Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How To Share ArtFire Collections

Way back in 2009, a reader asked me to share the secret behind my Poster Sketch segment, where I shared screenshots of themed Etsy treasuries. I created a handy tutorial for capturing and blogging images of completed treasuries, back when you had to wait in line to make one.

A lot has changed since then, including my loyalty, and that of many online sellers. With a new venue, and a new operating system, it’s time for a new tutorial! Today I want to share the techniques behind Inspirational Beading’s newer Collections segment.

If you’ve ever made a Collection on ArtFire, you probably know that they automatically expire once 5 items have been deleted or sold, and that you can share the collection with handy HTML code generated on site. The ArtFire Collection widget is very clever, and handy when you want to show off something you’ve created or been featured in. It looks something like this:

Example of an ArtFire Collection Widget

Unfortunately, the actual widgets are live, and just like the Collections themselves, will change and eventually expire as items sell. Because of this function, it isn’t suitable for individual blog posts, which continue to be visible, archived and cached. They are best used as a sidebar gadget, which can easily be deleted when the Collection is no longer relevant or active.

To create a permanent image of a completed Collection, ArtFire front page, or daily email, all you need to do is take a screenshot. Then you can upload your image, and share it on your blog, Facebook page, or website.

To snap a screenshot, center the Collection you want to share on your computer screen, and press the PrtScr key at the top of your keyboard, or hold Alt and press PrtScr. Then, open up your favorite editing program - MS Paint works well - and paste in the image by holding Ctrl and pressing V.

Cropping a Screenshot with MS Paint, Windows 7

In Paint, click the Selection icon, and drag a box around the Collection, then click Crop to remove the excess. You should now have neat image of your Collection. Resize the image if necessary, and save it.

Cropped Screenshot of the ArtFire Front Page

To share the image on a blog, you will need to upload it to an image host. If you use Blogger, Gmail, or another Google product, you already have access to Picasa Web Albums, which has tons of storage and is easy to use. Photobucket and Flickr are also good options.

Grabbing Image Links from Picasa Web Albums

Once your image is uploaded, you will need to copy the Embed Image or Direct Link address. Using your blog’s HTML editor, input the image link into this string of code:

<p align="center"><a href="Destination URL" target="_blank"><img src="YourImage" alt="Image Title" title="Image Title"></a></p>

Paste in the URL address of your collection over “Destination URL“., and fill in the alt and title fields with a keyword-rich name for your image. These tags not only create a caption for your image, and default text if it fails to load, but also help search engines to correctly index your pictures and blog posts. When the Collection has expired, the link will redirect to your My Collections page on ArtFire, so there's no need to worry about dead links on your blog.

This code will create a centered image. If you’d like to learn how to wrap text around smaller images, please check out Blogging for Handmade Sellers.

If you are using the built-in ArtFire Studio blog, this code will also create a clickable image for your collection. However, the maximum image width is 500px. If you are using Picasa to host your pictures, resize your cropped screenshot to 500px wide before you upload it, so you can get the largest possible image. Picasa allows widths of 400px, 640px, or the actual width, up to 800px.

Adding Images or HTML to the ArtFire Blog

Please feel free to copy the HTML above, and save it to a plain text file like WordPad or Notepad. When you need to use it, just copy and paste! With practice, you can also memorize these simple functions, and type them by hand.

Happy blogging!

Be Good to Your Geek Collection

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1 comment:

  1. I so can't wait to try this tutorial. I love artfire too! Thanks so much!


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