Recently I began a new series of Posts from Your Archives with the focus on new bloggers.
In the post I went through some of the steps so that a blog is easy to find, to navigate through to where you would like your reader to go, to read the posts and to like, comment and share.
If you are a new blogger then here is the post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/28/new-series-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-new-blogger-promotionand-setting-up-your-blog-for-accessibility-readability-and-sharing/
I have extracted the set up information so that anyone who would like to give their blog a tweak to make it more user friendly can refer to.
I am on the free website plan with WordPress and will admit to using the classic editor, but you should be able to find the widgets in your own dashboard.
Even if you only have 20 posts so far, you want to make the as accessible as possible and you can do that by setting up the archive widget (among others) in the side bar of your blog, easily seen by readers. To be honest in my browsing this summer I have found quite a few bloggers with hundreds of posts that do not have this application, and it means scrolling down through several years of posts to find those to select.
Click on the arrow next to Appearance in your dashboard and it will open up to offer you options. Click on Widgets.
Click the down arrow next to Archives and it will show you the status of the widget.
Click on Display as dropdown and click done.. this will now appear in the sidebar of every post, enabling you to search by date. Here are some snapshots of my sidebar that offers a number of options to readers when they reach my home page.
- Posts you might have missed – showing the most recent.
- For those not on WordPress that can follow by scrolling to the bottom of a page and clicking the follow icon, there is the option to follow by email and by clicking on the follow button they will be taken to another page to fill in their details.
- Along with the Archives which offers the option to select the month and year to access, you can choose to show your blog stats too by clicking on the widget in the menu. I also have opted to show the bloggers that I follow and that has 50 photos at a time.
- This is quite a neat feature, especially if you are a new blogger because when you hover your cursor over the image of a blogger it comes up with a summary of their blog and if you like what you see, you can click the image and it will take it to their blog.
And a very important widget that opens up your blog globally to those whose language may not be English, French, German, Chinese etc. Adding the Translate Widget allows everyone to select their language of choice and read your post.. that really is very neat and also provides you with a truly international audience for your blog posts and your books or other creative work.
- If you are an author create an authors page on your blog with details of your books and central buying link – which for most of us is an Amazon Author Page
- Make sure that you have activated all the follow buttons, even if you are not on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc, your readers may well be and it allows them to share to their accounts to be seen by a great many people.
- Click on settings in your dashboard, click on sharing and you will be offered a number of options.
- Drag and drop those you would like to show on your posts from Available Services into Enabled Services.. and you will see a preview of what it will look like.
- You can opt for just text or text and an Icon to show the share platform.. I like the text and icon as some people new to social media may not be familiar with the icons only.
- Click on the show buttons on posts and pages
- If you do have a Twitter account it is important to add in your username so that when people click to share on their Twitter page, they are then offered and option to click on yours to follow. This helps grow your Twitter following too.
- There is some debate about including the LIKE button on your posts, as some believe it is an option for people not to read the post and simply hit the like button to say they have been into your post. Personally that is fine by me, I am grateful for any interaction that people choose to use and for those who like will usually go along the row and hit a few other buttons too, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.. wonderful and thank you. Also for those who do choose to comment they will also usually show their appreciation by hitting the like button. So don’t be quick to get rid of any of the communication tools you have at your disposal.
- You have a number of options with regard to comments on your post. Some prefer to moderate all incoming comments first, and some like me will moderate the first comment from a new reader and then they have access to comment freely. In settings you have a discussion option. I am fairly open with mine, allowing pingbacks when someone shares the link on their own blog back to mine. I don’t ask for email addresses or other details, and I don’t have email notifications when anyone comments. I am working in the blog most of the day and with several posts I would be forever emptying my email inbox. You can choose to be notified if you wish. The next box to click is important.. do you want to moderate every comment or are you happy to moderate the first comment from an individual and then trust them going forward. To be honest since I began blogging I have only had a problem a couple of times. The next box is also important as most spammers have one or more URLs in their comment. So I have said that if a comment has more than two links it must be held in moderation until I clear it.
- Another button which is very important is the REBLOG option. This allows your followers to express further appreciation of your post by sharing it with their followers. It is better if they add an intro to the reblog, as this encourages their readers to head over to you. If you are reblogging, do make sure you add an introduction that summarises the post and showcases your own blogging skills.
- The PRESS THIS feature that is an option to enable is similar to a reblog but the added bonus is that not only can your reader add an introduction, they can also schedule the post to go out on their blog at any time.. This applies too when you use the feature if you have enjoyed a post on another blog. You can schedule it at a time when perhaps you have a gap or are planning to take the day off.. Always great to have good content to share even if it is not your own.
Sharing work is wonderful but it is important that you copyright your work. Most of us have a statement in our menus.. but you can ensure that each post you write and offer to be shared is copyright by adding this symbol © and your name at the bottom. A quick shortcut is to press ALT on your keyboard, hold down and type in 0169.. this will bring up the © icon.
Also you can limit how much of your post is shared when reblogged.
In your reading settings you have the option – for each article in a feed show – full text or a summary. Click the summary and that will limit the amount being shared. Otherwise readers can see all the post on the other blog and won’t come over to you to share or comment.
Finally click save changes and your blog is now easy to navigate and to share with others.
Any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.. and if you are a new blogger I hope you have found useful. I look forward to sharing four of your posts here when you are ready