After several experiments and tries, I finally did a setup for a community news section on FamousBloggers.net that I am satisfied with. So, I think it’s a good time to share this on the blog and announce the new Community News section for bloggers.
Also, I will give you some information on how I created the news section in case you are interested in implementing it on your own blog, however I won’t get deep into technical stuff, but I will point you to the right direction.
What is a Community News?
If you don’t know what community news section is, then let me give you a quick view…
The Community News section is a way of sharing knowledge, basically you have a section dedicated to receive links submissions from the community and publish it on your own blog. It’s so close to the idea of social bookmarking sites, but the technique and tools are different.
This technique is very popular among design related blogs, probably this explains a little about why design blogs can attract more traffic on the web by submitting their awesome showcases, tutorials, and inspiration posts. Community News sections has been and still used in several different ways, For example, there are some blog owners who do it manually, you submit a link to an article along with a short description, and the owner of the blog publish it manually.
But, some smarter design related blog owners and webmasters went beyond the manual boring work and stat to develop ways to automate the process as much as possible. However, there is no complete solution that you could use out of the box, you must add your own development and invest some time to create a good community news system for your blog.
Being a web designer and developer, I have been part of many news sites, I did followed this technique for a long time, especially when I first started my blog, and I must say it’s a fantastic and easy way to drive traffic, the only hard thing is to actually write good and high quality content so that everyone will love to link back to it and proudly promote it.
Here is a few blogs that I loved to share my design and WordPress related articles on:
The examples above is just to show you how the submission process works and how actually your article will be archived and linked to. Keep reading as I will explain to you the differences between these ways and my way!
How Submitting News to a Community News can help my blog?
The idea here is that you submit links to your own blog posts and articles, this is helpful by two ways, firstly it’s a chance for more traffic to your article, and secondly you get a link back to your article, which could help your ranking in search engines!
I have tested this many times, and it simply works.
Actually, I am amazed that a few of the links I submitted during the last week were gaining some decent visits, some links even got ranked well in Google! You got to try it out yourself to judge it, submit an article!
[box type="note"]This service is available only for our contributors, this means you must be registered to our blog and had at least one guest post to get your links reviewed and published in the news section.[/box]
How Famous Bloggers Community News is different!
Among all the sites I’ve seen in the past couple of years, not even a single site gives you any type of power or control over the way they present your links or the way they actually linking back to your article. Most of the news sections are archived in way that doesn’t really help your ranking unless it’s published manually in a round up form. I think the main focus was on traffic, but really SEO, and probably the idea was invented before web designers start to realize SEO and care for it.
This explains the wrong use of anchor text in links, for example: “read full article“, links to “original source“, or link to the full post title as an anchor text. This is the same thing in most of social bookmarking sites, which doesn’t really help you to rank for a specific keyword.
So, I thought to change all that!
My technique is completely different, and the changes I’ve done was really simple, but effective!
I thought to make use of SEO power, Keywords and Anchor text in the submissions, so You control the way your links are presented when you submit it.
- You decide the SEO Title and Description that will be displayed in SERPs.
- You decide your best keyword that will be used to link to your article.
- Best if all, you get a link within content, the real body of the post!
What you think?
Technical setup for the Community News
As I told you before, I have done several experiments trying to find the best way to get news submissions. You may think this is easy, you just go and use whatever form building plugin and start receiving submission right away!
Well… I wish this is possible, but no! It’s not that easy!
I’ve used TDO Mini Forms plugin which I think is great, but as you may know, the plugin wasn’t lucky enough due to lack of updates, probably this is why it was removed from WordPress plugins directory. However, I am having an older version and it’s actually working, but with a few glitches and missing features! You can check it out if you would like too, here is a link to the submission page on my other site.
Anyways, there is no plugin for this job yet! There is no complete solution for me, so I had to create my own and get assistance of some other plugins as well to complete the submission circle and make it fast and easy for me to publish the submissions on the blog! What I needed was something that saves me time, a lot of time! And, because I believe if there is nothing that help me to do what I want, then I need to invent it!
So, I started with creating my own community news custom post type plugin based on information provided at WP Post Types codex page, then I started to build on top of it.
I ended up with using thee plugins:
- My own Community News Custom Post Type Plugin
- Gravity Forms Plugin (Read my review of Gravity Forms plugin)
- Gravity Forms + Custom Post Types add-on
Of course, there were a few lines of CSS and function modifications added to the custom Thesis Theme Skin I am using on my blog to get things to work together!
And, the most interesting thing is I don’t have to edit anything, I don’t have to modify anyways, the whole process is automated except the publishing part, I just have to check the quality of news or article before publishing, which is not really a big deal yet!
I won’t get into much details about technical stuff, but I will point you out to other…
Useful resources I came across:
- Great resource about Custom Post Types in WordPress by Justin Tadlock (recommended!)
- I’ve followed Yoast‘s Power User Tip: Custom Post Type Feeds & Google to create the Community News RSS Feed (perfect!)
- And, of course WordPress Post Types at the codex.
Give it a try and tell me what you think!
Speaking about traffic, this is a great way, you submit your links, and I do the promotion, we both get traffic!
I don’t want to end up dealing with spam, so I decided to make the submission form available and free only for FamousBloggers.net’s contributors! However the plan can change any time, but at the mean time it won’t be a available for the public any time soon, as a way to guarantee that only quality articles will be shared.