Adding blog content to your Lofty IDX website is a great way to share valuable content to your site visitors/community/social network and improve the SEO value of your website (see HERE). Creating blog content will be your responsibility (or you can explore third-party services) but you can use the available tools on Lofty to display the blog posts as an embedded part of your Lofty website.
Depending on when you started with Lofty, there are two different ways to manage the blog: (1) using the Lofty-built blog editor or (2) using a WordPress blog editor which is only available for those that have joined Lofty prior to May 8, 2021.
Notice: The Starter package does not come with this feature. If you are on a Starter package and interested in using this feature to its full effect, please contact Support to get upgrade options.
- (1) Lofty Blog Editor
- (2) WordPress Blog Editor
- Blog Page Components
- Customizing the Style of the Blog Page
- Blog Editor Migration: WordPress --> Lofty
(1) Lofty Blog Editor
To access the Lofty Blog Editor, go to CMS >Quick Actions > Blogs:
Your blog posts will display in the same order they appear within the posts list within the CMS settings. You can pin one post to the top or you can sort the posts by published date or updated date to have those appear in that order automatically.
Use categories to file specific blog posts under specific groups so that you can easily classify and display your content for site visitors.
All the categories that have been created are available on the Category List:
- Name: The name of the category
- Blog Count: The total number of blog posts currently in that category
Add a Category
To add a category, click on the blue + Add New button in the top-right, add the category name, and then click on the green checkmark to add it.
Edit / Delete a Category
Click on the Edit or Delete buttons to edit or delete a blog category:
View all posts, those that are published, drafts, or those that have been trashed using the tabs at the top:
- All: Includes that are "Published" or "Drafts."
- Published: Posts that are published and displayed live on your website.
- Scheduled: Posts that are set to be published at a future date.
- Drafts: Drafts can be edited in the back end but will not be visible on your website.
- Trash: Posts that are deleted can be recovered or deleted completely.
The columns display the following data:
- Title: The title of the post. A post with no title will show "no title" and any drafts will have a "Draft" tag next to them in this column.
- Author: The author of the blog post.
- Category: The categories of a blog post.
- Publish Date: The format is mm/dd/yyyy and is based on the date the blog post was created. The most recent blog posts will be displayed at the top.
- Updated Date: This is based on when the blog post was revised, adjusted, or corrected.
AI Blog Assistant (Beta Release)
This is a new tool designed to help Lofty users write blog posts for their Lofty websites. This is a beta release, where all Lofty website owners will be able to write ten (10) blog posts for free. Once those ten (10) blog posts have been used, no additional AI-written posts will be available at this time. This feature utilizes OpenAI/ChatGPT.
There are two (2) ways to access this feature:
We offer two (2) different types of blogs:
- Feature a Listing
- The user selects a listing to market and the related listing information will be used to generate a blog post.
- General Blog
- The user provides a title and a few keywords, and the AI will write a blog post based on that information.
For both blog types, the user will select a length. The lengths are rough estimates, not an exact number of words:
- Short = ~ 300 words
- Medium = ~ 500 words
- Long = ~ 700 words
Important: The window cannot be closed while the blog is being written. It takes 15-20 seconds to generate a blog post. If the window is closed before the post is complete, the blog will not be written and one of the ten (10) allowed blog posts will be used.
How to manually add a Blog Post
To add a new blog post to your website, go to Posts and then click on the blue + Add New button in the top-right:
You will then be presented with the blog post editor window:
Title: The title of a blog post. If no title is added, the post will display as "no title."
Blog Post Content: The body of the blog post. Using the tools available, you should be able to build the content out in the format you would like, including adding images, embedding videos, changing the styles, fonts, etc. You can even embed source code in the blog post if you have coding experience and would like to use the blog feature to display something unique.
As you add blog content, you can preview how it will display in the panel at the right:
When creating a new blog post, you can now edit the line spacing and schedule a specific time for your post to be published:
The following are the settings that can be edited for each individual blog post. Click on the Settings tab to edit:
Author: The default author is always the owner of the website, but you can manually overwrite this if you would like to do so.
"URL Slug" refers to the last part of a URL that is specific to a web page. The default URL Slug is the post title but you can edit this without having to change the post title. The following are supported: letters, numbers, and hyphenated words (e.g. "first-blog-post"). Other characters cannot be recognized and will be changed into hyphens automatically.
This is where you will select the category that this blog post belongs to. Adding new categories is outlined above or you can add a new category directly in this field. A post can belong to multiple categories. A blog post that has no category selected will belong to "Uncategorized."
The default featured image is the first image in the blog post content. The featured image for a post that does not have an image will be the logo from your website header. The featured image can be changed and/or deleted as needed.
For more information on SEO basics, you may want to reference THIS article.
To edit the SEO settings for an individual blog post, click on the SEO tab:
A meta title (also called a title tag) is an element in the head section of an HTML document that defines the title of each page of a website. It is retrieved by web browsers and also used by search engines such as Google to display a webpage in search results (SERPs). The default meta title is in the following format:
Blog Title - Creator Name - Company Name
This can be edited and you can use the tool to "+ Insert variable."
Meta keywords describe the content of a web page in a short and concise way and should be important indicators of a page's content to search engines. The default meta keywords are blank when you create a new blog post in Lofty but you can add/edit as well as use the "+ Insert variable" tool if needed.
A meta description is an HTML element that describes and summarizes the contents of your page for the benefit of users and search engines. The default meta description is the first sentence in the blog post but can be changed by editing and using the "+ Insert variable" tool.
Edit, Delete, or Recover a Blog Post
To edit or delete a post, click on the Edit, Delete, or Recover icons for a post:
You can now Recover deleted posts as well under the "Trash" tab:
Find this option under CMS > Blogs Tab > RSS Aggregator:
Here is the information presented on the RSS Aggregator page shown above:
- Name: The name of the RSS blog source.
- Last Updated: Displays the last updated time as well as the number of items imported with the most recent import.
- Imported Items: The total number of articles obtained from the feed.
- On/Off: If turned on, articles will be automatically synced from the blog source one time daily at 7:00 am. If turned off, a sync button under Imported Items will have to be clicked manually to bring in the newest content.
When adding a new RSS feed, all of the following are visible:
- Name: The name of the RSS blog source.
URL: The RSS feed URL from the blog source.
- "Input the URL of the feed source. In some situations, the URL of the site will work, but for best results, we recommend finding and using the URL specific to the RSS feed. Be sure to also include http:// or https:// at the beginning of the URL."
- Post Type: Not editable, will default to "Feed Source."
- Post Status: Choose from "Published" (new RSS feed blog posts will be published automatically) or "Draft" (new RSS feed blog posts will come in as drafts and must be published manually). If changed, the status will only reflect on the next pulled post, not on previous ones.
- Post Date: This will always be the original post date of the incoming blog content.
Remove featured image from post content?:
- Yes = The featured image from the incoming blog article will be removed and when sharing the blog post link on social media, the image will be the header logo (if available) otherwise, it will be the first image in the article or an image from the Lofty gallery as a last option.
- No = The first picture of the article is selected as the SEO content so if the article is shared on social media that will be the one shown. If there are no images in the article, a default image from the Lofty gallery will be displayed instead.
- Feed Preview: Displays previews of the five most recent articles available at the RSS feed URL.
Lofty Blog Editor FAQs
How can I wrap text around an image?
1. Click Insert/Edit Image
2. Upload an image and click OK
4. Adjust the width and height of the image
5. Click Save
6. Add text below the image
7. Click on the image and click on Align left/right
8. The text will wrap around the image
(2) WordPress Blog Editor
*IMPORTANT: Please note that the WordPress blog editor will not be available to use if you do not already have it enabled on your account prior to May 8, 2021. You will still be able to add/edit blog content using the Lofty-built blog editor if you do not have access to the WordPress blog editor.
Lofty + WordPress Basics
Here is a video explaining the basics of how to access and use the WordPress/Lofty blog feature:
Changing Post Meta Title & Description via WordPress
Lofty uses a Yoast SEO plug-in to change the SEO title and Meta Description in WordPress. This will then be automatically synced to the Lofty website.
Log in, access a post, and edit here:
Blog Page Components
All blog page templates have the same basic components as seen in the screenshot below.
- Blog Posts listed on the left side of the page
- A Search Bar that can be used to search for any keywords that are contained within the post titles or content
- Categories that synchronize with the categories created in the blog settings
- Recent Posts are shown on the right side as well
Customizing the Style of the Blog Page
As always, you can add, edit, and delete, blocks to customize your Lofty pages. To learn how to do so, please reference the following article: Add / Remove / Edit Blocks on Pages.
Blog Editor Migration: WordPress --> Lofty
If you are currently using the WordPress blog editor within Lofty to produce blog content, you will see a pop-up appear giving you the ability to trigger the migration of (a) all of your blog posts and (b) all of your categories from the WordPress Editor to the Lofty Blog Editor instead. If you have RSS feeds configured, those will not transfer during this process and will have to be set up manually. The migration should be complete in a matter of seconds, though that will depend on the number and complexity of the blog posts and categories. You will not be able to access the blog editor during the transfer process. If, after the transfer, you need to access your previously-used WordPress Blog Editor (to reference old drafts, etc., for example) then you can contact the Lofty Support Team (email@example.com) and they will be able to assist you by providing direct login credentials to WordPress.
*IMPORTANT: Once you have transferred from the WordPress blog tool to the Lofty one, you will not be able to transfer it back.
If you have any questions regarding this topic or any others, please reach out to our Support Team via email at <firstname.lastname@example.org>, by phone at 1 (855) 981-7557, or by a chat with us through your Lofty CRM.