Tag Archives: WordPress

What’s Coming in WordPress 2.6?

WordPress 2.6 is currently in beta, and will “ship” later this year. It will probably bring some bug fixes and security updates as usual, but what about the fun part? What new features will we get?

Technosailor’s 10 Things You Need to Know About WordPress 2.6 addresses just that.

Some noteable inclusions are

  • Post versioning
  • The return of PressThis
  • Google Gears support

I won’t spoil the post by including too many. Check out the Technosailor post for the full details.

WordPress Theme of the Month: StudioPress

This month’s featured WordPress theme is StudioPress by DailyBlogTips.com. Note: Though the original blue coloration is shown here, there are three aditional color schemes available.

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WordPress Comment Styling

The default comments template included in the Kubrick theme, and by extension a lot of other freely available themes, isn’t very interesting. It suits the theme, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, ready for use in any theme. If you go through the trouble of finding or creating a more unique theme, shouldn’t the comments be styled differently as well? It surprises me how many blog themes have pretty much the same comment style as Kubrick.

Whether you’re putting together your own theme from scratch, or customizing an existing one, don’t neglect the comments. After all, you want to draw readers to them, don’t you?

Here are a couple places to read-up on the comment template:

Also, be sure to add Gravatar support!

WordPress Theme of the Month: DarkZen

June 2008’s featured WordPress theme is DarkZen, by Daily Blog Tips.

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Widgetized WordPress Admin Dashboard

In WP 2.5 the WordPress developers tweaked the WP dashboard, making it a bit more usable, looking sort of like Netvibes or iGoogle. Unfortunately, they haven’t seen fit to provide the ability to customize the dashboard “widgets” yet. So what’s the point? Well, it looks better…

Jason of Pressography.com has provided a solution, since the WordPress devs haven’t yet. The Widgetized Admin Dashboard plugin does just what it’s name says. It removes the WordPress Development News and WordPress Planet boxes, and adds a new sidebar to the Widgets screen called “WordPress Dashboard.” You can then put whatever you want on the Dashboard, and re-order the widgets at will. You could even use your themes’s functions.php file to write your own custom widgets, if WordPress and your plugins don’t provide one you would like.

Why Not to Use Blogger or WordPress.com

If you’re serious about blogging, I strongly advise you to avoid using Blogger, WordPress.com, or *shudder*, LiveJournal. The first thing you should do when you start a blog is get a domain name. At $7-$10 per year, it’s not going to empty your bank account, and it will be a good investment. (Not to mention that people will take you much more seriously if you have your own domain) You could point your domain pretty much anywhere. You could use it with your Blog*Spot or WordPress.com blog, but I would advise against it. While Blogger and WordPress.com are most likely the two best “free blog services” available, they’re limiting in terms of what you can do.

If you pay for a cheap shared hosting account (1and1 has a $3.99/mo plan, which is good for a beginning blog), and install a copy of the free WordPress blogging software (that’s WordPress.ORG, not .com!), you gain much.

By hosting your blog yourself, instead of relying on a free service, you gain the ability to customize your design in ways impossible with the free services, to use WordPress plugins, run your own ads, and you’re not dependent on the service. If WordPress.com decided to charge a subscription fee instead of providing the free service they’ve provided, you’d have to pay or abandon your blog, pretty much. What if they changed something about their service, and you didn’t like it? (An example would be adding a big, forced banner ad to the top of your blog.)

If you’re using a free blog service, you can still make the switch to a self-hosted blog. WordPress has the ability to import posts from Blogger, WordPress.com, LiveJournal, and a few others (including RSS). However, you can lose some data in the transition. Depending on which service you use, you may or may not be able to keep the comments on your posts, for example.

Free blog services are great for personal blogs, and experimenting with blogging before deciding to commit to it, but if you want to run a serious blog, I highly recommend going with a self-hosted WordPress installation. At the very least, if you have a tight budget, get a domain and point it to your free blog. That way, if you decide to go the WordPress route, you will be able to move and keep your readers and backlinks.

WordPress Theme of the Month: Simple

It’s May 2008, and this month’s featured WordPress theme is Simple. A live demo is available.


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Login-Box Plugin for WordPress

Login-Box, by danillonunes, puts a hidden WordPress login in your template, which can be made visible by pressing Ctrl-E (or in some cases Alt-E). Not a bad idea.

I’ve found it much easier to do administrative tasks by putting a login link on Webmaster-Source’s navigation. However, this is kind of dumb, since my users have no use for it. I’m the only one who can register new users, so no one other than me can really login. (I started out allowing registrations, but the spammers decided it was funny to register 20+ accounts per day…) Maybe I should replace the login link with this plugin? Or I suppose I could just bookmark the wp-admin link for easy access… :D

Back to the plugin:

Login-Box has several configuration options. You can define

  • The way the login box looks
  • Which key combination opens and closes the dialog
  • Whether someone logging in should go to the Dashboard, or back to the page they came from.

I think this plugin would be useful for multi-author blogs, possibly, though for my purposes it’s overkill, I think.

Smarter Archives: Clean and Compact Date-Based Archives

I can’t stand seeing blogs that have a long list of monthly archives in their sidebars (I’m looking at you, prefab Blogger templates!). It clutters the design, and promotes long sidebars.

Blogger users, unfortunately, don’t have the nifty Pages feature WordPress bloggers get (or plugins for that matter), so they won’t be able to enjoy this amazing WordPress plugin.

Smarter Archives, creates a new template tag, <?php wp_smart_archives(); ?>, that you can put in a custom template, allowing you to build a custom Archives page. I use it here, and ProBlogger does also.

The plugin displays the monthly archives compactly, one line of text per year, so you have room on the page for other things, like a tagcloud, output from the Popularity Contest plugin, etc.

WordPress Theme of the Month: Lemon Twist

This month’s WordPress Theme of the Month is Lemon Twist by FarFromFearless.

Lemon Twist WordPress Theme

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