4 Steps to Promoting A Cause Through Blogging: Step Two
Managing and Designing Your Blog
So you’ve created your blog and now you’re wondering what to do next. In this next step, I will teach you how to manage your blog and then to design your blog. Designing might seem trivial BUT the look of your blog will say a lot about your cause. As much as we like to reiterate the phrase never judge a blog by its design… Okay, maybe we don’t say that but people will gauge your cause by the design of your blog. So choosing the right design is important for promoting your cause.
When you sign onto your blog, you will be on what I call, the landing page, this is the page that you will be on first when signing into your blog. On the landing page, we have all the tools and controls that will help you to manage your blog. In the upper right-hand corner, there are three buttons. The first says “write” with a plus sign. That’s where you can easily click to start writing and adding a post to your blog
We will get into more detail in Step 3 about writing and creating a post. But for now, just know this is where you can go to easily start writing. The second button is your profile. That’s where you can add more personal information and add a profile picture The next button is a bell and that’s where you will get notifications. So if there is a contact from either WordPress or one of your readers, it will show up there as a little red dot. Click on the bell and it will bring up the notifications in a sidebar and there you can click to read and manage those notifications. There you can find all your messages, any comments on your blog, any new follows that you have to your blog, and any likes that you’ve received for certain posts.
On the left-hand side of the page at the top, you will see two buttons, one says “My Site” that’s how you get back to your blog and this landing page. The second button says “Reader” and this is how you can get to blogs that you read and follow. This is helpful in connecting with other bloggers. It’s good to have a community of bloggers who write about similar topics so that you can connect. If you wish to promote your blog, connecting with other bloggers is a great way to get “free” promotion. Other bloggers can read what you write and share your blog on their social media sites. So I would recommend not dismissing this step. A lot of positive change happens through connections and networking. Use this tool to help promote your blog.
Below the two buttons (My Site and Reader) you will have a list of buttons that will each help you to manage your blog. This is the “Main Menu” and where you will be able to access everything to manage your blog. First, there is “View Site” which is pretty self-explanatory. Just a way to get to your blog and see it the way that your readers will see it. Then there is “Stats” which is the page that you will be on when you sign into your blog and this is where you can measure your traffic and figure out what regions or areas are reading your blog. The next button is “Plan” and this is where you can check out what plan you selected and are paying for as well as change plans if you so desire.
After that, there are three headings, “Manage,” “Personalize,” and “Configure.” Starting under the “Manage” heading, there are five buttons, “Site Pages,” “Blog Posts,” “Media,” “Comments,” and “Feedback.” These buttons help to “manage” your blog. You can manage your posts under “Site Pages,” any media that you’ve added to your blog such as pictures or videos under “Media,” and the comments or feedback on your blog under “Comments” and “Feedback.” The next heading is “Personalize” which has only one option under it, “Customize” and this where you can design your blog. This is what I will get to in a moment. Next, we have the heading “Configure” and this is where you are able to share your blog, again something I’ll get to later. There are also five buttons under this heading, “Sharing,” “People,” “Plugins,” “Domains,” and “Settings.” These buttons allow you to form or create your blog the way you like. With the first button, “Sharing,” you can add your social media sites to your blog–making sharing your blog as easy as one click. The next button, “People” is where you can add someone else to your blog. So if you wanted to add a writer to your blog or someone else to help manage it, you can add them here. If you are the one who set up the blog though, you will most likely remain the admin of the blog with full and total control over the blog.
The last three buttons under the “Configure” heading are “Plugins,” which is something you can use if you purchase the business plan. Plugins are a piece of software that you can add to your blog that will add new features or functionality. “Domains” is the second button under “Configure” and this is where you can find your address or domain and add any other domains to your blog. The last button is “Settings” which is like your usual settings on any device or site. Here, you can change your blog name, change your site icon, or add categories or tags to your blog. There are quite a few features under settings that would be great to utilize to help create and promote your blog.
Now that we have covered most of the management capabilities of your blog we can talk about designing your blog. This is the fun part. At least in my opinion. This is where you get to make your blog reflect what you want it to reflect.
When you go into “Customize” you’ll see your blog on the right and a list of tools on the left The first tool is “Site Identity” this is where you can add a logo, tagline, and site icon The second tool is “Colors and Backgrounds” and that’s where you can select the color of your blog and background that you want for your blog.
You can select one of their pre-chosen set of colors and then it will provide colors that work well with that palette.The next tool is “Fonts” which is self-explanatory but there are two fonts that you can control.
The first one is headings on your blog and the second is base fonts. You are also able to change the size and, at least for the headings, you can change to Italics or bold.
The next tool is “Header Image” and this is where you can change the image that is at the top of the blog. When you click on that tool, you will see on the left-hand side there are several options for stock footage photos to choose from or, if you’d like, you are able to upload an image that you’d like. I’d recommend adding a photo that relates to your cause if you have it. A great photo of your cause or what you’re doing in your cause goes a long way. Your readers will like to see your progress.
The next tool is “Menus” and this is where you can add menus or links to things like your contact information or your homepage. This may or may not be something you’d like to do, depending on your preferences.
The next tool that you can use on your blog is “Content Options” and this is how you can customize what content displays on your blog posts. For instance, two of the options are “Display date” and “Display author.”
Which are fairly self-explanatory but these are ways to add information to your blog posts. Our next tool for managing your blog is “Widgets” which is a way to add widgets to your blog. Widgets are a component or application which allows someone to access a service or perform a function. For example, you can add a calendar to your blog or music that your reader can listen to when they visit your blog. You can add these widgets to the sidebar or the footer.
Your next tool, “Homepage Settings” helps you customize your homepage. This tool gives you two options. Most blogs show posts in a reverse chronological order. But this tool also gives you the option to change your blog so that there are a homepage and blog posts on separate pages. This is called a “Static homepage” and is nice if you just want your homepage to be different from the actual blog posts.
The last two tools in our blog design are “Theme Options,” which is a place where you can enter the email associated with your blog and have it appear in the header of your blog, and AMP which is a tool that helps you customize the page that your blog posts will be on.
For instance, you can customize the header color or the background color. When you are finished with all those options and tools, click the “Publish” button at the top of the page and that will publish your blog and save all the settings you’ve created.
Congratulations! You have made it through the design and managing step. You are now ready to begin adding posts to your blog. Don’t forget to check out our other informational social media topics! You can spread the word about your BLOG on PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM, and FACEBOOK!