WordPress.com Site Tips to Improve Your Blog

When I first started my blog (about two months ago), I was eager to make my site the biggest and the best, and I quickly found that I was way out of my league (kind of). There are so many amazing bloggers out there with flawless layouts AND posts. This can be super intimidating to a new blogger, especially those of use who don’t even own a domain. But have no fear. I’m going to share with you a few workarounds for things on your site that seem impossible with just a wordpress.com account**. I’ve done a lot of research and tried and failed a few  many times. This post will address having two home pages (you may not know you have this, yet), linking to your Bloglovin’ account without the button they provide that doesn’t work on wordpress.com sites, showing categories in a dropdown menu, the “read more” button to a post (only showing the first few lines of a post), and limiting the number of posts that display on your front page.

Wordpress.com Site Tips For Improving Your Blog

**These tips may be issues with other blogging platforms, but as I work off of WordPress, I don’t know what limitations other platforms have for basic users. Please leave comments letting me know suggestions and if this applies to other sites! If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to try to help out more!

 

Home Page

Why do I have 2 home pages? How do I get rid of one?

When setting up your wordpress.com site, the default setting provides a homepage that is your landing page for your url [http://www.frugalmiss.wordpress.com] and one that is a specific home page [http://www.frugalmiss.wordpress.com/home/]. While I haven’t found out how to get rid of this page, I did manage to hide mine. I did this by adjusting the menus on my site. This will vary in looks by the theme for your site, but to do this is rather simple. In essence, I customized my main menu on my site. This will be useful for another tip I mention below. How to Set Up WordPress.com custom menus

  1. In the top left corner of your wordpress site click my site. I recommend doing this in another tab so you can still see my directions :).
  2. Select the customize button beside themes.
  3. Choose menus.
  4. Click ‘add a menu’.
  5. Name your new menu. [I chose ‘main’ for the sake of knowing that was going to be the one I used. The default menu is ‘primary’ so be sure to use another name.]
  6. Set your pages to the links you want to use. (I address the ones labeled category below.)
  7. To work around the two home pages choose the home page that corresponds with your WordPress site like this [www.frugalmiss.wordpress.com] and don’t set a page with the [www.frugalmiss.wordpress.com/home/] url.
  8. When you back out of the customization of your new menu, make sure to set that as your Primary Menu.

This prevents a user from clicking on a link that leads to a dead end page that doesn’t have any content to show.

 

Showing Categories in a Dropdown Menu at Top of Page

When I first created my blog, I was uncertain of the use of categories, but now with about 20 posts on a variety of topics under my belt and some blog research, I have a much better grasp on them now. I use mine as “folders” in a file cabinet, if that makes sense. You can set up (and change your categories if you already have some) through the main dashboard. See the pictures below that correspond with the steps to make it easier.

Dropdown menu of WordPress.com site with categories in top menu

Menu look may vary due to theme and layout.

  1. Click into your main dashboard by selecting the three horizontal dots beside your site name, and then selecting edit icon.
  2. Hover your pointer over the posts link and choose categories.
  3. If you want to rename your categories this is the place to do it.
    1. Hover over the name of the category you want you edit.
    2. Click quick edit.
    3. Rename the category.
    4. Click Save.
  4. If you want to make subcategories, this is also the place to do it.
    1. Hover over the name of the category you want to edit.
    2. Click edit.
    3. Choose the Parent Category for your subcategory.
    4. Click Save.
      How To Get to Main Dashboard

      Step 1

      How to Edit WordPress.com Categories

      Step 2

      Editing WordPress Categories

      Steps 3 & 4

  5. Then go to your customizer as you would normally, and select menus.
  6. In the steps given for the Home Page, use the menu where you’ve short-cut the extra home page (or follow them to create a custom menu).
  7. Instead of selecting a url, under the page where you want your categories of posts (mine is under the page “Blog”), insert the categories. (You can indent them for subcategories.)
  8. For my site, I have my recent posts as my front page. In order to find all of my blog posts, I made a page on my menu called blog (which is the same url as my front page because if I used the link “www.frugalmiss.wordpress.com/blog/” it takes you to a dead end page) and then added my categories and subcategories for all of my posts in a dropdown menu from the main menu.
    Setting Up Category Drop down Menu

    Step 7: The category lifestyle has Coffee Break and Five Minute Friday as subcategories.

Doing this allows a visitor to view only a certain category or subcategory of posts on my site, and can act as a type of archives, if you will. I recommend having a search bar also for visitors to be able to search for a specific post they may have seen a long time ago.

* Remember that if you add categories, you will have to add them to your menu, as well. And if you delete categories, you may need to go back into your posts and add a new category to them. Changing the name, will update the category name on the associated posts.

Bloglovin’ Button

How To Setup Bloglovin Button on WordPress.com site

Check out my sidebar for how the image will appear!

The Bloglovin’ Button when you register for the site does not work on WordPress.com sites. But there is a work-around to post a link on your site to your Bloglovin’. Simply download a copy of the Bloglovin’ logo (you can right-click on the one on my sidebar if you want, and save it to your computer). Then you can upload the image to an image hosting site. While editing your site, go into your widgets section (either in your sidebar, footer, or wherever), and add an image widget. The link to image should be the link to your image on the image hosting site. The link when clicked should be your Bloglovin’ url.

 

‘Read More Tag’ Button

If you have ever found yourself wondering how bloggers’ sites only show the first few lines or paragraphs of a post, this is for you. This is one of the easiest adjustments to make to your page. (If you want to make it retroactive, you have to go back into your posts and make a few simple changes.) I highly recommend this as it makes your blog more visually appealing and easier to navigate for visitors. It’s hard to scroll through a bunch of long posts and can be a turn-off to readers.

wordpress.com read more tag button

How to Insert Read More TagTo set up the ‘Read More Tag ‘button and only display a portion of the post, either while writing a new post or editing an old post, simply select the “insert read more tag” button with the insertion point where you want the break to occur. This will place a dotted line with the words “read more” where the break in the text will occur. This will not show in a post preview, but it is easily editable once posted if you want to move the break.

 

How to Change Number of Posts to Display wordpress.com siteLimiting the Number of Posts per Page

This is another setting I recommend as it prevents a reader from having to scroll through every post you’ve ever written on the front page. It’s more attractive to a new visitor to your site and acts as a tease until the reader clicks to view more posts. I set the limit to 10 and a “show more” button appears at the bottom of the page. It is easiest set by going into your dashboard and under the “Settings” link, choose “reading.” Then simply enter the number of posts you want to display on your front page (or blog page) at one time.

 

All of these photos were created by me and are the steps I followed to change these settings on my site.

I was thinking of writing an e-book with more tips for setting up and arranging your WordPress blog. It would start with creating your brand, choosing your theme, and ideas to grow your blog, printables for organization and ideas, and it would include work-arounds for issues that bloggers with wordpress.com sites run into regularly and tips for transitioning into your own domain (I’m working towards this myself). If you think this is a good idea, let me know and feel free to suggest topics to include!

 

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10 Comments

  1. September 1, 2016 / 11:22 pm

    Great tips, thanks for sharing!

    • September 2, 2016 / 5:22 am

      Thank you! I’ve stumbled across a few people struggling with small tweaks and visual settings so I was like why not?!

  2. September 2, 2016 / 1:10 pm

    I’m bookmarking this page! Thanks for doing this post!

    • September 2, 2016 / 4:57 pm

      Thanks! If there’s anything else you have questions about or had difficulty setting up/customizing, just let me know!

  3. September 3, 2016 / 3:06 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this omg! I love your layout and everything about your blog so far. You should make these little tips into a series, I think many people would find it helpful. Loved this post 🙂 also about bloglovin’, is it worth it? And what exactly is it?

    • September 4, 2016 / 8:50 am

      Thank you!!! And I’ve also been considering that too! Yes I love bloglovin’. It helps other bloggers and people find you. A girl from school signed up just to get notifications about my blog! You can follow a bunch of blogs in there too! When you link your blog, it automatically adds your new posts on your bloglovin account. I really like it although I have a bad habit of not checking it and reading things because I get so caught up reading things on WordPress. There’s a lot of bigger and better blogs on bloglovin. It’s also free to sign up and participate! I was skeptical but I really like it! I have trouble finding other bloggers on WordPress sometimes. As a bonus you can copy and paste the blog you want to follow’s link into your followed sites on bloglovin. You just go to manage and it has a ‘add via url’ bar! So I follow a lot of non WordPress blogs on WordPress.

      I hope that made sense!

      • September 4, 2016 / 9:13 am

        Okay that sounds great! Thank you so much for all the info. And I have trouble finding bloggers on WordPress I like as well! And it made sense, thanks so much!!

        • September 4, 2016 / 9:21 am

          Yeah of course! 🙂 that’s what I’m here for!

  4. emilynncaulfield
    September 5, 2016 / 1:34 pm

    Great post! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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