Get People Back to Your Site with Subscribe to Comments

Has this ever happened to you…

You find a really great article and you spend time composing a comment because the blog post is important to you. Say you’re a first time visitor to the site and the blog author has your comment go through the moderation process. Until your comment is approved it remains in limbo, not published to the site. You have to wait and if waiting is not something you have time for you leave the site.

But wait, oh darn I forgot to bookmark the page.

One thing you can do to find that page again is to search your history in your browser. As long as you have a breadcrumb trail back to the site you can spend the time to check back. More often than not though, you forget.

Wouldn’t it be great if you received an email notification from the blog author when your comment was approved and posted?

Wouldn’t it be great if you were notified again when someone interacts with your deeply profound and intelligent comment?

And blog authors – wouldn’t it be swell if your readers came back again and again?

Blogs are about building relationship and community. If you are making it nearly impossible for people to stay connected chances are, well, you won’t connect.

What if I told you that there was one simple and easy way that your readers can stay connected to your blog? Would you do it?

Not only is convenient for site visitors IT BRINGS THEM BACK!

So how do we add subscribe to comments? There is a module in JetPack that does just that.

First Jetpack needs to be installed. This article goes through all that.

Once you have JetPack installed go to Jetpack in your admin menu. It’s at the top under Dashboard.

jetpak-subscriptions-1Look for “Subscriptions”, it’s the first item on the second row of modules. If there’s a blue button that says “activate” click on that to activate the module.

You can Learn More about it by clicking that link and bring up the info. OR better yet go to Jetpack Support and read everything you need to know to use subscriptions on your site.

1. People can subscribe to your comments. Do this! It is an invaluable way for your readers to stay connected to you.

2. People can subscribe to all your posts. In essence helping you build a following and a list. BUT is this the best way to build your list? In my next post I’ll compare Jetpack Blog Subscriptions with Mail Chimp.

Make it easy for site visitors to interact with you and your other followers by installing Jetpack and activate Subscribe to Comments.

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Blogging Terms

Blogging Terms and Definitions

In a recent article “Website Terms” I explained common terms used when working on your site.  In this article I explain the blogging terms you should know if you are using a blog on your website. I have tried to keep it simple providing definitions for the most common terms and things you may ask about.

1. Avatar

An avatar is a graphic image or picture that represents a user. You typically see it next to their comment on a blog. Look at any comments on this site and you will see avatars. If someone has not created their global avatar (see #13 Gravatar below) a generic one will be created for them. Avatars can be enabled or disabled under Settings/Discussion.

2. Archive

A collection of all your posts on one page. Can be categorized by month, year, etc and can include post counts. As your blog grows you may want to use archives in your sidebar.

3. Blog

blog, or weblog, is an online journal, diary, or serial published by a person or group of people. Blogs are dynamic and built-in chronological order typically with the newest content at the top of the page.

Blogging is the act of writing in one’s blog. To blog something is to write about something in one’s blog. This sometimes involves linking to something the author finds interesting on the internet.

4. Blogroll

blogroll is a list of links to various blogs or web sites. You can create categories for your links thus organizing them and insert them into your sidebar using the widget.

5. CAPTCHA

CAPTCHA – short for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”. Those word and letter verification images you need to type in to show you are human and not a bot. Helpful to block automated spam comments. You can use a plugin on your comment form to add CAPTCHA.

6. Category

Each post in WordPress is filed under a category. Thoughtful categorization allows posts to be grouped with others of similar content and aids in the navigation of a site. Please note, the post category should not be confused with the Link Categories used to classify and manage Links. Think of categories as your table of contents or navigation for your blog.

7. Comments

Comments are a feature of blogs which allow readers to respond to posts. Typically readers simply provide their own thoughts regarding the content of the post, but users may also provide links to other resources, generate discussion, or simply compliment the author for a well-written post.

You can control and regulate comments by filters for language and content. Comments can be queued for approval before they are visible on the web site. This is useful in dealing with comment spam.

8. Content

Content consists of text, images, or other information shared in posts or pages. This is separate from the structural design of a website, which provides a framework into which the content is inserted, and the presentation of a site, which involves graphic design. A Content Management System changes and updates content, rather than the structural or graphic design of a web site.

9. Content Management System

Content Management System, or CMS, is software for facilitating the maintenance of content, but not design, on a web site. WordPress is an example of a Content Management System.

10. Draft

The draft post status is for WordPress posts which are saved, but as yet unpublished. A draft post can only be edited through the Administration Panel. Drafts can be created in both posts and pages.

11. Feed

feed is a function of special software that allows “Feedreaders” to access a site automatically looking for new content and then posting the information about new content and updates to the feed reader. This provides a way for users to keep up with the latest and hottest information posted on different blogging sites. Some Feeds include RSS (alternately defined as “Rich Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication”), Atom or RDF files.

12. Gallery

In the WordPress uploader there is a “Gallery” tab that shows all the uploads attached to the post you are editing. When you have more than one attachment in a post, you should see at the bottom of the Gallery tab a button marked “Insert gallery into post”. That button inserts a shortcode into the post. WordPress replaces that shortcode with an exposition of all images attached to that post. Non-image file types are excluded from the gallery.

Note: If you don’t see the “Insert galley into post” button, it may be because you have not attached two images to the post.

13. Gravatar

Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar (a graphic image or picture that represents a user). Typically a user’s gravatar is associated with their email address, and using a service such as Gravatar.com, a blog owner to can configure their blog so that a user’s gravatar is displayed along with their comments.

14. Meta

Meta has several meanings, but generally means information about.

Meta is the HTML tag used to describe and define a web page to the outside world (search engines). But it also refers to information associated with each post, such as the author’s name and the date posted.

15. Page

Page is often used to present “static” information about yourself or your site. A good example of a Page is information you would place on an About Page. A Page should not be confused with the time-oriented objects called posts. Pages are typically “timeless” in nature and live “outside” your blog.

16. Permalink

permalink is a URL at which a resource or article will be permanently stored. Many pages driven by Content Management Systems contain excerpts of content which is frequently rotated, making linking to bits of information within them a game of chance. Permalinks allow users to bookmark full articles at a URL they know will never change, and will always present the same content.

Permalinks are optional in WordPress, but are highly recommended as they greatly increase the cleanliness of URL. (All sites created by Artbiz implements the Permalink structure.)

17. Pingback

Pingback lets you notify the author of an article if you link to his article (article on a blog, of course). If the links you include in an article you write on a blog lead to a blog which is pingback enabled, then the author of that blog gets a notification in the form of a pingback that you linked to his article.

18. Post

A post sometimes referred to as an Entry consists of individual articles that make up a blog. Blogs run in chronological order with the newest post at the top.

19. RSS

Really Simple Syndication“: a format for syndicating many types of content, including blog entries. An RSS feed can contain a summary of content or the full text, and makes it easier for people to keep up to date with sites they like in an automated manner (much like e-mail).

The content of the feed can be read by using software called an RSS or Feed reader. Feed readers display hyperlinks, and include other metadata (information about information) that helps you decide whether they want to read more, follow a link, or move on.

The original intent of RSS is to make information come to you (via the feed reader) instead of you going out to look for it (via the Web).

20. Sidebar

The sidebar, sometimes called the menu, is a narrow vertical column often jam-packed with lots of information about a website. Found on most WordPress sites, the sidebar is usually placed on the right or left-hand side of the web page, though in some cases, a site will feature two sidebars, one on each side of the main content where your posts are found. A sidebar is also referred to as a Theme Template file and is typically called sidebar.php.

21. Slug

slug is a few words that describe a post or a page. Slugs are usually a URL friendly version of the post title (which has been automatically generated by WordPress), but a slug can be anything you like. Slugs are meant to be used with permalinks as they help describe what the content at the URL. If you article has a very long name use a Slug to make it shorter but meaningful.

22. Tag

A tag is a keyword which describes all or part of a Post. Think of it like a Category, but smaller in scope. A post may have several tags, many of which relate to it only peripherally. Like Categories, Tags are usually linked to a page which shows all posts having the same tag.

Tags can also be displayed in “clouds” which show large numbers of Tags in various sizes, colors, etc. This allows for a sort of total perspective on the blog, allowing people to see the sort of things your blog is about most.

Many people confuse Tags and Categories, but the difference is easy: Categories generally don’t change often, while your Tags usually change with every Post. Think of tags as the index of a book and categories as the table of contents.

23. Tagline

A tagline is a catchy phrase that describes the character or the attributes of the blog in a brief, concise manner. Think of it as the slogan, or catch line for a weblog.

24. Theme

A theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog. A theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software. Essentially, the WordPress theme system is a way to skin your website.

25. Trackback

Trackback helps you to notify another author that you wrote something related to what he had written on his blog, even if you don’t have an explicit link to his article. This improves the chances of the other author sitting up and noticing that you gave him credit for something, or that you improved upon something he wrote, or something similar. With pingback and trackback, blogs are interconnected. Think of them as the equivalents of acknowledgements and references at the end of an academic paper, or a chapter in a textbook.

Other Sources for Blogging Terms:

WordPress Glossary


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Comments or not

How comments work with WordPress.
Love them, hate them, disable them.

With WordPress.org or any blogging platform there is an area where visitors to you site can leave comments on your posts. It is usually found under the post with a form your visitors fill in with their website address, email (which is not published) and their comments.

I think one reason why people may shy away from blogging is because of the dreaded “no comments”. It’s like no body is coming to your party. I don’t get a lot of comments at artbiz or my fine art site. What I found is that if someone wanted more information they emailed or contacted me directly. Some visitors are also not comfortable commenting publicly.

BUT the thing about leaving comments on blogs is that it’s a way to link to your website and we all know how important back links are to your search engine rankings. Before you go out leaving the comment “thanks that was interesting and informative” in hopes of getting people to click-through to your website; stop. Even though it is nice to compliment the author it doesn’t really give people a reason to click-through to your website. You should have something relevant to contribute to the dialogue.  Say something more thought-provoking on the other hand will have people wanting to know who you are and gives them a reason to click-through.

All comments go through an approval process, meaning they are not published to your site until you approve them. With WordPress you can by-pass the approval process for someone who already has an approved comment if you want. WordPress will also notify you by email when someone leaves a comment for approval.

You can expect spam comments so you should have a spam blocker like Akismet (comes standard with WordPress) which will put the comments into a spam box like your email does. Here you can review the spam just incase there is a legit comment and mark it as such.

Whether you allow comments or not on your blog is up to you. You can disable comments on a per post basis by un-checking the Discussion box in the post editor. Or disable them globally in your themes loop.php file by changing true to false on this line of code
?php comments_template( ”, true ); ?

Blogging is about building relationships so don’t be shy leave a comment.

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Website Terms

Ever wonder what the heck I am talking about when I use terms such domain name, hosting, DNS?

Here is a list of common website terms that you may hear me use when we are working together on your site.

Website terms and definitions

Domain Name – This is the internet address of your site. It is what people will type into the address bar of a browser in order to get to your website. Example: www.YourName.com


URL – The internet address to a website or to a specific page within a website or blog. Every web page has it’s own unique URL and will be the name that you give to a page.

www.yourname.com is a domain name, and a URL of your home page.
www.yourname.com/gallery is the URL of another page on your site.


Domain Registrar – This is a company where you purchase your domain name for an annual fee. The average cost of a domain name is around $10 to $20, any more than that then you are paying to much. (read my post on domain name scams)

Note that if you forget to renew your domain name your website will not appear on the web and can be sold to someone else.


Parked Domain Name – After purchasing your domain name it is considered parked at the registrar’s website until you redirect the name servers to your hosting site.

You can also register more than one domain name. Say you want YourName.com and YourName.ca, you will use one of these as the main domain of your website and park the other at the same hosting site. Then when someone types in either one of those domain names in the address bar of a browser they will land on your site.


DNS – Domain Name Servers – To point your domain name to your hosting account insert the name server addresses that are provided by your hosting company into an area called DNS (domain name servers) in the domain name account. This will connect your domain name to your website at the hosting servers.

If you have more than one domain name as mentioned under Parked Domain Names then you will have to point the secondary domain names as well.

Once the connection is made and resolves over the internet (usually with in a few hours but they will say up to 72 hours) your domain name will appear in the address bar and show off your new site.


Host, Hosting Account – This is a company that sells space on their servers so your website can go online. There many hosting companies out there and each have their own terms and costs. Hosts like HostPapa and Hostgator provide unlimited space and bandwidth.


Image Website Terms

.jpg or .jpeg – the preferred file format for most website images and images of your art. You would name your image and save it as a .jpg or .jpeg

Image Size – can refer to either the actual outside dimensions of an image in inches or pixels as well as the resolution.

Resolution – refers to the number of pixels, or dots, per inch in a digital image file. The fewer the pixels or dots, the lower the resolution and the smaller the file size. Resolutions of 300 dpi and higher are required for printing. Resolutions of 72 – 100 ppi are best for web sites.

DPI – dots per inch, typically used when talking about images for printing.

PPI – pixels per inch when talking about images for the web.

See also Resizing Images for the web


Developer Website Terms

Not that you have to worry about any of these items. They are the guts that run WordPress and what allows you to manage your website content with out having to know anything about how to use them. Just so you know.

PHP – Hypertext Preprocessor (the name is a recursive acronym) is a widely used, general-purpose scripting language that was originally designed for web development to produce dynamic web pages such as those in WordPress.

MySQL – “My Sequel” is a relational database management system (RDBMS) that runs as a server providing access to a database. We need one to run WordPress.

HTML – Hypertext Markup Language is the language that most websites use for defining their layout and structure.

CSS – Cascading Style Sheets are often used to define styles, such as colors, fonts and sizes, of elements on a blog or website. Changes made to a specific element on a stylesheet will apply to that element everywhere it appears on the site.

JavaScript – is a scripting language that allows applications hosted by other websites to work on yours. Many widgets and such that give you code to put on your website work via javascript.

CMS – Content Management System – are programs that run on your hosting server that allow you to manage your website content online with out having to know HTML, CSS or JavaScript. All Artbiz sites are created this way using WordPress.

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Pages Vs Posts

Understanding the difference between pages and posts

Before we start working on your site, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the difference between pages and posts:

Pages are usually those which have a static purpose in life. For example an artist statement, bio, CV, Gallery pages or a contact forms. They do not usually contain information about news items, for example, which are added to the site on a regular basis. Pages are generally defined so that they are always accessible from the front page. Some people build entire sites with just Pages – this is especially the case for sites with little need for dynamic content and is very popular with small businesses and us; the artist.

Posts usually contain semantically and chronographically arranged information – for example, news reports, event results, and of course blog entries! The semantic structure is defined by categories and tags, and whilst making it easy for people to navigate your site will also help search engines to understand the content of your site and so improve the relevance of search results.

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Blogging for Artists: It Works

art blog
I wrote an article about the real reason artists need to blog, and jumped on the blogging bandwagon and started writing about my work.

Well I get to be my own success story. It works!

I received a phone call one Friday afternoon from New Haven artist & curator, Suzan Shutan. She was in the process of finalizing an exhibition proposal. But before she finished she decided to do one final Google search for art made with pins & needles.

It just so happened that I wrote a post at henigmanbruce.com (my fine art site) about my work with pins and needles (you can read it here). Suzan found it on Google and included my work in the exhibition proposal with some pretty amazing international artists.

Being found online by Susan created a domino effect that started with the Pins & Needles exhibition at  Housatonic Museum of Art in Bridgeport, CT.  When the exhibition opportunity came through I wrote for a A.F.A. project grant and was successful.

My Heels series was created for the exhibition and I posted images of the work to my Facebook profile. An artist friend (that I had never met) posted a couple of links to shoe museums, she thought I’d be interested in. I submitted my work to The Virtual Shoe Museum and was included in their online collection.

A few years later that same online collection site put together a major exhibition at Grassi Museum in Germany. I was included in the show and subsequently the Museum kept my piece as part of their permanent collect.

From there a New York fashion magazine, Heaven Has Heels,  found my work at The Virtual Shoe Museum and approached me for an interview. Which I happily agreed to.

I don’t know what, if anything, will happen next, but I firmly believe that none of this would have happened had I not written about my work and had my images ranked in Google.

There are many good reasons to craft content for your website, whether you blog or not, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is sharing your work with the world and letting them into your world so they can get to know the person behind the art.

 

 

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