RVblogz got an upgrade!

The RVblogz free travel blog community is now running along smoothly in style atop the latest version of Wordpress Multisite with all the best multi-user plugins and lots of new themes.

Big news from the cockpit here! The RVblogz free travel blog community is now running along smoothly in style atop the latest version of WordPress Multisite with all the best multi-user plugins and lots of new themes.

What does this mean to RVblogz members, Supporters and road warriors who want a cool free travel blog? Let’s see…

  • It’s easier than ever to start blogging about your travels!
  • RVblogz.com now delivers better performance with higher security.
  • More blog designs including premium layouts.
  • No more Grunions, but better spam protection with an better contact form.
  • And much more!

WordPress, Multisite and BuddyPress Plugins, Themes and Support - WPMU DEVBloggerz may need to refresh their dashboard pages and should check their Plugins an Apperance tabs for new functionality. Reply with a comment or submit a Support Ticket from your RVblogz dashboard.

RVblogz Supporter Framework Updated

RVblogz Supporter framework has been updated so be sure to review your available plugins and activate available spam protection and more!

We recently upgraded the Supporter Blog framework running behind the scenes here, so all at RVblogz members should visit the Plugins tab in their dashboard to ensure the TypePad Anti-Spam plugin is activated. This will keep spam comments to a minimum on free travel blog accounts.

RVblogz Supporters should make sure the WP-SpamFree plugin is also activated for enhanced spam protection. WP SpamFree will also allow RVblogz Supporters to easily add a contact form to their blogs. Other premium plugins that may have been deactivated in the recent upgrade include Viper’s Video Quicktags for easy video embedding from numerous video sharing sites, Multiple Twitter Widgets, and much more. For complete details review our Supporter Blog feature comparison.

Not yet an RVblogz Supporter? Consider upgrading today to automatically remove ads from your blog and instantly increase your blog space quota to 1GB for uploading lots of photos! You’ll also gain access to the Premium Plugins available, and a Supporter Badge widget you can proudly display in your blog sidebar. Simply visit the Supporter tab in your dashboard more information.

The RVblogz Supporter Blog framework is made possible with the powerful Supporter mu-plugin from WPMU-Dev Premium.

Special thanks to Motty and Patti!

Please help us thank Motti and Patti for becoming our latest RVblogz Supporters! If you have not yet checked out their Motty and Patti TraveLiving Journey blog, you are missing out. They have just hit the road and are already writing about plenty of adventures.

And now that they have upgraded their blog to Supporter status, they have much more space to upload photos, added comment spam protection and access plugins for other enhanced features. Read all about Supporter RVblogz for complete details.

Make the Most of Free RVblogz – Part 2

How to optimize photo image files for web use to maximize free travel blog account file upload space quota.

Optimize your Images for the Web

If you have signed up for a free RVblogz account, you have been given 25MB of server space for uploading photos, PDF files, etc. This space can be consumed quickly with large image files.

St. Augustine Sunrise Anastasia State Park

To make the most of your free server space, pay attention to the size of files you upload and understand that anything over 150± kb is often overkill for image display in your blog. We have found that an image size of 400×300 (@ 72 dpi) works well with most blog themes.

Another option is to keep your photos hosted on an online photo sharing site like Flick’r or SnapFish. You’ll still be able to place the images here on your blog, but the actual digital file is kept on those sites instead of in your RVblogz media library. This can save you from exceeding your upload space allotment.

For additional tips, read our post about how to use online photo sharing sites to make the most of your free blog.

Of course, the easiest way to avoid quickly filling your file quota is to upgrade your blog with an RVblogz Supporter subscription. This can be done at any time via the Supporter tab in your blog dashboard at any time.

But, for all RVbloggerz – either with free accounts or Supporter subscriptions – who just want to manage images with their own easy to use Media Library, we have some some tips to keep your file sizes down to a minimum.

How to Optimize Photo Sizes for the Web

Never upload an image directly from your camera to the web. Original digital photos are too big to publish online, and will use up your file size allotment quickly.

To shrink your photo file sizes down, many photo editing software applications have a push-button option that will optimize files for “web” or “e-mail” use. Windows XP and Windows Vista both have this functionality built-in. But to re-size images manually and determine their file size, follow these simple steps:

  • Launch your photo imaging software of choice.
  • Open your photo and do a “File/Save As” renaming the image so you don’t overwrite your original.
  • Crop your image to focus on the subject as desired.
  • Look for a menu option typically called “Image Size,” “Resize” or “Resample.”
  • Change your Resolution size to 72 DPI (Dots Per Inch).
  • Change your dimensions to a maximum of 640 pixels wide.
  • Click the box to “Constrain Proportions” or “Keep aspect ratio” when changing the image size. This keeps the image from getting distorted when you resize it. When this option is enabled, you just need to enter either the height or width; the other value should adjust automatically.
  • Preview the image at 100% and re-size or crop further as desired.
  • File sizes from 30 kb to a maximum of 150± kb per image will suffice and use the least space. The smaller the better when putting several files on the same page.
  • Save as a JPEG file, with medium compression if given the option.

Keep in mind that these steps apply to any image file you upload to your blog. You cannot crop or re-size images after uploading. A little arithmetic can help put things into perspective. If you upload 1 MB images – 1,000 kb – you may only be able to upload 25 photos. On the other hand, you might be able to upload 500 images at 50 kb each.

We hope this information helps you make the most of your free RVblogz account. But remember, if you don’t want to take the extra step to optimize your file sizes, just upgrade your account with an RVblogz Supporter subscription, and you can have a full gigabyte of upload space! Simply visit the Supporter tab in your blog dashboard. Upgrading via your dashboard will automatically remove the banner ads from your blog too! Supporters also get plugins for easily embedding blog videos and much more. We’ll talk about all that soon.

Make the Most of Free RVblogz – Part 1

Use online photo sharing site to make the most of your free RVblogz account

Use an Online Photo Sharing Site

All free RVblogz accounts include 25MB of server space for uploading your travel photos. RVblogz Suppporters get a full gigabyte of space among other benefits. But if you aren’t quite ready to upgrade to Supporter status yet, here is one way to make the most of your upload space quota:

First, if you don’t already have somewhere else to upload your photos, join an online photo sharing site like Flickr or SnapFish. You’ll still be able to place the images here on your blog, but the actual digital file is kept on those sites instead of within your RVblogz account – saving you tons of space here. If you do this, you may never have to upgrade to Supporter Status to get more server space. Though you might consider it for the other benefits.

To place your hosted images in your blog post, do the following:

  1. Write a draft of your blog post.
  2. Go to your photo sharing site (where you have presumably already uploaded photos) and find the image you want to place in your blog.
  3. Place your cursor in the middle of the photo, right click and choose “Copy Image Location” to grab the image URL.
  4. Return to your blog post, and put your cursor where you want your image to appear then click the “Add an Image” button next to “Add media:” (Choose the first icon, a grey box with a white border.)
  5. When the pop-up “Add media files” box opens, choose the “From URL” option.
  6. Place your cursor in the “Image URL” field, and paste the image location you copied.*
  7. Give your image a descriptive Title.
  8. Add an optional caption if you want it to appear under the photo in your blog post
  9. You may also optionally set how you want your photo aligned: to the left or right of your text, centered between paragraphs, or none at all.
  10. Click the “Insert into Post” button, and re-size the image as desired by dragging it by the corner handles.

*NOTE: A small green check mark will appear next to your Image URL if it is validated as a bona fide image file location. If a red “x” appears, check to ensure the Image URL is valid, and that it is not hosted by an account that requires logging in to view it.

A note about the “Link Image To” field … Click the “Link to image” button only if you want the original larger version of your photo to load in the browser window when clicked. If you do want the original image to load when clicked, just place your cursor in the “Link Image To” field and click the “Link to Image” button. Alternatively, you can link the image to any web page by using any valid URL in this field.

If you don’t like the way your photo is aligned, or want to edit its title or other advanced features, simply click within the photo, place your cursor over the top left corner, and click on the “Edit Image” icon that magically appears. A new window will appear that gives you the chance to resize and re-align the image or edit other attributes.

If all of this seems like a hassle, be sure to always minimize the size of your photo files before uploading them to your account – 25MB can fill up quickly if you’re not careful!

Or, you could just consider upgrading to be an RVblogz Supporter and not worry about any of this! Please stay tuned for more tips on How to Get the Most Out of Your Free RVblogz!

New Support System Online!

tech support catAll RVbloggerz will now notice a helpful new feature in their blog dashboard. We have just launched a comprehensive Support System to help you make the most of your blog. Simply log in to your RVblogz account and click on the Support tab to the left to access our new FAQs and Support Tickets.

We have tried to answer the most common questions regarding RVblogz account management, blog settings, options, themes, and much more. If you see an issue that isn’t answered, just send us your question or submit a new support ticket.

Support Tickets are our new way of providing direct technical support for your blog account when needed. Tickets are not intended for how to tips, but rather to address any specific issues you may have with your blog. Submit a ticket if you believe something is broken or are having technical difficulties with your blog. You will be notified by email when when we respond to your support ticket. You can then click the link provided to see the ticket and respond if necessary. All assistance will provided within the RVblogz  Support Ticket system – not via email – for clarification and archiving purposes.

The new Support tab in your dashboard is just another step in our continuing efforts to make your travel blogging experience easy and fun. And it is not to be confused with the Supporter tab where you can upgrade your RVblogz account to increase your upload space quota and enable enhanced features.

Supporters get Grunions!

Supporter RVblogz get grunion contact form plugin

grunionNo, not the fish. As an RVblogz Supporter, you can easily add a simple contact form to any post or page of your blog. Just like they do it at WordPress.com! Simply activate Grunion in the plugins tab of your dashboard.

You can add a contact form to any post or page just by inserting the simple tag [contact-form] into the post wherever you want the form to appear.

It will work like this …


Readers and visitors to your blog can then send you messages directly. Emails will be sent to the post’s author. Your email address is never shown, and the sender never learns it (unless you reply to the email).

What’s a Grunion?
The plugin was written in Southern California, home of an unusual fish called the Grunion. There’s apparently  no correlation between fish and contact forms; it’s just a fun sounding word that’s geographically apropos.

Anyone can put whatever they want in the name and email boxes. How can I know who’s really sending the message?
If a logged in RVblogz member of your site sends you a message, the end of the email will let you know that the message was sent by a verified user.Otherwise, you can’t trust anything… just like a blog comment. Anonymity is both a curse and a blessing 🙂

My blog has multiple authors. Who gets the email?
The email is sent to the author of the post with the contact form in it. So each author on your blog can have his or her own contact form.

Great! But how will my visitors know who they’re sending a message to?
Just make the title of your post “Contact Mary” or put “Hey, drop John a line with the form below” in the body of your post.

Not a supporter? Visit your RVblogz dashboard and upgrade for immediate activation. Not yet blogging on RVblogz? Sign up for your free account today.