Understanding the Settings: Sharing
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.
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:
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.
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:
WordPress finds the connection with Facebook, asks for my permission to activate the special application that has been set up behind the scenes:
and after I've clicked the 'OK' button, everything is done. Just like that. Brilliant!
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:
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:
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:
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):
And WordPress allows you to change what they call the '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:
Also it's nice to be able to choose where you can place your social 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:
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:
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:
And here is where you can decide whether to show them or not:
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:
And you can activate this by clicking this option:
Once you've finished playing with your sharing options, don't forget to click this:
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.