Blog Views and Other Obsessions – WordPress Story Update and Thoughts

Here’s an interesting follow-up to my post last week in which I talked about the new story feature on the Jetpack app. As an experiment, I tried it out and this is what happened:

My experimental story has gotten more views and likes than any other post so far this month. Isn’t that weird? Does anyone know if Jetpack stories boost blog performance?

I just posted another story, to see if that’s the case. After this, I promise I’ll stop talking about Jetpack!

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Blog Views and Other Obsessions – some techy observations

I’ve noticed a few new things on the WordPress editor, have you? First, let me say that I have fully transitioned to the block editor and I like it. A lot of what they’ve done makes sense to me. I thought it was going to be like the editor I use at work for our email marketing platform (Constant Contact), but I was totally wrong!

As for the new things, I feel like WordPress just sneaks these things in on us, however I admit I don’t study the features at night. It’s the same way with Canva. Things change all the time over there, but I love Canva so much that I like to see new things.

Recently I got frustrated that it wasn’t as easy to resize images until I discovered this little icon in the upper right corner (see below). I don’t know what you call it, but it opens up the sidebar so you can edit.

I’ve made a mess of my resuable blocks—my fault, but while trying to sort it out, I noticed that the Resuables feature also has a new icon.

Do you have the WordPress app on your phone? I use it all the time, never to write posts, but to check stats and reply to comments when I’m out and about. I’ve also used the widget for a quick look at stats, but I recently noticed that it was really slow to update. Weird. It used to be great. Then I got a notification to download the Jetpack app because it will be taking over these features on March 8. Now I use that and it’s great.

One of the new things on the Jetpack app is the ability to post a story. Well I guess it was just a matter of time. You may have seen a random post from me go out on Thursday night because I was playing around with the story feature. I deleted it because I thought it might work like Instagram, but it created an actual post. I’m going to post a story right after this post, so you can see what I mean.

So just a few techy observations. Have you noticed these changes and features? Leave a comment!

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Blog Views and Other Obsessions – What’s new?

Here’s a mishmash of my current blogging experiences:

In my last post about blogging, I announced that I was tentatively happy because my spam comment problem seemed to be resolved. You may remember that my blog had been inundated with spam and it was even spamming email accounts connected to blogs that follow me. That was horrible. To fix it, I turned off pingbacks and trackbacks and closed comments after 30 days. IT’S WORKING! What a relief. Now I don’t have to spend time deleting spam. If you are having problems with spam comments, I highly recommend you turn off pingbacks and trackbacks and close comments after 30 days.

Have you noticed that the fonts have changed in draft mode? It doesn’t affect the final post so not really a big deal, but you know…change.

How’s everyone doing with the block editor? Are you using all the features? Have you converted your old posts from the Classic format? I’m doing pretty well and don’t find it hard to use, but I don’t use nearly all the features. I do like using the “Resuable” blocks when I write a post, though, and forced myself to learn how to create them. It saves a lot of time. As for converting from the Classic format, I have had mixed results. I’m not on a mission to change them all, but if I’m linking to an old post, I like to update it.

Did you notice that the Reader layout is different? At first, I thought, “Whoa, WordPress, enough with the changes” but I actually think it’s an improvement. IMO it’s easier to get an idea about the post and honestly, everything looks more attractive.

Now here’s something that I wish would happen. When I link my blog to something else, I have to manually set the link to open in a new tab. I would love that to be a default setting. Does anyone else think about this?

That’s about it for me. What are some of your recent blogging observations? I hope you’re having a good Saturday!

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Blog Views and Other Obsessions – tentatively happy 🙂

Last week I wrote this post about the problems I’d been having with spam. Followers had been receiving a lot of spam emails, as replies to comments on my blog. I was horrified. What a bad way to promote your blog! The weird thing was that I did not receive notifications through my blog about the spam emails. I want to thank those who reached out to me to tell me about the problem because I never would have known!

The problem started back in March and I wrote another post about all the spam comments on my blog. Akismet was doing their job catching them and rerouting them to my spam folder but they had become a nuisance to delete because the comments were coming in fast and furious. A couple people told me that the spam folders emptied automatically, so I let it go for a bit. Not true for my free blog because next time I checked, I had about 35,000 spam comments and it took me a couple hours to delete them all.

I tried to stay upbeat about it and made this video making fun of the insulting comments (some were pretty amusing), but the volume of spam bothered me! I contacted the Happiness Engineers at WordPress and they suggested I change my password, enable two-step authentication and consider closing my comments. I did the first two (did not want to close comments!) and for a while, the spam was under control…until recently.

Back to the Happiness Engineers who directed me to my blog’s Discussion settings, but they did not tell me what to do. So I made some decisions on my own: I turned off pingbacks and trackbacks and reluctantly closed comments after 30 days.

Since then I’ve received ZERO spam comments on my blog. I have not heard from any of you about spam emails. I hope they have also stopped. Please let me know if you are still receiving them. If you are having the same problems on your blog, I strongly recommend turning off pingbacks and trackbacks.

Now I am finished talking about spam and will resume reading. I hope you are all having a nice September Saturday!

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Blog views and other obsessions – Free Photo Library on WordPress


Have you noticed something different about your WordPress Home Page? My Home popped up on my blog this week, with a reconfigured format. I haven’t tried everything, but what caught my eye is that now WordPress offers a Free Photo Library of 40,000 stock photos, provided by Pexels.

I’ve been using Pixabay for a few years to find good copyright free photos, but now there’s an option built right into WordPress.

Another good thing I noticed is that you can also upload photos right from Google Photos. I like that! I’m not sure if that’s new, but I’d never seen that before.

And here’s how to access the photo library.

  • Go to your My Home screen, open the Site options and select Media.
  • Click the down arrow on the top left banner dropdown to see WordPress Library, Google Photos library and Free Photo library. Select Free Photo.
  • Type suggestion in Search bar, select an appropriate photo and select Copy to media library.

Your image is ready for you to insert into your next blog post. Photo credits are included in the uploads.

Curious to see what kinds of free images are available, I did a few searches and here are some.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

They are generic like all the stock images out there but they are free and I can see myself using these for certain posts.

Photo by Aleksey Kuprikov on

How about you? Will you use this new feature?

Photo by Andrew Neel on

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Blog views and other obsessions – Shortlink

Using Shortlink to share your posts

You may have set your WordPress blog posts to go to Twitter when you publish. I noticed that the links in the tweets are long and not abbreviated the way they used to be. My last blog post looked like this on Twitter:

See how long the code is and how it’s chopped off?  I don’t know how to fix that, or if it matters very much to most people, but I am a little crazy about streamlining.  I recently discovered that WordPress has a button on its Edit Post page called Get Shortlink. It does the same thing as Bitly, but it’s easier because the utility is right there and it saves you a few steps.

If you want to tweet an older post, go to the Edit Post page and use the Shortlink button to copy the shortened link into your tweet.

Here’s what my tweet of the same post looked like:

See how much better the link looks?  Now I’m not sure why the book cover is bigger in the second tweet.  That’s just something else to keep me obsessed!

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Blog views & other obsessions – Twitter tips

Twitter Tips

Here are two tips one of my resident Twitter experts gave me regarding WordPress and Twitter.

1)  I often “Share” my older WordPress posts on Twitter. I used to click on the Twitter icon at the bottom of my post to tweet and it would look something like this:

Notice the link plus the additional “via @BookClubMom”. It’s better not to tweet to your own Twitter account. Instead, include the link in a new tweet. And make your tweet look more professional by shortening your link. Use a website like,  and paste it directly into your tweet. Bitly is very easy to use, so check it out.

See how much cleaner this looks?

2)  A good way to take the plunge and interact with your Twitter followers is to add comment on a tweet from your feed. Here’s an example. Someone on my feed asked for a book recommendation. Rather than just tweeting out a favorite book, I responded directly by retweeting and adding my recommendation.

The person who asked for the book recommendation saw my comment and favorited it. This comment was seen by other followers who also favorited it. I could have taken it a step further by including the bitly link to my review of the book, but I didn’t think of that until later. Still learning!

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