Blog and News
(with RSS) - $400
Want to increase your search engine rankings and increase visitor engagement? With our Blog and News app, you can start writing articles that visitors can comment on – writing relevant articles to your industry is a proven way to increase your search engine rankings. Keeping your website up to date with relevant content is also a great way to keep your visitors coming back.
Our blog/news app is a fully functional blog and news archiving system, which lets you write and categorise articles for your site. Whether you call it a blog post or a news article, you can write as many articles as you'd like, and enable visitors to make comments. Of course, you may not want all your visitors' comments to show up, so you're in complete control as to what comments actually show up.
All Google and other search engines care about, is relevancy. They want to send their visitors to the most up-to-date websites so they're getting the most relevant content. To achieve this, Google rewards websites that keep their site's content up to date. They reward these sites a lot. That's why millions of people around the globe are 'blogging', and seeing their search engine rankings climb. With every blog post, your visitors can share them on social networking sites like Facebook,Google+ or Twitter.
The best way to understand the Blog / News App is to think of it in two parts – firstly, the blog post page. Each new article creates a page especially for the article. The second part is the blog preview block. Basically, you can setup as many blocks as you'd like through Shift, which gives you a brief description of each of your posts. These blocks are very flexible and you can display your blog / news article previews in a variety of different ways.
The Blog / News Article Page
As explained, creating a blog post will create a new page for the post. The blog / news app comes complete with a blog administration section on your Shift dashboard. Here, you can add new blogs on the fly, and preview posts that have been written. You can give each blog a title, a description and full blog content. If you wish, you can categorise your blogs, or add tags. Tagging your blog with keywords is a great way to easily make your blog posts search-engine-ready. If you wish, you can write your articles in advance, and have them automatically publish on a certain date/time.
Your blog/article page will have your blog post and comment options on the left, and a right sidebar with categories, tags, and a blog archive on the right. A screenshot is below, however the text style/colours/fonts will match the rest of your website. If you wish, you can remove the default blocks, or add new blocks. We recommend however keeping all the default blocks, as they are especially setup to help with your search engine rankings.
On the left, will be your blog post itself, with your article title in H1 style, followed by your date/time of posting in bold, followed by the blog contents. You'll have full control over what goes into the blog contents, as you can use a WYSIWYG toolbar to insert images/make text changes, etc.
Following your article contents, you have the option of adding sharing links. These can be turned on and off in your dashboard. The options are Twitter, Facebook, and Google +, and will be displayed exactly as below – you can choose to use some and not others, but the options you sent here will be consistent across all your posts.
If a visitor clicks the sharing button, it will open up their facebook/twitter/google+ account in a new window and prompt them to log in. If the visitor does not have google+, when they hover over the google+ sharing link the text "Upgrade to google+ for free" will appear. The sharing capability is system defined and cannot be customised. It uses a third party site called 'sharethis.com', so the exact way links are shared may differ from time to time as sharethis.com does updates. You're bound by sharethis.com's terms and conditions. Please keep in mind that the sharing links will share the page, and not link in any way to your company's facebook page.
Following your sharing links, will be your tags, followed by your article category. All of this helps with search engine optimisation .
If you would rather replace your blog article with a styled block, you can. You can style your post to any one of the 50 block style templates that your shift CMS has already installed.
Following your article, will be your comments options. Visitors will be able to comment on your blog post by leaving their name, email and a comment. To prevent spam, the system also forces 'captcha' (with the text 'please type the letters and numbers shown in the image' and 'Click the image to see another captcha.'). As this is system generated, this cannot be stylised differently, and you're unable to change the wording. If you wish, you can turn comment facility off.
Email alerts will be sent to the client (i.e. you) but will not be sent to people who made comments, nor will followup emails be sent when other users comment on a post that they have commented on. When you receive a comment, you can log into shift, and either approve, reject or remove the comment. Comments are automatically set to 'pending approval' status so comments will never go directly on your site without your permission.
When a comment is made, the commentor will receive a message on the site saying "Thanks! Your comment has been posted." Once the comment is approved, it will be posted under the 'comments' section. It will say "The comment has been approved" on the backend (visible only to you) and will say "Posted by 'name' on Month Day, Year". If you wish, you can later go back into your Shift admin and unapproved or remove approved comments.
You will be unable to edit comments. Your commentors will be unable to upload pictures or html while making a comment.
The Blog List Block
You can add blog list block anywhere you'd like on your site (for example on your homepage) to showcase blog articles written. These blocks can only be placed in content areas, and on certain views (explained in the next section) are not appropriate for sideblocks as they are physically too wide for a narrow space.
The blog list is very flexible, as demonstrated in the screenshot below, you can give the block a title (h1), and define how many blog posts you'll will show up. Importantly, you can define to include only certain categories. If you wish, if there are more blog posts than there are spaces defined in your preview, you can choose to display 'previous/next' links, so the website visitors can browse other posts. You're able to define the order the posts display in (sitemap order, most recent first, earliest first, alphabetical order, or reverse alphabetical order).
If you'd like, you can set up an 'RSS Feed' which will enable your website's visitors to subscribe to your blog. RSS Feeds are usually used by other website owners - in this case they would use your RSS Feed to put links to your blog updates on their website.
You'll be able to setup as many RSS feeds as you like, and set them to only display certain categories. You can set your RSS feed title, and description. If you enable RSS feeds, an RSS feed logo will appear at the bottom of the block, with the text 'get this feed'. When a visitor clicks on the RSS feed, they're taken to the standard RSS feed subscription page as defined by the visitor's browser.
This will differ from visitor to visitor and is not customisable. Keep in mind the kind of people who want to use RSS feeds generally know what they're doing in this area. You can use RSS feeds in clever ways – for example, setting up your company's twitter account to automatically post to your twitter page. We are unable to support you in this type of thing – if you'd like to get creative as to what you can do with RSS feeds, you may need to contract a technical person trained on RSS to help you with this kind of setup.
Blog List Views
You can display different types of views for the 'blog list' block.
This view is ideal for previewing your blog/article posts on your homepage. You can define what posts shows up here as defined above. This view will be exactly as pictured below, but with the font colours/styles matched to the rest of your website. This view is not suitable for a sidebar as the width of the content is wider than the sidebar width.
To the left, will be a date stamp, with the month's three-letter abbreviation, followed by a large date number (as shown below). You can customise the colour of the date stamp icon in the dashboard. These colours are green, pink, red, blood red, dark blue, baby blue, grey, tan and brown. These are images so the particular pigment of the colours are unable to be customised. Most people use 'grey' because it matches all websites.
Below the datestamp, are the sharing links for twitter, facebook and email, all powered by 'sharethis.com'. When visitors use these share links, they will share the article page, and not link with your company facebook/twitter account. The particular way that these sharing options behave are all defined by sharethis.com – and as a result may change from time to time and are not customisable.
To the right of the datestamp/sharing links are the title (matched to be coloured to your link style colours), followed by the category name, followed by the description (paragraph text), with a 'read more' link to link through to the article page. If tags are used, the tags will be listed below (great for search engine optimisation). If comments on a particular article have been made (and approved) the number of comments will be displayed on the right hand side. If there are no comments, the right hand side will be blank.
You can give your article a thumbnail to appear – this makes the preview more likely that visitors will click and read. You can set the thumbnail for each article yourself, and define (side-wide) the maximum width height. The thumbnails will appear to the left of the description (as pictured).
We also have options that remove the date stamp, remove the sharing links, or remove both. You can define which look you want yourself.
You can use the blog list to list all blog posts. It will categorise your posts by date, separated by years/months, and shown below.
You can also use the view to list categories used, and the number of articles that fall under the categories. Clicking on these links will reveal all articles that are in the clicked category.
The tag list behaves in the same way the categories view behaves, but lists tags rather than categories.
The tags view lists all the tags used in your articles – it behaves the same way as categories and tag list, but the more the tags are used, the bigger in size the font is. This is excellent for SEO because the most frequently used tags are given higher search engine priority ratings – all this happens automatically.