Profitable Blogging For Beginners

Blogging Guru Guide

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Introduction to Blogging

Blog is short for weblog, which is a compound word formed from Web and log. The first weblogs appeared in the late 1990s as a way to share links and commentary with Web site visitors. The earliest bloggers would read an article on the Web and create a weblog entry or post with a link to that article, often with some personal comments about the article. Since then, the number of blogs available on the Internet has soared to an estimated 20 million.

Starting Your Blog Right

Creating Your Blog WordPress might look complex when you're beginning a blog. If you're using WordPress.com, there are fewer options, but some are still on the advanced side. If you're using WordPress software, there are additional options. The ones that have to do with blog setup, posting blog entries, and hosting concerns are somewhat mixed together. Yet the options that are important from the beginning make a big difference in having a trouble-free and enjoyable experience in blogging with WordPress. We're happy to help make the setup process easy. This chapter highlights the opportunities available and shows you how to overcome any difficulties. This chapter is focused on WordPress.com for setting up the WordPress software from WordPress.org, see Chapter 11, Installing and Upgrading WordPress Software. If you use this chapter step-by-step through the setup process, you'll avoid potential hassle and rework later and get your blog off to a strong start. You can rush through this...

Choosing Your Blogs URL

Before you upload the files, you have one more thing to think about your blog's URL structure. If you plan for your blog to be the primary content of your domain, you should upload the WordPress files directly to the site's root folder. That way, people who go directly to your URL will be greeted by your blog. If you plan to have a landing page or some other content living at the root of your site, you should upload the WordPress files to a subdirectory. To get to your blog, people will have to enter a URL like www.wordpressforall.com blog. (In this example, you would create a subdirectory called blog at the root of the site and then upload all the WordPress files to that subdirectory.) If you want your blog's URL to be something other than www.Y0uRBL0c.com wordpress, be sure to rename the default WordPress directory before you upload it to your site, or create the correctly named folder on your remote host and upload the WordPress files to that folder.

Importing from Blogspot Blogger

I call it Blogspot you call it Blogger a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. The blogging application owned by Google is referenced either way Blogspot or Blogger. In the end, we're talking about the same application. To begin the import process, first complete the steps in the Moving Your Blog section, earlier in this chapter. Then follow these steps 1. Click the Blogger link on the Import page. The Import Blogger page loads and you see a message that says, Howdy This importer allows you to import posts and comments from your Blogger account into your WordPress blog. The message goes on to explain that you need a Google account, and that you need to tell Google you're authorizing your WordPress blog to access your Blogger blog. When you have successfully logged in, you receive a message from Google stating that your blog at WordPress is requesting access to your Blogger account so that it can post entries on your behalf. If you have many posts and comments in your Blogger...

Transferring from Blogger BlogSpot

Click Authorize. Google will ask you to confirm that it's OK for another website (WordPress) to access your Blogger account. 4. Type in the Google Blogger login information (email address and password) to sign in. Again, Google will tell you that WordPress is requesting access to your Blogger account. Click Grant Access. The WordPress importer will run. Depending on how much content you have at Blogger, this can take quite a long time. When it finishes, you'll be sent back to the WordPress Administration page. You should see the name of your Blogger blog. 7. Click Set Authors. The Blogger username displays on the left side of the page, and a drop-down menu containing your WordPress authors displays on the right. 8. Tell WordPress who is who. Because WordPress can handle multiple authors, and Blogger only gives you one, use this drop-down menu to define the Blogger username with the appropriate WordPress username. If it's just you, the task is easy.

Importing from Blogger

To import posts and comments from Blogger, you'll need to authorize your WordPress site to access your Blogger account. Under Tools Import, choose Blogger from the list, and you'll see the authorization request shown in Figure 5-6 and 5-7. Once you give it permission, WordPress will show you a list of your Blogger blogs. Press the Import button to the right of the progress bar to begin the import, as shown in Figure 5-8.

Types of Blogging Software

Three main types of blogging software are available Hosted services These services are web-based applications that allow you to edit content online, and then publish at the click of a button. Some, like Blogger (http blogger.com ), allow you to publish to a companion web site or to FTP your files to your own server. Other examples are TypePad (http www.sixapart.com typepad ) and LiveJournal (http www.livejournal.com ).

Install Word Press and go beyond blogging

WordPress is so flexible that developers are now tapping it to create robust applications for content, contact, and e-mail management. Whether you're a casual blogger or programming pro, this comprehensive guide covers WordPress from the basics through advanced application development. Learn how to use custom plugins and themes, retrieve data, maintain security, use social media, and modify your blog without changing any core code. You'll even get to know the ecosystem of products that surrounds this popular, open-source tool. Enhance your blog's findability in the search engines and beyond Enhance your blog with WordPress MU

Updating Links and Your Blogroll

A blogroll originally started out as the list of blogs that your blog commented on and of blogs whose blogger and users might be expected to read your blog in return. You only need to worry about this area if you use the Links widget, which exposes your blogroll to the world. However, the Links widget is so valuable to you and your blog visitors that you should consider adding it, as described in Chapter 3, Creating Your Blog's Look, if you haven't already. As the world of blogs has become more hierarchical and less communitarian, with some blogs reaping hundreds of thousands of page visits and others just a few, blogrolls are less a list of members of a community and more often a list of resources that you and your blog visitors can draw on. Think of your blogroll as a set of reference points for you and your site visitors. This frees you to comment in a focused way on your own blog, not necessarily having to reproduce information or even commentary that's appeared elsewhere. You can...

Changing the Look of Your Blog

This chapter is about the reader's view of your blog. It is about what your visitors see and how they interact with your blog. That interaction, or experience, is important in ensuring your visitors get the most from your site. If the experience is positive they find what they want, and they can interact easily and successfully then they will want to come back. A good design will drive that experience. It is also about the aesthetic experience, too. The look of your blog, especially the first page, must either fit the users' expectations or surprise them in a positive, pleasing way. If you and your community are discussing fan fiction for a Gothic TV horror show, they want a dark, slightly sinister, experience. If you are all about craft fun for preschool children, you'll want to present a bright, airy, fun face to your readers (but not childish, since the parents are your audience). The face of your blog its outward appearance is provided by the theme in use on your blog. In this...

Final Words of Bloggerly Wisdom

You're clearly interested in blogging because you went to the trouble of buying this book (thanks ), so I want to end with a few words about making your blog successful You are the key. When you come right down to it, the blogging system you use matters very little to the success of your blog. Sure, you'll be more likely to post if you use a well-designed blogging tool like WordPress, which gets out of your way and helps you concentrate on blogging, but you are the key factor in your blog. Your passion, your knowledge, and your viewpoint will make your blog stand out from the rest. Always keep in mind why you're blogging. Some people blog for fame, some just want to keep in contact with friends, and other simply love to write (that's the group I fall into). The reason why you blog has a big effect on what you blog about and on how you look at blogging decisions. Keep your blogging goal in mind (even if your goal is just to have fun), and given time and attention, your blog should...

8From the New User Default Role dropdown menu choose the role that you want new users to have when they register for

You need to understand the differences among the user roles, because each user role is assigned a different level of access to your blog, as follows Subscriber Subscriber is the default role. It's a good idea to maintain this role as the one assigned to new users, particularly if you don't know who is registering. Subscribers are given access to the Dashboard page, and they can view and change the options in their profiles on the Your Profile and Personal Options page. (They don't have access to your account settings, however only to their own). Each user can change his username, e-mail address, password, bio, and other descriptors in his user profile. Subscribers' profile information is stored in the WordPress database, and your blog remembers them each time they visit, so they don't have to complete the profile information each time they leave comments on your blog.

Futureproofing Your Blog

There's one last bit of business to take care of before I delve into populating your blog with some awesome content your blog's settings. This chapter is titled Futureproofing Your Blog because the decisions you make now will affect how you and your readers interact with your blog. Clicking the Settings link in the top navigation bar, which appears on all pages in the WordPress administrative interface (Figure 5.1 on the next page), takes you, surprisingly enough, to your blog's Settings tab. (You start in the General Settings section.) In addition to setting general options, this page is where you specify how you write posts, how those posts are displayed, and who can read what.

Organizing Your Blog by Subject

Categorizing your posts in WordPress provides an organizational structure for your blog. Each blog post that is assigned to a category is grouped with other posts in the same category. When your blog is a few months old, this structure creates a nice topical directory of posts for you and your readers. Category lists generally appear in two places on your blog, letting your readers find all your posts by subject very easily. Almost all WordPress themes list categories within the blog post itself. Most themes also provide a list of your categories in the sidebar of your blog so that your readers can click a topic of interest. Each category in a WordPress.com blog has its own RSS feed, making it easy for your readers to subscribe to a feed and keep updated on what you have to say in your blog about a certain topic.

Your blog has been hacked OMG

One downfall of using the most popular blogging software out there is that WordPress blogs are targets for hackers. If you don't keep your WordPress installation current (see WordPress updates are also your friends later in this chapter), someone could exploit a known security vulnerability in your blog. I've seen this situation happen to very savvy bloggers, so don't think that it can't happen to you. Generally, a hacker crafts a bot that trawls the Internet looking for vulnerable installations of WordPress. When it finds a vulnerable blog, the bot exploits the vulnerability to access your blog and insert links to various sites of ill repute. This technique is an effort to use your blog to increase those sites' Google PageRank scores.

How Visitors Can Subscribe to Your Blog

You want your blog visitors to subscribe to your blog. That way, they constantly have the latest and greatest postings from you available to them. There's a lot of good news and a little bit of bad news with your WordPress blog and RSS feeds. The good news is that it's very easy for someone to add any WordPress blog to a feed reader. The only way you can stop your blog from being discoverable that is, easily found, added, and used by a feed reader is to set the Syndication Feeds number of posts to 0 in the Reading Settings for your blog, as described in Chapter 2, Starting Your Blog Right. WordPress blogs even allow people to subscribe just to a specific category, or several categories, of your blog. (This is yet another reason to manage your categories carefully, as described in Chapter 5, Taking Posts Further. ) The bad news is that there's so little drama about the process that there's no hook within your blog to remind, prompt, or instruct your site visitor on how to subscribe to...

Making Your Blog Better

The core of blogging is that it's an ongoing conversation between yourself and the people who visit your blog. Some of those people are blog-gers themselves, some are visitors who comment, and the vast majority are lurkers people who read your posts, but rarely or never comment themselves. You can think of your blog as being like a tree, with a core approach that reflects a certain set of interests and beliefs as the trunk. You can, in effect, make the tree bigger by adding static pages. Static pages, which visitors can refer to again and again, add to the base of your blog. The major categories for your posts whether you do a careful job of specifying them explicitly, or whether they're implicit are the branches, and the posts themselves are the leaves or needles. As you add more posts, you build up the tree. You can build up the tree faster, and in directions you wouldn't have anticipated yourself, if you add other users and administrators to your blog. Pings are like comments, but...

Inserting Audio Files into Your Blog Posts

Audio files can be music files or a recording of you speaking to your readers it adds a nice personal touch to your blog, and you can easily share audio files on your blog through the use of the Upload Audio feature in WordPress. After you've inserted an audio file in your blog posts, your readers can listen to it on their computers or download it onto an MP3 player and listen to it on their drives to work, if they want. Click the Add Audio icon on the Edit Post or Add New Post page, and follow these steps to upload an audio file to your blog post Some great WordPress plugins for audio handling can enhance the functionality of the file uploader and help you manage audio files in your blog posts. Check out Chapter 10 for information on how to install and use WordPress plugins in your blog.

Maintaining Your Blog

None of these maintenance tasks are particularly daunting, and most of them should occupy no more than a few hours a week. Your biggest maintenance time should be spent feeding your blog responding to comments, writing new posts, and adding links. In this chapter, I will show you how to look after your blog, beginning with the most important maintenance task backing up your database.

Setting discussion options for your blog

Click the Discussion link on the Settings menu. On the Discussion Settings page, you can set the options, such as notification settings, for your posts determine how comments and comment spam are handled on your WordPress.com blog and specify whether you want to use avatars on your blog. The Discussion Settings page has six settings you can configure for your blog, each of which I discuss in the following sections.

2Enter the name of your blog in the Blog Title text box

The title you enter here is the one that you've given your blog to identify it as your own. In Figure 7-8, I gave my new blog the title WordPress For Dummies, which appears on the blog as well as in the title bar of the viewer's Web browser. Give your blog an interesting and identifiable name. You can use Fried Green Tomatoes, for example, if you're blogging about the topic, the book or the movie, or even anything remotely related to the lovely Southern dish.

Establishing Your Blog Routine

Setting up categories Building your blogroll Exploring permalinks Writing and editing posts and pages Managing and moderating comments MMJordPress is a powerful publishing tool, especially when you use the WW full range of options available. With the basic settings configured (which you do in Chapter 7), now is the time to go forth and blog You can, at this point, skip to the Blog It Writing Your First Entry section in this chapter and jump right in to creating new posts for your blog. Or you can stay right here with me and discover some of the options you can set to make your blog a bit more organized and logical from the get-go.

Customizing Your Blogs Layout

I n this chapter, I will show you how to improve your users' experience by tailoring your blog's layout to your audience. As with the previous chapters, the focus is on building your community and making it enjoyable and rewarding for people, so they will return again and again. To achieve this goal, you need to think about the users' experience as they use your site. What are your readers doing on the site What are they trying to achieve When you have the answers to these questions, you can help your readers by customizing your site to accommodate their interests.

Blogging Related Terminology

In this section, I will briefly explain some of the terms associated with blogs and blogging. Some of them are specific to blogging others are more generic. Blog Comments Comments are a feature available with some blogging software. They allow visitors to your blog to comment on your stories. Comments are usually visible after a user clicks a link, often one indicating how many comments there are or inviting the reader to leave a comment. Once the link is clicked, the comments are presented, usually in chronological order with the earliest comment at the top. This is the reverse of the order in which blog stories themselves are presented. Note Comments can be abused by visitors who have messages to spout or grudges. Also, some people will attempt to spam your blog, usually with the intention of getting more exposure to links to their sites. I'll cover comment spam in detail in Chapters 14 and 15. Blogrolls Blogrolls are a convenient way to manage lists of links to other blogs and...

Optimizing your blog performances with WP Super Cache

Would you like to be (or already are) featured on some high-traffic web sites, such as Digg, delicious.com, or StumbleUpon If the answer is yes, you have to make sure that your blog can survive a 5000 10000 new visitor's rush. 1. Turning the cache on off After installing the plugin, you should know that the WP Super Cache is off, which means it is running but inactive. To turn it on and optimize your blog performances, go to Settings WP Super Cache and look for the WP Super Cache Status label. Check ON and click on the Update Status button. Your blog is now protected against huge traffic effects

Adding a sitemap to your blog

A very important point in Search Engine Optimization is to be sure that search engines crawlers can access all of your blog pages and posts, so they all can be indexed. There are many ways to make sure that all of your pages and posts can be accessed by crawlers, such as creating an archive page template. Therefore, the best way to guarantee that crawlers can see and index all of your site pages is to use a sitemap.

Monetizing your blog with ISIS Ads Management

Most bloggers monetize their blog, do you If the answer is yes, you probably grew frustrated having one or more 125*125 pixel advertisements. Most people use a text widget with some handmade HTML CSS to accomplish this. While this is a good way to do it, you're wasting a lot of your precious time. Let's create a set of four ads that will be displayed on your blog sidebar.

Getting More People to Visit Your Blog

Bloggers are obsessed with visits to their WordPress blogs. One of the very best features of WordPress.com blogs is the free, detailed, up-to-date statistics that we take you through in this chapter. (The same statistics are available to WordPress.org blogs as well just install the WordPress Stats plug-in.) So rest assured that even if you're a WordPress.com user now, limited to the really rather good statistics built in to your blog's Administration area, you have a healthy growth path ahead in WordPress.org if you want to take advantage of it.

Inserting Video Files into Your Blog Posts

Whether you're producing your own videos for publication or want to embed other people's videos that you find interesting, placing a video file in a blog post has never been easier with WordPress. Several video galleries on the Web today allow you to add videos to blog posts Google's YouTube service (http youtube.com) is a good example of a third party video service that allows you to share videos from their service. To add video from the Web, click the Add Video icon, then click the From URL tab and follow these steps A link to the video is inserted into your post. WordPress doesn't embed the actual video in the post it inserts only a link to the video. Your blog visitors click the link to load another page where the video can be played. To upload and post to your blog a video from your computer, click the Add Video icon on the Edit Post or Add New Post page. Then follow these steps

Time for action tagging blog posts

WordPress MU does have a simple, built-in form of tagging system, but it isn't very convenient to use, and many users may decide it's too much trouble to add new tags and figure out which tags to mark each blog post with. Let's offer them a more convenient and nicer looking way of doing things. We have set up an improved tagging system that our users may find very useful. The plugin will read new blog posts and suggest tags for them, saving our users the hassle of typing out tags for each post. Of course, our users can choose to type out the tags by hand if they prefer and can delete any tags that the plugin suggests if they don't like them however, they should find that they get some very useful inspiration from the suggest tags feature.

Examining a Blog Posts Address Permalinks

Each WordPress blog post is assigned its own Web page, and the address (or URL) of that page is called a permalink. Posts that you see in WordPress blogs usually have the post permalink in four typical areas The title of the blog post Permalinks are meant to be permanent links to your blog posts (which is where the perma part of that word comes from, in case you're wondering). Other bloggers can use a post permalink to refer to that particular blog post. So ideally, the permalink of a post never changes. WordPress creates the per-malink automatically when you publish a new post. By default, a blog post permalink in WordPress looks like this

Composing your blog post

Composing a blog post is a lot like typing an e-mail You give it a title, you write the message, and you click a button to send your words into the world. You can collapse or reposition all the modules on the Add New Posts page to suit your needs. The only section on the Add New Posts page that cannot be lOj 1 collapsed and repositioned is the actual title and post box (where you write your blog post). Follow these steps to write a basic blog post The page refreshed with your post title and content saved, but not yet published to your blog. This page is where you give your blog post a title and write your post body. This page is where you give your blog post a title and write your post body. Insert More Tag Inserts the tag, which lets you split the display on your blog page. It publishes the text written above this tag with a Read More link, which takes the user to a page with the full post. This feature is good for really long posts. At this point, you can skip to the Publishing your...

Blogging Your Heart

Now that your WordPress installation is up and running, you are ready to start blogging. You've made the right choice with WordPress because it's quite a powerful tool with a seemingly infinite array of options and possibilities. In this chapter, you will learn how to make a blog post and how to control all of the information for that post, and not just the title and content. You will also learn about comments what they are for and how to manage them. Additionally, we will explore how to keep your content organized and searchable using tags and categories. The central activity you'll be doing with your blog is adding posts. A post is like an article in a magazine it's got a title, content, and an author (you). If a blog is like an online diary, then every post is an entry in that diary. A blog post also has a lot of other information attached to it, such as a date and categories. In this section, you will learn how to create a new post and what kind of information you can attach to...

Discussion on your blogcomments

Comments are an important part of most of the blogs. While you are the only person who can write blog posts, the visitors to your blog can add comments to your posts. This can fuel a sense of community within a blog, allow people to give you feedback on your writing, and give your visitors a way to help or talk to other visitors. The only downside of commenting is that unscrupulous people will try to misuse your blog's ability to accept comments, and will try to post spam or advertisements in your blog instead of relevant comments. Luckily, the WordPress community is always developing more ways of fighting spam.

Customizing Your Blog Posts with Template Tags

This section covers the template tags that you use to display the body of each blog post you publish. The body of a blog post includes information such as the post date and time, title, author name, category, and content. Table 12-3 lists the common template tags you can use for posts, available for you to use in any WordPress theme template. The tags in Table 12-3 work only if you place them within The Loop (covered earlier in this chapter and found in the loop.php template file). Template Tags for Blog Posts

Using Audio in Your Blog

Music is very powerful and evocative. However, when people hear music when they don't expect to, especially from a computer, it can also be annoying and or embarrassing. Given what blogs are for, there's absolutely no need for background music and other sound effects on most blogs. If you're expert with sound or really love it, sure, make it part of your blog. But don't think you need to add background music to your blog if it's not your thing. When audio is used primarily for speech, it can be a very good complement to your blog. One possibility is to simply record your posts as little talks and offer them as playable or downloadable audio. This adds a new dimension to how people experience your blog. (You'll need to modify things as you go along to adjust for the fact that there are no hyperlinks or images in audio ) You can also create a blog primarily about spoken podcasts, books on tape, and so on. As with music perhaps even more so a blog can add a lot of context, color, and...

Power Tools for Better Blogging

You can use several major types of tools to improve your blog. The way you use them varies across WordPress.com and WordPress software-based blogs, with more power made available as you take on more responsibility for your blog. Our intent in this book is to always provide a salmon ladder so that you can learn a moderate amount, improve your blog, and repeat all the way from beginner to power user. You can use HTML in any WordPress blog, including WordPress.com blogs, as described in this chapter. What you're actually using in WordPress, and what we show in this book, is XHTML, a newer and somewhat stricter version of HTML. The other major technology you can use for turbocharging your blog is PHP, which stands for PHP Hypertext Preprocessor. PHP is a scripting language. It's used to write plug-ins, which can add a great deal of capability to blogs based on WordPress software, and which are described beginning in Chapter 13, The WordPress Toolkit Plug-Ins. Widgets, a limited selection...

Creating forum topics using blog posts

Another useful feature is to automatically have forum topics created from blog posts. If you decide to use a plugin that offers this, you should set it up only on the main blog. At the time of writing, this could be accomplished using the bbSync plugin, which can be downloaded from the bbpress.org web site however, there are plans to have this feature implemented in bbPress itself in a future version.

Adding Users to Your Blog

WordPress has an odd way of describing people who can contribute to your blog, manage comments, and so on. In addition to you, the blog owner, the roles WordPress recognizes are Administrators, Editors, Authors, Contributors, and Subscribers. WordPress calls all those with administrative capability users. The WordPress practice of calling people with administrative capability users seems strange because for most of us, when not in a WordPress context, user means end user someone who comes along, reads your blog, comments if they feel like it, and leaves, but can't alter any of the blog's structure. In WordPress-speak, a user is everyone but an end user

Displaying your Twitter entries on your blog using a page template

It is possible to create a Twitter page on your blog with the help of the Twitter Tools plugin. How about playing a bit with the code in order to achieve the same result without using any plugin 14. You can now go visit your blog. The Twitter entries will be displayed on the page we just created.

Brief History of Blogging

I know you know what the Web is, but you may not know that the first web site, created by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web, is now recognized by some as the very first weblog. Note Tim Berners-Lee's original server and content was located at http info.cern.ch , but is no longer available. The content has been archived at the World Wide Web Consortium site (http www.w3.org History.html). The page that could be described as the first weblog is at http www.w3.org History

Blogger

Blogger (www.blogger.com) is a free blogging platform from Google. The Blogger importer provides the most straightforward (and yet most likely to cause problems) import process. To use the Blogger importer, you must first set your Blogger blog to publish to a *.blogspot.com blog. You can publish your Blogger blog via file transfer protocol (FTP) or secure file transfer protocol (SFTP), but for the importer to work, your blog must be set to publish locally on Blogger. Ordinarily, this does not cause any real problems because switching from an FTP- or SFTP-published blog to a Blogger blog does not change or harm any content that has already been published to your own domain. You can make this change on a temporary basis and not publish new posts during the process.

True Weblogs

Weblogs as we now know them emerged in the late 1990s (the term was coined by Jorn Barger in 1997) in what is now the established weblog format dated entries with the newest first, at the top of the page. The entries were links to interesting web pages, the latest news stories with commentary and opinions, or essays and personal stories. And they always had links to other people's weblogs. Early pioneers were Jesse James Garrett, Cameron Barrett, Peter Merholz, and Brigitte Eaton, among many others. But these sites were still essentially maintained by hand with page-creation applications or homegrown software. In 1999, services like Pitas.com (http www.pitas.com ), Blogger (http blogger.com ), and Groksoup (no longer online) were launched, suddenly making it incredibly easy (and free) to create, publish, and maintain your own blog. Desktop software like Radio UserLand (http radio.userland.com ) allowed you to publish your blog easily from the desktop. You could install server-based...

Moving Your Blog

This section takes you through the steps for moving your blog from one blog platform to WordPress. This section assumes that you already have the WordPress software installed and configured on your own Web server (see Chapter 6 for information about installing WordPress.org). You can also apply these steps to moving your blog to a WordPress.com hosted blog (Part II is all about WordPress.com). The Import page opens, listing blogging platforms from which you can import content (such as Blogger and Movable Type). Figure A-1 shows the Import page for WordPress.com, and Figure A-2 shows this page for WordPress.org. 2. Click the link for the blogging platform you're working with. The following sections provide some import directions for a few of the most popular blogging platforms (other than WordPress, that is). Each platform has its own content export methods, so be sure to check the documentation for the blogging platform that you are using.

Blogging Tools

In Chapter 3 we describe how to add content to your WordPress blog by using the posting and editing tools in the Dashboard. Another possibility is to use stand-alone software. Such software is particularly useful if you post to more than one blog, enjoy clipping items from web pages and other sources such as RSS aggregators and posting those clips to your blog, and if you prefer to compose posts while offline. You are able to use stand-alone software to interact in certain ways with your blog because of a file called xmlrpc.php. This file is located in the root directory for your blog and makes it possible for you to create new posts, edit existing posts, assign existing categories, and so on, but you don't have the full scope and power that the WordPress Dashboard gives you. For example, you can't add users or moderate comments.

Introduction to Word Press

WordPress 2 is the latest version of the powerful and flexible Open Source project that puts blogging within reach of millions. With WordPress, you can set up a weblog on the WordPress.com service, on your ISP's server, or on your own server for complete control over your blog, its appearance, and its content. WordPress is customizable through the use of template tags and extendible through the use of hundreds of plugins. Best of all, WordPress is free. This book was designed for page flipping. Use the thumb tabs, index, or table of contents to find the topics for which you need help. If you're brand new to WordPress, however, I recommend that you begin by reading at least the first three chapters and this Introduction. In them, you'll find the information you need to understand how WordPress works, install and configure WordPress, and add content to your blog. This introduction explains what blogging is, takes you on a tour of a typical WordPress blog, explains how WordPress works,...

Getting the Most Out of This Book

No blogger wants to be caught with a hacked site because she did not keep up to date with upgrades and security fixes. To that end, Part V, Keeping Up with the Joneses Maintenance and Upgrades, is all about maintaining your WordPress blog, and provides suggestions, routines, and concepts behind the maintenance and upgrade routine. It also covers caching, an essential topic for anyone who owns a blog that receives, or will receive, a large amount of traffic. In Part VI, Alternate Uses for WordPress, I stretch the bounds of what WordPress can do. Hopefully by reading this part, you will be inspired to find alternate uses for WordPress and will see that WordPress is not just for blogging. I look forward to seeing how WordPress is used in new and creative ways.

Who Should Use Drupal

Drupal is for anyone who wants to have a web site that is well suited for (but not limited to) multiuser communities. Drupal is for bloggers who want more than just a blog, groups who need to cooperate online, activists who want to spread a message, educators who want to provide online learning tools, artists who want to share media online, businesses or individuals who want to sell goods online, and programmers who want to work with a platform that is extensible, clean, efficient, and well architected. Drupal is not for those who want a blog, want it now, and don't need any other features. Those people should choose a free online service like Blogger. 3

Leveraging the Word Press Community

Undoubtedly, the WordPress community consists of a wide variety of people of varying skill levels. In fact, it is this diversity that makes the WordPress community one of the strongest and most vibrant communities on the Web. With mailing lists, support forums, thousands of blog posts with how tos using WordPress, and dozens of WordCamp events organized around the world every year, it's clear that WordPress, unlike many other open source projects, has a self-sustaining community.

What this book covers

Chapter 2, Generating Content will expose the top plugins for dynamically creating content on your blog. Chapter 3, Sharing Content will help you turn your blog in to a content sharing machine by making it easy for your readers and yourself to promote your blogs content across the entire social web. Chapter 4, Style and Function covers the best WordPress plugins for increasing your blog's usability, beauty, and fun. Chapter 5, Building a Community with BuddyPress shows you, step by step, how to turn your blog into a full blown social network.

Word Presscom vs Word Pressorg

Hosting your blog on WordPress.com WordPress.com (Figure 1.1) hosts WordPress blogs for free. Hosting your blog on WordPress.com frees you from having to get your own hosting space and making sure that your Web server has the software that WordPress needs to run. It also means that your blog is ready for traffic spikes associated with popular posts. The team behind WordPress.com takes care of all the back-end stuff (patching servers, upgrading software, and the like) and leaves the blogging to you. Keep a few things in mind when you host your blog on WordPress.com WordPress URL. The URL of your blog will be something like www.mygreatblog.wordpress.com. If you're going to host a blog for professional reasons, you may not want to advertise the fact that you're using a free service. No access to code. Given the nature of WordPress.com, you have no access to your blog's code. You can't modify the way your theme looks without paying a little extra, and you can't upload your own custom...

How This Book Is Organized

The first part gives you an overview of WordPress and the advantages of making it your blogging platform. You may think of WordPress as coming in three flavors vanilla (WordPress.com hosted solution), chocolate (WordPress.org self-hosted solution), and Neapolitan (WordPress MU, the multiuser solution). In this part, you also discover some of the fun aspects of blog-ging, such as RSS feed syndication and reader interaction through comments. Part II takes you through signing up with the hosted service for a blog. You tour the Administration panel, explore writing and managing your blog, find out how to change the various themes available in this version, and discover how to enhance your blog and widgets. Part III explores the single-user version of the WordPress software available at WordPress.org. You install this software on your own hosted Web server, so I give you valuable information about domain registration, Web hosting providers, and a few of the basic tools (such as FTP) that...

Configuring the database

PhpMyAdmin is useful for managing MySQL from a Web interface. You can download and find instructions for installing phpMyAdmin at http phpmyadmin.net if your server provider hasn't already provided a means of interacting with MySQL from the Web. Be careful to ensure you have protected it, however. You don't want someone waltzing into your database and deleting your blog.

Dipping In to Blog Technologies

PHP (which stands for PHP Hypertext Preprocessor) is a server-side scripting language for creating dynamic Web pages. When a visitor opens a page built in PHP, the server processes the PHP commands and then sends the results to the visitor's browser. MySQL is an open source relational database management system (RDBMS) that uses Structured Query Language (SQL), the most popular language for adding, accessing, and processing data in a database. If that all sounds like Greek to you, just think of MySQL as a big filing cabinet where all the content on your blog is stored. Every time a visitor goes to your blog to read your content, he makes a request that's sent to a host server. The PHP programming language receives that request, obtains the requested information from the MySQL database, and then presents the requested information to your visitor through his Web browser. In using the term content as it applies to the data that's stored in the MySQL database, I'm referring to your blog...

How This Book Is Structured

Chapter 10, ''Crafting the User Experience, looks at a WordPress installation from the perspective of a regular or potential reader. Usability, testing, and the ease of finding information within a WordPress blog form the basics, with added emphasis on web standards for metadata and search engine optimization so a blog, or a specific blog post, can be found through an appropriate Google search. Whereas Chapter 9 covers pulling external content into your WordPress instance, this chapter shows how to get your content to show up elsewhere on the Web. Alternatives for adding search functionality, one of WordPress's weaknesses, are discussed, along with content accessibility and delivery to mobile devices. Chapter 12, WordPress as a Content Management System, goes beyond blogging to examples of WordPress as a system for managing the life cycle, integration, and distribution of networked content. Integration with other open source content management systems including Drupal and Joomla...

Word Press SEO and Social Media Marketing

Brian Solis, co-author of Now is Gone and Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, states in a blog post published on July 6, 2009 at www.brian solis.com 2 00 In this chapter, I talk about some of the challenges facing bloggers when it comes to marketing their content. WordPress offers many possible solutions, including core features and plugins, to help bloggers successfully promote the content they produce.

What You Need To Use This Book

Finally, some people might argue that to really take advantage of WordPress you need to be able to write, but that ignores the basic beauty of the WordPress platform it takes the power of the printing press to an individual level. This book isn't about what you say (or might say) it's about how you're going to get those ideas onto the Web and how the world will see them and interact with your blog.

Why Not Post by Email

In addition to the ease of accidentally sending email to your Post by Email address, there's also the common phenomenon of sender's regret, which applies to all email, but many times over to blog posts. (Remember that in Chapter 1, we suggested you consider a blog post to be skywriting in the sky above your home town and your employer's, and your family members', and ) It's very easy to find yourself wishing, with all your heart and soul (and perhaps your paycheck as well), that you hadn't emailed in a blog posting, beginning mere milliseconds after you clicked the Send button. You can, of course, delete or modify a blog posting after you put it up. However, the main use for Post by Email is for those times when you don't have access to the WordPress posting interface. So it might be a long time before you can fix an error or even notice it Some email interfaces make it very easy to send email to the wrong address. For instance, they suggest a destination based on the first couple of...

Fixing Issues by Hacking the Database

One of the more common issues with WordPress upgrades is the widgets going crazy, sometimes outputting only a blank page on your blog. While this seems to be a lot less common these days, the upgrade instructions still state that you should disable all plugins and revert to the default theme. If you do, most likely you'll never get that blank page. However, should you get a blank page, it is probably a widget issue. A possible solution is to clean out the widgets in the database they are hiding in the wp_options table. Exactly what you need to do and what the various widgets are called depends on what plugins you have, so tread carefully. Most likely the data is named in a way that seems logical compared to the plugins you use, and with that in mind you should be able to find what you're looking for. It may sound a bit hazardous, but it is worth giving it a go should you encounter a blank screen on your blog after an upgrade.

What to Look for in a Theme

Your blog will have a life of its own, though. Although you're responsible for it, you'll find that it develops its own personality, especially if you get lots of comments. So your theme needs to have a look that fits not only you but the contents of the blog itself, as well as the visitors you want to attract and retain. It also needs functionality to support what your blog visitors want to do. As you choose your theme, think about your blog's purpose and its users. Make choices that work for them, not just for your personal preferences.

Managing User Profiles

The first time you log in to WordPress, you see the Dashboard (Figure 3.1), which I cover in more detail in Chapter 4. The Dashboard is the control center for your blog the place where you access all sorts of options, statistics, and settings. When you first open this panel, it lists only one user, called admin, but all the users of your blog will be listed here eventually. You'll use this panel to add new users (which I discuss later in this chapter) and to change the profiles of existing users (which I discuss next). Figure 3.4 Setting the visual aspects of your blog. I know). This setting is optional, though filling in the text box gives you more name-display options, because WordPress won't be able to display your first name if it doesn't know what your first name is (and isn't it rude not to introduce yourself to your blog ). Nickname. We're all familiar with the concept of nicknames. (In some circles, for example, I'm known as Dr. Awesome. Sure, those circles exist only in my...

To view the Dashboard

There are several ways to view the Dashboard for your blog Follow the instructions on the previous pages to log in to your blog. The Dashboard appears automatically. You might want to bookmark the Dashboard administration panel for your blog. This will make it quick and easy to access in the future.

Setting Important Options Before You Blog

The options in this section help you get started and well on your way to managing your own WordPress.com blog. In this section, you discover how to set the primary options that personalize your blog, including creating your user profile, setting the date and time stamp (based on your own time-zone settings), and uploading a picture of yourself. 3. Enter the name of your blog in the Blog Title text box. 4. In the Tagline text box, enter a slogan or a motto that describes you or your blog. The tagline should be a short (one line) phrase that sums up the tone and premise of your blog. Figure 3-5 shows I used a quote from a song by a group called Timbuk 3 The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades. Although my tagline doesn't give you a description of my blog, it does give you an idea of my optimistic nature. 5. From the drop-down Language menu, choose the language in which you want to publish your blog. Below the drop-down menu is a link that says modify the interface language referring...

Widgets and Other Features

Widgets are small pieces of code that drive the content of small boxed areas you put in a sidebar of your blog. Widgets can do many things, such as provide links to your most recent posts, provide links to pages in your blog, show recent posts from another blog, and so on. In Figure 3.3, shown later in this section, the Archives, Categories, and Blogroll areas in the sidebar are all widgets. A few WordPress.com themes are additionally customizable as to their colors or even their number of columns or other theme options. Themes with this kind of flexibility are very promising for your blog, allowing you to redesign your blog's look within a theme investigate them carefully among your options. Many themes have custom headers, meaning you can put any image in the top area. In a negative sense, you need this flexibility if the theme you favor has, for example, dolphins in it, but your blog is about how to crush large rocks with bulldozers. If it's a custom header, just replace the...

Word Press from scratch

Whether it's just you and your desire to let everyone know about your growing collection of hand-crocheted Star Wars figures, or a big company with hundreds of products, blogging let's anyone publish online without having to be a genius about HTML, CSS, or any other programming. In this chapter, you'll learn how to get hosting for your blog, install WordPress, and create and publish your first blog post. WordPress is all about the browser. You don't need to install anything on your own actual computer you do everything on another computer (called a web server, more on that in a minute) that you access over the Internet using your browser. You create your posts and manage all your WordPress files and settings through a browser, and on the other end, WordPress creates your blog as a collection of web pages that other people can view in their browsers, too. WordPress converts your post into HTML and sends that to people's browsers when they visit your blog. WordPress converts your post...

Meeting the Public Comments and Links

The next two panels, right below Right Now, concern the lifeblood of any blog comments and external links. You'll never forget the first time someone comments on one of your blog posts, and you'll be thrilled when you find the first Web site not run by you that's linking to your blog. As you might expect, the Recent Comments panel (Figure 4.4) displays recent comments that folks have left on your blog. It also alerts you to any comments that are awaiting moderation. The pound sign ( ) is a link directly to that comment. You can also click the See All link in the top-right corner to manage all the comments on your blog. The Incoming Links panel (Figure 4.5) is a great way to see what other people are saying about your blog on their blogs. This feature uses Google Blog Search to see what blogs are linking to yours and reports back to you. When you first install WordPress, there won't be any links to your blog, so your panel will look like Figure 4.5. As you start to blog, though, you'll...

Adding a new article import

Visit Settings Guest Blogger and scroll down to the Add a Task section. The Add a Task form is there to let you customize the types of articles you want to import. Post in Category The category on your blog to post the new articles. Post by Author You can manually define a specific author account to post under, or guest blogger will automatically create a new account for the author who actually wrote the article. Once you have completed the form, click Activate New Task, after which your task will be added to the guest blogger queue Active Posting Tasks.

Planning Static Pages

Static pages are great for information that doesn't change often and that supports your blog entries. Many blogs have key information about who the blogger is and what the blog is for buried in early posts. If the purpose of the blog changes over time, or the authoring team expands, this is apparent to people who follow your blog carefully, through blog entries as well. The difficulty comes about after your blog has been around for a while. You, as the blogger, feel that all the information needed to understand your blog has been put out there and it has. Regular visitors to your blog probably have a pretty good idea as to what it's for. With that in mind, the following sections list some pages you should consider creating for your blog.

Disabling the Upgrade

WordPress provides a system for notifying the blogger of available upgrades (see Figure 15.1). This nag, in the form of a notification banner in WordPress Admin, is useful if you don't stay up to date with the latest WordPress release. However, there are many situations where the nag is unhelpful, unnecessary, or could just plain cause problems. For example

Moving to Word Press and Backing It Up

Because of the popularity of WordPress, many bloggers decide to move their blogs to WordPress. Depending on the blog publishing platform they are currently using, this can be a simple task or it can be extremely complex. WordPress includes a number of bundled importers you can use to import a blog from a third-party blog host. Importers for all of the popular platforms are included, including importers for Blogger, Movable Type, and TypePad. The ideal off-the-shelf solution for importing a blog into WordPress, however, is to use the WordPress export file format (WXR), which is an extensible markup language (XML) file containing all of the data related to a WordPress blog. In this chapter I discuss how to move a blog into WordPress from six blogging platforms Blogger, Blogware, DotClear, LiveJournal, Moveable Type, and TypePad. I also discuss the importance of backing up your blog (and cannot stress enough the importance of this) and offer two reliable backup routines.

Customizing Your Workspace

When it comes down to writing, having an intuitive layout is necessary for a productive writing experience. Every blogger has a specific need. On the other hand, a political blogger (a demographic of blogger that is generally text-focused and usually consists of a single person writing commentary) probably needs only the title and content areas, and categories or tags. Fortunately, WordPress enables a blogger to customize the Write Post and Write Page screens according to taste and need simply by dragging and dropping modules into new positions on the screen, as shown in Figure 13.1.

Quick Tour of the Word Pressorg Dashboard

Whether you are installing WordPress on a remote host or on your own computer, when you finish and log in for the first time, the first thing you see is the WordPress Dashboard (see Figure 11.18). This page is where all the behind-the-scenes work required to manage your blog(s) begins. It's designed to give you everything you need to be a successful WordPress blogger, and it is configurable, so you can decide what to include and what to leave out.

Putting Pictures in Your Posts

You really should get in the habit of putting images in your blog postings. Doing so stretches your communications abilities and makes visiting your blog far more interesting and fun. As well-known blogger Lorelle VanFossen, of Lorelle on WordPress fame, put it Photographs and graphic images are an integral part of our blogs today. We want to show people what our words often can't. Besides, pictures are fun to look at. One of the very best ways to make your blog postings better more interesting, easier to read, and, not least, easier to find and recognize is to follow a rule often used by journalists at least one picture per story. (Many among the gradually dwindling band of newspaper journalists mournfully cite a new rule No picture, no story. ) As a blogger, and as your own boss, you aren't under that kind of pressure. You can publish without a picture, or use a picture or other image only loosely related to your topic. It's a great idea, though, to use pictures both to illustrate...

Passing Multiple Parameters to a Template

Two really useful template tags, for the blogger at least, are edit_post_link() and edit_comment_link(). They basically do the same thing, which is to add an edit link to posts and comments so that, when logged in as a user with the necessary credentials, you can fix errors quickly by clicking the edit link this will take you to the admin interface where you can alter your blunder or censor that particularly nasty (but most likely valid) comment.

Enhancing User Experience

As a blogger, I read loads of blog posts every day, on many different blogs. Very often, I'm scared to see how many blogs have a non user-friendly interface. How often does it happen that you can't click on the logo to go back to the blog homepage, or can't find what you're looking for by using the search engine It is a well known fact that in blogging the content is king, but a nice, user friendly interface makes your blog look a lot more professional, and much easier to navigate. In this chapter, I'll show you what can be done for enhancing user experience and makeing your blog a better place.

Creating a Featured Posts block on your homepage

Would you like to make some of your posts stands out of the crowd If yes, a good solution is to create a Featured Posts block on your blog homepage. As you can see in the preceding screenshot, before the normal post listing, the blogger set up a Featured Posts block where he or she display the most popular posts. To create featured posts, simply add it to the featured category. The 5 most recent posts will be shown on your blog homepage. Another interesting use of the Featured Posts block in your blog homepage is to create a widget-ready zone. Widgets will be discussed in the later chapters of this book.

Choosing and Installing Themes

One of the greatest advantages of using a CMS (Content Management System) for your blog or website is that you are able to change the look and feel of your website without knowing how to code in HTML and CSS. Almost every CMS allow users to change the look of their site without having to worry about their content being changed. These managed looks are called themes. On other platforms (such as Blogger), themes are called templates or layouts.

Using Word Presscom Themes

WordPress.com is a free blogging service. You can sign up for an account and be blogging within minutes. As part of this offering, Automattic provides tons of themes for users to select from. Some have configuration options that enable the blogger to customize some of the blog however, full control of the Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) (and thus, most of the presentation of the blog) is reserved for those who pay for the Custom CSS upgrade.

Converting categories to tags

The first tag importer is an internal importer that converts WordPress categories to WordPress tags. Categories are hierarchical metadata while tags are flat, so sometimes it is necessary, depending on the strategy and needs of a blog, to convert categories to tags. This is also true when a blogger moves a blog from another platform that only uses categories but wants to begin to use WordPress tags after moving.

Finding and Implementing Premium Themes

However, despite this abuse by some premium theme developers, many popular premium themes out there don't carry the same burden. These themes, such as the very popular and extensible Thesis theme (shown in Figure 9.5) from DIYThemes, provide the blogger with a multitude of configuration options, theme hooks, and WordPress Admin configuration interfaces.

5Click the Add Category button

Revisit the Link Categories page any time you want to add, edit, or delete a link. To edit or delete a link category, you would follow the same steps as you did in the previous section for post categories. You can create an unlimited amount of link categories to sort your link lists by topics. (I know one blogger who has 50 categories for his links.)

Using Akismet to Kill Spam

Spam is a problem on any blogging platform, but can be a major concern for WordPress blogs. Blog spam occurs when spammers try to slip links or other content onto a blog. With WordPress, most of the time, bloggers configure their blogs so only commenters who have been approved previously are unmoderated. Therefore, if a spammer gets a blogger to approve a spam comment, the spammer might be able to put anything he wants onto his blog in the future. While the spammer might gain short-term

Working with RSS Feeds

Most themes have feed links built-in, and while the Web browser will tell your visitors discretely that there is a feed available, you really want to push it a bit harder than that. Take a look at just about any successful professional blogger and you'll see nice RSS graphics, often incorporating the feed icon, and promoting the subscription services in premiere positions.

Get more comments with the Subscribe to Comments plugin

Comments are very important in blogging, because they encourage discussion. When leaving a comment on a blog post, for example if you are asking a question or requesting some support, it's very boring to come back to the page twice a day and see that no-one has answered you. 3. Subscribe to Comments does not require any configuration. Once activated, it is already working. To make sure everything's fine, you can visit any of your blog posts and scroll down until the comment form. You should see a checkbox labeled Subscribe to Comments. When someone leaves a comment on your blog, he or she can check the Subscribe to comments checkbox. If he or she checks it, the person will receive any other comment posted on the same article through his or her email. This is particularly useful when debating with other readers, or when you have asked a question to the blogger. If you want, you can check out the subscriber list, see how many people subscribed to your blog posts, and manage...

Building Custom Taxonomies

Now it's time to build your first custom taxonomy As an example you are going to create a simple taxonomy for defining ingredients. Imagine you are a food blogger who likes to post recipes online. You are going to set up a custom taxonomy to define each type of ingredient in the recipes you post.

Equal Representation for commies

Remember how we've said that the WordPress community as a whole tends to neglect hosted WordPress.com blogs in favor of WordPress.org blogs Not always, it seems. There's a site for WordPress.com Weblog Awards that highlights excellent work on the WordPress.com site. Visit http weblogawards.wordpress.com . Take a look at the blogs highlighted here, and others on the WordPress.com Weblog Awards, to see more of what you can do with WordPress.com, and just how many famous people and organizations don't feel the need to hassle with directly using the software from WordPress.org.

The Account Assistant

Data tor your wiblogs will be cached lotally. Anytime you change your weblog's settings via the online control panel, you need to retrieve tie sett rigs again by using the Refresh Cathe command. 9. Click the Finish button to exit the Account Assistant. Ecto displays the Entries & Drafts window (Figure 23) for interacting with your blog.

Time for action editing your theme

JUST ANOTHER SLAYERCAFE.COM WEBLOG You can also make your own CSS classes such as content, or leftSidebar, and set styles for those so that a link in the left sidebar of a page would have a different appearance than a link in a blog post. Be careful to choose unique names for your styles and comment the stylesheet so that you can easily identify the changes you have made. This makes it easy to maintain a consistent, professional look across all pages of your site. You can read more about CSS on the W3C site http www.w3.org Style CSS learning.

Running the Install Script

This will load the WordPress install script, as shown in Figure 14-5. Click First Step, and you will be prompted for the title of your weblog and an e-mail address. As shown in Figure 14-6, type in a suitable name Wendy's Weblog, Tuxedo News, or whatever you want to call it. Don't worry you can change the title later. Make sure the e-mail address you enter is valid. Your administrator (admin) password will be sent to it. Click the Continue to Second Step button to move to the next step. Weblog title Your e-mail

Changing general blog information

You may need to change and add some general blog information (such as blog title, one-sentence description, and so on) after a successful installation to kick-start blogging. To get started with general blog information, navigate to Settings in the main menu. There are many options you can set here, most of which are pretty self-explanatory. We'll look at the most important ones and you can explore the rest on your own. Obviously, you can change your blog's title. You can see from my screenshots that I've called mine April's Food Blog You can also change the blog description, which is used in most themes as a subtitle for the blog, like the subtitle of a book. The default description is Just another WordPress weblog. You'll probably want to change that By default, none of your visitors can register for your blog. If you want visitors to be able to create an account on your blog, you have to check this box. Once people register, you can choose to elevate them from Subscriber, which is...

Setting General Options

I'll take you through the basic configuration of your blog next. To start, click the Options tab near the top of the page. You can see that you are editing General Options, as shown in Figure 14-10. Within the options system, you can always check the top of the page to see where you are. The current subtab will be highlighted, and the title of the page will tell you which options you are editing. Here, you can see the blog title you entered when you ran the install script, as well as the blog tag line, which is like the tag line you find under a newspaper masthead. Change the default to something appropriate for your blog. Don't worry if you can't think of something witty or impressive just now. You can always change it later. The next two options are about membership of your blog. If you want to run your blog as a community site, you might consider enabling these two options. The Anyone can register option causes a link to a registration form to appear on your main page. This allows...

The Main Index template

The Main Index template drags your blog posts out of the MySQL database and inserts them into your blog. This template is to your blog what the dance floor is to a nightclub where all the action happens. Your theme can work without calling in the Header template, but it'll be missing several essential pieces the CSS and the blog name and tagline, for starters. Without the call to the Header template, your blog will resemble the image shown in Figure 12-5. The Loop in this case is a function that WordPress uses to display the posts on your blog. The Loop has a starting point and an ending point anything placed in between is used to display each post, including any HTML, PHP, or CSS tags and codes. The basic and most common use of the Loop in WordPress is to pull blog posts from the database and display them on your Web site. In the default Twenty Ten theme, you find the loop in a template called loop.php. The beginning, or first line, of the Loop looks like this The Loop is no...

Finding a Blog Friendly Host

When looking at possible hosts for your blog, you'll need to make several decisions ahead of time. Some of these options are covered in Chapter 2, Starting Your Blog Right How much time are you willing to commit to installing, updating, and administering your blog Are you planning to include a lot of images or stream audio or video from your blog As with most things WordPress, you've got options when considering where to host your blog Fortunately, simple text-based blogs have files measured in kilobytes (KB), and you could have many hundreds of posts before you even come close to hitting a 1GB space limit. Add a small image to each post, or the occasional video clip, and a minimum of 3GB should last you through your first hosting contract. Bandwidth is the size of the pipe that brings data to and from your site. Your bandwidth use depends on two things the size of your files and the popularity of your site. If you use your blog to keep 10 invited guests current on your daily life,...

Using an Image from the Web in Your Post

Many bloggers don't know that you can use any image, from anywhere in the Web, in your blog, without downloading it to your computer and uploading it to the Media Library first. WordPress makes this easy, as we describe here. When your blog or any other web page displays an image, the image doesn't have to be on the same server as the text and layout information in the actual HTML file that makes up the web page. In fact, it very often isn't. The HTML file contains only text. The image is brought into the displayed web page (or blog posting) by a pointer to the location of the image file, which can be anywhere on the Web. The pointer looks like this The second problem has to do with bandwidth. If you include a picture hosted on another site in your blog, the other site has to pay for the bandwidth used to download it. 1. Find an image on the Web that you want to use. You might want to leave the page with the image open in one web page while you use a different web page to go to the...

Allow Link Notifications from Other Blogs Pingbacks and Trackbacks

By default, this box is checked, and your blog is open to be notified via a ping or trackback from another blog that has linked to yours. Any trackbacks or pings sent to your blog are listed on your site in the comments section of the blog post. If you clear this box, your blog won't accept pingbacks or trackbacks from other blogs. Allow People to Post Comments on New Articles By default, this box is checked, and people can leave comments on your blog posts. If you clear this box, no one can leave comments on your blog. (You can override these settings for individual articles more information about this is found in Chapter 8.) Comment Author Must Fill Out Their Name and E-Mail Enabled by default, this option requires all commenters on your blog to fill in the Name and E-Mail field when leaving a comment. This option is very helpful in combating comment spam. (See Chapters 2 and 10 for information on comment spam.) Clear this check box to disable this option. Users Must Be Registered...

Managing authors and users

The Users page tells you about all the users on your blog. It lists each user's username, name, e-mail address, role on your blog, and number of posts made to your blog. This page also has the Add User from Community section, where you can add a new user to your blog. (By user, WordPress means simply a person who is a member of your blog as a contributor, an author, an editor, or an administrator. You can have an unlimited amount of users on one WordPress.com blog.) At the bottom of the Authors & Users page, in the Add User from Community section, you can add new users to your blog. Enter the person's e-mail address, assign a user role, and click the Add User button. The user you add must be a registered user in the WordPress.com system. If you enter someone who isn't registered, WordPress.com gives you the option to send that person an invitation to become a member. (The WordPress people have thought of everything, haven't they )

Subscribe to Comments

Check the box labeled Show a Subscribe to Comments option in the comment form if you want to allow the readers of your blog to subscribe to individual comment threads on your blog. When you enable this option, your readers can opt to receive e-mails every time there is a new comment posted to a specific post on your blog. This option also puts a comment subscription management page on your blog that allows readers to view and manage their comment subscriptions. This is a really great tool to keep readers coming back to your blog over and over again, and a great way to keep lively discussions going

How to eliminate comment spam

Comment spam are comments that get posted on your blog that have spam content, just like spam email. If you've set up your moderation settings to be relatively secure, then these comments won't appear on your blog. However, you may get dozens of email a day from WordPress asking you to moderate comments that it knows need moderation, but doesn't know are spam. The best tool available for eliminating comment spam from your blog is the Akismet plugin. This plugin, which comes (though inactive) with your WordPress installation, utilizes the Akismet spam-fighting service. We'll be discussing plugins in more detail later in this book. For now, we'll review how to get Akismet working on your blog. If your blog is built on WordPress.com, then Akismet is already activated by default on your blog.

Removing a Word Press version from the theme files

By default, WordPress adds a meta tag in your blog header containing the WordPress version you're using. This is used by the WordPress team to obtain stats about version usage. The problem is that some older versions of WordPress contain security holes. Imagine that you're using an older WordPress version and a hacker wants to hack your blog. He looks in your blog source, finds the meta tag, and discovers that you're using a WordPress version that contains a security problem. You've guessed it right The hacker can now easily destroy your blog.

Latest posts by Alex Denning

Easily Improve your blog posts with high quality images or 17 Dec 2008 Make Ful Use of Wordpress with tiie_excerpt_reloadedl on 04 Dec 2000 Displaying a custom login form in your blog's sidebar It doesn't matter whether you're running a multi-author blog, or a blog where readers can register. Having a login form embedded in your sidebar will make your blog look a lot more professional and user friendly. 3. Save the file. Your users can now login directly from your blog's sidebar. Adding a control panel to your blog's sidebar Now that you have learned how to check whether a user is logged in or not, why not learn how to add a small control panel to your blog's sidebar that is only visible to the logged in users.

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