9 Ways to Socialize a WordPress site

On July 31, 2012 Miriam Schwab, friendly CEO of illuminea, gave an informative 9-step webinar on making your WordPress site more social. Here is some of the material written out and you’re welcome to watch the full webinar as well. In brackets throughout this post are the times from the video so you can hear Miriam’s explanation of each step.

Add Google Authorship to your content (00:40)

When you associate certain pages/users on your site to your Google+ profile, Google pulls in your picture when those pages appear in search results. Like so:

Why, hello, Friendly CEO!

This is beneficial because:

  1. Seeing a picture of someone increases trust-worthiness of the content and as a result, it could increase click-through rates.
  2. You can directly tie yourself to your content so that if anyone scrapes your content or steals it then you will still be recognized as the original author by Google.
  3. Some are saying that soon authorship will become a ranking factor. 

How to do it:

Part 1 – in Google+ (3:28)

  • Make sure you have a Google+ profile. If you have a Gmail or other Google service, you probably have Google+ already.
  • Go into Google+.
  • Go to your profile page – an icon in the left sidebar.
  • Click “Edit profile.”
  • In “Contributor to…” you can add sites where you contribute content.

Part 2 – in your WordPress website (5:25)

  • Install the free WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. (Miriam highly recommends this plugin for many reasons – most of this webinar is based around this plugin.)
  • Activate the plugin.
  • Go to your profile in your WordPress Dashboard.
  • In your profile is a field called “Google+”. Insert the URL to your Google+ profile there. 
 
  • Save changes.

Yup. That’s it. There are lots of tutorials on very convoluted ways to do this but Yoast’s SEO plugin makes it this easy.

Please make sure you have a good profile photo of yourself on Google+ since in a week or two (that’s how long it takes for Google to index this change), it’ll start showing in search results!

How to give authorship to the homepage of your site

In your WordPress Dashboard, go to SEO > Titles & Metas > Home

In Author metadata, from the dropdown menu, choose who you want to be the author of the homepage.

If you have a multi-user blog, then by default, authorship is shown on a per-post basis based on the Google+ URL that appears in each author’s profile.

Add Facebook opengraph info to site (10:35)

This is a way to tell Facebook and other services (theoretically) specific information about the site or the page they are on.

In the Dashboard, go to SEO > Social > Click the checkbox “Add OpenGraph meta data”. Click Save Settings.

That’s it.

So, what does it do?

With OpenGraph (OG) activated, you have more control over what title, excerpt and image show when people share your content on Facebook. 

Titles and excerpt

When you share a page or post on Facebook, normally Facebook pulls in the title and the first couple of lines from your post (the description). But in each individual post editor is a “WordPress SEO by Yoast” area and if you go there and give your post a special SEO title or meta description, that is what will be pulled in instead.

Add a unique SEO title and/or Meta Description to your posts/pages

If you prefer to show a different description for Facebook, you can go to the Social tab in this area in the post editor and add a different description there.

Picture

Often, without Facebook OG installed, when people share web pages on Facebook, random images, such as ads from websites, are pulled in as image options.

But, with OG installed, if you choose a featured image for a post/page, that is the image that will be pulled in to a Facebook posting.

Alternately, if you don’t choose a featured image, all the images added to your post will be made available to those sharing your material.

Homepage

Sharing homepages is often most problematic in regards to the image and the description. To remedy this, go to: SEO > Social.

Insert a link to an image and create a description.

Very important! Debug!

Any time you make changes to OpenGraph general settings or settings regarding content that has already been published, if you want Facebook to recognize the changes right away, you need to use the Facebook Debugger tool. 

Go to the Facebook Debugger and enter in the URL of the website where you made changes. Click Debug. This will tell Facebook that you have new information.

Make sure you don’t have two plugins running at the same time that add OpenGraph.

Implement the other seven tips for socializing your site

  1. Get Facebook Insights for your site (19:00) – If you link the Facebook Insight tool to your site, you’ll get information about how people are Facebook-interacting with your site.
  2. Add Twitter cards to site (20:34) – This is similar to OpenGraph. You add information to your site’s page so that when people share your content on Twitter, it is shared in the way you want. Learn also how to add authorship for Tweeting.
  3. Add posts to LinkedIn profile (24:13) – Learn how to automatically share your blog posts on your LinkedIn profile. There are different options so you have more control over which posts you want to share.
  4. Add Twitter follow buttons to site (27:20) – Allow people to follow your Twitter account from within your WordPress site.
  5. Add Facebook album to site (29:44) – Embed your Facebook photo albums in your website.
  6. Facebook’s plugin for WordPress (36:23) – Allows you to do things like automatically post new content to the author’s profile page and to a fan page, it allows you to tag friends on your site, add Like and Subscribe buttons and a Recommendation bar. And you can activate Facebook comments instead of native WordPress comments (learn why Miriam doesn’t recommend using Facebook comments).
  7. Social plugin by MailChimp (46:23) – Boosts your website comments in a much better way than Facebook comments. It allows you to comment signed into Facebook or Twitter or neither. And all the comments are being saved in your database so you control your comments. (If you have the problem that Miriam mentions in the webinar, you are probably using Hostgator. Go to this link to learn how to get around the problem.) Allows you to post automatically to your social networks.

That’s it folks. Here’s the webinar:

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