Why does my email address appear on my own contact form?

Olivia asks…

“When I add a contact form and preview it, it shows MY email address in the ’email’ field. Is that visible to viewers? How can I view my pages as they appear to other people? Thanks!”

It’s because you’re logged into WordPress.com.

When you visit ANY website that’s been built on WordPress.com, your details will automatically populate the fields of the contact form — this of course includes your own website. It’s just to save you the trouble of entering them.

You can test this by visiting my contact page. You should find the form fields auto-populate with your details.

To see a website through the eyes of a “normal” visitor, log out of WordPress.com by hovering over your user image near the top-right of the screen (on a laptop anyway) and clicking “Sign Out”.

The form fields will appear blank to a “normal” visitor, as you’d expect. Because I like to stay signed in, I use a completely separate browser (in my case Firefox) to view my websites through the eyes of a regular visitor. Hope this helps!

Best wishes,
James

How to change the “Leave a comment” prompt on a WordPress.com website

Karthik asks…

“Is it possible to change the ‘Leave a comment’ text to something else that’s personalized to the content of the site?”

It sure is! In your WordPress Admin dashboard, go to Settings > Discussion and scroll right to the bottom of the page. Under the “Comment Form” header, enter new prompt text and click Save Changes.

Update Feb 2017: Many thanks to yashovardhan99 who says you may not see this option on the mobile version of WordPress Admin. If so, switch to desktop instead.

Best wishes,
James

Google update will improve the rankings of mobile friendly sites

Google have confirmed they’re updating their algorithm on April 21st, 2015 to improve the rankings of mobile friendly sites.

By mobile friendly, they mean sites that have been designed with smartphone and tablet users in mind. A site that is mobile friendly should not…

  • Require any zooming in to view content.
  • Require any horizontal scrolling to view content.
  • Have menu links too close together.
  • Have text that’s small enough to make reading it difficult.

There are other factors too, but those are the main ones. If your website is running on WordPress, the chances are your site is mobile friendly. Most WordPress themes are “responsive” these days, which means the appearance of site responds to the device that it’s being displayed on, and display appropriately. The best thing to do is check out your site on your smartphone or tablet.

If it doesn’t look good, or you get errors, I’d definitely recommend updating it. Apart from losing Google traffic next month, you’re also losing a lot of potential visitors generally. The number of people using mobile devices will only increase in future!

Many thanks to SEO Mark for the heads up about the Google update.

Best wishes,
James

How to stop WordPress.com inserting “href.li/?” at the beginning of links

Michael asks…

“WordPress is inserting ‘href.li…’ at the beginning of links, on my private blog. Why?”

If you have a private blog, WordPress.com sometimes inserts this into links automatically. It sends the visitor to the link but hides the referrer (your website). This means you can link out from your private blog but other website owners won’t know where the visitors are coming from. This helps to keep even the existence of your private blog unknown.

If you prefer, you can switch off this feature by going to Settings > Reading and checking the box next to “I would like my links to be public, without being passed through a referrer hider.” Don’t forget to Save Changes :-)

All the best,
James