WordPress Reader Here I Am: Backstage blogging

This post is all about backstage blogging and the geeky side of blogging.

It’s intended for bloggers that may have difficulties showing up on the WordPress Reader (WP reader) like I did for months now!

WARNING

As I’m NOT a techie this should NOT be considered as the St Graal as what worked for me maybe won’t work for you if you’re in the same predicament but I promised some friends I would share this experience so here I am!

 

First of all: what IS WP reader and why do you want in?

 

Consider the WP reader as the pinboard at your school or fitness club. Everyone pins something he/she has to sell or trade or news etc and everyone at school can see it. Well basically this is the same with WP Reader: every post you publish appears on the WP reader and your friends can see what you publish. Other people willing to discover other bloggers can also “discover” and stumble upon your post.

In short if you don’t appear on the reader you are simply invisible.

You can create the most amazing content no one will see it, no one will comment nor follow except the friends following you by mail.

 

Well that was the situation I was in for months!

Since January 2017 I did not show on WP Reader. Try gathering more blogger friends with that and it’s very tricky!

 

I sent an SOS on WP forum but as I’m on WP.org and not WP.com and knowing the reader is a feature of WP.com I did not know where I should post my question.

Furthermore was it a problem with my theme? Try your theme forum.

Was it a problem with some plugin like Jetpack? Try Jetpack forum.

Etc.

 

After months what appeared the most rational answer came from one techie Blade telling me there was several issues with my site.

He advised me to use pretty links (what I had not done from the beginning, foolish me) then use only https or http but not both as my site seemed to run on both and focus on my SEO installing Yoast SEO plugin.

For someone non techie like me it took me some time to investigate and look into all that he told me.

 

Here I would like to link to a fantastic article written by wpmudev  as he describes everything in details and it’s understandable for non geeks like me. https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/change-wordpress-site-permalink-structure/

 

First part of the solution: opting for pretty links (Corina it concerns you too as you don’t use them either)

 

What are pretty links and permalinks?

Well they are basically the url address of your posts, categories, etc.

By default WP gives you http(s)://blogname/?p=number

Any search engine can’t guess what your post is about with a ? and number. I suspect WP Reader has the same difficulties but it’s only a guess.

So you can choose your permalink for something more “readable” for search engine and other people like: “http://blogname/postname” or you can add the date etc.

My problem was changing the permalinks for a new structure meant broken links to all my old posts!!! Changing your permalinks is risky business that’s why I waited for weeks before taking a leap of faith. Don’t make this decision lightly and follow what’s in the article above and below if you want to avoid a disaster!!!

 

But there is a way around as explained in details in the article above.

In short: take a sheet with all your current url then install a redirection plugin that will send all people and robots using your old url to your new url.

 

So if you click on http:///blogname/?p=38 (old url still existing on Google or FB for example) you would land to http://blogname/postname  No broken link.

If you have lots of publications already it can take a while to list all your url so I used a plugin “List Urls”.

BUT before using the List Urls plugin you have to check that you .php version will work with it (min 5.5)

This gets all very technical so I asked my hubs help as he is an IT guy and after some searching on Google as to how finding our .php version we were out of the woods.

 

To redirect I used the plugin “Redirection” I downloaded the plugin but I did not need to use it as my urls seemed to be redirected “automatically”. Why? I don’t know. Maybe my theme does it all or Jetpack or …

 

You can find all this in said article.

 

 

What you have to do now is change the permalinks in the dashboard/settings/permalinks.

Once it’s done try one of your old url in Google and see if you get to the new url. Check for some broken links. You can also go and change manually the old url for example on Netgalley but with the redirect plugin you should be good.

 

Are you still with me? Not lost yet?

 

Now if you do already have your pretty permalinks (Geybie it’s for you and Corina go on too)

what you need to do is being seen by robots by having optimized SEO.

 

I won’t go into details but let’s just say that Google, search engine and I guess WP Reader need to be able to “crawl” your site easily. SEO means Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process of getting traffic from search results on search engine.

Most themes on WP are SEO optimized but it seemed I still had some problems.

Installing the Yoast SEO plugin was rumored to be the best solution but it seemed such a daunting task to set up with maybe some unknown impacts that we tried something else first.

 

What we (my hubs and I) did was asking Google to index our site again and crawl my “newish” site.

 

You have to register your site and choose if you want it to appear with or without the www. (I chose to keep it simple without the www) plus other possibilities that I won’t go into details.

 

From what I understood (forgive me if it’s not totally accurate as I’m NOT a geek) it means that you point Google search engine to your site and ask it to crawl your site. You can gather many interesting information about security issues, broken links, problems etc. if you use Google search console.

 

You can find all these Google tools going to Google, tools “For Business “and “Search Console” tool.

 

To make it simple it’s like putting an ad in the newspaper telling that you are blogging about books. Search engines will see it and go to your site.

 

You can also submit your sitemap to Google search console and it will analyze it. If you use Jetpack plugin you can find your sitemap going to settings/traffic/sitemap and choose option “generate sitemap”.

Then you can enter your sitemap url into Google search console. It helps search engine understand how your site works, the logic behind it all.

 

That’s it! After asking Google to “crawl” my site I appeared in WP reader!!! Finally.

 

Now I cross my fingers and hope it will stay that way.

 

Maybe what I’ve done won’t be enough to help you as it may be another problem that you are encountering but I promised Geybie and Corina that I would share this so now Ladies I hope it will help you!

Don’t forget that I’m NOT a professional webmaster nor a techie so I can’t guarantee this will work for you nor help you unfortunately with technical questions. But the forums are filled with people very qualified and ready to help you.

 

I wish you luck!

 

A huuuge thank you to my husband for his help and technical knowledge I could not have done it without his help!

 

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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17 Replies to “WordPress Reader Here I Am: Backstage blogging”

  1. How amazing of you to do a post explaining this all! I know that there are so many people with issues so this will help many people who have struggled. Glad to see that you’re now on the reader! I hope that only helps with your blogging success!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thanks Shanah! I’m no techie so I cross my fingers that this will hold! Now Avalinah told me that as self hosted blogs we can’t show on the Discover or the reader. Meaning other bloggers can’t discover my blog. But I’m already really happy that I’m now showing in my friends readers. That’s a huge progress!

      1. Ya I’ve heard a lot of horror stories of people self hosting. I’ve thought of it myself but decided not to after hearing all the stories!

        1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

          Well Shanah you are wise and I was foolish? LOL Now on the other hand I have lots of freedom but I guess freedom comes at a cost;-)

          1. I don’t need freedom – when I have freedom things get out of hand!!!

          2. BewareOfTheReader says:

            Bwaaahaa Shanah! Same here as I keep making mistake and having regular frights 😉

  2. […] Sophie @ Beware of the Reader shares a very relevant post to all of us self-hosted people – what to do to organically appear in the WP Reader […]

  3. Thanks for the post! However, from what I heard, Discover is only for free blogs, and if you’re self-hosted, you can never ever ever get any distribution through there. So I sort of gave up.
    Ironically, I have always been using pretty links, so I don’t have that problem. I’ve also used Yoast for at least a few months. I have also had a google search console installed from basically the beginning. Cause I work in marketing and know it has to be done xD I just never messed with anything inside it, because I don’t really know much about SEO.
    How do you know if you’re showing on Discover though? How would you check? Because from what I had gathered, there is no way for me to show there if I am self-hosted at all… Only to the people who are already following me.
    But that’s a good idea about submitting the sitemap. I think I’ll try that, thanks.
    I am totally sharing your post 🙂 <3

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Hi Evelina I don’t know if I show in the Discover but at least people following my blog now can see my posts on the reader! Before I did not even appear in the reader. It was like a frozen picture from January 2017 and told that I did not publish anything since!
      Now you tell me Discover is only for the free blogs… I will have a look as free blogs means publicity on their blogs so it should be easy to spot them and check.
      Thanks for sharing my post!
      As you work in marketing how do you promote your blog? What’s the best strategy? I confess I’m really interested in having this conversation with a specialist 😉

  4. […] issues. Since I’m a self hosted blog, WP reader is not my friend. After reading my friends Sophie’s article about her successfully conquering WP reader, I thought I could make it work as well, but it seems, […]

  5. Great info! I’ll have to mess around with my site cuz I’m not sure about like 95% of this…LOL!!!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well I think we are all newbies trying to learn the geeky side of blogging Trisy! Surprisingly I love the technical side even if I have a loooooooooooooooong way to go. Example: I need to get my gravatar back LOL

  6. Yay, thank you so much, honey. You know I had lots of issues since I changed my domain name last month. Most issues have been solved except the WP reader. This post is a life changer, Sophie. Thank you so much. ❤️

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      You are more than welcome Geybie! 😉

    2. You are selfhosted too? When I add myself to the reader it shows me my last post was in january 🙁 what a pain in the neck this has been….

    3. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      You are welcome Geybie. Consider adding the Jetpack rss widget to your active widgets too to ensure your rss feed is ready to grab

  7. Thank you so much for the great info. I don’t even know if my posts shows in the WP reader but my links seems ok. I will ask Google to “crawl” my site just incase 🙂 I am still trying to figure out why Twitter and Facebook picks up the picture I have on my main page and not the posts picture. I think I figured it out but I need to try 🙂

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