Blogging and Using Media Effectively

blog I’m always looking for way to enhance the value of the content in my blog and that includes being privileged to receive and publish posts by guest authors. Today I’m issuing a guest blogger invitation to regular readers and subscribers, who have some specific skills. Those who have the skills required and who will agree become guest bloggers must accept the terms I have set in my Guest Posts policy.

If you are a regular reader/subscriber then have you ever:

  •   Created a how-to video for a blog post?
  •   Created a how-to audio or podcast for your blog?
  •   Created a slide-show for a blog post?
  •   Created a photo montage or gallery for a blog post?
  •   Created your own graphics for a blog post or for your blog?
  1. If you have done any of those 5 things then do you have any tips, tools, or resources to share in a guest post tutorial?
  2. If you have done any of those 5 things then how was what you presented received by your readers?
  3. If you have NOT done any of those 5 things then would you consider doing any or all of them in the future? Why or why not?
  4. How do you as a reader respond to media enhancement of blog posts?

21 thoughts on “Blogging and Using Media Effectively

  1. Pingback: A Photo Collage for Your Blog « one cool site

  2. Thanks for your kind words, Timethief. I’m pretty much the honorary “copy and paster” of media! If you get a chance, can you tell me your opinion on a couple of concerns?

    1. The load time. Since most images and videos are hosted off-site and the site is media intense, I wonder if I should use less media, or use pagination (not something I normally like in blogs). I started using the “more tag” to help on home and index pages but not sure if it’s enough. Do you think it loads too slow?

    2. The font. I’ve read that you are visually impaired(?), and my dad picked the theme before I got a chance to impress my opinion on him about my personal dislike of white text ;) In addition, chrome renders the font terribly. And although the Motion theme is growing on me, I’ve gone back and forth on the CSS upgrade to at least change the default font and/or size. Do you find the font/text harder to read than others?

    • I’m not an expert and don’t pretend to be one. I don’t want to get into analyzing sites and providing specific advice on specific sites. Off site image hosting results in slower page loading time. When your images are hosted on WordPress.com servers they can be fetched faster than when they are hosted elsewhere. See here please for strategies you can use to reduce page loading time. They do include displaying fewer posts on the front page, using “the more tag” or pagination (next page) to split text, using fewer embeds, and removing all decorative clutter and widgets from sidebars. The less script loading the better. Aim for minimalist blogging: strip it!

      When it comes to font sizes I consider that to be a non-issue. We can all use keyboard shortcuts to increase or decrease the font size on any site we vist. If a reader does not have a specific font installed on his / her computer, the browser will determine which font is displayed. There are a very limited number of fonts (in English/Western languages) which are common for most operating systems/computers/browsers. Frankly, I wouldn’t waste my money on a custom design upgrade that has to be renewed each and every year simply to change fonts throughout the blog.

    • They used to be found here > Appearance > Extras but were removed from there. I chose to disable them as pop-ups that appear when I mouse over links peeve me off. They are distracting – Do not want! Do not need! However, other bloggers may find them useful. :)

      You sound like you are enamored with them and that puts us on opposite sides the fence, so to speak. ;)

  3. Hi TT. May be this an off-topic question. But probably I can write a post on one topic. Before I go, can you please tell me how to enable and use MSHOTS on wordpress.com?
    Thanks!

    • You can’t enable them as they have been removed some time ago now. As I hate pop-ups of any kind and those with advertising particularly annoy me I had disabled them on my blogs so I was glad to see them go. IMO they were useful only in providing a warning that one was entering a NSFW site. If you search the support forum threads you can trace when they were removed.

  4. Hi TT, I’ve created a number of tutorials on how to use Microsoft Excel. One of them on YouTube is nearing 36,000 views. Over the years, I’ve used different methods for creating these tutorials with the most recent ones streamed in HD. I haven’t reviewed your guest posts policy yet, but contributing a how-to post on creating a how-to video is something that I may be interested in doing. Ray

    • Hi Ray,
      I don’t have a camera so making my own video is not something I can explore. The fact you are interested is exciting. I’ll be waiting to see what you come up with when it comes to creating a how-to post on how to create a how-to video. Thanks so much for letting me know you are interested.

  5. Brilliant idea Timethief, I look forward to seeing the posts. I have not used any of these, in part because what little research I have done into them has intimidated me as far as figuring out the technical skills; the closest I have come is using Galleries and the odd YouTube link. As a reader, my reaction to these is the same as my reaction to good old fashioned text – if it is well done and gets the message across effectively, maybe even better than other methods, than I am all for it. Badly done… I’m off. A few times I distinctly felt like the blogger was trying to dazzle me with science in hopes I wouldn’t spot the weakness of content or message. I also would love a discussion of why and when to choose one presentation format over another.

    • Hi Cynthia,
      I’m a visul person and I believe media can be effectvely used ot enhance textual content. I have seen some blogs were this has been done very well. That’s why I’m hopeful that some of my readers will be interested in creating brief tutorials and sharing their media enhancement how-to instructions, tips and work arounds as well. I also share your desire to know “why and when to choose one presentation format over another”. Thanks for commenting.

    • Hi there,
      I’m in and out of my blog every day. However, I’m determined to spend as much time with my company in the great outdoors while the sun is shining as I can. Life is short and if we have set our priorities correctly, the time we spend with those who love us outranks blogging.

  6. I haven’t got time right now to do this properly TT but for people who have recently swapped to using Macs I can tell you an easy way to make a little collage/montage using the iPhoto programme and the screen grab option.

    I struggle with the slideshow option in WordPress but it seems popular when I do offer my photos that way in posts. Yesterday I had a small ‘aha’ moment when I realised that in order to reorder the photos in the slideshow all you had to do was click and drag the images into the order you wanted. Select ‘display by menu order’, and most importantly ‘Save Changes!’ A good ‘how to’ for the slideshow option would be useful I think as it is very time consuming to go backwards and forwards trying to figure out what I do wrong each time. Forgetting to ‘save changes’ being my key mistake!

    • Hi Joanna,
      I don’t have a Mac and I’m so happy you shared that iPhoto can be used to make a photo collage. Thanks also for the excellent tips re:positioning images in slideshows by clicking and dropping and dragging them into the order you want them to display. What I have done is make the decision about order ahead of time and then I kept that order when uploading the images and creating the slideshow. Forgetting to “save changes” is something we have all done many times over I’m sure. I have become a chronic click the save change button clicker frequently as a result.

  7. Thanks for so much great info on this site! I’m not sure if it’s already been mentioned on another post, but I needed to do a quick “Photo montage” to recap some pics I should of posted on a travel blog that is being updated daily. I used the free Picasa photo software. You select all the photos you want to use ( 10 secs for about 10 pics), click ” Collage”, then choose the size, background color, frame (or not), and type of collage- all from the same screen, click “Create Collage” and presto, your done. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have all the good tags uploading each one to wordpress might have, but it sure was a lot quicker! Easily done in a couple of minutes! I find the WP image loader tedious to say the least. You can see the Picasa Collage in action here (it’s my dad’s blog, not mine) :

    http://greatarcticadventure.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/day-19-back-to-fairbanks-ak/

    (I see after typing all this, the post is more specifically about guest posts, I guess this is more like a guest reply at best?!)

    • Hi Holly,
      I like the photomontage in your dad’s blog. In fact I like the treament of all the media used in that blog. Thanks so much for commenting here, sharing how to information re:Picassa Collage and for providing the link. I appreciate it.

  8. I’m sure others will do a better job of writing any of the above topics.

    But one thing for sure: If you want to create your own slideshow of personal photos for blog, just be prepared to spend time adjusting your photos (ie. resizing, etc.) before shuffling them into a slideshow and inserting in WordPress.

    It takes longer than you think..if you care to have a decent looking slideshow on your blog!

    • I have created slideshows in my test blogs and I agree with your statement about spending time on preparing the images to be used prior to uploading them. Some time ago now I learned that offline compression and resizing prior to image uploading is the best approach to image treament whether or not the images will be displayed in posts or pages, HTML tables, or in slideshows.

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