How to promote your content with Click to Tweet

June 19, 2015

Clicktotweetheader

As a blogger, you already know that your readers are one of your best resources for sharing your content; they regularly click the buttons in your post footers to like your stuff on Facebook, share on Twitter, and pin on Pinterest, helping to spread the word about your blog, and grow your audience.

To make it even easier for your readers to share your content - and even give your older, relevant content a boost - consider adding tweetable links to your blog posts! A tweetable link allows your readers to quickly share your content with a single click, and it's easier than you might think with Click to Tweet!

To get started, just head to Click to Tweet and choose the option for Basic Link or Dynamic Link. To start with Basic (completely free, and it works well for most bloggers), just click Basic Link:

A_basic_link

For Dynamic Links (your first five are free), just sign in with Twitter, authorize the app, and you're ready to go!

So, what's the difference between Dynamic and Basic Links? With Dynamic Links, you can easily view and keep track of the links you've created in the past, and will have access to edit, view stats, and more. Again, users on the Free plan are limited to five Dynamic Links, so if you find them useful, you might want to upgrade to a Premium plan.

For most users, however, Basic Links are all you need, so that's where we'll focus today. Just create your link by adding your text and the link you'd like tweeted, then click Generate New Link. Next, copy the URL, and you're ready to go. Hint: if you go over the 140 character limit, shorten your URL with Bitly (read more about Bitly in our Knowledge Base!):

Create_a_basic_link

Once you've copied your link, sign in to your Typepad account, and in the body of your post, add the text you want readers to tweet. Then, add something like "tweet this," highlight the "tweet this" text and then create a link in your editor to the URL you'd like to link to, pasting in the URL provided by Click To Tweet.

Highlight your link text and click the Insert Link button: Add_a_link

Then, add the link from Click to Tweet!

Link_field

Tip: Use a blockquote and other formatting options to make it stand out, like so (if you're using the Edit HTML tab - with Rich Text, What You See Is What You Get!):

Tweet_this_text

Finish your post and publish it, and your link will look something like this:

Want to grow your audience? Check out our tips on Blogging Best Practices! (Tweet This)

Try it out by clicking the Tweet This link above! You can add as many Tweet This links to your post as you'd like, but keeping it to a minimum is probably a good idea - less is more, after all.

And there you go! Click to Tweet makes it easy for your audience to promote your content!

We hope you enjoyed this handy guide, and found it helpful! Are there other topics like this you'd love to see us cover? Let us know in the comments!

Getting To Know Nimble: Banners

June 17, 2015

Nimble_series

Welcome to Getting to Know Nimble, a special series full of tips and tricks to make our new Design Lab work for you. In this series, we'll take a look at everything the Nimble Design Lab has to offer, what it can do, and how you can utilize its features to make your blog stand out. Check out the rest of the posts in this series here!

Previously in our series about getting to know Nimble, we covered how you can style your Highlight Bar that appears over your post excerpt images and the different options available for the Navigation Bar. Today, we're going to review the options available for the blog banner.

With Nimble, you have two base options for your banner - you can upload an image banner or use the Style page to select options for a text banner. Your blog will look great with either option!

Most folks opt to show an image banner. On the Banner page, you'll see that there are two options for the banner display. You can choose to have the banner span just the width of the blog area or it can span the entire browser width. There are size suggestions for your banner image on the page as well.

Below are examples of how the banner looks when it spans the blog's width versus when it spans the browser's width.

Continue reading "Getting To Know Nimble: Banners" »

Typepad 101: Introduce Yourself to Your Readers

June 10, 2015

We've shared with you in past articles and series how important it can be to forge a connection with your blog's readers. It's not always your content that immediately draws someone in; sometimes it's as simple as an introductory message and image. Encourage readers to give your blog more than a cursory glance by sharing information about yourself. A good introduction provides an engaging, friendly, or interesting sample of who you are, and what you and your blog are about.

In the screenshot below, you'll see a profile image and an introduction at the very top of the sidebar on the right. While the content on the left is designed to engage the visitor's eyes, they're pulled to the image and introduction on the right. You can use this to your advantage to provide the visitor a brief "here's who I am and what I'm about; I use this blog as a platform for..." summation. Consider trying different content by changing it up on occasion, and see if you notice any changes in engagement.

Sidebar Profile Image

The features you'll use are the Profile Photo and Introduction modules. To find them, go to Design > Content. For the Profile Photo module, select About You > Profile Photo (don't forget to first upload a photo to your profile). For the Introduction module, select About You > Introduction.

You'll find that the Profile Photo module provides two sets of options:

  1. Select a size for your photo (e.g. 150, 200, 250, 300 pixels)
  2. Select a style for the photo (e.g. square, circle, rounded corners, rounded with border)

Play with the options until you find the combination that you feel looks best with your blog and style. In the example above, the combination is 250px and circle.

The Introduction module is an open text field that allows you to enter any text you feel is pertinent; in this case, a summary about you and/or your blog. It allows HTML, so you can create paragraphs, add inline CSS, and more. (If you need a brush-up on HTML, why not review our Back to Basics series on HTML!) If you prefer not to use HTML, you can use multiple Introduction modules and arrange them in the order you want them to read via the Content screen.

Adjust the position that the modules have in your sidebar, and you only have to take the next step of saving your changes. That's it! Two simple-to-use features that provide you the opportunity to transition your visitors into readers.

Getting To Know Nimble: Navigation Bar

June 03, 2015

Nimble_series

Welcome to Getting to Know Nimble, a special series full of tips and tricks to make our new Design Lab work for you. In this series, we'll take a look at everything the Nimble Design Lab has to offer, what it can do, and how you can utilize its features to make your blog stand out. Check out the rest of the posts in this series here!

Last time, we learned about styling your Highlight Bar that appears over your post excerpt images.  Today we are going to focus on the Navigation Bar. 

With the Nimble Design Lab, you have more options on how to display your Navigation Bar than other themes.  From displaying text links, Social Media icons, or a slide out menu - we got you covered!

With the Nimble theme, at Design > Style, you can preview any changes before you save them.  The "Navigation" section allows you to select if you want to display text links, icons, or leave it blank. 

You can also give the Navigation Bar background and its links a new color and different font style.  If you do not select a color for your Navigation Bar, the color will default to your blog's background color.

Nav1

A popular request we got was the option to keep the Navigation Bar pinned to the top of the page as you scroll down the blog.  You can enable this by selecting "Yes" for the option "Pin nav bar to top."

If your banner does not include the title of your blog on it, you may want to display your blog's name in the Navigation Bar. You can easily do this by selecting "Yes" for the option "Show blog title in nav."

Nav2

If you choose to display text links instead of icons, the "Pancake" stack menu button on the left will not appear.  This option only appears when you select to have icons displayed.  You will still need to go to Design > Content > Navigation Bar, to enter what links appear in your Navigation.

Nav3

About that "Pancake" button, this is a brand new feature in our Nimble theme.  Instead of displaying your text links in your Navigation Bar, visitors can click this button and your Navigation Bar will slide out from the left.

Nav4

You can change the style of the font in your Navigation Bar by clicking the "Font" menu and select the font for your links.  This will work for text Navigation links or the links that appear in your slider menu when you select the font for your blog title (if displayed).

Nav5Your Navigation Bar is one of the most important elements of your blog so if you utilize this feature, remember to keep it easy and functional for your readers. 

Getting to Know Nimble: Showcase Your Photos with the Highlight Bar

May 20, 2015

Getting to Know Nimble: Tips & Tricks to Make Our New Design Lab Work for You

Welcome to Getting to Know Nimble, a special series full of tips and tricks to make our new Design Lab work for you. In this series, we'll take a look at everything the Nimble Design Lab has to offer, what it can do, and how you can utilize its features to make your blog stand out. Check out the rest of the posts in this series here!

We start the series with one of our favorite new features exclusive to Nimble - the Highlight Bar. We often receive requests from Typepad bloggers asking how they can make the front page of their blog look a bit more like a magazine, where the front page posts put your photos front and center, and there is an excerpt of each post with a link to read more.

You can set this up manually as you compose each new post, but why go to all that work? Instead, start by heading on over to Settings > Posts and scroll down to the bottom. Here you'll see a section called Auto-Generated Excerpts. Put a check in the box labeled "Display excerpts instead of full posts on index and archive pages". A new check-box will appear when you do this, which says "Show featured image with excerpt". Make sure that this is checked as well.

Auto-Generated Excerpts

Now go on to Design > Style. You'll immediately see that the Live Preview has updated to show an example featured image with excerpt below and that there is a band across the image with the post title and post date. This is the Highlight Bar. If you like how it looks, you don't need to make any further changes, just start posting to your blog and adding photos to your posts and Typepad will do the rest.

Maybe you'd like to make the Highlight Bar a different color, or move it to a different position on the image, however. To do this, click on "Posts" in the menu to the right of the live preview.

Posts menu

This will open a section where you can modify the style of your posts. At the bottom of this section is the configuration area for the Highlight Bar.

Highlight Bar section

Click on the colored rectangle to open a small window where you can chose a new background color for the Highlight Bar.

Color picker

Keep in mind that the highlight bar will be slightly transparent so that the image can be seen through it. The text color for the post title and post date can be set above, along with the font and the size. You can also choose whether the Highlight Bar should appear across the middle of the post (this is the default) or across the top or bottom.

As you make each change, the Live Preview will update to show you how it will look. (Isn't the Live Preview the coolest feature ever? We're still geeking out over it ourselves!) Once you're satisfied with how you've styled the Highlight Bar, click "Save Changes" below the Live Preview to save your style. You can then check it out on the published blog by clicking "View Blog" in the top right corner of the page.

Highlight Bar

If you're on the Pro Unlimited plan or above, and if you're comfortable with coding CSS, you can customize the Highlight Bar further using the Custom CSS feature, such as by adding a border around the Highlight Bar or the featured image. To add a thick, solid, black border around the Highlight Bar, for instance, use the following code:

.overlay-text { border: 5px solid #000000; }

Our Knowledge Base article on CSS borders has more information on the different border styles you can use, if you'd like to learn more.

Want to see how the Highlight Bar looks on a real blog? Check out Swoonish:

Swoonish

Are you using the Highlight Bar on your Nimble blog? What tips and tricks do you recommend for bloggers who would like to add it? Tell us in the comments below!

Getting to Know Nimble: An Introduction

May 06, 2015

Getting to Know Nimble: Tips & Tricks to Make Our New Design Lab Work for You

The Nimble Design Lab is one of our greatest, and favorite, achievements in recent Typepad history. The Lab is still in Beta, but it's been well received thus far, and it's quickly working its way into more and more Typepad blogs. There's a lot of room for customization, and several new features to check out. Which brings us to the start of a new series...

To spread the love, and the know-how, we're launching Getting to Know Nimble. With it, we'll explore what the Nimble Design Lab offers, what it can do, and how you can utilize its features to make your blog stand out. (Bonus points for responsive designs on Typepad meeting Google Mobile requirements!)

Some of the topics we'll be covering are:

  • Fonts - Where to find, how to apply, and how to import fonts not shown.
  • Highlight Bar - What it is, how to enable it, and why we think you should.
  • Banner - What size, which spanning option, and the why's.
  • Navigation Bar - Where to place, how to place, and new content options.

Want to follow along with us as we uncover all that Nimble has to offer? Make sure to join the Beta team and create a test blog.

And that's us just getting started! There's a guaranteed part two, so you'll want to stay tuned. You can enable the option to receive the Typepad Newsletter, a once-a-month email that features news and blogs we think you'll enjoy, at Account > Notifications. It's a great tool to catch you up on all that's happening in Typepad. For a regular dose of news, however, you can follow our Twitter account (@typepad), where we offer news, tips, and status updates.

Typepad 101: Blogging in a non-English language

April 22, 2015

A question we often receive from potential customers is, "Can I blog in a language other than English on Typepad?" The answer is, yes, you can. In this post, we will walk you through creating a blog in a non-English language. We'll also showcase a couple of Typepad blogs in different languages.

The first thing to do is to go through all the areas in Typepad where you can customize the text that appears on your blog. Start on the Settings > Basics page for your blog and enter the blog title and blog description in your desired language. Next, head over to Design > Content. You'll want to be sure that you update both the navigation bar and blog footer modules so that the links use your preferred language. On the Settings > Categories page, you can delete or rename the default categories and add new categories. This allows you to set up all your blog categories in your desired language.

There are a few other places you might not have thought to update the language. Both posts and comments can be paginated (spread across multiple pages) and you can customize the links that allow readers to navigate across the different pages. To customize the comment pagination links, go to Settings > Comments and look for the Navigation Links section. For the post pagination links, go to Settings > Posts and again look for Navigation Links.

While you're on the Settings > Posts page, you can make the next important change: configure the Post Display Language.

Post Display Language

The results of changing the Post Display Language depend on what language you choose. For all of the languages on the list, the dates that appear in the date-based archives and the side calendar will be updated. For Japanese and the larger European languages such as French, Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, and Finnish, the post footer and much of the automatically generated sidebar content will be updated. The automatically generated sidebar content includes the About Page Link, Post Feed, Archive lists, Recent Posts, and Recent Comments.

If your language uses a different date or time format than is common in the U.S., you can also configure the Post Date Format and Post Time format on the Settings > Posts page to use this format.

Now it's time to set up your blog's content. You can create TypeLists and photo albums in your own language. Many sidebar content modules are also highly customizable, including the Copyright module, Embed Your Own HTML (you can type text in this module, not just HTML code), and the Introduction module, among others. If you want to add a signature or a welcome message in your own language, you can do that as well.

If you're good at making graphics, you can also create a custom banner that displays your blog title and description in your preferred language. Sidebar header images are a great way to add impact to your blog's design - and you can also use them if your language isn't fully supported as a Post Display Language.

Once your blog design and settings are configured as much as possible in your desired language, it's time to get posting. You can type any language that you want for your blog posts - if your computer's keyboard supports it, you can use it.

Looking for inspiration? Check out HarpBlog. Besides their main blog in English, they have French and Spanish language blogs.

Le Harpblog

The Japanese-language blog, 小鳥ピヨピヨ, has a cute design with lots of graphics, and is also a good example of language customization using Typepad's default settings for a fully-supported language.

小鳥ピヨピヨ

There's a final option that you may want to use if you're experienced in coding in HTML. Advanced Templates allow you total control over every aspect of your blog's design. This may be a good choice for you if you're comfortable with HTML and if the language you want to use is not fully supported.

Are you blogging in a language other than English? Share a link to your blog in the comments so that everybody can check it out!

The Big Impact: The Wrap-Up

April 15, 2015

Bigimpact

Welcome to our series on making small changes that are guaranteed to help level up your blog's look. Every other week we’ll debut a new post, profiling some great blogs for inspiration that employ Typepad's built-in features. We'll also offer up tips and tricks that can help improve your blog's appeal, gain new readers, and build a more engaged community. Check out our other posts in the series here!

Over the last several months we've been giving you information on how you can make on small changes to your blog that can have a big impact.  Let's recap what we've talked about to help make your blog really stand out!

To start, we highlighted two bloggers who take advantage of Typepad's built-in design features by using the Theme Builder, custom banners, and Sidebar elements in creative ways. 

Second Story Window is a brightly designed blog by Heidi and Emily that really showcases their love of teaching. Leigh-Ann is the blogger behind Freckled Nest, which is a clean, modern design.

image from everything.typepad.com

Next up, we discussed how sidebar header images can really take your blog to the next level.  For example check out how Violet Short's blog Blythe Ponytail Parades makes stunning use of these images.

image from everything.typepad.com

Navigation bars are often overlooked, but since they're at the top of your blog, they provide an immediate way of grabbing your readers' attention.  Imagine Childhood knocks this out of the park with their amazing welcome banner design.

image from everything.typepad.com

Landing pages were the next topic we covered. If you choose to use one of these, this is the first thing that your readers will see, allowing you to give them important information like a special message for them, store hours, a way to contact you, and more. It can be an incredibly useful - and easy - way to get vital information out there first thing.

Triline Sports is a great example of how to create a bold, compelling landing page.

image from everything.typepad.com

Finally, we covered Responsive design, specifically three designs using the Snap theme that we worked on through our Typepad Blog Services.  In case you're wondering what we mean by a Responsive design, this simply means that your blog will look good on all devices, whether this is a traditional computer or laptop or a mobile device like an iPhone or an iPad.

Just look how great Diane Sammat's site looks on the Responsive Snap theme:

image from everything.typepad.com

If you've recently received an email from Google about their policies mobile-friendly designs, our responsive design offerings can have a huge impact on the look of your blog while meeting those mobile requirements at the same time. That's two birds with one stone!

As you can see, Typepad offers a large number of features that are simple to use but pay off hugely on your blog.  Have you implemented any of these suggestions?  We'd love to see what your blog looks like!  Leave your URL in the comments!

The Big Impact: Simple, Responsive Design

April 01, 2015

Bigimpact

Welcome to our series on making small changes that are guaranteed to help level up your blog's look. Every other week we’ll debut a new post, profiling some great blogs for inspiration that employ Typepad's built-in features. We'll also offer up tips and tricks that can help improve your blog's appeal, gain new readers, and build a more engaged community. Check out our other posts in the series here!

Today, we continue our series on small changes to your blog that can make a big impact. Previously, we've talked about landing pages, custom banners, sidebar headers, and navigation. Today we're going to discuss how you can use a base responsive design with small touches to make it your very own.

We've been talking about responsive design a lot around here lately and we've been hard at work creating new responsive designs and the Nimble Design Lab for the past year. We know you want your blog to look great on any device a reader might use and responsive design is the best, most modern solution for that.

But maybe you're a little hesitant to make the switch. Perhaps you like your current design the way it is or maybe you're a little afraid of the work involved with creating a new blog design.

We want to encourage you to make the leap - you'll find that readers will adapt to a new blog design quickly and the rewards far outweigh the bit of work you'll need to invest.

To that end, we want to revisit the very first responsive design we made available called Snap. The design looks simple but that was our intention. You can use it right out of the box or you can use bits of Custom CSS to enhance it and add your own flair.

Remember: CSS is nothing to be afraid of. If you add some code and it doesn't work the way you're expecting, just remove it and save on the Custom CSS page. No harm, no foul.

We've recently worked with three Typepad Blog Services customers on creating blog designs with Snap as the base. You'll notice that while these blog designs look somewhat similar, they are all unique to the blog owner and their content.

First, we have Allergy & Asthma Care Center of Fairfield County. We created a simple but eye-catching banner and used CSS to add that to the blog's design.

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 12.17.42 PM

Next we have Denim & Damask. We used the same banner image method with a background image for the body of the blog. We also created a sidebar photo grid for featuring the author's favorite posts.

Dandd

Finally, we have Diane Sammet's site. We used the CSS for a custom banner, as well as code for custom colors and fonts. You will also notice photo grids for showcasing artwork.

DS

Are you using Snap? Leave a comment with your URL so other Typepad subscribers can see how it looks on a real, active blog.

The Big Impact: Landing Pages

March 18, 2015

Bigimpact

Welcome to our series on making small changes that are guaranteed to help level up your blog's look. Every other week we’ll debut a new post, profiling some great blogs for inspiration that employ Typepad's built-in features. We'll also offer up tips and tricks that can help improve your blog's appeal, gain new readers, and build a more engaged community. Check out our other posts in the series here!

Today, we continue our series on small changes to your blog that can make a big impact. Previously, we've talked about custom banners, sidebar headers, and navigation. Our latest topic is landing pages.

In our recent tips post on shaking up your front page, we mentioned several ways to do something different with the front page of your blog, including setting an informational page as the front page. When this arrangement is used, it is often called a landing page because when visitors first arrive at your blog, that is where they land.

Let's look at some Typepad blogs that make use of landing pages. First is Nonprofit Hearts. When you arrive at Nonprofit Hearts, the first thing you read is a special message they've written for readers about what their site is about and what they hope you learn from it. Nonprofit Hearts is distinctive in another way - it's not really a blog at all! Instead, the entire site consists of informational pages, and there is a table of contents in the sidebar to allow readers to easily navigate from page to page. We love to see Typepad members stretch the limits of what a blog is like this.

Nonprofit Hearts

Next is The Daily Monster. Like Nonprofit Hearts, The Daily Monster uses their landing page to welcome readers and let them know what the site is about. Cute graphics, embedded videos, and links to the most important pages - this landing page has it all! (The site is also a great example of using sidebar header images.)

The Daily Monster

Finally we have Triline Sports. Triline Sports puts an image slider front and center on their landing page, along with photos linking to recent blog posts. Elsewhere on the page, they offer useful tools for readers, including a social media feed, testimonials, and a newsletter signup. All of this is done using Typepad's Theme Builder, a landing page, and code from a few third-party services.

Triline Sports

Inspired by these examples and want to set up your own landing page? Be sure to check out our Knowledge Base articles on creating informational pages and setting them as landing pages. If you need more assistance with your landing page, Typepad Support is just a help ticket away.

All blogs featured in our current series can be found in the Typepad Showcase! If you think you have what it takes to be in the spotlight, submit your own blog today!

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