By now, you’re well on your way to having a beautiful site chock-full of compelling content.
Are we done? Nope: having this site is about more than just publishing. On WordPress.com, we encourage you to share your content with the world, discover others in the community with similar interests, and use the tools available to you to create more.
How do you get your stuff out there? Let’s find out.
Take advantage of tags
Once you hit Publish for the first time, you might find that publishing a post may be the easy part, while getting others — often strangers — to engage with you is tougher. Sure, there are thousands of people out there who might love to read your review of The Hobbit or get your killer carrot cake recipe, but how do you make it easy for them to find you? Enter tags.
Tags group related posts together on your site and are a simple-yet-powerful way to help readers distinguish between your gadget reviews and your street art photo essays. Add tags from the Post Settings — they’re on the right side of the screen when you’re writing or editing a post:
Tags not only help readers get around your site, they help others find your site in the first place. As we mentioned earlier, you use the Reader to discover the freshest content published by fellow bloggers — topics in which you’re interested, but also new stuff that intrigues you. That means the Reader is also the place where others will find you. But only if you tag your posts appropriately.
While tagging is optional, assigning tags to your posts increases the chance that others will see them on the topic pages in the Reader. Use tags that directly relate to the subject of your post, and think about what you’d search for if you were looking for the same content.
Include broad, popular tags that others commonly search for, but mix them up with a few specific tags, too. If you’ve written a review about one of Zadie Smith’s books, you can tag the post with general terms (“books,” “fiction,” “literature”) as well as more focused ones (“Zadie Smith,” “On Beauty”). Blending together the common and the specific will help your posts stay visible in the Reader for a longer time.
Stay relevant — you don’t want irrelevant content showing up in the Reader stream and neither do we, so choose your tags carefully.
A couple of tips to help you make the most of tags:
- If you include more than 15 tags and categories (total) on a post, it won’t appear on the topic pages — that’s our way of helping ensure relevance.
- If your blog is private, your posts won’t show up in the Reader, so go to My Sites, then select Settings → General to confirm your privacy settings.
- If you regularly post material that is offensive, not safe for work, or not suitable for minors, we might flag your site as mature, and mature blogs aren’t included on topic pages. (You can contact support if you think your blog may have been accidentally flagged.)
- If you’re misusing the tag feature, your blog may not appear in the Reader. Misuse includes tagging your content with misleading tags and posting questionable affiliate links, marketing material, and unoriginal content.
Like and comment on blogs you follow and love
The Reader lets you follow your favorite blogs and stumble upon new sites. You can also use it to give fellow bloggers a virtual high-five: when you enjoy something you’ve read, you can “like” it, just like you do on other networks (think Facebook), directly in the Reader. Just click the star in the bottom-right corner of the post:
Clicking on the post will let you read it in its entirety right there in the Reader, while clicking on Visit will take you to the original post (both count as a view for the blogger who published it). Either way, if a post moved you, leave a comment — there’s no better way to expand your blogging network and start engaging conversations than leaving thoughtful, substantive comments. It’s also one of the best ways to attract others to your own site, so everybody wins.
Connect your site to your other accounts on the web
Your site shouldn’t be an island — especially when it can easily function as your home on the web, the central hub from which you reach out to your audience, whether they’re your friends, family, or complete (but like-minded) strangers.
Publicize allows you to automatically share your posts on social networks, including Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Path — no more publishing and then individually pasting the link into each site. Just click on Connect next to the networks of your choice, confirm the account you’d like to add, and that’s it. Now, when you publish a post, it will also broadcast to the networks you’ve connected.
While you’re still in your dashboard, you might also add a few sharing buttons to your posts. This will make it easier for your readers to pass along their favorite post to their networks. Just click on Sharing Buttons at the top of the page, then choose and configure the ones you’d like to see appear next to your post.
Make sense of your statistics
Your stats page is full of interesting data to analyze and learn from. If you’ve already started publishing on your site, you probably visit your stats periodically (or every 15 minutes) to see how you’re doing. But you can also use your stats proactively, to fine-tune your blog and draw in even more readers.
Or check out your blog’s traffic patterns over the past few days, weeks, months, or years.
Scroll down the page to learn more specific information about your visitors. What are some of the most interesting pieces of information you might glean from your stats?
Countries tells you where in the world your visitors hail from, which might help you tweak your content to appeal to your audience and think of ways to connect with readers from different parts of the world.
The Posts and Pages module will give you essential knowledge on the kind of content your audience enjoys the most, and can help you design and implement your editorial calendar (if you choose to have one).
You might also be interested in exploring who your top Referrers are — these are the sites that drive traffic to your blog. Conversely, Clicks tells you which links on your site your readers are most likely to follow. Generating views for another site is a great way to build a relationship with other bloggers, who might end up inviting you to write a guest post or mention your site in one of their pieces.
If you require even more detailed stats for your site — for example, you want to improve the design of your online store, or drive more visitors to your contact page — you might consider adding Google Analytics to your site, a feature that’s available for anyone on the WordPress.com Business plan.
More resources for networking and expanding your blog’s reach
- We have an entire (free) ebook dedicated to growing your readership and building ties to the broader community.
- If you’d like to learn more about the specifics of using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Bloglovin, Pinterest, and/or Tumblr in conjunction with your blog, well, we’ve got you covered.
- There’s an art to interacting with others in the community — but you’ll be a pro in no time by reading these posts on reblogging, leaving thoughtful comments, following another blog, and participating in online forums.
- Take your interaction up a notch (or five) by inviting guest bloggers, running a blogging event, or attending a blogging conference.
- Make a good first impression by learning about the ins and outs of blogging etiquette.
You’re now armed with the essentials to publish content, add multimedia, and share your stuff with the world. Next step? Publish on the go! A blogger need not be stymied by her proximity to a computer. If you’ve got a smartphone, you’ve got the ability to capture great moments and blog them as they happen: read on for the basics of blogging from your mobile device.
Header image based on “chained“