Blogging

I’m forever having to look up how-to tutorials for various topics related to blogging, like photography, theme design, HTML, and so on. If you’re another Mama looking to run a Mama-blog, I thought I’d save you the hassle of doing the same by keeping all the useful resources I find in one place!

Webhosting & Set-up
MamaWit.com is hosted on BlueHost, which I highly recommend to other website owners, especially bloggers on WordPress.

What I did to set up MamaWit (it already existed as a free blog on wordpress.com, so you could set one up real quick to then follow these directions; you’ll need one anyway for several good plug-ins):

  1. signed up for BlueHost: I got 2 years hosting at $3.95/month + free domain name (mamawit.com)
  2. installed wordpress using SimpleScripts (this is an easy feature available on BlueHost’s cPanel screen you get after signing up)
  3. deleted all spam comments from mamawit.wordpress.com (you don’t need to do this if you don’t have any!)
  4. Tools>Export all of mamawit.wordpress.com
  5. login to your wp-admin page on BlueHost
  6. select Tools>Import>Wordpress and import file you just exported from wordpress.com

Feel free to comment with questions about those directions! I know it seems tricky at first.

Photography & Images

I used to find all my photos for posts by searching Flickr’s Creative Commons. You can do this directly inside WordPress using the PhotoDropper plug-in.

Then, I realized people were coming not only to READ about our life, but to SEE it, too. I love my Digital SLR, a Canon Rebel XT, and use it with my Image Stabilized (i.e.: reduces impact of shaky camera hands) 17-85mm lens most of the time. I import my photos via a really popular and portable card reader onto my computer. I organize my photos in iPhoto on my MacBook, edit as needed in Photoshop Elements, and then use iPhoto to upload to my flickr account. From there, I use the “share” option on a photo I want in a blog post, copy/paste it into the HTML tab, and I’m done!

Designing with Photoshop
PS/PSE: Basic Drop Shadows Tutorial on theLilyPad (this is how I make the text really pop on my topic buttons and our grab-able HTML badge in the right columns)
Photoshop Web Template Tutorial (this is how I used to design my banners before I decided a plain old picture of cloth diapers waving in the wind was simple and perfect enough, haha!)
How to Install Custom Brushes in Photoshop Elements great simple tutorial for using special brushes
PSE Pinboard my favorite brushes and patterns for Photoshop Elements

Expanding your Site: Monetize, Plug-ins, Design, & More
Ideas for doing more with your site than just posting blog updates!

  1. To earn commission for linking to products on Amazon.com, sign up for an Amazon affiliate account
  2. Choose and activate a theme (we love the flexibility of Ashford).
  3. Get a creative commons license.
  4. Generate a color palette for your site design.
  5. Search for and install useful plugins (I like Akismet, WordPress.com stats, CommentLuv, EasyContact, Similar Posts, WP GreetBox, and PhotoDropper, in that order)
  6. Create a flickr group (like ours!)
  7. Add a forum (also like ours!), optionally with a cool skin.
  8. Donwload and install fun fonts to use in your site design.

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