Welcome Bloggers - Guidelines and Instructions
(Last updated Oct 4,, 2010)
Thank you so much for agreeing to post your insights and experiences. Below are a few guidelines and intructions to get you started. These guidlines apply for both iPhoneLife.com and SmartphoneMag.com.
You can always call or E-mail me with problems, concerns, or suggestions. Enjoy and THANK YOU!
davidathaddeus [dot] com (David Averbach), Web Editor, 641-209-3959
Once you have been approved and set up to be a blogger, go to any iphonelife.com or smartphonemag.com page and click the login link on top right corner of the site. Click "View recent blog entries." Click "Post new blog entry." The Editor is straightforward. Please put your cursor over the icons on top to get a sense of what you can do.
We are creating a community of super-users – and YOUR posts are the main attraction! We are developing a new design that has a “Featured Posts” area front and center on the Home Page.
- We launched iphonelife.com in October 2008. Each month our traffic increases. We currently have over a quarter of a million page views.
- The free iPhone Life Web app features your blog posts. A faster, cleaner version with blog posts on the opening screen is scheduled soon.
- Every Wednesday we send our newsletter to 20K+ subscribers. The newsletter features four blog posts (www.iphonelife.com/newsletters). Posts are selected for our Wednesday newsletter by newsletter editor, gary_abelhotmail [dot] com (Gary Abel), usually on Mondays.
SmartphoneMag.com features post on all smartphones including Android and Blackberry. It has still has a strong readership. We are commited increasing our content at smartphonemag.com and to growing audience.
A lot of people will read your posts on Twitter
Your blog posts are automatically posted on Twitter (http://twitter.com/iphonelife and http://twitter.com/smartphone_mag) and Gary is great about re-tweeting each of your posts throughout the day to our over 3500 followers (and the hundreds of thousands of people who are searching for particular hashtags he puts in the retweets)!
Sometimes he modifies the text of your titles - and retweets any exceptional ones throughout the month. If you are on Twitter - please retweet your own posts to your group of Followers. Please Follow us, putting us on your Twitter Lists and suggesting us to your Followers.
A lot of people will read your posts on Facebook
Your blog posts are automatically posted to our Facebook Page http://facebook.com/iPhoneLifeMagazine. If you have a personal account on Facebook, please go to our page, “Like” us, and make comments there, too! Please “Share” the page with your friends – so they can read your posts on Facebook!
- When you post, you represent the magazine. That means keep the context of integrity, decency, and care when you post.
- You can blog about anything that relates to iOS - the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch. Blogs can include opinions, software/web apps, accessory reviews, news, tips, and comparisons to other platforms. You may also discuss enterprise and developer issues or apps you'd like to see, etc.
- Post as often as you wish. That can mean twice a day or twice a month. The more quality posts, the better. The important thing is that you enjoying sharing with others and the blog process does not get in the way. No one will pre-check your posts. Therefore, do your best to make each post clear, accurate, and well-written. We do have the right to edit your posts as we see fit, and we regularly go through and proofread all blog posts for spelling and grammar errors. You can also go back and edit your post at any time. Use the (ABC) spell checker.
- Your home blog page has been set up as http://www.iphonelife.com/blogs/firstname.lastname, which you are welcome and encouraged to use on your E-mail and web signatures. Please make sure your profile is filled out with all your social media links and connections. You may also upload a new profile picture anytime.
- If you have another web site, you can reference it in your signature and your bio page. However, your primary motivation when blogging with us is to share your knowledge with our large audience. Promotion of your products or service will come naturally as a consequence of your posts and association with us. E-mail me with questions or concerns.
- Feel free to link to and properly credit other sites.
- Titles are important. Take the time to construct a good one. Several factors should be considered:
- A great title draws in all readers who would benefit from reading the post.
- Remember, many potential readers such as RSS users only see the title.
- A good title contains specificity, an interesting benefit, or the name of a product being reviewed.
- Making the main keyword the first word gives better search results.
- Examples of bad titles that don't really provide any information:
- "Good Product"
- "Short and Sweet"
- Good titles:
- "Anttenna: Free app uses GPS to list classifieds based on location"
- "Evernote: Track your blood pressure on iPhone."
- "Asciigraphy: Making pictures out of text"
- Our site is a member of O.A.T.S., an organization of web sites that adhere to basic ethical standards. In particular, our site does not do reviews for payment. In fact, although it's not required, somewhere in your post, it is a good idea to mention if you received an accessory or app (especially if it is expensive) from the vendor for free as an evaluation copy.
- Comment on your fellow bloggers' posts. Doing so will encourage commenting from everyone.
- If you have concerns about copyrighted material, don't use it, or check with halthaddeus [dot] com (Hal Goldstein) or the web site in question. Always give credit where credit is due.
Go to any iphonelife.com page and click the login link on top right corner of the site. Click "View recent blog entries." Click "Post new blog entry."
Tools for editing
Put your cursor above each tool on top of edit screen to learn its function.
Graphics and Images
If you are copying part of a page from somewhere else on the web, you can select and copy it in the browser, and all the formatting -- including images -- should paste directly into the rich-text editor. However, please be aware that images included in this way are retrieved from the other sites by the browser each time the page is loaded, so if the other sites take down the images in the future, they will disappear from your blog post. If you want to ensure that the images are permanently in your post, please save them to your computer and upload them using the instructions below. You may add as many images as you’d like to your post. We may add images to your post if it is selected to be a Featured Post and you didn’t add any yourself.
- Beneath the editing area of the form, you will see a section called Images.
- Click Browse ("Choose File" in Safari).
- Find the file on your computer and click the Upload button.
- Click the Insert button to insert the image into your blog post.
- Click "Add another item" to add another image.
How to wrap around images:
- In the edit screen, click on the image
- Click the image button on the toolbar at the top (its located just to the right of center)
- In the overlay window that comes up, select right or left from the align drop-down
- It is usually a good idea to set your hspace and vspace values to something like 10, so that the image isn't rubbing up against the text.
- Alternately, you should be able to command-click (right-click on non-macs) and select Image properties from the context menu that comes up.
IMPORTANT: Using Word
If you use Microsoft Word to compose posts offline, use the "Paste from Word" button instead of the regular paste. If you forget, the "Clean up messy code" button (which looks like a paintbrush) is also useful. However, please be aware that even with these tools Word produces very bad HTML, so our system will clean up your code before displaying it in order to comply with Internet standards, resulting in some formatting changes you may not anticipate.
Use the spell-checker (green check icon with "ABC"). Remember, no one will be proofing your posts. To control what appears on home page and what gets continued, use the very last icon on the editing menu "Separate the teaser and body of this content."
Video and mobile phones
Remember that we have many subscribers who only read your posts on their mobile phones. If you include video - remember to check it first - can you see it on your iPhone? Strangely, even some high-profile tech websites with great videos, have posts you can't see on your phone! Our customers expect that our content (even if we are just passing info along) can be viewed on an iPhone and iPad. Please post videos that can't be read using iOS devices, only if there is a very compelling reason to do so.
To include video in your posts
- Go to the video's page at YouTube.com and find the "Embed" field to the right of the video. Click in this field to select its contents, and copy them.
- In your post, type something distinctive where you want the video to appear, such as "YouTube". This will help you find the right spot.
- Below the editing box, click the "Switch to plain text editor" link. You will see the HTML code of your post. Find the placeholder word you typed above using your browser's find command (usually in the Edit menu).
- Paste the video code in place of the placeholder word.
Click the "Switch to rich text editor" link below the editing box. The video may not be visible when editing, but it's there.
The cleanest method of entering posts is to use the editor. However, there is always a possibilities of a hiccup, and you losing your great work. In general, you never want to skip to another page. When you come back, you may lose your work. The safest thing to do is compose your post in another editor, preferably Notepad or one without few bells and whistles. When you paste your article in, use the paste icon. If you use Word, be sure to use the paste icon with the W. Otherwise, you can create a mess, not only in your post, but for the site.
- You represent iPhone Life. Please be straight-forward, polite and undemanding. Do not overpromise.
- You may ask App developers for evaluation codes for their apps. Similarly, you may request accessories. However, if the product retails over $25, it is best to check with me or at least cc me in case another blogger has contacted the vendor.
- IMPORTANT: you should never promise anything to a vendor. In my requests I tell the vendor, “I am requesting xxxx for possible review for my blog at iphonelife.com. However, please understand that your product may not get reviewed on the web site or magazine. If it is reviewed, I cannot promise that it will be positive.”
- Encourage vendors to read http://www.iphonelife.com/getpublicity to understand how we operate, discover free an paid ways to get publicity through us, and where to send press releases.
- If you would like to contribute to the magazine, see writer's guidelines and send me your proposal. You can use material from your blog posts in your article.
- We get between 10 and 30 press releases a day sent to iphone-press @ iphonelife.com. Our most active bloggers, are auto-forwarded these press releases. Once you begin blogging regularly, ask davidathaddeus [dot] com (David )to be added to the list.
- When you post a review, if appropriate, encourage the vendor to link back to our site. Most vendors like using one of these logos that you can also attach.