How It Works

How to Create Links for WordPress Users (now with video)
How to Create Links for Blogger Users
Permalinks (shortlinks) and Scheduling Your Post
How to Schedule Your Post (now with video)

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This is all going to sound complicated, but it’s really not. The Potluck is simply a good, old-fashioned blog circle, meaning that one blog links to the one before it and the one after it and so on – to create a chain of sorts – where all of the participating blogs are connected. Readers can easily go from one blog to the next (or the one preceding) with a click of their mouse. It does, however, require a little bit of coding work on your part. I’ll explain exactly what you have to do, so don’t worry about it.

Since it’s a potluck theme, the blogs go in order of the courses, starting with appetizers and ending with perhaps the most important course of all, desserts.

If you decide to join the Potluck (and I hope you do), you’ll have to do some very easy coding work. That’s the language that goes on behind the beautiful scenery of your blog. You’ll find step-by-step instructions below, whether you use WordPress or Blogger.

If you’d like to read about the first Virtual Vegan Potluck, you can take a quick trip here or here.

The instructions look long and scary, but that’s just an illusion.  All of you have done this very exact thing in your blogs – maybe every time you write a post.  Just take your time and email the VVP team with any questions.

I’ve created several buttons (available on the Resources page) that you’ll need for your VVP post – one to use to go to the blog before yours and one to go to the blog following yours. Just copy them and paste them into a folder or spot on your computer where you’ll be able to find them easily.  You can find the list of participating blogs under Potlucks in the header. (For detailed information about timing, suggestions and why links are important, please refer to my May 2, 2012 post, Virtual Vegan Potluck: The Links Edition.)

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Links
How To Create Links for WORDPRESS Users:

Method 1, Inserting Graphics with Links:
1) It would be helpful to have the rough draft of your post, including photos of your food item, ready before you insert the two graphics.
2) Open your draft post.
3) Scroll to the bottom of your post and hit return one or two times.
4) Click on the camera/musical notes icon at the top of the draft, next to the words Upload/Insert.
5) From the From Computer tab, click on Select Files (or drag in the files).
6) When the graphics have been uploaded insert one (“go back”) then the other (“go forward”) into your post. One graphic should be above the other.
7) Click on the “go back” graphic and then click on the small photo icon at the top left of the graphic.
8) Next to where it says Link URL you’ll see the URL for the photo.  Delete this and insert the URL for the blog that precedes yours in the Potluck (i.e., www.nonexistentveganblog.com).
9) Click update.  Do the same thing with the “go forward” graphic, except this time, insert the URL for the blog that follows yours.
10) Click update.  You are done.

To have a new window open when a reader clicks the button/image, click on the image.  You’ll see the little photo icon and the delete icon.  Click the photo icon.  This takes you to the Edit Image window.  Go to the Advanced Settings tab and scroll down to the bottom.  You’ll see Target then the words, Open Link in a New Window.  Click the box to place a check mark in it.  Click Update.

For visual help with linking, please view Jason’s awesome How To video (below, or click the link to go to YouTube):
Linking in the to VVP

Method 2, Linking within Text:
We’ve all done this method.  It looks something like this:

To visit the blog that precedes mine in the Potluck, click here!
To visit the blog that follows mine in the Potluck, click here!
To start at the beginning of the Potluck, click here!

(Of course, you will think of a much more clever way to write this – preferably using the name of the preceding and following blogs.)

1) Write your text, inviting readers to move backward and forward through the Potluck.  I would suggest that this text be at or near the bottom of your post so it’s the last thing that people read.
2) Highlight the portion of the text that you want to use as a link (i.e., “click here”).
3) At the top of your draft post, click on the little chain link button.
4) At the very top of the window that opens, insert the URL for the blog that precedes yours in the Potluck.
5) Click on the little box that says Open Link in a New Window/Tab.
6) Click Update.
7) Do the same thing for the blog that follows you in the Potluck.
8)  You’re done!

Remember, you won’t see a picture/graphic with this method.  It’s only text.

I will employ both methods to reinforce that I am part of a circle of bloggers – and I’m going to include a link for people to go to the very beginning of the Potluck (VeganBloggersUnite!), too.

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How to Create Links for BLOGGER Users:

Method 1, Linking within Text:
Is the same as Method 2 above.  Simply apply a link to text you’ve written.
1) Open your draft post and highlight the text you would like to link.
2) Click Link.
3) In Edit Link, paste in the URL of the blog to which you are linking.
4) Make sure that the Open This Link in a New Window is checked.
5) Click Okay.
6) Repeat this method for the other blog to which you are linking.
7) You’re done.

Method 2, Insert HTML:
Apologies, Blogger bloggers.  The method that I used for the last Potluck is not working for me this time around, so please just use the Linking within Text method described above – unless you are way savvier than I in Blogger.

One last thing.  It’s essential once the Potluck is live that you update your links so that they go to the actual posts rather than to the blogs in general (see below, The Importance of Changing Your Links the Day of the Potluck (once more, with feeling).  Once the Potluck is over, readers will be able to go from one VVP post to the next without having to search through your blog.  Make sense?

Again, I know this looks really complicated, but it’s pretty straightforward.  We’re happy to help you and answer any questions you have about how to insert graphics and how to create links.  I want to stress one last time how important it is that your links work!  A broken link means your readers can’t move from one blog to the next and the Potluck is “broken.”

One of these days when my technology skills are on par with my ideas, this process will become much easier.  Until then, thank you for your patience and participation!

If you use tumblr, it’s quite easy to create a link.  Write some text asking readers to go forward or go back, highlight what you want to link and click on the chain symbol.

I know I’m a broken record here, but…getting your links right is being respectful to the blogs that come before yours and after yours. 

You want visitors to find and appreciate your blog, right?  Well, so does every other blog in the Potluck.  Once the Potluck is “live,” I will be visiting each site to make sure the links are working properly and that they point to the correct posts.  If I find that a blog does not have their links working/correct – or perhaps does not even have their Potluck post published – I will remove that blog from the Potluck and will ask the blogs before and after it to change their links.  Sorry, but I feel it’s only fair to all of the participants who have worked really hard to create something special.

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Time Zones
Permalinks (shortlinks) & Scheduling Your Post
Let’s get the permalinks lesson out of the way before we tackle post scheduling.  First of all, what is a permalink?  A permalink or shortlink is the URL that your blog’s host (WordPress or Blogger) assigns to each and every post.  This link is created as soon as you type in a title and save the draft and unless you change it manually, it is the link that is permanently associated with your post whether it remains a draft or is published.  Why am I asking bloggers to provide me with permalinks a week prior to the Potluck?  Because it should eliminate missing links between posts that really mar a reader’s experience going through the Potluck.

To find the permalink to your post in WordPress:

  • Click Add New (post)
  • Give the post a title (it doesn’t have to be the final title – you can change this later)
  • Click Save Draft
  • Look under the title and you’ll see Permalink and something like this:    http://pretendveganblog.com/2013/10/22/virtual-vegan-potluck-recipe-here/
  • Just beyond this you’ll see Get Shortlink.  Click on this and you’ll see something like this: http://wp.me/p1WaxH-2vf
  • Copy this shortlink and paste it into an email and send it to me at annieATvirtualveganpotluckDOTcom.
Screenshot of Permalinks/Shortlinks

The arrow points to where you can get the shortlink to your blog post.

To find the permalink to your post in Blogger:

  • Create a draft post
  • Give the post a title (it doesn’t have to be the final title – you can change this later)
  • Click Save
  • At the right side of the screen you’ll see a column that includes the word Permalink.
  • Click on that and you’ll see two options – one for an “automatic” permalink and the other for a “custom” permalink.
  • Click on Automatic and you’ll see a link come up similar to this: http://pretendveganblog.blogspot.com/2013/10/Virtual-Vegan-Potluck-Recipe.
  • Copy this shortlink and paste it into an email and send it to me at annieATvirtualveganpotluckDOTcom

Blogger Draft Preview

Scheduling
Perhaps the coolest thing about the Potluck is that we’ve got bloggers participating from around the globe.  That can make posting at or around the same time pretty complicated, however.  In an effort to coordinate, I’ve created a list of Time Zones around the world with the exact time to schedule blog posts.

Scroll down to locate your country in the list and get the time/date on which you should schedule your post.  Keep in mind that WordPress uses a 24-hour clock.  The “starting” point for this list is 22:00/10:00 PM Central Time for the United States.  Some of us in the U.S. and Canada will be publishing late on December 12 rather than on December 13.

For additional visual help, please view the video (below, or click the link to go to YouTube), Scheduling Posts for the VVP.  Please note that we use 00:01 Eastern/New York Time as an example.  YOUR TIME MAY BE DIFFERENT.

UNITED STATES (Military Time/Civilian Time)
Eastern Time:  23:00/11:00 PM December 12
Central Time:  22:00/10:00 PM December 12
Mountain Time:  21:00/9:00 PM December 12
Pacific Time:  20:00/8:00 PM December 12
Hawaiian Standard Time: 18:00/6:00 PM December 12

CANADA (Military Time/Civilian Time)
Atlantic Time:  24:00/12:00 AM December 12/13
Eastern Time:  23:00/11:00 PM December 12
Central Time:  22:00/10:00 PM December 12
Mountain Time:  21:00/9:00 PM December 12
Pacific Time:  20:01/8:00 PM December 12

UNITED KINGDOM & PORTUGAL (Military Time/Civilian Time)
Western European Time:  04:00/4:00 AM December 13

EUROPE & DENMARK (Military Time/Civilian Time)
Central European Time:  05:00/5:00 AM December 13
Eastern European Time:  06:00/6:00 AM December 13
Moscow Time:  07:00/7:00 AM December 13

SOUTH AFRICA (Military Time/Civilian Time)
Central Africa Time:  06:00/6:00 AM December 13

INDIA (Military Time/Civilian Time)
India Standard Time:  09:30/9:30 AM December 13 (Do not adjust your TV sets, this really is the correct time.)

JORDAN (Military Time/Civilian Time)
Jordan Current Time:  06:00/6:00 AM December 13

AUSTRALIA (Military Time/Civilian Time)
Western Standard Time: 12:00/12:00 PM December 13
Eastern Standard Time: 14:00/2:00 PM December 13
Central Daylight Time: 14:30/2:30 PM December 13
Eastern Daylight Time: 15:00/3:00 PM December 13

SOUTH AMERICA (Military Time/Civilian Time)
Brazil Standard Time:  2:00/2:00 AM December 13

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How to Schedule Your Post
It’s easy to schedule posts for publication.

In WordPress you’ll find it under Publish (at the right side of the Edit Post page).  Click on Schedule, select the date and time and then click Okay.  (Make sure that you understand the difference between “military” and “civilian” time.  A mistake here and you’ll be way off on your publishing time.)  There will be a blue Schedule button just below this.  Click on that to update and you’re all set.

In Blogger, you’ll find the Schedule capability at the right side of your create/edit post; click and then click on Set Date and Time.  When you’ve put in the correct date and time, click on Done.

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This Potluck is Vegan & Plant-Based.

And a last gentle reminder: this Potluck is plant-based.  That means that none of the food should contain any trace of animal products.  Cheese, that means you.

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