Tag Archives: WordPress

“Ask Not” — Fixing my Blog, and Asking for Nominations

I got the best compliment this weekend — one of my FriendFed friends nominated me to be the first recipient of a FF room full of help! She suggested a review club: every few days or so, someone nominates a web site and we all go look at it and make suggestions for improvement, then the recipient nominates another lucky sot to get the same help. And the first nomination? Me!

Now the site nominated at first was this one; this was a wonderful thing, but this is about the only website I’m playing with right now that was never intended to make any money, so I pointed people at Popular Delusions, which is the one I started after the 30DC (and the disaster which was my first blog). I got several helpful suggestions about my links (too pale and hard to see) and my lack of images (I need to go play with the CC license stuff on Flickr). I also got reminded that my index page was a sight to make people click the back button; practically nothing there. I’d always wanted to do other things with the front page, and the category pages, but got stuck and started the blog entries just to get something done. Since I’ve always just pointed to individual blog posts, I forgot the index. My bad.

See, I’m a big fraud. I write OK </humble>, but I know next to nothing about the mechanics of playing with WordPress. I can change my links colors, for example, but I have no clue how to make them “brighter,” or less pale; and I have absolutely no clue how to take a plugin and make it appear on a page without frelling it up and having it also appear in the sidebar. I went to install a plugin today, and it had a fatal error. I have no clue how to chase the error down and fix it; I’ll just have to find another one that does something similar. I have great ideas, and have seen sites do similar things, but I have no frelling clue how to implement them. And the tutorials I find are no help — “read the readme.” Most of the readmes I’ve read are version lists and how to install. I know how to install the bloody thing, but how do I USE it?

I also spent some time today crying over my front page text. (OK, I was having a bad day overall; ignore the tears.) Someone suggested my text needed to be “punchier” — I needed more appeals to like-mindedness or challenges to my readers; I needed more calls to action. As you can see, I tend to explain a lot and ramble a bit; as I said to MiLady at one point, “I’m not punchy, I’m folksy!” But I think I got better text on the home page — more pointers to parts of the blog, more calls to action. Now I need to figure out the “Featured Offer” thing. I need one — I just need to figure out the formatting. So the suggestions have been really helpful, and I’ll be implementing them as I write more posts.

Which leads me to my final problem — I’m supposed to pick the next blog to look at. I have a couple of good FF friends whose blogs I’d love to nominate, but I don’t know what they are. See, the 30DC had a problem with copycats ripping off site ideas (and occasionally the text on the site, as well!), so my friends aren’t putting their “money sites” through FriendFeed. The one friend whose site I do know has been too busy to hang out on FF, and might not appreciate a nomination with so much other stuff going on in her life. So how to pick? I don’t know — got any ideas? Want a free trackback to your site? Nominate yourself in the Comments! Use my Contact Me page! Help me out here!

Want Your Picture Next to All Your Blog Comments?

You’re being a good Net Citizen, participating in your community by weighing in on the posts of your favorite bloggers — but next to other people’s posts they have a picture, where your comments just have an outline. How do the other commenters get their pictures on other people’s blogs?

What they have that you don’t is a gravatar — an avatar linked to their email address that will show up when called for. The good news is that you can get a gravatar too, for free!

The site you need to go to is en.gravatar.com. There’s a great explanation of gravatars on that page, and they’ll walk you through the signup process. (All they need is your email, and you can add other email addresses — even have a different picture for each address!) When you put some effort into “personal brand recognition,” and you use the same avatar wherever you can as a recognition tool, having that gravatar available will be a big help.

If you have a WordPress blog (or at least a WPD blog — I have no idea whether this is a plugin thing or not), you’ll want to turn on gravatars so that everyone will have their picture show there, too. If you log in to www.yoursite.com/wp-admin, and go to Settings->Discussion, you’ll find the “Show Avatars” radio button near the bottom of the page. Click it, and Save Changes. Your time lag when a comment posts might be a tad longer, as the software goes and grabs the image, but I think having the images next to the comments is worth it. 8-) Have fun!

For 30DCers: How to Access your WordPress Direct Blog Without WPD

[To my non-internet-marketing friends: Hey, thanks for looking! This post is going to be IM-tech heavy, so if it sounds like Greek, that’s ’cause it is! It’ll be more fun next time, I promise . . .]

To My 30 Day Challenge Friends: Hi! I’m glad you found the best internet marketing training on the web! Hope you’re learning a lot and succeeding with your goals. My best wishes to you! I’d like to talk about how to get into your blog without going through WordPress Direct.

When I got my blog last month, the first thing I did was figure out how to get into it without using an intermediary; WPD is a great blog installer, and wonderful if you can use the Autocontent feature (I’m in a niche that doesn’t generate any content; my Google Alert on my key phrase only sends me email about my own posts), but I hate doing things through third parties when I can just do it directly. So I explored WordPress rather than WordPress Direct, and found out all the wonderful things that can be done there. Let me show you:

Assuming your blog URL is yoursite.com, you type yoursite.com/wp-admin into your browser. When it asks, your username is “admin” and your password is the one you gave WPD when you installed the blog. Ta-da! Welcome to your Dashboard! Here are buttons for writing a new page (like “About Us” or “Special Sales Offers” — things that stay the same no matter what) and writing a new post (blog entry). If you want to change your sidebar, you can get into it by clicking on the widgets hyperlink. In fact, there are a lot of hyperlinks on this page; every one takes you somewhere where you can change things. There are places to see your latest comments and trackbacks, news and new plugins; and WP news stories. It’s worth taking some time to explore it.

At the top of every page are tabs and links. The tabs are Write (page, post, or link), Manage (edit pages, posts, links and categories, among other things), Design (change or edit themes, play with widgets), Comments, and cformsII. Opposite the tabs are three hyperlinks: Settings (where you can set or change everything from the name of the blog to the names of your posts), Plugins (where you turn plugins on and off and change their settings), and Users (where you can add or delete other people, and change your own settings — I refuse to have posts by “admin” on a blog with my name on it! 8-)). And no matter where you are in what’s referred to as the “back end” of WordPress, there’s a link to the Dashboard — so you’ll never get lost.

And if you have a question, I just found a nifty resource in the most obvious of places — faq.wordpress.com. Click on the word in the tag cloud that comes closest to your problem, and get a list of questions that they’ve answered. Or you can ask in the comments, and I’ll do the best I can to find an answer.

Hope it helps!