You’ve worked hard all day drafting a post, then click Publish to send it out into the world. Then, you crash for the night. You’ve earned it, right?
You wake up in the morning, excited to look in your dashboard to see who’s read and commented on your post. But you didn’t get the interaction you hoped for.
What else can you do?
On your WordPress.com site — your own little corner of the internet — you’ve got the power to publish. But this process doesn’t end after you click that blue Publish button! While we send your published posts to several places automatically — from the Reader to services that notify search engines of new updates — we encourage you to use the tools in your dashboard to give your posts a boost.
Promote your posts with Publicize
With Publicize, you can push out your new posts to social networking sites automatically. To set up Publicize, head over to Settings → Sharing. At the top of the page, you’ll see options to connect to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tumblr. To activate, click on the appropriate “Add new connection” link:
Here are links to the setup steps for each:
Once you’ve approved connections, you’ll see a Publicize section in the Publish box for each service you’ve authorized, on the right of your Post Screen, each time you create a new post:
Publish a post as usual, and it’ll appear on the services you’ve enabled. For a bit more control, you can opt out from any of the services for a specific post — click the “Edit” link and deselect a service. You can also customize the message sent out with the link in the “Custom Message” box.
Enable sharing buttons
Want another option to promote your stuff? Be sure to enable sharing buttons, too. You can display these buttons at the bottom of your posts and pages, so readers can share your stuff across a number of social networks and services:
You’ll see this option in Settings → Sharing as well, below the Publicize connection links. Just drag and drop the buttons you want to display into the “Enabled Services” section. You’ll see additional settings to tweak the buttons and adjust where you’d like them to appear on your site.
Tag your posts so users can find ‘em
WordPress.com users following your blog will see your new posts under Blogs I Follow in the Reader, but you should add appropriate tags and categories to your posts so they appear on the topics pages in the Reader, too. Let’s say that awesome post you penned last night is a response to a recent behavioral economics discussion on Dan Ariely’s blog (also on WordPress.com!). Add relevant tags so like-minded readers can find your post, even if they’re not following your blog:
Tip: Adding 5 to 15 tags (or categories, or a combination of the two) is ideal for a post. The more categories you use, the less likely your post will be included on the topics pages.
Other tools to promote interaction and get readers
Enabling likes and comments
You’ve got simple tools to promote reader engagement on your site. In Settings → Sharing, enable likes at the bottom of the page:
To allow your readers to leave comments, go to Settings → Discussion to adjust your default comment settings, from what a reader must fill out when they leave a comment to comment moderation details. Be sure to check the box next to Follow Comments, so readers can receive notifications when you and fellow readers respond to a post’s comment thread.
A feed (often called RSS) is a stream of posts or comments, updated when new content is published. It allows people to monitor your blog, along with other sites they follow, and aggregate them together via feed readers, like our own WordPress.com Reader. Your site has multiple feeds — its main content feed can be accessed by adding /feed/ to your blog’s URL. (For example, this blog’s feed is http://en.blog.wordpress.com/feed/.) Your feeds are automatically created, unless your blog is private.
You can make it easy for others to subscribe to your feed using the RSS Links Widget, which adds links to your site’s post and comment RSS feeds in your sidebar. To set this up, go to your widgets page in Appearance → Widgets and drag this widget to the right. The settings are simple, and you can add links to your posts and comments (or both), and display text or image links (or both).
Finally, if you aren’t using it already, activate the Follow Blog Widget so your visitors can sign up to receive your posts via email. We talked about this widget recently, but it’s one of the easiest ways to ensure your readers see your new posts, so a gentle reminder won’t hurt!
Under Appearance → Widgets, drag this widget to the right. In the settings, you can customize the messages that will be displayed, the text for the “Follow” button, and decide whether you want to show your total number of followers (which is the sum of users following your blog and others connected from Publicize services, like Facebook and Twitter).
This is a sampling of the features in your dashboard that you can use to promote your new posts. Ultimately, your site isn’t just a place to create and publish — it’s a space for constantly evolving ideas and engagement with your readers. Publishing is just the first step, so we hope you’ll use these tools to share your work with as many readers as possible!
You might also enjoy these related posts:
- Get the Most Out of Widgets: Building and Showcasing Your Community
- Improved Publicize
- All About SEO on WordPress.com
Jul 29th at 7:25 pm
I only use Facebook and Twitter right now. I kind of get lost in all the platforms and each requires so much time to develop.
Jul 29th at 7:35 pm
Great info! The more active I am on my blog the more traffic I’m getting. This info will definitely get me going to where I need to be! Thanks.
Jul 29th at 7:44 pm
Thanks for the tips, now I just need the time. I try to incorporate one new tool per weekend; but my blog is on doing stuff…fun stuff, so sometimes kayaking or wine tasting takes precedence over figuring out Pinterest. I’ll get there eventually, blogging is a slow process and I see improved traffic each time I invest time into learning new tricks of the trade.
Jul 29th at 8:29 pm
Do you think WordPress will ever include Pinterest in the Publicize feature?
Jul 29th at 8:40 pm
These tools are really very useful. Thanks for this article!
Jul 29th at 8:43 pm
Glad that these were posted! Great reminder of the tools available for promoting my blog. I will be adding RSS feeds, and simply work on publishing more posts to attract more readers.
Jul 29th at 9:25 pm
Some great hints and tips — will have to try some of these out. Thank you.
Jul 29th at 9:26 pm
“5 to 15 tags…” Really? I would usually struggle to find that many that would be genuinely useful to a reader. Is 5 to 15 tags typical?
Jul 29th at 9:36 pm
I use all these buttons. Works like a dream. With Facebook I tend to untick on most posts as the photo image is small. Then I manually post to Facebook with a nice big photo which attracts more readers.
I like the analogy that your own WordPress site is like a city and that these publicise options are like outposts or frontier towns for your posts. All sorts of readers that you would not otherwise attract find what they like in the ‘frontier town’ publicize outlets. Note that you can hash tag in the custom message to save time on Twitter. Eg: if your post is called My Amazing New Post this will show in the custom message as the Twitter title. Go to edit and add a hash tag eg: My #Amazing New Post.
Jul 29th at 9:37 pm
Aren’t there copyright issues around using ‘Press This’ in the way described here?
Jul 29th at 9:40 pm
I have a question. I use publicize. I know it’s working because I see it on FB, Twitter and LinkedIn. I don’t vist Tumblr much but I’m assuing it’s working as described there too. But my screen doesn’t look like your example, and when I click settings, I get a full screen of options that I’ve already set. Is that the way it’s supposed to work?
Jul 29th at 10:03 pm
Thanks for sharing these tips. I always think I know these tools so well but there so often seems something new to learn, or something I have overlooked. I never thought to add the RSS Feed widget – such a simple thing, but easy to miss. The sharing buttons are also very handy. Some of the biggest hits I’ve had on particular posts have been due to people sharing via this tool. Thanks again, and keep up the good work!
Jul 29th at 10:29 pm
Thanks Cheri for enlightening us! With the ‘RSS feeds’ or ‘follow’ widget, I think it would get more fans following the blog if they were not required to have a wordpress account. Not everyone has a blog or website on wordpress so basically they cannot follow. Can that be changed or have I got it wrong?
Jul 29th at 11:16 pm
With the subscription widget, which I use, is there a way to customize how it arrives in people’s inboxes?
Jul 29th at 11:47 pm
Been using them all. Hope to see part two of your post for more.
Jul 29th at 11:49 pm
Lots of great options. Thanks for the reminder and links. I love Publicize!
Jul 30th at 12:15 am
Thanks for the information, Cheri. I can’t find the Enabling Likes button in Settings > Sharing. Is it possible that it’s automated in the latest version of WordPress?
Jul 30th at 12:42 am
Thank you. Any suggestions are helpful.
Jul 30th at 12:50 am
How do you make a widget on the left side?
Jul 30th at 2:00 am
Thank you for writing this and other articles you have – as I find them really interesting and informative. I’m new to blogging and I consider what you say good sound advice – so thank you.
Jul 30th at 2:10 am
Thanks! I had not thought of that box as a text box. I was wondering how to create a message like I had done before, and that is exactly the answer.
Jul 30th at 2:23 am
I love your use of “laypersons’” language. Finally, I know what a widget is. I think… yeah, I got it, yay! Now I can use them. This article is great, it will help me a lot. Thanks so very much!
Jul 30th at 6:54 am
I don’t understand why have you added Tumblr in social sharing list, isn’t this your competitor? What I feel is that you are encouraging us to create an account there, and I feel numb about it.
Jul 30th at 8:47 am
Thanks for all the tips. Will WP eventually add a share for Google+? And also, what happens when clicking the “the post is awesome” option?
Jul 30th at 10:17 am
This was a wonderful, enlightening post, and believe me I’d like to be out there like all the rest but I’m so NOT Facebook (anti domestic violence campaign – did it make any difference?) or Twitter (why didn’t they stop the threats of rape and bullying against the woman who voted a female – horror -female on a currency note?) and Tumblr I just haven’t discovered yet.
Alas, WordPress is MY THING – that’s it. You are all I have, WordPress. I rely upon you to get my book The James Diary off the ground, and have the world realise BEFORE I die (that’d be nice), that you’ve got one helluva literary gem here.
OMG, did I just say that?
Jul 30th at 10:58 am
The sharing options look fantastic but when I go to my ‘Settings’ menu, I don’t have a Sharing option. Only General, Writing, Reading, Discussion, Media, Permalinks, cd34 Social Buttons, and Spam Free WordPress…why are my settings different? I just downloaded the latest version of WP…
Jul 30th at 11:45 am
With too many things to view even the publicized posts in social media now tend to get lost amidst the crowd. I wish if we could have some way to customize how our posts are publicized.
Jul 30th at 1:50 pm
Already using. It’s awesome.
Jul 30th at 2:25 pm
The ‘Follow Blog Widget” is great but no guarantee to get you any followers. I moved mine to the very top, have changed the wording several times and still added only three new followers over 4 mos. You would think that anyone interested in your blog wouldn’t mind getting an email once in a while, but people are often overloaded. So, knowing of other ways besides that widget, is good. Just gotta keep at it.
Jul 30th at 3:49 pm
Thanks for the tips! I’m still having trouble, though, reaching like-minded people. I guess it takes time. One more thing, will there be easier ways to automatically publicize to Instagram or Pinterest in the future?
Jul 30th at 7:27 pm
Thank you for these tips! I nearly always learn something – and I thought I had it pretty well figured out! Blessings!
Jul 30th at 8:25 pm
Takes some patience to set it up but all of these tips are invaluable.
Jul 30th at 9:04 pm
I think it is a very precise and up-to-the-point article. Loved reading it. I too have this idea of giving approximately 6-9 tags. Four of them general ones, and others more detailed and descriptive of the blog post. Another very useful point is the use of “Publicize” as it does it automatically, rather than going to each social media site separately. Thanks for sharing.
Jul 31st at 11:10 pm
I’m so happy to have learned so many helpful pointers in such a concise article. Thanks
Aug 1st at 12:35 pm
Small typo: “unless your blog as private.”
Aug 2nd at 12:57 pm
This blog will be a great help to all those who are new to blogging. Great one Cheri!
Aug 3rd at 5:56 pm
Thank you, Cheri! I am new to WordPress so this post is very helpful.
Aug 4th at 10:37 pm
These are great features, but I am afraid that they are not enough to really get the blog in front of 1000′s of target readers. I would love a series of articles from WordPress about marketing our blogs. How did the most popular blogs get their readers? What 3 things can a blogger do to seriously increase traffic?
Aug 8th at 3:21 am
Hi there…can you explain the “related post” feature? Thank you!