Meeting the Public: Comments and Links
The two modules right below Right Now concern the lifeblood of any blog: comments and external links. You'll never forget the first time someone comments on one of your blog posts, and you'll be thrilled when you find the first Web site not run by you that's linking to your blog.
Recent Comments module
As you might expect, the Recent Comments module (Figure 4.4) displays recent comments that folks have left on your blog. It also alerts you to any comments that are awaiting moderation. A pending comment is highlighted in yellow, and the pound sign (#) is a link directly to that comment. You can also click the View All button in the bottom-right corner to manage all the comments on your blog.
Figure 4.4 Recent Comments are displayed in this module.
Incoming Links module
The Incoming Links module (Figure 4.5) is a great way to see what other people are saying about your blog on their blogs. This feature uses Google Blog Search to see what blogs are linking to yours and reports back to you. When you first install WordPress, there won't be any links to your blog, so your module will look like Figure 4.5. As you start to blog, though, you'll start to build your audience, and people will start linking to you. It won't happen overnight, but with some work, it'll happen sooner than you think.
Figure 4.5 Incoming Links tells you how many people are (or aren't) linking to your blog.
You can customize this module to a degree by hovering over the module's title, which causes a Configure link to appear in the right end of the header. Clicking the Configure link expands the module, as you see in Figure 4.6.
Figure 4.6 You can plug in the RSS feed of your favorite blog search engine here and make the Incoming Links module display what you want to see.
You can set the following options in the expanded Incoming Links module:
- RSS feed. By default, this module uses Google Blog Search, but if you prefer to use another search engine that provides an RSS feed of results, you can enter the URL of its RSS feed here. (I discuss RSS feeds in more detail in Chapter 5.)
- Number of items to display. Choose the number you want from the drop-down menu. You can display 1 to 20 items.
- Display date. If you check this box, the date of the link appears alongside the link itself.
Whatever you do in this expanded module, click Submit when you're done to tell WordPress to accept your changes.