Archive for the 'wordpress' Category

How To Add Contact Page on WordPress

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If you own a WordPress blog, setting up a contact page is super easy. And yet there are a lot of WordPress blogs out there without a contact form.

Why do I want a contact page?

People might want to contact you for all kinds of reasons. I get emails from blog readers fairly regularly and 99% of them are *not* spam. Sometimes they are very interesting emails indeed. I do get a lot of emails about older posts where the comments are turned off – comments on this blog switch off after 90 days.

Can’t I just use an email address?

Of course you can! However, it is my advice to you not to put your email address out there in the usual format – eg mailme@email.com – you will get spammed hugely. Best to put it in this kind of format – mailme {at} email {dot} com – you can see my email address over in the sidebar and I have both a contact form and the address on my contact page.

Can I do this on Blogger?

Sure, but their built in version is a sidebar widget. Here are some instructions which might help – New Blogger widget contact form.

Here is The WordPress How To –

Click on add new page in your WordPress dashboard.

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This will take you to the add a new page form. It looks identical to add a new post. So add in your title – Contact is the obvious one, but you could use Contact Me or Contact Us, if there are more than one of you.

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You will see under the title area, a box titled Add Contact Form. Click on that.

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You will see this pop up preview box appear. Everything is there ready to go, and you could simply click on add this form to my post at the bottom, and it will all magically happen. In fact – lets do that, and see what happens next.

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This is how the contact form appears in the text box in your post –

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it does not look like much here, but once you hit publish page and then visit the page, it will look something like this –

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The form will be affected by your CSS in your theme, so it might look slightly different to the version you saw in the preview box.

So there you have it – a contact form.

What if I get some spam?

If you get some spam you might decide to add a check box to the post – regular humans will know to tick the box, but spam-bots cannot follow the instructions and cannot tick the box. How do we add one? See the section on the form creator which says Can I add more fields?

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Click on that, and you’ll be given a drop down box.

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Choose check box from the list, and add in text – you could put Tick box if you are human, tick this box to send your message, even just tick this box – but make sure you tick required before you hit save this field.. Changes are made live so you will see how your new field will look on the form.

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Over To You –

Have you ever wanted to contact a blogger privately but been unable to?

Back to hating on WordPress

Did I ever stop? Not really, no. I have upgraded to 2.7.1 and I find it annoying, clunky, and irritating. And warning, I am going to swear. You will see the F word if you read this post. There will also be some SHOUTING. I wish I could apologise but I need to vent! I am in quite a mood having spent the past 3 hours absolutely fuming.

For the past 2 weeks, I have been trying to figure out a way to solve a problem. We have a new blog that we want to be able to allow guest posting on.

We also had the just-upgraded to 2.7.1 Aussie Bloggers blog, which used the role manager plugin so that I could configure what people did or did not have access to. That worked a treat. Unfortunately this plugin does not seem to be compatible with 2.7.1 at all. People have had problems and the plugin developer seems to have vanished.

So ok, need to find another option. How about what is built in to wordpress? I check out the options. Contributors cannot upload images. Why not, you ask? Some kind of completely fucked up logic somewhere if you ask me. Authors can upload images, but they can apparently also delete everyone elses  images when I visit the image screen. I don’t want people deleting stuff by accident (or even on purpose!) that does not belong to them.

So. What plugins? We upload role scoper. It puts a password on the blog – nobody can access any posts! And we’d uploaded this right before going to bed, I planned to configure it in the morning after a good sleep and because we were logged in we thought everything was working fine, but for people not logged in, they were being asked for their username and password.

Yep, thanks a lot, that annoyed everyone trying to view the blog plenty but when I found out that all night while I slept peacefully people had been unable to access the blog? I was ready to Dexter people.

So we get rid of that idiot plugin. Note to the people making it – perhaps not setting that as a default setting might be a good idea – or at least letting people know that all of a sudden nobody will be able to access the blog until you change the settings! FFS!

I do a lot of searching. I find other things that might do, but they never seem to *actually* do when we install them. So after two weeks of outright fucking about trying to fix this fucking problem with people waiting for me to send them user logins, I decide enough is enough – we’re going to find a solution to this problem today, even if it means uploading role manager to see if it will actually work on our blog, or somehow hacking wordpress, or deading people, or something.

Welcome to the last three hours, in which we tried role scoper again hoping maybe we could configure it to do what we wanted – no go, it is just far too complicated and does not explain things very well, and it adds extra screens to even the basic users screen which is the last thing I want to do to people who are not exactly computer literate. I want to make things as simple as possible.

We try uploading role manager to see if it will work. It does not even appear in the list of plugins. Yes, it is there, but it is NOT there. As in, you cannot activate the plugin because you cannot see it. This seems to be one of a multitude of problems the plugin has in the current build of wordpress.

I search the interwebs – not with google but with scroogle because I hate google for many reasons past mentioned here on the blog. I find a lot of threads on the WordPress.org support forums without any kind of answer to the issue of I want to allow contributors to post images, or answers that say “Use role manager”. Yeah, IT WOULD HELP IF IT ACTUALLY WORKED WITH THE CURRENT VERSION OF WORDPRESS YOU IDIOTS TELLING PEOPLE TO DO THAT OUGHT TO FREAKING QUIT ALREADY!

I can understand everyone wanting to use Role Manager, because it was oh so simple, and wonderful. It was like a piece of heaven dropped out of the sky and into your wordpress dashboard. You had a bunch of buttons – red was the default, green was if you allowed the user to do something. It was utter simplicity. AND IT WORKED which is a bonus these days, apparently.

This plugin may not work as a surprise to you, kthxbai!

I find a plugin which actually allows me to *remove* stuff from the screen for all users below admins, but nothing that allows me to *add* in the upload images button.

I then stumble upon a post somewhere that suggests authors cannot actually delete everyone elses images. Hmm.

Would the delete button be there in the media screen if people could not delete? In a logical world, no. But wait, this is WORDPRESS we are talking about, which is not a logical world. It is a world of fucking insanity. I should have KNOWN this would happen. I should have uploaded an image and tested the delete.

So, I log in as an author, and I try to delete someone elses image. Gold, guys. Absolute gold. Love your work, NOT. When you try to delete someone else’s image, what do you see?

You are not allowed to delete this post.

ORLY? Let us not get into the fact that this is an image, not a post, and focus on the fact that IF PEOPLE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DELETE WHY THE HECK DO THEY HAVE ACCESS TO THIS, HUH?

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Why allow authors to even see that drop down box if they cannot delete anything? WHY?

You know, I am a calm person usually. I don’t get tense about much. I don’t usually hate. But I do hate wordpress right now. Things should just work. End of story.

So now, I have a lot of creating users work to do, which I put off for the last 2 weeks until I had an actual solution. Little did I know, I had the actual solution all along. ROLL EYES AT WORDPRESS.

And you guys know, I don’t usually use the roll eyes. :)

I did find a couple of nice new plugins to test, though. More on that when I know that they actually work. ;)

Comment Timeout.

I’ve been testing a batch of plugins recently – some requested by bloggers I host blogs for, some that I thought might be good. Unfortunately out of all the plugins I have been testing, only one works with the set up we are all using. That one is Comment Timeout – and in fact is the plugin I thought we’d have the most trouble with given that we do run a lot of comment plugins.

I think it was Lightening who mentioned somewhere around the place how much trouble she was having with spam on the blog. One of the things that I was getting a lot of was trackback spam where spammers are putting trackbacks to my posts with drug names and sex sites etc. It happens a lot on old posts. For example – yesterday there were 25 trackback spams. Today there were 2 – and that is because I allowed comments on posts which had more than xx number of comments. I’m going to turn that off and see if it reduces the spam to 0.

Comment Timeout gives you the ability to close comments on old posts as well as treat trackbacks like comments. We’ll be rolling it out across the blogs on Monday and Tuesday of next week, and I might put together a post on how to use it.

On the not so positive side, it means people can’t comment on your older popular posts. So it is a toss up – do you want to deal with spam, or do you want people to be able to comment on posts you wrote ages ago? For me it is a no brainer – get rid of the spam!

The other plugins broke stuff, so apologies all but they won’t be appearing on our blogs. Unless you want stuff to break, of course. ;)

WordPress 2.6 Warning – DO NOT upgrade.

Yesterday I mentioned a somewhat serious problem with permalinks in the just released 2.6 version of WordPress. Now there is a new issue which is an even bigger problem. Users have reported not being able to log into their blog once they upgraded to 2.6 – there is currently no fix for this problem.

There is a work around that _ck_ on the support forums has figured out – Otto42 says in this post that the work around reduces your blog security and he highly recommends against using the work around..

This problem may not affect you – maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones – but if it does affect you these are your two somewhat unpleasant choices –

1. Stop logging into your blog until there is a fix.

2. Use a workaround which may open a security hole.

The problem with option one is – who knows how long a fix could take – there is a six page thread and they haven’t worked out what is causing the problem yet, in fact Otto says there will be no resolution until someone gives them the info they need to fix the problem, and as yet nobody has been able to do that.

Also, there is the somewhat huge problem of not being able to log into your blog – no posting, no moderating comments, no nothing until someone works out how to fix this problem.

And option 2 isn’t a great option either – what if this workaround allows spammers and hackers to get into your blog?

The best option for now –

Don’t upgrade.

Spread the word about these issues to other bloggers.

Want to help spread the word?

Give this post a stumble.

Further Reading

Fix for wordpress 2.6 can’t login – A post from _ck_ who created the work around.
WordPress 2.6 Goes Live – note the comment from weneedmoney just above my comment – they can’t log in to their blog.
WordPress 2.6 Released Officially – note comments 58 and 62, who also had the same issue.
Read this before upgrading to WordPress 2.6 – panic happens. ;)
WordPress 2.6 – seems a lot of people are sick of the constant upgrades – will WordPress hear this message?
WordPress 2.6 upgrade–fixing a login problem
Upgraded to WordPress 2.6 – both permalinks and login problems!
Permalinks fail in WordPress 2.5 and 2.6 – Yep, another permalink failure.

(updated to add these links – if you write a blog post about this please link to my post so your link will appear in the trackbacks.)

Do Not Upgrade To WordPress 2.6!
WordPress 2.6 – Good or Bad?
How To Get Rid Of The Annoying WordPress Update Nag – Very handy for those who are not upgrading. And hey, WordPress, how about you remove the nag if you can’t create software that works? It is annoying.

WTF, WordPress?

Ok. So I was pretty negative about the 2.5 series of WordPress. I was hoping that 2.6 might solve all the massive problems involved with 2.5, might actually work properly rather than break things, and might be worth looking forward to.

2.6 has now been released a month early. And what a surprise to find out that they should have used that extra time to actually solve problems with the software. I’m not talking about small, insignificant problems. I’m talking about major substantial problems. Oh, like upgrading only to find none of your permalinks work anymore.

Many people have reported permalinks not working after upgrading to 2.6. In all cases, these people have permalink structures that contain “index.php”. This is a bug, detailed here.

Sorry Matt, but this is not what I would call “a solid release“. Not unless you’re taking some serious hallucinogenic drugs. This is more like catastrophic explosion after a very drunken night out on the town and a dodgy 3am kebab that goes straight through you and leaves you in great need of bleach and the toilet brush. Fun for everyone – NOT!.

I mean, that is a pretty big deal. If you have this problem, not only does it mean links to your blog don’t work but it is surely going to affect the search engines and SEO etc. How many people have installed it and not realised they have this problem? Not everyone goes about checking all their links once they upgrade. Not everyone checks the support forums to see what the problems are.

Surely someone could have spotted this problem during testing of the beta, before it was released to the entire universe. And now that they have spotted it, how about stopping people from being able to download it until you have fixed it? Because they’ll download it, install it, find out it is broken, turn up on the support forums to ask for help (not noticing there is a sticky about it at the top) and then post things like this. And this. And this.

What I am about to say may come as a surprise to WordPress, who clearly think we the users have all signed up to be a part of their major mind-f**kery of constant updates and tweaking combined with the occasional complete overhaul. But maybe they’ll hear us if I say it out loud.

WE JUST WANT TO BE ABLE TO BLOG.

We don’t want to upgrade to find things broken. We don’t want to be told that we need to upgrade because of security issues. We just want basic, simple blogging software that works. So how about you quit this insane “software development by torture” that you seem to love inflicting on your users, go away into a room, shut the door, create something that BLOODY WELL WORKS and then come back and release it once you have tested it A LOT.

And hello, how about you start listening to your users. Because there are a lot of them on the support forums who are trying to tell you how annoyed, frustrated and in some cases upset they are about your treatment of them. This post is a good example – but who knows how long it will stay there.

Here’s another good idea – organise your forums better. Why not have a forum for each version of WP that you release, so people can go in there and post their 2.5 questions in a 2.5 area, and people can put their 2.6 questions in a 2.6 area, rather than the absolute clusterf**k that currently exists.

Going in there and reading those forums, with the arrogant pissy bitchy “helpers” and on occasion moderators (other than Otto42, who seems to be a saint directly sent from Heaven, though I have seen that he still loses his cool from time to time and understandably so – I hope they’re paying you some serious money Otto and if not get the heck out of there fast!) gives me a major migraine. No wonder the helpers are bitchy – I don’t even know how they can stand to hang out there.

Even so – can’t these so called helpers try being nice to people? Can’t they understand that peoples blogging worlds are falling apart because WordPress released another broken version of their software? They don’t want something broken – they want something that works, and they’ve likely been scared into upgrading rather than sticking with what they already have that does work, and then they come to the support forums for help, and they are treated like they are the ones with issues. They’re not the ones with issues – other than the fact that they have installed software that sucks. Why don’t we look at the creators of the software that sucks to see who really has issues?

The fact that I now have to start testing yet another broken version of WordPress because people will likely want me to install it for them (and heads up guys, no freaking way am I doing that anytime soon) makes me want to shoot myself in the head. Good thing I don’t have a gun, huh people?

So yeah, looks like I’m in a bit of a bad mood today. It is just really frustrating to watch. :( And I only visit the support forums occasionally – in this case to get an idea of what the problems with 2.6 are before trying to test it myself, but when I do visit I leave with a splitting headache and a desire to start up my own wordpress wank blog.

I used to be such a fan of WordPress, but now I’m about ready to give it the flick and move to Injader. In fact I already have a test blog set up and have been playing with it. Injader is also free, but actually works and is created by an Aussie named Ben Barden who happens to be a moderator on the Aussie Bloggers Forums – we have an Injader forum there too. If I host a blog for you and you’d like to check out Injader contact me and I’ll send you a login.

WordPress 2.5 – I hate it.

Sephy wrote a great post about WordPress 2.5 – Not coming here soon. A lot of his thoughts on the subject are similar to mine. It is highly disappointing to see a huge step backward in so many areas.

I’ve been playing with it on my test blog for a few days now and the more I use it, the more I despise it. That’s a strong word to use, but seriously that is how I feel. I utterly despise it. I am truly angry that anyone would do this to the WordPress I know and love. Whoever is behind it needs to spend some time with normal people who actually use WordPress on a daily basis, watching what they do and how they do it.

Next week I will be setting up a test blog for those bloggers who I host blogs for, so you can go in and see if you like it and then make a decision on whether to upgrade or not. For me, the decision is made. This blog, and the Scam Warning blog, and probably the other blogs I write for will not be upgrading anytime soon.

Apologies for vanishing the last few days, but I have wanted to spend some serious time with 2.5 and see if I could maybe grow to like it. It seems I can’t go backwards – that is what is making it difficult. I mean I can’t even tell you what is supposed to be happening on that widgets page, or why anyone in their right mind would suggest this was an easier way of doing things than the current drag and drop.

Not to mention the fact that the new upgrade plugins automatically system opens some massive security holes. I mean huge. We thought the previous versions were unsafe.. this truly could allow unscrupulous people to write plugins that have back doors in order to get in and add links to your blog, and all kinds of stuff like that. :(

Oh! My Plugins!

You may have noticed that I put a page up with the list of plugins I use here on the blog. This is now the standard package of plugins that we install for bloggers who choose to host their WordPress blog with us.

Snoskred Does Hosting?

Yes, we are not making any money out of it but we’re hoping this may go some way towards paying our dedicated server costs which is on average $400 a month. We offer hosting at an incredibly cheap rate of $5 per month and that includes all the set up, including exporting your blog from blogger if necessary. We can hand you a working all set up and ready to go blog within around 24 hours if you just got a brand new domain name, it may take slightly longer if you have a domain name which already points somewhere.

Payment Options?

Most hosts tend to make you pay in advance. We’re happy to accept payment monthly by paypal if you want to do it that way. But you can also choose to do it in a chunk and then not have to worry about it for a while. If you’re interested in hosting a blog with us just use the contact form to get in touch with me.

Advanced TinyMCE Editor

Basically this plugin gives you much greater ability to change the look of your posts than you usually have in WordPress. It contains everything but the kitchen sink – from advanced color picker to add custom characters to tables. The best part is that it is fully customisable – you can remove any of the buttons for things you don’t use regularly. I love it!

Advanced TinyMCE Editor

Akismet

Akismet is the most well known of the anti-spam plugins available with WordPress. Basically it checks comments to see if they are spam. It takes information from other bloggers using the plugin as well, so spammers are pretty much screwed.

Unfortunately that means it can sometimes get it badly wrong – some bloggers who comment a lot around the place tend to end up in Akismet. That includes me – I’ve had to drag my own comments out of there from time to time. This is not surprising, because not all bloggers are as intelligent as you and I are, and they don’t take the time to visit someone’s blog and see if they are a real person who just comments a lot before marking their comment as spam.

And of course, let us not mention those bloggers who put people in Akismet just because they don’t like what they said in their comment, or they have a personal grudge against that blogger. Oh, we just did. Oops.

Akismet requires a bit of work from me as a blogger, I need to keep a close eye on it to make certain it is not putting legitimate comments into spam. However it does catch a lot of spam too, so it is worth using.

Akismet

All in One SEO Pack

This plugin helps you when it comes to search engines. I can’t quite explain how but the guys over at the home of the plugin do a better job so visit the site and read about how it works. I like it but sometimes I’m too lazy to write the things myself so that is where the auto generate comes in handy.

All in One SEO Pack

cforms II – Contact Forms 2

This is a really important plugin and I highly recommend it. This does everything necessary to allow me to have the contact me page and for the messages sent using that page to get to me. You even have choices with how it looks. Pure brilliance.

cforms II

Different Posts Per Page

This plugin allows you to set the amount of posts seen on different pages. Oddly enough exactly as the name of the plugin suggests! Go figure. ;) But it works a treat and it is much better than having everything on your blog at the same amount of posts you want on your front page. I have 4 posts on the front page, and something like 25 on all other pages now.

Different Posts Per Page

FeedBurner FeedSmith

This plugin basically works like a funnel forcing all options of reading your feeds into feedburner. That’s pretty important. I don’t have the technical terms to explain precisely why. It just is.

FeedBurner FeedSmith

Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin is not just for Google – it creates a sitemap which Ask.com, Google, Live Search and YAHOO can all understand and access and it notifies those search engines when your site is updated.

Google XML Sitemaps

Lucia’sLinkLove

Ah Lucia, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.. The trouble with being a do follow blog is that some spammy bloggers and spammers in general will drop by and leave a comment just to get a link back to themselves. They might say intelligent sounding things, leave long comments, or they might be lazy and just say “Great Site”. Yeah right. Tell me something I don’t already know! ;)

However if you use Lucia’s Linky Love, you can set the number of times someone has to comment before their link is made do follow. You can choose anything from 3-10 times. It is a great way of rewarding your regular commentors for leaving comments yet at the same time not giving links to spammers or lazy people just trying to build links to their site.

Lucia’sLinkLove

Maintenance Mode

This plugin allows you to put WordPress into maintenence mode if you need to take your site offline in order to update – and it allows you to put a page up to let people know how long the site will be down for. That page can be customized to suit yourself, also.

Very handy, especially if you have a test blog – nobody else can get in there at all, you can have a page that says “This is a test blog, visit the real blog at blahdeblah” yet you can login and work on the test blog.

Maintenance Mode

pMetrics

pMetrics is a stats tracker. They give you a free 30 day trial of their full version tracker. I tried it out and liked it so much I signed up for a year at $19.95. The design of the tracking site is pure heaven on the eyes – it is the best looking tracker I’ve ever seen. Plus, the tracker works ok too! Though no tracker gives you 100% accurate results, this one is reasonably accurate. It has some great options like “spy” where you can see live tracking results from your blog.

pMetrics

Similar Posts

This plugin displays a list of similar posts to the post being read. It can be a great way for people to find more information on that topic – and an excellent way to draw people to other pages within your site. You can set the number of posts to show, as well.

Similar Posts

Simple Trackback Validation

I’m borrowing the description of this one from the plugin page in my WordPress because it puts what it does better than I can – Eliminates spam trackbacks by (1) checking if the IP address of the trackback sender is equal to the IP address of the webserver the trackback URL is referring to and (2) by retrieving the web page located at the URL used in the trackback and checking if the page contains a link to your blog.

Simple Trackback Validation

Sociable – AntiSocial Version

I’m using a hacked version of this plugin created by the great Andy Beard himself called “AntiSocial”. It includes no follow on all the links (to save your link juice for things other than social bookmarking sites) and it also has a few different options within it – for Sphinn and StumbleUpon which are two of my most used social bookmarking sites.

AntiSocial

Subscribe To Comments

Enables your commentors to subscribe to comments – this is a wonderful thing. It means often discussions continue on longer than they would without it. And sometimes you will find months later someone will comment on a post and generate a whole new discussion. Brilliant!

Subscribe To Comments

TanTanNoodles Simple Spam Filter

I am seriously crazy about this plugin but The Other Half has modified it slightly so that it works better. The original version looks for certain patterns which are present in a lot of spam emails and it also allows you to put in words often used by spammers to make sure those words don’t get past the plugin again.

The spammers are always changing their methods in order to get their spam past filters like this. I noticed they were using a lot of different mis-spellings for common drugs but the actual URL to their site was always spelt correctly. The plugin did not seem to check URL’s for the often used words. So the other half modified the plugin so that words put in will be rejected whether they are in the comment itself or the URL entered by the spam bot. This means all the drug spam is automatically rejected now. I’ll have to get the other half to write a post on how to modify it sometime.

Between moving to WordPress on October the 9th and writing this on the 20th of November, TanTan has blocked 3631 spam comments. Because it blocks them before WordPress has to deal with them, this has saved a lot of load on my blog. Joe Tan explains a bit more about saving CPU cycles and load on the home page of this plugin, seen below. (the modified version is what you would get on your blog if you hosted with us, it is fantastic)

TanTanNoodles Simple Spam Filter

Where did they go from here?

This shows you where other readers went from the blog post you’re currently reading. At the bottom of any page on my blog below the comment box you will see “Readers who viewed this page also viewed” and then a list of any other pages they may have viewed.

Where did they go from here?

WordPress.com Stats

Another stats tracker. You need an API key from WordPress.com in order to use this one. You can access it from within your WordPress Dashboard, which is very handy. Not that I check my stats anywhere near as often as I used to but I will generally land in there once a day because the stats give you a quick overview of referrers, top posts viewed, search engine terms and outgoing clicks for both today and yesterday. So it’s an easy way to see what is going on with my site at a glance.

WordPress.com Stats

wp-cache

Ok so I’m not the most technical of people. Better you read the site of the person who wrote it rather than listen to some garbled explanation from me. But simply put, it caches your blog to make your site faster. It can be really handy for me sometimes when I get a big amount of incoming traffic at once which does happen from time to time.

wp-cache

WP-Polls & WP-Polls Widget

Yay for polls. Basically it allows you to have polls but there’s a lot of functionality within this plugin. It does a lot of stuff related to polls. :)

WP-Polls & WP-Polls Widget

WP AJAX Edit Comments

Found at one of my all time favourite blogs, the Reader Appreciation Project, this plugin enables your commentors to edit their comments after posting them. I find this to be much better than the “preview comments” type plugins. My commentors have used this option 37 times so far!

WP AJAX Edit Comments

Youtube Brackets

Makes it a lot easier for you to embed you tube videos. ;) Read the site below for more info on that.

Youtube Brackets

m4s0n501

A Quick Bloggy Update

If you commented over the last week, I’ve just finished replying to all the comments. Apologies for the delay – it’s been a huge week of learning WordPress for me.

I have a test blog up and running and it looks fantastic – no, you’ll have to wait till I launch it ya’all! WordPress is much simpler than I expected and after just one day of playing with it I’m feeling very comfortable – and about ready to flick the switch over to the new blog. I’m going to take some time to play with it. I’d say next Monday will be the moving day.

A few days ago I sent a message to Lucia asking if she could write a simple guide to switching to WordPress – Lucia has begun a series, and if you are on blogger and considering a switch? You couldn’t do better than to read this series.

Upgrading a Blogger Blog to WordPress for Beginners; Lesson I
Upgrading a Blogger Blog to WordPress for Beginners; Lesson II

More posts will be written in the series and when the series is completed I will post a link to all of them.

Let me now admit how terrified I have been about this process. Several times over the last few days the voice in my head has been screaming “RUN AWAY run away! Stay with Blogger, don’t switch to WordPress. You’re not smart enough. You don’t have the technical knowledge for this”. Well that’s a load of baloney. I am smart enough, I do have the technical knowledge. It turns out all my fears were simply because I did not know how things worked – and now that I do, I can honestly say WordPress is simpler and easier to use than Blogger is.

I did not know how easy it was to modify templates – it is a snap. Just yesterday I was considering paying some big money to get my own unique template built. I completely believe you have to invest in your blog and I’m happy to pay for something that is great and that I was happy with and would never want to change. However I can take a good looking template and switch the colors, change the graphics, just tweak it to suit myself.

I was worried about plugins. I was worried about security. I was worried about a lot of things. Now, I have faith in myself that I can deal with whatever happens. Confidence is a great feeling.

Back in a few hours with a CD review. ;)

Assorted Blog Tip Goodness For Bloggers

Google, heatmaps, comments and spiders, oh my! There’s so much to know when you’re a blogger, so I keep putting together some of the little tips I am picking up to share with you. Blogger users take note, I have a couple of great ones for you here.

Have You Googled Your Blog Lately?

In order to get specific results for your blog put the following into the search box – site:www.snoskred.org – just replace the www.snoskred.org with your site URL.

If you want to search your own site only, you can also use Advanced Search and put your site in where it says Domain – Only return results from the site or domain. I use this all the time when looking for past things I wrote here.

For those of us getting frustrated with Technorati, it may be time to consider a Google search widget instead. I’m going to be checking further into this later today and may put a how to together for ya’all for future blogging tip goodness posts..

Find Out What Your Readers Click On

I read Create a Heatmap of Where Readers Click on Your Blog at Problogger and thought it might be something interesting to try. I put it on less than 24 hours ago and it is already showing me interesting information.

If you want to know more about your blog readers, this is an absolute must do. It is also really simple to do – and completely free!

Don’t Forget

I added a new section to my sidebar called Bloggers Are Helpful. It contains some of the best articles I have found about blogging. It is also constantly updated and in the weekly wrap up I will let you know what new articles have been added to it over the week.

If you have a helpful article which should appear in Bloggers Are Helpful, please email me or leave a comment linking to your article.

Blogger Issues.

Comments Policy.

Did you know you can add your comments policy to Blogger? It will show up just above the box where people enter their comments. Here’s a quick screenshot guide on how to do it.

From your Blogger Dashboard – click on settings. Click on Comments. Find the box that looks like this. Type your comments policy into the box – and don’t forget to click save when you’re done! Now when your blog readers want to comment, they will see what you typed into the box directly above the comments box. It will look like this – Or perhaps like this if you have your comments appear in a pop up box.

With Blogger you have a choice between a pop up comments box and a comments page – I prefer the comments page myself, which do you prefer as a commenter? and if you want your comments to be do follow I believe you can’t use the popup box. I’m not 100% sure on that one – anyone?

Where’s That Spider?

You may have read this post by Sephy where he talks about Blogger messing with the search engines. If you did not and you are using blogger, you need to know that Blogger has added a robots.txt file to your blog – without asking you, and without giving you any options of changing it.

What is a robots.txt? It simply tells the search spiders what to look at and what to ignore.

Blogger users are not able to submit a sitemap to Google – something ALL other bloggers can do, because it has to be on your site itself in .xml format and blogger does not allow you to upload .xml files to your blog. Blogger is telling the search spiders -

Sitemap: http://www.snoskred.org/feeds/posts/default?orderby=updated

That means my feed read becomes my site map. Not an ideal situation at all. :(

Bloggers on WordPress and some of the other blogging platforms have a huge advantage over us – they can tell Google what pages to look at, what pages to ignore, and also get their labels listed.

Get Smart

Therefore we Blogger users will need to become smarter about how we do things. That is what the Snoskred Is section is about.

I only had 297 of my 500 posts on google for some strange reason. Some of my much older posts which I used to get hits for on certain search terms seemed to stop getting those hits.

What I chose to do was take the time to go back through my posts and make a links list with keywords appropriate to the post. I put it in my sidebar. It is long (if you choose to do the same, you may need to use the scrolling html just to make it workable) and nobody may ever actually look at it other than the spiders. However I do hope that my readers find it useful as well, if they want to know more about me it’s pretty much all there.

You may want to consider doing something similar yourself. It’s your blog. :) At the very least my thought is that you should have your favourite 10 posts available in your sidebar for your readers to check out and get to know more about you.

Consider WordPress.

I am working on learning a bit about WordPress. I have it installed on another domain I own, and Sephy and I are just messing about with it, learning how it works.

I had been getting mixed messages on WordPress. Some people told me WordPress was difficult to use and for more technical type people. Some people told me it was the best thing since sliced bread. Having now messed about with it I can say both are true. It does require some technical knowledge, but it is also is the best thing since sliced bread.

Blogger is great for most bloggers, I completely agree with that. It is easy, simple to use and you can now get templates for Blogger that look fantastic. If you’re looking for a great Blogger template, I found this site the other day – Pannasmontata Templates – some of these are simply stunning.

For those of us who want a little more control – who want to be in charge – who don’t want Blogger making decisions on their behalf without asking them – WordPress may be the better option. Will I be moving this blog to WordPress? Probably not at the moment, but maybe in the future. I am going to use WordPress for the business blog, though.