Category Archives: Tutorials

Tutorials relating to blogging, web design and Graphics.

Five Ways to Discern a Quality WordPress Theme

There are probably 100,000 WordPress themes out there for the choosing.  Take away 50% broken or outdated and  another 20% unfinished junk and you’re left with 40,000 usable WordPress themes.  Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but the truth is there are way too many themes to choose from.

Among every theme that is built for current versions of WordPress, there is bound to be a design you like and that meets your needs.  This article will help you develop your ability to identify quality themes from the rest.  Separate the wheat from the chaff.  The cream from the milk if you will.

It begins with a careful eye, and ends with reliance on your gut instinct.

1. Look for the obvious rating

This only really works for marketplaces where the user base moderates quality.  Obviously a premium theme provider won’t rate any of their own themes poorly.

2. Read the Discussion and Feedback

Almost every theme designer has a feedback mechanism or a discussion forum.  Some providers make these forums viewable for only purchasers.  Read these forums carefully and see what the common issues are.  More importantly, how fast are the theme developers in responding and resolving issues?

3. Check Compatibility

Well developed WordPress themes are compatible across all modern browsers, operating systems and across commonly used WordPress versions.  A quality theme should be backward-compatible to version 3.1 and fully compatible with the latest version of WordPress which is currently 3.4.  Cross compatibility should be seamless (ie: no hacks or core modifications required).

4. Check for Comprehensive Documentation and Instructions

Every theme claims to be “well documented“, but what does that really mean?  Just including two pages of instructions does not cut it.  Look for a long, detailed PDF of instructions.  Check every feature you are interested in against the documentation.  If anything is missing, confront the developer.  Documentation should be detailed enough that you can easily set up a theme, but not so detailed that it takes forever to read.  It should be well organized with a linked table of contents as well.

Good documentation should also be written well and grammatically correct.  Not everything needs to  be written in English, but for documentation that is, it should be correct English.  Theme documentation built into the theme itself can be very helpful.

5. Look for Frequent (but not too frequent) Updates

Frequent theme updates mean the developer is committed to ongoing support and quality.  But daily updates mean they are quick to make changes without being thoughtful.  You can check for update frequency through the WordPress SVN or developer download page.

Ready to find a quality theme?  Check out two of our favorites: ElegantThemes and ThemeForest.

The Complete Guide to WordPress Editing: Part 2

Whether you’re completely new or have been blogging for a while now, you’re probably still not using everything available to you as a blogger on WordPress. It took me a few years of blogging and developing plugins before I really started getting it. I’m going to save you time and write up what I’ve learned here.

This complete series on writing and editing posts with WordPress will cover…

  1. Customizing Your Interface & Getting to Know Permalinks
  2. Mastering Text Formatting For Your Posts
  3. Leveraging Post Scheduling & Post States
  4. How to Make Private and Password Protected Posts
  5. How to Enable and Disable Comments & Understanding Trackbacks
  6. Finding and Using Theme-Specific Options

Today you’re going to learn about how to master basic text formatting for your posts (as well as some best practices). Today we’ll handle the options you should know about, but may have felt too stupid to ask.

How bold of you to lean my direction…

Making effective use of bold and italics is important. Since you know what Bold and Italics are, I’ll give you a couple of guidelines for when to use them:

  • Bold: Call out an important phrase, and create visual difference for better skimming.
  • Italics: Use for emphasis — particularly when you’re comparing two things to each other.

Allow me to list your options…

People love and share lists.

Make sure you learn to use actually formatted lists. This makes it easier for users to:

  • Scan your content.
  • Digest your content.
  • Share your content.

By using consistent formatting, your readers will be able to quickly glean the information they want while they scan, and quickly determine whether it’s worth sharing with their friends.

There are two types of lists, both available in your text editor: Ordered and Unordered.

Ordered, as you may suspect, is a numbered list.

Unordered will show bullet points.

Use appropriately.

Write that down, that was brilliant…

Ever wanted to quote a website or person in your blog post?

There’s a nifty feature called the Blockquote in your editor. It’s right next to the list icons.

This is an example of a blockquote.

Each theme will handle the blockquote a bit differently. If you’re using a free or cheap theme, you may discover that your blockquote doesn’t look any different at all — but if your theme is quality, it should stand out from the rest of your text.

I can’t justify your right alignment…

The same way you were probably already familiar with bold and italics, you’re probably already familiar with text alignments.

For long blocks of text, it is best practice to leave the formatting to the default left-aligned (like this post is written in).

 However, sometimes things call for centered text.

In extreme cases, you may even find yourself in need of right-aligned text.

Please be cautious about going overboard with special alignments, as if you vary things too much, your readers will stop trying at all.

Can you link these words for me?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to add a link to a WordPress post because it felt too overwhelming.

No more! I am now going to send all my friends to this post.

Write out your anchor text.

What’s that? Anchor text is comprised of the words that are hyperlinked to another web page.

Once you are satisfied with the text you want to be linked, you can select them with your cursor and click the link icon. Once you’ve filled out the link you want, and click “OK” and you’ll have linked text.

The Complete Guide to WordPress Editing: Part 1

Whether you’re completely new or have been blogging for a while now, you’re probably still not using everything available to you as a blogger on WordPress. It took me a few years of blogging and developing plugins before I really started getting it. I’m going to save you time and write up what I’ve learned here.

This complete series on writing and editing posts with WordPress will cover…

  1. Customizing Your Interface & Getting to Know Permalinks
  2. Mastering Text Formatting For Your Posts
  3. Leveraging Post Scheduling & Post States
  4. How to Make Private and Password Protected Posts
  5. How to Enable and Disable Comments & Understanding Trackbacks
  6. Finding and Using Theme-Specific Options

First, you’re going to learn about the hidden options you never knew existed. Later in this post, we’ll review how to create custom permalinks (and why you want to).

Customizing Your View: Show & Hide Sections

The Problem: Not Knowing Your Options

Have you ever been working your way through a WordPress tutorial and thought you were missing a field in your WordPress installation? There’s a good chance that you never knew you could show and hide different parts of the interface. Every blogger makes constant use of certain features in WordPress, but who wants to get weighed down by constantly staring at the features they hardly ever use? The question is: How can you make sure you see what you want, and hide what you don’twant?

The Solution: Finding Your Options

It’s pretty simple. If you look up in the right hand corner of your browser, you’ll see two tabs: Screen Options, and Help. If you click on the the gray box that says Screen Options, a whole new world will be opened to you. Quick Guide:Everything you see with a ticked box next to it will display. You can toggle all of the checkboxes to enable and disable each section as you see fit. The problem is, some of these options may sound strange and new. Don’t fret, because we’re going to delve into all of your options through this series.

Writing Your Title & Customizing Your Slug

The Problem: Ugly Links That No One Remembers

You may or may not know that writing a killer headline might make or break your post — but that’s for you to learn about on copywriting and marketing blogs. Once you’ve crafted the perfect post title, you’ll write it in the clearly marked box “Enter title here”. If you are using custom permalinks (you probably are), WordPress will do its best to create a nice URL for you based on your title.

What’s that? The word permalink stands for “permanent link”

For example, a post titled “The Amazing Spider-man Isn’t So Amazing” will default to a slug such as: the-amazing-spider-man-isnt-so-amazing

What’s that? A slug is the unique URL friendly set of letters that follows the base of your website’s domain.

Depending on your domain and settings, the final permalink might then be: http://example.com/archives/the-amazing-spider-man-isnt-so-amazingShorter URLs are very popular lately for a myriad of great reasons, so you’ll want to shorten it.

What’s that? URL friendly means no uppercase letters, special characters or spaces. It is acceptable to substitute a dash instead of spaces for human readability.

The Solution: Easily Creating Short, Memorable Links

Underneath your title, you’ll see a label that says “Permalink”, with the base of your URL such as: http://example.com/archives/ …followed by the new slug of your post. In order to customize that slug, you’ll click on it. Doing so will open an editing box, like magic! It’s here you can insert your custom slug. In this example, you might choose: spiderman-not-amazing …so that your final URL is short, easy to read and remember. Such as: http://example.com/archives/spiderman-not-amazing You can use this feature to include keywords in your URL, sum up the post in fewer words, and make the link easier to remember for your potential readers.

How to customize your WordPress 404 page

I previous discussed how to customize your WordPress 404 page in a previous post, but I was brief.  This tutorial is intended to be a more comprehensive guide for this important customization step.  Customizing your 404 page tells your readers you went the extra mile to ensure they have a quality experience with your site.  Additionally, from an SEO perspective, users who need to take extra steps or “dig” to find your content are less likely to follow through.  They are also less likely to trust your site in search results in the future.

WordPress makes customization easy with logical theme files and template tags.  Here is how to leverage those features to customize your 404 page.  For those who don’t know, and I can’t imagine anyone reading Pingable that doesn’t, 404 pages are a catch-all page for any time a user stumbles upon content that does not exist.  Perhaps the URL has been changed, perhaps you’ve deleted the content, perhaps someone has incorrectly linked to a post.  The 404 page will be found by readers in these situations.

Step 1: Prevention

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  The best way to improve the 404 error page experience is to prevent it entirely.  Here are some steps to prevent most 404 errors.

  1. Use Google Webmaster tools to track dead links and 404 messages.  Google’s huge brain knows how to tell when it has found a 404 page, and if Webmaster Tools has been set up for the domain, it will notify the owner via some nifty charts.  Find out who is linking to these incorrect URL’s and kindly ask them to update their link.  If the error is from inside your site, go through each one and correct the links.
  2. Check and re-check your internal links.  There is no reason you should be the source of errors.
  3. Use a search engine approved site map.  There are several good free plugins that automatically generate sitemaps for you.  This allows search engines to track your content quickly and efficiently.
  4. Internally link through the WYSIWYG hyperlink generator.  This uses post ID’s to create internal links so if the slug is changed, the link is not broken.
  5. Use a consistent url structure.  This is selected through the WordPress settings.  Whatever you choose, don’t change it once your site goes live.
  6. If you must move a post, consider deleting the content and replacing it with a link or 303 redirect to the new location.

 Customizing the WordPress 404 Page

  1. Find the 404 template file. In most WordPress themes, there is a file called 404.php.  This is the 404 error page.  Also in most themes, it will not be customized much.  Only super premium themes come with a custom styled 404 page.  If there is not a 404.php file, you can create one and place it in the theme directory.  WordPress will look for this file automatically and use it in the event of a 404 file not found error.
  2. Edit the file. The file can be edited with the built-in theme editor.  In the WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance > Editor.  Choose your theme and choose the 404.php file to edit.
  3. Choose your message. Make this message a little quirky, a little different, but be clear and concise.  Give users a next step like a search link or a link to the main page.  Apologize and tell them you will be checking into this error.  A little personality goes a long way.
  4. Give them more information. Even better than asking them to search is displaying information automatically.  This plugin will display search results similar to the document title they attempted to access.
  5. Go the extra mile.Make the design something memorable, and funny.  Humor is tied to memory anchors.  If a site makes you laugh, you are more likely to remember it in the future.  If you aren’t a designer, consider using a pre-designed 404 error page.  Here are some very inexpensive options.
  6. Need more? The following premium themes come with custom 404 pages.  If you’re feeling the need for a professional and cohesive design, this is the way to go.

Additional Resources

8 Helpful WordPress Tutorials

Tutorials are all the rage right now, especially WordPress Tutorials. I understand why. There used to be a plethora of posts like this one for a while. Many people still write posts like this: “100 amazing themes” and “50 creative logos”. They’re nice to look at, helpful and inspiring.

However the trend is definitely towards tutorials. Look at Envato’s newest marketplace as an example.  And we at Pingable understand the trend.  Tutorial posts are more helpful in a tangible way.  Users can read a post and walk away with a real, measurable, helpful new skill set.

In light of this trend, we thought it would be nice to combine the two types of content.  Here is a list of 25 extremely Helpful WordPress Tutorials.

Free WordPress Tutorials

16 Vital Checks Before Releasing a WordPress Theme Tutorial

WordPress Tutorial by Ludovico Fischer

Helpful WordPress Tutorials
This tutorial will help you check off those must-do steps before making your new theme public. You spent countless hours developing the theme, don't forget these steps. From protecting comments on posts to correctly paginating posts, don't forget any of these steps.

Designing the Post Meta Data Section

WordPress Tutorial by the Codex Team

Helpful WordPress Tutorials
Using post meta data is one of the most versatile and helpful features of WordPress. You can essentially generate all of your post excerpt information on the fly which can make for a rich user experience. This official codex tutorial walks you through creating this section of your design.

Creating Custom Fields for Attachments in WordPress Tutorial

WordPress Tutorial by Andy Blackwell

Helpful WordPress Tutorials
WordPress custom fields are incredibly useful and versatile. They can turn a regular theme into a dynamic and user-powered design. However when displaying attachments the code needs some tweaking. This tutorial walks you through the necessary tweaking to make it work.

Fun Character Entities WordPress Tutorial

WordPress Tutorial by the Codex Team

Helpful WordPress Tutorials
Using various character entities in your designs can make the user experience smoother. This can be navigation arrows, ampersands, etc. This tutorial by the official codex crew will help you incorporate those characters into your next design.

How to Integrate an Options Page into your WordPress Theme Tutorial

WordPress Tutorial by By Dan Walker

Helpful WordPress Tutorials
All of the latest quality WordPress Themes include backend (administrative) options themes to help the user utilize all of the incredible, complicated features coming standard with the latest themes. This tutorial will guide you in creating this feature for your next theme.

Premium WordPress Tutorials

WordPress, Beginner to Master Tutorial

WordPress Tutorial by By Dan Harper, $5

Helpful WordPress Tutorials
This tutorial walks you through creating a complete WordPress site including a blog and portfolio. Written after the many new features in WordPress 2.7, this tutorials brings you up to speed before looking closely at WordPress 3.0.

Securing and Hardening WordPress Tutorial

WordPress Tutorial by By JT Pratt, $5

Helpful WordPress Tutorials
WordPress is inherently secure as a blogging platform. However as it is converted into a CMS, more user data is being transfered and more opportunities to access core files are created. This makes it less secure. This tutorial will help you secure WordPress against data theft but also make it less prone to malicious attack and forceful entry. A must-read for any serious WordPress user.

Creating a Custom WordPress Portfolio Page Tutorial

WordPress Tutorial by By nuResponse, $5

Helpful WordPress Tutorial
This tutorial will help you leverage the WordPress custom template functionality to create powerful design functionalities within your site. You will be walked through creating a portfolio page to display information in a unique way which can be applied in unlimited ways.

We hope you enjoyed these Helpful WordPress Tutorials.  These are some of the best free and premium tutorials we could find.  If you have your own must-read WordPress Tutorials, please leave a comment below!

What’s Your Backup Strategy?

How much do you stand to lose if your site goes down and you’re left without a backup? Even if you only have a smaller personal site, losing months or even years worth of work will hurt.

If your site is vital to your business it can get you in the pocketbook, too. You’ll not only have to worry about lost content, but links that now return 404 errors, any customizations you did to your theme and plugins, lost comments and all of the other tweaks and modifications you’ve made to your site.

You can rebuild but why go through all of that hassle when it can be avoided by having a good backup strategy.

A good backup strategy requires a balance between being as up to date as possible with the effort you can reasonably put into it with the resources at your disposal. Remember, you can’t rely on your web host to do it for you. Even if they offer the service, if you are locked out of your hosting account their backup will do you no good. Ask yourself these questions before formulating your backup plan:

How often do I really need to make a backup?

This will vary based on how often content is updated and how often changes are made to the structure of the site itself. A busy site that’s updated several times a day and receives a substantial number of comments might be backed up hourly while other sites can get away with just once a week.

For most sites a daily backup of the database is sufficient; an hourly backup could potentially strain the server, particularly at busy times of the day.

The WordPress files such as content, themes and plugins will also need to be backed up on a regular basis. If you rarely make changes to your theme or plugins and don’t upload amount of media, this can be done less often, perhaps once a week or even less often if you aren’t making changes and uploading images or other media.

No matter how often you choose to backup your database and files, you’ll want to be sure to do a backup right before making any changes to your site as insurance in case something goes wrong and once again after all changes have been made.

Where will I store my backup?

The simplest solution is to store your backup to your local machine, though this isn’t without its own set of problems. If you’re away from your computer and your site goes down, how will you get it back up and running without access to the backup?

Although it doesn’t seem likely that something will happen to your computer at the same time your site goes down, it is possible.

You can also store backups on your server. However, if you can’t access your sever, you’re still screwed. I’ve heard of more than one person who had their site shut down by their web host and were then unable to get the files and databases needed to migrate to another site.

It’s always best to store copies of your backups in more than one location, for example your personal computer and an online storage service such as dropbox. You can also look into paying a service to make and store backups for you as an added convenience and for peace of mind.

So I have these backups, now what?

Having backups scheduled every ten minutes won’t do you any good if you’ve no idea what to do with them in the event that your site goes POOF!

If you don’t have a plan in place to restore your site, you can lose hours and even days trying to figure out how to get your site back up and running. For most people, this will be stress they don’t need and time they can’t afford to spend. Take the time now to prepare for the worst case scenario.

If you have the time and inclination, teach yourself how to restore your site from the backups. There is a bit of technical know-how needed, but it’s something most people can be taught to do. Since restoring your site isn’t something you’ll do on a regular basis, make sure to write down step-by-step instructions and keep them and all relevant log ins and passwords in a safe place that will be easy for you to access if you need to fix your site yourself.

You don’t want to waste time having to Google and remembering FTP details while under pressure.

Another possibility is to develop a relationship with somebody who is experienced with WordPress and can fix your site more efficiently than you could. Again, it’s best to contract with this person in advance and find out how much the service will cost and what information they’ll need from you to do it. You don’t want to find out at the last minute that you can’t afford to have somebody fix your site.

Some freelancers will allow you to pay a retainer to have their services for a fixed amount of time per month or year. Even if you never need their services, think of it as insurance!

Finally, you can contract with a service that will make and store backups for you and will restore your site should the need ever arise. These services vary in price depending on size of the site and the services offered but can be very affordable, especially if you have a number of sites that need to be maintained.

If you schedule backup with a professional service, be sure to ask them how often backups are made, where the backups will be stored and if you’ll get a copy and how long will you have to wait to get somebody to restore your site if needed.

As the saying goes, stuff does happen. But even though we can’t always control hardware failure or malicious attacks, we can be proactive and make a plan to ensure that even in the worst case scenario we have a backup of our sites and can get them up and running again in the least amount of time possible.

Keeping your online assets safe with a regularly scheduled backup routine, is the best insurance a site owner can have.

Sean Platt is a content marketing specialist who offers regularly scheduled WordPress backups at TheWPMechanic.Com. Follow him on Twitter.



Easy WordPress Database Backup

You work hard to create amazing content.  You also work hard revising and updating your site with new plugins, themes, and more.  If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will: a new plugin that was not designed to work with your version of WordPress breaks everything.  You can’t get into the Dashboard and deleting the files via FTP doesn’t work either.

What do you do???  Luckily, you have a recent database backup.  Here is a step by step guide for creating a database backup and restoring your site.  Please note: you must have the backup file BEFORE you can restore your site.

Using phpMySQL or a similar SQL database interface to create a backup file.

a) Select “Databases

b) Select the database of your WordPress install

c) Click the Export tab

d) Choose all tables (or just those that apply to your WordPress install)

e) Make sure the following options are ticked: “Structure, Add DROP TABLE / VIEW / PROCEDURE / FUNCTION, Add IF NOT EXISTS, Add AUTO_INCREMENT, Enclose table and field names with backquotes”

f) Leave all other options as default.

g) Click “Go” which will generate a downloadable file.

PhpMySQL cannot handle very large files, so if the process doesn’t complete successfully, you may need to use direct SQL commands to restore.  If that’s the case, check out the official WordPress documentation on the subject.

In order to restore a database backup, follow these steps:

a) In the same (or a new) MySQL database in which you would like the new database to be located, click the “Import” tab.

b) Browse to the file generate in your last backup and click “Go”.  This may take a while, but eventually you should see a success screen.

Check out the official WordPress documentation on the subject.

Bonus: How to export all WordPress posts easily

If you need to move your WordPress from one installation to another, here is one super-easy way to transfer all content between sites.

a) In your WordPress dashboard, on the left under the TOOLS menu, click “Export”.

b) You will be select which authors’ posts to export and whether or not to include all resources (images) attached to each post.

c) Click “Ok” and you will download an XML file which can be uploaded through the Export area of any 2.x + release of WordPress.

d) That’s it! Easy huh?

6 tips for making your blog stand out

With hundreds of thousands of blogs being created every day, yours will take a lot to stand out in the crowd. These tips have been assembled from years of experience navigating the blogosphere. Stick to these 6 principles and you’ve got a pretty decent chance of making it.

1. Use a custom design

This is less difficult or expensive as you may think. There are tons of beautiful themes and templates available for blogs. Find the one that best suits your needs (see #6) and customize it by adding a unique background, menu, icons, etc.

Using some of the online marketplaces like Graphic River, you can find new images to spice up your design that is both unique and aesthetically pleasing.

2. Give away something (quality) for free

One of my first blogs found success in giving away a premium quality CMS template for free. This helped in almost every component of my blog. It encouraged link building, increased credibility, and encouraged repeat visits.

The investment is well worth the return. Give away a quality asset like a theme, icons, or something else related to your blog topic. You will find an increase in traffic, backlinks and favorable mentions on other sites.

3. Post frequently (reference other article)

This article discusses this topic further, but you should respond to your readers and post often. Don’t flood your blog with content so that readers can’t filter through it all and quality suffers. However, posting on a regular and frequent schedule will build credibility and show readers you can be depended on for quality content.

4. Develop relationships

There’s no subsitute for pounding the internet pavement and building relationships. All relationships matter, but focus on connecting with others who share your passions and topics. I regularly reach out to other blogs that I follow.

Reaching out can be guest blogging, exchanging links or collaborating on a freebie release. (See #2)

5. Be unique

The web is full of duplicative, useless content. There is a special place in hell reserved for those who saturate the web with boring content meant only to encourage ad clicks.

Have you noticed the increase in “list” sites? Mashable.com and Tutorial9 are just some examples of websites that create helpful posts of lists like “100 of the best free WordPress themes”. Your content should be unique, informative and easy to read. If you can do this, the links and traffic will follow.

6. Leave out the excess (focus on the content)

The big content management systems (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.) offer countless addons and plugins. These can be both helpful and harmful to your blog. Don’t think that the coolest features are necessary. Focus on quality, informative content and leave the fancy sliders and effects out.

7. Be patient

The top blogs were not made in a day. Popularity, traffic, links and credibility are earned over time. If you’re passionate about a topic, you will continue to be motivated by changes and innovations. Be patient, offer consistent quality and useful content that people can expect every time they come back.

Mini-tutorial: Creating awesome screenshots

The golden rule of blogging is offer valuable content.  This tip trumps a good design, flashy graphics, twitter integration, powerful links, even advertisements.

However, quality content can be improved with an applicable and eye-catching screenshot.  Here are some tips and tools for creating awesome screenshots for your WordPress posts.

Choosing the format

  1. All screenshots should be the same format and size.  Pick a size that goes well with your theme and stick with it.
  2. If your screenshot will not be of the entire page, pick a section of the site that is applicable to the topic of your post.

Choosing the screenshot

  1. Pick a section of the site to screenshot that is descriptive of the topic and has something to look at.  For example, don’t choose blank space or a generic graphic to focus on.  Rather, choose a piece of the site that is unique and shows something about what the website is about.

Here’s and example of a good and bad screenshot of Mashable.com – one of our favorite blogs.  For this example, we chose a 200px square image in JPEG format.

A bad screenshot
A good screenshot

Notice the differences?  The bad screenshot doesn’t indicate the website or anything about it.  What is that blog about?

The good screenshot indicates the name of the blog, several categories, even the overall color scheme.  It doesn’t matter that the entire logo isn’t shown, people will get the idea.

Formatting your screenshot

  1. There are a few things you can do to improve the quality of your screenshot after you’ve chosen how and what to snapshot.  You can add effects like an angle, dropshadow or even the famous “shiny table effect”.  Here are some examples:
The original screenshot without effects
A screenshot with a -25 degree arbitrary rotation.
With an added dropshadow

These effects were all done in the GIMP, a free graphics editor.  If you want to add the shiny table effect, check out this tutorial.

Choose the right tools

There are lots of options out there for taking and manipulating screenshots.  Here are some of our favorites:

Firefox addons

The other option

  • If you don’t want another addon, just use the Print Screen button on your Windows machine which will add a screenshot to your clipboard.  Simply paste it into your selected graphics editor into a file of your preferred size.  Drag it until you’ve got a nice focus and you’re all set!

Graphics editors

  • Photoshop – the cadillac of image editing with virtually limitless options.
  • The GIMP – a free option that comes with many of Photoshop’s features.
  • Grabit – a handy screenshot tool but limited advanced options.  Built purely for screenshots.

A few more tips when taking screenshots

  • Choose color – bright, vibrant colors add energy to your blog post.
  • Keep them small – screenshots are just a taste of a site and shouldn’t encompass the whole thing.
  • Keep them natural – don’t resize if you can avoid it.
  • Keep them applicable – if you’re creating a showcase post, or list of multiple sites, choose the first list item as your screenshot.
  • Have your own tips for a screenshot?  Leave a comment below.