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Third Party Services: the Wrap Up

image from everything.typepad.com

We have recently covered several third party services that you can use with your Typepad blog, improving both engagement and content. There are a vast amount to choose from, but here we share a launching pad of services to help boost your blog.

SurveyMonkey is a great tool for encouraging and guiding feedback that you'd like to receive from your readers. We have all you need to know to get started in our post on polling your readers.

If This, Then That is one of our favorite services to share with users. It allows for so much that it's difficult to focus on only one aspect. To get you started, we discuss connecting your blog to IFTTT and setting up some basic recipes to lighten the social media load.

Instansive is a service we recommend to users who are big on sharing visuals. It has multiple options for sharing Instagram photos in blog sidebars, and is responsive. A perfect fit to go with your responsive Nimble Design Lab blog.

MailChimp is a well-known service to those who use newsletters, and it works great with Typepad feeds as a source. Expand your reach and engage your readers by offering them emailed updates of your content.

These are just some of the services available that we can't get enough of, and may be of interest to you. If you have favorites of your own, please share in the comments!


Send email newsletters with MailChimp

Third_party_header
As a Typepad blogger, you have access to an ever-growing catalog of built-in features that make blogging with us easy and effective. But that's not all! Typepad also plays well with other services, allowing you to add some nifty bells and whistles to your blog. Over the next six weeks, we'll introduce you to some of our favorite third-party services, making it even easier for you to grow a loyal, engaged audience. Let's get started!

We've talked in the past about how people can subscribe to your blog. Promoting blog subscription is a great way to encourage readers to visit your blog again and again to see your latest content. But what if you've already mastered RSS subscription and are looking for something more?

As you build your audience, you may sometimes want to make information or content available beyond what is on the blog itself. You might do a summary of all your posts for the week or month, or provide special offers to newsletter subscribers, or maybe you have another plan.

One great way to expand your reach like this is to send out an email newsletter. Using a third-party service called MailChimp, you can easily create a newsletter and add a sign-up form to your blog's sidebar.

To get started, head over to MailChimp.com and sign up for an account. After you've logged in, head to the Lists tab. Here you will create a list of subscribers. You may already have some people you want to add to this list, or you may start with an empty list.

Click the Create List button. Give the list a name that will help you remember it (for instance, "Newsletter subscribers") and configure the options as you desire.

Creating a list in MailChimp

Once you've created your list, you'll be taken back to the Lists page where you can see all of your lists. Now you're going to create a sign-up form for the list.

Locate your new list and look towards the right where you will see a button that says "Stats" and a down arrow next to it. Click this and it will open a menu. Choose "Signup forms" from the list:

List signup forms

MailChimp offers a number of different options for your sign-up form. We recommend choosing "Embedded Forms". After selecting what type of form you want to create, you can configure the signup form.

Configuring an embedded form

Choose the options you want until the form looks the way that you want. Then go to the section "Copy/paste onto your site". Copy all of the code in this field.

Go into Typepad and to the Design > Content page. Add an Embed Your Own HTML module and paste the code from MailChimp into this module, then save your changes.

Adding code to the HTML module

Now visitors to your blog will be able to sign up for your newsletter right from the sidebar of your blog!

To actually send out a newsletter or other mailing to your list subscribers, you'll create a campaign in MailChimp and then add the content you wish to include (you can even send out your blog posts by creating an RSS campaign). Happy newslettering!

P.S. Did you know that the Typepad newsletter is sent out through MailChimp? You may already be subscribed to the Typepad newsletter, but if not, you can do so from the sidebar at Everything Typepad, or go to Account > Notifications in your Typepad account and put a check next to the option to be sent newsletters, notices about your account, and special offers, then save your changes.


Instansive, A Responsive Instagram Widget

Third_party_header
As a Typepad blogger, you have access to an ever-growing catalog of built-in features that make blogging with us easy and effective. But that's not all! Typepad also plays well with other services, allowing you to add some nifty bells and whistles to your blog. Over the next six weeks, we'll introduce you to some of our favorite third-party services, making it even easier for you to grow a loyal, engaged audience. Let's get started!

With the necessary move to responsive designs for websites and blogs, it is good to start looking at how the modules on your blog display on small and large devices. Many popular social media services do provide widgets which adjust to different displays, including Instagram.

Instansive is just the widget you need to display Instagram photos in your blog's sidebar. You don't need to have an Instagram account to take advantage of this widget if you want to share photos from your favorite Instagramer or by hashtag.

Configure the Instansive Widget

  • 1) Go to Instansive.com.
  • 2) Enter an Instagram username or a hashtag. Please note the Instagram account must be public.
    Step 2
  • 3) Choose type of widget. Each type - Grid, Slideshow, & Columns - has unique options, and you can select a different type to see the settings that can be configured.
  • 4) After selecting a type of widget, choose the optional settings. Don't worry you can Preview the various settings to find out which one works best for you before adding the code to your blog!
    Step 4
  • 5) Click Preview and review the display of the widget in the left column. If you don't like the result, go back and change the type &/or settings and preview again.
  • 6) Once you have settled on the configuration, click the Get Code button. The code will appear below the button.
    Step 5
  • 7) Use your mouse to highlight the code and key Ctrl+C (for Windows) or Cmd+C (for Macs) to copy it.

Add Instansive Widget to Your Blog

  • 8) In Typepad, open the Blogs menu, select your blog, and click to the Design tab.
  • 9) Go to the Content section.
  • 10) Select the Embed Your Own HTML module and click the Add This Module button.
  • 11) Paste the code for the Instansive widget that you copied previously into the pop-up box. You can add a label which will not display on the published blog as well.

Step 3

  • 12) Click OK.
  • 13) Use your mouse to drag the module to the preferred location in the sidebar.
  • 14) Click Save Changes to update the blog with the new module.

That's it! You can add multiple modules following the same steps.

Note: The code shown in the above screenshots is not valid. You'll generate unique code at Instansive for your own widget.


Connect Your Blog With IFTTT

Thirdparty

As a Typepad blogger, you have access to an ever-growing catalog of built-in features that make blogging with us easy and effective. But that's not all! Typepad also plays well with other services, allowing you to add some nifty bells and whistles to your blog. Over the next six weeks, we'll introduce you to some of our favorite third-party services, making it even easier for you to grow a loyal, engaged audience. Let's get started!

You just added a poll using SurveyMonkey to your latest blog post and you want to get as many eyes on it as possible but you know that hitting the "Publish" button is not enough. You want to share your blog update on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, but the repetitive action of copying and pasting your URL to different accounts sounds tedious. IFTTT (If This, Then That) is a third-party service that lets you control how your online content is distributed to different accounts.

With IFTTT, you are able to automate your accounts by setting up recipes linking your blog's RSS feed to your different accounts (aka "Channels"). Find out more about your RSS feed and what it can do here.

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 10.57.37 AM"Recipes" are configured when you want one action to trigger another action - when your blog publishes an update, you want to share an update to your Facebook Page.  For your blog, you can create a recipe that shares a status update to your Facebook Page.

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 11.46.29 AMSimilar recipes can be set up to connect your RSS feed to Twitter, Pinterest, and your Facebook profile.

Pinterest has grown in popularity as being a top blog referrer all due to having pinnable images in your blog post.   Let's set up a recipe to post an image from your blog post once it's published.   First you need to identify your "trigger" item which in this case is a "New feed item" added to your blog feed:

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.17.36 PMThe next step is to choose an "action" channel which would be the Pinterest channel and then identify which board your image will be pinned to:

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.19.54 PM Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.21.29 PM
If you do not have a Pinterest board set up for your blog, now is a good time to create one!  You enter the name of your board in the first field, the rest of the fields will automatically include "ingredients" such as "EntryImageURL" and "EntryTitle."  Then you are ready to go by clicking the "Create Recipe" button.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.25.10 PMNow that the recipe is saved, the first image that appears in the blog post will automatically be pinned to your "Blog" board and you would not need to sign in to Pinterest to do so.

Another great example of how you can extend Typepad's capabilities using IFTTT is Instagram.  We have received requests asking if there are ways to share Instagram updates automatically to your Typepad blog. While there isn't a direct way to connect Instagram to Typepad, if you have a Gmail account you can use IFTTT to automatically publish photos from your Instagram account on your blog.

LinkedIn is another popular platform you can automatically share all your blog posts or just some posts using certain keywords on through IFTTT.  We have more information and instructions on connecting your blog feed with LinkedIn in our Knowledge Base.

Once you create your account with IFTTT and have gotten the hang of making recipes, you will find that there is so much more streamlining you can do such as emailing your blog posts to your Dropbox, Evernote, or Pocket for extra backup.


Poll Your Readers with SurveyMonkey

Third_party_header

As a Typepad blogger, you have access to an ever-growing catalog of built-in features that make blogging with us easy and effective. But that's not all! Typepad also plays well with other services, allowing you to add some nifty bells and whistles to your blog. Over the next six weeks, we'll introduce you to some of our favorite third-party services, making it even easier for you to grow a loyal, engaged audience. Let's get started!

One of the best things about blogging is that it offers you a chance to communicate with people that you may never reach otherwise. There are a ton of ways you can interact with your readers - comments on your blog, Facebook messages, Twitter exchanges. But if you just want some quick feedback about your blog, your business, or a new project, you may not want to sift through emails and comments to get to the good stuff. This is where a third party survey service like SurveyMonkey can be very handy.

To get started, visit the SurveyMonkey site and click the sign up link from the main page. There are free and paid options. The free option offers a lot of features and is a good option if you just want to check things out and create simple surveys for your blog. Once you're registered, click on the Create Survey button at the top of your home page. There are a lot of options for creating a survey. You can create your own from scratch or use their templates. The interface is straight forward and they offer lots of documentation to guide you along the way.

Once you have your survey set up, click Collect Responses and choose Website Collector. This will allow you to embed the survey directly on your blog.

On the next page, choose Embedded Survey and this will take you to a page where you can set the size for your survey widget. If you'd like to embed the survey in your blog's sidebar, we suggest making the widget the smallest width. If you'd like to show the survey on a blog post or Page, the best size will depend on the width that's set for the main content column for your blog. In most cases, 500-600 pixels should do the trick.

Set the size of your widget using the sliders
Set the size of your widget using the sliders

After saving your settings, click on Install to access the code for your survey widget. You don't need to do anything to the code itself, just copy it for the next step.

If you're adding the survey to your blog's sidebar, just go to Blogs > Design > Content and use the Embed your own HTML module. You'll simply paste the code into the module, save, and drag the module where you'd like it to show in the sidebar. We have a full overview of adding code this way in our Knowledge Base.

SurveyMonkey code in Embed your own HTML module
SurveyMonkey code in Embed your own HTML module

The survey widget will look like this once it's embedded in the sidebar:

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 3.26.02 PM

If you'd like to include the survey widget in a post or Page, simply click on the HTML tab in Compose and then choose Convert Line Breaks. Paste your code into the post body, include any other content you want to go along with the widget and then Publish without clicking back to the Rich Text editor. This will prevent any issues with the survey code interacting with the rich text functions. We've included a short survey that you can fill out at the end of this post so you can see how it works.

Create your own user feedback survey


Blogging Best Practices: Make It Easy To Subscribe To Your Blog

Welcome to our series of posts on Blogging Best Practices! Each Thursday for 10 weeks, we'll debut a new post designed to help you create great content, share it with the world, and become a better blogger. Check out other posts in the series here!

Visitors to your site need an easy way to be notified when you publish new posts to your blog. You should let your audience choose how they prefer to be notified of updates, and it is a good idea to offer a variety of options for subscribing.

  • Enable Post Feeds: By enabling the Post Feed at Settings > Feeds, readers of your site can subscribe to your feed in their preferred feed reader.

 

  • Add The Subscribe Link: At Design > Content, add the Post Feed module to place the Subscribe link and RSS chicklet in your blog's sidebar.

 

  • Add Facebook Like Button: At Settings > Sharing, click to connect to Facebook to add the Like button. Anyone who clicks the Facebook Like button added to your blog will see any updates to your blog directly in their Facebook newsfeed. Click here to get started! (Facebook also has other Like button options if you would prefer a Like Box or a Badge.)

 

  • Add Follow Me Module: At Design > Content, add the Follow Me Module to your blog's sidebar to give others in the Typepad community the option to follow your Typepad activity directly from their Typepad Dashboard. (more info)

By offering options to subscribe in a feed reader, sign up for email notifications, track updates in their Facebook newsfeed, and follow with Typepad, you are making sure no one misses the great content you publish to your blog!


FAQ: All About Domain Mapping

You have questions? We have answers!
As a Typepad subscriber, if you've ever had a question about blogging, chances are you've either perused our handy Knowledge Base, browsed the archives here at Everything Typepad, or opened a Help Ticket in your Dashboard. Our Community and Support team receives many of these every day, and in this special series, we'll be answering some of our best, most Frequently Asked Questions.

What is domain mapping?

By default, your blog will use the Typepad URL you selected during registration. It's in the form example.typepad.com. Domain mapping involves purchasing a custom domain, like www.myawesomeblog.com, from a registrar and then setting that domain as the URL for your blog.

Why should I use domain mapping?

Simply put, domain mapping allows you to own the address for your blog. Visitors won't see the typepad.com URL, they'll see the custom domain that you've selected. The URL will also generally be shorter and easier to remember. If you ever decide to move your site to another platform, you'll be able to use that domain on your new site, preventing the loss of readers.

Continue reading "FAQ: All About Domain Mapping" »


FAQ: All About Subscribing

You have questions? We have answers!
As a Typepad subscriber, if you've ever had a question about blogging, chances are you've either perused our handy Knowledge Base, browsed the archives here at Everything Typepad, or opened a Help Ticket in your Dashboard. Our Community and Support team receives many of these every day, and in this special series, we'll be answering some of our best, most Frequently Asked Questions.

How do people subscribe to my blog?

Subscribe, follow, email - whatever terminology you prefer, it is recommended that you make it easy for readers of your blog to be notified of newly published posts. Using the blog's feed, updates can be sent to subscribers through a variety of ways.

What is a blog feed?

A feed, also known as RSS, is a format of your blog that makes it easy for content distributors to syndicate your content.

For Typepad blogs, the blog's feed is the blog's URL followed by atom.xml or rss.xml. Both the RSS and Atom feed contain the same content, and it typically does not matter which feed URL you use. Some examples:

http://example.typepad.com/my-blog/atom.xml
http://www.customdomain.com/my-blog/rss.xml
http://www.exampledomain.net/atom.xml

At Settings > Feeds, check the box to publish the feed for Blog Posts and save changes. The feed for your blog updates immediately when you publish a new post and the feed can be used in a number of ways to send out updates to subscribers. Learn more.

How do readers find the blog's feed?

You can add the subscribe link to the sidebar or Navigation Bar. To add the subscribe link to the sidebar, go to Design > Content, select the Post Feed module, click the Add This Module button, and after arranging the module in the sidebar, click Save Changes to update your blog.

To add a subscribe link to the Navigation Bar, go to Design > Content, click the pencil icon next to the Navigation Bar module, add the feed URL, click OK, and click Save Changes. Learn more.

What are some ways readers can subscribe?

Readers can subscribe to your blog and be notified of new posts by adding the feed URL to a feed reader, signing up to receive email alerts, receive links in their Facebook news feed, and more!

We recommend adding a subscribe link (more info), a form to subscribe for email notifications (more info), and a Facebook Like button (more info).

How can people be notified by email when a new post is published?

You have a number of options for sending out new posts to readers via email. We recommend FeedBlitz, but other popular services, including MailChimp and AWeber, can also be utilized with your Typepad blog.

For FeedBlitz, we have step-by-step instructions for adding the email sign up form. Learn more.

For other services, you'll submit your blog's feed URL to their service, and then you'll receive code for the sign up form. You can add this form to your blog's sidebar using the Embed Your Own HTML module at Design > Content. Learn more.

How do I subscribe to see updates in my Facebook newsfeed?

At Settings > Sharing, click to connect to Facebook to add the Like button. Anyone who clicks the Facebook Like button added to your blog will see any updates to your blog directly in their Facebook newsfeed. Learn more.

Facebook also has other Like button options if you would prefer a simpler Like button or a Badge.

What is the Follow Me module?

The Follow Me module allows other members of the Typepad community to see the activity of the blogs they follow in their Typepad account dashboard. Only Typepad members can follow a blog in this way, but you do not have to use Typepad to take advantage of the other subscribe options mentioned above.

To add the Follow Me Module to your blog's sidebar, go to Design > Content, select the Follow Me module, and click Add This Module. Learn more.

Why does the feed URL display code in my browser?

A feed is not meant to be viewed in a browser window, and not all browsers have a feed view feature. The latest versions of Firefox and Safari will show you an easy to read HTML page when you attempt to view the feed URL directly. Chrome and some other older browsers may show you the feed code which does not indicate a problem with your feed.

By connecting your blog to FeedBlitz, anyone who tries to view your blog's feed URL directly in any browser will be presented with an easy to read website with options to subscribe to the feed. FeedBlitz's feed enhancement services are free and easy to enable for your Typepad blog. Learn more.

Why is my feed not working?

To troubleshoot feed issues, you can run the feed through a feed validator which will present you with any errors that need to be corrected. If you aren't sure how to correct the errors, open a help ticket in your Typepad account, and we can help you!


FAQ: Social Media

FAQ

As a Typepad subscriber, if you've ever had a question about blogging, chances are you've either perused our handy Knowledge Base, browsed the archives here at Everything Typepad, or opened a Help Ticket in your Dashboard. Our Community and Support team receives many of these every day, and in this special series, we'll be answering some of our best, most Frequently Asked Questions.

What is Social Media?

Social Media is a social networking website or a collective of online channels that allow you to communicate to a large audience online at once.

Why should I promote on Social Media?

Social Media is a pretty big deal and used by just about everyone, from the biggest Fortune 500 company to your local foodie blogger.  Social Media has become the main way to drive traffic to your web page and communicate with your followers.  If you care about building your blog audience, Social Media is key in keeping your community engaged and informed outside of your blog and bring your followers back to your blog.

If you use your blog to promote your business or sell a product, more platforms are now beta-testing "Buy" features so people can buy from you directly from a tweet or pin. With options like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more, we know this can all be overwhelming and you may not have time to sign in to every account and share your latest blog post.  We have some time saving tips later in this post.

What is integrated with Typepad? Can I share updates on Facebook/Twitter?

At Account > Other Accounts, you can connect your Typepad account with your Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and more.  Any accounts you add to your Typepad account will appear in your sidebar if you select the "Other Accounts" module at Design > Content.  This module will share icons linking to your social accounts in your sidebar.

You can also automatically share blog updates in your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Connect your Facebook profile, page, and Twitter to a specific blog at Settings > Sharing.   You have the option to set up automatic updates by default on your Sharing page or select which post to share on the Compose page:

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 5.24.34 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 5.20.06 PM

If you share your post through the Compose page, you can enter your status update text and hashtags before you publish.

What are Hashtags and how to do I use them? 

Hashtags are a word or phrase you use to describe your status update subject preceded with a pound sign (#).  Hashtags work differently on different social sites.  On Pinterest and Instagram, they are more descriptive (i.e.: #ChristmasDecor, #FallFashion) where on Twitter and Facebook they are more topical (i.e.: #TheOscars, #SuperBowlXLIX).

What about other popular sites like Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram?

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 3.44.46 PMIf you have more accounts you want to share your blog updates on,  IFTTT is a great tool to use where you can set up a recipe connecting your blog's RSS feed to more accounts like Pinterest.  We have tutorials on how to cross-post your blog with Instagram and sharing your posts to your LinkedIn profile.  Once your recipes are set up, you can publish a blog post and it can go out to several of your accounts at once without you having to sign in to any of them.

How can readers share my posts to their Social Media feeds?

Your Typepad blog has the option to display Social Media sharing buttons at the footer of each of your posts:

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 3.18.58 PM

You can add share buttons for Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, and Facebook.  The buttons can be added by going to Design > Content > Post Footer, and check off the box for the buttons you want to add.  Once this is set up, when a reader clicks one of these buttons to share your post, a pop-up window will appear from that site prompting you to enter your update.  The post title and permalink will already be included but you can add additional text and hashtags to your status update.

When is a good time to share on Social Media?

As soon as you post an update of course! But don't just share your blog update once on the day it's published.  Programs like Hootsuite, Buffer, and MeetEdgar let  you schedule status updates to multiple accounts so you can manage your accounts in one place.  If you shared a blog update this morning, you can schedule a reminder tweet in the afternoon and later in the evening.  When you use a third-party to schedule your status updates, you can schedule several updates at once saving you time in the long run.

It also does not hurt to get some fresh eyes on older blog posts. Bloggers like to share older posts on Facebook and Twitter, especially if the information is still relevant, don't let it just disappear in to the blogesphere and wait for it to appear in a search engine.

Where do you like to share your blog updates? Let us know in the comments!


Facebook Authorship For Typepad Blogs

We recently shared that Google closed its authorship services which previously allowed you to claim your content in their searches.  As an alternative, Facebook has launched its own authorship service. It's super easy to set up, and works the same way.

If anyone shares your blog post on Facebook, not only will it cite the source but it will also list you as the author with a link back to your profile.   From Facebook's blog:

This is a web development tool that connects the byline in a story preview in the News Feed to the writer’s Page or Profile.

You only need two things to get started: 1) a Facebook account 2) a Typepad Unlimited account (or higher).

1) In Facebook, go to "Settings" and click on the "Followers" tab. 

2) Set "Who Can Follow Me" to "Everybody."

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 3.35.15 PM

3) Go to your Typepad account and go to Design > Head. The Head module is available for Unlimited plans and higher.

4) Copy and paste the following meta tag:

<meta property="article:author" content="https://www.facebook.com/**your_profile_or_page**">

Replace **your_profile_or_page** with your Facebook Profile or Page name and save.  Depending on your Facebook account, the code can look like this:

<meta property="article:author" content="https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.perez.714655">

or this:

<meta property="article:author" content="https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007410916530">

The next time you publish a post, check off your Facebook profile (or Page) under "Share This Post" on the Compose page in order to see your byline created.  So you go from Facebook post looking like this....

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 4.20.57 PM

to this

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 4.25.49 PMwhich now includes a link to your Facebook profile as a credit and to help build your Facebook following.

It's a pretty straight forward process but if you have any questions on getting this set up, feel free to open a Help ticket and the Typepad team will be happy to assist you.