Author: AreaVoices Support

How do I create a Blogroll?

To: <support@areavoices.com>
Re: Question: Enabling blog roll

How does one enable a blog roll via Areavoices.com?

A Blogroll can be a neat way to share the other blogs or web sites that interest you and may interest your readers. You can create one using the Links widget in your blog’s dashboard.

1. Log into your blog’s dashboard.

2. In the menu along the left side of the page click Links > Link Categories.

3. Create a link category called  “Blogroll.”

4. Back over in the menu along the left of the page click Links > Add New.

5. Enter the name of the link, the full URL, a description (if you’d like) and select the Blogroll category. Then click the blue Add Link button in the upper right corner.

6. In the menu again click Appearance > Widgets.

7. Grab the Links widget and move it to the sidebar location of your choosing (depending on your theme).

8. Choose your preferred settings and click Save.

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Weird characters in your blog? Send an email to support@areavoices.com with the URL of your blog so we can put you on our list of sites that need to be fixed. Thanks!

Formatting posts beyond the Visual editor

Let’s say you’d like to put some really fancy layouts and styles in your posts. The Visual tab is kind of limiting and you don’t know a thing about composing in HTML. That’s precisely what the Paste from Word tool was made for.

Programs like Microsoft Word or other desktop publishing tools have a lot of formatting and design options in them. You can paste those designs to your blog by opening the kitchen sink option and clicking the Paste from Word button.

A window will pop up instructing you to paste your text into it. The easiest way to do this is to go to your completed Word document, hit CTRL + A to select all of your text and then CTRL + C to copy it. Then return to your post in the dasboard and click on the pop up window. Hit CTRL + V and your text will be pasted into the window.

Click the Insert button and your formatting will appear in your post! All you need to do is enter your tags and categories if you use them, then click Publish.

An added bonus of this method of posting is if you save the Word document to your computer you will always have a back-up of your posts if your blog is ever lost or corrupted.

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Looking for blog stats?

If you would like to see what articles and pages visitors are viewing on your blog you can request the WordPress Stats module be added to your dashboard.

Send an email to support@areavoices.com to request the stats module. Be sure to include the name and URL of your blog!

After the module is added you may see a login screen in your dashboard. You can ignore this. It will go away after twenty minutes or so. Then you will start seeing graphs and numbers!

Click the View All button in the lower right corner to see all kinds of detailed information about your blog’s traffic.

 

You can change what information displays on your dashboard by clicking the Configure link. To get the link to pop up hover your cursor over the area in the upper right corner of the module.

Choose your settings, then click Submit to save.

When you know what your visitors are reading you can start molding your blog in to a site people return to.

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Fun with Flickr

Announcing two new features to your AreaVoices blog:

The Flickr widget and The Flickr Gallery

Since we only have a limited amount of space on our servers we’ve recommended people look into an image hosting service, such as Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa, etc. Flickr is a very popular option, and has some great ties to go with the AreaVoices blogging platform. We have recently updated our blogging software to include these handy tools.

The Flickr Widget

Widgets are little boxes or modules you can place in the sidebar of your blog. Some templates also allow for multiple sidebars as well as footers. The Flickr widget displays up to ten recent photos from your Flickr photostream. You will need to be logged in to your AreaVoices blog dashboard and your Flickr account to set up the widget.

1. In your AreaVoices dashboard click the Widgets link under Appearance.

2. Grab the Flickr module and drag it to your sidebar.

3. In your Flickr account locate the RSS URL for your photostream. Scroll down to the bottom of the page until you see the orange RSS icon with the link and copy it.

4. Back in your AreaVoices dashboard enter this URL in the module.

5. Enter a title for your module and select the number of photos you want to display from the drop down. Click Save.

When you view your blog you should see something like this in your sidebar:

You can create widgets for more than just your photostream. Flickr also provides RSS feeds for sets, collection, tags or geo data. Add as many as you want to customize your sidebar!

The Flickr Gallery

Sometimes you need more than just a small handful of photos. Sometimes you have large sets to display and you want to make an attractive gallery to show on a post or page. That’s exactly what the Flickr Gallery plugin can do.

This one is a little trickier to set up. It involves setting up an API for your Flickr account and doing a little bit of coding in the HTML tab of your post or page editor. I’ll try to be as concise as possible in this tutorial, but, as always, feel free to leave a comment on this post if any part of this is unclear or confusing.

Creating your API and gallery settings

You will need to be logged in to your AreaVoices dashboard and your Flickr account.

1. In your AreaVoices dashboard click the Flickr Gallery link under Settings.

2. Click the link for API Key. This will take you to your Flickr account.

3. Click Get Another Key.

4. Click Appy For A Non-Commercial Key.

5. Fill out the forms as illustrated below (click to enlarge):

Click Submit.

6. The page will now display your API key and Secret code. You may want to keep this open in a tab or separate window while you finish setting things up.

7. In a separate tab or window open up your AreaVoices dashboard and return to the Flickr Gallery menu (link under Settings).

8. Fill in the settings information:

  • API key this is on the tab or window we just left open
  • Caching checkbox selecting this option will allow your gallery to load faster, but take longer to update
  • Flickr User ID you can enter your User ID, or any other bit of identifying information that can be selected from the drop-down menu
  • Number of photos to display

The remaining checkboxes are preference settings. You can test them out to see how they look with your photos and change them to suit your preference.

9. If you would like to include private photos in your gallery follow the instructions listed in the gallery settings.

10. Click Save Changes to save your settings.

Whew! Ok! The Flickr Gallery is set up! Now it’s time to add a gallery to a post or page.

Adding a Flickr Gallery

To add a Flickr Gallery to a post or page you will need to be logged in to your AreaVoices dashboard and your Flickr account. There are some bits of code you will need to know before we can proceed. They are:

Creates a gallery of your full photostream.
Loads a single photo.
Creates a gallery from one of your sets.
Creates a gallery based on a tag.
Creates a gallery of recently uploaded images.

There are a few other shortcodes you can use. Those, as well as full documentation of the shortcodes can be found here.

1. In your AreaVoices dashboard create a new post or page or open an existing one to edit.

2. Select the HTML tab at the top of your editor.

3. Enter the shortcode you want to use.

And that’s it! I’ve set up an example page that shows what the various types of shortcodes can do.

Have fun playing with these new tools! We think they can add a lot to your blogs!

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Announcing the Areavoices Walkthrough!

Tuesday is an exciting day for areavoices! We’re holding our first-ever “AREAVOICES WALKTHROUGH” webinar.

We’re inviting you to join us via phone to learn more about areavoices blogging. In addition to getting your questions answered you’ll also learn about what other areavoices bloggers are doing and see how they’re making the most of their blog. Joining me will be Zac Echola and Lindsey Guajardo, two employees of Forum Communications Company’s Interactive Division. Lindsey and Zac are the BEST people to talk to regarding technical questions relating to areavoices and your blog. Whether you’re an experienced blogger, just getting started or are still deciding whether to take the plunge this webinar is for you! It’s easy to join the conversation.

Register at this link: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/126940618

Then on Tuesday, November 9th from 12:00pm to 1:00pm

call toll free at 866-237-8308

Punch in Access code: 407174#

If you can’t make it this week, join us next week. We’re holding these webinars every Tuesday at Noon. Just use the same information to register and call in.

Hope to hear from you then!

From the mailbag…

A few people have noticed that sometimes the permalinks for their older blog posts – ones written before the transition to the new platform -go to a 404 (page not found) error page. This usually isn’t a problem, but if you have an archive that folks regularly look back into it can be frustrating for your readers. Logan sent me this message:

…I’ve discovered a problem with old posts and a solution. It seems that a lot of older posts aren’t connecting very well to their permalinks. You can read them in the archive or through search results, but if you try to click through to the permalink, it comes up empty. The solution is to click the “Edit” link of the post in question (you have to be logged in), add a tag and save the post. The permalink will work from then on.

So if you run into a blog post that links to an error page all you need to do is log into your admin, locate the post, click Edit, then Update and the problem will fix itself! Thanks, Logan!

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