slow internet connection might find it difficult reading my blog, but please let me know if it is still too slow and I will reduce it further.  What is the optimum number?  I would hate to lose readers because you can’t view it easily…   I can set it to whatever number of posts I want to, so do leave a comment and let me know.

New comments option

If you leave a comment in future, you will notice that it now gives you the option to subscribe to the comments for that particular entry, which means that you can follow any discussion or any reply to your comment in the future. I found this plugin and decided that in future I will reply to any comments in the comments rather than in private emails (if appropriate), which will hopefully generate more discussion and interaction. One of the things I find difficult when I leave comments on people’s blogs is remembering to go back and check for replies so this seems to be an ideal solution, for my own blog at least. What do you think?

If you have a WordPress blog and fancy putting the plugin on to your blog, you can find it on this page.

Upgrade mostly successful!

Well, I successfully upgraded. Now all I have to do is find out how to put the banner image back and a few other minor (I hope!) details. And get used to the new blog admin. Bear with me!

WordPress Upgrade coming!

In the next day or two (time and kids permitting) I hope to upgrade my version of WordPress so I can use a particular plugin (and to make it more up to date). So if there are any glitches, please bear with me! Normal service will be resumed asap etc etc…. I’ve just done all the backups so I can rescue things if it all goes awry but it’s getting too late now to do the actual download.

DS3 has his school swimming gala tomorrow morning so it won’t be then! He and DS1 are going camping with the Scouts (it is the centenary year of the founding of the Scouting Movement and 800 Newport scouts are converging on a field a few miles away… locals beware!). So I’ve been busy preparing his luggage for storms, gales and all sorts over the last few days. Not much time for anything else, alas. Baking some chocolate brownies for the scouts and a birthday cake for DH’s 50th birthday has taken up any surplus time and energy (not much of the latter these days, alas…). And reading emails of course. I’ll leave the promised photos of my value-organised stash till after the upgrade, having done a nice backup.

DS2 has ordered a new graphics card for the main computer so if that arrives he will be nagging me to install it… I’ve never done any taking-covers-off of that particular computer … I do like poking round the innards of computers. I missed my vocation. He wants to play superduper games with extra intricate graphics and the present card is too slow. Or something like that.

101 blog tips and a couple of plants…

This is an interesting list of tips about blogging which Sharon of In A Minute Ago pointed to in today’s blog post.  I don’t understand some of them so I must read up about it.  Trouble is… if you did all of this it would be a full time job, I suspect.

I planted a few seeds not long ago.  Here are some nasturtium seedlings coming up.  I love bright nasturtium flowers and you can also use them in salads – they have a peppery flavour.  If the slugs don’t beat me to it!

nasturtium seedling

And here is a photo of the avocado plant which germinated from an avocado stone which I had put out in disgust having soaked it and tried to germinate it for weeks.  It is doing well, isn’t it?  I recently planted it into a bigger pot – it had been in the small original pot all winter but as soon as spring came it grew more vigorously.  The poinsettia beside it looks quite puny and tired – it has just put all its energy into the flowers and will need cutting back soon so it can recoup its strength.

avocado plant and poinsettia on windowsill

Hotlinking and Bandwidth

A few people have asked me to expand on my post about hotlinking.

Basically, there are two ways for people to use photos they find on the web.  Either to right-click on them and save them on their computer, and then upload them to their webspace or webhost. 

Or they can find the URL to the image from the html, the path where it is saved on your webhost, and put that in when they write their own post.  That is hotlinking.  Both ways, they are using someone else’s photos and so it is breaking copyright if they don’t acknowledge it.

If you pay for webspace, you have a limited amount of bandwidth per month.  Each time someone goes to your website or blog and views it, it downloads on to their computer and the amount used is called bandwidth (so if there are a lot of photos it means that the amount is quite high because photos take up a lot of space).  I think it is also called transfer – the amount transferred between your webhost and the other computer.

Now, if someone hotlinks to a photo, it is using your bandwidth because every time someone clicks on their website, the photo comes from your webhost, not theirs. If they have uploaded the photo to their own webhost (or to something like Flickr, then it is their bandwidth and the use of the photo is merely a copyright

I don’t think you need to worry about it if you are with Blogger or one of the other free blogging platforms, unless it gets really bad and Blogger gets stroppy – it is Blogger’s bandwidth you are using, rather than another webhost which you are paying for.

I found out that people were hotlinking by going to my webhost stats on CPanel (most webhosts provide some sort of statistics for your website), clicking on ‘Stats/Logs’ and ‘Web/FTP Stats’ and ‘Latest Visitors’.  There, they gave the ‘referrer’ URL which I clicked on and found my photos on someone else’s website…  Most instructive… 

If you do find hotlinking is a problem, I found a couple of sites which explain what you can do about it.  The clearest is Thomas Scott’s Smarter Image Hotlink Prevention on A List Apart (at least I haven’t tried his php file yet because I need to try and understand where to upload it first) but I found his explanation of the mod_rewrite code the clearest (scroll down to halfway down the page) and if you want to see if you’ve got it right you can test it here.

If I’ve got any of this wrong, please feel free to contradict me!  All this is pretty new to me…

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