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How to Do a Live Blog in WordPress

A live blog is when you create a single post and are able to quickly add content during an event without using revision updates. This means you can add content on-the-fly and keep readers apprised of how those events are unfolding.

Given the mobile nature of WordPress, live blogging is quite effective for those who are away from computer systems. For example, let’s say you are attending a concert and want to report live about what is going on. This gives you a chance to post new content as it happens directly from your mobile device.

If your website centers around news, current events or some other time-sensitive content, live blogging in WordPress may be a good option. Because content is time-stamped, you can easily be one of the first to report on almost any situation.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to use a live blog in WordPress.

Using Liveblog

Today, I’m demonstrating the Liveblog plugin. It’s a simple system that doesn’t take a great deal of effort to use.

Liveblog is a quick and easy plugin to use for those who want to create content while on the move. Instead of a content editor in the WordPress admin area, you add content directly from the frontend of the website. As long as you’re logged into WordPress, you can use a basic editor to create updates as they happen.

Liveblog also time stamps each entry to give a chronological feel of how events are unfolding.

Go to the Plugins area and click, “Add New.”

Add New Plugin

Install and activate the “Liveblog” plugin. You can find this by using the search field located on the right side of the screen. Make sure you install the correct title. This tutorial is focused on Liveblog, so you don’t want to be confused when following along. Besides, many of the available plugins have gone several years without updates.

Liveblog

Before you can blog live, you’ll need to enable the ability on a specific post.

Let’s say we want to blog about shopping and finding current deals at a specific store.

Go to Posts and click the “Add New” option.

Add New Post

Give your blog post a title as you normally would. For this instance, I’m simply giving it the name, “Black Friday Shopping Results.” Of course you want to name it something relevant to the event you’re about to write.

Title Blog Post

Give your new post a short synopsis of what it’s about. You don’t want people to be confused about the chain of events that are going to unfold live. For this tutorial, I’m simply adding a quick couple sentences describing where I am shopping during Black Friday.

Describe Blog Post

When you’re ready to go live, click the “Publish” button. I would suggest waiting until right before the event starts. This way, you don’t have people visiting a near empty webpage.

Publish Button

Scroll down to the “Liveblog” window and click the “Enable” button. This will turn on live blogging as long as you stay signed into WordPress.

Enable Liveblog

Now, you will have access to a limited editor directly from your site’s frontend. Click the “Visit the liveblog” link to open it.

Visit Live Blog

This screen will be accessible by editors of your website. It also means that anyone can contribute to the live post. This has potential for flexibility, especially if you have more than one person attending an event with different points of view.

Let’s add some content to this live blog. Add some text to your post and click, “Publish Update.”

Publish Update

The updated text will be added to the top of the list in chronological order. The most recent post will be listed first.

Recent Post

Liveblog works by automatically updating the content every 10 seconds. Visitors will not have to refresh the blog post in order to get updates.

Perhaps one of the best ways to use Liveblog is on your smartphone if you’re covering events in person. It’s works perfectly as a responsive tool and is as easy to use as sending a text message to someone.

In fact, I just used it on my smartphone and the blog post updated just like it should on my desktop computer.

Smartphone Test

NOTE: Because of the nature of Liveblog, your smartphone may not automatically go into sleep mode. This may be useful if you want to keep the page open to write more content. Just be mindful that your phone is still active should you put it in your pocket as long as the browser is open on your live blog post.

Tapping your phone’s home button will allow the device to sleep as it normally would.

Let’s say the event is over and we want to close out the live blog. Click the “Edit Post” link from the top tool bar. This is also available on a smartphone and represented by a pencil icon.

Edit Post

Scroll down and click the “Archive” button in Liveblog.

Archive Post

The Archive button disables the editing features from the front end. This means no more entries will be accepted but visitors will still be able to read the ones you created. From here, you can add more content if you’d like or just exit the post altogether.

Only those with privileges on your website see the “archived” message on the post.

Archived Message

Ideas for Live Blogging

A great way to take advantage of live blogging is by using your hand-held device while on site. While you may have to rely more on using your thumbs to type, it’s much easier if you are limited in space. Realistically, how many reporters have you seen carrying around a laptop to write content live during an event?

Does your business attend regular expos? A trade show is a great method for marketing to local consumers, and live blogging from the event may even inspire people to attend themselves. It’s all about networking and making sure your consumers are aware of the business. Anything “live” may drive them in.

Connecting social sharing tools like Jetpack’s add-on, “Publicize,” will inform followers of the event about to take place. As soon as you hit the publish button on the post itself, your connected social profiles are updated with the post’s title unless you edit and change the message.

Another way to get some attention to the live blog post is to use push notifications during the event. For example, you can use tools like OneSignal to send a message to all those who follow your blog through notifications that you’re going live.

Trade shows are not the only events that may inspire shoppers to visit. You could run a live post from your business and encourage locals to come in for a sale or special discount. Perhaps you’re supporting a local charity event and want visitors to know about it.

Expanding What You Can Do

Live blogging in WordPress is only one of many ways you can market your website. Depending on who follows your blog, it can be a great way to include others in your experience. Not everyone has access to live streaming apps or supported wireless bandwidth when out and about. This may be a great alternative to give your website “life.”

What kind of engaging things do you offer visitors which encourage them to return? Do you use any kind of “live” media when developing your site such as videos?

Author: Kaumil Patel

Kaumil Patel is the Chief Operating Officer of GreenGeeks and has over 13 years of experience in the web hosting industry working for and owning web hosting companies. Kaumil’s expertise is in marketing, business development, operations, acquisitions and mergers.

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