Posts categorized "Tips and Tricks" Feed

Adding A New Blog To Your Account

If you have a Typepad Pro plan, adding a new blog to your account is quick and easy.  You can have up to 4 blogs with a Plus plan.  Unlimited, Premium, and Enterprise plans give you an unlimited amount of blogs you can save and publish. 

A few reasons to add an additional blog include wanting to start publishing content that may not fit in your default blog, host Password Protected content you want to share on your other blogs like downloads you are selling through your main blog, or a "Test" blog where you can try out new themes before applying them to your main blog.

There are two ways you can add a blog to your account.  From your Dashboard, the first way is by clicking "Blogs" in the top Navigation Bar, and select "Add a Blog."

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 11.58.12 AMThe second way (also in your Dashboard) is located under "Manage My Blogs" - click the link "Create a Blog" at the bottom of your blog names.

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 11.59.08 AMBoth links will bring you to the "Add a Blog" page where you set up your new blog's name and folder name.  The root name of your new blog will still be your Typepad domain name (ie: example.typepad.com). If you want your new blog to have a unique name that is separate from your other Typepad blogs, we recommend setting up Domain Mapping.   

Are you currently managing more than one blog? Share your tips on keeping them current in the comments.


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!


Using MailChimp to E-mail Blog Posts

Last month we talked about setting up your blog's RSS feed so that your readers can be notified of new posts.

With your new RSS feed, you can use a third-party like MailChimp to create a campaign so that your readers will get e-mails of new posts.  This can work as as a type of newsletter, letting your readers know that you have new posts.

image from everything.typepad.com

You can set up the campaign and even add the sign-up form to your sidebar following the instructions here.  It's a quick and simple way to make sure your readers know about new content on your blog and to keep them coming back for more!

As always, if you have an questions or need anything at all, Typepad Support is always here to help.


Display Post Excerpts with a Highlighted Image on the Front Page

A quick way to give your blog a new look is to set the Front Page to display excerpts of posts with highlighted images. Excerpts allow you to present multiple posts for new readers to peruse quickly. Then, the reader can click Read more next to any post to read the rest of it.

To set up excerpts, go to Settings > Posts and check the box to Display excerpts. You'll then have the option to Show a featured image. Click Save Changes to update your blog. Learn more.

Auto-generated Excerpts

With excerpts selected, an additional benefit is that the Front Page will load quickly even if you have opted to display a larger number of posts.

Do you have a blog displaying post excerpts? Share the link to your blog in the comments.


Blog Spring Cleaning Part 2: Settings

Spring is here! If you enjoyed our check list for tidying up your sidebars, we invite you to take a look at your blog's inner-workings. From the Dashboard, click on Settings under Manage My Blogs. There's something to check in each section but it won't take much time.

  • On the Basics page, make sure your Blog Description is up-to-date, especially if it shows on the blog itself.
    • If you have a Welcome Message, check to make sure that's up-to-date as well. This will be the first thing new readers see when they visit your blog!
  • The SEO page has the main option to publicize your blog.
    • If your blog is publicized, you'll want to make sure you've also enabled the Google Sitemap option.
    • Check that your Meta Keywords and Description are relevant and specific, spelled properly,  and truly descriptive. You may want to check out some resources on best practices for tips on how to choose the right description, as well as information on how search engines actually use that content.
  • Your Sharing settings are super important if you're active on social media. Facebook and/or Twitter might be the main sources your readers look to for updates from your blog. Make sure you have those accounts connected and ready for sharing.
  • The Feeds page has everything related to the RSS feeds for your blog. We've added some newer options there for Category and Author feeds, so make sure you check those settings.
  • The Add-ons page has options you may not be aware of.
    • For an enhanced commenting experience, you can turn on Disqus commenting.
    • If you'd like more detailed information about your visitors, you can connect your blog to Google's Analytics service.
    • There are also options for using TypeKit for web fonts and using the bitly link shortening and tracking service.
  • You probably haven't taken a look at the Post settings page in quite some time. Check the settings there to make sure they suit your blog.
    • There's a newer feature at the bottom to automatically show Auto-Generated Excerpts from the posts on the main index and archive pages. This can improve your blog's load time substantially.
  • Categories are a great way to organize your blog's posts by topic. However, too many categories can be counter-productive. We recommend taking some time to go through the Categories and Blogs > Posts listing to see if any categories can be merged or eliminated.
  • For most blogs, the default Comments settings will work wonderfully. We recommend taking a look at the different options to determine which will best suit your blog's needs.

Have you been taking time to spring clean your blog? Share your tips in the comments and we might include those in an upcoming post!


Design Tools: Custom CSS

We recently shared a breakdown of the different theme types available to users, and what they offer. As mentioned in that post, you may want to boost a pre-designed theme to make it closer to the vision you have for your blog's brand. CSS is the ideal go-to, allowing you to make both small and large changes. Thus enters the Custom CSS feature, available to Unlimited accounts and above.

As a design tool, the Custom CSS feature is unequivocally the most valuable feature for Typepad bloggers. It provides users, who don't want to customize from the template code up, an opportunity to customize their blog's look beyond the initial design.

Changes that can be made range from the tiniest tweak, like changing the color of linked text, to complex edits, like utilizing CSS3 animation for the navigation bar or even shifting content around. There's quite a lot that can be achieved with CSS, and we have a large number of posts in our archives that teach you how to make a variety of changes. We have a CSS Cookbook for even further tips and tricks.

Here is a list of common changes that users make to pre-designed themes:

There is a lot you can do with CSS, and the above tips are only to get you started. We recommend utilizing your test blog in order to try different ideas and make the best design decisions for your blog.


Introduce yourself to your blog's visitors

Whether your blog is personal, professional, or somewhere in between, providing a brief introduction to yourself can help you turn first-time visitors into regular readers. With so many blogs out there to choose from, visitors want to know who you are and what expertise you have to write about the subjects you cover.

Providing a brief introduction on the sidebar of your blog helps create a personal connection between you and readers and establishes your authority. Whatever page of your blog visitors arrive on, they will see the introduction and be able to learn more about you.

Typepad's Introduction module makes it easy for you to add a brief introduction to your blog's sidebar. First, think about what you want to say. You may want to provide your name and any professional titles or qualifications that you have which are relevant to the topics you post about. Or you might want to describe your interests and tell readers a bit about your story to create a personal touch. Letting visitors know what topics your blog covers is also a great idea.

Once you have decided on the text of your introduction, go to the Design > Content page for your blog. Locate "Introduction" in the list of modules and click on it to select it. When you click the "Add this module" button, a pop-up window will open with a field where you can enter the text of your introduction. If you want to get fancy, you can include HTML code for formatting in the text.

Introduction module

After you have typed in the text for your introduction, click OK. You can then drag and drop the module to the place you want it to appear in the sidebar. We recommend placing it near the top of the sidebar, so that visitors will be sure to see it.

If you want to change the text of the introduction, return to Design > Content and locate the Introduction module in the sidebar area. Click the pencil icon to open the module for editing.

After you have everything the way you want for your Introduction module, click "View Blog" to view your blog and check out how the introduction appears in the sidebar.

Do you use an Introduction module on your blog? What do you think makes a good introduction? Let us know in the comments!


Updating the Post Settings for the Front Page

If you don't have a landing page set as the front page, you have several options for displaying the recent posts on your blog. Go to Settings > Posts to choose the settings which best meet your needs. When adjusting the settings, keep in mind how visitors will be reading your posts and make it easy for new and longtime readers to navigate around your website.

We are offering up a couple tips for utilizing the available Post Settings:

Posts to Display - We suggest setting the number of posts to display per index page that allows readers to see at least the posts published in the last week. Ten posts per page is a good number. If you post frequently or multiple posts per day, you can keep the front page fresh by displaying only the posts published within the last 1-2 days.

Navigation Links - At the end of the index pages, it is helpful to have clearly identified navigation links allowing readers to visit older posts. Older/Newer and Next/Previous are commonly used terms for website navigation.

Post Settings

Do you have any recommendations for setting up your blog or website? Let us know in the comments!


Share Your Online Shop On Your Blog

Many Typepad bloggers sell their wares through their blogs and we showcase them in our Shop Guide.  Did you know you can set up an online storefront to sell your items, downloads, online classes/workshops, and more by adding a Page? A "Page" is where you can share stand-alone content outside of your blog posts so it's a great place to set up shop!

If you're an Etsy seller who wants to have a professional looking page connecting your blog to your Etsy shop, you can add your Etsy Mini "Gallery" widget to the "HTML" editor tab of your page.

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 4.06.27 PMThis is not just limited to Etsy sellers.  You can also also set up something similar if you're an Amazon Affiliate with an aStore or Big Cartel shop.

Even if you do not have an official online store, you can still set up a Page to designate a place where visitors can purchase your e-book or .pdf for download, sign up for an online workshop, or request your professional services.

The last part, and most fun part, is collecting money! The easiest way to collect money for items sold on your blog is by adding a Pay With PayPal button.   It takes a couple of minutes to set up in PayPal, then take the embed code they provide and add it to your Page using the HTML editor tab.

Finally, if you would like to share a little more information about your new Page, you can add the link to your new page in your sidebar or Navigation Bar so readers can easily find it.

 


Blog Spring Cleaning Part 1: Sidebars

The Spring Equinox is swiftly approaching and with it comes sunshine, flowers and lots and lots of spring cleaning. We recommend taking a break from cleaning out your closets and under the stairs to turn your attention to your blog.

The great thing about Typepad is that we do all of the back end heavy lifting for you but it's still great to take some time to tend to your blog's settings and design once in a while.

Today, we're going to start with a simple checklist to keep your blog's sidebars neat and up-to-date. Let's start on the Blogs > Design > Content page. Here are some items to check:

  • If you have an "about me" blurb, is it up-to-date with a recent photo?
  • If you have a copyright notice, are the dates correct?
  • Are your social media profile URLs correct? Do you have any new URLs to add?
  • Are there any Pages that can be updated or pruned?
  • Are there any outdated Photo Albums that can be dropped?
  • Are all of your third-party widgets in working order? Are there any that can be cleared to reduce clutter?
  • Are there any ads that are under-performing? Can those be moved to a different spot or removed entirely?
  • Do you have any redundant or unnecessary modules?
  • Are there any modules on the Content page that you haven't tried before? We have lots to select from!

Next, take a look at Library > Typelists and check the following for any lists you have enabled for your blog:

  • Are all of the links functioning and pointing to the correct location?
  • Are there any links that are outdated or no longer relevant?
  • Do you have the most recent logo for any affiliations or groups you link to?
  • If you have media Typelists for books or music, are those showing recent items?

That's it! A little decluttering can make a big difference with the appearance and load time of your blog. Keep an eye out for more spring cleaning tips in the coming weeks and feel free to share yours in the comments for this post.