New blogs, stats for bloggers and drafting in WordPress

Posted in: Blogs

We are continuing to develop blogs.bath.ac.uk as new bloggers join the network, as the number of posts increases, and as more readers start landing on and following our blogs.

Chris and Tom T spent last week setting up some new features and tidying things up across the network. Here are the highlights:

New blogs

We've welcomed 5 active blogs onto the network since we upgraded blogs.bath.ac.uk in March, including:

As well as demonstrating the range of activity going on here at the University, they also swell the number of bloggers. To make it easier to keep in touch with the owners of blogs ('blog admins') we've set up a new mailing list, which we'll be using to share occassional, relevant information about analytics and features for blogs.bath.ac.uk .

Those wanting to start a blog and join our illustrious ranks of bloggers should email web-support@bath.ac.uk with the following info:

  • what the blog is about
  • what you want it to be called
  • which categories you want to associate it with
  • who will be posting to it.

There's an earlier post with more detailed information about starting a blog.

Access to stats for bloggers

Blog admins can now find out how many visits their blog receives, and which posts and pages are most popular.

To access 'site stats' for your blog, log into your blog's dashboard (just like you would if you were going to make a new post), click on 'Jetpack' in the sidebar and then click on 'Site Stats'.

From the stats dashboard, you can explore:

  • views by days, weeks, months or all time
  • where traffic came from
  • which posts got the most views
  • what search terms were used to find the blog
  • what links readers clicked on.

All useful stuff that can help bloggers work out what to post about and when.

There is also a box on your first dashboard screen (when you login) that provides a summary of the blog's stats.

Stats are available in WordPress from July 28th onwards. Traffic and engagement metrics for each of our blogs are also captured through Google Analytics, so if you are looking for older or more detailed analytics, drop us a request via web-support@bath.ac.uk.

Keep in mind that if you are a contributor to a blog rather than its owner, you will need to ask the blog admin for a readout.

Overriding imported formatting

We've set it so that when you paste from another source, like Word, the WordPress editor strips out all the markup that comes across hidden in the paste.

The paste will retain the line breaks but no other formatting. This will prevent weird formatting being accidentally brought into blog posts that WordPress and the page templates don't recognise, and which can make the posts hard to read or even look just plain broken.

Our big tip is to compose in WordPress itself rather than using something like Word. WordPress provides all the formatting options you should need in a familiar toolbar format, and it autosaves regularly so there's no need to fear suddenly losing work mid-draft.

Next on the roadmap

Over the course of the next 12 months we'll be adding new features and iterating the design of blogs.bath.ac.uk regularly in response to user feedback and requests from bloggers.

The next sprint - in September - will provide the ability to filter blogs by thematic category and by recency on the landing page, which will help readers find specific blogs and discover more of what's to offer across our network.

If there are features you'd like us to consider, email web-support@bath.ac.uk.

Posted in: Blogs