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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Setting up a WordPress blog 6: Adding sharing buttons to your blog posts

Last time, we learned about using the Publicize feature to share your own WordPress blog posts on your social media platforms. Today we’re going to learn about adding sharing buttons to your posts to enable and encourage your readers to share links to your blog posts on whatever social media services they use.

Why should I add sharing buttons to my blog posts?

You write a blog in order for it to be read, otherwise, why bother. It’s human nature to want to share interesting things you’ve read with other people, whether that takes the form of lending them books, cutting out bits from the newspaper to wave at people, or sharing content on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. By adding sharing buttons, you will both encourage and enable your users to share your posts, increasing their reputations as people who share good stuff, and increasing your reader base.

What do sharing buttons look like?

Here’s an example of a blog post without any sharing buttons. As standard, WordPress adds a button to “Like” a post (which just alerts you and makes a nice little line of pictures under your post, but doesn’t share anything) and a Reblog button which allows another WordPress user to share the post on their blog, with an excerpt of the content and a link to the rest of it. Other than these, there are no ways to share this blog post at present. You can even turn this off if you want to, see the Advanced Features heading below for more information.

2a no sharing

Scroll down to see what the post looks like once the sharing buttons have been added …

How do I add sharing buttons to my blog posts?

Sharing buttons are handled in the Settings – Sharing section of the Dashboard:

menu

In the lower half of the Sharing Settings screen, you will find the Sharing Buttons section:

2 sharing buttons

Choosing multiple share buttons to appear under your blog posts

All of the sharing buttons that are available to be added are shown in the upper Available Services section. You can add buttons for sharing to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms as well as sites like Tumblr and Digg that curate information on topics onto pages, and Email and Print:

2b sharing options

Here’s an important point to note: When choosing which buttons to display under your blog posts, don’t think of what social media you use, but what social media your audience – your users – might want to use. They’re the ones who are going to be doing the sharing, after all. So don’t limit them – I’d add as many as possible if I were you!

To make a sharing button appear at the bottom of your blog posts, left-click on the button, drag it down to the Enabled Services section and let go to drop it there. It will then appear in the Enabled Services section:

2c adding buttons

Here, I’ve moved everything except for Print and Pocket down into the Enabled Services section. You can, of course, drag any buttons that you don’t want to be visible back up to the Available Services section.

2d adding buttons

What does this look like on your blog post? Compare this with the image at the top of this post:

2e buttons appear

Creating a single Share button

You might find this a bit cluttered: there is a way to just display a single Share button that displays the whole range when pressed. However, I feel that this might present a barrier to sharing, and you want all the sharing you can get, so think carefully before doing this.

To create a single Share button, drag all of your buttons into the darker grey area to the right:

2f 1 share button

Note that this can be a little fiddly: watch out for the dotted square to appear and drop your button on there:

2g little square

Also note that if you leave any buttons in the Enabled Services section, you will see both those and your Share button at the bottom of your blog post: messy! Once you’ve created your single share button, you will see on the preview what it will look like:

2h all under one button

Moving to the view of the blog post itself, you can see that now there’s just one Share button:

2i all under one buttonWhen this is clicked, the full range of buttons pops out and can be clicked:

2j all under one button

How do I change the order in which the sharing buttons appear?

If you want to change the order in which the sharing buttons appear, simply left click, hold the mouse button down and drag the button to where you want it to appear:

2k move around

Advanced options for the sharing buttons

Below the Enabled Services section you will find some more options:

2l more options

  • Button Style allows you to select icon + text / text only / icon only / official button. Note that official button doesn’t always work as services change: I prefer icon + text which is what I’ve used in all of the examples on this post.
  • Sharing label: you can change the text above your sharing buttons from “Share this” to whatever you want to say to encourage people to share.
  • Open links in offers the choice of same window and new window – most people prefer to work in the same window nowadays.
  • Show buttons on allows you to choose what people can share – search results, individual posts, etc.
  • Twitter username will appear in tweets when people share using the Twitter button. It’s useful to include your Twitter ID here so you can keep an eye on what’s being shared – if you have multiple blog administrators, you might want to use an official company or organisation Twitter ID here instead.
  • Likes can be turned on or turned on for individual posts.
  • The reblog button can be turned off.
  • Likes can be added (or not) for comments

What happens when someone clicks on a sharing button in your WordPress post?

You can click on your own sharing buttons to see what happens, and this is what I’ve done here. I’ve clicked on the Facebook sharing button. A Share on Facebook dialogue box pops up and you can select whether to share on your timeline, to a person’s timeline, to a page or to a group, and enter some status text to explain what you’re sharing and why you’re sharing it:

2m in practice

Press Share Link and the link will share on your Facebook timeline.

What does content shared using the sharing buttons look like?

Let’s have a look at what content shared from your blog might look like on a couple of social media platforms. Here’s my shared post appearing on my Facebook timeline because my friends Gill and Jeremy have shared it. Just like those shared links you see all the time on your timeline. If your friends share your link, you should see it come up in your own timeline.

2n in practice

And here’s what a Twitter share or two looks like. You can see that “via LyzzyBee_Libro” has been added to the end of the automatic tweet because that’s the Twitter ID I specified above.

2o in practice

Today we’ve learnt how to add and edit sharing buttons on a WordPress blog to enable and encourage blog readers to share our posts.

If you’ve enjoyed this post and found it useful, do please comment and/or use the sharing buttons below this post to share it with other potential readers who might find it useful. Thank you!

Related posts on this blog

How to set up a WordPress blog

How to add pages to make your WordPress blog into a website

How to add images to your WordPress blog posts and pages

How to add slideshows and galleries to your WordPress blog posts and pages

Using the Publicize feature in WordPress

WordPress 7 – adding an avatar picture

 
27 Comments

Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Blogging, WordPress

 

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Small business chat update – Stephen Tiano

mugs Got that kettle on? Good, because I’ve got a great interview to share with you today. Stephen Tiano is a book designer. His original (2012) and 2013 interviews have proved to be popular with my readers, and here’s his update for 2014. This time last year, this was Stephen’s plan for the year ahead: “Well, generally, this never changes. I always hope to have at least two books in process at a time. And I’d like each year to see me surpass the most money I’ve ever made annually to date as a book designer. But as to the work itself, I’d love to begin working with reasonably well-financed new publishers to establish a ‘house style’ for their books. (I guess perhaps I’m too influenced by all I’ve read about Jan Tschichold and his work at Penguin in the 1930s, tho’ I hope to continue to take myself less seriously than it sounds to me like he did.)” So, how are things going for Stephen a year on …?

Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

I have to admit, no. I thought I was going to continue to pick up the pace after a slower year—the way it’s worked out after most other slow years. But it turns out that my market has changed yet again. I adapted when publishing companies seemed to give way to self-publishing. My business is almost all self-publishers these days. Now I’m having to think on my feet once more and move into ebooks from print in a bigger way than I’d anticipated I’d have to at this point.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

Well, as I said above, the work seems to have moved farther into and more quickly to e-versions. It hasn’t been without bumps in the road, my getting to the point where I’m willing to produce ebooks. For one thing, I don’t like the routes that require me to code. I just don’t enjoy that side of things enough to naturally internalize coding skills. It always requires a kind of intellectual “hunt-and-peck” process. But after a couple of false starts—not exactly failed methods or tools that are lacking, just tools that aren’t quite the ones for what I need to do—I’ve been able to progress.

In the first instance, Book Creator, a great little app that works right on the iPad and makes epubs that can be adapted for other environments, suffers for its lack of the ability to flow long stretches of text from page to page throughout the file. Apple’s Pages is not something I would use for prepping a print book. I’d still leave that to one of the big two, InDesign or QuarkXPress; or else I’d make a move into the open-source Scribus (especially since I’m disgusted with Adobe and have no plans to spend another dime with them, because their perpetual-pay subscription model for buying InDesign, Photshop et al. stinks.)

But Pages sounds like it’s got legs for making pubs that can be repurposed for other formats. I suspect it was just me, but I couldn’t pick it up quickly enough to adapt for some of the particularized effects I wanted.

So, like Goldilocks, I needed to try a third tool to find the one that was “just right”. And that led me to Apple’s iBook’s Author. Now many, if not most, designers, artist, and readers will at least have reservations, if not outright opposition to ever using a proprietary format that’s as closed as iBooks. I mean, it can only be sold through Apple’s iBookstore. But iBooks Author provides a rich environment and splendid tools for presenting a complete multimedia “book”.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

Well, I confirmed once again that the more technical job of coding can go hand-in-hand with design. But it’s not the work I’m interested in doing. I guess I wish I’d picked up sooner that print really is becoming a tougher business model to sustain. Oh, print books aren’t going anywhere. But I think off-shoring at really cheap prices, as well as the do-it-yourself ethic that drives many self-publishers, are making it less likely that print book design and layout work is the way for a freelancer in the U.S. to earn a living. It’s possible that in a few more years the same might just be said of ebook design and production.

Any more hints and tips for people?

I think the most relevant piece of advice I can give is a real downer: Be prepared to be irrelevant. But don’t live in fear of it, as It’s not inevitable. But depending what stage of your earning life you’re in, keep looking for “the next thing”. Pick up new skills. Make yourself a better value for potential clients.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

I’m hoping to be busy again. I want to move on to working in ebooks. But I still love print books and hope to work more of those. In a year … I’m not so sure. I do, however, have a 20-month plan … tentatively. My wife and I are looking to relocate—perhaps staying on the east coast somewhere in the Delaware/Maryland/DC/Virginia/North Carolina orbit; or on the west coast in northern California’s wine country. I’m hoping for a golf community. And I think I’d like to go in-house at a small publisher or university press. We’ll be downsizing some and switching to a slightly less expensive lifestyle, if all goes according to plan. I’ll also be pulling in a pension from another life I’ve lived in civil service. That means I’ll be looking for supplementary income, as opposed to my main deal. In another year, I’d like to have dominoes lined up so that these plans are on their way to reality.

So exciting and changing times in the world of book design, and I do think the advice Stephen gives here is very useful for anyone in any industry – nothing stays the same, and we’re always having to adapt and change to avoid getting left behind. I’m hoping that I’ll have a guest post from Stephen this year about book design, something that I’m not that familiar with, so we have that to look forward to, too. Best of luck to Stephen in looking for his new home and lifestyle arrangements! Find out how those went in 2015 here.

Stephen’s website is at www.tianobookdesign.com and you can email him or call if you’re in the USA on tel. & fax: (631)284-3842 / cell: (631)764-2487 or Skype him using stephentianobookdesigner. Do have a read of Stephen’s blog and follow him on Twitter!

f you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on April 5, 2014 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

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Setting up a WordPress blog 5: publicising your posts and connecting WordPress to social media

Continuing my series of articles about WordPress, today we’re going to learn how to publicise posts by sharing them on the social media platforms that we use.

Why should I publicise my WordPress blog posts?

Using the Publicize feature to share your WordPress blog posts has two main advantages:

1. It shares your content and lets people other than subscribers and people who are searching on the search engines know that it’s there.

2. It adds content to your Facebook page, Twitter stream, LinkedIn profile, etc., without you making any effort at all.

If you’re going to share links to your blog posts on social media, you might as well automate it and save yourself the bother of posting about it all over the place, right?

How do I link my WordPress blog to my social media platforms?

Today we’re going to be spending time in the Settings – Sharing area of the Dashboard:

menu

When you click on Sharing, you will come to this Sharing Settings page. There are two sections: Publicize and Sharing Buttons. We’re going to be talking about Publicize today, and Sharing Buttons next time (watch this space – I will add a link when that one’s live):

1 publicize

Looking at the Publicize section, we can see buttons for connecting various social media platforms to your WordPress blog. What this will do in effect is auto-post a link to any blog post that you publish it, at the time that you publish it, without any effort on your part.

1a publicize options

How do I link Facebook to WordPress?

Note that all of the linking is done from WordPress rather than from the individual social media platforms. For example, to link Facebook so that an announcement of every blog post appears in your timeline, click the Connect button next to Facebook. You will be presented with a Facebook login screen. Add your normal Facebook login details and press the Log In button:

1b Facebook

If you enter the correct details, your connection will be confirmed:

1c Facebook

There are two things to note here. One, you can only link one Facebook account at a time, whereas you can add more than one login to most other social media types. Libro Proofreading … is my business page – for this blog, I have linked posts to that account, and then I pop in and share them onto my personal timeline.

The other thing to note is “Make this connection available to all users of this blog?” This is for a situation where you have more than one person with admin rights over the blog: you can choose, for example, your company or organisation’s Facebook page to auto-post to, and make that option available to everyone who posts on your blog.

Once you’ve chosen the account to connect to and pressed OK, you will return to the Sharing Settings screen, and you can see here that my Facebook page has been added to the page:

1d Facebook

You can go on now to connect, for example, your Google+ and Twitter accounts. For Google+, you will be asked to log in then confirm who you want G+ to share posts with:

1f Google+ permissions

When connecting Twitter, again, you’ll be asked to log in and then authorise the app. This is all quite standard and doesn’t mean WordPress will do anything odd to your social media – all it will do is post on your behalf when you publish a blog post (we’ll have a look at what that looks like in a moment):

1g Twitter permissions

When you return to the Sharing Settings screen, you will see all of the social media accounts that you’ve connected to, confirming which accounts they are:

1h all connected

How do I disconnect my WordPress blog from a social media platform?

If you wish to disconnect any of your social media platforms across all new blog posts, click on the x next to the “Connected as [your name]” message. It will ask you if you’re sure: if you click on OK, the link will be severed.

1e Facebook

To reconnect, go through the same process as above. WordPress may remember some of the steps when you do this, such as your username.

How do I manage Publicize in my blog posts?

Let’s have a look at what Publicize looks like in your blog posts.

When you select Posts – Add New and enter the Edit screen, you will see the Publicize section in the Publish area:

1i when you post

Let’s look at that in close-up. You can see that all of the social media sites you’ve linked to are showing here:

1j close-up when you post

Note that sometimes WordPress will become disconnected from one of them for apparently no reason. A message asking you to relink will appear in this area. Click through, provide the details it asks for and the two will be reconnected.

When in this individual post view, you can click on Edit and choose not to promote a link to your blog post to a particular site by clicking on the cross and making the square blank. You can also change the standard text that goes out with the link in Custom Message:

1k edit publicize

Clicking on Settings just takes you back to the original Sharing Settings screen we were looking at above.

When you’ve written your blog post, click Publish as normal:

1l in action

 What gets posted to my social media when I’m connected to WordPress?

I’m just going to share two examples here, but you’ll get the idea.

When WordPress is connected to Facebook, an entry will appear in your timeline, with any picture that you included in the post (very large in the current incarnation of Facebook!) and a bit of the text, and there will be a link, arrowed here, which will take the reader to the blog post itself.

1m in action

In Twitter, WordPress posts a shortened version of the full URL as a link and the automatic text taken from your blog heading:

1n in action

Today we’ve learnt how to use the Publicize feature of WordPress to link it to your social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and WordPress. Next time, we’ll be looking at how you can enable your readers to share your blog posts through the use of sharing buttons.

If you’ve enjoyed this post and found it useful, do please comment and/or use the sharing buttons below this post to share it with other potential readers who might find it useful. Thank you!

Related posts on this blog

How to set up a WordPress blog

How to add pages to make your WordPress blog into a website

How to add images to your WordPress blog posts and pages

How to add slideshows and galleries to your WordPress blog posts and pages

WordPress 6 – sharing buttons

WordPress 7 – adding an avatar picture

 
19 Comments

Posted by on April 3, 2014 in Blogging, WordPress

 

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