Go BIG or go Home Like Cara Santana: How to enlarge your featured images on WordPress

How to enlarge your featured images


Last week I had a lovely lunch with Cara Santana of Caradisclothed.com. Not even a minute in we were knee deep in blog talk and strategy – we couldn’t help ourselves!


After I help her upgrade theFEED on her mobile site, Cara asked me a blog question.


Cara Santana: How to enlarge your featured images

The Question: How can I make my blog post featured image larger on my desktop site so it’s more engaging for my readers?



I agreed with Cara that large images are more engaging for your readers. You can change your featured image sizes by going to Settings > Media. After you do this you will need t update your featured images for all your previous blog posts to this new size as WordPress will just make the new featured images the new size.


To do this, download a plugin called “Regenerate Thumbnails“, this allows you to bulk change all your featured images!


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That Time I Hosted A Documentary for BBC On Coding

Documentary BBC on Coding


Last year I had the opportunity to film a documentary for the BBC on Coding. It was the funniest and craziest experience of my life so far! When I was younger I actually wanted to be a presenter and had zero idea I’d end up being a developer so it was great to do something which combined the too.


During the weeks of filming I met some super inspiring people who have helped shaped chloédigital today and for that I am eternally grateful


You can watch it here:



Direct Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01w590p



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The Fashion Blogger’s Web Design Check List: 15 Questions to ask you blog designer/developer

Fashion Blogger Web Design Check List


This weekend, I was coding a blog revamp for the lovely Vicki of VickiArcher.com. When her site was moved from Blogger to WordPress by her previous developer it was done so half heartedly. The theme that was used on her new WordPress site was a visual editor theme, which means it’s not made for developers it’s made for bloggers who want to make their blog without code. Call me bias, but I am not a big fan of these. On the surface they seem cool but when you want to take sh** to the next level you wind up in a bit of a pickle. This is what happened with Vicki, so we decided to bite the bullet and remake her site with good old fashion code, positioning her in good-stead for when she wants to do more in the long run.


Whilst coding away I was thinking about other bloggers and how you may find yourself in a similar predicament, actually saying that I know you do because more often than not I get emails telling me your previous developer seemed so amazing on the surface but the final product wasn’t what you wanted and now you feel a little cheated.


It is super important to make sure you team with the right people and your site is made for the long haul. I am sure you have dreams/goals/plans, I’d like to thinking you do anyways – that is why it is important to make sure you are building the right foundations from the outset. Can you imagine a shop with crap foundations? That shop is falling down!


When talking to a potential developer make sure to ask them the right questions but at the same time remember they are the expert and not you – otherwise you would be coding your new site yourself. There is nothing worse than when I get an email from a blogger telling me exactly what they want and what pages – errr I thought I was supposed to be the developer, you did email me RIGHT?


It’s best to find a happy medium where by your creative vision combined with a blog designer/developers, mixed in with their technical know how, it’s a relationship – you need to get on!


Below is a web design check list of questions you should be asking your blog designer/developer before committing to making your site with them:

  1. Can I see some work you’ve done?

    Ask them for some links of work they completed themselves, also ask what functionality in these projects are similar to what you might need.

  2. If we get going, can we sign a contract?

    Some people fear signing a contract thinking it is more beneficial for the blog designer/developer than it is for you as the blogger. Wrong. It’s beneficial for you both so all parties know what is to be expected.

  3. How and where will my website be hosted?

    It’s important to know if the hosting provider will cater to your needs. If you get a lot of traffic then make sure the available bandwidth and disk space is enough for your site. Also find out if the hosting provider are quick at replying about issues. Companies like GoDaddy and Bluehost, have 24/7 numbers and chat support which is really handy if you are ever in a pickle in the future.

  4. What access do I get to my new website?

    Make sure you get full access to everything, included your Server/Hosting details, domain name, and administrator login.

  5. How will you make it easy for me to manage the content on my website?

    Find out what content areas on your site will be accessible and edited by you.

  6. If it’s a WordPress site, ask what plugins will be included with the initial install and why?

    There are some key plugins that a blog designer/developer should install for you e.g. Yoast’s SEO and Google Analytics Plugins

  7. What will you be doing to preserve my current website’s SEO value?

  8. What SEO fundamentals will be included with my website?

  9. How will the website convert readers?

    This question is something for you to think about also, if you rely solely on your blog designer/developer to make sure that your blog converts, then you will probably end up disappointed. Every blog should have a conversion strategy, it’s how you work out if your efforts are a success or not. Tell your blog designer/developer who your target audience is, what’s your blog USP (unique selling proposition), what your main call to action’s (way’s readers convert) are, what your inbound lead process is (how visitors get to your site. e.g. search engine traffic, social media etc.). Once this information is clearly communicated with your blog designer/developer, then they should be able to use this information to properly design and develop the proper elements to attract, capture and log conversions for you.

  10. What will you be doing to keep my site secure?

    Although CMS’s like WordPress are amazing they can be vulnerable to being hacked. However, hacking should never be an issue as long as your blog designer/developer properly codes the your blog to prevent easy access for hackers, uses reputable themes and plugins and use good security tools.

  11. Will you be performing core theme and plugin updates as they become available?

    Get a clear understanding of who will be responsible for keeping these things updated, there is no point assuming as this will get you in to trouble. If you’re paying a monthly service fee, then your blog designer/developer really should be. If you’re not paying for some type of service plan, then you will need to do it. Don’t go emailing your blog designer/developer to make updates when you are not paying them any more. This isn’t charity work!

  12. How easy will it be to add features / functionality to my website in the future?

    This questions is oh so key. It is not just about now, you are building for the long haul, so you need to know what position you are with your blog designer/developer when it comes to changing or adding new plugins, changing themes, adding page template etc. Don’t expect these things to be included unless you have a support plan with your blog designer/developer that includes some allotted time for this technical support.

  13. What will be used to help me track my blog traffic?

    Important things to track on your site include traffic, site performance, engagement, and conversion. You can do these using free tools like Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.

  14. How do I request help if I need something and is this included in what I am paying for?

    If you are the type of person who would like to rely on your blog designer/developer to answer questions for you then find out if this is included or if it will be extra. Also find out what is the quickest way to get a response on a question? What hours can I expect you to be available for support? What type of response time can I expect? How much technical support is included with my monthly fee? Does this not cover any certain types of support?

  15. Are there any additional fees outside of what I have paid / am paying?

    No one likes to be screwed over especially after spending money on a new website.



More Resources Here



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How To Create An Animated Gif Featured Image on WordPress

I am working on an email series for theFEED users of helpful tips they can apply to their mobile site!
 
In the email series one of the emails will cover how create an Animated Gif Featured Image on mobile so I am creating this blog post for further information and to help others who are interested in creating the same effect!
 
Here is the animated gif I made using, gifmaker.me. I took 5 shoes from Nasty Gal Shoe Cult as an example.
 
Animated Gif Featured Image nastygal-shoecult
 
Out the box, WordPress doesn’t allow you to have featured images as animated gifs because your theme uses a resized version of the actual image you upload, so it’s not actually using the original animated gif you uploaded and therefore it becomes a static gif.
 
The workaround that you can do is upload an animated gif as the FIRST image you upload through the WordPress Media Uploader from within the specift blog post edit screen. Then don’t upload a featured image through the official setting in WordPress.
 
Featured Image
 
This way theFEED will take the first image an apply it as the blog post featured image and because it will grab the original it will stay as an animated gif. BOOM!
 
This could work for desktop blogs as well if you use a plugin like Autoset Featured Image or Automatic Featured Image Posts.
 
Here is what this blog post looks on mobile. Cool huh?

 
nastygal-shoecult-iphone
 

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Updated: How to move your blog from Blogger to WordPress!

Every few days I get an email from a blogger asking me about moving their blog from Blogger to WordPress. This is even more so now as on theFEED signup page their is an FAQ which asks, “What If I am not on WordPress at all?”, so when a person see’s this question they email me asking how to move over. I then send them a similar email on how this can be done without much assistance from a developer and they are shocked that their mystery has been solved!
 
I got one of these very email’s this morning from a lovely Canadian blogger called Dawn Ngo of DawnNgo.blogspot.ca. She Asked:

 

blogger to wordpress

I’m interested in using theFEED, however I’m currently blogger based and I have already purchased my theme and developed traffic on blogger so it’s a big hard for me to make the switch as I have already established myself on blogger! Is there any way you could help me make the switch to WordPress or if you have any tips/advice?

 

Well I am here to tell her, and every other style blogger in the same predicament you CAN move to WordPress yourself! WHAT WHAT? Did I really say that? I bet you were expecting me to say it’s going to cost you sh** loads of money. Not on my watch!
 
Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can move you blog from Blogger to WordPress, with screenshots and EVERYTHING. This one’s for you Dawn!

 

1. Find website hosting with WordPress One Click Install and Domain Name Included

There are hosting services out there that make it easy to set up your WordPress blog, a great example is Bluehost. For little cost you can have hosting and a domain name within the same package. Once you’ve signed up, their is a button which you can click to set up your WordPress blog. Click Here to watch a video tutorial which shows you how!

2. Find a Premium WordPress Theme

After you are set up with your new WordPress site, you’ll need a super hot theme for your new blog. There are LOADS out there to choose from and none should cost you more than $100USD. My blogger friend Blair from Leap Marketing and Design makes premium pre-fab WordPress templates for only $70USD and their made specifically for Style Bloggers, which you can find here. Alternatively if you head over to ThemeForest Marketplace and search for WordPress theme plus your requirements (e.g. minimal layout, white background etc), you’ll find loads here too.
 
To upload your WordPress theme to your new WordPress backend, simple navigate to the side menu and click Appearances > Themes. Then from the new page Click “Add New”
 
Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 09.47.28
 
add new screenshot
  

3. Uploading your Blogger content to WordPress

In your new WordPress backend, navigate to Tools > Import. From the new page click “Blogger” from the menu. A popup will appear asking you to install the Blogger Importer, hit “Install Now”. From the new page “Activate Plugin & Run Importer” and then follow the instructions on screen to import your content from Blogger to WordPress.
 
Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 10.04.15

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 10.00.54
 
Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 10.01.16
 
Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 10.01.45
 
Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 10.02.12
  

4. Configure Blog Theme Settings

Dependent on what theme you purchased for your new WordPress blog, they will be settings you can configure, to change the colors, add your logo etc. Make sure to do this and preview what your new logo looks like. You can always get a new theme if you are not completely satisfied.  

5. Google Analytics

Make sure to add a new Google Analytics (click here for a cool plugin that helps you do this) code for this Worpdress blog. DON’T use the one from your blogger blog as you want to track the difference in readership. Take note that moving isn’t going to make your readership sky rocket straight away, as with any transition things take time and you readers need to read just.  

6. Use This Blogger To WordPress Plugin to redirect all your blogspot blog post visits to your new wordpress blog!

There is a really cool tool called “Blogger to WordPress Redirection”, which generates a snippet of code for you to insert into your now old blogspot blog in-order to redirect your readers to your new blog. Click here to find out more about the plugin and watch the helpful how-to video.  

7. Tell The World You Have Moved – Repeatedly!

After you are 100% happy, tell everyone on all your social media channels, at your blogger meetups, your book club, your dentist etc – NICELY until they get the message. Make sure to convey the message in a positive uplifting way, the fact that you are bigger and better now and mean serious business so this switch is a result of that.
 
Keep your OLD blog alive until traffic moves to your new blog. There is no hurry to delete it and Google won’t so you don’t have to either.

 

That’s it! Need any further help? Let me know!

 

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theFEEDrs

theFEEDrs

I just had to share this image of some of theFEEDrs, look at all those beautiful faces!
 
This image took me about 6hours to make can you believe it? I set aside about 2hours but seriously underestimated how long it would to take to go on everyone’s Instagram and extract their profile pic!
 
I made this for the rewardStyle newsletter that went out to intro publishers to theFEED and thankful it went down well.
 
Let’s keep on keeping on!
 
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The Blogger Freak Out Email: Part Two // WordPress Timezone

You know how I said last week that I get these blogger freak out emails which make it seem like the world is ending? I got another one today, courtesy of Larissa aka Larz of LivinLikeLarz.com. Don’t get me wrong I love Larz, she is only 19 years old and she is achieving ALOT in the blogging world, but she freaked out today because her blog post wouldn’t publish. I guess it was actually a big deal because it was for Teen Vogue and Sephora so maybe the freak out was warranted!
 
Nonetheless she asked:

 

livinlikelarz
 

The Question: My blog post was scheduled but never posted on time, so I went in to manually publish it and every time I try to, it reverts back to being scheduled again! What’s going on?

 
 
I have heard this issue a few times and I get that it is frustrating. Luckily it is an easy fix.
 
I am not 100% as to why it happens but WordPress timezone settings changes sometimes, maybe because you are in a different location then when you first set your WordPress site, actually that is probably why. If/When you ever have this issue, have a look in your settings, at the timezone WordPress says you are currently in. If it is wrong, then choose where you are from the dropdown or manually set it from the UTC options.
 
This is a screenshot from my WordPress timezone settings. You’ll notice, because of daylight saving hours, it says my current timezone is an hour before the time actually is. What I have done here is chosen UTC+1 so my WordPress time is London time right now.
 
wordpress timezone
 
That’s it, if you go back to the blog post that would not publish, it will now!

 

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Coding theFEED, the late night edition

coding theFEED
 
It’s 23:17 and I am up coding the next version of theFEED. I am super excited about this next version I can hardly breathe (too dramatic?). This next edit is all about the rewardStyle shop, making it more customisable than it is now and really allowing the publisher to curate a shop feed of products for their followers.
 
When I am excited about coding something I just want it to be here already and sometimes don’t want to actually go through the process of coding it! It appears simple when it’s finished but coding the “effortless” things are actually the things that take the most time!
 
I don’t mind being up late coding, I often have to force myself to go to sleep as I can see day breaking outside my window. Now I know that puts me in the ultimate geek category but I love it. I had a chat with my friend early today and he was making fun of his web developer who stays up late to code his site and I was like MATE, those are my peoples!
 
When you love what you do in any industry you never want to stop doing it, because it’s not work for you – it’s fun, and who wants to stop having fun? That’s not to say that sometimes it’s not difficult. I often come up with bug’s coding theFEED that I don’t on face value know how to fix, but I revel in the challenge of finding the solution – as I have faith that I can and will do – regardless of how long it takes!
 
I’ve tried to fix bugs in the past that have taken DAYS, days staring at the same page, countless refreshes to see if the small piece of code I changed fixed the problem – can you imagine! But there is no, I mean NO great feeling then working on something for such a long time then finally figuring out what the problem was, it feels so good! The best part about it is once you’ve solved it once, you now know the solution for life!
 
Therefore I count all bugs as a win! Gotta stay positive out here =]
 
Okay happy rant over, I am going back to my code.

 

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Why your Image File Size is Slowing Down Your Blog!

The other evening, I called Las Vegas (well not the actually city!) to speak to the lovely Ashley, who is one half of TheAllureAvenue.com. She blogs with her Las Vegas born bestie Kristen which I thought was so cool – to girls on a blogging mission! I called Ashley to help her set up theFEED on their blog mobile site and whilst doing so, Ashley asked me a question about their desktop blog site speed.
 

allureavenue

The Question: Why is our site loading so slowly?! We think it’s our slider but we love it so much and don’t want to get rid!

 

If you go on their blog you’ll notice they have an image slider at the top of their site. This slider takes a while to load and because it takes up most of the page it appears to a reader that the whole site has not loaded even though if you scroll down you’ll notice the rest of the blog has already loaded! It is not necessarily the case that the girl’s entire site is loading slow just the slider which could cause a reader to leave the site and we for sure don’t want that!
 
(the page when the slider is loading)
 
allureavenue
 
(the page when the slider has loaded)
 
allureavenue
 
I did a little investigating, for the girls and the reason why Ashley and Kristen’s image slider is loading so slowly is because the images they are uploading to it are way way way way WAYYYYYY to big. I mean WAY.
 

Let me break it down:

 
Ashley and Kristen’s image slider dimensions are 920px by 500px however the images they are uploading for it are MAAAWHOOOISIVE! The image size they are uploading is 4752px by 3168px. Don’t worry girls this is a common mistake, you’ve gone out and done a lovely photo shoot then uploaded your images straight from your digital camera. This is a big no no. Before uploading to wordpress you should use an Image Optimizer to reduce the dimension size e.g. to 920px by 500px and image file size so it’s alot smaller.
 
The first image in the slider, on girl’s blog is the one below. The image as is, uploaded to their slider is 2MB, which if you think about it logically, there are 9 images in the slider therefore loading about 18MB in total which is Bananas with a capital ‘B’! I took this image and ran it through Photoshop’s Image Optimization Tool (alternative online version can be found here) and changed the dimensions to fit the slider. I managed to reduce this image file size down to 569KB. This is a image file size reduction of 75% !
 
allureavenue
 
If Ashley and Kirsten reduce all the image file sizes, in total the slider will load 4.5MB instead of 18MB which will, in turn, load a lot quicker.
 
The moral of this story is to Optimize (with a capital ‘O’ for effect =]) your photo’s before uploading them to your blog, not just for slider’s but for blog posts as well!
 
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London and Mules!

 

Zara Mules London

 

London weather is insanity! You’ll be happy walking along on a gloriously sunny day in your Zara mules, then boom, it starts raining! One would think I’d be used to it now after 25 years but I’m a dreamer who lives in hope! Yesterday I sent out the first eNewsletter to theFEEDr’s from our brand spanking new template which was very exciting.
 
I added a little personal note telling everyone how happy I was that London had sunshine. Literally, as soon as I clicked the send button, it started raining!
 
Just My Luck =]

 

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