If you don’t already feed your WordPress blog into Facebook and Twitter, you should. People who don’t blog here who may want to read your article (because someone was kind enough to share it with them, or because they discovered a link to it somewhere) may not want to create a WordPress account in order to subscribe to your blog. Facebook and Twitter provide two popular alternatives.
Even if you don’t currently use Facebook or Twitter, you should take a moment to open accounts there and to also create a Facebook page. (The how-to part of all these suggestions is described later in this article.) Don’t worry about not having friends or followers there yet. Feeding your blog into Facebook and Twitter is a handy way to get started there without having to do any work. Then you’ll feel that you’re actually using those services, and stop worrying about not using them. Once you have a healthy following there, then you might get the motivation to utilize them by doing more than just feeding WordPress posts to them. In the meantime, it’s a good way to get the ball rolling with little effort on your part, but it will be very handy for potential followers who prefer Facebook or Twitter.
You should also make it easy for people to find other ways to get your blog feed. You can include an email option at the end of every post, put a Follow me on Twitter or Like Me on Facebook option on your sidebar, add a Follow Blog by Email widget, and include links to subscribe to your RSS feed. The more options you provide, the easier it will be for people who aren’t WordPress bloggers to follow your blog.
Of course, they really should sign up for a WordPress account, even if they have no intention of blogging. It’s a great ambiance, the interaction and connections are wonderful, and there is a wealth of amazing material to read or look at for free. I like it better than any magazine. If you can convince somebody of this, that’s great for WordPress and for that person, too.
However, we know that some people are reluctant to sign up for a new account at a site that’s new to them. So make it easy for them to follow you.
How to get started at Facebook and Twitter.
If you don’t have Facebook or Twitter, it will just take you a minute to set up accounts there, add your author photo, and setup your profile. You should also add a header, probably like the one you have at WordPress, although the aspect ratio will be somewhat different.
You should also have an author page at Facebook, to keep separate from your friends and family page. People will be able to Like your author page, too. The name of the page will be different from your Facebook name. From your Facebook home, find the Create a Page option on the bottom-left. For an author page, click Artist, Band, or Public Figure; one of the options is author. (You can also make a page for your book by selecting Entertainment.)
When you want to do something as an author rather than with your personal account, login to Facebook, click on your Facebook page (see the list on the left-hand side), and look for a message at the top of the screen that shows how you are posting. There is a place to click to change this. You’ll need to get into the habit of checking how you’re posting, liking, or commenting before you do it.
How to feed your WordPress blog into Facebook and Twitter:
Find your Settings. There is more than one way to get there. One way is to click the My Blogs tab at the top of the page you see when you login (you also see it when in your Reader or viewing your Stats), then click the button that tells you the number of posts. Now look for Settings near the bottom of the list on the left-hand side.
Now choose Sharing. On Facebook and Twitter, click the Add New buttons. This will give you the option to login and agree to feed your WordPress blog into your Facebook and Twitter accounts. For Facebook, be sure to do this with your author page instead of your personal page (see the previous note regarding how to select how you post, like, or comment at Facebook).
This will feed your posts into your Facebook and Twitter accounts (once you click the Save button below).
You can also add Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Path. There is yet another Google+ option below.
Further down, there are several other buttons that you can add, such as PInterest and StumbleUpon. You can choose from this list even if you don’t have accounts there. PInterest isn’t for you to use. It’s for anyone who uses PInterest to Pin things they like. So if you would like someone who uses PInterest to have the option of Pinning something you posted, you should add this button, even if you don’t use PInterest. The email and print buttons may be convenient for people who aren’t into social media connections at all.
Explore all the options at the bottom, like the button style and where these options will appear on your blog.
How to add Facebook and Twitter options to your sidebar
In the same place where you found Settings in the previous instructions, look for Appearance and select Widgets.
Look for the Facebook Like Box widget. Drag it over to your sidebar. Click the little triangle in the blue bar, if necessary, to open up the options. Add a title. Go to your Facebook author page and copy/paste the url from your browser (up at the top, including the http:// part) into the url field. If you don’t have any friends yet, reduce the height to 100 pixels (if you enter a value less than this, it will revert to the default); if you have faces to show from your author page, you may want a higher pixel count for the height. The standard sidebar is 200 pixels wide (if you have a dual sidebar, the one on the left may be more like 150).
If I visit your blog, I’ll try to remember to check if you have an easy way for me to check out your Facebook author page, and if I like it, I’ll Like it, too. 🙂
Look for the Twitter Timeline widget (the old Twitter widget is expiring soon, so don’t select that one if you see it). Enter a title. You’ll need to login to Twitter (in another window) to get a widget id. At Twitter, go to edit your profile (look at the top-right), then click Widgets. Create a new widget. Save it when you finish selecting your options, then look for the long number called your widget id in your address bar (it’s in the url at the top of your browser). Copy and paste this into the widget id field at WordPress.
Open up your blog’s homepage and refresh the page to see how it looks. If you need to make changes, refresh the page again when you finish to see how your revision looks.
How to setup other follow options
Go to your WordPress blog’s widgets (see the previous instructions). Drag the Follow Blog (whereas the Follow button is for WordPress.com users) button over to your sidebar. This will let non-WordPress users subscribe to your blog by email.
You can also add the RSS Links widget to provide links to your blog’s RSS feeds. Many professional authors only have this option; but we can benefit by offering the convenience of several different options.
The RSS feed for your WordPress blog is simply your blog’s url plus /feed/ (for example, mine is https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/feed/). You can use this to feed your WordPress blog into your AuthorCentral page at Amazon.com (but in the UK, you must feed Twitter there instead) or into GoodReads (go to your author account there to do this), for example.
How would you like to participate in a Black Friday type of sales event designed specifically for books? Check out Read Tuesday. It’s going to be HUGE!
Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)