Blog: Getting Started

The blog tool is exactly how it sounds-- a blog. A blog is a way to keep your church members or school parents updated, interest prospective parents, or even simply share the opinions of your organization's leaders on pressing issues. A blog is a very popular and powerful way to engage your audience.

Site Manager offers integrated blogging for customers on the Plus or higher service plans. If you are uncertain about your service plan or are interested in updating, please contact the support team.

Any type of organization can use a blog. Many pastors blog to discuss theological questions that they may not have time to cover in church or even to share resources related to their sermons. A church may also find a blog a useful tool to keeping their parishioners updated on what is happening in their church community, for example new bible study groups starting, church members in need of prayer, etc.

We also recommend that schools blog, or even have multiple blogs. For example, it is great for teachers to add a blog on their faculty page to discuss what is happening in their classroom. Some teachers even let their students take turns blogging about what they are up to. This doubles as a way to share with parents and a writing exercise. A general school blog is a great resource for admissions and sharing with the community. This type of blog could share about upcoming events or events that have recently passed. It could include some spotlights on what is happening in your classrooms or share about any awards and recognition that your staff has recently won. A school athletics' blog can share the highlights of your recent games, including photos and exciting details.

A non-profit organization or business blog is also an important resource. While these organizations may not have all of the exciting events that schools and churches have to share, a business blog is an important way to show that you are active and regularly updating your website. You can discuss some pressing topics in your field, share about the on-going training that your employees are doing, or valuable resources that you want to share with your customers. Some businesses also include information about sales or promotions that they are running on their blog.

A blog usually requires a dedicated page for itself, because of the longer post content and some of the other features of the blog that you may wish to include, such as the tag cloud and archives. While the instructions below will walk you through adding a blog to a page and all of the blog properties, you may wish to start by creating a page for your new blog.

Adding a Blog to a Page

  1. In Site Manager, go to the page where you want to add a blog.
  2. From the "Select a Tool to Add" drop down menu, choose "Blog", under "Interactive Content".
  3. This will take you to the blog settings page:
    • Title: This is an optional field for adding a title to your blog.
    • Show RSS for Posts: Choose if you would like to have an RSS button for the posts.
    • Display a Search: Choose if you would like to include a search for your blog. This will be helpful if you want people to easily be able to find what they are looking for in older blog posts.
    • Display a Categories Section: Many blogs link posts together by using "categories" to group like posts. Include this if you would like to include a section on the blog which shows all categories and the number of posts in each category.
    • Display an Archives Section: You can choose to include an archives section, which will show a list of months and years, for your users to easily jump to a specific month on your blog.
    • Display a Tag Cloud: Using Tags to organize similar content can be very helpful when your users are looking for some specific information. Choosing yes for this option will display a tag cloud, listing all tags being used on your blog.
    • Number of posts: Select how many posts you would like to show the full post content for. You can select up to 10, but the more posts that you are showing the full content of, the longer your page will become and the more difficult to load and navigate. You can also select how many recent post titles you want to be shown on the right.
    • Default Author: You can enter an author along with each post, but entering the Default Author here will auto-fill this field when you go to add an individual blog post.
  4. Once you are done filling out the properties for the Blog Properties "Display" tab, you can also set the properties for the "Comments" tab. To do this, click on the "Comments" tab at the top.
    • Allow Users to Submit Comments to Existing Posts: Select if you want to allow commenting on your blog.
    • Force Comments to be Approved: Select if you want the comments to require approval or if they can be immediately viewable. You may want to require approval to prevent spam comments from appearing on your website.
    • Email Addresses: Enter any email address you want to receive notification of new comments.
  5. Once you are done filling out these properties, click the "Save" button at the bottom right.*

*If you are a Premier or Enterprise customer using the Social Stream Database, you will also have a Social Stream tab. Read below for more information on using  the Social Stream database with the blog tool.

Using Social Stream with the Blog Tool

You can use Social Stream with your Blog to automatically share blog posts on your Facebook page. To read more about Social Stream or about setting up the Social Stream database, please read this article.

If you have already set up the Social Stream Database, here is how you can connect your blog to the Social Stream Database:

  1. From the blog properties(found under the Tool Menu), choose the "Social Stream" tab. 
  2. Check the box of any social accounts that you want to attach to the blog tool and click "Save". 
  3. The social feeds are now attached to your blog tool! 

To read about adding a blog post, read Blog: Adding Posts.

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