Magic Moment: Are you rating, sharing, reblogging, liking and relating?
WordPress.com never sits still.
In fact this is, for WordPress.com users, incredibly exciting. There seems to be so much more available for you to do! And this is fabulous, because it is making the .com version of WordPress all the more useable, with extra facilities and useful goodies that will make your blogging lives easier. (In fact, I’m sure some WordPress.org users are starting to get jealous…)
This time it’s the sharing and liking buttons, and the displays of relevant posts taken from existing posts in the blog. Now I know they have been around for a bit, but they look different now, with more features, so I’m sharing this with you today.
Ooh, this is exciting – I just love the way those clever bods at WordPress have been working so hard!
At the top is a rating system using stars. This is available from Settings > Ratings in the left sidebar in the Dashboard:
Very simply, you can define where you want those rating stars to appear in relation to your post by experimenting with the drop down menus here. And as you can see, you can extend the rating facility to be included in your pages and comments too.
Next we have the sharing buttons which allows your readers to share your content in their social media profiles. This is available from Settings > Sharing in the left sidebar, which is a complicated page with a lot going on.
I want you to pan down past the Publicize section, which I may cover another time (and certainly this is covered in my beginner blogger e-courses), and concentrate on the Sharing Buttons:
How to drag the required buttons to and fro are obvious, and I love the grey box which provides a satisfactory ‘more’ option if you don’t want to have all of these icons showing, but what is new is the different styles that are available.
Pan down to see the presentation options:
Of course which style you prefer is purely subjective! I prefer the icon only option because it takes up less room, though with the official buttons you do get to see how many shares you have received (wow, 42 to StumbleUpon, how cool!).
Sharing buttons plus…
A bit further down you can make things a bit more professional.
The Sharing label is the call to action bit above the buttons. Here you have carte blanche to say whatever you want to get those readers to share your stuff, so take advantage! “Share this:” is so boring, so why not change it to say “Wanna share this amongst your friends?” or “Spread the love!” or something similar.
Change it so the links open in a new window, this means your blog won’t get lost in all the excitement that follows.
You also have the option where you want these buttons to be seen – such versatility!
And the final field is where you place your Twitter handle (mine is @alice_elliott – though you don’t include the @ symbol), so that whenever someone tweet-shares your post, suitable acknowledgement is given to you as the author so interested fans can find and follow you.
Likes and reblogs
Do you remember the bit below the sharing buttons?
This is interesting. The Reblog button has been moved into the post, rather as an option button in the bar at the top of the blog post. This means it is much more prominent and is much more likely to be used.
Reblogging using this button is a fabulous why to share content around the web without duplicating it, and therefore risking penalisation from the search engines. The result is a more interesting and enticing clickable link back to the original post, but it is located in another blog where a different audience gets a chance to see and read it! Read more about Reblogging here in another of my Magic Moment posts.
I hope that this repositioning of the Reblog button will encourage more complete sharing of posts around the WordPress.com circuit, as this is where this process is eligible.
The Like button has been around for a while, and it’s always satisfying to get a ‘like’ from a reader (shown through his little avatar added to the collection). In fact it is a lazy way of showing appreciation of a post, as well as marking that it has been read.
What I also find fascinating is that sometimes you can get more ‘likes’ on a post than you can get ‘visitors’ in the JetPack stats in WordPress.com…
Anyway, use these options to show or not show your Like or Reblog buttons, and don’t forget to click the big blue ‘Save Changes’ button when you’re done.
Showing related posts
At the bottom of the picture example I gave at the top of this post, you will have seen these three squares:
This is a very exciting new venture, especially for blogs that have a picture in each post.
I have a plugin in my WordPress.org blog that brings up up to five links to what it considers to be related posts to the main one you have published. It is generated purely by algorithms or somethings similar, going by the information it can glean from your keywords, categories, tags and whatever, so the results can be a bit weird and wonderful (and also amusing). But it is an excellent method of getting your readers in front of other posts you have written, keeping them occupied and learning more about you and what you want to say, and it reduces your bounce statistics too (if you’re bothered by that sort of thing)!
And now this is available in WordPress.com, and in a picture format option too! Go find it in Settings > Reading in the left sidebar in the Dashboard:
And pan down to below the full text or summary and site visibility options.
Here you have the option to include the related posts or not, and whether you want to show with the thumbnail images (if you have any), or without. Here’s what it looks like showing only the titles as related links:
If you uncheck the top box referring to the “Related” header, you get a much more aesthetically pleasing effect directly below the reblog and like buttons, but you’ll need to assume your readers know they are related posts:
Thus endeth the lesson…
And there we have it, I’ve shown you the wonderful stuff that can happen below your post in a WordPress.com blog to encourage more purposeful and useful interaction in addition to leaving a comment.