RAQ – Related Posts

In the comments about my post on Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, Peggy Hoffman asks:

Question (and yes great book) can you share with us how-tos on the related post widget you are using here that produces automatically generated material.

It’s really easy. In your WordPress dashboard (and I’m glad I’ve waited until WordPress 2.7 was released before I did my overview of the dashboard for Blogging 111; that’s coming soon), you click on the Appearance link on the left side:


And then choose Extras:


At which point you will see a set of options like this:


All you need to do is make sure the last option, “Hide related links on this blog, which means this blog won’t show up on other blogs or get traffic that way” is unchecked.

So, on WordPress.com, having the automatically related links is the default option, I believe. You can decide you don’t want to have it, but as Peggy points out, it can be really helpful to your readers.

They are automatically generated, so they aren’t guaranteed to be related, but on balance I think this is a good option. I’m sure some SMUGgles found their way to our University originally because of a possibly related link on someone else’s WordPress.com blog.

If that’s your story, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Please let us know if the automatically related links helped you discover SMUG. That will help our fellow SMUGgles see the value of this feature as well.

While I was doing this post I saw another feature that has no useful point, but I’m turning it on just for effect. Let me know what you think of the falling snow. Only available on WordPress.com, and only until 1/4/09.

Blogging 117: Attracting Blog Visitors through Comments

Blogs are a conversational medium. As we learned in Blogging 101, a blog is essentially a newspaper. Two major factors that set blogs apart are:

  1. Anyone can be a publisher, and
  2. Within reason, every letter to the editor is published.

I say “within reason” because some people go out and leave meaningless or off-topic comments as a way of driving traffic to their sites. Thankfully, as a wordpress.com site, SMUG is protected against comment spam automatically by Akismet. But still, sometimes one sneaks through, with an innocuous comment like, “Great site. Keep up the good work” that includes a link to a Russian porn site. When that happens, I mark the comment as spam, which deletes the comment and makes it more likely Akismet will prevent that person from infecting other wordpress blogs.

But comment spam isn’t the main point of this post. This post is about how you can legitimately engage in discussions through comments on other related blogs, and as a natural byproduct attract visitors to what you’ve written.

If you’re commenting just to attract blog traffic through that single link, people will sniff it out and you won’t get much out of it. But if you’re contributing meaningfully to the conversation, you not only will get some visitors via the link in your comment (as described below); you also make it likely that the blog’s author will take notice of your blog and possibly link to it in a future post.

Continue reading “Blogging 117: Attracting Blog Visitors through Comments”