Small WordPress Tips & Tricks that’ll Go a Long Way ft. html, themes & more!

This is the (hopefully) most anticipated sequel to my previous post!

This post and my previous post were originally part of one gigantic post that I planned to write called Tips I’d Give to New Book Bloggers, but then I realized that one half of the tips was related to WordPress, while the other had to do with how to build an audience.

These tips are things that I think a lot of newbie bloggers don’t know about. As a newbie, I didn’t know about these things, and I’m pretty sure other newbie bloggers, or maybe some veterans too, don’t know about them yet! So I’m here to impart the little wisdom I’ve gained in my half a year of blogging to those who need it!

HTML

Did you know that there’s a way to have different text sizes in the same paragraph? Shocking, right? Because I’m convinced that WordPress hates formatting–and it does–but luckily, html is here to help us undermine WordPress.

Simply choose to edit a part of your post as html, and you can do all kinds of magic. Here is the html coding I use to make my letters different sizes:

<p>regular text <span style="font-size: 20pt;">new size text</span></p>

To make the text bigger, I choose to make it 20pt, and to make it smaller, I use 8pt. But you can input any number and play around with different font sizes! These are just the ones that work for me!

There’s also a way to align two or more images in a row using html codes! This is pretty helpful if you want to align images of book covers!

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I used this code format to align these three images of Gideon the Ninth:

<div>
    <img src="https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1546870952l/42036538.jpg" alt="42036538" width="154" height="238"/>
    <img src="https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1546870952l/42036538.jpg" alt="42036538" width="154" height="238"/>
    <img src="https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1546870952l/42036538.jpg" alt="42036538" width="154" height="238"/>   
</div>

Html is not limited to these two tricks, but I think that these are the most helpful ways to use it. I’m a very baby user of html, so if you want to learn how to do other things with it, I suggest searching for formats on google because a lot of sites offer different code formats!

Post Scheduling

When I first started blogging, I didn’t know that scheduling posts was a thing. When people talked about writing posts and then scheduling them, I’d get so confused. Like, what is this scheduling thing? Luckily, I found out soon enough!

How to schedule a post!

Scheduling posts is extremely helpful if you’re an international blogger. Chances are, the majority of your audience is asleep while you’re awake, but not to worry, you can schedule a post to go up in the early morning hours of your timezone. Scheduling also helps if you have a posting schedule and pre-write a lot.

Until now, a scheduled post of mine has never failed to go up on it’s scheduled time. It may not post on the exact minute you schedule it, but in a few minutes, you’ll get a notification that your scheduled post is now published!

But when I first started scheduling posts, I was so confused because every post I scheduled went up eight hours after the time I had originally selected it to go up. Little did I know that I still hadn’t customized my site timezone to the timezone in the Philippines.

Unless you change your site timezone, it’s gonna stay at UTC, which will affect your post scheduling. Customizing your site timezone is pretty easy to do. Just click your site settings, and site timezone is probably the first or second thing you’ll see!

Pingbacks

Pingbacks are notifications that you get once someone provides a link to one of your posts in their blog post. Their pingback will become a comment on the post they provided a link to.

In my Sunshine Blogger Award, I linked to a bunch of my own posts. I then got notified for all of the times I linked to one of my posts!

Pingbacks are incredibly useful when you’re tagging someone in a tag or blog award. Giving them a notification eliminates the need to comment on one of their posts informing them that you’ve tagged them in something!

To give a pingback, simply provide a link to the blogger’s post in one of your posts. You can just insert it in any piece of text. Ex: I tag Caitlin Althea. The link embedded in Caitlin Althea is a link to one of my blog posts!

The biggest tip when it comes to pingbacks is not to link to the blogger’s homepage. Linking to their homepage will not give them a notification for some reason.

I’ve also learned that pingbacks are pretty funky if a self-hosted sites links to one of your posts. Sometimes I get a notification when one links back to my post, other times I don’t.

Linking Your Website to Your Name

This is a pretty niche tip, but it’s incredibly useful if you’re a blogger who comments on other posts a lot. It ensures that when you comment on a post, a click on your name will immediately lead an interested user to your site.

Usually, your web address isn’t a direct link to your site–it’s probably something like caitlinaltheahome.wordpress.com. If your web address is like this, users who click on your name will not be redirected to your blog. To make it convenient for them, change your web address.

You can do this by clicking on your profile picture and then Account Settings. Here, you’ll find your username, email address, etc. Your web address and primary site will also be there, so you can change them to the url of your home page!

Plus, when someone gets the notification that you followed them, or that you liked one of their posts, it’s easy for them to follow you back because a follow button will appear directly under your name!

As you can see from the picture, the first two people in my recent followers don’t have their sites linked (or simply don’t have sites), so there’s no follow button that will allow me to follow them back easily. However, the bottom three have follow buttons, which I can easily use to follow them back, or unfollow them (but I won’t do that of course).

Get Theme

Fun fact: when I first started blogging, I had no idea what WordPress themes were, so I was hardcore wondering how everyone got their blogs to look a certain way. Honestly, my life is just a series of events like this.

For those who don’t know what they are, they’re basically how your blog is formatted. If you embed a link in a word, some themes will show that there’s a link embedded in it by changing its color (like in Penscratch 2), but in Libre 2, which I’m currently using, words with links in them are simply underlined with no color change (unless I change the color myself). Little things like that are decided by your theme.

But have you ever come across a beautiful site and wondered what theme they use? Not to worry, you can actually see which theme a site uses (as long as it’s a site hosted by WordPress).

On the lower right hand corner of any site hosted by WordPress, you’ll find the follow button. Just click the three dots beside it and you’ll see the option to get the theme. Note: you must be logged into your WordPress account while doing this.

You can then search for this theme name in WordPress themes and choose to activate it in your own site! (Some themes require you to pay for them though, grrrr.)

Connecting Twitter (or other social media accounts) to Your Site

Connecting Twitter to my site was incredibly helpful because I always forget to notify my Twitter followers about new posts. If you connect Twitter to your site, your Twitter account will automatically tweet a post’s link at the same time that the post is uploaded. You can customize what the tweet says too!

You can connect Twitter to your site by going to Tools, Marketing, and then Connections! You also have the option to connect your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Tumblr to your site, but the most common social media site to connect to is Twitter.

Additionally, if you have the Subscibe via Email widget on your blog, and choose to let it display the amount of followers you have, your total number of Twitter followers will be added to the total number of WordPress followers and email followers you have! It’s a great way to make your follower count seem higher.

I hope you found this post helpful in some way! I’m definitely not a WordPress expert–there are still some WordPress mysteries I’ve yet to solve, but these are the ones that I have–at least to some degree!

I had a lot of fun writing this post! Until next time,

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Are We Really Friends—or Do You Just Want Me to Comment on Your Blog? || a Discussion

I don’t know if you’re aware of this piece of blogging advice, but it can be summed up in one word—interact. Comment on other bloggers’ blogs, and in turn they will check out your blog and comment on it too. It’s an almost surefire way to grow your blog’s following. In addition to that, you’ll gain blogging friends more easily.

I’ve been interacting, or blog hopping, as we call it, since I first started blogging. I attribute most of my blog’s growth during the nearly six months I’ve had it to blog hopping. But I went through a phase a while ago wherein I stopped commeting on the blogs that didn’t interest me anymore even though we were leaving each other nice comments. And guess what? They didn’t comment on my blog anymore, and I haven’t heard from them since.

I also noticed this trend of people commenting on my blog and others’ blogs with detached one word sentences that simply seem to call out, “Hey! Check out my blog.” And that got me thinking about why we even comment on other people’s blogs.

A question formed in my mind that I couldn’t ignore—Are we blog hopping purely for our stats, and not because we’re genuinely interested in the content we’re consuming?

Think about it—you start commenting on someone’s blog, or someone starts commenting on yours. Either way, you both end up following each other. For every comment you leave on their blog, they’ll leave a comment on yours. I can think of dozens of blogs who specialize in this. I’ve even started doing this.

So what happens when you stop commenting? What if you suddenly get busy? Will they stop commenting–just like that? Even though you left each other such nice comments before you stopped blog hopping, will the other person stop commenting on your blog just because they won’t be getting something in return anymore?

Frankly, the thought disturbs me. Why are we leaving nice comments on other people’s blogs just so that they’ll check out our blogs in return? If so, which friendships are real and which are contingent on blog hopping?

Let me be clear that I’m not trying to bash anyone in this post. I have fed into this mindset myself. I’ve stopped commenting on people’s blogs just because they stopped commenting on mine. I have blog hopped solely because I want other people to check out my blog and not because I genuinely love their content. I’m not trying to call out anyone who has done this because I’m guilty of it too, and the reasons for doing it are perfectly understandable.

I’m also not saying that you shouldn’t blog hop. It’s a great way to grow your blog and ensure that the posts you’ve worked hard on are actually read by someone. I’m just not a fan of the symbiotic relationships that blog hopping creates. In my humble opinion, it’s perfectly okay to blog hop for views and stats—I know I do it. But this shouldn’t be the only reason we comment on other blogs.

I still comment on blogs who don’t follow me or interact with any of my posts. And even if I won’t get a comment back, I still comment on their blogs because I like their content. That’s the level I want to reach. I want to be able to not blog hop, and still have people commenting on my blog at the end of the day because they genuinely enjoy my content.

I only follow and continually comment on about 40 blogs now, and I know that this is surely gonna kill my stats—but you know what? It’s for the best, because all of the posts on my reader, in the words of Marie Kondo, “bring [me] joy.”

Also, shout out to my blogging friends. You know who you are. I think it wouldn’t be wrong of me to believe that if either of us stopped commenting on the other’s blog for whatever reason, we would still be friends.

This amazing post by Ilsa @ A Whisper of Ink, entitled Do You Genuinely Loving the Content You’re Creating and Consuming? partly inspired me to write this post. I wrote my own discussion on the topic because I wanted to share my own perspective, and because I feel like this discussion has to be brought back.

Please tell me your thoughts down below! Is there anything you disagree or agree with? What is your perspective on blog hopping? Sadly, I can’t reply to you yet because it’s exam season for me right now, but I’ll be back in no time!

Why do Bloggers Care About Their Statistics?

This week is gonna be filled with super important exams for me, but right now my brain is overflowing with blog post ideas that beg to be written???? I really hate my brain sometimes.

Anyways, I made a blog post a few weeks ago about comparing your blogging statistics with other bloggers’. In that post, I mentioned that I always get jealous of how well other blogs are doing stats-wise. That got me thinking about why we even care about stats in the first place. (I know there are a few lucky people out there who don’t care about their stats, but I’m not one of them and I don’t think you are.) Aren’t we here to talk about books? Why does the amount of engagement we get on our posts matter? I narrowed it down to a few reasons, and today I’m gonna share them with you!

We put a lot of effort into our blogs, and our stats are the fruit of our hard work.

Planning what you’re gonna say in a post and getting all the words out takes a lot of time and brain power. I, personally, have to edit a lot to cut out unnecessary phrases because I love to ramble.

Don’t even get me started on formatting. The WordPress block editor can be such an asshole sometimes, and it’s so annoying when you have a clear picture in your head of what you want a post to look like, but WordPress just. Won’t. Cooperate. Ughhhhhh.

Additionally, a lot of bloggers, myself included, design graphics for their sites and posts. And if we’re writing a post talking about a book or multiple books, searching for their covers and including them in our posts, along with their links and whatnot, is extremely tedious for something that your readers will probably just glance over.

I haven’t even mentioned the other factors that affect blog growth, like blog hopping, promoting on social media, etc.

Bottom line, it takes a lot of time and effort to run a blog, and nobody wants their hard work to go unrewarded. For most people, the reward comes in the form of statistics.

We want to engage with more people.

I feel like the reason most of us started our book blogs was to talk about books with other people. Stats indicate how many people are engaging with our content and reading what we have to say.

We also want to scream about our favorite books so that more people will read them. How can people add them to their TBRs if nobody is reading our content?

Malka @ Paper Procrastinators actually wrote an insightful post a while ago about why they enjoy looking at their stats page. It highlights why looking at stats can actually be encouraging. Malka stated that they are happy even if a post just gets ten likes or four comments, because it means that their post generated engagement.

Stats show us what’s working and what’s not.

Maybe you’re experimenting on what time of day works best to upload. Maybe you’re unsure of what blog posts you want to write, so you’re letting your followers decide through your stats. Stats show us what posts work and which don’t.

Stats are a factor that publishers, blog tour hosts, etc. consider.

Isn’t that why we have to put our stats and follower counts on our Edelweiss and Netgalley bios? They help publishers decide whether they want to send you a free review copy of your anticipated release or not. People who have larger audiences have a higher chance of being granted access to advanced reader copies (arcs) because publishers want more people to be exposed to their books. They can’t just hand out free copies to anyone, sadly.

Blog tour hosts also consider your stats if you’ve signed up for a blog tour. Along with whether you’re an own voices reviewer or not (for books that feature diversity) and your capacity to give a convincing review of a book, site views also have to be taken into account. It’s a blog tour after all. The goal is to promote the book and help it reach a larger number of people.

And there we have it. All of the hypothetical reasons why bloggers care about their stats. What I realized while writing this post is that stats aren’t demons as long as we don’t allow them to be. Who would’ve thought?

I’d love to chat with you in the comments! Is there anything I missed? How do you feel about statistics? Any tips on how to stay away from WordPress and social media because you have to study? (Asking for a friend, who is me.)

Popular Books That Didn’t Live Up to the Hype: Top Ten Tuesday

I am finally participating in another Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s topic is unpopular bookish opinions, but I decided to specifically use this topic to talk about my unpopular opinions when it comes to certain hyped books. I like to think that I’m a reader who’s hard to please (I’ve only had one 5-star read so far this year), and that unfortunately constitutes to me getting disappointed by a lot of hyped books. I hope I don’t offend ya’ll with any of my opinions, though!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. If I reviewed a book, clicking on its cover will direct you to my review!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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This is probably the most hyped book on this list. I didn’t hate it. I just wasn’t blown away, and the writing could’ve been better–it functioned well enough to tell the story, but that’s it. But I will forever remember this book for the grey morality of all of its characters, especially Evelyn Hugo.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

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Going into this book, I just had a sixth sense telling me I wasn’t going to love it as much as everybody else. Stellar themes and representation, but underwhelming plot and characters.

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

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The first review I ever posted on this blog was a review of this book. I actually praised it in that review because I was still an inexperienced reviewer who let hype influence my thoughts. Now I look back on this book and I find that it was a pretty bland and average read. Again, five stars for the representation, but the characters and plot are so damn forgettable.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea

This is one of the few books I’ve ever rated two stars in my life. I read this during my pre-reviewing days, so my memory of it isn’t the best, but the way the author described the horrors of this time period (child deaths, starvation, brainwashing, etc.) was incredibly emotionless and read like it was purely there for shock factor. Two out of the three main characters were way too perfect to be likable, while I didn’t care about the third one at all.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies, #1)

I don’t see this book getting talked about very much now, but I can recall a time when this was getting a decent amount of hype. Again, I read this a long time ago and didn’t write a review, but I remember that one of the main male characters, Gifford, was so annoying. To me, he represents everything there is to hate about men. The romance plot-lines were also severely underdeveloped, and I think that if they hadn’t existed, this book could’ve been so much better.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

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Am I just not smart enough? Because I don’t get the point of this book. I read it, but…. I didn’t take away a single thing from the story.

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

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This finale disappointed me so much, especially since This Savage Song is one of my favorite books of all time. I loved the first book because learning about the monsters in this world was such an interesting experience, but Our Dark Duet entirely stopped focusing on the monsters and instead became an average dystopian story.

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

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This book committed one of my most hated tropes in books, which is romance disguised as fantasy.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

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One of the few books I’ve ever DNFed. The way the author crafted names genuinely made me mad. Mathew? Eron? Gretchya?? Just use Matthew, Aaron and Greta please. And that’s not all, in this book, they have nobility called Doms and Domnas. You mean, Dons and Donnas?? I have way more examples to give you, but the last one I will leave you with is “taro game.” Yes, that is an allusion to tarot cards. I just think that replacing or removing a few letters from actual words is an extremely lazy and annoying way to create new terms for your fantasy novel. I get that fantasy authors do this from time to time, but in this book, it felt so incredibly forced and overused.

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

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I’ve never cried because of a book before, in case you didn’t know, and Adam Silvera’s books are famous for being emotional. I feel like your enjoyment of his books hugely rely on whether his writing evokes emotion in you, and I sadly didn’t feel a single thing while reading this.

Phew, I got a little heated about some of these (*cough* Truthwitch), but I hope you enjoyed reading about my unpopular opinions. However, please don’t take it as a personal attack if you loved/enjoyed any of these books! On the contrary, I’m quite glad that you loved them because I wish it were the same for me.

You can also find me on Twitter and be my friend on Goodreads.

Do we agree or disagree on any of these books? What’s a popular book that didn’t live up to the hype for you?