Blog and News
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.
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. You can write articles by going into the 'blog' page in your dashboard, click 'add' in your dashboard, and follow the prompts.
The second part is the blog preview block, called 'blog list' 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. Just go to where you'd like to add the blog list block, add the block called 'blog list', and follow the prompts.
You can customise the look of the blog list block by going into 'block style templates'. You can customise the colour of the date icon, and the size of the thumbnails you have by going into your dashboard, and clicking settings.
That's the quick overview – in this tutorial, we'll go into more detail. First, we'll cover how to write and manage blog posts. We'll then cover blog post pages, and how to set up blog preview blocks on your site. After that, we'll show you how to manage comments. Finally, we'll show you how to customise your blog settings to your liking.
Writing Blog Posts
Writing and managing blog posts is easy. Simply click on the 'Blog' on your dashboard. To write a new post, click the 'add' tab.
First, give your post a title. For best results for search engine optimisation, include key words in this title where possible. If you'd like to display an image next to your post, upload a picture here.
Next, give you post a description. This is what will display your blog preview, but more on that in the next section. It's a good idea to keep this only to a three or four sentences. Just describe what your blog post is all about and try and entice the reader into reading more. For SEO purposes, try and include some key words in this description too.
The 'blog content' area is where you'll type or paste your articles content.
What a lot of people like to do is write a bunch of their blog posts in advance, and stagger their release, so your website is regularly updating its content. This means you can spend a few hours once a year or so writing content, and let your website manage their release.
To release your article on a certain date or time, just make the selection from the calendar, and time dropdowns here.
The next box is 'tags' – these are very important for SEO. Think of tags as key words. What keywords do you think people interested in your article would type into google to find it? Put these here by typing a key word, and clicking add. Keep in mind, tags can have multiple words. For example, if your blog was about shoe accessories, you might have 'shoe laces' as a single tag.
If you'd like to, you can categorize your posts. This is handy if you're likely to have a lot of posts in a few different areas or topics – this is your call to make. You can leave the category set to none, select a pre-existing category if there are any, or if you'd like to make a new category select 'add another option' and type it in here.
Most websites have a 'blog' or a 'news' tab, and they list the blog pages on a dropdown menu underneath. If you don't want this to post to appear as a dropdown menu option, tick 'Exclude from Nav'.
Finally, if you don't want to make some edits before you publish the post, select 'yes', this is a draft. You'll be able to set it live any time.
Managing Blog Posts
When you click on the 'blog' option in your dashboard, the first screen shows all your blog posts that you've written. They're easy to manage. Simply click on the 'pen icon' to edit a post – here, you can change the publishing date, update thumbnails or descriptions or set a post in and out of draft mode. To delete a post, just click on the 'cross'. To go to the blog's page and edit it there, click on the blog post's name.
The 'date' column shows the date that the post was, or will be published. The next column obviously shows the category, and if you've set a post to be a draft post, you can click 'Approve This' to set the post not to draft.
If course, you can show only posts in a certain categories or having certain tags by selecting them from the dropdown menu, and clicking search.
Blog Post Pages
When you write a blog post, it creates a page on your site devoted to that post. Let's have a look – to see these pages, click on the 'list' tab and click the name of a blog article. As you can see, this page has the blog post on the left hand side, and categories, tags and a blog post archive on the right. If you wish, you can delete the blocks on the right hand side, but we don't recommend this as it's specially setup to maximise your blog's effectiveness on your search engine rankings.
You'll also notice sharing links, and comment options. If you wish, you can disable these – we'll get to that in the 'settings' section of this tutorial.
Blog List Blocks
You don't want your blog posts to be hidden away – you'll want to entice your visitors into reading your them.
You do this by adding what's called a 'blog list' block. You'll probably want to setup a blog list block on key pages, like your homepage.
You can customise your blog list block in a variety of ways, including how many posts you want to show, what categories of posts you want to display, and whether you want to create an RSS feed.
You can set up as many blog list blocks on as many pages of your website as you'd like, just like you would add any other block.
To setup a blog list block, first, navigate to your page where you want to insert your blog preview, and click 'Add to' and then add 'Blog List'.
Here's where you can customise what your preview will show. First, give your blog a title, which will head up the block. Next, select the number of posts you want to appear. If it's on your homepage, you'll only want a few. If you have a lot of posts, you can display multiple pages on your blog by clicking the 'show multiple pages' box.
If you've categorised your posts, you can select what categories to posts from. For example, if this block is on your homepage, you may want to display all posts. However, if it's on your 'about us' page, and you've created a 'company news' category, you may want to only display posts in that category.
You're also able to set the order of how the blog posts will appear. You can set them into orders of most recent first, earliest first, alphabetical, reverse alphabetical, or sitemap order. If you choose sitemap order, you can of course order the posts however you like by going into your sitemap on your dashboard, and clicking and dragging the order from there.
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.
To setup a feed, it's easy. Just select 'yes', and give your feed a title, and a description. 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.
Block Style Templates
You can also display your blog list blocks in a variety of different ways. Click on the blog list block you've just created, and select 'block style templates'. For the standard blog layouts, you can customise whether or not the date stamp, or the sharing links show up by selecting 'no date', 'no sharing' or 'no date no sharing'.
Selecting 'archive' will show older posts, 'categories' will list the categories used, and tag list will list all the tags. The 'tags' option is a good one for SEO – what it does is makes the tags that are most frequently used physically bigger, so they'll attract more attention from a search engine point of view. This is all taken care of automatically.
Managing comments couldn't be easier. Because you don't want spam or defamatory comments to show up automatically on your pages, your comments need to go through an approval process before they're published. When a comment on one of your blog posts is made, you're notified via email. Just click on the link in your email, or in your dashboard, click 'blog', and then click the 'comments' tag. Comments are listed, with the latest comments first. The comment, and the page the comment is about is on the right hand column.
To approve comments, just tick the box next to the comment, select 'approve' from the dropdown menu and click 'submit'. Vice versa to unapprove. If you'd like to completely remove the comment and delete it, just select 'remove' and click 'submit'.
You can tweak a few features to do with your block in the 'settings' area. Just click on 'blog', and then your 'settings' tab in your dashboard.
Here, you can turn on and off sharing capability on your blog pages. Simply tick what you'd like to enable and untick what you don't want enabled. If you'd like to disable your visitors from being able to comment, just untick the 'comments' box.
In the 'other settings' you can customise the colour of the date icon, as well as the thumbnail size that shows up in your blog list app. Just make your adjustments here. In all cases, don't forget to save your changes.