Today’s Beautiful Blog is A House Full of Moxie, “a blog about being a small business owner, mom, wife and all around crafty kind of chick”. That crafty chick is Lisa Bacon, founder of Moxie Pear, a graphic and web design boutique.
What I love about the design:
But there’s also:
A prominent and succinct “about me” spot right in the upper right of the sidebar.
A tagline that lets you know immediately what’s going on at this blog.
Perfectly coordinated, but not overwhelming, graphic details for labels, comments, social media, post series, and tweeting individual posts.
Lisa has paid attention to every small detail while still keeping her space clean and simple. Go check out her blog, A House Full of Moxie, for tips on crafting, business ownership, cooking, indie shopping and photography.
Congratulations, Lisa, on having such a beautiful blog! Here is a button if you’d like to share this feature with your readers.
You can find more from Dawn Farias at her site A Bit Bloggish – a place with digital scrapbooking kits, tutorials and tidbits on daily life. Feel free to follow her on Twitter, too!
This giveaway is now closed. Winner listed at bottom.
To celebrate Beautiful Blog Designs turning one, I am giving away gift certificates from designers who have been very supportive and encouraging to me through my first year.
Our first giveaway is for a $15 gift certificate for design work by April at April Showers Blog Design
. BBD wasn’t live more than a month or two and April was already showing me “love.” Her continued excitement and support for the growth and development of BBD has meant a lot to me – thank you, April!
Please stop over at her site and view her portfolio. She is a very talented designer and creates most all of the graphics herself. She has a wide range of services and products, so use the winner can use the $15 for whatever suits her needs most. And, honestly she is also a fun blogger to follow. Her posts are lively and “real.”
Now, I have come to love short, simple giveaways so this won’t be a long and complicated one to enter. Here are the giveaway specifics:
To enter simply leave me a comment letting me know how you use BBD (to get inspiration, for tutorials, for the designer list, etc.)
The giveaway will close Saturday at 11:00 PM EST
Winner will be chose via Random.org
Only one entry per person
You must claim your prize within seven days, via an email to April, or it will be awarded to another blogger.
Congratulations to Robcalfamily who was our winner with comment #13!
This code below will allow all your links and buttons to open in a new window without having to do any extra work (meaning – WITHOUT adding the target=”_blank” to each and every link). Yay!! The code below will scan your blog for external pages and add the target=”_blank” to each and every one of them. […]
April 3, 2011 By April M
Ever wonder how someone was able to center a button or image. Maybe you loved the way their blog looked because all their buttons and images were the same size. Here’s how to do that and make your blog look organized and together. I will give you an example for a button in your sidebar. Step 1: When you […]
April 3, 2011 By April M
Sometimes I would like to schedule when my new post will show on my blog at a certain date and time instead of me having to go in and post it manually. Here is how to do that: Step 1: After you have created a post click on “Post Options” under “Labels”. Step 2: Choose “Scheduled […]
April 3, 2011 By April M
Here is a very simple and easy way to add the copy code box under your Button. The copy code box allows others to use and place your button on their site which will drive more followers/readers to your blog. *New* There is a video at the bottom of the page on how to do […]
When I first started blogging, I never expected to make money with it. I just love sharing what I know and love and blogging was the perfect platform. As my blog grew, it became more time consuming and I started to hear about ways you could make some money while blogging. Do what I love AND make a little money too? Why not!
Who wouldn’t like to earn money blogging?
There are numerous ways to make money blogging, and I’ll be the first to tell you, for most of us, it’s NOT going to make you rich but it can make it worth your while. The first thing you should know, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket!! Some of the things I do are join ad networks, sell ad spots on my blog, use affiliate links, join marketing sites, I even earn money searching the web!
Today I’d like to share a few simple sites that help me earn money while I’m online and blogging.
SocialSpark acts as a “middle man” between bloggers and advertisers. If a company wants to get the word out about a new product, they contact SocialSpark, and SocialSpark contacts me, if they think we may be a good match. It’s then up to ME to decide if I want to accept the offer and write about the company/product (sponsored post).
Once you sign up with SocialSpark, and you blog is approved (*see requirements below)
YOU set your own rate
YOU choose what you write about
YOU choose what companies to work with
once your post has been approved, you receive payment via paypal in 30 days
you can choose to skip auto publish – you don’t have to give them access to your blog
Right now SocialSpark is running a referral promotion, to grow their publisher base. Once your blog is approved you will have the chance to win a trip to Hawaii by referring all of your blogging friends.
Sign Up Here!!
*SocialSpark requires that you claim your blog (you will be give a code to install on your blog, they check to see if it’s there, then you can remove it – just shows that YOU have ownership). Your blog must be more than 90 days old, at least 20 posts made in the last 90 days, original content, be in English or Spanish.
Swagbucks.…….oh how I love thee!
One question. Do you search when your on the web? Did you know you could be earning cool stuff while you do search? I know, I know, you’re probably thinking what’s the catch? But there isn’t one!
What is Swagbucks? Swagbucks is a search engine that rewards you with digital dollars (Swagbucks) for searching. You can redeem your Swagbucks for Amazon, Target and Starbucks giftcard , music downloads, and tons of other cool stuff. The search engine is powered by Google, so you get good results. You’ll never have to pay shipping and you don’t have to buy anything to win. You can easily join (for free) and start earning your own Swagbucks today!
I’ve been using Swagbuck for all my searching needs for a year now. I like to “purchase” Amazon gift cards with my Swagbucks (because you can buy almost anything on Amazon right?) and I occasionally “buy” iTunes gift cards.
With those Amazon gift cards I have “bought”
KitchenAid Mixer for 1/2 price (because I was too impatient to wait to save up more)
FREE Kindle 3G
FREE Christmas Gifts (I had about $400 in Amazon gift cards to spend at Christmas)
I’m currently very close to enough Amazon dollars to purchase a new camera lens!!
It’s so simple, you just sign up, install the Swagbucks Search bar and use it to search the web! While you do that, you earn Swagbucks.
click here to view my screen shot larger
I just go about my business online, and I use the Swagbucks tool bar anytime I need to search something. It’s as easy as that!
You can also earn Swagbucks by, shopping online, trading in phones and video games, referring a friend, answering surveys and much more!
It’s definitely not a FAST way to earn, but if you stick with it, I promise it will pay off in the end!!
Are you new to WordPress.org? Or, are you thinking about moving from Blogger, but aspects of WordPress (like plug-ins) intimidates you? Well, if you are anything like me, the word “plug-in” stresses you out. Before I started a WordPress.org blog, Everyday Elements, I would hear others talking about plug-ins and they seemed so complicated and something I just wanted to steer clear of. 😉
Then, after I had my nice, shiny new blog set up (after much crying, trying to figure out FTP, themes, hosting, you name it), I realized other people had things in their sidebars or posts that I want in my for my site. So, I say “Psst…hey, how did you do that?” What was the answer? “Oh, it is so easy, it’s just a such-and-such plug-in.”
What do I think? No, no, no, no, I don’t want to mess with any complicated plug-ins, no siree. My blog could get along just fine without those things.
But…I finally broke down and got me one of those plug-in thingies. And, I went about it the LONG way. I searched for it online, found it, downloaded it to my computer, unzipped it, opened up my Filezilla (my FTP client), copied it over to my Plug-ins folder and then activated it. Have I scared you yet? SEE why I was scared?
Have heart, though, I really was doing it the hard way. In the past few months I have realized how EASY it is to find and install wonderfully helpful plug-ins and I want to share some of my new-found wisdom with you.
First, for the “newbies,” what the heck is a “plug-in?” For all you Blogspot bloggers, you know how on the Design screen, you can choose to “Add a Gadget?” Plug-ins are very much like Gadgets, just on steroids. 🙂 They add special things to your blog that may not come with the theme you are using (themes are kind of like templates in Blogger).
Here are some plug-ins that blog friends or I use on my WordPress.org blogs.
Post and Blog Footers
To automatically have the same images or code apply to each post or each page at Everyday Elements, I use both a post footer and blog footer plug-ins. The theme I use there, Thesis, does not come with a footer, so I was thrilled to find that easy-to-use plug-in.
Blog footer I use at Everyday Elements
Post Comment Numbers
Cheryl, from TidyMom and team member here, has a great plug-in that numbers her comments, called Greg’s Threaded Comment Numbering. I will be prompting her for the name of it soon myself. Having numbered comments makes identifying winners of giveaways so much easier! Some themes may have that ability built in (Thesis does), but not all themes do.
Just a head’s up about this plug-in: it requires some code change. When I tried to do it this morning, I seriously messed up and lost the site! Thankfully, Debbie, from Laginappe Marketing came to my rescue. She has a super-affordable service where she installs plug-ins, themes and headers. The next time I have a code issue, I am going straight to her.
Plug-in used by TidyMom.net to number comments
Social Networking in Post Footer
If you are serious about blogging, then you know social networking is very important, and having those social networking icons on each post makes it easier for your readers to share with others via Stumble, Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, email, etc. I use Sexy Bookmarks here at BBD and Sociable plug-in at Everyday Elements.
Socialable plug-in I use at Everyday Elements
Sexy Bookmarks plug-in I use here at BBD
Shannon found this amazing plug-in, simply called Ad Buttons, for BBD that makes managing my sponsor spots so easy! And, each time the page is refreshed the buttons move, so all the designers receive equal “top spot” time.
Ad Sponsor plug-in used here at BBD
To make this tutorial an actual tutorial, here are simple steps to find and install a plug-in.
When you are at your WordPress.org Dashboard, go to the section on Plug-ins (along left-hand side of screen). Click on “Add New.” If you ever want to stop using a particular plug-in, you go back to that screen and choose ‘deactivate.’
In the search box, type in whatever you are searching for, like “popular posts,” “comment numbers,” “post footer,” etc. Here I typed in “Comment Luv,” the name of a plug-in that was recommended by Melissa at Adventuroo.
Type plug-in you are looking for in search box
Once I find the plug-in I want, I simply clicked on “install now,” to have the it installed to my blog.
Clicking to install a new plug-in, Comment Luv
I tested out the plug-in and it worked great! Comment Luv allows readers to link their most recent blog post merely by clicking on the Comment Luv icon.
Comment Luv active on BBD
Things to remember:
This particular plug-in was extra easy to install, and most really are. Some plug-ins require additional input from you, like the social networking plug-ins, where you have to choose which icons to display. So just remember that you cannot just install and go; you need to go to the plug-in and see if anything is needed from you to make it work as intended.
Other helpful plug-ins:
Melissa at Adverturoo wrote a wonderful post, sharing her favorite plug-ins for WordPress and Blogger.
Breaking away from blog design talk to share about me and find out about you!
Most of you who follow this blog do so for tutorials, designers lists and blog design giveaways, and probably know very little about me. Now, I am not that important to the value of Beautiful Blog Designs, but I thought some of you might like to know what I’ve been up to and what keeps me from hanging out there more. 😉
During the school year I stay busy with homeschooling my four children. Their grades are 5th, 3rd, Kindergarten and preschool. We are very involved in various clubs like Chess and Lego.
On the weekends and some weekdays I do book fairs and booths for Usborne Books, educational children’s books. Sometimes the kids go with me, sometimes not.
Whether I’m at home, at an Usborne event or at a homeschool function, I have one of my Nikon DSLRs with me. I picked up photography as a hobby after my dad died one year ago and it has been so very fulfilling for me.
Over at my personal blog, Moving Forward, I share lots and lots of pictures about all these things, plus life on a farm and occasionally share recipes.
So, what I want to know is what you’ve been blogging about lately. Also, I’d love to hear if and how your blog has evolved since you started it.
Moving Forward started out as a place to share about my mistakes and how I am learning from them. It is still kind of that, but mostly it’s a place for me to share pictures daily and talk about what is going on in our life right now.
Have you tried using a fabulous free blog background on the new Blogger templates only to be disappointed with the final outcome? I am going to help you with that today!
In the past, Blogger users have mostly chosen the Minima template when applying a free blog background. It was nice and plain – everything you need to get the final look that you want. The new Blogger templates have a bit too much…. character for that. However, there is a shining star that promises the blank canvas that we were used to while allowing us to choose whichever column layout we’d like. Three columns, one column, multiple footer options – this is what the new template designer has to offer so let the embracing begin!
If you need help finding free blog backgrounds, check out this extensive list.
Let’s get started.
Step 0: Download your current template first!! Dashboard > Design > Edit HTML > Download full template. (This is an update to the original tutorial.)
Step 1: Switch to the Simple template.
The path you want to follow is Dashboard > Design > Template Designer > Simple Template > Apply to blog.
You will see the change to your template happen live as you click around.
Step 2: Find a 3 column free blog background that you like.
A wide background will allow plenty of room for you to experiment with the different column layouts available. Today I am suggesting the site Designer Blogs. They have several 3 column backgrounds to choose from. I am going with Green with Envy.
Step 3: Copy the background code.
By clicking inside the code box a few times everything gets highlighted. Then choose CTRL-C or COMMAND-C, depending on whether you are using a PC or a Mac.
Step 4: Paste the code into an HTML widget from your Blogger Page Elements screen.
4b: Paste the code (CTRL-V or COMMAND-V) and save.
Step 5: View.
Not quite what we want is it? We need to get rid of the default blue color at top, a shading effect on the lower half, drop shadow effect on the post body and move the Designer Blogs logo to a better place.
Step 6: Add the Fix It! code.
Design > Template Designer > Advanced > scroll down to Add CSS
Copy and paste the following Fix it! code and then click Apply To Blog.
Again, you see the change happen live before you actually save anything. Also, see that green circle? Those are all your options for changing link colors and other fun stuff like that. Explore!
Step 6: View.
I’ve moved the Designer Blogs logo to a better place and adjusted my template colors to match the background. Beautiful!!
Note: I’ve purposefully chosen a background with a posting area that’s very close to white. In another post I will explore the column layout options with you and give tips for using backgrounds with a patterned or colored posting area.
I am so excited about this week’s Beautiful Blog! It is another do-it-yourself blogger, but there’s something special about this one – it is designed and run by a homeschool young lady. Being a homeschooler myself, I was quite thrilled to find this particular site.
Emily Rose has created Simply Vintage Girl, a WordPress blog, all on her own and what impresses me so much about her blog is not only the graphics but her content. She posts on subjects such as photography, food, literature, vintage finds, crafts and more. She is a young woman wise beyond her years!
What I love about Simply Vintage Girl:
Soft, subtle colors and texture used in the design.
Meaningful effects included in the background – the words in her background are from a poem her cousin wrote.
Very well organized and highly functional site layout.
White behind the well sized text for easy reading.
Wonderful, well written posts with lots of pictures to hold reader’s interest.
If you have a moment, please stop by Simply Vintage Girl, whether for her photography, recipes, crafts or to just to admire her design. You won’t be sorry and you will probably be hooked like I am!
Congratulations, Emily Rose, on creating such a delightful design. If you would like to share this feature with your readers, here is a button you might like to use.