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In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com, Etsy, and more. Check back every Monday for tips on topics from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.
This is Jess Stratton, and welcome to Monday Productivity Pointers. Your potential customers will most likely Google your name and then visit your website at the first stop, checking you out. If there's one thing you want to convey to those people, is that you're active. You're here. You're around, and that you're still part of things. The last thing you want your clients to see is a stagnant website that leaves them questioning whether or not you're actually updating it, or if you're still in business. Here's my blog website. And as you can see, I haven't been that good at updating all my current video releases that I've done for lynda.com, mainly because it's a manual process for me to create these pages on my blog.
So wouldn't it be easier if I didn't have to do anything, and all my personal social media activity, or my social media activity relating to my company (if I had a separate twitter account for that), was automatically put on my website? That way people can know that I'm here and that I'm still active online. So the good news is that it s incredibly easy to update your website without even having to go there. In fact, you can have it update without even having to do anything. All you have to do now is focus on staying active on social media sites.
It's very easy to add a Twitter stream to your website. If you have a WordPress blog, then you can easily search for a plugin. There's lots of them. And a lot of themes nowadays come pre-built-in with that functionality. All you have to do is tell it what your Twitter username is. You can also get the HTML code directly from Twitter. Now that's what I'm going to show you how to do right now. This way, you can learn how to put your Twitter stream on any website, whether it be a corporate site, or a Wordpress blog. So here's my site, and I'm thinking if I scroll down here, a Twitter feed would look great right above, or below, this video releases section here.
I'm going to go to Twitter. And I've got it open right now, and I'm in my account settings. And I got there by clicking on the gear and choosing Settings. From here, on the left hand side, I'm going to select Widgets. And now, I can start building my widget for my site. I'm going to click Create New to make a new widget. And I can choose a timeline source. Right now I'm going to have it default to my regular timeline. Any tweets that I make or anything that anybody mentions about me. Although I can also choose from a particular search if I wanted to. For example, I could have a Twitter feed of searches of my product name if I wanted.
I can get a preview of how it's going to look on the right hand side, and I have some options here. I can put in my username that I want to show up embedded on my site. I can exclude replies that I send to other people if I wanted. I can also choose to have it auto expand any photos that I posted on Twitter. I can choose a particular theme if I wanted; it defaults to the light one and that's what I'm going to stick with. For now, I'm quite happy with the way it looks right out of the gate, so I'm going to select the blue Create Widget button. My widget's been created and now down here at the bottom, the code that I want is highlighted.
So I'm going to right click in that box and choose Copy. And now I'm going to come over to this page, where I've already logged into my WordPress blog, and I'm going to choose the place where I want that code to go. Now, if you don't have WordPress that's fine. This is where you would log into your website, or open up the particular page that you wanted to put this blog, find the right HTML code that you wanted to insert it in between, and just paste it in. Because I'm on WordPress, I went to the Appearance section on the left hand side, and I chose Widgets.
And now I need to find on the right, the particular place on that site where I want to put my code. So this is going to be different for you based on what kind of WordPress site and theme you have. Now there's all sorts. So you do need to be a little bit familiar with how your site works and WordPress first. So here's my Home Sidebar. This is the homepage and the side bar. And I can see my Video Releases section here. So here's a widget that's a simple, text widget. Here's where I can put any arbitrary text, or I can put HTML code in here.
So I'm going to drag that right on top of Video Releases and let go. For my title, I'll call it Latest Tweets. I'll put my cursor in here, right click and choose Paste. I can click the blue Save button down at the bottom. Once it's saved, I can hit close. And now, let's go back to my site, and I'm going to hit the Refresh button or just hit Return in the title bar, and let's see what that did. I'm going to scroll down. And here's my latest tweets. So because they're dated, my customers can come to my site now, and see that I'm very active on Twitter.
In fact, they can follow me right from here. So that's how to get Twitter on the site. There's one more thing I want to show you. Now, I kind of have a big square here, because there's a lot of room. And I do have a band, and we play out a lot. So, maybe I want people to know when we're playing. This way, all I have to do is maintain one calendar, and automatically have it update all that information on my site. So people can check my site, and know when we're playing out. This is a great way to have a constantly evolving and updating site without having to do anything, and there's the added bonus that everybody will get to know when and where we're playing.
So I've got a Google calendar here. I created an extra calendar. In My calendars, you can select Create new calendar, and create a calendar for whatever events you want to show up on your site. In my case, I created one called the Stratones, for the band. I gave it its own color. And so now, any time I want to create an entry, for example, if we book a gig, I can simply create that calendar entry, and choose that particular calendar. So, I don't have to go anywhere near my site to maintain this calendar.
As long as I keep up to date with when we're playing, I'm going to show you now how to put it on the site. I'm going to select my band calendar, and choose Calendar settings. The first thing that I need to do is click Share this Calendar at the top and place a check box next Make this calendar public. From there, click Save. Now that step has to be done. I'll click Yes when it asks me am I really sure that I want to make it public. And now, I have to go back into the calendar settings.
And now, if I scroll down, I can see that I have code here so that I can embed this into a site. I can click this button to customize the color, size, and other options if I wanted to get the color scheme to completely match my site, but I'm not going to worry about that for now. I'm going to click and drag, and copy the entire block of code. Right click and choose Copy. I'm then going to come back to my widgets, and again, this is where you would look on your site and find the exact spot where you want to paste that code in, so that it will insert into the right spot on your site.
I'm going to find my Home Row section, because I just know that that's where on my site I want it to go. And then I'm going to drag my arbitrary text or HTML widget back in, and create a new one. I'll call this one Stratones Calendar. Put my cursor in there, choose Paste. The iframe code gets pasted in. I'll click the blue Save button again, at the bottom. Click Close. And now, I'll go back to my site again and hit Enter to refresh it, and let's see what we've got. So I have a little bit of adjusting to do. I can come back in and, customize it, and make it a little less wide so it'll fit in there.
But it even used my nice heading for my site, so that the font matches. I can see my calendar. I can see when we're playing. And most importantly, all my customers can see when we're playing. Now, this took no time at all. And it's just like a regular functioning calendar. People can flip back and forth throughout the dates and see where we're going to be. So I've just shown you two very quick ways that you can get live, constantly-updating data onto your website without even having to go to your website.
That's a great way to let your customers know that you're still alive and kicking, and out there on the internet.
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