Use the Text widget to promote your posts inside your WP blog

text-widgetAfter seven weeks, I have written more than 20 articles including How to customize your blog with widgets. When I had only 15 or less articles, I did not have any problem listing all my articles on the sidebar using the Recent Posts widget since the widget allows 15 for linking.

But what if you have articles much older than post number 15 which you want to promote and get the most out of those posts? How do you promote them?

I am not sure about others, but I have looked at widgets like Top Rated or Top Posts, and they may not be the answer to my quest. After all, if the posts we want to promote are already top rated or most visited, there is really no point highlighting them for our visitors to notice, is there?

The other approach is to configure your blog Settings > Reading to whatever number of posts you want displayed on your main page. The default is 10 posts. The downside of this method (aside from it being an indirect method) is that your visitors would have to scroll all the way down and may not even notice the article you want them to see. And worst, what if the post you want to show is, for example, post number 75?

Activate the Tag Cloud widget? Again, this is very indirect, and does not immediately display the results you want.

Why not simply be straightforward? As they say, be bold. Stake your claim.

Use the Text widget.

All you really need is insert your promotion text and a little knowledge of HTML coding to direct your visitors straight to your target posts. The top sidebar of this blog is created using the Text widget. See also Personal and more… in my personal website for another demo.

In the hands of an HTML writer, the Text widget is the easiest and most effective method. With the Text widget, you also have better control on how to display your promotion messages.

To me, the Text widget is a powerful tool. Are you going to leave it idle?

tweet-this-wp

How to encourage audience response

Every blog owner loves discussion and interaction with, and among, the blog audience. Interactions by way of audience responses show the blog is alive, and the blogger is not alone.

With a WordPress.com-hosted blogs, I found that you can (or at least WordPress.com has provided the tools) generate audience or readers’ responses with the Ratings plugin pre-installed in a WordPress.com blog and Polls using an interface with PollDaddy.

Let me share with you in this post my observations on the Ratings plugin. PollDaddy is my next post.

The Ratings plugin is located on the left control panel after the Comments section. When opened, the plugin has two sub-sections, the Settings and Reports. To enable the plugin, open Settings and choose where you want to display the ratings.

You can enable it for blog posts, pages or comments by selecting the corresponding tab and ticking the check box. You can also easily position the ratings either below or above each post, page or comment using a drop-down box. For purposes of testing, I have enabled the plugin for my other experimental site, When on the Road. The illustrations are sourced from that site.

The result of your selection is instantly available. When you view your posts, posts or comments, you will notice the ratings image (defaulted to 5 stars for the post or page) and the thumbs up or down for the comment if you also enabled the plugin for comments.

If you are using widgets to customize your blog’s sidebar, the ratings plugin also has a Top Rated widget. As usual, just drag and drop the Top Rated widget to where you want it to show. You can customize the Top Rated widget too by selecting the options you want.

That’s all there is.

*** Note: If you noticed the first screenshot above, there is that 1 Votes displayed. 1 Votes? Sorry, we don’t have access to the plugin file to edit it. But not to worry. With 1 more vote, that should be right. 😦