Popcosmo

a blog for everyone and their mothers

blog tips

#ChicChat Recap | Number Two

BLOG TIPS, EXTRASKim & Chloe

This past Tuesday’s #ChicChat was all about originality. There are so many new blogs sprouting and it’s hard to stay original and create original content. Because of that, we decided we all needed to share some advice and insight relating to originality. Here are some tweets that really stuck out — in the best way possible. Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 8.08.45 PM

Question One What are your initial thoughts on blogs and originality? I think pretty much every blog has a lot of similarity. It’s passion and personality that sets them apart!” — @evegagnon1 “It’s SO hard to be 100% original unless you are a serious trendsetter - even then you grab inspiration from somewhere” — @The_RachelRoss “The worst think ever is when people copy other bloggers because they think people will like it. Originality is best!” — @citrusandstyle

Question Two Do you think originality is starting to lose meaning now that there are so many blogs? “I don’t think it has to. But you have to make the effort to be original.” — @ThePeachBellini “The more blogs there are the harder it is to come up with something new, but more blogs equal more voices and opinions.” — @CarrieOnBlogs “No, because every blogger has a written voice and their own authentic personality.” — @helloscarblog

Question Three How do you keep YOUR blog original? “I just try and think of what I want to read and haven’t yet!” — @CarrieOnBlogs “I get inspiration from others around me, but put my own spin on it!” — @citrusandstyle “Such a good question and yet so difficult to answer… hmmm” — @stylecontext “I write thanks that make ME happy, things that inspire ME, motivate ME and challenge ME.” — @helloscarblog

Question Four What blog do you think should win the “most original” superlative? “Atlantic Pacific by @BlairEadieBEE for sure.” —  @citrusandstyle “I’m truly not saying this just because she is here but I honestly think it should be @fashionnewcomer.” — @CarrieOnBlogs “I love @pbloverblog! Her posts are always so relatable.” — @petitepastels “So, I will go with @abeautifulmess with my girls Elsie and Emma.” — @helloscarblog “Not sure if @ManRepeller qualifies as a blog anymore, but they put out content I would never be able to think of myself!” — @twolilelephants 

Be sure to check out last week’s #ChicChat recap! Thanks for reading! xox, Chloe

#ChicChat Recap | Number One

BLOG TIPS, EXTRASKim & Chloe

Every Tuesday night from 9-9:30 Eastern time I host a twitter chat that talks about all things blog related called #ChicChat. In the past we have talked about things from the importance of Instagram to contacting brands to coming up with creative post topics. Every week the topic is different and we always end up learning something new or gaining a piece of insight. I decided that every Thursday, starting today, I’m going to post a #ChicChat recap. coffeephoto via

So, this past Tuesday’s topic was “Common Blogger Mistakes” which was recommended by Scarleth from Hello Scar. We’ve all made mistakes when it comes to blogging and learning from our own mistakes is often a way to build ourselves up and learn new things. I’m not really sure how I’ll format these posts down the road, but for now, I’m going to show the question that I asked and then share a few tweets from that specific question that sparked some interest.

Here we go…

Question 1: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made while blogging? “getting into the comparison game-you can't judge anyone's blog success the same way! We're all at different stages.” - @somemoredunsmor “Without fail, not promoting them enough. I will go to the ends of the earth for others' posts...but mine? Um…” - @theideologue “underestimating the time it takes to maintain a blog” - @ThePeachBellini 

Question 2: What’s a mistake that you see new bloggers making? “copying other bloggers that have original content and not giving credit where it's due.” - @helloscarblog “Not having a clear point of view or not focusing in on a target market.” - @GalleriadiGiani “Too much self-promotion on other's blogs & social pages. It can look like spam, even though the intentions are good.” - @teresalauraxo “using dry language to share things they're passionate about. The blogging craft is re: conveying authentic passion.” -  @theideologue

Question 3: What’s one piece of advice you wish someone told you before you started blogging? “blog like no one's watching! i think this would've helped me post more expressively and not be so self-conscious” - @stylecontext “start with a few posts already in your arsenal so you're ahead, it's so easy to get behind on posts” - @alwayshunterb “that no matter how long you've been blogging you'll still feel brand new. You'll still Learn every day” - @ThePeachBellini “all the little stuff-every network to join,photo size for pinterest,social media scheduling,etc.” - @somemoredunsmor

Question 4: Is there anything that you wish you could re-do or take back regarding your blog? “I wish it were my job! I wish that I were brave enough to take the leap and do what I love! #failtoplanPlantofail” - @ThePeachBellini “No regrets, it's all a learning experience” - @GalleryPlaceDes “I wouldn't have tried to sound like anyone else for so long. I would've accepted that my "voice" was/is a needed one.” - @theideologue “I feel like I should've done more research prior to starting a blog. 1 thing I don't regret is my blog name!” - @diningonstyle “i wish i would've picked a better name! something more fun and descriptive. i think it's too late now” - @stylecontext

So there we have it! A short little recap. If you’re interested in joining next weeks chat, but aren’t really sure where to start, be sure to read this post explaining what a twitter chat is!

Have you ever participated in a twitter chat? If so, what's your favorite one? xox, Chloe

Podcasts

BLOG TIPS, EXTRASKim & Chloe

_DSC0028Hello lovelies. I'm probably the furthest thing from a trendsetter. I'd definitely call myself a trend follower before I would dream of calling myself a trendsetter. I never know what "the next big thing" is going to be, and frankly I'm totally ok with letting other people do the figuring out. However, I totally called it that podcasts were on the rise. I knew they were going to be big, and they really are starting to be hot and trendy... at least I think they are. So go me for being ahead of the curve. For once. Pats on the back are well deserved in my book.

_DSC0025

As you know, I just got my wisdom teeth removed. I haven't been able to sleep so well with all the medicines that I have been taking, so I popped on a podcast and it was an instant soother. It was also an inspiration kickstarter. I love listening to the radio (i.e. some segments on NPR) but being able to choose the topic of the podcast makes it all the cooler. I decided to compile a list of podcasts that I've recently discovered regarding blogging and creative inspiration. I haven't listened to all of them and some of them I just downloaded like .02 seconds before writing this post so bare with me.

_DSC0035 Here's my list:

  • The Lively Show
  • How They Blog
  • Elise Gets Crafty
  • Smart Passive Income
  • After The Jump
  • Seanwes Podcast

I have an iPhone and simply downloaded these podcasts through the Podcast App on my phone. It was super simple and each of these podcasts listed are free which is an added bonus! Let me know if you listen to any of these podcasts or if you have any that you listen to currently that I should add to my list.

Also, just for the heck of it, let's play trend spotter. Do you know of anything that's going to be "the next big thing?" I'd love to hear it! xox, Chloe

Bloggers Go Unplugged

BLOG TIPS, EXTRASKim & Chloe

unpluggedHappy September y'all. Isn't it crazy that we only have four more months of the year 2014. It has seriously flown by.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I'm going to be MIA for the week. Well not completely, but my bloggy besties and I were talking recently about how stressful blogging can be when life is whirling around you. I know for me these past few months have been absolutely insane, between interning in NYC, to moving across the country, to starting a new high school for my senior year. It's. Been. Crazy. I feel like I haven't had any time to just sit and relax and my blog friends are feeling the same way. We decided that we should start this little campaign so that we can remember that blogging is supposed to be fun and not feel like a chore. I will be posting sporadically throughout the week, because I love blogging too much to completely drop everything, but know that every post from here on out is written with a love of blogging. Also, you might have noticed my Instagram hiatus lately. I just haven't been enjoying posting so I didn't post. Sorry if you've missed me and I promise I'll be back soon.

Preptista, Citrus & Style, Stripes & Peonies, and The Blonde Prep will also be participating.

If you want to join in on this "Bloggers Go Unplugged" deal, then feel free to! We all need a little break sometimes. xox Chloe

How To Style Pictures On A White Background

BLOG TIPS, EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe

I’ve been getting a few emails recently asking how I take styled pictures on a stark white background. White backgrounds, for a blogger, are so important in showing items. The white allows the items to “pop” off the screen. White backgrounds as so important. The only problem is that sometimes the white isn’t so white. Often times the white turns out more on the yellow or grey side. And it can be VERY annoying. changing backgrounds in photos to white Today I’m going to save the day and tell you how I take my pictures on a white background so the white turns out white.

1. I use a white poster board as a background. They are cheap, moveable, and perfect for the job. 2. I then place my poster board near a window and turn off all lights. Natural light is the only way to go. Sometimes I have to wait until the next day to take pictures if I run out of time. It’s worth the wait to have natural light, trust me. 3. I shoot my camera on manual mode. This means that I can pick how exposed I want my picture. I typically overexpose my pictures on white backgrounds so that the white will be brighter. Sometimes overexposing doesn’t work (if you’re shooting a white or light colored object) so you just have to play around with it! 4. Once I am finally happy with a picture (sometimes it takes 100 shots of the same exact scene just with different angles) I upload the pictures on my computer. I then pick the one that looks best at first, aka minimal editing. 5. I then upload the picture in Photoshop and work around with it. I ALWAYS fix the “levels,” so that’s my starting point. I then also play around with the brightness and exposure. It usually depends on the picture for the amount you choose to apply of each. It’s like makeup ladies, the amount depends on the occasion.

_DSC0026_DSC0017whitefruitBEFORE

the before

This is for "levels" in Photoshop. ARROW

LEVELS sometimes you just gotta place a poster board in the middle of your kitchen to get the best light (even if it makes your dad mad because "you have an entire basement and and an office to do your work")

white background after

the after!

So there you have it! It’s pretty simple, but it did take me forever to figure it out. Taking styled pictures on a white background isn't always a piece of cake, but once you learn the process and practice you'll figure it out! Sometimes I just can’t get it so I start the whole process over with different natural light. I swear, the amount of natural light (or time of day) can completely screw you over or help you out.

Please let me know if this helped you out! I’d love to see your white background photos so tag us in your photo on social media (@popcosmo).

xox, Chloe

@popcosmo on Instagram

Teen Blogger Showcase

BLOG TIPS, EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe
preptista_

Earlier this month I attended Smart Girls Summit and had the amazing opportunity to meet some fabulous bloggers that are my age. One of the girls that I met was absolutely adorable and as sweet as can be so I decided to interview her for our Teen Blogger Showcase series. Meet Sammy. Like I said, Sammy is a sweetheart. She’s incredibly fashionable (duh, she has a fashion blog) and her Instagram game is always on point. Be sure to follow her blog and her Instagram, you won’t be sorry! xox, Chloe

preptista

Smart Girls Conference Recap

BLOG TIPS, EXTRASKim & Chloe
smart girls conference

If you follow us on Twitter (if you don't, then go follow us!! you definitely want to join us for #ChicChat on Tuesdays at 9EST!) then you would know that last week I had the chance to attend the Smart Girls Conference in New York City. I was able to go on behalf of Dormify to help work the booth and spread the word about who we are (you know, the cutest college & dorm decor EVER!) and I also was able to hear the speakers, well, speak. There were some amazing people there, from Shiza Shahid, the CEO & Co-Founder of the Malala Fund to Carly Heitlinger, from The College Prepster. Everyone had a different insight into what it is like to be a powerful woman, and it was seriously so inspiring! I also love that The Smart Girls Conference embraces "the power of smarts & the power of sisterhood" supporting working together to make everyone stronger instead of competing against each other. I'm lucky to have a group of blog friends that feel the same way, and besides being encouraged by all the powerful women speaking, I also had the chance to meet some of these blog friends in real life for the first time. Like I mentioned in my recent post, meeting blog friends is so cool. They understand that it takes 100 shots to get the right Instagram picture, that wearing the right outfit really is very important, and they just get the blogger's life. Since I had so much fun I decided that I would just share a whole bunch of picture with you guys. I hope you enjoy!!

onetwo six four five1

Oh and in case you’re wondering, the girls pictured (aka the sweetest girls ever) are Sammy from The Preptista, Frannie from the Blonde Prep, Caroline from Citrus & Style, and Sloane from Sailing the Sea of Style.

Hope you had a great weekend too!

xo ~chloe

 

Creative Classes online

BLOG TIPS, EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe
Creative classes for bloggers

Summer's here which means: No. More. School. So why am I so excited to start learning? Because now I can learn exactly what I want! Say what? That's right... I'm ready to start taking even more classes in all things creative. You know, those skills that aren't taught in school,  I'm looking at some creative classes online in photography, calligraphy, some more blogging skills, in-depth photoshop, and... well, I could just keep going. But there are classes for just about anything. I'm interested in more photography and photoshop and my mom wants to learn about coding, and basic DSLR cameras, and maybe even knitting. I'll let her tell you more about creative classes online. Let's get crafting! Creative classes for bloggers

CreativeLive has free live classes in photo & video, art & design, music & audio, craft & maker, money & life. Yeah, so just about everything! I've watched classes on dog photography, but I think I need beginner DSLR classes first. Chloe's interested in Advanced Lightroom and thinks posing and video sound fun too! What I like is that if you miss the classes, or you want to rematch them, you can pay a fee and have them forever. Perfect for bloggers are the graphic design class and a class for redesigning your blog

Lifehacker is a website that has some amazing tips. Simply search photography and you'll get some fantastic ideas and tips. They also have some information about classes occasionally. So, it's not a class or school, but there's always something useful.

Alt on Topic - most of you have hear of Alt Summit, a creative blog conference. While you may not have attended, you can attend classes online. About 1x per month, there are online blogging classes from blogging experts and social media gurus. The classes run all day and could be a quick fix to pick up a lot of info you would get at a conference. There's a cost... but hey, there's no airfare or hotel fees!

Infinite Skills - I like how you join and can learn any area you want for the time period. There is such a diverse range of topics from graphic design, web design, video editing, training in all the Adobe suite, to learning Excel.  You join per month, and have unlimited access to every video in all categories available. I've tried a course and enjoy how the videos are broken down into very small chunks of time.

Skillshare has classes in branding, digital illustration, digital photography entrepreneurship, fashion design, and Chloe's favorite: lettering! She's taken Calligraphy, Lettering for Designers, & Drawing Techniques for Pencil Portraits. I took the Basics of Photoshop. My recommendation as to whether or not the class will be good is to look at the approval rating and the number of students who have taken it.

Craftsy is more arts oriented and looks like you would be going to arts and crafts camp online. There are a ton of classes in knitting, quilting, cake decorating and even photography, jewelry making and paper crafts. I haven't taken any here, but this looks like a fun way to learn a new craft skill. This would be perfect for me to pick up knitting, but also for any day when someone, later this summer, dares to utter the dreaded, "I'm bored." There are a zillion solutions right here for everyone in our family!!

I'm ready for a free afternoon to take new creative classes online and gain a new skill or just try something different and fun... and with all the options literally at our fingertips, anything is possible!

Let me know if I missed one of your favorite places to learn online!

 

 

 

Styling Tips for Fashion posts

BLOG TIPS, EXTRAS, FASHIONKim & Chloe
best fashion instagrams

When we revamped our blog last year and started adding fashion posts (of OOTD or WIWN variety) we started scouring our favorite blogs to see what style of posts captured our attention when saw them on the page. We checked to see which posts made us stop in our tracks and look to see what they were wearing, and which posts had cute clothes but didn't really keep us on the page. We developed a checklist of a good style post that we kept in our head, but now it's time to share with you! fashion blogging tips

via Sea of Shoes

  1. Do not have backgrounds growing out of our heads or bodies! (i.e., trees, poles, etc)
  2. Movement and playfulness capture our eye!
  3. Natural light is best and the golden hour is the most flattering
  4. Show the whole outfit in at least 1 photo
  5. Vary the background according to the outfit
  6. Blurred out backgrounds focus the eye on the clothes
  7. Show detail shots, especially of accessories or interesting shoes
  8. Varying angles add visual interest
  9. Have enough photos, but not so many that just becomes repetitive
  10. Have fun & try to look natural, not forced

Someone who inspires our checklist? Gary Pepper Girl! Ok, she does travel to exotic locales practically every day, so of course her photos are absolutely to die for. Plus, many are taken by her boyfriend, so you know he is going to capture her in the most amazing, flattering light and position. But seriously, could her clothes, settings, and photos be any more swoon-worthy?

How to take a great OOTD picture

Winnie Detwa has one of our favorite Instagrams because her photos are ethereal. Most have an earthiness to them (go check out her blog and instagram to see) which is why this photo has always stuck in my mind! Plus, she happens to be one of the nicest people I've (Chloe) met. See how bold she is by having a solid against a solid?  The impact of the pink would be lost against a splashy background. Her eye is just so darned good and we'll always look to her for styling tips and inspiration!

best fashion instagrams

How amazing is Jessica of Tuula Vintage in this picture? A simple silhouette with a remarkable background.

how to take great fashion blog styling tips

via Tuula Vintage

Of course, this is only our list, and if you think of some major bloggers, they make their own rules which just goes to show you that you must create your own checklist and stick to what works for you! Some bloggers have the same background in most of their posts and only show one or two photos or don't even describe what they're wearing. But isn't it better to want more from a post than be overwhelmed? And some go to the other extreme and post such busy pictures that it's hard to tell if they have travel or fashion blogs; but,that's why there are so many blogs! We each have to find our own niche, our own comfort zone and just. rock. it.

Our list of styling tips works for us. Today. But it might change tomorrow, and each season brings a different perspective and each shoot has a new focus. Sometimes we hit a lot of points, sometimes we don't, and that's what makes creating our posts fun and challenging. Plus, where would we be without our beyond incredible photographers, Erin Trimble and Susan Stewart?  A fresh perspective and trained eye is always helpful and it's brought 2 new friends into our lives!

Who are your favorite fashion bloggers… and why do you like their posts? We'd love to hear what's on your list for a good fashion post!

What is #ChicChat?

BLOG TIPS, EXTRASKim & Chloe
#chicchat

The best twitter chats Each week on Tuesday from 9-9:30 EST, Chloe hosts #ChicChat. Although Chloe originally thought about having a chat for teens, #ChicChat has quickly evolved into a chat for bloggers of all ages who blog about various topics. Weekly themes are relevant to most bloggers, whether you blog about fashion, sports, lifestyle or crafts. We've discussed Past topics have included blog design and how to stay inspired, and networking, but the most popular chat so far was definitely the chat this week with our guest Robin Zachary of Prop Closet who answered questions about styling photos. As a former Creative Director of Bridal Guide Magazine, and present day stylist and teacher at NYC's Fashion Institute of Technology, she knows all the ins & outs of photo styling and spent her time busily answering questions!

Another highlight of #ChicChat is that we really get to know each other and connect on Twitter. Something that can be hard to do in a forum that where tweets bombard you faster than the temperatures have been changing lately from winter to spring and back again!

If you are new to Twitter chats and need some tips before joining, Chloe wrote a post explaining twitter chats for newbies. <---just click!

So drop any Tuesday between 9-9:30 EST… we look forward to chatting with you!

 

How to make a GIF… without Photoshop

All, BLOG TIPS, EXTRASKim & Chloe
How to Make a GIF without Photoshop

GIFs are all the rage, especially now that you can have GIFS on Pinterest, and there are tons of blog classes on how to make a GIF using Photoshop. But since Chloe is so proficient on Photoshop and the best I can do is turn it on, I haven't quite made it to a class. So when I found out about imgflip, I was dubious, but excited. I tried it out and was so impressed, that I wanted to share it with you! Get ready to learn how to make a GIF without Photoshop skills, y'all!

how to make GIFs

Here's how:

1. Take photos that you want to use to create your GIF or use graphics you've created. Save your images on your computer and make sure they are all the same size. Tip: If taking photos, the key to a successful GIF is to either use a tripod or have very steady hands. If you will be moving items to create a story, then definitely use a tripod since it's almost impossible to get your camera back in the same position, even if you have someone helping. We've found this to be true even when doing GIFS for fashion or style shoots. The less jiggle, the more successful your GIF will look.

2. Open up imgflip.

3. Click on the Images tab (top left).

4. Download your photos and arrange them in the order you want your story to be told to create your GIF. To remove a photo, simply drag it to the pink bar on the bottom that says "Drag images here to remove."

how to create GIFs

5. Once satisfied with your photos, set the width to 360 and height to 360 for a square photo (or 360 for the widest or highest), quality to 1, and click Private. Then click Generate GIF.

creating GIFS

6. Once downloaded, simply upload it to your blog like a regular photo (although after using it a few times, it will give you an image HTML which you can place on your website). Both are super-easy. And voilà, a GIF… and you didn't even need to learn Photoshop!

Creating the GIF is free, but the size is limited to 360 x 360, and supposedly there will be a watermark, and ad will be shown. To upgrade to the Pro version costs $9.95/mo. But as you can see, there is no watermark or ad in the one I created!

making a GIF without Photoshop

Have fun creating GIFs without Photoshop and leave your links to the ones you create in the comments below. We love creating and looking at them 'em!!

xo ~kim

New Year, New Blog Design

All, BLOG TIPS, EXTRASKim & Chloe
Blog Design

How to design the perfect blog layoutChloe and I are at it again… we can't seem to leave (almost) well enough alone and tweaked our blog design again. Maybe it's just the DIY-ers in us, maybe it's because we were on vacation and didn't have access to all our crafts, but one day, maybe it was a really snowy one, we just decided our website needed modifying. Again. Which got us thinking: what makes a blog design effective? What do we look for when we find a blog that makes us think gosh, our website needs updating yet again? Let's start at the top and work our way down, realizing this is what we like (i.e., tips) not hard and fast rules! Header: A header should be distinctive and express your personality and tell your reader who you are or what you do. If I had my way, Popcosmo would have one look and stay the same year to year. But that's me. Chloe, as a teen, is evolving and her taste is changing dramatically year to year. And since she is the designer, her opinion rules, so our header has changed frequently, but one element has stayed consistent: we've always had a heart somewhere in our logo. But we haven't been able to find a heart we like with this new logo!

Consistency is queen (behind creativity) even when your logo changes; but, if you're going to make a dramatic change, then more power to you. If you have a "signature," like our heart, then work around it. We tended to make a change when we rebrand, and then we tweaked the logo to and layout to better express us.

Also, popcosmo doesn't mean anything, we made sure that we mention that we "are a blog for moms, teens and everyone in-between" somewhere on our homepage. BOTH of these items (heart and tagline) are still being fiddled with by us, so check back to see how we resolve them :)

Here's our logo design evolution from our teen site to our present day mom/teen site above. The last two were designed by Chloe:How to design a logo Logo Design Logo Design

 

Navigation: Being able to access and navigate around a website should be easy. For instance, if it takes 3 click just to find a story, I'm leaving. Secondarily to reading what is on the landing page, you want your reader to be able to easily navigate through your site. There are typically 3 ways a reader will do this:

  • Menu - typically below the header or on the sidebar. Although they look great on the sidebar, Chloe designed ours below the header, which we both like the look of and the ease of for the reader. A simple drop-down menu is simple for the reader and instinctive when they are looking for where to go.
  • Search Bar - ours is above the fold on every page and critical since we have so many articles that go back more than a few pages
  • Highlighted Posts - We use WP plug-ins and saw a dramatic rise when we installed them. We also added some sections on the sidebar (those big black circles to your right) that weren't on the main menu (but are on the drop-down menu, i.e., Blog Tips). We also have our most popular posts highlighted on the sidebar. It seems a bit like overkill when I write this out, but each person reading a different story will see a different "popular" post or highlighted post and hopefully inspire them to linger longer.

Call to Action: Do you want your reader to sign up for emails or comment? Do you want them to pin a picture, G+, or follow you on Instagram? Then you have to ask very nicely, or hint very loudly, so we make sure our share buttons are prominent at the end of each story. I have to admit, we don't ask our readers to share enough (hey y'all, we love when you share, and we really love it when you follow us on Instagram or Twitter and especially when you leave a comment or share a DIY with us!) but the point is make sure you are asking your readers to do something when they visit you or they'll just pop by and leave.

Font and background:

Don't underestimate the power of design and font!  Chloe and I kid about it, but we'll absolutely pick a restaurant because of a cool font (hello Kitchen in Denver). Won't you leave a website that has a sloppy font and is impossible to read?

We do argue about centered fonts - I can't stand them, she loves them. So, this section is for her. Generally, script fonts are pretty but hard to read. 3-4 fonts should be plenty.  Since we are both font crazy, agreeing on fonts caused considerable arguments, but I think we've finally found a middle ground!

Sidebar: KISS. Yep, Keep It Simple, Stupid. We have so much information we'd love to put in our sidebar, but we just resist the urge. We don't run ads, so that's one thing that keeps it clean, but ads are $$$, so we are considering them. Just make sure they are kept to the same size or within the same block so it doesn't look cluttered. Another idea is to move your ads to the bottom of your sidebar or to the footer.

Happy Thanksgiving

Photos: The bigger the better. Yep, really. Well, sort of. Make them as wide as possible. Know your margins and make the width of your photos the same as your content. It's all about visual appeal and a photo that aligns with your copy is visually appealing. Of course, it can't always be the same width, so center them if they can't be as wide as your copy. If they are larger than your margins, then resize before importing to help with your website speed.

Here's why… you see the same photo above and below, but which looks better?

Happy Thanksgiving

Color: In this case, less is more. Generally, 3-4 colors make a pleasing web design palette and are visually appealing. But we've seen designs with more and less that also work. This is simply a style question of what best represents you, and is not jarring for your readers. Consider how much color will be in your photos / posts and make sure you won't overwhelm your reader, or conversely, that there will be enough color to interest your reader. But, don't forget about whitespace… it can be the difference between a good homepage and a great homepage. Whitespace separates blocks of information and can create balance on a page, which will give it uniformity without clutter.

Contact: Can your readers and brands reach you? Is your contact info on your homepage or readily apparent? Ours is on our advertising page, our press page, and who we are page. We want people to read about us to make sure it's a good fit, BUT we are considering adding an email icon to the homepage.

Consistency: Check the overall design for mood, consistency and balance. Consistency in design allows the eye to flow from one area to the next without distraction and enhances the reader's experience, which in the end, will make them want to come back. And isn't that what we all want?

Are there any web design tips you want to share? Or any web design quirks that drive you crazy? Or any web design advice you want to share with us?

xox ~Kim

 

 

 

 

Really Cool Business Cards

All, BLOG TIPS, EXTRASKim & Chloe
creative business cards

You all know that I I adore designing websites and and logos and have really enjoyed being able to design them for other people. So it's no surprise that I'm obsessed with looking at other peoples websites. But what I love even more than websites is business cards. Perhaps it's because my mom always says that "you never get a second chance to make a first impression." And when it comes to introductions of your blog, website or business, this advice is also true, which is why I think my mom and I are obsessed with business cards. When someone hands me a card that feels good, looks good, and somehow captures their character or the character of their blog, then I am totally impressed. And what do I do when I'm impressed (besides gushing so much that I not only embarrass them but also make a fool of myself)? I scope out their website! And isn't that exactly what you want someone to do when you hand them your card? As we've probably mentioned, we were at the #CricutExplore event sponsored by Cricut earlier this week. We were humbled to be invited with so many top crafting bloggers and meet people we'd been reading. We received some cool business cards, just a few of which we'll share with you. I wish we could have gotten a card from everyone (and I wish I could have taken the entire week off and stayed for Alt so I could have seen and learned more)! Next year….

cool business cards

left: The Proper Pinwheel's card is packaged in a clear pillow enveloped with an included tiny DIY banner in her color scheme and glitter dots and paper shreds which makes you feel like you are unwrapping a present. Sort of like when you scroll through her blog, it's a real treat!

middle: the card by Say Yes is bright and cheery, just like the site. Three cheers for perfect branding!

right: ok, so Kori Clark not only drew the spot near where I used to live and had my Bat Mitzvah in Rosemary Beach, Florida (is it a small world or what?!) but has the perfect card to showcase her talent as an illustrator and stationery designer. Her card folds fold up, there are 2-sided cards with her beyond adorable drawings inside.

business cards from alt

left: creativity without spending a cent? Crème de la Craft created her cards from cereal boxes, which represents her blog, since it's tagline is "DIY projects made from everyday objects."

middle: Handmade Charlotte's card is chic and simple with a bright back. It's bold and stands out, which totally matches Charlottes playful, sweet and generous personality.

right: sometimes simplicity speaks for itself, as in Brooklyn wedding designer Michelle Edgemont's bold gold leaf foil star.

creative business cards

left: Caravan Shoppe made an interactive rocket. Need we say more from a brand that creates downloadable templates for  you to create fab paper products at home. Branding perfection!

middle: The Cricut Explore cuts, scores, draws and cleans your room. Well, it probably could do the latter since it seems like it can do just about anything. And since a regular shape card turns into an origami-like box that I'm displaying on my desk, I'd say not only is the Cricut Explore a piece of art, so is this business card.

right: So my mom might have a girl crush on Whippy Cake and her adorable retro style and fashion-forward hair, and trust me, you will too when you take a look at her blog. Her card is simple and refreshing… just like her!

really cool business cards

As you might have noticed, I've changed the look of our blog a few times lately and we are pretty close to being finalized with how we like it. Pretty close! Which means, you guessed it, I can start designing our new business cards on Minted. And I have plenty of inspiration thanks to my new friends.

xo ~chloe

How to Get Traffic to your Website from Instagram

All, BLOG TIPS, EXTRAS, RANDOM STUFFKim & Chloe
How to get traffic from Instagram | Popcosmo

how to get traffic from Instagram Once we published our Instagram tips & tricks, we received lots of questions about Instagram, but the 2 that stood out were (a) what's the best way to get traffic to your website from Instagram without using a contest or giveaway & (b) how do I get my blog post pictures on Instagram? Here you go... our quick and simple answers with our tips to make the most of your Instagram!

The best way to get traffic to your blog posts is pretty common sense (but here area a few reminders):

1. A “sneak peak” or teaser picture. These pictures give your followers an insider look of an upcoming post or you could be working behind the scenes on your post. The goal? Curiosity! The next day we posted the finished product that we created with the items below, but aren't you dying to know what we made with napkins?! {Hint: who says Halloween can't be pink & green!}

2. Highlighting your most popular posts from the week or month on Instagram. Your readers might have missed a craft, outfit, or story and will be intrigued and want to check them out.

3. Last but not least, simply be yourself and create compelling and cohesive Instagram content. Your Instagram feed should have a unique style - this is our #1 tip! Create your own look and stick with it, just like you have your voice on your blog, you have your "look" or style on Instagram. Don't you always want to see the blog when you love the Instagram account? I do!

Besides the fact that Instagram is a compelling way to tell a visual story of your brand, just remember that it's a window into your website.

The other question that we are asked is “how the heck do I get a picture from my camera onto Instagram?” A lot of people pride themselves for solely taking iPhone pictures; however, if you want show your high quality work from a camera, fantastic. But please, don't tell everyone you take iPhone pics when you’re really using your super fancy DSLR - in other words, don't use "#nofilter". Ok? Ok. So here's how you get those fancy pics to Instagram:

1. Once you upload your pictures to your computer from your camera:

  • Email the picture you want to upload to yourself.
  • Then, open the picture on your phone from your mail app.
  • From there, just click the picture in your email and it will ask you what you want to do.
  • I typically save to camera roll and then open it up in one of my editing apps (click for an for editing app tutorial).  OR if you don't use editing apps, open Instagram and it will be in your Camera Roll.

If the picture file is too big, you may need to take a screen shot of the picture on your computer or your phone. This takes two seconds so it’s not a big deal!

2. Another way to post a blog picture onto your Instagram is after you’ve posted your picture on your blog,

  • Open your website on your phone.
  • Then click the image you want to use and save to camera roll.
  • Again, you'll simply need to open up Instagram or an editing app to access the photo.

Although it's another step to take in your daily blogging routine, Instagram is a fabulous way to drive traffic to your website with a quick visual peek into what you are doing... and tease your readers just enough so that they will be dying to check out what the rest of your post is all about. And we've found it draws in readers with everything from fashion posts, to DIY, to random stuff.

And hey, are you following us on Instagram @popcosmo!?

There 'ya go! Instagram those blog posts & let us know if you have any questions.

xox ~chloe

 

#ChicChat

BLOG TIPS, EXTRASKim & Chloe
#ChicChat | popcosmo

#ChicChat for teens

Join us on Twitter every Tuesday night from 9-9:30 EST for a brand new chat: #ChicChat! I'll be chatting about teen blogs and blogging... and more! Our goal is to have a chat for teens to collaborate, learn, share knowledge, and develop relationships with fellow teen bloggers.

October 1: Introduce your blog and yourself. Why did you start blogging and what are your goals? Let's visit each other's blogs comment on each other's posts!

October 8: What has been your most popular post? What post should have been popular? Don't be shy! We want to learn from each other - what worked and why? What post surprised you, disappointed you?

Looking forward to chatting with you, just use #ChicChat and you'll join us! Also, follow us on Twitter (@popcosmo) and let us know you'll be joining so we can send you a reminder!

If you want to learn more about Tweet Chats, check out the who, what, when, where, and why's here!

xox ~chloe