Understanding the Settings: Sharing


© Jason Staten, girls sharing, via Flickr

We're making great strides in this series about understanding the Settings within WordPress.com. But the more observant amongst you will probably have noticed I've skipped a page!

Yes, I'll be covering Media next, so please be patient! However, the Sharing page is very interesting, and probably provides a lot of fabulous facilities that makes a blog work well.

(Meanwhile, if you want to catch up on the previous posts, they are Settings: General; Settings: Writing; Settings: Reading and Settings: Discussion.)

So, without further ado, let's go to the Dashboard (instructions how in Settings General) and find Settings at the bottom of the left sidebar, bring up the drop down menu, and select Sharing:

Finding Settings Sharing on the Dashboard sidebar

Now you've probably been confronted with a load of social media icons. This is the page where you set up your posts to be shared on social media, and you can sort out the social media sharing buttons too.

And the reason why you do this, is to get your posts seen by more people. If you don't tell anybody that you've published a post, they won't know, and you will have missed out on some more readers.

Now, all this wonderful stuff works with a bit of technical wizardry, which is called Syndication. This is the ability to publish your post somewhere else other than your blog at the same time. Instantaneously!

And the beauty of WordPress.com is that they've made all this happen by clicking a button. Amazing! You don't need to worry about a thing – apart from setting it up, of course!

Which social media platforms are you connected to?

Actually, the question you really need to ask is, where are my readers most likely to be? It's not worth sending your latest blog post to a place where nobody would be interested in it! So it's worth having a think about where your readers congregate.

Sharing locations

The six social media locations here are Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Path. I'm only familiar with the first four.

And you will see that I've already connected to Google+ and Twitter. If I wanted to connect to Facebook, all I need to do is to make sure I'm logged into Facebook first on my computer, and the click the 'Connect' button:

Showing I'm not connected to Facebook

WordPress finds the connection with Facebook, asks for my permission to activate the special application that has been set up behind the scenes:

WordPress asks permission from Facebook

and after I've clicked the 'OK' button, everything is done. Just like that. Brilliant!

WordPress is now connected to Facebook

Now whenever I publish a post, it will automatically be placed on my Facebook profile page for all my friends to read.

Get your readers to help share your posts!

If you look at the bottom of blog posts, you will probably see some buttons like these:

Sharing buttons examples

These are social sharing buttons which allow your readers to share your posts. When they click on them, your post is immediately shared as an update on their social media profiles, which means it can be read by all their friends and followers.

When I click on the Twitter button, this tweet example pops up:

Sharing a post on Twitter
It's all editable, so I can change or extend it if I want. Once the blue Tweet button is clicked, this tweet will then show up on my Twitter feed.

This is the area where you can regulate your social sharing buttons:

Sharing buttons

You can see the buttons I have chosen have been placed in the middle section. All I had to do was to select my preferred button icons from the 'Available Services' area and, using my mouse, drag them into the 'Enabled Services' space.

Also note I have some extra buttons stored in a grey box. They are represented by a 'More' sharing button at the end. This is to make my social sharing icons a bit tidier at the bottom of my posts.

But it does mean that it isn't immediately obvious that there are more exciting buttons my readers could choose from to share my blog post elsewhere.

Now you can alter how your share buttons look via this drop down menu (I've included what the sharing buttons look like as a result):

Icon and text share buttons

Icon only share buttons

Text only share buttons

Official share buttons

And WordPress allows you to change what they call the 'Sharing label':

Sharing label

To something else, such as "Sharing is caring!" or "Share the love!" or other similar requests.

And you have the option to choose whether the sharing pop-up box, as for my tweet example above, opens up in a new browser window, so that your reader doesn't lose your blog while they kindly share your post:

Opening in a new browser window

Also it's nice to be able to choose where you can place your social sharing buttons:

Where you can put the sharing buttons

And you can see I've chosen to have them display on my posts and pages.

Here's my tweet sharing example again:

Sharing a post on Twitter
Note my Twitter username at the end. This is to let people know I wrote the post, and also I get a notification that the tweet has been published. Below is where you enter your Twitter username to make this possible:

Twitter share shows Twitter handle

And notice I didn't enter the @ sign in.

Do you like my posts?

At the bottom of your posts you may have noticed these buttons below the social sharing buttons:

Reblog and like buttons

And here is where you can decide whether to show them or not:

Turning on likes and reblogs

The 'like' button is a quick way for a reader to let you know they have read your post and have appreciated it. Sometimes a reader may not have time to write a full comment, or doesn't know what to say. As you can see, each liker's gravatar is added into a line, to the delight of the post's author (I always enjoyed seeing those!).

Reblogging is a safe way to show appreciation for a post by transferring it onto the reader's blog. WordPress have created a way to do this so it doesn't compromise on duplication issues. The post's headline and an excerpt of the beginning of the post is automatically created for you. This is a great way of getting your post read by more readers.

And now the like facility has spread to comments as well:

Like a comment example

And you can activate this by clicking this option:

Turn comment likes on

And finally...

Once you've finished playing with your sharing options, don't forget to click this:

Save changes button

To ensure everything works beautifully!

The next post in this Settings Series I will be looking at the Media and Ratings pages WordPress.com provides.

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Alice Elliott writes the Beginner Bloggers blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She specialises in simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Why not also visit her award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog to learn some more.

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  • Laurie says:

    What a brilliant informative post.as you see I am on google and not wordpress. I have been thinking about changing over to wordpress.Do you publish such great post for blogspot?
    Laurie recently posted…TAKE A LOOK THROUGH MY SHOP WINDOWSMy Profile

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