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Put a spotlight on recent posts of interest

People may visit a blog for a variety of reasons - perhaps they know you, the blogger, or they found your blog through a search engine. They'll return to your blog if they realize you post regularly about topics of interest to them.

There are a number of ways you can highlight content of interest on your blog. Today we're going to look at the Spotlight Posts module. The Spotlight Posts module allows you to display content from some of your posts in your blog's sidebar. These can be the most recent posts overall, or posts from a specific category.

Spotlight Posts on blog

Perhaps a particular category on your blog always gets a lot of readers and you'd like to highlight that. You could also create a category for posts you think are particularly important or interesting and that you'd like to draw your readers' attention to. The Spotlight Posts module allows you to do either of these.

To add the Spotlight Posts module, go to the Design > Content page for your blog and locate the module in the list. Click on it to select it, then click the "Add module" button. This will open a pop-up window where you can select the options you would like to use for the module.

First, enter a title for the module. This will display on the blog, so you'll want to pick something that you think will catch the interest of your readers. Next, choose the number of posts you want to display. We recommend setting this to a relatively small number, such as 3 to 5 posts. This ensures that the content is recent and fresh and it doesn't take over your sidebar. You will then choose the category whose posts you wish to spotlight. If you don't choose a category, the module will display the most recent posts from any category.

Spotlight Posts configuration

You can choose to display a thumbnail image for each post. If the post has more than one image, the first image in the post will be displayed. If there is no image, then no thumbnail will display. If you post a lot of photos to your blog, we recommend displaying a thumbnail image in the Spotlight Posts module. Photos draw the reader's eye much more strongly than text does.

Spotlight thumbnail settings

You can also choose to display an excerpt of the post's text. The excerpt can serve as a teaser for the full post, intriguing visitors enough to click through and read the whole thing. For maximum impact, use the Excerpt field on the Compose page to set a custom excerpt for your post as you write it.

Custom excerpt

After you've chosen the settings you want, click OK, then drag and drop the module to the place in your sidebar that you would like to display it.

With the Spotlight Posts module added to your blog you can be sure that no matter how visitors get to your blog, they'll see a teaser for content that you've highlighted for their interest.

Are you using the Spotlight Posts module on your blog? Tell us about it in the comments!

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