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Personal Debt Wrangler – Had my money head in the sand – but no more!

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Two Key Blogging Tips to Help Your Brand and Exposure

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blogger-identity-brand-perception

Your BRAND deserves R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Hey there everyone ~ I’ve been blogging for a little over two months now and constantly learning the hard way.  But the cool thing about being a newbie is that when you don’t know anything, you can ask the ‘dumb’ questions and get away with it.  😀

However, in my trials and tribulations, I’ve come across 2 things that I think every beginner blogger should know.  Wait there’s more – in fact these are two things that even seasoned bloggers could benefit from.

They’re BASIC, they’re bold and they all revolve around your brand.  I mean your brand is the figurehead of your blog and therefore a key recognizable identity to you as a writer.  Once people get to know and appreciate your writing style and featured content in your posts, it helps to remind your readership who you are and keeps them coming back.  This, in turn, is a stepping stone to be able to further interact with the blogging community, get inspired, write more great posts, grow your readership and retire early have a jolly good time.

#1 Who Tweets Your Stuff

The Process

I like to tweet out people’s posts that I have read or particularly like.  I don’t always comment* (see more on this subject in BONUS section below), if I have nothing to add to the conversation, but if I like the post, I try to remember to tweet it.  When you select the Tweet button below the post a nice summary is formulated that you can add to or tweet as is.  Here’s a sample of what I mean for a twitter share generated from my blog:
Tweet-format-from-WordPress

The Problem

However, in many cases (I estimate 40- 50% of bloggers) your own twitter handle is not added to the tweet.  Note above that the @DEBtDEBs was added automatically by the WordPress application software, but you have to configure it.

Note to self:  Wait a minute, Debt Debs.  You can just throw that figure of 40%-50% out there like that without any substantiation.

Right, fair enough, but I tweet out enough posts that I have a fairly good feel for it.  When the twitter id is not coming up automatically, I go to Twitter, search for the twitter name, copy it, and then paste it in the Tweet.  It’s a lot of hassle.  Sometimes, by the time I’ve done that, I forget to add my usual witty commentary at the intro.  #vain  Then I’m kinda miffed because what’s the point of just tweeting out a robotic tweet without some snarky comment added colour at the front of it – totally endorsing your post and showing that I actually read it.

The Evidence

Right, ahem.  So in fairness, in case I tend to exaggerate, while reading some blogs Monday night (Happy Belated Memorial Day to y’all BTW – you wrote some awesome tributes!), I decided to do a scientific and terrific test of the actual number of occurrences of this phenomenon.  (WoW, I’m getting all fancy wordy now that I’m a lowly application tester).

So within a one hour period from 8 p.m. – 9 p.m. EDT, I read a total of 7 posts (OK, maybe I’m a slow reader) and then tweeted them all (they were wonderful!) and here are the results:

Twitter-Wordpress-Button-Test

3 out of 7 tweets had their Twitter ID – 4 did not 😦

So my 40%-50% estimate is pretty accurate or understated, because out of the 7 tweets I sent, for 4 (57%) of them I needed to look-up of your twitter ID’s and manually add to the tweet before I sent them.  Like I said, I thought I had a pretty good feel for it.

Now maybe you don’t want to know who tweets your posts out, but if you’re a new blogger like me, trying to build your traffic and brand, it’s awesome to know when someone tweets your stuff!  Usually you like to thank them, although it is not necessary if you are a high traffic blog, in my humble opinion.

Since I appreciate this and knowing that my twitter handle comes up automatically, I went to investigate why this does not occur with all blogs.  I’m on a WordPress.com hosted site, so I wasn’t sure that if I would be able to troubleshoot on my own for those who use self-hosted WordPress.org themes.  So I enlisted the help of three bloggers, whom I’ve come to know in this world of Personal Finance blogs, to help me:

@Shoeaholicnomor from shoeaholicnomore.com – ‘Shoe’ has just recently moved her blog over from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress and I was trying to help her with these logistics.

@SavvyJames from retirementsavvy.net – James and I have conversed on-line a number of times and his blog is already on a self-hosted WordPress site.

@SaverSpender from www.savespendsplurge.com – helped Shoe and me out when we had a question and James was not available.

The Solution

WordPress.com blogs

My blog is hosted by WordPress.com and uses the WordPress application software.

In order to have my Twitter handle @debtdebs show up whenever someone re-tweets one of my posts, I had to configure the following two steps:

1. Go to Dashboard > Settings > Sharing

Sharing-Settings-for-Twitter

WordPress-Twitter-Linking

2. Scroll down on that same page and fill out this section

Sharing-Settings-for-Twitter-WordPress.com
This will yield the above tweet result when someone opts to tweet your post like this:

Twitter-share-buttonOnce the new window is opened with your tweet, you can modify before you send.

WordPress.org blogs – self hosted blogs

Many blogs are self-hosted as this allows them flexibility in terms of advertising options that they use on their site.  This involves hiring a server hosting company (e.g. Host Gator, Blue Host) to manage their site’s data as well as a company that licenses their domain name on an annual basis (e.g. Go Daddy).   A majority seem to use WordPress application software, utilizing either a free or paid for theme, or a specifically developed theme for their site from a WordPress developer.

To link your twitter account to your blog and set your Twitter handle like above, the steps are similar but it looks a bit different.

Step 1 – actually this step looks identical from what I can see

Twitter-Settings-WordPress.orgStep 2 – similar but the description field is slightly different.  It may depend on the template used for the blog site.

Twitter-handle-settingPrevious to making the Step 2 change for Shoeaholicnomor’s blog, this is what the Tweets looked like.  Note the addition of @jetpack at the end of the tweet:

@JetPack-in-TweetAfter the step 2 was completed, here is the result.  @jetpack is replaced by @shoeaholicnomor:

Twitter-handle-now-showing

Here is further information from the support forum question and answer for WordPress.org that shows you how to modify your script so that your twitter handle shows on your tweeted posts, if the above options are not available in your blog.

#2 Your unique Avatar showing on browser tab

The Process

Okay, call me a nerd or call me a word that rhymes with banal but drop the ‘b’, but I like to see the your little avatar showing on the tabs across the top of my browser.

Actually, it’s pretty practical to be able to quickly scan your tabs and find the one your are looking for by zoning in on the picture.  I don’t know about you, but I often have 20 – 40 tabs open (more than what will fit on my screen).  So if I’m trying to find one, it’s nice when it stands out easily by the special picture you have selected to go with your blog brand.

Here’s a picture to illustrate exactly what I mean:

Browser-tabs-showing-avatar

The Problem

Well what I discovered was that the avatar showing for Shoeaholic’s blog was the Host Gator (blog hosting provider) picture.

With @Saverspender’s help, we identified that Shoe was looking for something called a favicon in her blog settings:

Favicon

The Solution

Shoe found the spot and uploaded her .png (or .jpg) file as follows:

How-to-configure-favicon-in-WordPressViolà, we have Shoe’s pretty little shoes showing up on the tab (even if small, you still ‘get the picture’):

favicon-avatar-tabsBonus Point on Commenting

*Note:  I would be remiss in telling you that Joshua @ CNA Finance had a great post last week on commenting on other blogs.  Contrary to what I said above about only commenting where I think I add value to the thread, Josh maintains you should comment on every ‘authority’ blog in your niche.  Here’s what he has to say on this:

Step #1: Find Authorities In Your Niche – Authorities in any niche get a ton of comments. You should be leaving one on every article as well! There are also benefits to knowing who the authorities in your niche are when it comes to running a successful blog commenting campaign. One of the biggest is the fact that chances are, there are tons of other influential bloggers commenting in the same place. So, you’ll never fall short of articles to read and comment on.

So what I interpret what Josh is saying is, although it may be difficult to comment on every blog post in your niche that you read, you should make a specific point to always comment on every blog post from a Personal Finance (PF) Authority Blog. 

Now we all have our favourites and ones who we see are the authorities in PF blogging (Josh mentions a few of my personal favourite authorities in his post), but the list of authorities in PF blogging is getting pretty long as well.  So try to comment when you can, but especially on sites that you see as the authorities in your domain, whether it be Personal Finance or something else.

The most important thing when leaving a comment is that it is sincere and shows you’ve read the post, which Josh also mentions in his write-up.  I’ve had very few comments that did not seem sincere and maybe once or twice the comment looked a bit like the person might have skimmed the post only.

Josh has other good tips in his post and future planned posts on blogging topics so be sure to go read the whole thing through the link above and add his site to your feedly or bloglovin. **

** Incidentally, it looks like feedly has fixed the problem I was having with my site showing up in Android readers so I’ve amended the above linked post.

The Wrap

Now I’m not a technical expert, but as a blog reader and user, I am thankful to have figured out how to offer the above tips as a way to finesse your social networking  and blog branding strategy.  In the article, The Tweeting Dead: 5 Ways Brands Can Avoid Being Muted the importance of keeping your social networking content unique and utilizing automated social media strategies are discussed.  Doing it right and finding the right balance are key to ensuring you writing is not passed over as being overly flouted or too self-serving.

If you have other technical suggestions or aspects I have not covered above, please feel free to respond in the comments.  Of course any other best practice suggestions regarding use of Twitter, Avatars/Favicons and Comments are most welcome too.

I’d like to sincerely thank @Shoeaholicnomor, @SavvyJames and @SaverSpender for their support and information provided to trouble-shoot the ‘mystery’ settings to make the above two features function properly.

Did you know about these settings?  Are you going to make changes to your blog configuration now?

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Author: debt debs

I am a fifty-something wife, mother and new grandmother, who admits to having their “head in the sand” about their financial situation until amassing $247,500 worth of consumer debt for a total debt of $393,500. We've paid $121K in 2 years with four more years to go. Join my journey at debtdebs.com sharing ideas and motivation to all those coping with poor money management and bad debt decisions.

92 thoughts on “Two Key Blogging Tips to Help Your Brand and Exposure

  1. Darn, I didn’t realize my twitter handle wasn’t showing up. And what’s worse is I have a different version of WP than Shoe so I don’t know where to add it. Ugh, off to search 🙂

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    • It should still be under settings>sharing ( I think). I’m not too tech savy though so be sure to reach out to the other’s mentioned if you can’t find it.

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    • Look for something with twitter site tag or username. Otherwise check out the WordPress.org link I have above. You may have to add some script. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

      Like

  2. Going to try and set up the Favicon today! Thanks for the tips. I’ve been doing it for just over 2 months now as well. It is so much fun!

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    • Thanks for visiting, Julie. I think it’s a nice little visual identity that helps you be recognized. Maybe I’m weird but as soon as I saw it on other sites, I had to figure out how to get it working for myself.

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  3. Yeah it kind of drives me crazy when people don’t have their twitter handle…but there are things that I’m still learning about wordpress as I go that people probably still can’t believe I do. Hopefully people will find your tips really useful!

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    • Oh, I’m definitely still learning all the time. Feedback so far has been pretty good! I’m really happy to be able to help others out, not only for their sake to get their sites working better, but also for the sake of readers. It does take a lot of time to look up their Twitter ID if it’s not there. Sometimes I don’t bother and I’m usually pretty diligent, so if I’m feeling that way then ….

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  4. Solid tips Deb! I totally missed having the Twitter handle when I first started out and it’s one that can be easy to overlook I think…especially if you’re technically inept like me. 🙂

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    • Awesome, thank you, John! Well you don’t usually tweet your own stuff right, so not hard to miss. That’s why I thought it was important to get the message out. I actually tried to by doing a little twitter campaign a few weeks ago, but didn’t get any feedback on that. Hey, is anyone reading twitter? ha ha 😉

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  5. I get a little confused when people talk about technical jargon, so excuse me. So does this mean that if someone retweets one of my tweets, the retweet wont have my twitter handle in it?

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    • It only won’t have your twitter handle if they tweet it from your blog post directly (If you have the “share” option at the bottom of the post).

      Like

    • Shoe is right. I just tried tweeting from your site and your Twitter handle is not in your tweet. So you are not getting notified whenever someone tweets your post. However, I don’t even know if you use Twitter because I don’t see a link to it on your site. I see you use Blogger. Shoe used to use Blogger so she may know a bit more about this if you want to link your twitter account to your blog.

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  6. Great post, Debs! It drives me nuts when people don’t have their name set up for tweets. I don’t have a favicon for my blog, so I definitely need to look into setting that up.

    Like

    • Hey, Lauren… I notice you have the little square for the favicon/avatar for your blog. I’ve seen this with other blogs too. Some are navy squares and some are coloured squares. I see you use Weaver II Theme. I’m not sure if you can customize the avatar or not but would be interested in finding out, so if you could let me know. It’s kind of like the people with GENESIS theme templates all have G’s on their tabs. I often wonder if they cannot change that. I’m interested to know that too, because if that were the case, I would never pick a theme like that because I personally don’t like it. Not to be a snob but I just like the personalized jpgs.

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      • Hi Deb, I figured it out and added a favicon! It was very easy to do. I think that the blue square that I had is the default for bluehost hosted websites, which is what I use. I really like the Weaver II theme- it’s free, and easy to customize without knowing html.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s so cool that you were able to get that sorted. It makes sense that the blue square is the default for Bluehost because before Shoe had the gator for Hostgator. Thanks for the update!

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  7. These are awesome points Deb!! I didn’t have my twitter handle for a while but didn’t know it. I will sometimes comment but not tweet posts if bloggers don’t have twitter handles because it is a lot of work sometimes to add them.

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  8. Great post Debster! You just reminded me to change my favicon…you know the tab avatar…thanks! Also, thanks for linking to my post about comments. OK, so maybe you don’t have to comment on every authority blog every day, but it’s a good idea to make it a point to make sure you’re part of those authoritative communities. Thanks again, I’ll see ya around!

    Like

    • Thanks Josh! I agree, it’s important to be visible and participative! Thank you for your awesome post which dovetailed nicely into mine. I really got a lot out of that post and am looking forward to more in your series.

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  9. Thanks for the tips. I just updated my site. I have been wanting to know how to get the favicon. I just figured it out though it was a little different for my theme but at least I knew what to look for.

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    • OK good to know that there was enough info for you to be able to figure it out. Oh.my.dog and I just went to your site and I see it now. It looks really good, I must say. Stands out really well. Warms my little heart.

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  10. Thanks for the tips. I just updated my site. I have been wanting to add my favicon to my site. It was a little different to update for my theme but at least I knew what to look for.

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    • Oh and it looks so good its worthy of this double comment that I missed and I could delete but I don’t care. mwah xo!

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      • Oops, sorry about the double comment. I think I got an error that the first one didn’t go through so I submitted a second one. I guess the first went through after all. 🙂

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  11. Great article debs! Thanks for sharing with everyone and thanks for mentioning me. 🙂

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    • Whoa! Shoe thanks for your help in eduamacating me! I wanted to find a solution and since I didn’t have access to the software to troubleshoot, you moving your site from Blogger to WordPress self-hosted was the perfect opportunity. Besides, who wouldn’t want to show off those perfect little red shoes!! 😉

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  12. This was great! Loved reading these. I am still getting the hang of using Twitter to my advantage (I’m a slow social media learner, apparently) and these tips help a lot. I think I get a little overwhelmed by the time needed to get comfortable with the process, but once I have a routine, I’ll be a lot better at it! 🙂

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    • I’m glad you found it helpful Mrs. H. If you have any questions or need help with anything, I’d be glad to help you out. It can be a bit intimidating. I still have tons of areas I haven’t delved into yet, but I know there’s lots of info to look at and people to call on if I get stuck!

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  13. Thanks for sharing these tips! Likewise, it also drives me crazy when there’s no twitter handle when you’re trying to share a post. I often did the same as you, or I tried to look on their website to see if a social media icon was present. I do have my tweets automated, but only from those blogs I read on a daily basis, so it’s likely I’ll comment on them as well. And I also have 10-15 tabs open at any time, and those pictures do come in handy.

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  14. Thanks for the tips. I just added my Twitter site tag as you described. Always good to learn something new. I happen to like my default avatar for now 🙂

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    • Hi DivHut – cool and it works as I just tweeted your post on Dividend Aristocrats! I have Johnson Controls in my portfolio BTW. I can’t wait for your next post on Dividend AristoCATS! I know you say you like your default (blank) avatar for now, but if your looking for and idea, maybe you should get a kitty! ha ha actually a little hut picture would look pretty good.

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  15. These are all very important tips. I don’t like it when a Twitter handle isn’t included. Part of the reason I tweet is to connect with other bloggers in addition to sharing their great content with my readers. I love to know when people have tweeted my stuff, too, so I can thank them and follow them if I’m not already.

    Now I’m off to investigate Jetpack…I’m on self-hosted WordPress but it looks like it would do a lot of the things that I have several different plugins doing now.

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    • OK good, glad it sparked an idea for you Jen! Really happy to hear I’m not the only one who found the missing twitter handle yucchy. In fairness, it takes awhile to figure all the stuff out and there’s only so many hours in the day. I just thought it would be a good way to get the word out to as many new bloggers as possible. Spread the word!

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  16. Great tips! Glad I was able to chip in a couple of cents 🙂

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  17. I have also noticed that many people are missing their twitter handle when you want to tweet their post! Thanks for bringing up very valid points.

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  18. You are so welcome! And I am so embarrassed that I typed “shower” instead of “show” in my tweet and now it’s on your blog for life 😉

    Glad it all helped.

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  19. Wow! I didn’t even realize that Twitter Site Tag wasn’t filled out on my site. Just did it, thanks for the tips! I still haven’t gotten around to the favicon yet….trying to find my mascot LOL! 🙂

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    • Oh yay! Another score! I feel like it’s the Stanley Cup finals. Glad it helped you Michelle. You’re pic is just fine as your avatar/favicon. Write now just a big WordPress “W” shows.

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  20. Great information and progress. And thanks for helping me get set up on Twitter!

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  21. This post is very, very helpful, especially for those who just started a blog or planning to make their blog. I already set up the social media and share button on my client’s blog and I also uploaded my picture.

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  22. SO TRUE! I got to a point where I just didn’t tweet anyone who didn’t have their handle set up automatically. It was too much work.

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    • Hey, Stef – you have the Thesis WP Theme and your avatar on the tab is the pretty coloured boxes. Is that something that is not alterable in the Thesis theme? Just curious. Lauren at The Write Budget is similar except she’s on a different Theme and her boxes are navy blue.

      Like

  23. Pingback: Debt Free Date - Shoeaholicnomore

  24. My blog commenting rule is this: I try to comment on every blog that comments on mine. I may not be adding value to the conversation but I do believe the relationships I’ve built this way are valuable.

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    • Very good point, Holly, they are indeed! Sometimes I worry that I blab on too long, because usually it is not hard for me to have something to say on what I read!!

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    • I too try to go and check out the blog of everyone who comments on mine. Sometimes it’s not right away and they get added to my very long list of blogs to check out. Everytime I get one “crossed off” I add 3 more… It just keeps growing!

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  25. Helpful post! Blogging definitely is a learning experience. I’ve been meaning to switch out Shareholic for a while, and just haven’t sat down to do it yet. I am probably too lax when it comes to social media but I do what I can and prefer to prioritize writing. There’s always new things we can learn with blogging which is what makes it so much fun!

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    • Hi and thanks for coming by! I’m not that familiar with Shareaholic although I’ve seen it on lots of blogs. Why do you want to switch it out? I would like to learn a bit more on the commenting tools – Comment Luv, Shareaholic etc. as I don’t know much about them.

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  26. These are some great tips! I learned a lot doing Bloggers Helping Bloggers, including how to set up a favicon. You should look in to it!

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  27. General question. Do any of you use a cache plugin for your WP site to improve performance?

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  28. Great post. Im a newbie as well and I can always use more help on the technical side. I have recently started to actively use twitter more and more during the day and I find it helps. It amazes me how much traffic some sites get, definitely something to aspire to. I love getting comments so I always try to comment back whenever I can

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    • Thanks, Dan. How do you use Twitter? Do you re-tweet things or engage in 1-1 conversations? I don’t have time to do this during the day. If I’m working from home, then I can use my tablet to approve comments but that’s about all. Otherwise it has to wait until I get home in the evening.

      Like

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  30. Damn that’s a comprehensive post! Good for you. I agree it’s annoying. usually if it does that, I just cancel tweeting.
    Favicons can be finicky, sometimes no matter how many ways you replace them (uploading directly via FTP, or using a plugin), they just don’t want to work. A friend of mine has tried EVERYTHING and the genesis G still shows up.

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    • Why, thank you Anne! I didn’t realize that Favicons could be so finicky. I’ve basically just assumed that for some themes like Genesis and Thesis you can’t change the pic on the browser tab. I see yours shows up okay though and it looks like you may be on Genesis, true?

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  31. Content is definitely important. People read your blog because they value what you have to offer, so I think that’s your biggest asset. That’s also true about your Avatar, it makes you stand out from the crowd. Lastly, if I really have anything to add to a blog post, I like to see who comment on it so I can find new blogs to read, just like you. I think this way you can build relationship with authorities bloggers and help other bloggers find you, killing two birds with one stone 😀

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  32. Thank you so much for the tips! I had no idea about the twitter tag – even though I had setup the sharing settings in my dashboard. Duh!.

    Like

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  35. Wow, Deb…I had no idea! Thanks for tweeting me to let me know that I needed to read this post. Awesome! Now I need to go see if I can figure this out on my own site…wish me luck!

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    • Ugh…I just checked my “Settings” and the “Appearance” options and nothing looks like what you show in your screen shots. I’ll have to work on this later when I’m not fried!

      Like

    • Hi Ree… I was looking at your site but can’t tell what theme you use. Is it WordPress software? It looks like you use an add on plug in called Social Share. So look in there for something with Twitter in it….. when you’re not fried. 😉 Good luck! Just wanted to let you know.

      Like

  36. I set the settings on my sharing plugin to tag me on Twitter. Gotta fix that favicon, though! Great, useful post! Thanks!

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  37. Great post, Debs! I never even thought of that icon up on the address bar. I just tried to update it, but my theme wasn’t having it. I’ll have to check it out again soon when it’s not so late. I agree about it being easiest when people do have their twitter handle set… although I just checked and noticed I don’t have that set either :oP Clearly, I’ve got some work to do.

    Like

    • Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help, Mel. Definitely something to wait when you have time and are not to tired to figure out, but it should be fairly straight forward. It’s just with some WP themes, things may look a little different. It’s possible you might need to do script for your theme for the Twitter handle (I put a link to WP.org on that above). I noticed you have the Expound WP theme. For Genesis and Thesis themes, getting the avatar to show seems to be difficult or not possible. Genesis themes always show a “G”. If I find another blog with EXPOUND theme, that shows the avatar, I’ll let you know.

      Like

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  39. Twitter handled configured! I was a little leery about authorizing the app. because I didn’t want it to post a bunch of spam. Not that WordPress would do such a thing but still..

    And that’s no kidding about never running out of articles to comment on. I could easily spend half my day just reading PF articles and writing constructive comments!

    Thanks again, for reaching out to me via Twitter, Deb!!!!

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    • You’re welcome Will! I just can’t not try to point it out to someone, in case they didn’t know. I appreciate the help and support I receive from fellow bloggers.

      Like

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