I write a lot in my daily life. Quite a bit of that writing is in WordPress. I don’t like to use my mouse when I am writing. It takes too long. I find myself wondering if there is an easier way to format my posts in WordPress. The developers of WordPress have made it easy for us
The Visual Editor
WordPress has a fairly nice visual editor when you are adding new posts. Depending upon your theme, the editor will show you how your post will look. It provides your normal options for creating professional looking posts, such as bold, Italics and strikethrough. There is a more complete menu bar that is available if you press the kitchen sink icon in the menu bar. By pressing this button you have access to more elaborate options.
Permalinks are what WordPress uses to refer to your posts. They are the URL that your visitors see in their web browsers. Version 3.3 of WordPress has greatly improved the processing of permalinks. In previous versions of WordPress my suggestion was that you use a structure that looked like this:
Why did we have to use an ugly permalink structure?
I had commented on the structure you need for your permalinks in WordPress. I said that WordPress has troubles indexing non numerical information values for the first part of the permalinks. This was true.
WordPress itself said “The reason is that these are text fields, and using them at the beginning of your permalink structure it takes more time for WordPress to distinguish your Post URLs from Page URLs (which always use the text “page slug” as the URL), and to compensate, WordPress stores a lot of extra information in its database (so much that sites with lots of Pages have experienced difficulties). So, it is best to start your permalink structure with a numeric field, such as the year or post ID”
The structure that WordPress suggested was not as descriptive to your visitors as it could be. Numbers in a URL mean nothing to most people. Most people want a URL to say what the page is about. Search engines like this as well, to a lesser degree.
WordPress has just released a new version (December 12 2011), 3.3. It has been named “Sonny” in honor of the great jazz saxophonist Sonny Stitt. Before you upgrade you may be interested in some of the new features. While it is always a good idea to be running the most recent version of WordPress, there are five great reasons to upgrade to this version as soon as you can.
All of these reasons can be seen in the administration screens and will make you job of updating much faster and easier.
Uploading files is easier.
There is no longer a different icon for each type of file you want to upload. There is only one. The system detects the type of file that is being uploaded and creates the correct code to insert it into the post.
You can now drag files from your desktop into the media uploader. You can add files one at a time or many at once. This speeds things up for most of us who already drag and drop in most applications.
Comments in WordPress are where your visitors have an opportunity to talk with you. Comments are one of the most important aspects of blogs. Some website owners don’t allow comments at all; some invite all comments and are very active.
Why should I allow people to comment on my website?
Comments are the place you build relationships. People go out of their way to post a comment on your website. As you respond to their questions and suggestions you build relationships. This is what your main objective is with a small business website, build relationships.
Comments also show involvement. It is an indication that people visiting your website want to be involved in what you are doing.
How do I get people to comment?
The easiest way to get people to do anything is by asking them. In your posts ask people to make comments. When people do make comments thank them and respond to their questions. Everyone wants to be valued. When you respond you are showing that they are of value to you.
Your writing style can also encourage or discourage comments. If you write in a way that engages your readers to respond they will. What do you think?
People coming to your WordPress website are looking for answers to questions. Your small business website must be able to provide these answers and lead them to more information to engage them further. Widgets are one way to help you do this.
Most WordPress themes make use of sidebars. Sidebars are the narrow columns to the left or right of your blog posts. Each section in the sidebar is known as a “Widget” that you can add or remove, and move up or down. A widget is a feature that can be added to some WordPress themes that are enabled to use them.
You add or delete a widget through the WordPress appearance menu, then select widget. The widgets that are available are all those that you have installed. Some plugins create widgets. Jetpack is one of the most common plugins that creates several widgets. There are also many widgets that are available by default in a standard installation of WordPress
Small business owners running WordPress managed websites receive many comments on their blogs. Some of these posts are valid users, some of the posts are just spam. How do you discern the spam from the real posts.
I recently received a comment that I wanted to alert people to. Here is what the visitor wrote:
When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!
Is this spam or a real post from a visitor with a real problem? In order to determine that you must know your own website. In my case there is no checkbox for “Notify me when new comments are added” on my comment page. This is spam. The visitor wants me to post their comment so that their link appears on my website.
Know your own website. If you know your own website then you won’t have to hunt for answers. You will know if the claim is real or not
Test out what your commenter claims. If you are not sure go through the same process your visitor claims caused the problem. Do you see the same results?
Visit their website. Most comments include a website link. Visit their website to determine if their link is just an advertisement for some product.
Email their email address. If everything else seems to look good, email them. If their email comes back as user unknown then the this comment is most likely spam.
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems today. Because of this there are some people who want to hack into your website and use it for their purposes.
So how do you prevent people from hacking into your WordPress web site?
You will need to stay ahead of the hackers. They keep up to date on the latest versions of software. They constantly learn new ways of getting around the blocks you put into place. They are motivated by profit. Understanding who you are fighting is half the battle.
The other half of the battle is doing the things you can now and then improving your plan as new information becomes available.
Links are used in WordPress to create links to other websites on the internet. The internet is like the highway and roads system in this country. There are a huge number of interconnected roads that lead from one place to another.
There are intersections that you come to that require that you make a choice of which way to go. We often stumble upon new places on the way to our final destination. Links are ways that visitors can find added value on their way to their final destination.
When creating your website you need to be connected to other people. They need to link to you and you need to link to them. You must choose wisely which links you include on your website. Choose links that provide added value for your visitors.
Your small business depends on providing value to your customers. Your small business website should also provide value to your visitors.
If you are in the dog grooming business you would not have links to horse farms. You may want to have links to other business owners who will also link to you.
This video walks you through the process
There are two things to look at when creating links.
How to create a link
How to use link categories
Link categories allow you to organize your links. You may have only one category or you may have many. The name of the category will appear on your website, so make sure the name of the category is meaningful and specific. You may want a category for other blogs and another category for resources.
How to create a link category
Log into WordPress
Choose Links from the menu on the left, and then choose Link Category.
Enter a name, slug and description. The name is the name that will appear on your website. The slug is a shortened version that will appear in the URL. This is usually only letters, numbers and hyphens. The description is usually not displayed in most themes, but you should use it to provide a good description of what you will be using this category for.
Press add new link category button on the bottom of the screen.
How to create a new link
Choose Links from the menu on then left, and then choose Add New.
Enter the name, web address and description of your link. The name will be the text that appears in your link. The web address is the URL for your desired link and description will give more information about the link. Not all themes display the description. You can also decide if you want it displayed or not in some themes.
Next select the category you want your link to appear in.
As you scroll down the page you will come to some more advanced features of links We will look at these at another time
Press add link in the upper right corner of the screen and you link will be added to your system.
Setting up permalinks in the settings screen for WordPress is very important for 2 reasons. The first is that you want your website to be as efficient as it can be. The second reason is you want your links to look good to your potential visitors. When the link looks good it is also good for Search Engine Optimization purposes. In order to do his I suggest using the one of the following as a custom permalink structure:
Or you could also use:
/% post_id %/%postname%/
Here is a video of how to set up the permalinks.
The reason to use one of these is that they are unique numerical ids. The post name can be anything at all. It is the title of the post that you have typed in. The first part is easy to index. Numbers are easily organized by computers. This provides efficiency. The second part will give you a nice looking link name. You can have the best of both worlds, efficiency and meaningful text links together. Always make sure that the first variable is numeric.
According to the WordPress documentation, “For performance reasons, it is not a good idea to start your permalink structure with the category, tag, author, or postname fields. The reason is that these are text fields, and using them at the beginning of your permalink structure it takes more time for WordPress to distinguish your Post URLs from Page URLs (which always use the text “page slug” as the URL), and to compensate, WordPress stores a lot of extra information in its database (so much that sites with lots of Pages have experienced difficulties). So, it is best to start your permalink structure with a numeric field, such as the year or post ID”
Here is a list of possible variables that are numeric that you can choose from:
• %year% – The year of the post, four digits, for example 2004
• %monthnum% – Month of the year, for example 05
• %day% – Day of the month, for example 28
• %hour% – Hour of the day, for example 15
• %minute% – Minute of the hour, for example 43
• %second% – Second of the minute, for example 33
• %post_id% – The unique ID # of the post, for example 423
Deciding whether you use a page or a post depends on the type of information you will be including in the text. Will it be dynamic or static.
Posts are the meat of WordPress. This is where the bulk of the content is usually entered onto your WordPress site. The posts usually appear on your home page or your blog page in a reverse chronological order.
The most recent post is usually the first one that you see when you come to your website. I say usually because you can set up your WordPress website to do things other than this. This is just the way most people use WordPress. Posts are dynamic. So if this is where you want your information, you can create a post in WordPress.
Pages are like permanent posts. They are not organized chronologically. They do not scroll down the page as you add more content. Pages are used for information about your company that is static. The about your company page should be relatively static. The products and services page may be mostly static. These are examples of what you would use pages for.
The theme you use will define how your pages are displayed and organized. The nice thing about pages is that you can link pages to other pages and create a cascading menu. Again the theme you use will have to be able to handle this type of feature. You can find more information about themes here