WordPress

WordPress is the software I use for this and several other sites. It’s traditionally considered blogging software, but can be used as CMS (Content Management Software) as well. It’s a powerful platform with a wide variety of publicly available themes and extensions to extend functionality. It’s also dead-easy to use and it makes it very easy to add content to your sites (as the thousands of posts/pages here are testament to.) (Of course it can’t help you with writing your blog content….)

In short if you’re wondering “how do I start blogging?” Then wordpress is a good starting point. In fact, wordpress makes it extremely easy to create a blog.

I’ll use this page to get a round up of wordpress related links (main site/forums/themes/plugins).

For starters, you can download and install wordpress yourself from WordPress.org.

Do you want to create wordpress templates? Then you might be interested in Artisteer. It can be used to create wordpress templates.

Calendar Plugin – this displays a calendar on a page and let’s you insert events through the admin panel.

On wordpress.com they’ve integrated the polldaddy plugin to all wordpress.com blogs which enables you to add polls and surveys from polldaddy.com (looks pretty nice as polls go.)

I’ve never been big on web site based polls of course, mainly because if it’s a poll on a controversial topic people can easily game it and tell all their friends to go and vote, but…. that can have it’s advantages too…. (traffic.)

Here’s one that took me a bit of searching: I wanted to have a page with a slightly different template file. I copied the file to a new name and made the changes to the template and thought that would be enough, but it wasn’t. It still didn’t show up in my drop down list of templates in the page editing screen. So, I found this:

After you’ve done all that, go to the very top of the bio.php page and insert the following code above the call for the header:

<?php
/*
Template Name: Bio
*/
?>

Once you get this code at the top of the template, save your file and upload it to your server.

From this site.

WordPress Plugins

About the same time I was looking to replace the built in wordpress search with Google’s custom search.

I found this good guide. That guide suggests the mightysearch plugin. Essentially I made a new page for the search results (stripped out contextual ads to make room for googles “stuff”.) I also put the search box code from google in the searchform “page” in my template. I then installed and configured mightsearch. (You need to add the search box and results form script to the correct place.) Then you can insert it easily in your template with the following:

<!–-mightysearch–-> - to call both search form and search result on the page <!–-mightysearch_form–-> - to call only search form on the page < !–mightysearch_result–> - to call only search result on the page

(There should be two hyphens before and after mightsearch in each of the above.)

I’ve also found a great List subpages plugin. It’s called Xavins List Subpages. I don’t know why, but many theme editors seem to devalue pages. I love the pages because they exist outside the date based post hierarchy and I feel like they have better visibility. I say many theme makers devalue pages because they’ll give enough space in their template for 3 or 4 pages without breaking the theme and requiring a bit of surgery or they’ll limit it to only viewing one level of pages. My problem with that has always been how people can find the sub pages.

So… what this plugin does for you is it let’s you put a left bracket xls and right bracket in any page and it will automatically generate a list of sub-pages. This is a great timesaver for me because I have many pages with many subpages and each time I create a new sub-page I have to go back and add a link in to the parent page. This will do it automatically even if you forget which is nice. I still like to get a link in the context of a paragraph in the parent page, or at least write out a description, but this way I can filter the page list to one or two levels deep and then won’t have an orphaned page in my layout. (As long as I remember to insert the subpage code in each page.) It is also possible to use code in the template to do the same thing, but I prefer it in the page content show that its more easily found.

Along the same lines, here is the homepage of the plugins author with more detail on the subpage plugin. Also, more info on the wp_list_pages function in wordpress. The sub pages plugin supports all of the options of wp_list_pages with one additional option.

You might also be interested in this listing of top wordpress plugins.

If you’re looking for How to Market Your Blog, you might be interested in some of my SEO Tools for traffic building.

Utility Links:

There’s a great walkthrough of moving your wordpress blog to a new domain that may come in handy someday.

Of course there’s also this tutorial on the wordpress codex for restoring your database from a backup.

And this page on backing up your wordpress database.

Finally here is a guide for installing/setting up a wordpress database and database user using the mysql cli client (command line interface client.)

I also ran across this interesting WordPress Remix that makes wordpress look more like a standard cms than blog.

If you’re looking for a wordpress magazine theme that link has quite a few highlighted that look fairly slick.

If you’re looking to make money with adSense on your wordpress site you may want to look into a theme like bluesense.

Displaying RSS in a WordPress post or page

There are a number of ways to draw from rss feeds to display their output in your worpdress site. Feedforall is a way to do that with any php page (including wordpress.) There is a builtin method though. Here’s a good writeup on it. It’s called the wp_rss function and if I recall there is a newer method as well. (As I said there are several ways.) fetch_rss is another method and this writeup details the use of both.

Autoblogging Plugins

Autoblogging can be a controversial topic – but there are good uses for autoblogging plugins (autoblogging is not necessarily a scraper site.)

wp-robot – cost varies depending on what features you are looking for.

wp-o-matic – free plugin with a good range of features.

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