Geekalicious Recommends... August 2012

Geekalicious Recommends

Welcome to the first in a monthly series of "Geekalicious Recommends" in which I share other geek and techy pages I've been reading around t'internet.


Let's start with one of my favourite sites - SocialMouths.  A post with "cutting through the bullshit" in the title is bound to make me want to read it, especially when the main subject is SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).  Here, the SocialMouths team explain that the SEO strategy that works is to
"Create fantastic content as often as possible, share it with other website owners frequently, and try to get as many links as possible."
which sounds obvious but sometimes it's the simple explanation that makes penny drop! Read more about The Only SEO Strategy That Works on their blog.


I noticed that the Tots100 team have finally got their heads around StumbleUpon and posted up a list of their favourite finds from the last couple of weeks.  Do you use StumbleUpon yet?  You can find out how to start by using my great tutorial - What Is StumbleUpon? - which shows you how to use StumbleUpon to your advantage as a blogger and a web user but don't blame me when you're also addicted!


The next link is from ProBlogger - a website that I could spend all day on, if I'm being totally honest.  I shared this link all over my social network this week because I think the infographic makes some very good points when explaining what to put above the fold on your blog.  'Above the fold' is an expression taken from the location of the most important section of a newspaper - the upper half of the front page.  In web terms it means the part of the webpage that can be seen without scrolling down - the area that you have to capture your reader's attention.


Spice Up Your Blog has been exploring awesome "About Us" pages.  This post makes me want to rip out my own "About Me" page and start all over again because it's so boring that it even sends me to sleep and I love to talk about me!  I want one like this from Lateral!


I was reading "Best Blogging Tips Online" and found their "Zen Of Blogging" post.  They say
"Blogging is intrinsically the same. To learn it, you study those who have walked the path before you. But to truly understand it you cannot be taught; you must experience it."
which totally reminds me of the Unagi episode of Friends but their concept is right.  You can't "teach" blogging - the best thing to do is just get on with it and forge your own path.  Do you agree? 


And finally, on Quick Blog Tips, Ben wrote a post encouraging you to start your eBook today!  As I mentioned at the launch of Geekalicious I have a few eBooks in mind and it was this post that drove me to lauch this blog this week.  I have a mind-set stuck in the academic year, mainly because I still have a child at school but also because I work in the education sector so the 1st September is always a "new start" for me.


I hope you enjoy these recommendations.  Also, if you have a blog post that you'd like me to include in the next round up send me a link by email and I'll give it a read through.  I'm always looking for new blogs to read.


I will never regret the day that I chose typing over geography in Column B of my options list in February 1986.  Learning to touch type, and now being able to type at just over 80 words per minute, has been the biggest asset of my life, more so now that 'sofalising' has taken over become a major part of my evenings.

Sofalising is the new way to pass the "quiet" couple of spare hours between finishing what has to be done during the day (work, chores, study) and bedtime.  More and more I find myself with one eye on the television screen and the other on the laptop screen.  Almost everything I watch has a hashtag (#glee #bbcqt #brits #coachtrip #bgt #imaceleb) on *Twitter  to accompany it, which helps to group the tweets and Twitterers talking about the same thing.  Those not on Twitter update their Facebook status to comment on something happening right that minute on the small screen.  Each tweet or status update is followed by a flurry of comments - but not for too long for fear of missing the next funny or shocking moment.

How To Make Social Media Buttons

Tutorial, How to make social media icons, blogger, blogging, html,
I have been asked on a number of occasions how to create social media buttons for a Blogger blog.  Basically you can turn any image into a link to a website very easily just by using an image of your choice and a bit of HTML code.  I have written about this before on my "How To Make A Blog Badge" tutorial but you only need part of that code.  Let's get down to basics.

Blogger Business Cards

Blogger Business Cards
Bloggers are encouraged to hand out business cards (or social media contact cards), especially at blog conferences.  It is an easy way to extend your branding and give out your details to new contacts.  But what information should you include on those cards.  I have two types of cards; a traditional sized business card which I ordered from Vistaprint and a a set of minicards from Moo.  Both include all necessary information and I have designed them myself.

How To Create A Successful Facebook Fan Page

A lot of people are now using Facebook Fan Pages to promote their blog on Facebook.  But what do you do when you have created it?  How does it work as a positive marketing tool for your blog?  Here are my five top tips to make your Fan Page a success:

The Bloggers Paunch

Counting the ripples on your Bloggers Paunch is like counting the rings on the inside of a tree.  One ripple for each year of blogging.

Sectors revived by modern technology

As technology improves more and more industries are keen to utilise it within their operations. Online services can often prove a cheaper means than face to face services as there is a lower need for staff and workspace. There are some industries which have seen more benefit than others from implementing technology within their catalogue of services. Let’s have a brief look into which sectors have been revolutionized by modern technology.

modern bedroom

Shopping has seen a huge shift towards online sales, a number of retailers have seen success from having purely online stores such as Amazon. This new E-commerce technology has also allowed smaller businesses to reach a larger audience with their products. EBay has seen a trend of online auction sites for people to sell their unwanted items. Before people were forced to give their unwanted gift and ill-fitting clothing to charity shops or try and give them away to unsuspecting people as birthday or Christmas presents. Now there’s the option to make a small amount of cash back. These sites also offer collectors of niche items a place to find rare collectables, and websites can set up online stores through larger market places such as eBay and Amazon to sell products without the expense of redesigning their website.


Now with the increase in smartphone and tablet users, gaming companies have discovered a growing market for mobile games . A number of large commercial releases such as Grand Theft Auto have been released for phones and tablets. There are also a huge range of online and app based games that are designed purely for mobile gamers such as popular RPG’s such as clash of clans. Web based games have also vastly improved over the last few years as developers have able to utilise more demanding software for a better user experience. An excellent example of this type of web is online bingo, with soaring numbers of TV advertisements and site’s providing this as a gaming option, it’s hard to ignore its increasing demand.

There are still a number of industries which have yet to capitalise on new technology. Markets such as construction are still in the early phases of implementing technology into their processes, construction is a fine example of industries which will benefit from automating their work. As a highly dangerous industry, a lot of people are injured or even die from working in construction and not only is this unnecessary pain and suffering, it is also incredibly expensive in terms of insurance, wages and legal suits.

How To Subscribe To Blogs

square orange rss button
Subscribing to a blog means that you receive an notification each time the author generates a new post.  There are a number of ways to subscribe to a blog but it is also important for blog owners to ensure that these facilities are available.

Social Networking - Making It Work For You

social networking, circles,
In this ever-changing world, I believe that interaction with other humans, through whatever medium, is important. This may seem impossible to people who have a limited physical social network (parents, the housebound, the elderly) but using readily available technology, the boundaries are lifted.  Anyone with a computer (and now even a compatible mobile phone) linked to the internet can access community networking groups such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus and there are blogs and forums available covering every single subject you can think of, and some that you probably haven't thought of - a quick Google search will easily point you in the right direction.

Android Tablet App Recommendations

Google Play
I definitely class myself as a Google Girl.  Ever since I bought a HTC phone in November 2010 I have been a massive fan of the Android system and I have recently purchased an Android tablet (A1CS Fusion5).  

The following Android app list is by no means definitive but this is definitely my Starter Kit for a new Android tablet.  All can be downloaded from the Google Play store for free (you will need a Google account).

How To Use Google Reader

google reader logo
If you follow a great number of blogs or news feeds you can collate the updates in one place by importing the RSS feed into Google Reader.  Having the content in one place gives you many options such as scrolling through new updates quickly or searching for content that has already been written.

What Is A QR Code?

the QR Code for Geekalicious
The Geekalicious QR Code
A Quick Response (QR) Code image works exactly the same as a barcode. It houses all the information that you would need to access a website on a mobile device and that's exactly what this image to the left is.   

You can use a QR code for anything that has a URL (web address); to drive traffic to a website or blog, as a quick link to any social media profile, to generate immediate discount codes... the list is endless.  

How To Create Meta Tags In Blogger

What are Meta tags?

Meta tags are invisible markers which communicate information about your blog or webpage and are an important part of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).  Meta tags are used by web browsers and search engines to provide information about a web page.

Blogger has introduced an easy way to add a meta description to your blog.  You can find that in Settings > Search Preferences and I have a page about this on my Ask A Blogger Geek website.

How To Make A Blog Badge (with grab code)

UPDATED CODE- October 2014

There is a great trend at the moment for sharing the blog love by displaying a button to show your affiliation.  The usual places for these are in the sidebar of your blog or on a separate Affiliate page.

This tutorial is designed to help you create your own badge and to show you how the HTML code is constructed.  This gives you a bit more understanding so that you can create buttons for almost anything - to click through to pages on your own blog, to promote all posts under a certain label or even to point your visitors in the direction of a guest post you have written.

Step 1
Find a picture that you would like for your button.  You can use any image you like but preferably a picture that you have taken yourself or a free* image from the internet.  A bright image is good but relative to the subject is better.

Step 2
Use the direct link code
Upload your image to an online storage website (or your own hosting area).  If you have one with facilities to edit your image this will make it easier for novices (like me).  I use Photobucket but there are other similar storage and editing websites out there**

Step 3
Edit your image (in Photobucket or similar) to approximatly 120 x 120 pixels - any smaller and it will not be prominent enough, any bigger and it might take over someone's sidebar and discourage them to display it.  At this point you can also add any text to help promote your cause.

Step 4
Now to code everything up.  I will use the HTML that I created for my own button and colour-code it for simplicity.  If you copy the code below into "notepad" and change the necessary links/information you will be able to save your code on your own computer.

<!--grab button header --><div class="grab-button" style="width: 150px; margin: 0 auto;"><img src="YOUR IMAGE CODE" alt="Grab button for YOUR BLOG NAME" width="150" height="150" /><!--end grab button header --><!-- button code box --><div style="margin: 0;padding: 0;border: 1px solid gray;width: 150px;height: 150px;overflow: scroll;"><div class="YOUR-BLOG-NAME-button" style="width: 150px; margin: 0 auto;"><a href="YOUR BLOG URL" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><img src="YOUR IMAGE URL" alt="YOUR BLOG NAME" width="150" height="150" /></a></div></div> <!--end grab-button --></div>

  • The yellow section is the exact link you want your visitor to be direct to when they click on the button
  • The red section is the direct link to the uploaded image
  • The green section is to help with screen readers.  You can put any text here for screen readers to describe the image.
  • The blue section is the sizing of the image to be displayed.  Adjust these to whatever you prefer.
  • The black text is basic HTML and should be kept as displayed.

For information only
The first section displays the button
The second section displays the "grab code" in a handy box

Step 5

To place this widget on your blog sidebar use the HTML/JavaScript widget facility in your blog dashboard - simply copy the text and paste it into the widget box, then save.  If you're like me and prefer things centred then add <center> at the beginning of the HTML and </center> at the end of it.


If this post has been useful then I'd love you to say 
"thank you" by displaying my blog badge in your sidebar

Grab my button
and link to my blog

NB: If you are using (free, not self-hosted) then you will need to add the code into a "text widget" and place in your sidebar or footer.  You cannot use this code in the body of a post.  

NB: If you want to amend any existing badges on your blog to make them "nofollow" in accordance with Google Webmaster recommendations then please note where the "rel=nofollow" code should appear.  Find the URL (blog link) and place your cursor at the end of it.  Hit the space bar once and insert the code rel="nofollow".  Save the code.

* the best way to search for a free image on Google Images is to click advance search and use the drop-down menu to search for images "labelled for reuse with modification".  You can also use Flickr.  Use the search box for your theme, click "advanced search" then tick the three boxes at the bottom that allow you to search within the Creative Commons-licence content, to use the image commercially and to adapt that image.  I always find it polite to comment under the chosen image and link to the uploaded, adapted version

** if anyone has any recommendations please let me know in the comments section.

HTML Tutorial : Open Links In A New Window

Blogger has a great little tool that allows links in your blog posts to open in a new tab/window.  This improves your 'bounce rate' (the length of time a reader stays on your blog before they 'bounce off' to another page).  Unless you know how to incorporate this into other parts of your blog (i.e. widgets, social media buttons, etc.) you may still find that readers are clicking links that YOU have recommended and not returning.  

This mini-tutorial shows you how to insert one line of code into your blog template so that ALL links on your blog are opened in a new tab/window.

Why you should label your blog posts and images

three labels
Labeling your blog posts and images is important for two reasons.

Generally blog posts are categorised to group together similar types of posts and if you click on a label you should expect to see some related content.  If you use a "related posts" widget (my preferred favouite is Link Within) then the suggested content is taken from keywords within a post and labels.

Block Pinterest From Your Website Or Blog

If you are worried about your own images in your blog posts being used on Pinterest (see an extract from the Pinterest Terms & Conditions at the end of this post) through the use of the Pin It bookmarking tool then you can insert a small line of HTML into the <head> section of your blog/website template to revoke access to Pinterest.

This 2-step mini-tutorial works on Blogger and  Click on any image to enlarge it.
(at the time of writing you cannot alter the <head> section of

How To Use Tweetdeck (Yellow Version)

How To Use Tweetdeck
PLEASE NOTE THIS TUTORIAL IS OUT OF DATE and is based around "Yellow Tweetdeck".  If you are using "Blue Tweetdeck" then please visit How To Use Tweetdeck (Blue Version) for the related tutorial which will be updated soon.


How many of you have signed  up for Twitter and have got a bit lost or bored using the web format?  Are you using Twitter on your phone and not really understanding what all the fuss is about?  Tweetdeck is the best web application for managing Twitter that I have come across.  Tweetdeck flattens Twitter and lays out all the facilities on one screen so you don't have to refresh the screen or switch tabs for updates. Once you get to grips with Tweetdeck it all becomes clear.  The easiest way to become familiar with the application is to actually download and use Tweetdeck.

(click all pictures to enlarge)

An "Application Programming Interface" (API) is like a middle-man between online services.  Twitter uses API calls to control the updates.  You are allowed 350 of these per hour.  Every action on Twitter uses one or more API calls.  This includes updates from @friends (one API update), previewing pictures/videos (two API updates) and viewing profiles (three API updates).  More about this later.

When you first download Yellow Tweetdeck you are presented with your "core" columns:
  • All Friends - updates from everyone you follow
  • Mentions - tweets that you are @mentioned in 
  • Direct Messages - messages between you and one other person that don't appear in the public timeline
  • Favourites - tweets you have favourited to return to later
  • Trending Topics - what is popular on Twitter at the moment
  • New Followers - who your most recent followers are


You can choose to keep all or some of these columns.  My personal "core" is Mentions (@nickie72), All Friends, Direct Messages, #column(s) for the this particular twitter session, Mentions (@FridayTwiz), Mentions (@IAmTypecast).

To delete a column hover over the blue "t" at the top of the column and it will turn into a "x", then click.  Don't panic, you can always get that column back!


This is what the top part of Tweetdeck looks like.  This is the main control centre and where you will type your tweets.  It's worth knowing your way around here.

top left: - the version of Tweetdeck you are using at the moment
Compose an update - click this if you have closed the status update area
Add column - add a column from the "core" to enhance your Tweetdeck use.
Quick Profile - a search area for lists or people

top right:
Refresh - refresh all your columns to see if you have any new updates
Single column view - narrows the Tweetdeck screen to the width of the column on the furthest left
Settings (see below)
Launch Tweetdeck support - not a direct link to here, sadly, but the official online FAQ
Log Out - I have no idea what this button does Use this to log out of Tweetdeck, especially if you use a shared computer.

middle left:
each social media account you have linked to Tweetdeck - this could include all your Twitter accounts, Facebook, Four Square, LinkedIn, etc.

middle right:
Location - you can geotag your Tweets on Google Maps to show your followers exactly where you are
Attach photos and videos - upload photos/videos from your computer.  This will auto upload to your Twitter picture account (Twitpic, Yfrog)
Record video from webcam - upload a short video and tweet it immediately
Close - close the status update area

bottom left:
Auto URL shortening (on/off) - this automatically shortens any long URLs/web addresses you want to tweet. You will need to enter some settings to use this (more further down)
Tweetshrink - if you are one or two characters over the 140 tweet limit then this facility will try and shrink your tweet for you.  This isn't really necessary any more as Tweetdeck have introduced which auto-shortens tweets longer than 140 characters and turns them into a "read more" link
Translate - translates the tweet into a chosen language
Recent hashtags - a drop-down menu of all the hashtags you have recently used to save you typing them over and over

bottom right:
Schedule an update - use this to tweet something at a time when you know you won't be able to access Twitter.
Send - sends your tweet.  You can also just hit "enter".


All tweets addressed to you will land in your "Mentions" column (you will also see them in the "All Friends" column too - that shows they are part of the public timeline).  You can do so much more than just reply to tweets.  Steve and Jayne tweeted me earlier and when I hover over their avatars there are a number of options available to me.

First of all I chose which account I wanted to use by highlighting the appropriate avatar at the top.
The curved arrow is the "reply" button - this will @name a reply to whoever has tweeted me.
The envelope will send the @name person a Direct Message (DM).  This isn't to be confused with a private message.  The DM can still be accessed but does not appear in the public timeline.  You have a separate column for these messages.
The arrow pointing to the right is the Retweet (RT) button - use this when you want to share someone's tweet with all your followers.  You can choose to do a "native" RT (so it's retweeted as it appears) or an "edit" RT (when you add your own comments).
The cog has facilities as follows

Reply all allows you to reply to every @name mentioned in the tweet you have received
Reference to condenses the tweet into a short link so that you can add some information about that tweet
Favourite the tweet for later use/reference
Email the tweet to someone who doesn't use Twitter
Translate the tweet if it is in a foreign language
Untranslate the tweet back to its original language
Mark as read marks the tweet as having been viewed
Delete can only be used for your own tweets

Add to group/list is a facility used in conjunction with your "core" columns.  You can choose to have extra columns with fellow tweeps in groups or lists so that you have quick/easy access to certain people.
Un/Follow means that you can quickly follow or unfollow someone without having to load up the Twitter web page
View Profile shows you the profile of the @name of the person who has tweeted you
Search brings up the most recent conversations of the @name
Block/Block & report spam reports the user to Twitter for unauthorised use

At the bottom of each column on Tweetdeck you will see these icons.  Hover over them to find out what they do but the most important one is the left arrow.  If you click this the whole column will move once place to the left.  This enables you to order your columns exactly how you want them.


Make sure Tweetdeck works for you and not the other way around.  You have to have a look at the settings so that you receive the notifications you want and so that the applications that work with Tweetdeck are also working to their full potential for you.  Click the spanner in the top right hand corner to access the settings window.  Here are the screen-grabs for my settings with some notes under each one.  Spend a little time trying different combinations - what works for me, doesn't necessarily work for you.  Most of it is self-explanatory.

If you choose to hide previously loaded updates then you will start your Twitter session with completely blank "Mentions" and "All Friends" panels.  The same applies if you choose the same option for "Direct Messages" on the next screen.

It is also worth mentioning the "auto-complete for usernames" facility here.  If you have this option ticked then each time you start typing a @name a small pop-up box will appear with that configuration of characters in @usernames.  Simply select the one you want to tweet and hit enter.  This saves time and eliminates the possibility of spelling mistakes in @usernames.


If you "include @replies from your friends to others" you will see a number of tweets to people you don't follow.  This could be a good way to find new people to follow but it will fill your timeline with extra tweets and use up some of those precious 350-per-hour API calls.

You can choose how often you have your twitter notifications drop into Tweetdeck.  I have the box ticked that allows Twitter to manage my API for me.  I find this works best for me.

Set up your notification pop-ups, sounds and colour scheme exactly how you want.

Define which language you would like to view your updates in, which services you want to use for short URL's, pictures and videos and the default email client you use in case you want to email tweets to non-users.

Add all of your Twitter, Facebook, Four Square, MySpace, Buzz, LinkedIn accounts here.  You can set your "default" account for any one of these.   You can have a separate column for each account and update all your social networks from the one platform.  For example, if you put #in after your tweet and you have your Linked In profile connected to Twitter, that particular tweet will appear on your Linked In profile.  The same facility is available for Facebook through services such as Selective Tweets using a #fb hashtag.  

If you create a Tweetdeck account you can use it to sign in on different computers that have Tweetdeck installed.

And here is where the magic happens - the wonderful global filter.  If you don't fancy seeing updates from your friends who watch "Glee" then enter the word "glee" or "#glee" into the "containing words" section and the tweets that include that word will be filtered out of your timeline.  You can do the same with people's names and updates from Facebook or other sources.

Don't forget to click "Save Settings" when you have finished streamlining your settings.


Now you are getting to grips with Tweetdeck you can use Tweetdeck as your base to update your other social media network accounts.  The "core" screen is accessed by clicking the "+" button at the top of the Tweetdeck panel.  The "add accounts" facility is linked to the settings panel which we have just seen above.  Click the appropriate icon and follow the instructions.

The drop-down menu (top right) allows you to access the "core" settings for each account.  With the "search" tab highlighted you can find all recent searches or # trends (groups of tweets mentioning the same subject) and  quickly add a column for that search.

The "Groups/List" section allows you to allocate a Tweetdeck column to
  • A group you have created on Twitter (web)
  • A group you want to create solely for Tweetdeck
You will also also need to select which account you want the group/list to refer to by using the drop-down menu (top right) again.

Finally, the all important "core".  If you have lost/deleted any columns for any account this is where you will be able to add them to Tweetdeck again.  You can also add the specific Twitter columns which display your Favourites (tweets that you have favourited), new followers, Tweetdeck Recommends (which is similar to the Twitter "Similar To You" or "Who To Follow"). Twit Scoop which shows you the current Twitter/Tweetdeck "trends" (what everyone is talking about - click on any of the trending words and a list of all the tweets mentioning that word will be displayed) and StockTwits (financial and stock updates).  As you can see, you can also schedule tweets and fix your location from here as well as the top control panel.


You can schedule updates to tweet when you know you will be away from your computer or not able to access Twitter on your phone.  Write your tweet but DON'T send it.  Click "schedule" from the Core settings or hit the schedule button (alarm clock) from your control panel.

As usual, to set this up is very easy and self-explanatory.  Set the date and time that you would like your tweet to be set and then click "Set Time".  This facility is very useful if you want to promote an event or if you want to remind your followers of a great blog post you have written.


  • If someone you aren't following @mentions you in a tweet this will appear in your "Mentions" column only and not in your "All Friends" column.
  • Everyone uses hashtags.  Any word with a hashtag before is used as a keyword or "trend" - something that is popular.  Hashtags are a great way to group tweets of a similar subject or to create a focus.  There is no rule for hashtags but obvious ones are better.  If you click on any hashtag it will open a new column in Tweetdeck and you will see all tweets that are currently using that hashtag.
  • API was mentioned earlier and is precious, especially if you use Twitter a lot.  If you use all your API calls in a short space of time you will not be able to use Twitter until that hour is up and the count refreshes itself (you may hear people talking about "Twitter Jail" - this is a euphemism for using up all your API).  To save on API calls set your Tweetdeck up to open profile views, photos, videos, etc in a new web window as each action takes up one or more API calls.
  • Twitter now uses "real time" streaming which means that as soon as one of your fellow Tweeps sends an update you will see it in the timeline.  Originally, Tweetdeck only refreshed every 1, 2 or 3 minutes (depending on your time settings) which is why the "refresh" button exists.  If you use real-time streaming you should not need to use the refresh button.

If you have any questions or think I've missed anything out of this tutorial please leave a message in the comments and I'll answer it as soon as I can and edit the information into the post for future reference.


There are a number of other applications you can use for Twitter and social media (Hootsuite, Seesmic) but Tweetdeck is my weapon of choice.
(I actually prefer to use Seesmic on my phone but you didn't hear me say that, right?)  

This post is not sponsored by Tweetdeck but if they fancy giving me a bit of recognition for it, I wouldn't say no!

How To Use Tweetdeck (Blue Version)


If you are looking to reinstall and use "Yellow Tweetdeck" then please visit How To Use Yellow Tweetdeck for the related tutorial


Hello and welcome!  This is all rather exciting, isn't it?

This is Geekalicious!  The reason this blog exists is because I write blogging and social media tutorials and love to talk about blogging in general.  Some of these first posts have first been published on my other blog, Typecast but they have been rewritten and updated.  There is also some brand new content too!  I shall be concentrating on carrying on this theme and introducing some e-books that I have planned.  I will also be hosting guest posts from other networks and bloggers.

Please feel free to have a look around and I'd love to hear your feedback and don't forget to subscribe so you can receive regular updates.

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