A Virtual Vegan Potluck Update: The Links Edition

Go!That time is upon us, Potluck participants!  Just as in a real, in-person potluck, there is some preparation that needs to be done before the guests arrive.  Thankfully none of us has to tidy the house, lock the dog in the guest room, improvise when the dish we prepared tastes like fireplace ash or decide what to wear.  Below are some thoughts and suggestions and the info on where to learn how to connect us all on May 12.  My hope is that these instructions are clear enough that any pre-potluck jitters are eliminated!  I’m looking forward to finding out what you’ve all come up with and to “breaking bread” with the wonderful folks I’ve met through blogging!

There’s a lot of info here and I appreciate your patience in slogging through it.  First of all, I just have to say I luv you – there is a nice distribution of dishes, no orphans – but the obvious favorite is the dessert category!  Perhaps the next Potluck should be all vegan sweets??  (Yes, I’m already talking a second Potluck…)

A Gentle Reminder:
I’m really pleased to have quite a few non-vegan bloggers participating in this event.  It just might be the answer to the age old question: Can’t we all just get along??  I do want to mention here that all recipes should be animal-free.  If you are a vegetarian or an omnivore and have prepared your dishes with eggs or dairy, please also include the non-vegan equivalent (i.e., nut milk for dairy, egg replacer of some kind for eggs, vegan cheese for dairy cheese, etc.).  I would caution anyone against preparing a dish that relies heavily on eggs, such as a custard, souffle or frittata, as this makes a translation into a plant-based dish a might tricky to say the least.  If you have any questions about this, please shoot me an email.

One other reminder.  In case there is any confusion, you will be posting your photos and recipes on your blog on the day of the event (May 12), not submitting the recipe to me.  Probably you all understood that, but I just wanted to clarify.

Meet Your Hostess:
Lidia at Vegan Bloggers Unite! has graciously agreed to have VBU! be the launching site for the Potluck.  Chances are, readers will land on a blog within the circle and move backwards or forwards from there, but I thought it would be a great idea to have a starting off point and her blog is the perfect place.  VBU! readers can begin their Potluck journey from the very first appetizer.  Lidia has been a wonderful support as I’ve fumbled about with this idea, so thank you, Lidia!

Suggestions:
This might seem like a firm grasp of the obvious here, but it would be a good idea in our posts to briefly mention that we are taking part in a virtual potluck that connects like-minded foodies and bloggers for a worldwide eating and drinking celebration.  I will also most likely put the words Vegan Virtual Potluck in my post title.

Timing:
Since bloggers from around the globe are participating in this event, timing our postings will be a bit funky.  My plan is to set my post to automatically publish at midnight on May 11.  There will be some lag time between published and unpublished posts – it would be too complicated to try and coordinate everyone.  My feeling is the earlier I have the post up, the better.

How I Listed the Blogs:
Bloggers are listed in the order of courses, starting with appetizers and going through to desserts.  Sort of like progressing through a real meal.  Within each course, I’ve placed blogs in alphabetical order.

Why the Links are Important (The Links are ALL):
Imagine that you are riding a bicycle on a silky smooth path.  As you easily pedal along, you take in the beautiful scenery and glide with ease over the gentle hills and valleys.  Suddenly, however, someone thrusts a stick in between the spokes and you come to a complete and unpleasant halt.  This is what would happen if one of us has a broken or bad link.  Our readers will come to a screeching stop and will be unable to move forward or backward.  Blog readers, for all of their wonderful traits, are fickle creatures.  They will leave the site and miss out on the remaining Potluck contributions.

It is imperative that the links be valid and it is imperative that everyone who participates publishes their post on the day of the event.  If something occurs and you wish/need to back out of the Potluck, please let me know a day or two ahead of time so that I can make the necessary adjustments.  If you have questions or problems with adding links, email me – or – Tweet me @AnOlive so I can help you.  Please, please, please check the list of participating bloggers one last time before the event (i.e., on May 11).  If there is any shifting about, you will need to change your links.

It is also imperative that all of us update the links the day after the Potluck.  Why?  Because you want readers who are visiting for the Potluck to land on the specific posts about the Potluck – not the blog/site in general.  Just update the links the same way that you entered the first links (see instructions).

The Not So Good News for WordPress Users:
The fancy-schmancy HTML I wrote was summarily rejected by WordPress, perhaps due to an HTML vs. XHTML issue, or more likely because I have a freebie WP account and only so much tinkering with the coding is allowed.  Who knows.  After freaking out about this for a while, I decided to come up with a different solution and not turn any more of my hairs gray.  I’m working with WP Support (Chris, you are so very nice!) on coding, but don’t want to hold anyone up.  Perhaps we’ll have the kinks ironed out for the next Potluck.  In the meantime, Blogger users CAN use the HTML code.  You can find out how to do that on the VVP Page.

The Good News:
The upside to the Not So Good News is that I think the solution (two solutions, actually) will be much easier for everyone and the process much more familiar.  Not as good-looking, but they’ll get the job done.  Rather than outline them here, instructions for both methods are available on the VVP Page.  Briefly, Method 1 involves inserting graphics and linking those graphics to sites.  Method 2 is simply inserting links into your text, the same as you do when you mention another blog, website or article.  Probably all of you have inserted links directly into your text before.  Both methods are very easy, but I encourage you to use the one with which you feel most comfortable.  I don’t want this to be a stressful occasion, I want it to be fun and social and rewarding.

Here are the two graphics (Method 1):

go back

go forward

Go ahead, click on them (but come back here when you’re done).  They’ll take you to two different sites.  (Yeah, there’s a shameless plug in one of them.)  Which is exactly what your graphics will do once you insert them and link them.  Instructions on how to do this are on the VVP Page.  You can either copy and save the graphics from here, or from the VVP Page.  Size the graphics to whatever works best with your blog.  The last person in the Potluck will get a different graphic which I will email separately.

So…the sooner you insert the links and/or graphics (which are available on the VVP Page) and test them the more time I have to straighten out any problems that may arise.  I don’t anticipate any issues, but never say never.  Please email me if you have questions or if you need help.

Ways to Connect:
I’ve added all of your blogs both to the FB Event page as well as onto my Pinterest board called Virtual Vegan Potluck May 2012.  It’s been great seeing some of you on An Unrefined Vegan’s FB page as well.  Thanks to the many of you who have Liked it – and please – if you have an FB page (many of you do) put your link on my FB Page so that I’m sure to Like you back!  I’ve gotten most of you, I think, but there are always a few that slip through the cracks.

Get Social!:
Speaking of connecting…Once you’ve put the final touches on your special dishes, have taken the photos and written the post and published it for all the world to see – invite the guests!  What good is a potluck without people to snarf down the gorgeous goodies??  Tweet, post on FB and contact your friends.  Let’s drive some serious traffic through this thang!

Please come back to this post if you have questions.  If you don’t find the answer, email me.  Once again, instructions on how to link are available on the VVP Page.  The sooner you write your draft and insert your links, the more time I have to help you if you encounter problems.  I hope everyone enjoys the Potluck and once again – thank you all so much for your enthusiasm, creativity and your love of GOOD FOOD!

26 thoughts on “A Virtual Vegan Potluck Update: The Links Edition

  1. thingsmybellylikes

    Thanks for this extremely detailed (and clear) explanation Ann. You’ve done a lot of work on this and it’s much appreciated…I can’t wait to be a part of the circle of eating and blogging!
    Looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with on the day….

    Reply
  2. Barb

    No jitters here! It’s a bummer about wordpress- I’m planning to make the switch to self hosted, I only started out with the freebie account because I didn’t want to spend $$ and then decide that I hated blogging 🙂

    I can’t wait for the VVP to begin!

    Reply
    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      Same here – didn’t want to pay the extra. I’d like to have more flexibility, but haven’t decided yet whether or not I also want to deal with hosting, etc. I kind of wish I’d just started from scratch on my own, but then again, I probably wouldn’t have a website yet ;-)! WP got me going at least!

      Reply
  3. Somer

    So looking forward to participating in this. You are amazing for putting it together! Thanks for all you do!

    Reply
  4. veghotpot

    Im on wordpress and had thought the HTML might be tricky. Will do my best but worst case scenario I plan to just add a link to the static image of the back and forward piccies or a link to some big words sayind GO BACK/ GO FORWARD next to the image!! Either way there will be links 😀 xxx

    Reply
  5. Choc Chip Uru

    You have put in a boatload of effort my friend with stunning results – thank you so much for organizing it and letting me take part in it 😀
    Could I just clear somethings up with you please?
    1. The potluck is starting at Lidia’s blog 😀
    2. According to your participant list, it will then go to the first blogger who is doing the appetizer, Air Eater who will link it to the person in your list following that etc right?
    3. We can link to you, Lidia and the blog before and after us in the circle
    4. We have to post ASAP on May 12, having generic links to the blogs before and after us and then link to this blog specifically once they have published their VVP 🙂

    Thank you 😀 – so excited!
    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    Reply
    1. An Unrefined Vegan

      I’m so glad to have you participating! Hope I can clarify things for you – if not – keep asking!

      1) Yes, the official launch site will be Vegan Bloggers Unite.
      2) With the exception of Vegan Bloggers Unite and the LAST blog in the list, every blog will link to the one before it and the one after it.
      3) I am going to include a link within my text to Vegan Bloggers Unite, but there is no need for you to do so unless you want to. You can also choose to link to the Virtual Vegan Potluck page if you wish, but not necessary.
      4) Yes, post ASAP on May 12 and then update your URLs to reflect the specific blog post rather than the generic blog URL.

      You got it!! Looking forward to the big reveal on the 12th!

      xo

      Reply
  6. Gabby @ the veggie nook

    Yay! So pumped! Thanks for all your hard work on this Ann, if there is anything at all I can do to help (this time or the next time- so happy about a next time already lol), please let me know.

    Reply
  7. vegansparkles

    Oooh, I didn’t even think about sending out invitations to this event! What a great idea – I’m on it! And THANK YOU for organising such a cool event, Annie! You are doing an amazing job. xx

    Reply
  8. Richgail Enriquez

    Thank you for organizing and for all the hard work behind it. I’ll keep checking back to this post as reference in case I’ll have some questions.

    Reply
  9. Shira

    I am back and looking forward to putting this post together Annie! This whole thing is such an amazing feat – you are incredible!

    Reply
  10. Starr

    Thanks for addressing the issue of timing. I was going to ask what time would be best to publish, but you already took care of it 🙂

    Reply
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