So, I’ve spent a bunch of time reading all sorts of stuff recently. I’ve been reading series on Reddit and others that have spilled off Reddit to their own sites. My biggest gripe is when I reach the “end” and want more. More’s coming, but when? How do I know when there will be more? I want to subscribe to something that’ll keep me updated!
Reddit is Reddit; it’s got it’s own weird ways of following things, sometimes. The other sites I’ve been reading on, like The Angry GM and Small Worlds, are run on WordPress, and so is this site. What does WordPress offer to follow a site? Not a whole lot by default. . . And not only that, but what if you don’t want to be notified for every single update? What if you just want to follow a narrow band of content, like a single series, tag, or category?
So then, let’s dig into our options, shall we? How does one get this information in general? Well, there’s social media, like Twitter and Facebook. There’s the old standby of email. Some people probably still use RSS feeds. Then there’s this new fangled web push notifications thing. Personally, I don’t use them, I am annoyed by all the stupid popups on every site about them. So then, let’s explore the options!
This is a big one for a lot of people. The amount of time people spend on social media everyday is astounding. It is a great way to keep your follows up to date with what’s new and interesting. For a site-wide (and beyond) kind of update, it works great.
Personally, I’ve been really bad with social media. I never think to share stuff that interests me. And I can never think of anything interesting to share when I think about it. Yes, I will fix this, when I feel the time is right. What? Why am I waiting? I really don’t know, nerves, doubt, lack of confidence. . . Call it what you will, I’m afraid. But that’s not what this is about.
There are downsides of social media, you can’t subscribe (easily) to just a single subsection of a site. It’s really easy to get lost in all the posts on Twitter and Facebook. But even with those downsides, you should totally follow if you haven’t!
Of course, my social media is setup in an interesting way. I have my Instagram setup to automatically share new posts to Twitter. I have my Twitter setup to automatically share new posts to Facebook. Basically, it’s a funnel allowing me less work to actually engage social media. All of this is thanks to If This Then That. It’s a wonderful tool for all kinds of things.
There are a lot of methods that help make social media easier to manage, like Hootsuite. That actually lets you post directly to WordPress while managing all kinds of other things. The issues I have with this is that I like the WordPress interface and there’s limits to the free version. One day I might actually give that a go, but for now I won’t.
So, I have now installed and (hopefully) properly configured a plugin, Social Media Auto Publish, to publish new posts to Twitter which will filter down to Facebook. This post will likely be my first test. This won’t allow for exactly what I was hoping, but it’s a start.
Edit: After the first post published, I made a slight change to the “auto poster” to make it a little bit better. Hopefully the next one will be okay, but I have a feeling I’ll be tweaking this occasionally.
Email is great to keep people up to date on things. But in all fairness, I know I don’t want to get a daily email saying shit like “Hey, there’s a new post over at munchmo.com!” Do you?
So, what is email good for? Special promotions, of course. Which means I need to embrace it. So what will I do? How about I just start by collecting email addresses? A simple form on the site allowing people to drop in an email address to sign up for the currently non-existent mailing list.
To do that I need some kind of mailing service! What better service than a free one, eh? Mailchimp will do, except for one problem. I’ve already got an account with my preferred username for another site! That’s easy enough to get around.
Next up is integration to the site, a simple box where you enter your email address and click a button, right? If only it were just that simple. So what do I do? Add another plugin. . . . Mailchimp for WordPress! Very easy initial setup. Just have a Mailchimp account and drop an API key into the settings.
After that is form setup. I can’t get it to look quite how I want, but that’ll do for now. Especially since I really don’t have any intention to use a newsletter just yet. I’m just putting things in place for future use, yeah? How does it look?
I absolutely detest sites that force those requests to allow push notifications in your face. But push notifications are supposedly a good way to drive traffic and engagement. It is something I need to use. I refuse to be like the other guys though.
First thing I have to do is figure out how to even do push notifications. Again, there’s a plugin for that! OneSignal, a (supposedly) completely free way to send push notifications to people interested in them. Plugin installed. . . another account created. . . stuff setup. . . Seems pretty straightforward.
This thing will sort of do what I want, but really it’s not quite as good as I was hoping. I’d love to be able to customize it more, allow people to subscribe to specific categories or series. It seems something like that is outside of the question for something free and easy.
So now you’ll see a new little icon that floats in the bottom left of your window on this site, which will allow you to subscribe to web push notifications when I post something new. No need to watch the site and less likely to miss something on social media.
Failure is always an option.Adam Savage
So, it seems I can’t quite do everything I was hoping to do. Meh. I’ve put in place a few new things that should help draw people to this site. I’ve also implemented a few new features that should help anyone who actually ends up here to stay updated.
Now that I’ve got all this done, my next step is to work on getting more engagement. I need to add an easy way for people to share this site on social media. We’ll look into that some other time though. I’ll see what I can find that will meet my needs.
What do you think about all this? I would really love feedback from you. Do you have experience and want to share your wisdom? Have I done something wrong? Do you want some help doing something similar yourself?