Call for posts – Be a part of Florence Finds!

If you’re a daily visitor round here and have been for some time, you’ll know that things have changed somewhat in the last year or so. When Florence Finds started I was working part time and blogged twice daily. As life changed in January 2013 I dropped to a single post a day and managed so much better. More recently, it’s been around 4 times a week. The change has been for a number of reasons… my work has become busier and busier, demanding later nights and making me jealously guard my none work time with Pete and friends or family. The thing is, when I started, I was used to working all day at work and then working all night blogging and I had more free time to write about what I was doing, out and about. Now I have an actual life too, the more I have, the more I want. Bottom line, Florence Finds is a sideline, a hobby and whilst I would never be without the fabulous community I have built here (I really don’t know what I would have done without your help and advice in recent weeks and months,) my real life has to come first. And I am so much happier for it.


Caroline’s Pigeon bedroom makeover

In the back of my mind has also been that life is going to change in a major way again very soon when this baby arrives and I have no idea how that will fit in with blogging. I am very aware that this blog has become very pregnancy and baby related and I can only apologise to those whom that doesn’t interest and are consequently sad – I know because I have been there with some of my previously favourite blogs. Although I was always interested for future reference. 😉 All I can say is that the consistent feedback I get is that people want to know what I am doing, decorating, seeing, travelling and thinking so the blog has become more and more a reflection of my life. Hopefully that resonates with you at similar, or different stages of yours.


Amy’s trip of a lifetime to Hawaii

So, what is going to happen when baby arrives? Honestly, in the short term I don’t know. I want to take a few weeks off to just enjoy being with Pete and baby in our new little family and I know I will need time to adjust, get settled into feeding and some semblance of new normality and sleep! However I also know that I will want to update you guys, probably ask a whole heap of questions and of course to introduce you to baby. So I may pop in here and there. I may also pre-prepare some posts while in my mat leave and post them sporadically to keep you all going a couple of times a week until I can come back. It might be a long time before I can commit to a regular schedule but I hope you’ll all bear with me.


Pear and Caramel cake by Asma

If any of you want to help or get involved, I would love to have you. Florence Finds has always been about community and that’s why I maintain a roster of contributors who offer something different to my own experiences and interests. If you think you can write a short post that is similar to the kinds of things I post here, I would love to feature it, so I’m asking for your submissions. Here are a few guidelines and ideas: (I’ve linked to previous posts to give you some guidance of how I would tackle a similar post)


Victoria’s Chocolate walking tour of London

A note on images.
Everybody worries about images when submitting things to the blog. High quality images are one of the main factors in what makes a blog enjoyable to read but not everyone has a fancy camera. The main thing to do is make sure you have good natural lighting (easy in summer!) and take a mixture of zoomed in vignettes (close up detail shots) and wide angle full body/whole room type shots. For hotels, days out etc, you might want to include web links and I can often get images from websites or online. If you’re still worried, Instagram solves everything and I’m always happy to feature Instagram filtered shots to make things look a little more consistent! Above all have fun with it. I really enjoy taking photos for the blog (well, not the outfit ones perhaps!) and styling them to exercise some creative muscle!

So, if you think you can contribute, just email me your post and images or weblinks to hello@florencefinds.com and mark it submission – I will be eternally grateful!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS The pictures in the post are all from guest posts written for Florence Finds, but non-regular contributors, (with the exception of Victoria.)

Monday Must Have: Everlapse

Recently life seems to have been flying past me, I guess that’s what happens when you’ve got some kind of big life event on like moving house! Despite that I managed to spot this on Twitter, (via DesignMom) and thought it was worth sharing.

Everlapse is a nifty little app that creates a highlights reel of your 20 most liked Instagram snaps (that’s what you can see up there at the top of this post) that you can share across social media, via email or embed as I have done on the blog.

Where it comes into it’s own however is the way you can download the actual Everlapse app (the above trick is done by signing in online via Instagram) and then create your own showreels. As a blogger I quite fancied doing this for my next monthly round up – it’s quick easy and a little bit more fun than a static image, although I guess it may have issues for those with slower connections. You can embed the reels you make via the app to a website, or share them on twitter. For now, if you’re not a blogger and want this for personal use, I can see it lending itself really well to making showreels of perhaps a monthly baby shot to post on facebook for a baby birthday, or maybe anything your want to show the progress of, a diy project or decorating job?

What do you think readers? Go and have a litle play!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Blogging Laid Bare #2: Getting started.

This afternoon, I thought I would continue the Blogging Laid Bare series with some serious basics, how to get started. Many of you might be reading this and thinking, well, I already blog so I’m already started, but there may be some of you wanting to either start a blog or to take an existing blog from a basic blogging platform to something like WordPress. Plus every series needs a beginning right?

Ok so here goes.

1. Buy your Domain
First things first, you need a name. I can’t help you there, but once you’re decided on one (or intact if you have a name like www.florencefinds.blogspot.com which is hosted by Blogger for example and want to become self hosted) you have to buy the domain. Purchase your domain for 2 years as it’s cheaper but it also looks better to search engines. It shows you have staying power. Think about buying your domain with a number of different endings. The ideal would be .co.uk and .com, .net and .eu This is all about protecting your brand. If someone else has the domain you use but with a different ending it leaves you open to it coming up in search engines and redirecting to a site of their choice. Who you purchase your domain from is up to you but I think it’s easier to purchase it through your host if you can, which leads me to my next step.

2. Find a hoster
Imagine the internet like a blank wall. When you find a host you are finding someone who will pin your website or blog up on that wall for everyone to see, on the internet. The amount of wall space you get is often determined by how much you pay, and how much storage that buys you.

There are many hosters out there and the best way to find one is ask around your friends or twitter contacts for recommendations. Compare prices and how many page views you will get for your money (some packages give you a limit and when you exceed that the site goes down.) Look for an unlimited package if you expect high traffic.

3. Choose a platform
For me, it’s all about WordPress. I had used it before when I started Florence Finds but nowhere near to the level I have learnt to do so. It’s powerful and super flexible so you can tweak thousands of pre-designed themes or start from scratch on your own design. It also has loads of widgets that you can drop into your theme (for example the three columns ‘Blogroll’, ‘Your Favourites’ and ‘What people are saying’ at the bottom of the Florence Finds page are all widgets,) and there is infinite variety on what you can choose to include.

The other major hosted is Typepad, which I have no experience of but Annabel over at Love My Dress uses and although she acknowledges it’s glitches, she’s a big advocate of their individual service. (You can read more from Annabels ‘Being self-employed‘ series and particularly her blog redesign here, or shoot her a tweet, I’m sure she’d be happy to answer any queries.)

4. Design your blog (or choose a ‘theme’)
Once you’ve got your domain name and a hosted, you can start to think about how your blog is going to look. The easiest thing to do here is to choose a ‘theme’, basically a pre-designed blog template. Theme’s are often free, or for better, more customisable ones with more options you can choose to pay for one. Exen the most basic often have options, for changing the font colour for example. The most expensive option is to commission a designer to custom design a blog to your specifications. That might take the form of starting with vague inspiration and ideas, or taking a design you have sketched out or planned on the computer to be translated into a custom theme.

Florence Finds was designed by me in Pages (Apple’s equivalent software to Microsoft Word and Publisher combined.) It’s a very simple design and after a bit of reading I started to translate it into reality by tweaking a WordPress theme, Thematic – a widely used theme for starting from the very basics. Eventually reading would no longer suffice and I had to call in an expert – I asked Ian from Swash and Fold to help me and he started again with Twenty Eleven to produce what you see today. If you need help like I did, Ian‘s your man.

5. Get started!
Kind of an obvious one, but you can go on forever tweaking your theme, making it look perfect and obsessing over what people think when you launch. chances are you may not have an instant readership if you’re new, so people will take you as they find you and whilst a poor blog design discourages people from coming back, really it’s the content that is King.

I hope you’ve found todays instalment useful and if you have any questions, feel free to throw them out there in the comments box below. Also, as I said last time if there’s something you would like to see covered in the series, just let me know 🙂

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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