If you are looking for a way to generate more traffic and inbound links for your blog, and you have some web design talent, one of the best things you can do is contribute a few free WordPress themes to the WordPress community.
In order to focus on making your theme unique, I recommend starting out with a blank theme template. Jonathan Wold has created an excellent tutorial called How to Create Your Own WordPress Theme, in which he walks you through the basic setup of a generic WordPress theme. From there, you are then on your own to express your creativity and add some plugin integration for potential users of the theme.
In case you are new to the blogosphere, you might not have noticed that things tend to happen in trends. One trend that has become very popular over the last few months is the themes with date buttons.
If you are wondering what I am talking about, you can actually see the date button on this theme. The picture to the left is one taken from October 16th. Adding an icon to your WordPress theme will go a long way towards improving the look of your theme, while still allowing you to provide your readers with a date to your posts.
If you are interested in adding something like this to your theme, Small Potato has a great write up explaining how to add a WordPress date button. The only step that requires a little bit of thought is getting an icon to use for the background of the date. Everything else is pretty straight forward and well explained!
A couple of weeks ago the WordPress community was blessed with the latest release from the WordPress team, now known as WordPress 2.3. One of the included features was an extremely important and extremely useful one, which adds built-in tags to WordPress.
If you have already upgraded to WordPress 2.3 and want to take advantage of this new feature, you will probably have to manually add this tagging feature to your theme. In order to add tags, you simply need to paste the following code where you want to display the tags:
<?php the_tags(); ?>
This will actually add the text “Tags:” before the output of tags, so you will not need to do this manually. If you would like to proudly display your tags in a cloud somewhere (most commonly in your sidebar), you can easily do so by using the following code:
<?php wp_tag_cloud('smallest=8&largest=36&'); ?>
This code tells WordPress to display your tags in alphabetical order with the smallest text being 8 point font and the largest font is 36 point font. You can adjust the font sizes to your preference.
If you would prefer to stick with the Ultimate Tagging Warrior plugin, the author has stated that the plugin will be updated to work with WordPress 2.3 Most people, though, would probably prefer to switch to the new built-in tagging system. If you’d like to make the switch from UTW to the new WordPress tagging system, WordPress has made it easy to make the conversion with their import feature. You can find the import option under the Manage tab in your Dashboard. In addition to the ability to import your UTW tags, WordPress also allows you to import tags from other plugins such as Bunny’s Technorati Tags and the Simple Tagging plugin.
Overall, I am extremely impressed with the new tagging feature found in WordPress 2.3 and even more impressed with how easy it is to convert your old tags to the new system.
Have you ever noticed that many blogs put up a daily post that is simply a bunch of links to other websites? This is actually done automatically, and if you have ever wondered how to set that up, you’ve come to the right place. That feature is called Del.icio.us Daily Blog Posting, and this post will explain how to accomplish this if you have a self-hosted WordPress blog.
First thing you need is to sign up for an account with the popular social bookmarking service Del.icio.us. The account is free and allows you to store your bookmarks online in a nice and convenient location. Once you’re registered and ready to set up your daily blog posting feature, you’ll want to follow these easy steps:
- Click Settings.
- Click Daily Blog Posting.
- Click Add a New Thingy.
- Now fill out the following information in the appropriate fields:
job_name : Enter the title of your choice
out_name : [WordPress Admin Username]
out_pass : [WordPress Admin Password]
out_url : http :// [Blog URL] /xmlrpc.php
out_time : Enter the time you want the posts to appear each day. 0= 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time
out_blog_id : 1
out_cat_id : Enter the category I.D. you want to use. It may post to your default category.
- Click Submit Query.
Now that you are set up for daily blog posting, you’ll want to visit the Del.icio.us Buttons page. This page allows you to add a button to your web browser of choice. With these buttons, you can simply click the button while on a page you want to bookmark and it will automatically be bookmarked on your Del.icio.us account. Each day during the time you established above, it will then post your links automatically to your blog.
I talked previously about how there are a lot of basic things WordPress theme authors can do to make a theme more functional and appealing to WordPress users, such as separating blog comments from trackbacks. Another thing that theme authors often forget to do is add “edit” buttons to posts, pages, and comments. Having access to these buttons can save blog authors a lot of time when trying to manage their blogs. As a result, I decided to write up a quick tutorial that explains the really simple process of adding edit buttons to your WordPress theme.
If you’d like to add an “Edit” button on your individual posts or pages, here is the code you will want to place somewhere in your post and/or page template (usually called single.php and page.php) where you want it to display:
<?php edit_post_link(__("**Edit**"), ''); ?>
If you’d like to add an “Edit” button to your individual comments, here is the code you need to place somewhere in your comments loop (usually called comments.php) where you want it to display:
<?php edit_comment_link(__("**Edit**"), ''); ?>
A couple of quick notes about adding edit buttons to your theme:
- These edit links will only appear if you are logged in with the appropriate priviledges (administrator, editor, etc.). Your traffic will not see them.
- You can wrap them in a div or whatever you would like to and then set its position in your stylesheet to appear where you want it to.