Monday 28 May 2012

When is a free blog not a free blog?

Free Clipart Picture of Smiley Face Sun. Click Here to Get Free Images at Clipart Guide.comAnswer: when you've been a busy little blogger and filled it with too many photos - more on that in a second.

Hi all, well I think I gave you the wrong impression when I said I 'had the builders in' on my blog, I didn't have major changes planned - I did that a few weeks ago with my blog makeover. No, I was getting to grips with how photos on our blogs are stored in cyberspace and from there set about reorganising my albums. I deleted a lot of stuff in error so there were big black squares all over my blog while I tracked down the correct photos to replace the voids - didn't look very nice! I did move a few things round and tidied up a bit though, so maybe i should have said I had the de-clutterers and Feng Shui peeps in. I was intending to make this blog post before now but got ill again so it's taken a while to let you know the builders have left now.

Anyway, after reading Mel's panicked post about messages she was getting saying that she'd used up all her storage space for a free blog and was being asked to pay for more storage (what the???) I had a look at the way it works when we put photos on our blogs, our free blogs. Turns out, they are only free up to a point. Photos we put on our blogs are stored at Picasa Web Albums and there is a limit to how much we can store - 1GB - and after that we have to pay, yes pay!! a couple of quid a month. 1GB is probably plenty for many bloggers but for us crafters the photos are pretty essential to our posts and a gigabyte won't go so far. 

Sounds worrying, but I did a bit of looking around and found out some useful bits which I've put here in case this is new to anyone else. It's a bit long, so I've broken it up into segments.

Check your usage so far:

First off, check how much of your allotted storage you've used by visiting either:

HERE (not really recommended, it seems to pluck a figure out of the air, but it does tell you what upgrade options there are, together with prices)

Or the better way, log into Picasa Albums HERE. It's linked to Google so it may automatically log you in if you are logged into your blog, or you may need your Google log-in details. In Picasa, there are 3 tabs at the top of the screen: Home, My Photos, and Explore. Scroll down to the bottom of the Home tab and you will see how much space you've used.

I had used 47% of my allowance, which considering I've only been blogging 18 months I thought was very high and would maybe give me another 18 months before I'd used all my free space.....not good! I began wondering whether I should delete a load of stuff.

What happens if you delete a photo from your Picasa Web Album?

If the photo that you are deleting is still used in a blog post, then deleting it from Picasa will leave a big black square in your blog post. (I had these all over my main blog page, sidebar and Top3 page when I got a bit carried away deleting stuff - and they looked horrible! So be careful with that delete button). If the black squares bother you, you’ll need to edit your blog posts or sidebar to remove those 'photos', even though they aren’t actual photos any longer. On the other hand, simply deleting photos or whole blog posts from your blog won’t remove them from Picasa, you’ll still need to actually delete them from the Web Album in order to free up some precious space.

What could I delete?

I knew I could delete the oldest blog posts and photos but I didn’t want to do that, I like having an archive of older projects to look back on so I won’t do that until absolutely necessary. Fortunately, there were other things I could delete first:

I had loads of duplicate photos at Picasa where I’d made mistakes uploading or making blog posts and had to redo them. As photos appear in Picasa albums in the order in which they were uploaded, it seemed logical that the earlier photos were the unwanted ones so safe to delete. However, as I found out many times this is not always the case, so be careful which one you get rid of. The only advice I have is to get rid of one and see if the photo on your blog remains: delete the photo in Picasa, then open your blog to see, but Refresh your page first as changes don't show up that quickly. This is really important and I found that you have to refresh every time you open your blog page, not just once – something to do with the version of your blog that is stored in the cache or something, so changes you make don’t show up immediately. It's an idea to save a copy of each photo on your PC before deleting from Picasa, or make sure you have the photo on your computer so that if you do get rid of the wrong one you'll be able to replace it.

I had lots of photos of DT projects that I’ve uploaded to a Design Team Blog that I could safely delete and this free-ed up some more space. If you want to delete yours, they are easy to locate as they appear in their own album at Picasa, named for the DT blog you uploaded to (by the way, deleting the DT album photos won't remove them from the posts on your own blog).

Before I went live with my blog 18 months ago, I had a little play around uploading photos and also had a practice blog to get the hang of Blogger, so there were photos from that time that were also OK to get rid of. Have a look at your earliest photos in Picasa cos you might find some practice uploads in there.

Lastly, there were lots of unneeded photos in posts that I pruned away… of candy that I had advertised, photos of prizes and the like. Also, photos in the sidebar can also take up room, so I made sure only small pics remain.


Not all photos take up storage space…..yay!!

One of the commentors on Mel's post about this mentioned that images of less than 800 x 800 pixels don't count toward your storage allowance. I couldn't find verification of this on Picasa anywhere but I did try it out, and yes you do seem to have unlimited space for smaller images. However, although this is great for pictures that are to be shown at smaller size in your sidebar or blog post, if you like clearer or larger photos of your cards then this isn't quite good enough quality - I tested it and 800x800 pixel photos lose clarity and detail which is not great when you want to show your cards. But still, very useful to know! You can check the size of or resize an image to get it under 800x800 pixels by opening the image in Paint which should be already on your computer (click the drop-down menu in the top left of the screen in Paint, select 'Properties' and an info box should tell you the size in your choice of inches, centimetres or pixels, or Resize from the menu bar), or Paint.Net which is a free download (click 'Image' in the menu bar in Paint.Net and then 'Resize') and I should think other photo editing software too.

Images used multiple times

I also found I could save space with images used multiple times, like DT projects that I upload to my blog as well as a DT/challenge blog, if instead of uploading them from my computer into each blog post, I upload them to my Picasa album first, and then each time I use the photo upload it to my blog post from my Picasa album. Here’s how to do it with your blog: open the Picasa album where you want the photo to be stored, click ‘Add Photos’, click ‘Add photos from your computer’, navigate to the folder on your PC where your photo is, double-click your photo, and then click ‘OK’ when it’s finished uploading. Then, when you are typing out your blog post and you click the 'Insert Image' icon and get the 'Select a file' dialogue box, choose ‘From Picasa Web Albums’ in the left-hand column, choose the album with your photo and select your photo. You need to have set the permission and visibility of the album where your photo is stored in to 'Public' to do this.

What NOT to delete

One thing will notice that your profile photo appears in your Blogger Pictures album about 4 times.......DONT be tempted to delete 3 of these thinking you've uploaded 4 times in error! I did this and ended up appearing as a little black square in comments lists and Followers lists all over blogland (I know, I know, an improvement on my regular piccie, don't rub it in, lol). I reckon Blogger places your pic in 4 different categories (e.g. to be placed on your profile page, next to your comments, Followers lists), so just leave that particular album alone. Even if you've changed your profile piccie, don't delete the old ones unless you're OK with that little black square replacing your piccie next to your name in comments you left in the past.

Third party storage

I’m experimenting with using third-party storage and uploading to my blog from this instead. I’ve tried this with Photobucket and it does work and doesn’t eat into the free-of-charge space. The downside is that the photos come out REALLY big on my blog – they run way over the sidebar but I’m trying to find a way to solve that. If anybody knows how to make Photobucket images come out smaller can they let me know please. The other problem with Photobucket is that I gather they have a monthly bandwidth limit, which means that if a blog is viewed a lot there can come a time in the month when images may stop displaying – see an explanation of this point HERE.

Ha ha, much of that I learned by doing exactly the wrong thing and mucking up, but you do find out more when things go wrong, don’t you? My usage is now down to less than 35% so a reasonable saving, and in future I’ll think more carefully about how many photos of each card I really need to include in a blog post. I do NOT intend paying any fees just to annoy you lot with my ramblings LOL.


I’ve got a few posts half typed out which I’ll try and get around to finishing so I can post them, I’ve just been struggling with a horrid new symptom and have spent much of the last fortnight out of it with the worst grogginess ever. I think my brain is solidifying in my head!!! Well it feels like it anyway. Hopefully it’s wearing off a bit so I can be a bit more active online again. Meantime, I hope all the UK bloggers have been enjoying the warmer weather of late. Make the most of it cos it’s bank holidays next week and you know what that means!! Hee hee.



Jackie said...

Thank you for the heads up Carole, I am thoroughly confused now - it doesn't tkae much these days - but taking on board what you have said. Methinks I will bury my head in the sand and deal with it if and when necessary :o)
Jackie xx

Stamps and Paper said...

THank you Carole for all that info and will print off your findings just in case I need it..but I hate to think about it as I'm bot that 'up' with computers..lOl..lOl


angelwhispers said...

Oh my word Carole I've lost it half way through will have to come back and have another read this is just so over my head I'm not computer literate at all!! Glad to see you post though! Love Chanelle xx

Tara Cardwell said...

OMG - I'm at 85% eek! Thanks for pointing this out - will see what I can do to fix it.

chrissy xx said...

Thanks for this Carole...I have a lot of silly things on mine will spend an evening sorting....

Joanne said...

Whew Carole, mahalo for ALL that info! I never knew we could be charged. You really did your research! TFS! I don't use Picasa, I always upload from my files, I don't like that "middle man". They are all organized by date and subject and I put them on a CD to back them up. I also have hard drive back up storage. I think if it reached a point where the charges would start, I'd remove my very early stuff. Some of it is pretty corny. lol! Hope you are feeling better and are back creating soon. Take care my friend, big hugs, J:)

June Nelson said...

Hi me darlink where doyoulive cos I need a live tut on this!!! arghh im dopey and wouldnt be able to work this out if I tried, bless you its so kind of you to do all this for your blogging pals, I do hope you feel better soon lovely lady, you take care huggies \nd love from me xxxxxxxxxx

Joan Ervin said...

Thanks you sooo much for researching all this, Carole....who woulda thought!!! I have only used a little under 2% of my space I guess because I reduce my pics to 500 pixels....I was running out of space on my computer so now I reduce all my pictures! Hope you are feeling parents have been a little under the weather but otherwise all is well on the western front!!! Take care...Hugs!!!

Crafteezee said...

Ot O, I deleted my DT Albums, Oops, now I have to go and add them back in.
Thanks for the info, I should of read it a couple of times before hitting the delete key.
Hugs Tracy x

jeanie g said...

OMG Carole I'm nearly up to the end of my space then and I upload from pictures stored on my computer. I've never used Picasa??? Are they automatically stored there?? Will have to ask my SIL, I'm hopeless. Thank you so much for all your hard work and will try and catch up with you soon. xx

Susie said...

Wow, what a comprehensive blog post about the subject. Thanks so much for sharing what you have found out and learnt. I didn't know about any of this, but I'll try to remember to have a look at my usage when I have more time on my hands. Thank you. Susie x

Janette said...

Carole am in a blind panic as I type, my blog is full up and I can't post a damn thing, am soooooo mad at blogger for this....what the hell.....anyway, I will try what you soooooo gratefully have said here, although I will proberbly end with lots of black now am not bothered....thanks for this, I can see I will be wearing it out.xxxx

Pauline said...

Very interesting Carole, thank you for bringing this to people's attention. I have looked at the picasa home tab, and it says that I am using 0% of my usage, does that sound correct? Surely I am using some of my usage, I have lots of pictures on my blog, and I think I upload them at 1024x1024 when I export from my Aperture photo thing. I'm not very good with the computer lol! I will have to ask my hubby!

Sandy said...

Thanks so much for this info. So glad I found out about the photo limit. I'm just new to blogging but I still had stuff from old candy pics and multiple pics of cards I have put on my blog. You explained it all so well. Thank-you Sandy :)

Darnell said...

You are a Godsend, Carole! Pauline sent me your link after I blogged about getting the dreaded "Out of storage" popup. I could find NOTHING useful through Blogger ... well, I won't go into all that. Suffice to say that I am sending you a huge cyber hug and slobbery kiss for taking the time to write exactly and understandably what the deal is, where to find the info (I'm at 100%!) and what to do about it.

I'm off to get busy. I've only been on blog for 8 months, and didn't think I would be full so fast, but there you have it. At least now I know how to fix it and I don't have to have a heart attack OR kill my husband over it when he tries to help. LOL!

Thank you SOOO much!!

Teresa said...

You are my saviour Carole, I have reached 99.9% Eekk!
I'm so pleased you've explained all this and in plain English for me to understand not computer talk, I keep getting the pop up message and I need to blog some cards, so I'm really grateful for this, I have just got as far as opening picasa, wish me luck lol, oh I hope I can do it. Hugs Teresa xx