You’ve worked hard all day drafting a post, then click Publish to send it out into the world. Then, you crash for the night. You’ve earned it, right?
You wake up in the morning, excited to look in your dashboard to see who’s read and commented on your post. But you didn’t get the interaction you hoped for.
What else can you do?
On your WordPress.com site — your own little corner of the internet — you’ve got the power to publish. But this process doesn’t end after you click that blue Publish button! While we send your published posts to several places automatically — from the Reader to services that notify search engines of new updates — we encourage you to use the tools in your dashboard to give your posts a boost.
Promote your posts with Publicize
With Publicize, you can push out your new posts to social networking sites automatically. To set up Publicize, head over to Settings ? Sharing. At the top of the page, you’ll see options to connect to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tumblr. To activate, click on the appropriate “Add new connection” link:
Here are links to the setup steps for each:
Once you’ve approved connections, you’ll see a Publicize section in the Publish box for each service you’ve authorized, on the right of your Post Screen, each time you create a new post:
Publish a post as usual, and it’ll appear on the services you’ve enabled. For a bit more control, you can opt out from any of the services for a specific post — click the “Edit” link and deselect a service. You can also customize the message sent out with the link in the “Custom Message” box.
Enable sharing buttons
Want another option to promote your stuff? Be sure to enable sharing buttons, too. You can display these buttons at the bottom of your posts and pages, so readers can share your stuff across a number of social networks and services:
You’ll see this option in Settings ? Sharing as well, below the Publicize connection links. Just drag and drop the buttons you want to display into the “Enabled Services” section. You’ll see additional settings to tweak the buttons and adjust where you’d like them to appear on your site.
Tag your posts so users can find ‘em
WordPress.com users following your blog will see your new posts under Blogs I Follow in the Reader, but you should add appropriate tags and categories to your posts so they appear on the topics pages in the Reader, too. Let’s say that awesome post you penned last night is a response to a recent behavioral economics discussion on Dan Ariely’s blog (also on WordPress.com!). Add relevant tags so like-minded readers can find your post, even if they’re not following your blog:
Tip: Adding 5 to 15 tags (or categories, or a combination of the two) is ideal for a post. The more categories you use, the less likely your post will be included on the topics pages.
Other tools to promote interaction and get readers
Enabling likes and comments
You’ve got simple tools to promote reader engagement on your site. In Settings ? Sharing, enable likes at the bottom of the page:
To allow your readers to leave comments, go to Settings ? Discussion to adjust your default comment settings, from what a reader must fill out when they leave a comment to comment moderation details. Be sure to check the box next to Follow Comments, so readers can receive notifications when you and fellow readers respond to a post’s comment thread.
A feed (often called RSS) is a stream of posts or comments, updated when new content is published. It allows people to monitor your blog, along with other sites they follow, and aggregate them together via feed readers, like our own WordPress.com Reader. Your site has multiple feeds — its main content feed can be accessed by adding /feed/ to your blog’s URL. (For example, this blog’s feed is http://en.blog.wordpress.com/feed/.) Your feeds are automatically created, unless your blog as private.
You can make it easy for others to subscribe to your feed using the RSS Links Widget, which adds links to your site’s post and comment RSS feeds in your sidebar. To set this up, go to your widgets page in Appearance ? Widgets and drag this widget to the right. The settings are simple, and you can add links to your posts and comments (or both), and display text or image links (or both).
Finally, if you aren’t using it already, activate the Follow Blog Widget so your visitors can sign up to receive your posts via email. We talked about this widget recently, but it’s one of the easiest ways to ensure your readers see your new posts, so a gentle reminder won’t hurt!
Under Appearance ? Widgets, drag this widget to the right. In the settings, you can customize the messages that will be displayed, the text for the “Follow” button, and decide whether you want to show your total number of followers (which is the sum of users following your blog and others connected from Publicize services, like Facebook and Twitter).
This is a sampling of the features in your dashboard that you can use to promote your new posts. Ultimately, your site isn’t just a place to create and publish — it’s a space for constantly evolving ideas and engagement with your readers. Publishing is just the first step, so we hope you’ll use these tools to share your work with as many readers as possible!
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