Nov 18, 2008 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
Have you ever opened up your website stats application, Google Analytics for example, and looked at the “referring sites” section? There you are shown the websites that people come from to visit your site the most.
Now wouldn’t it be useful if you could detect where a user is coming from when they visit your WordPress blog, and display a customized message to them? Perhaps a reminder to subscribe to your RSS feed, or to Stumble your post.
WP Greet Box does just that. After dropping the plugin into your /wp-content/plugins/ directory and activating it, you just have to add a
<?php wp_greet_box() ?> template tag where you want the messages to appear in your theme.
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Oct 28, 2008 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
If your WordPress-based blog gets a lot of comments, it can be a pain to keep up on them.
Approving/spamming comments is sadly something that has to be done frequently, otherwise the unmoderated comments tend to pile up. Let’s face it, if you run a fairly high-traffic blog, you don’t want to trek over to the WordPress Admin to moderate comments.
That’s where Daniel Dura’s “Moderator” comes in. Moderator is an Adobe AIR app that brings the unmoderated comments to you. It sits in your Dock or System Tray and notifies you as the comments stack up in the queue. From there, you can approve, spam, or delete the comments after reading them.
The app requires WordPress 2.6+, and you must install a WordPress plugin before using the app. Once WP 2.7 is out, the developer will release a new version of Moderator to take advantage of 2.7’s comment API, which will make the plugin unneccesary.
Oct 26, 2008 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
The WP125 Ad Management Plugin has gained quite a sizeable following over the past few months, with nearly 4,000 downloads logged in WordPress/Extend as I write this. (Note that there were likely a lot of downloads before it was accepted into the repository.)
Overall, I think it’s been successful.
The point of the plugin has been to provide an easy way to manage 125×125 ads, rather than relying on hand-coding or more complex ad-serving applications like OpenX. The goal has been to make it the right choice for as many bloggers as possible who want to sell 125×125 ads.
So, how is it? What do you like about WP125? What do you want to see in it? Is there something about it that just bugs you? What killer feature is missing that you just have to have?
The next release of WP125 is in the works currently, and I’m working on it off and on, whenever I have some spare time. Now is a good time to suggest new additions or changes.
This is you chance to voice your opinions about the plugin. Any constructive criticism or suggestions are welcome.
Oct 15, 2008 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
I’ve received a few emails now asking for ad rotation features in WP125. Now, that’s not something I want to build into the plugin’s core files. Only a few people want it, and I don’t want to make the code needlessly bloated over something that doesn’t fit the ordinary uses and intention of the plugin.
After telling most of those people something along the lines “sorry, unsupported,” I came up with a quick solution (that one emailer was lucky enough to get). This solution doesn’t modify the plugin code, and seems to work pretty well. I figured I’d share it here, in case there’s anyone else who wants it.
Basically, if you want to have a rotation instead of a “normal” block of 125×125 ads, you just need to make use of the handy
<?php wp125_single_ad(num); ?> template tag I created for “unforseen circumstances” when I wrote WP125. Just put this code where you want your rotation to appear:
<?php wp125_single_ad(rand(1,6)); ?>
Just replace the “6” with the number of ad slots you have.
Now, fill your ad slots with banners and you’re done.
Sep 12, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Featured, WordPress
The WordPress 125×125 ad management plugin has just got better. I’ve just released version 1.1.0, which improves performance, adds several customization options, as well as a few major features.
New is version 1.1:
- Setting to change the widget title.
- Option to remove the default ad styling, enabling you to use your own CSS rules.
- Settings are no longer stored in a database table, but in WordPress’s built-in Options system. This reduces database queries, and improves performance.
- Admin menu functions are no longer included outside of the WordPress Admin (hehe ).
- A few other tweaks were made of efficiency and security nature.
- Major feature: If you supply an email address in the options page, you can opt to receive email notifications when ads expire, allowing you to easily send follow-up emails to advertisers, or simply just stay in the know.
- Major feature: Placeholder ads! If an ad slot is empty, instead of not being shown, a placeholder ad (a.k.a “Your ad here” image) will be shown, linking to your sales page.
Download the plugin here, or just use the WordPress 2.5+ automated plugin updater.
If you have any suggestions, or if you find a bug, please leave a comment or shoot me an email.
EDIT: Everyone using 1.1.0, please upgrade to 1.1.1, unless you don’t mind your ads being unclickable. A stupid mistake on my part caused the issue in 1.1.0. It’s been patched now.
EDIT: Arg!!! I made another mistake. Version 1.1.1 is identical to 1.1.0, and therefore didn’t get the fix. Please use 1.1.2.
ANOTHER EDIT: Another bug squished. 1.1.3 is out, everyone. Fixes an issue with the slot dropdown on the Add/Edit page.
Sep 2, 2008 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
In recent versions of WordPress, some features were introduced that some people may find annoying. Some blogger’s have complained about WP nagging them to upgrade, via a yellow stripe along the top of admin screens. Other’s find the new theme preview box annoying. Still others don’t like post revisions or autosave. (I have to say I really like autosave. It’s averted a few disasters for me…)
Remember that line in some WordPress themes, in the header, that read
<meta name="generator" content="WordPress <?php bloginfo('version'); ?>" /> <!-- leave this for stats -->? A lot of us would delete it because it added a couple milliseconds to page loads, and was a security risk. (Malicious web users would Google the string it outputs to find sites to target — sites that weren’t up to date.) Well now you deleting it won’t matter. As of WordPress 2.6, the line is added automatically, by way of some hook in the WordPress core files. Nice job, developers, now the “hackers” will be able to tell at a glance whether or not we have the latest patch installed yet.
On the plus side, someone’s put together a plugin to solve the version line problem, as well as many other annoyances out there, such as those mentioned in the first paragraph. It’s called Super Switch. Install it, tell it what you don’t like about WordPress, and it will fix things for you.
Aug 27, 2008 by Matt | Posted in WordPress
How would you like to gain a steady stream of quality traffic to your website? Traffic that won’t vanish in a few weeks. Traffic that will keep on coming for a long time.
Write a WordPress Plugin, or if you lean more toward design rather than coding, make a WordPress theme. WordPress resources are the ultimate linkbait. It may take you awhile, but it doesn’t take much work to get the traffic coming. Write a page about the plugin on your blog, submit your theme or plugin to WordPress/Extend, post a quick note to WLTC News, and submit to a few social bookmarking sites. It won’t take long before the plugin spreads through the blogosphere, netting you some incoming traffic, and some good links and mentions on other blogs. I’ve done this twice, with WP125 and GoCodes, and both plugins have really added a helpful boost to Webmaster-Source.
If you Google “WP125,” a good many of the 12,000+ results are related to my plugin, though I have to admit there are some scrapers and non-plugin-related posts in there. “WP125 ad” returns higher quality results, and 4.890 at that. Not bad considering the plugin is only a month and a half old…
Now I know not everyone has the skills to put together a good theme or a useful plugin, and therefore may not be able to make use of this tip at the moment. But don’t give up on this idea yet. Anyone can learn PHP, or pick up blog design. If you’re already blogging with WordPress, chances are you’ll be able to pick up said skills without too much difficulty if you put your mind to it.
Aug 19, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Monetization
Prolific plugin author Joost de Valk has put together a WordPress plugin that’s simple in function and insanely useful.
Are you a member of Amazon Associates? Amazon’s widely-used affiliate program can be an effective way to monetize a blog, especially if the blog publishes book reviews, or something of the sort. However, it’s a bit of a pain to, when writing a post, traipse over to associates.amazon.com, log in, and go through the menus to generate an affiliate link, search for the product you want, and paste the resulting URL into your post.
Enter Amazon Auto Affiliate Linker. Install the plugin, tell it what your Associates ID is, and go back to blogging. Now you can skip the Associates dashboard when you write posts. Just go to Amazon.com to search for the book, and copy the URL to the product listing. From there you can use that ordinary URL in your post, and the plugin will automatically add your Associates ID when you press publish. Simple, I told you.
Jul 10, 2008 by Matt | Posted in Featured, WordPress
After a few months of planning and work, I’ve finally released my new WordPress plugin. I’d had the idea sine around the time I started selling 125×125 ads on Webmaster-Source. I thought it was a bit of a pain to hard-code ads in and manually take them down after their run was over. And I don’t like figuring out end dates by counting ahead on a calendar either. That’s why I put together WP125, a WordPress plugin for easy 125×125 ad management.
I built the plugin to simplfy the management of 125×125 ads, and lower the barrier to get started selling them a little. Some of the features include
- Custom ad layout options.
- A widget to drop into your sidebar to make it easier to set the plugin up. Or you can use a template tag if you’re pro-code like me.
- Click tracking.
- Ads are automatically taken down on their end date.
- The plugin can figure out an ad’s expiration date automatically, based off how many days you say the ad should run for (no more counting forward on your calendar!). It took a bit of time and effort to get this feature working, but it was certainly worth it.
Try the plugin out, and tell me what you think. It’s a first release (1.0.0), and it’s barely been out tweleve hours, so it may have some bugs or interface oddities that need fixing. (It’s not on WordPress plugin site quite yet either, but I’m working on that…) Tell me what you like, what needs fixing, etc.
I think WP125 is off to a good start, but I had to shave off a couple features I’d originally planned in order to get it out the door in time for the WLTC WordPress Plugin Competition. Sadly, that means I’m unable to use it on Webmaster-Source to manage my ads. I built the plugin to work the way I figured most people woud prefer, and pushed my preferences to the side for now. I handle my ads a little differently than other people, and it would have taken too much extra time and work to build support for that into the plugin. Hopefully I’ll have the time to include the settings I’d like at a later date.
Enjoy the plugin, and send your feedback along!