Wednesday, April 10, 2013

#WWoW!: Using Blog Static Pages to Your Advantage

Welcome back to Writer's Words of Wisdom here at Not Enough Time in the Day. Each week a Smart & Savvy Group of Authors write a feature for their blog each Wednesday. The goal is to impart what we've learned about writing, editing, getting published, book promotion, and more along the way.

This week I thought I'd focus on using static pages for more than just a list of your favorite links or your book covers. Starting in May, I'm participating in a blog hop hosted by the Four Seduced Muses. The Caliente Blog Hop runs from May 6th through May 10th. That's Monday through Friday. Five days where my continuous blogs could be "occupied" daily for the hop, OR I could still have my regular features on all of them AND still have a dedicated spot where folks who are only interested in the hop can go without having to wade through five or six days worth of posts. This is where the static pages can be used to my advantage...and to yours.

Depending on what blog platform/host you use, the steps to set up the pages can be a little different than how I'm going to show you how to do today. Since I use both Wordpress and Blogger, those will be what I focus on in this post.

My main website and blog is Behind Closed Doors. It's on the free but I purchased my domain name so the official URL is  The following description and photos will apply to this particular blog. If you go to the site, you will be taken to my landing page, or HOME. I made this static page my website. There you can see the navigating tabs at the top where you can find the Blog, My Poetry, my other sister blogs, guidelines, etc. It's in that menu I'll put the tab for visitors to find the Caliente Blog Hop page.

To get started in wordpress, click on DASHBOARD, then APPEARANCE, then PAGES, then ADD NEW.
Now you get a template page very similar to what you would normally see when writing a general post for your blog. Set it up as you desire even with a scheduled date and time for it to go live. You can post it immediately if you wish, but for my purposes, I made it the first day of the hop.

Now go to DASHBOARD and then MENU. You'll see a page like the following.

Do you see the boxes next to the pages there in the middle of the screen shot? Those are where you can check off to choose what pages you wish to include in the menu. You can have many pages set up and not easily accessed with the menu tabs. These stay "hidden" until you provide the link for folks to access them. I did that with my Now and Forever Series tab. There you will find blurbs of my books and also links to the first chapter of each one. You can only access the first chapter pages by that link.

Now in the right column of the screen shot above, you see the list of items in my menu that will appear at the top of the Behind Closed Doors website/blog. I can move the order around with the idea of giving the Caliente Blog Hop tab greater visibility. I will have it at the end, so it will show up as the last tab and easily accessible. Now at any point during the blog hop, people can visit that page simply by clicking on the tab in the menu at the top. If they wish, they can also tour around my site and check out the other guests I'll have on my blog during the hop.

For Blogger, the steps are a little different but a bit easier than with Wordpress. Click on DESIGN at the top right of your blog, then PAGES, then ADD NEW.
Go ahead and create the page the way you want it to look. The photo above is taken from my alter ego Stephanie Ryan's blog. She's participating in the Caliente Blog Hop too. ;-)

After you have the page the way you want it, go ahead and publish it. Don't worry, you'll be able to change the status of it in a moment.

See how Stephanie's Caliente Hop page is listed in the page menu? Here is where you can change the status of the page by reverting it to draft. That way it keeps it "hidden" until you're ready for it to go live. You will have to go in there and publish it manually as blogger doesn't have a way to schedule the pages at specific dates and times like Wordpress does. Here's what the dashboard looks like when you revert the page to draft.

Why have a separate static page in order to participate in blog hops? Well, I used to do a new post every single day of the hop I was participating in and found that the first day or two got the best response, but then only a few folks came back daily. So I thought I would take that to heart, and just have one dedicated page to the hop and go about my regular blog business at the same time. Now that I have three pen names to manage, this is the best option for me. I can enjoy the hops and continue to promote myself, my pen names and fellow authors.  Also if you end up participating in hops that overlap or occur at the same time, this allows you to have a separate page for each one and still be able to keep the visitors and their contest entries separate from each other.

So go on. Set up pages for blog hops, your own contests, or even a store to sell your books. That's my next project for the Sassy Vixen Publishing website!

Next week I'll talk more about hosting your own blog hop, creating the buttons, linky lists and more. It seems daunting, but it's really not hard. That is as long as you stick with the KISS principle!

Until next time...

Make sure you stop in and say hello to the other authors participating this week.

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