Building a Blog Series: Marketing, Giving Presence to Bookmarking and Social Network Icons

As part of the next steps I am taking in the development of Aspire to Grace, I have decided to give presence to bookmarking and social networking access on here.  Such access includes Digg, StumbleUpon, and Facebook access through branded icons. 

The format I will take in this post is to ask the questions that I have been asking for sometime and then attempt to provide the answers as best I can.  I figure that there are many out there like me with fairly new blogs and that you will have the same questions and will be looking for the same answers.  My goal is to have, at the end of this post, little bookmarking and social networking icons staring back at you.  That will mean that my quest was successful and that you can begin to access or interact with Aspire to Grace on these networking mediums.  

1.           If I am using the free-hosted WordPress.com blog service, can I add social network and bookmarking icons such as Digg or StumbleUpon?

A:            Yes.   With the right coding, you can include these icons at the end of each post with the ability for your readers to click through and refer your page to the site. 

Even though WordPress allows you to include widgets for services like Digg in your sidebar, it is better to have them visible at the end of each post.  Some of your visitors may never see that portion of your sidebar containing your widget.  In addition, using code specific to each post allows a visitor to click on a link to submit that post directly to the social networking website.  

I actually initiated this process on Sunday and was able to attach the icons to my Monday post. 

2.            How do I include these icons on my blog page?

A:            I had to search around for a while before I found what worked for me. 

Some sites recommended modifying the .php code or CSS code for your blog.  These codes are essential coding for your blog, however.  Incorrect coding could bring down the blog so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you know what you are doing beforehand.  I tried to do a quick tutorial for .php coding and knew right away that learning even the basics would take more than one evening.  So, I kept looking for alternatives and eventually ended up here and here.    The first website refers you to the second, which provides the coding necessary to add the icons.  I cut and pasted the code into my editor at the end of my post and the icons appeared. 

I did modify the coding to move the icons around and to eliminate ones that were not working or that were services with which I am not familiar.  Ultimately, my icons appear in the following order: Delicious, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Digg, Simpy, Newsvine, Reddit, and Fark. 

3.            How will my readers use each of these icons to access and/or interact with my blog? 

A:            Once a reader has finished reading your post, he or she can click on one of the links you have provided at the bottom of the post to share your story on the social network site of their choosing.  Thus, your reader may choose to Stumble your article, or post it to Facebook, or refer it to the site of their choosing.  Having your website promoted in this fashion will inevitably lead to an increase in referrals from these sites. 

4.            I have seen other blogs with these icons at the end of every post, how would I place these icons on my own blog? 

A:            This proved to be a lot more cumbersome than I expected.  There may be much simpler ways of doing this, but I have yet to discover them.  For now, this is how I have to do it:

            a.  I copy and paste the code provided through the archGFX blog.

            b.  I follow the instructions on the blog, which tells me to (i) replace all instances of ‘xURIx’ in the code with the URL of my post; and (ii) replace all instances of ‘xTITLEx’ in the code with the title of my post, using ‘+’ for the spaces. 

            c.  I paste this modified code to the end of my post in my editor. 

5.            How can I teach my visitors to use these icons?

A:             Write a post to your readers about why these icons are important.  I intend to do the same.   

6.            How do I market my page from each of these services?  

A:            This is an answer for another post.  Since I am new to some of these services and have not used others, I will need time to explore and learn.  So, I have decided to do a follow up post, or two on the ways in which you can market your blog through these services.   These posts will be based on my own experience with engaging these services. 

TECHY TUESDAYS is a forum to discuss various technologies and web applications.  I am currently hosting a series of posts called “Building a Blog.”  This series discusses all of the things that I am doing to build this website.  I will also discuss tips and suggestions for building your blog based on my own progress, as well as feed back from others.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.  

 

add to del.icio.us :: Stumble It! :: post to facebook :: Digg it :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: ::

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