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Setting up and using blogs

You can add a blog to a page on your Wild Apricot site to provide timely updates and information to your membership.

Blogs – like other site content – are inserted as gadgets, in this case, a blog gadget. You cannot add a blog gadget – or any other singular gadget – to a page template or system page, or to a page containing another singular gadget.

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You can embed a Wild Apricot blog on another website using widgets.

You can also insert a recent blog posts gadget to display a list of the most recent blog posts to your site.

Setting up blog pages

You can create as many different blogs as you wish. You can limit access to a blog by placing it on a restricted page. If you make the page public, you can still use the blog gadget settings to control functionality for visitors and members.

Adding a blog

To add a blog to a page on your site, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Sites pages (under the Website menu) and create or begin editing the site page where you want the blog to appear.
  2. Click the Gadget icon to display the list of available gadgets.
  3. Drag the blog gadget from the list, and drop it where you want it to appear on the page. You can insert it into a section within a layout, or above or below a layout.



    When a layout cell or placeholder is empty, a Drop gadget or grid here prompt will be displayed. When you drag a gadget over an empty layout cell or placeholder, it turns green, indicating that you can drop the gadget there. When you drag a gadget above or below a layout, a prompt will appear indicating that you can drop the gadget before or after the layout.
  4. After you have dropped the gadget in the desired location, hover your pointer over it and click the Settings icon.

  5. From the gadget settings panel on the left, choose the desired settings for your blog. You can choose the blog name, control whether an RSS icon appears, and decide what kinds of visitors can read, comment on, and add blog posts. For more information, see Adjusting blog settings (below).
  6. Click Save to save the changes to the page.

For instructions on restricting access to the page, see Page access and visibility.

Adjusting blog settings

Now that you have added a blog gadget to a site page, you can adjust the blog gadget settings to control the appearance of the page and the ability of visitors to read, add, and comment on posts.

Gadget settings appear in a panel on the left side (which can be hidden to maximize the page design area). To display the settings panel, you position your pointer over the gadget – while editing a site page – then click the gadget settings icon.

The following blog gadget settings are available.

Blog name

Choose the name used to identify the blog within the settings for the recent blog posts gadget.

Show RSS icon

Decide whether to display an RSS icon appears on your blog beside the blog title.

By clicking on the RSS icon, visitors to your site can subscribe and be automatically notified of updates to the blog in their RSS reader. If your blog appears on a page with restricted access, the RSS feed will not be accessible to your RSS reader.

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If you're using Google Chrome, you may need to add a RSS subscription extension to your browser.

Show full post content

Choose whether to display the complete content for each blog post, or just a short excerpt from each post. Below each excerpt would be a Read more link that the reader can click to view the full blog post. Alternatively, the reader could click the topic title.

Access permissions

For each type of visitor to your site, you can control whether they can read, comment on, or add posts. You can control functionality separately for public visitors and for each membership level. For public visitors and each membership level, you can choose from the following permission settings:

  • – Read: Can read posts, but cannot comment on or add posts.
  • – Read, comment: Can read posts and comment on them, but cannot add new posts.
  • – Read, comment, add posts: Can read posts, comment on them, and add new posts.
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Public visitors (non-members) can never create new posts. Administrators in admin view can always view and comment on posts, and add new posts (and modify and delete any post). In public view, administrators are subject to the same restrictions as others at the same membership level.

Margins

The amount of space – in pixels – that appears outside the gadget. You can set top, bottom, left, and right margins separately.

Advanced options

For designers and developers familiar with HTML and CSS, the following advanced settings are available:

Setting

Description

HTML ID

A unique identifier by which the gadget can be referenced within custom CSS or JavaScript code. The identifier is automatically generated but can be replaced with a more readable or memorable one (e.g. MyBlogGadget).

CSS class

The name of a CSS class defined on the CSS customization screen.

Inline style

CSS code to control the behavior or appearance of the gadget. For example, you could enter width: 250px; to control the gadget width.

Adding a description

You can add a description for your blog by inserting a content gadget ahead of the blog gadget. Within the content gadget, you can add a title and description, and format them using text styles.For more information on adding and formatting text, see Using the content editor.

Enabling anti-spam settings

To prevent automated software – known as spambots – from bombarding your blog with spam posts and comments, you can enable Wild Apricot's anti-spam Captcha feature. With Captcha enabled, visitors to your blog would have to enter a set of characters – proving them to be a person rather than a program – before being able to add a post or comment.

To enable Captcha for blog posts and comments, go to Settings, and click Anti-spam settings (Captcha) under Security. On the screen that appears, click the checkbox beside Blog post/comment then click Save changes.

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Some spambots can use OCR technology to bypass Captchas, so you might consider restricting blog comments to logged in members. If you continue to receive a lot of spam, contact us and we'll try to identify and (at least temporarily) block the spammer's IP address.

Modifying the blog post system page

You can customize the blog page that appears when visitors create or view blog posts by modifying the Blog post system page.

To customize the forum topic system page, follow these steps:

  1. Hover over the Website menu and select the System pages option.
  2. Within the system page list, select Blog post.
  3. Click the Edit button.

Now, you can modify the system page in a number of ways. You can:

  • Change the page template from the page settings on the left.
  • Hover over the blue box – the system gadget that displays the actual forum topic – and click the Settings icon to display the settings for the system gadget.
  • Click the Gadget or Layout drop-downs to insert gadgets and layouts above or below the system gadget.

When you are finished modifying the blog post system page, click the Save button.

Using a blog

A blog displays a list of blog postings, with a short excerpt or abstract from each post. To view a complete blog posting, you click either the topic title or the Read more link below the abstract.

To display comments on a post, click the Comments link.

The options available to you on blogs will depend on whether you are a member, and if so, on your membership level.

Adding posts

If you are authorized to add a blog post, an Add post button will appear above the topic list.

After clicking this button, you can enter the subject and the body of the new topic. You can use the content editor toolbar to format the body text, and add links and tables. Administrators in admin view can also add pictures, documents, and ArtText, or modify the underlying HTML, using the More menu that appears within the toolbar.

You can also set the posting time and date. This does not affect when the post appears on the blog – it will appear as soon as you click the Post button – but only the time and date that appears below the post title.

Once you are done composing the topic, click Post. The post will now appear on the main blog page.

Normally, the topics you post will identify you using your first and last name. If you chose to hide your profile from others in your privacy settings – or if you are not a member – your posts will identify you as Anonymous. If you restricted access to both your first name and last name in your privacy settings, you will be identified as Anonymous member.

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The photo of the blog post author cannot currently be displayed.

Commenting on a post

To comment on a blog post, display the topic then click the Add comment button. After clicking this button, you can enter your comment. You can use the edit toolbar to format the text and add pictures, document, or links. Once you are done composing your comment, click Post.

To reply to a particular comment, click the Reply link below the comment. Once you are done composing your reply, click Post. Your reply will appear below the comment.

To copy a link to a comment or reply – so you can share it or link to it from another page – right click over Link and copy the address to your clipboard.

Modifying and deleting posts

After you've added a post, you can modify or delete it.

To modify a post, click the Edit link below the topic in the blog post list.

To delete a blog post, including all comments and replies, click the Delete link below the topic.

In public view, you can only modify or delete your own posts. In admin view, an administrator can modify or delete any posts.

Deleting comments and replies

After you've commented on a post, or replied to a comment, you can delete your comment or reply.

To delete a comment or reply, display the comments then click the Delete link.

In public view, you can only delete your own comments or replies. In admin view, an administrator can delete any comments or replies.

Subscribing to a blog

Visitors to your site can subscribe to your blog and automatically receive updates in their RSS reader (e.g. Google Reader) by clicking the RSS icon that appears beside the page title.

You can control whether the RSS icon appears as part of the blog gadget settings.

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If you're using Google Chrome, you may need to add a RSS subscription extension to your browser.

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If your blog appears on a restricted page, the RSS feed will not be accessible to your RSS reader.

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