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Adding A Blogroll To Your Blog

Hi!  Today I’ve decided to do a “How To” article.  It’s fairly obvious, by reading the title, what I plan to show how to do today, but the reason may not be obvious.  If you’re a seasoned blogger you’re probably already pimping a blogroll on your sidebar, but since I’m fairly new to this I had to figure it out myself.  I got some help from friends who commented here when I asked about this very subject in a previous post, but before and beyond that I was on my own.  I searched thoroughly, or at least I think I did, for a blog post giving instruction on how to do this.  I may not have known where to search or how to search correctly, but I certainly didn’t find anything to help, other than the helpful friends who gave me advice on this when I asked in the earlier post.

So I figured it would be helpful for new bloggers if they new how to post a blogroll on their sidebar.  Here goes nothing:

How To Add A Blogroll To Your Blog

The first thing you have to do if you want to post a blogroll in your sidebar is, well…  you have to have a sidebar.  It took me a while to figure out why I didn’t have a sidebar, but in essence it was simply the theme WordPress had automatically started me with.  It had a place at the bottom of the page and it had left right and center settings for anything I wanted to put there, but no sidebar.  So you have to change your theme.

This may not be too difficult if you’re new to WordPress, because you can just pick one you like, making sure it has a sidebar, and then edit any colored fonts you may have used in posts.  For me it was difficult because I had almost 50 posts that I would potentially have to edit for colored fonts if I chose the wrong theme.  (There were also quite a few frilly themes that had flowers and pieces of candy and such for place markers, which being a guy I decided I didn’t need.)  I went through all the potential blog themes and decided on this nice Choco theme that sort of reminds me of a field notebook or something.  It’s manly enough to bolster my “macho-ness” and still has a bit of creative flair to it.

After you’ve decided on a theme and set up all the options you want for it you’ll be able to add a blogroll.  You’ll still have trouble if you go to your Dash Board and look for it, though.  There is no heading in the left column menu for “Blogroll”.  What you want to do first is make a list of all the people or websites you want to include in your blogroll.  Consider it your personal hall of fame.  This is where you give honor to all your blogging or webmaster heroes.  Don’t just include every website in your browser’s history.  This is a coveted place of honor that people are constantly attempting to acquire.  Be selective.  My guideline is that unless someone appears in my Top Recent Commenters section in the Stats page for my blog, they don’t get put on the blogroll.  (There may be a couple of exceptions to this, but that’s my norm.)  Most bloggers seem to use a personal rule of only including blogs in their blogroll that will inspire their readers or compliment the content of their own blog.  I think that’s a good rule too.

Once you have a list compiled with not only the URL‘s, but also the name that appears at the top of the page when you navigate there, Go to the Dash Board of your blog and click on the Links/Add New option.  It looks like this:

Add New Link (to your blogroll)

It’s going to take you to a form that you’ll have to fill out, but it’s not as complicated as it looks.   You can actually fill in everything on the form for each link you add, but at this point I’m only going to show you what you need to know to have that blogroll showing in your sidebar.

Now, The first thing you’ll want to do is add the name of the blog and then the URL goes in the next field right underneath the name.  The name should appear the same as it does on the website you’re referring the reader to, but if you want to be funny or play a practical joke or if you’re trying to help a campaign to boost search results for that website, you can change that name to whatever is appropriate for your purposes.

One last thing to do before you can add this link and move on to the next.  You need to scroll down to the Categories box and choose categories for your link.  In this case you can choose only the Blogroll category.  Add more categories if you feel they are appropriate, but Blogroll is the only one you’ll need now.

Okay, the link is ready to add to your blogroll.  Go to the top, right-hand corner of your screen and make sure the check box “Keep this link private” is not filled in and then click the “Add Link”  button.  The screen will reload and you’ll have the opportunity to add all the links in your list in one session without having to keep navigating back to the Add New Link page.  Once you’ve added all the links you want on your blogroll you can then post it so the world can see it.

Now To Post Your Blogroll

Your blogroll is a widget, so in order to post it you’ll have to go to the widgets page under Appearance on the menu to the left side of your dashboard.   Just click on the link and it will take you to a wonderful page where you can pimp your blog out really nicely.  There are widgets for calendars, images, videos and more, but today we only need one, the one titled “Links”.

Before you do anything else, look at the right side of your screen and you’ll see a layout of your sidebar.  If you already have other widgets on there, figure out where you want your blogroll to appear in the order.  Count from the top and figure out the numbered position it will have.  This matters in a minute, so remember it or write it down.

The widget we want for posting you blogroll is in the middle of the page when you first arrive there.  You don’t need to scroll down much. It simply says “Links”, which is why I had so much trouble figuring out how to do this.  (I should add that underneath it is a description, that I originally didn’t see, that tells you this is where your blogroll is going to be.) When you find that, click “Add”, which is going to open a widget configuration screen for you.

Okay, you’ll need to select Blogroll for your first field and then you can select/deselect the other options as you see fit.  The second field allows you to choose the sorting parameters for your blogroll, determining which URL appears at the top, etc…  The bottom box is for you to select how many links you want to show.  This only matters when your blogroll gets big and you don’t want to fill your sidebar with it.  Still, it’s nice to know how to decrease the size when you need to.  Once you’ve posted this widget you can always go to the widgets screen and select it from the sidebar and edit whatever settings you want.

This is below the  first box and it determines where your blogroll appears.  If you have more than one sidebar, you can decide which one to put it in.  Since I only have one, it was a no-brainer.  Once you’ve selected which sidebar you want it on, select the numbered position I told you to remember from the widget screen.  Then click on “Save Widget”  Congratulations!  You now have a widget on your sidebar!  Go to your main blog page and admire it.

I hope this helped you.  Cheers until next time!

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6 Comments

Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Blog Management, Writer's Resources

 

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My Blog is in the Doldrums

Doldrums ExperimentFor those of you who haven’t read much about maritime sailing, here’s the definition of doldrums from Wikipedia: “The doldrums is a colloquial expression derived from historical maritime usage for those parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean affected by the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone, a low-pressure area around the equator where the prevailing winds are calm.”  This typically meant, to sailors at sea during the age of sailing vessels, that the ship didn’t move much unless they towed it with rowers in boats out front.  Very exhausting work.

Well, I have been very busy lately with building projects and writing my novel and have basically neglected my blog.  I do apologize to those of you who look forward to hearing from me daily.  I’ll try to do a better job of keeping the blog current.  Lately it’s been too much like work and I hate rowing.

I had an idea this past week that I am hoping you will all respond to and maybe we can work together to get the momentum going again.  Here’s the idea.  Let’s make a list of all the different writing challenges and prompts we know of.  It doesn’t matter if it’s poetry or prose, short or long.  I’m interested in hearing about your favorite weekly or monthly writing challenges.  I like flash fiction and poetry, but feel free to stretch our imaginations.  If you know about a writing challenge, let’s hear about it here.  (10 extra points if it’s on a WordPress blog)

List

100WCGU is a 100 word challenge for grown ups based on the one for schools.  It is held weekly.  There is a text prompt of some type given.

 

 
7 Comments

Posted by on February 26, 2012 in Challenges, Contests, Inspiration, Prompts, Writing

 

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My Blogroll

WordPressOkay I have several questions and several observations.  First of all, how come my Blogroll looks so lame?   It doesn’t have any of the people who regularly comment here listed.  I added them, but they don’t show up.  Secondly, Why is it only allowed to be at the bottom of the page?  I see other people with theirs on the sidebar, but WordPress tells me the sidebar has been discontinued?  What’s that all about?  There’s a lot of space on both sides of my posts.  It’s begging for widgets and I’m somehow not allowed to have any sidebars.  Is it just the theme I’m using?  Do you have to host your own website to be able to use sidebars, like apps?

I think the people who comment on my posts are the coolest of all my followers.  I’m glad everyone that follows my blog thought enough of it to follow it, but hey!  Let’s face it.  Unless you comment how am I really going to get to know you?

Okay, I’ve said my piece.  Someone else can have the soapbox now…

 
6 Comments

Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Blog Management, Editing, Writing

 

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How To Create a Hyperlink in Your Blog Post

Roger Engle's new short story, The Lost Flip Flop, begins a series of true stories about his life in the Mosquito Coast region of Honduras.

This short story, available on Kindle for only $.99, is the first in the series Misadventures In La Mosquitia

I have not been blogging on WordPress for very long, but one of the things I made sure to learn quickly was how to do a hyperlink in my posts.  The reason for this is probably obvious to most people, but there are some who don’t even realize what a hyperlink is.  For those of you who fall into that category, I’ll explain it now, so that never again will you be able to say that.  A hyperlink is a word, phrase or string of characters that, when clicked on, will cause your browser or app to take you to a different place in the document, open another document, or navigate to another website on the internet.  The web address or path will not show unless you look for it.  It is hidden behind the text of your document, if you will.  What I mean is this:  If I want people to see the words “The Lost Flip Flop by Roger Engle” and be able to click on those words and go directly to the website, (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0071I3JN4), where they can buy my new short story.  I should put a hyperlink behind the words “The Lost Flip Flop by Roger Engle”.

How Do I Do That?

Now we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty.  You’ll need the web address or the path of the place you  want to go, (I keep a bunch of my most common links on a post it note on my desk top.  Onenote also works, or just open a new tab and go to the page you’re wanting to hyperlink your text to) and you’ll need some text to work with.  So before we start this, open your blog on another tab and start a new post.  Type some text and highlight something you want to put a hyperlink in.

Like this:

The text I'm highlighting for the hyperlink

Here I am about to add a hyperlink for the "buy-link"to my new short story...

Next, you’ll need to highlight the address I told you to get ready, the one to which you’re planning to hyperlink your text.  (Be sure to include the “http://” part of it.)  Once it’s highlighted, copy it.  You can use ctrl+c or use the right-click menu to copy it.

Only the actual web address or path is highlighted

I've highlighted the buy-link for my short story...

Now we’re going back to the post edit page and verify that our text is still highlighted.  If it’s not we need to highlight it again.  Then we go to the top of the editing window and look for the little square button with a picture in it resembling a chain’s links.  That’s the hyperlink button.  Click it.

After highlighting your text you want to click on this button...

It’s going to open a hyperlink editing “wizard” that looks like this.

When you open the wizard it will already have the "http://" highlighted.

Now you need to right-click on the highlighted text in the top field and click paste. (as plain text)  Then you can name the link and decide how you  want it to open so that your dialogue box will look something like this:

I always try to remember to have it open in a separate tab or window so the person reading my blog will be able to return there by clicking on the tab instead of having to remember the website it was on and navigate back there.

Once you’ve done all that, click on the blue button at the bottom of the dialogue box that says “Add Link” and you’re done!  You should now have a hyperlink in the text of your blog that looks something like this:

Now when you publish your post, click on the colored text and it should take you directly to the address or site you linked it to.

Have fun doing hyperlinks.  Please comment here if you like this article or have any questions.

 
 

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