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.

Typepad 101: Uploading Images to Your Sidebar

May 27, 2015

As a blogger, you love to share your passions with your readers.  One of the best - and easiest ways - to do that is to upload images to your blog.

You probably know how to add an image to a post (click that little icon with a picture of a mountain), but you might not know how to add an image to your sidebar.  It's a great way to have an image that's always there that you'd like your readers to see.  It can be of you, your family, your pet, a book you wrote - anything.

It's easy to do, so let's get to it! First, go to Design > Content and look for the Widgets category.  Find the "Add a Sidebar Image" option and click the "Add this module" button. Click the Upload Image button to open the Insert Image window. Click Browse or Choose File, locate the image on your computer, and click Open. Finally, click Insert Image.

image from help-orig.typepad.com

Once you've done this, you'll have several options that you can use to enhance your photo.  You can give it a caption to be displayed along with the image.  You can even link the image to a new URL or open the original image in a pop-up window.  It's so simple and a great way to make a big impact on your blog.

image from everything.typepad.com

As always, our Knowledge Base has additional information on this and many other topics.

As a special bonus tip, don't forget that you can set up your Instagram photos to automatically display in your sidebar too!

Have any questions or need help with something?  A member of our support team is ready to help you!

Typepad 101: Using a Different URL for Each Blog

May 13, 2015

Here at Typepad, we want our subscribers to get as much out of their accounts as possible. One great feature we offer is allowing for multiple blogs within the same account. Subscribers at our Plus level are able to create three blogs and subscribers at the Unlimited level and above are able to create as many blogs as they'd like.

When you create a new blog, it will use the subdomain you've chosen for your account, like example.typepad.com. Have you ever wanted to create an additional blog on your account but wondered how you'd use a separate URL for that content?

The answer is domain mapping. This allows you to purchase a unique domain for your blog, like www.exampleblog.com, and configure that in Typepad so it becomes the new URL for the blog. The original Typepad URL will still work. You won't lose any incoming traffic to those URLs but the domain address will become the new default. Over time, search engines will index the mapped URL and phase out the Typepad URL. You'll retain any search engine ranking you started with prior to mapping.

Each blog on your account can have its own domain mapped to it, even if you already have one of those domains mapped to the entire account. This will allow you to have totally separate blogs with different URLs without having to open multiple accounts.

Domain Mapping with TypepadIn the past, purchasing a domain was very expensive but most registrars now offer affordable pricing and easy-to-use interfaces. We've recently added integrated domain mapping with a registration partner that offers very competitive pricing.

You can get started in Account > Domain Mapping and full details and steps are here. Registering your domain through Typepad allows you to do everything in one place, including receive support for any questions you have.

If you already own a domain through another registrar and want to use it for a Typepad blog, you can do that, too. The only requirement is that the registrar will need to allow for CNAME records. We have a full overview in our Knowledge Base.

If your registrar doesn't allow for CNAME records, you may be able to transfer the domain to our registrar. Just open a help ticket and we can guide you through the process.

Do you have questions about domain mapping? Check out the FAQ or open a help ticket in your account and we'll be happy to help!

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!

Typepad 101: Displaying An Event Calendar On Your Blog

April 08, 2015

Do you have a tour coming up? Appearance dates to promote your new book?  Or upcoming yoga workshops you're teaching?

A quick way to share your upcoming dates with your readers is by including a Google Events Calendar either in your sidebar or as a link to a separate page.  (This is not the same as the Calendar module included in Typepad which helps readers look up blog posts by date.)

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 4.35.18 PM

If you have a Google account, you can get the embed code to display your Google Calendar on your blog. Open your Google Calendar and look for "My Calendars" on the left. Click the drop-down button next to “My calendars” and click “Settings.  If you have more than one calendar, click the link of the calendar you want to share.

Googlecal

There is a section titled “Embed This Calendar” which will allow you to customize how you want the calendar to appear on your blog. You can change the “width=800px” size to cater to the size of your column.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 3.08.27 PM

Like adding other custom sidebar content, you can also paste this code into an “Embed Your Own HTML” module at Design > Content, so it can appear in your sidebar as shown above.

To display a larger calendar on your blog, you can create a Page to display a larger version of the same calendar.  Simply paste the same embed code using the HTML editor tab of the page.

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 4.52.56 PMAnother free calendar you can embed to your blog if you choose not to use Google is UpTo which also provides you with HTML to add to your blog.  Once you get their embed code, you can follow the same steps shared here on how to share it on your blog.

Do you have an event calendar on your blog? Do you use something else besides Google and UpTo? Let us know in the comments!

Typepad 101: Responsive Designs and Mobile Usability Issues

March 25, 2015

Recently you may have received an e-mail from Google about mobile usability issues on your blog.  It would look something like this:

Tool_reportThat looks scary, right?  It might look that way, but don't panic!  It actually isn't that scary at all.

All this means is that your blog needs to have a Responsive design applied to it. If you're wondering what exactly this does, it means that your blog will look as it should across all devices, whether it's a traditional laptop or desktop computer or the fanciest new tablet or smart phone.  With the number of people accessing the Internet from mobile devices, making sure your blog is readable on all of them is very important.

Responsive_set

All Typepad bloggers have access to three Responsive pre-made themes: Gourmet, Sol, and Snap.  You can use any of these themes to your blog by going to Design, clicking the green "Choose a theme" button, and looking for the Responsive category.  Click the one you like best, apply it to your blog, and you're set!

If you're a Beta Team member, you'll have two additional options: the Responsive Theme Builder and the Nimble Design Lab.

It's easy to use the Responsive Theme Builder.  It works just as the Theme Builder you know and love, but has a few more options, including the option to make the theme Responsive. When creating your theme, just check the "Create as Responsive" box and your blog is now a Responsive blog!

Finally, you can use the Nimble Design Lab to make your blog Responsive.  We've been talking about Nimble a lot around here lately (Check back tomorrow to find out about even more new features!), but that's only because it's the most exciting design element in Typepad.

Nimble's got options for just about everything and we're currently making weekly updates to the system to incorporate additional features that we've been planning on releasing and features based on your own feedback and suggestions.

Once you've selected one of these designs and applied it to your blog, you can check your blog in the Mobile-Friendly Test tool. You should receive a “mobile-friendly” score, indicating that your blog is now ready to be viewed across all types of devices.

You can also read more about Responsive themes in our Knowledge Base.  If you've still got questions or need any further assistance with figuring out how to move to a Responsive theme, just open a help ticket and one of our support team members will get you straightened out!

Typepad 101: Easy "Sticky" Navigation Bar

March 11, 2015

Note: This tip requires the use of Custom CSS, which is available to subscribers at the Unlimited level and above. Learn how you can upgrade your account to take advantage of this great feature here.

Today, we're learning how to make your blog's Navigation Bar "stick" at the top of the page. That means that the Navigation Bar will sit right at the top of the browser window and stay in that spot when a reader scrolls down.

This is awesome because it allows you to keep important navigation links front and center. And it's really easy to execute.

This tip works especially well in conjunction with the Theme Builder.

Special note for our Nimble beta testers: We'll have this as a built in feature for you soon, so you don't need to code this yourself.

First, go to Blogs > Design > Content and make sure you have the Navigation Bar turned on and populated with the links you want to use.

Next, check to see that the Navigation Bar is styled to your liking. If you're using the Theme Builder, that's via the Design > Theme Builder page.

Your blog should now look something like this:

Navigation Bar default

Next, decide whether you want the Navigation Bar to span the full width of the browser window or just the width of the blog container.

If you'd like to span the full width of the browser, add this code in Design > Custom CSS:

 #nav {
    margin: 0;
    padding: 0;
    position: fixed;
    top: 0;
    left: 0;
    width: 100%;
    z-index: 2;
}

#banner { margin-top: 30px; }

When you view the blog after saving, you should see something like this:

Navigation Bar, full browser width

If you'd like the Navigation Bar to be the same width as the blog container, use code like this:

#nav {
    margin: 0;
    padding: 0;
    position: fixed;
    top: 0;
    width: 1050px;
    z-index: 2;
}

#banner { margin-top: 30px; }

The width is width of each column added together. You can see that under General in the Theme Builder. In our example, the main content column is 700 pixels and the sidebar is 350 pixels so that's 1050px total.

The above code will result in something like this:

Navigation Bar, blog container width

And that's it! Our Knowledge Base has even more tips for styling the Navigation Bar with Custom CSS.

Typepad 101: Shaking Up Your Front Page

February 25, 2015

By default, the front page of your Typepad blog will display the 10 most recent posts you've published, with the most recent at the top. This is a very common format, but sometimes you may want to configure your blog a bit differently. In this post, we will look at some of the different options Typepad offers for the front page of your blog.

Ten posts is usually a good number to display on the front page. People who would like to read back in your blog don't have to keep hitting the next page all the time, while at the same time the page doesn't get too long and unwieldy. If your posts are quite long or very short, however, you might want to adjust the number up or down. Or maybe you're doing something very different with your blog - our example photo showcase blog has just one post on each page so that it looks like a photo album.

To change the number of posts on the front page, go to the Settings > Posts page for your blog and look for the Posts to Display section. You can display a certain number of posts or even a certain number of days of posts (we only recommend using the Days setting if you post regularly or on a consistent schedule). Enter the number that you want to display and use the drop-down menu to choose posts or days, then scroll down to the bottom of the page to save your changes.

Posts to Display

Maybe 10 posts is a good number, but you're using your blog to tell a story that you'd like people to read from the beginning. In this case, you may want to have your blog display oldest posts first. Do be aware that if you use this format, readers who arrive at your blog won't easily be able to tell if or when you have published a new post. However, if you're using your blog to tell a complete narrative and won't be adding to it, the "oldest first" display might be ideal for your needs.

To adjust the display order, go to Settings > Posts and scroll down to the Order of Posts section. Choose either newest or oldest first, then save your changes.

Order of Posts

Another way that you can customize the display of your front page is to only display posts from certain categories. For instance, you might want more of a magazine format for your blog and to display only featured articles on the front page. Or maybe you have one or more categories you don't want on the front page, but you would like to display all of the other categories. First, make sure you know how to configure categories for your posts. Also, keep in mind that visitors arriving at your blog may not be aware that you have categories other than the ones that appear on the front page. We recommend displaying a listing of all categories using the Categories sidebar module or linking to categories using the navigation bar.

Once you've got everything set up with your categories, head on over to the Settings > Posts page and look for the section called Limit Recent Posts. When you click on the drop-down menu here, you'll see options to add a new category or to assign multiple categories and also a listing of all the categories on your blog. If you choose one of the categories in the listing, only the posts in that category will appear on the front page of your blog. Set up the category or categories you want to display, then save your changes.

Limit Recent Posts

All of these options are great, but perhaps you don't want to display your posts on the front page of your blog at all. Maybe you want to set up a landing page with important information for your readers, or you want to use your blog more like a website instead of having a stream of recent posts. First, you'll need to create the informational Page with the content for your landing page. If you plan to have posts as well as one or more Pages, you'll want to be sure to provide a link to the recent posts page in the sidebar or navigation bar.

On the Settings > Posts page, look for the Front Page section. Choose the option to display a Page and then select the Page that you want to use. After saving your changes, you will see that the Front Page section now lists the URL for the recent posts page for your blog. Be sure to copy this URL so that you can set up the link in your navigation bar!

Front Page

One other Typepad feature you may want to take advantage of in combination with any of the options discussed above - or just by itself if you want to - is the recently-added auto-generated excerpts option. This is especially helpful if you tend to write longer posts but you want to keep the front page of your blog from getting too long. You can use the split extended entry feature to manually create an introduction for each page, but if that's too much effort, just head on over to Settings > Posts and turn on the Auto-Generated Excerpts option. You can also choose whether or not to include a featured image. We recommend turning on this option to add more pop to your excerpts.

Auto-Generated Excerpts

Here's what your published posts will look like with the featured image option selected:

Featured Image

There you have it - five ways to shake up the front page of your blog. Have you customized the display of your front page? Tell us about it and share a link in the comments!

Typepad 101: Contribute to Typepad, Join the Beta Team

February 11, 2015

Catch all the bugs: Join the Beta Team

2014 saw a lot of new features and improvements released, all of which began with a Beta launch. Beta is the stage of testing where we ask those who've opted in to test the early development of new features and help run the updates through their paces. Testing is an important part of getting new tools out to you, and the Beta Team is an integral part of that process.

How to Join the Beta Team

We try to uncover as much as possible before releasing a feature to Beta, but sometimes the designs chosen and content added varies too far from what we consider an average blog. That's why it's so important to have an active Beta Team. That's where we hope a lot of you come in.

Joining the Beta Team is easy and will not impact your existing content. Go to Account > Summary, check the box to join, and click Save Changes. You can learn more about it in our Knowledge Base

Checking What's in Beta Now

It's easy to check what's in Beta, as you'll be able to refer to Everything Typepad's Features category or emails you've received specifically because you're a Beta Team member. Both options are the first step in knowing what's new, as some features may not be noticeable in the app right away.

Recent Beta History

Recent releases have seen features pushed from Beta to Production, meaning it's readily available to all Typepad users, while more are being sent to Beta for testing. Here's some idea of what the Beta team has either helped test and what they're testing now:

Now in Production

  • Disqus commenting
  • Spotlight Posts
  • Responsive themes
  • Post Excerpts
  • Domain Registration

Currently in Beta Testing

  • Post Carousel
  • Sidebar Carousel
  • Theme Builder Updates

...and we hope you'll join, too, as we have something that's getting ready for Beta that is unlike anything we've released before. 

How to Test and Report

You can always choose to not test a specific feature, but it's our hope that you'll find them interesting enough to try out. If you're ready to test something new, you can review the blog post or email to find out what it is, how to enable it, and where to find out more information.

Once the new feature is enabled, the first step is to check your blog. If you notice anything out of place, or you think something isn't working right due to enabling the feature, disable it to confirm. Turn options on and off. If it's movable, then try moving it to a different location. Put it through its paces, try to break it, take notes of what happened and how to reproduce the behavior. 

The next step is to share what you've found by opening a new help ticket by clicking the Help link at the top right of your dashboard. 

Testing without Impacting Main Blog

We cannot stress how much testing by users helps us to release a well-rounded feature. And because blogging is our business, we know how important it is to make sure expectations and livelihoods are not affected by features that could negatively impact your blog. Enter the test blog.

With a test blog, you'll be able to duplicate your existing blog's design, and import your blog posts, to see how new features will affect the design, the content, and the overall behavior of your blog. Being able to do this means that you can thoroughly test a new feature, and all of its options, without fear that it will be seen by readers. It also means that you can work with a feature to set it up for use with your blog, getting it exactly the way you want, before introducing it to your readers and fellow bloggers.

Gotta Catch 'Em All

The entire Typepad team works to catch as many bugs as possible during the Alpha phase of testing. We want the features to still be functional and presentable for Beta testers, but sometimes a pesky bug or two will slip through. It's our hope that you'll help take part in making Typepad even better by joining the Beta Team. We'd be fortunate to have you join.

Typepad University: Adding Instagram Pictures

January 28, 2015

If you're like most of us on the Typepad team, you love Instagram.  You love taking pictures while out and about, trying out all their nifty filters, and sharing them with your friends via social media.

But what if you want to share these pictures with your blog readers?  Using IFTTT, it's a straightforward process!

IFTTT is a service that lets you create connections between other services where no connection previously existed, using their special blend of channels, triggers, and actions (read more here). Just create an IFTTT recipe, add your ingredients, and boom: you're photo blogging.

Instagram hasn't yet added an option to publish directly to your blog from the app, but thanks to IFTTT and Gmail, cross posting from Instagram to Typepad is not only possible, but hassle-free.

To get started, either log in to IFTTT or start an account (it's free!), then click Create a Recipe:

Ifttt1 The next steps are pretty obvious! Just start clicking:

Ifttt2 And then! Ifttt3
Next, choose a "trigger," the thing that makes the cross-posting magic happen. If you want to have any new photo you post to Instagram appear on your blog, just choose "Any new photo by you." Want to have only specifically tagged photos post to your blog? No problem! Choose "New photo by you tagged" - you'll specify which tag during the next step.

Ifttt4
Then just click Create Trigger, and IFTTT will take you here: Ifttt5 Next, choose an action channel - in this case, we'll want to choose Gmail, so make sure you already have a free Gmail account. Click the red Gmail icon, then click Send an email and enter your information, starting with your Typepad Secret Email Address (make sure to use your own - it will not look the same as the one in the example), which you can find at Blogs > Settings > Post by Email. Next, you'll want to customize the rest of the fields or leave them as is - for instance, you may want to edit the Body field if you'd prefer for your post not to say "via Instagram."  You can also leave this blank. Ifttt6
Click Create Action, and you're almost done! Finally, give your recipe a name, and click Create Recipe. That's it! IFTTT will take you back home, where your new recipe is on and ready to go. There, you can turn your recipe off and on, delete it, share it with others, and edit, check, or view it. IFTTT runs triggers about every 15 minutes, so if you don't see your next Instagram photo on your blog right away, don't worry. It will appear there in short order.

Once you do that, your Instagram pictures will be created as new posts that look similar to this:

Ifttt_instagram

Are you looking to add your Instagram pictures to your sidebar instead?  If so, we've got you covered!  If you're using one of our responsive themes, you can use the widget described here.  If you aren't using a responsive theme, you can follow the steps here.

Have any questions or need help getting IFTTT started?  Just ask and someone will be happy to help you out!

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