If you aren’t very technology-savvy, or just prefer to easily setup/upgrade your WordPress installations, there are a number of web hosting services that now support one-click installation of WordPress via Fantastico.
I’ve yet to find a good list, so I figured that it was time someone put one together to help these people know which web hosts they can choose from. Here are a list of web hosts that I have managed to confirm support WordPress installation via Fantastico:
- A Small Orange
- Ace Net
- Total Choice Hosting
Does your web host support Fantastico? If they aren’t on the above list, let me know in the comments below!
Matt Cutts is most commonly known for his job as the head of the Google Search team, but the guy also appears to know a lot about being a webmaster. A couple of days ago Matt wrote a post titled Three Tips to Protect Your WordPress Installation where he details three things you can do to help avoid having your WordPress blog get hacked.
Here is the first tip:
Secure your /wp-admin/ directory. What I’ve done is lock down /wp-admin/ so that only certain IP addresses can access that directory. I use an .htaccess file, which you can place directly at /wp-admin/.htaccess . This is what mine looks like:
AuthName “Access Control”
deny from all
# whitelist home IP address
allow from 126.96.36.199
# whitelist work IP address
allow from 188.8.131.52
allow from 184.108.40.206
# IP while in Kentucky; delete when back
allow from 220.127.116.11
I’ve changed the IP addresses, but otherwise that’s what I use. This file says that the IP address 18.104.22.168 (and the other IP addresses that I’ve whitelisted) are allowed to access /wp-admin/, but all other IP addresses are denied access. Has this saved me from being hacked before? Yes.
Most themes typically come with a 404.php page that shows up by default whenever an invalid URL is visited on your blog. Depending on how often you change the URL of existing posts or delete old posts, it may or may not be a high traffic page for your blog.
Either way, when a typical web surfer finds your blog and is greeted with the lovely 404 page, they will most commonly just click the “Back” button on their browser and continue browsing through the other search results. If your 404 page is setup correctly, you can often retain that traffic by either offering something funny to grab the readers attention or by offering a variety of methods for them to find the post they are looking for. Over at Theme Playground I ran across a great post about customizing your 404 page, which includes a bunch of suggestions for retaining that traffic.
I personally prefer to provide useful resources on my 404 pages, so I will typically use something like the following code to help search engine traffic hopefully find what they are looking for:
<h1>Not Found, Error 404</h1>
<p>The page you are looking for no longer exists.</p>
<p>Perhaps you can find what you are looking for by searching the site archives!</p>
<b>Search by Page:</b>
<?php wp_list_pages('title_li='); ?>
<b>Search by Month:</b>
<?php wp_get_archives('type=monthly'); ?>
<b>Search by Category:</b>
<?php wp_list_cats('sort_column=name'); ?>
I will also sometimes call the search box (usually searchform.php) and the popular posts plugin as well to help retain that traffic, depending on the type of blog the 404 page is being built for. How do you have your 404 page setup?
There is no doubt that their combination of WordPress themes and WordPress plugins gives WordPress.org users a variety of options, but WordPress.com does not give its users nearly as much functionality. That is where Greasemonkey steps in, allowing users to control WordPress’ behavior locally within your web browser.Below you will find a list of what I consider to be the best and most useful WordPress Greasemonkey scripts. Most are for WordPress.com users, but some work for both. In order to use them, you will first need to install the Greasemonkey Extension in your Firefox Web Browser.
WordPress Greasemonkey Scripts
- Akismet Auntie Spam – This script re-skins the Akismet spambox page for WordPress admins. Download all spam at once, compress spam to make it more scanable and completely compresses obvious spam. Turns checking spam into a 10 minute per week activity.
- Find Images That Are Wide – This script scans your blog for images that are to big in Firefox, IE6, and IE7. Great for checking IE6 image compatibility and for blogs using fixed width templates.
- WordPress.com: Add Technorati Tags – This is not for the self-hosted version of WordPress, but it is to good not to list! This script adds a Tag button to allow users to easily add Technorati Tags to their posts.
- WordPress.com Stats Pages – Adds the missing stats links to the WordPress.com edit pages admin panel.
- WordPress Category Resizer – Ideal for people with 25+ categories on their blog. This script moves the category checkbox list from the right sidebar to underneath the edit post windows and makes it three columns wide instead of one column wide. Works with any version of WordPress or WordPress Multi-User (including WordPress.com).
- WordPress Comment Ninja – Respond to comments directly by post and/or email from inside your WordPress dashboard.
- Yahoo Pipe Cleaner – Removes most of the HTML markup from Yahoo Pipe run output so that it can be cut-and-pasted into WordPress blogs.
Unfortunately, this list is a little shorter than most of my Greasemonkey lists due to the lack of scripts available. If you know of some really useful ones I missed, please let me know in the comments below!
If you aren’t a person that is fairly concious of search engine optimization when blogging, you probably having given much thought to the Post Slug field in your WordPress write panel.
Creating a post slug basically allows you to create the post URL of your choice after your blog’s name, depending on the permalink structure that your blog uses. By default, the post slug will be the blog post’s title. For example, by default, this would post having the following URL:
Unfortunately, this is not a very search engine friendly URL, as many of the keywords are at the end of the URL. By setting my own custom post slug, I am able to create a better URL for my post:
In this case, my post title focuses on the keywords for this post, creating more emphasis on them. The great thing about this tip is it takes a very minimal amount of time to do and will become second nature once you’ve turned it into a habit.
When it comes to search engine optimization, most everything is speculation and theories, but there are a few things that we know for sure. One of the things that Matt Cutts, who works for Google’s search team, has confirmed is how to best optimize your blog’s permalink structure for Google’s search engine.
In a statement he made at WordCamp 2007, Matt made two points that apply to permalink structure:
- In URLs, no spaces are worst, underscore are better, dashes or hyphens are best.
- Do not include the post date in your URL.
As you can see, for WordPress users, your best bet is to use /%postname%/ as your custom permalink structure. This way the search engines can properly recognize your keywords and it avoids using the month/day/year or category in your post.
If you already have an established blog and permalink structure, but want to make the switch, you can make the switch then use a 301 redirect to point to your older posts to avoid broken links.
One of the best and most appealing parts of using WordPress is the various WordPress themes and WordPress plugins available. The plugins are easy to add, and the themes allow users to switch their blog’s theme with the click of a button.
If you have made a habit of regularly switching WordPress themes, you’ve probably noticed that there is a lot of stuff that needs to be done each time you make the switch. Here is a list of 8 reminders for you to follow each time you switch your WordPress theme:
- Transfer your metrics code – The most common thing people forget to do is transfer over their metrics scripts. These are usually found in the footer of your theme and can easily be transfered with a simple copy and paste.
- Transfer plugin calls – Remember all those plugins you installed that required calls to be placed in the theme? Those will each need to be transfered over to your new theme for your plugins to continue to function properly.
- Transfer sidebar stuff – If you are using widgets, this stuff will transfer over to new your widget-ready theme automatically. If you aren’t, you will need to transfer this stuff over manually.
- Verify your feeds work properly – Offering a valid feed to subscribers is crucial to a blogs success. You’ll want to make sure your feed is working properly, and if you use Feedburner, you will want to make sure your redirect is working properly.
- Update your advertising code – When you switch themes, you first need to transfer over your advertising code, then update the colors in the code to match your new theme.
- Test your theme for errors – Verify your menu is working properly, your tags, categories, and archives pages all work. You’ll also want to do a test search using the blog’s search engine.
- Test in all web browsers – You can either manually download and open your site in multiple web browsers (IE7, IE6, Firefox, and Opera), or try a service like Browsershots.
- Announce your theme change – Make a post that explains the change and ask readers to let you know if they encounter any problems. This way you can get feedback from people using a variety of browsers and resolutions.
That covers everything I typically do when setting up or switching WordPress themes. Miss any? Sound off in the comments below!
Have you ever seen a blogger mention how important it is to schedule posts ahead? It is generally a good idea to have a few posts set aside for a rainy day, or scheduled ahead in case something comes up. If you are a WordPress user, you might not know that you have the ability to schedule posts ahead. It is actually quite easy! In addition to scheduling posts ahead, you can use old dates if you want your post to be dated sometime in the past.
Here is how to schedule your WordPress posts to be published at a different time and/or date:
- Write your post.
- Go to where it says Post Timestamp on the right side of your Write panel and adjust the time/date to reflect when you would like your post to be published. You will want to verify that your blog’s time is set up correctly to ensure the post appears when you want it to.
- Publish the post.
- The post will now appear in the Manage posts tab, but will not show on your site until the designated date/time. If you date it into the past, it will post right away and show the designated date/time.
This is a useful way to keep a few posts saved for a rainy day or to keep content showing up if an illness puts you out of commission for awhile. You can also experiment with posting times to see what works best for you and your readers. For example, I’ve found publishing posts early in the morning seems to help Google AdSense payouts per click. It also allows readers overseas to see my stuff during their evening hours, before they go to bed.
If you use the WordPress rich text editor to write your posts, there are a few shortcuts that you may not be familiar with. Here is a useful list of shortcuts that you can use to make writing and formating posts a little easier:
Read More: Alt+SHIFT+T
Unordered List (ul): Alt+SHIFT+U
Ordered List (ol): Alt+SHIFT+O
List Item (li): Alt+SHIFT+L
This can often save you the time it takes to switch back and forth between the visual tab and the code tabs. Enjoy!
There has been much debate over the value of displaying your archives on your WordPress blog. Some people are all for it, while others feel that you should move any archives to their own page. No matter which camp you are in, I think both can agree that if you do display your archives, you do not need to display an overabundance of them.
By default, most WordPress themes come with some standard code to display your blog’s archives by month and with no limit to the number of archives to display. Typically the code will look something like this:
<?php wp_get_archives('type=monthly'); ?>
This will be fine for the first 6 months are so, but once your blog gets a little more established, you’ll probably notice that the number of months displayed are never ending. This can quickly become an eyesore for your blog and people generally won’t want to look at archives more than 6 months old. In order to set a rotating limit of months displayed on your blog, you simply need to make a small change to the above code to add a limit:
<?php wp_get_archives('type=monthly&limit=6'); ?>
If you want to display more or fewer months, just change the 6 accordingly. Its really that easy!