Backup Your Photos With Google Photos

I recently stumbled upon Google Photos, a free photo backup app for your iPhone or Android device. You capture every moment possible with photos your phone, but what happens when you can’t capture them anymore because your phone’s storage is full?

That’s where Google Photos comes into play. Google Photos automatically backs-up your photos to the cloud, the second you snap them. With Google Photos, you don’t have to worry about your phone crapping out and you losing all of those precious moments.

One of my favorite features of Google photos the “Free up space” tool. It basically checks the photos on your phone in comparison to the ones on the cloud, and will remove them once they are securely found in the cloud. This frees up space to take more photos, install more apps and update your phones software.

You also have the option to save high-quality versions of your photos or the original ones. Obviously, the originals will take up more space, but you will get a much better version. Since you have the option to save the original, you can purchase more space for your Google Photos account. If you don’t care about the original, don’t worry… the high quality photos are still really great and you can store an unlimited amount of those types.

Google Photos is so helpful and easy to use, I just had to share it with you all.

Give Google Photos a try. 

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5 Must Have WordPress Plugins

Don’t get me wrong, WordPress is great out of the box but it still has some limiting factors and performance issues that can be fixed with plugins. I commonly help people build websites and improve their current sites, I always make sure these plugins are installed.

EWWW Image Optimizer

Images are a big part of websites/blogs, but little do you know how big some of those files really are. Plus, when you get 5 images or so on a page or post, things can really start to slow down. This plugin compresses the images without loss of quality. It’s one of those plugins that are a no-brainer. You just upload your photos through the Media Uploader like normal and it does the rest for you.

Download Plugin

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

The standard WordPress Jetpack is great and all, but did you know it actually is slowing down your site? It adds a bunch of extra code that’s taxing on the browser. I wouldn’t argue that Jetpack does have a ton great features. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP shows your Google Analytics data right in the WordPress Dashboard. Most people use Google Analytics and Jetpack, so why not just use one and have that data right in the dashboard?

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YOAST SEO

WordPress out of the box is somewhat SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ready, however it’s lacking some key features. With YOAST SEO, you can add Meta Titles and Descriptions for every page/post, test keywords out based on the content on a page/post, as well as create a sitemap automatically for your Google to crawl. Your websites SEO score greatly impacts on where it ranks in search results. YOAST also has a premium version, but the free version should be good enough to get you rolling.

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WP Performance Score Booster

Your website performance also plays a big part in your SEO score. Plus, who likes to wait forever for a website to load? WP Perfomance Booster helps leverage browser caching, compresses resources such as CSS to help your site run more efficiently and smoothly. I recommend doing a Google Page Speed Test before you install the plugin, and then after to compare the difference. You can thank me later.

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Wordfence Security

I put this plugin as last on the list because it can be a little more complicated than the other plugins. This plugin has a ton of features to better secure your site, such as limiting login attempts to block IP addresses. However, this plugin does also have some advanced settings that could even lock yourself out of your site if you’re not careful. I’d definitely follow the instructions very closely and stay clear of the advanced area unless you know what you’re doing.

Download Plugin

What WordPress plugins do you use and/or recommend? 

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Change On The Horizon

This next Monday, I’m embarking on a new journey. Nope, not a vacation or a hiking trip but a new journey of employment. I have been beyond blessed to have worked at LifePoint Church for the last number of years, as a contractor, Maintenance Technician, and Media Assistant. I have accepted a new position with Evergreen Public Schools as a Instructional Technology Trainer.

Reflecting on where I’ve been and where I am heading, all I can say is that you never know where life is going to take you. I would have never thought I’d be entering into the education system, but I am thankful and excited for the opportunity to expand my horizons and be stretched. It’s funny how everything this far has been preparing me for what’s ahead. The skills/experience I’ve gained while being in marketing, interacting with fellow staff members resolving technical issues and volunteering as a youth leader.

Here a just a few of things I’ve learned this far in my journey….

  1. It’s never too late to learn something new.
    I always want to be a learner. I feel like in the technology field, things are always changing and you have to stay up with what’s new. Keeping informed of changes will only help propel me and keep me adaptable. I want to be open and moldable to the changes.
  2. Be open to constructive criticism.
    Criticism is never easy to swallow. Some criticism is good and some is bad but I always want to be open to it. Especially when it’s from a different perspective than the way I look at things. It allows me to approach the problem or situation with a different lens and hopefully improve on it.
  3. Always be quick to apologize.
    It’s easy when working with a team of people, or just other people in general to make someone upset. I try not to hold a grudge against someone because they made me mad and they responded in a way I didn’t like. It’s easier to forgive and apologize than working with someone you don’t want to interact with because you’re frustrated with them.
  4. Our hardest work is often unseen.
    Being in support roles, this is often the case. However, in whatever role I am in, I am there to support the overall vision/mission of the organization I am working for. I can work hours and hours on something that seems like a huge deal for me, but to someone in a different department it is something so small. That’s OK.

Although what’s ahead is a little unknown, I am confident it’s where I should be for now.

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One Thing You Need At Disneyland

A few months ago, I took a trip to Disneyland. Disneyland trips have the potential to be full of stress and chaos, especially when you get that low battery 20% message on your phone. If you’re like me, you’re always snapping photos and often posting those photos to social media. If your phone is dying, how will anyone know you met Chewbacca?

chewbacca

Luckily I realized this would be a problem before we left and went on Amazon in search of a portable battery charger. I found one that is the biggest bang for your buck and saved the day many times at Disneyland.

Here’s what makes the Anker PowerCore 20100 brilliant and an essential for your Disneyland vacation:

  • Two USB ports allowing for two devices to be charging at once (if you have more than one Twitter user with you, you’ll thank me later).
  • It’s the size of a pocketbook, so it will fit easily inside of a purse or backpack.
  • Charges a dead phone up to 7 times to 100% depending on your device(does not recharge humans, that’s what Dole Whips are for).
  • You’ll find that everyone wants to stand in line with you.
  • There are very few outlets at Disneyland (and even if you found one, who would want to wait and pay all that money for their phone to charge?).
  • This will increase your Snapchat score because you can snap people all day.

anker-power-core

Even after the Disney Trip, this battery charger has come in handy while journeying to Nashville, many trips to Seattle and even saved the day night of live tweeting a TV show when no one wanted to get off the couch to plug the phones in. And by “no one” I mean Stephanie and by ” a TV show” I mean The Walking Dead.

This battery charger can’t cut down wait times, but it can make sure you’re not bored by letting you watch Keyboard Cat while waiting to ride Star Tours.


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Hashtags. What’s the point?

Hashtag
noun

(on social media sites such as Twitter) a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.

Twitter

Twitter is really where the hashtag was born. I notice a lot of people go hashtag crazy on Twitter and really use hashtags that make no sense to use or they use it to be funny.

An example how not to tweet…
“Watching #volleyball during the #2016 #olympic #games. #summerfun #nothingelsetodo”

Hashtags on Twitter were really created to track a conversation. Take the Summer Olympics for example. You could easily follow along with other people watching and talking about the Olympics by using #Rio2016.

If I am watching a TV show, I like to know other people’s thoughts or snarky remarks while watching it, so I’ll usually follow the shows hashtag on Twitter. It also let’s me follow other people who might share a similar interest to me.

Instagram

Hashtags on Instagram like Twitter can be used to track events. I use Hashtags on Instagram to tag my photos to show up with other like minded photos. For example, since I live in the Pacific Northwest, I usually tag most of my shots with #NorthwestIsBest. #NorthwestIsBest is a hashtag used to curate photos taken in the Pacific Northwest. I also use hashtags on Instagram to engage with other people who take similar photos as I do.

If you look at the first comment on any of my Instagram posts, you’ll see the Hashtags I use. I do this so my photo doesn’t come up as spammy. Putting the hashtags in the first comment allows it to still show up though with the other photos under that hashtag.

Morning coffee shop vibes.

A post shared by Justen Martian (@justenmartian) on

Facebook

Hashtags don’t really serve a purpose on Facebook. If they are event based, then that’s OK but other then that, Facebook shows “Trending” based on keywords rather than hashtags. You can see an example of “Trending” to the right of your newsfeed.

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 11.01.19 AM

There you have it. Hopefully this post left you more informed and empowered about how to use hashtags more appropriately. They are useful when used correctly and really annoying when used just because you want to use them.

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