Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tips & Tricks Challenge

Welcome to the first Tips & Tricks post of this year's Busting the Newbie Blues!

Click to learn more about Busting the Newbie Blues!

Part of being a newbie is having a TON of questions (and, honestly, oldies have a lot of the same questions). I've answered a bunch of these questions last year through my Tips & Tricks series and I've compiled most of them here for you to browse through.

And, because January is all about signing up for challenges, I'm turning this into a mini challenge!

Don't worry, there aren't any big rules or requirements (I'm all about fudging challenge rules anyway). There aren't any levels or prizes. It's all very low key.

All you have to do is:
  1. Pick one thing (or more!) from the list below and DO IT
  2. Come back to this post and leave a comment telling us what you did
  3. Leave a link to your post/blog so we can all check out your results and give you lots and lots of praise!
Not sure how to leave a clickable link? Check out my Tips & Tricks post about anchor text.

What do you do?

Any of the following Tips & Tricks qualify, plus any future Tips & Tricks posted throughout this event. YOU CAN DO IT!

The List:

Blog Design


How to Make a Full-Screen Blog Header
How to Make a Sidebar Header
How to Fix Overhanging Sidebar Images

Icons and Buttons

How to Make a Button
How to Make a Scrolling Widget for Blog Buttons
How to Make Social Networking Icons (Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, etc)
How to Make an "Email Me" Link and Icon


How to Add a Signature to Posts
How to Customize a Comment Form Message

More HTML (made super simple)

How to Make Colored Boxes
How to Make Borders
How to Make a Progress Bar (for challenges)
How to Customize a Progress Bar

Attract Followers

Blog Promotion

How to Increase SEO with Post Titles
How to Increase Blog Readership with Search Engines
4 Ways to Gain Readers Using Comments

Suck Readers in for Hours!

How to Make Anchor Text
How to Make Named Attribution Jumps
How to Maximize Links, part 1
How to Maximize Links, part 2
How to Use Labels (Tags) to Increase Blog Traffic

Now go ahead and pick one! Make sure to come back here and share your success with us!

(And if you're having trouble, don't worry. Come back and ask questions so I can help you out.)


  1. If this feature was around when I first started blogging I would have had such an easier time getting used to everything! I can't even imagine all the time you put into all these links and advice! You're just so awesome! :)

  2. i always look forward to your tips and tricks since i started subscribing to your post feeds via Google Reader. i bookmarked this post because all the links of tricks i want to try (and hopefully apply) are on it! c",)

    thanks for sharing!

  3. Wow! All your tricks and tips help so much!!! So far I've only added the Goodreads button (which I've been trying to figure out for a few days now) to my blog, but I plan on using many more of your tips to help make my blog better :) Thanks!

  4. This is amazing! I love all this info. Tell you the first thing I'm doing is putting up a post about this awesome challenge. Thanks for all the info!

  5. I haven't done any of these at the moment, but your post on how to make a button was invaluable when I was creating one a few months ago.

  6. Challenge accepted.

    I made a blog button (something I've been dreading to do for like a year now) and I think it turned out pretty cool!

    The only thing I'm struggling with is how to make the text box underneath it with the code to actually "grab" the button.

    I love your how to's, they're very clear and easy to follow (:

    My button-adventure

  7. I can't even begin to tell you how helpful these tips and tricks were!! Let's see...

    I learned about LinkedWithin and how to install it, which you can now find on any of my posts @ Radiant Shadows

    I learned how to frame something in a box, which I did on my original Busting the Newbie Blues post, found here.

    And, and this is something I've wanted to know how to do for ages!, I learned how to insert a coloured box around my summaries :D! You can find an example of that on my review of Die For Me, here!

    Thank you SO so much for your helpful tutorials Small!!

    Radiant Shadows

  8. Thanks for providing this gold mine of information! I finally figured out how to do a blog roll!
    It's buried somewhere over on my blog!

  9. This is awesome. I always send my new blogger friends to your tips and tricks page when they have questions! Love that you're doing this :)

    La Toya (La Toya, Literally.)

  10. Thanks so much for doing this! I can't imagine the effort you must have put into creating all this how-tos. For myself, I made a customized comment form and added the LinkWithin widget.

    Thanks again!

  11. I've already taken advantage of some of your tips! Very Helpful! Thanks, Smalls. :)

  12. Thanks for a the amazing tips and all the effort you've put in them!

    I used your tips on "How to Make Named Attribution Jumps" for my Index Page. And I'll make my own social buttons soon. So stay tuned for that ... *lol*

    Anne (from Living in a Fairy World)

  13. Oh, dear Small!
    You're awesome
    I think I've tried almost all of your tutorials and they are so easy to follow! and they work!

    I still refer to the color-boxes one in times of need! and the progress bars too!

  14. I tried writing my next review using anchor words, and I also listed my blog in two more of the directories you suggested. I have to admit though, I'm too lazy to make a post at the moment. I've been doing blog stuff all day! But I wanted to thank you for all the tips and for the encouragement to get off our butts and better our blogs!

  15. I really enjoyed those posts. I'm glad that you put them together in one post for others to find (and me to revisit).

  16. Awesome feature! I made a button for my blog thanks to you.

    Check it out!


  17. Thank you for these tips! They're so handy and useful. I just made my blog social buttons and e-mail link. :D

  18. Katie, Thank you! I post them throughout the year and will have more coming :)

    Ao Bibliophile, I'm so happy you find them helpful! There is a button on my left sidebar that leads to a page I keep updated with all my Tips and Tricks posts. Good luck with them!

    Mackenzie, I'm so glad they do! :D Congrats with getting the Goodreads button up!

    Alyssa, Thank you! :D

    Alison, I'm glad I could help!

    Celine, Thank you! Your button looks fantastic, and I see now you've gotten the "grab it" code up. I'm so excited for you, congrats!

    Kelly, Fabulous!! Your blog looks great and I love the color you picked for your colored boxes. I'm so happy I was able to help :)

    Debz, You're so welcome! Your blog roll looks great! (I spy my button in there, too--Thank you!)

    La Toya, Aw, thank you so much!

    Respiring Thoughts, You're so welcome! I post up a new Tips & Tricks posts at least once a month. Congrats on customizing your comment form (very nice message!) and successfully adding the LinkWithin widget!

    Missie, I know you have :) I'm glad they've been able to help you!

    Anne, You're so welcome! Very nice job with the named attribution jumps! Go you for tackling a tougher one! If you need a hand with it in the future (blogger loves throwing fits with that particular code) just shoot me an email :) Good luck with the social buttons!

    Alex, I'm so happy to hear that! You bring a smile to my face :)

    Natalie, Awesome! And of course you're very welcome :) You don't have to make a post for this challenge. Commenting back here like you did is all you have to do--easy peasy :)

    Alexis, I'm so happy you liked them! I also have a button on the left sidebar called "blogging tips & tricks" where I update the page with all of my new T&T posts.

    Readaholicme, I'm so happy to hear that! Your button looks fantastic!

  19. Elena, You're welcome! They look great--congrats! :D

  20. I adjusted the title of my blog to make it easier to remember, and also tried making a button for a series of posts I'm going to do about my New Year's Writing Resolution. All your Tips and Tricks were clear, easy to follow, and super helpful! Thanks so much!

    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

  21. I actually did the linkedwithin thing earlier today :) But I am pretty excited that from your post I now know how to make colored boxes. I also added my blog to the big search engines.

    My first colored box: Colored Box Adventure

  22. I also added my button with the grab it code. Thanks for making posts like this. It's very kind.

  23. Thank you SO MUCH for this! I have finally been able to add a progress bar to my challenges! Googled it a while ago but hadn't found what I was looking for. Thank you again! I'll be favoriting this post to come back to.

    Last column in my right sidebar:

  24. I've made colored boxes! I should probably not be as excited about this as I am, but I'm kind of ridiculously proud of myself for this accomplishment. Even if it might have taken me like a week to get everything right. Thank you so much for all of your Tips & Tricks!

  25. Lauren, I love the title of your blog :) Congrats on making a button! I'm so glad these tips and tricks helped!

    The Night Bookmobile, Oh wow, your colored box looks awesome! I love how it's two-tone. Congrats on all you've accomplished!

    Angie, You're so welcome! Your progress bars look great! :D

    Eden, Your colored boxes look great! You should be proud of yourself! :D

  26. I'd love to try to teach myself how to make better borders and colored boxes for my posts...but this point and I can't even get a quote box to go where I want it to or include what I want it to. I can't format anything...spacing, fonts, it seems pointless:(

    ♥ Melissa @ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

  27. Thank you so much for this post! I've come back to it again and again while setting up my blog! The template I use already had some of what you suggested in place, and my husband is a whiz at web design and html, but I did the signature all by myself (Woohoo! Go me!), and the anchor text how-to has helped me when commenting! And I have bookmarked this page because I would like to do lots of the other things you have suggested, like signing up in a book blog directory, etc.

    Thanks again!

    Andrea (The Overstuffed Bookcase)

  28. This is such a great idea... I only wish I had more time to actually complete it! I would love to improve my blog design - not completely redo it, just add to it. It's going to have to wait a bit though.

    By the way, I think a good tutorial to have for newbie bloggers would be how to remove captcha from their comments - I've noticed quite a few of the new bloggers I've visited through this event still have it. Is there any way to explain to them - in the nicest way possible - that it's hella annoying?! You should see this one screen capture I've taken of a captcha that asked me to type the word "feces" to get my comment through. FECES!!

    Eep, sorry for yelling such a crude word at you, but I mean, seriously! Rude.


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