Category Archives: WordPress Tips

Helpful advice in WordPress areas, varying from beginner to advanced issues.

WordPress News: How to use GIT for WordPress Development

Do you like Time Travel? Do you also like saving your work files? Well now you can do both at the same time by using Git to save your files while keeping track of each change, to each file along the way. Once you’ve saved (committed) a file in the project, the old version is saved forever allowing you to travel back through time to make changes or revert back to old files when needed.

Imagine your just uploaded your beautiful new custom theme to your WordPress site and you realize that you forgot to save your old CSS file and you’ve just overwritten the old one on your web server. You now have no way to revert back to your latest version of the old layout in case you have problems with browser compatibility in the new layout.

Git is a very powerful version control system that allows you to keep track of all your files during a project so losing file version along the way will never happen. This requires a few extra steps during your saving process, but it has saved the skins of many programmers from all over the world every day. Now, we should all try to save backups of our projects and files to protect from data loss and keeping old versions. Git takes that idea but saves each version of that file since it was created. It also protects someone from editing a file at the same time someone else is, preventing overwriting of each others new version.

Let’s take a look at the Git structure to get a clear picture of how the system checks out and references each file.

Git file reference structure
Git file reference structure

This table shows us how Git associates each file to the master project. Each time a change is made, a “snapshot” of the entire file structure is made. This allows us to see our project in front of us, while old versions are saved and hidden from view unless we physically use our time travel capability to revert. Additionally, if no changes were made to a file in a new commit, the old version will automatically be referenced instead of uploading the unchanged file into the project commit. These basic features are why Git is so powerful and efficient, that might explain why 42.9% of professional software developers reporting that they use Git as their primary content version control system.

To learn more about Git the features and the benefits, please refer to these links from which this article was sourced.

WordPress News: Custom Post Types for No Ordinary Website

By default, WordPress Themes provide a variety of post types. They always include Post, Page, Attachment, Revision and Nav Menus. Depending on a website design objectives, themes may also include the more specialized Portfolio, Testimonials and Products post types. In Adelina Tuca’s post on September 15, 2015 on Tesla Themes, she reminds us to consider the flexibility available in using Custom Post Types.

Custom post types are awesome. Because they let you add amazing things on your website, things that, in most cases, make the difference between an ordinary website and a well crafted one.

Being a skilled web developer is not necessarily required. While Adelina confirms the coding to create a Custom Post Type can be very challenging, WordPress Plugins are available to simplify the process.

When considering unique design objectives,  get out of the box and  use Custom Post Types to build extraordinary websites.

For more information:

How to Manually Update WordPress

This tutorial will show you how to manually update your WordPress site. There are many steps, and the auto-update feature of WordPress works typically with few issues, but if you need to do this process manually, this tutorial will aid you.

Begin the process by backing up your site first. Backup your current site data by going to Tools > Export.

WordPress admin menu: Tools

Export your site contents and use that file to import the data in-case of installation failure and your site crashes.

Also take time to download all of the files of your site, especially any outside of the wp-content directory. After downloading, you may zip the files to keep them together and save space. Between these files and the XML file export, you should be able to restore your site if there are problems.

Prepare for the Upgrade

To prepare for the upgrade, you should create a maintenance file and download the latest version of WordPress.

WordPress automatic updates initiate a maintenance file, an HTML file with information that the site is in Maintenance mode and will be offline shortly. You can create one easily in a text editor by doing the following:

  1. Create an HTML file with content that alerts visitor to the site’s maintenance mode.
  2. Save the file as index.html.
  3. Upload the file to the root directory of your web host server.
  4. Uploading uploading it will overrule the index.php file and be active.
  5. To “deactivate” the maintenance file, rename it from index.html to index.maintenance. When you wish to use it again in the future, rename it back to index.html.

Go to WordPress.org and download the latest WordPress zip (or tar.gz) file, and unzip it to its own directory/folder.

  1. Update WordPress Themes: Either manually or using the auto-update feature, update all WordPress Themes. If you have Themes you are no longer using or need, consider deleting them.
  2. Updfate WordPress Plugins: Either manually or using the auto-update feature, update all WordPress Plugins. If you have Plugins you are no longer using or need, consider deleting them.
  3. Deactivate WordPress Plugins: Some manual installation methods recommend disabling WordPress Plugins, then turning them of again after the update. This is optional, but highly recommended.

The next step is to replace your existing WordPress files with the new ones.

Replace Your WordPress Files

Installing WordPress manually involves uploading files from your computer to the web server. While it might work to simply upload the files and replace the existing files, glitches in the Internet connection could result in partially uploaded files or file uploading errors. It is highly recommended that you manually delete the files before uploading to ensure a better chance at a clean upload, thus a clean update.

Ensure you protect and do not change the wp-config.php or .htaccess file and other files necessary for your site to function beyond WordPress files.

  1. Delete the old wp-includes and wp-admin directories on your web host using an FTP client or Shell access.
  2. Upload the new wp-includes folder and wp-admin. (Do not delete your existing wp-content folder, and only delete directories that you are going to replace.)
  3. Upload any remaining loose files from the root directory of the new version to your existing WordPress root directory, protecting the wp-config.php, .htaccess, and other critical files not part of WordPress.

Run the Update

In a web browser, enter the address of the site followed by update.php such as http://example.com/wp-admin/update.php. This will run the update for WordPress to ensure any modifications to the database is complete.

Go to WP-Admin > Plugins to reactivate WordPress Plugins if you deactivated them.

If you have problems logging in, try clearing your cookies.

If your old site is still showing and you have caching enabled, you may need to clear the site cache.

If for any reason you can’t figure out how to complete your installation please view the WordPress Codex page for the extended upgrade instructions.

You can also restore your backup and replace the WordPress source files from your old version by visiting the release archive.

For More Information on Manually Installing WordPress

How To Embed Storify In WordPress

For those who know about or are familiar to Storify, the social media tool that allows users to create timelines using social sites from gathering and customizing information in a way they want it to look on social media. There are now options to get it for WordPress.

On a self-hosted blog (WordPress.org), there are a couple options to get Storify. Those options are:

  • Storify’s embed codes that are designed to work anywhere supporting HTML codes: copy and pasting the code of your
    published story onto your blog post.An example of a Storify embed code.
  • If that doesn’t work, install the Storify plugin . It would make posting Storify stories much easier. A WordPress plugin for Storify.
  • If a WordPress theme doesn’t allow some of the Storify embed codes, find a WordPress plugin like User Role Editor that allows “unfiltered” HTML code.
    A WordPress plugin for user role editor that allows "unfiltered" HTML code.

How to Embed Storify in WordPress.com or WordPress Sites Without a Plugin

On a hosted site like WordPress.com, Storify embed codes or HTML by default aren’t allowed, however, you can still link to Storify posts and content with Twitter embeds, blockquotes, and screen captures, such as this example from a Storify story on WordPress security news during a major security incident a few years ago.

The screenshot example would be shown below, with a custom link around the image or before or after it to the actual news story:

Screenshot example of a Storify Article image embedded in WordPress about a WordPress Security Issue.

Using Twitter embeds in WordPress.com, or linking manually from a self-hosted version or WordPress (or one using the Jetpack WordPress Plugin), you can simple paste in the links to the tweets, often the source of the material used on Storify such as these on the same news story.

The effect is very similar to Storify, as shown in this screenshot from the original Storify story, what an embed might look like:

Storify example of the WordPress Security News Story.

Be creative and you can emulate the Storify effect.

How to Embed Storify on a Self-hosted Version of WordPress

If using the self-hosted version of WordPress, you can seamlessly embed or create Storify stories into your post using Storify plugin for WordPress VIP for WordPress.com VIP members, Storify WordPress Plugins, or use some of the other Storify WordPress Plugins.

Storify is an easy way to find, collect, and share stories to friends and family and these were options in getting it for WordPress.

For More Information on Embedding Storify in WordPress

How to: Configure Milestone Widgets

It can be exciting to display the days until a big event. An online holiday retailer may want to highlight the shopping days before Christmas. To inspire urgency, a candidate website may post a countdown to election day. Both these tasked can be automated with the Milestone Widget found on WordPress.com sites or added with a WordPress Plugin.

Listed below is a process for adding a Milestone Widget to a website. In this example, the traditional user interface is used. The fields are similar in the new UI.

Adding the Milestone Widget to WordPress.com Sites

Go to Appearance Widgets and scroll down to Milestone. Expand the Milestone Widget to present the sidebar and footer options.

A copied image for showing the selection of Milestone Widget and the assignment to the Main Sidebar

  1. Expand the Milestone Widget
  2. Select the sidebar or footer location option
  3. When complete, execute the Add Widget button

Customize the Milestone Widget with text and termination date.

A Screen shot of the Milestone Widget test field for configuring the widget

  1. Title is a short title for the milestone.
  2. Event is the text displayed in the message box along with the target date.
  3. Time and Date sets the expiration date and time.
  4. Message is the text presented in the display box after the target date expires.

This is a screen shot of the Visibility options for configuring a Widget.

  1. Visibility Button will drop down the configuration options for Showing or Hiding the Widget.
  2. Save the configurations and Close

Milestone Widget Configurations

A Milestone Widget image included a Holiday Milestone Title, a black box with Days until Christmas December 25, 2015 written in it and abox containing 1 month to goThere are a variety of ways to configure the Milestone Widget. Here are some examples:

  • Title: Holiday Milestone
  • Event: Days until Christmas
  • Date and Time: 12-Dec, 25,2015,0,00
  • Message: Merry Christmas

With only a handful of steps, a Milestone Widget can be added to a website and bring awareness to an important date.

Additional Information on Milestone Widgets

Tutorial: How To Delete Your WordPress Site

There may be a day when you realize that the WordPress.com blog address that you signed up with, may not be the one you want to stay with. If that is the case, you have a few options.  You can:

  • Change your domain name and keep all your current content.
  • Take out all of your posts, or at least the ones you don’t want, but keep the same name.
  • You can make your site completely private so that no one can see it.
  • You can transfer your site to someone else.

If you really want to completely delete your WordPress.com site, there is a way. You need to understand though that
it will be permanent!
Continue reading Tutorial: How To Delete Your WordPress Site

WordPress.com Site Stats Help You Track Visitors to Your Site

They love you. They really love you! Or do they? How do you know? Site Stats.

Site Stats is a feature of WordPress.com and Jetpack WordPress Plugin that gives you information about your WordPress site visitors and statistics.

WordPress.com Site Stats tells you how many visits your site is getting, where in the world those visitors are located, which posts are the most popular, who is referring your site, tags and category data, top authors, and more. Continue reading WordPress.com Site Stats Help You Track Visitors to Your Site

How To Embed Live Google+ Hangout Session In WordPress

Google+ Live Hangouts is a fantastic tool to bring people together, wherever they are, and increase productivity, enhance communication and – well – Hangout.

Beth Hayden of Copyblogger described it this way:

“Picture a Google+ Hangout as an online gathering place where you can facilitate a virtual chat with nine of your favorite pals. Then, imagine you can invite the entire world to take part in your conversation. Or if you’d rather keep things private, you can have personal conversation too.”

Below are instructions on how to embed a live Google+ Hangout session in WordPress for free and without a WordPress Plugin. Continue reading How To Embed Live Google+ Hangout Session In WordPress

Never Set Links to Open in a New Tab

In our contemporary tab centric browsing experience —where tabs have become all but common place for navigating the web, it might appear helpful to provide your user a new tab for opening external content, thus saving them the task of pressing the back button to return to your site, but this is not always the case.

 POUR Guidelines and Accessibility

The POUR guidelines were defined under the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 specification which was drafted by the W3C in 2008. POUR stands for Percieveable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust.  Opening links in new tabs infringes on the second principal of Understandability, which states that websites should operate in easy to understand and predictable ways.

Imagine for a moment that you are a blind user using a screen reader to navigate content when you arrive at a link midway down the page, as soon as you click on the link a new tab appears beside your current window without you knowing and you are left wondering where your content is. As you can imagine this can be a very disorienting experience for blind clients using your site. This particular point is specifically addressed by the W3C Content accessibility guidelines.

UX Considerations

Opening links in news tabs also takes away control from the users by eliminating their ability to choose how links open. In the Smashing Magazine article “Should links open in new windows?” Vitaly Friedman states that:

Users need to be able to rely on consistency of the user interface and know that they won’t be distracted or disrupted during the interaction. Users must know, understand and anticipate what is going on and what will happen once user interface elements are used. Any deviations from this convention result in a more design-oriented and less user-oriented design.

By dictating to users how their browsers ought to behave you rob them of the freedom to decide how they want to navigate the web.

Setting  Link Behavior in WordPress

Now that we’ve discussed why you shouldn’t open links in new tabs, lets discuss how to set link behavior so that we can avoid this problem altogether. In WordPress you set link behavior on a post by post basis and must set the behavior for each link included in your post. To set link behavior we must first create a new link:

1. First highlight the text you would like to link to.

Step one.

2. Then press the link icon on the visual editor.

Step two.

3. In order to set link behavior look for the check-box under the title text field. By default this should be unchecked. Unchecked means that the link will open in the current tab, this is the behavior that we want.

Screenshot of what you should do.

 

4. Make sure that the check-box remains unchecked.

Screen Shot of what not to do.

5. Click update at the bottom of the window when you are done.

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 4.59.21 PM

Please note that this tutorial is specific for WordPress, other web publishing platforms will require different steps.

For further discussion on the practice of opening new links in tabs please visit:

5 Cool Things To Do With WordPress

Christopher Ratcliff of Econsultancy posted an article on the five cool things you can do with WordPress based upon a presentation by Patrick Hathaway of HitReach at BrightonSEO 2014, a search engine optimization conference. He describes each tip thoroughly with impressive detailed examples. The tips are not just “cool,” they’re very helpful when using WordPress. Continue reading 5 Cool Things To Do With WordPress

Posting Tweets on WordPress

With the ever growing popularity of social media, people are constantly seeking out ways to enhance their lives, quickly accomplish tasks, and tell the world about what they do.

Twitter, a micro-blogging platform with a character post capacity of 140 characters, and one of the largest user populations in the world; is often the social media platform of choice despite its limitations.

WordPress on the other hand, a much more feature-rich and complex blogging platform has the ability to take advantage of Twitter activity and display its feeds in real time.

To post a Twitter feed in your WordPress.com site, simply go to Appearance> Widgets> Twitter Timeline.

On a self-hosted site, using the Jetpack Plugin, use the Extra Sidebar Widgets feature to add a Twitter stream. Continue reading Posting Tweets on WordPress

How to Publish from Word to WordPress

People continue to use word processors like Microsoft Word to write their posts for their site. Unfortunately, online web publishing platform editors do not play well with outside publishing sources. After many years of making the process of pasting word processing documents into WordPress, the release of WordPress 3.9 made it even easier to successfully paste text into a Post or a Page.

Online publishing systems gag on this stuff; gremlins breed in the hidden spaces.
Tom Scocca

Continue reading How to Publish from Word to WordPress

Privacy Policies: Reporting the Tracking

Do you know what personal information is collected from you when you are online? The answer could surprise you. Here is a list of regularly collected information.

What Is Tracked

  • What websites you visit and the frequency of those visits
  • What your name is.
  • Your geographic location.
  • Passwords you use.
  • Credit Card information.
  • Social Security Numbers.

These are just a few examples of the types of information being tracked while you are online. Does it make you wonder what the information is used for?

Continue reading Privacy Policies: Reporting the Tracking

WordPress Web Hosting Options

Screen shot of a computer monitorNeed a web host for your WordPress site? Before you choose a web hosting service it is best to figure out what you want to do with WordPress, what the WordPress hosting requirements are and what you’re hoping to accomplish with your website. 

There are several kinds of web hosting services out there for you to choose from that suite your needs. Continue reading WordPress Web Hosting Options