Tag Archives: WordPress

WordPress Theme of the Month: Aspire

This month’s WordPress theme is Aspire.

Aspire is a great theme for a site about books, writing, or a fantasy computer game. I’m a big fan of parchmentesque designs, so this one really stood out when I was looking for a theme for this month.

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I Read Your Post… Now What?

After I finish reading a post on your blog, you optimally want me to do at least one of the following:

  • Subscribe to your RSS feed.
  • Submit your post to a social bookmarking site.
  • Leave a comment.
  • Read another post.

It’s most likely that I won’t subscribe to your feed unless I find more than one good post on your site. Just reading one post isn’t going to get me to subscribe. I may Digg or Stumble the current post if it’s good, but you’ll have to shove more posts in my face if you want to get a new RSS subscriber.

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15 Places to Find Free WordPress Themes

Not everyone is a designer (or can afford to hire one). Luckily, you can just grab a free WordPress theme and tweak it a little. If you decide to go that route, make sure you pick a well-designed theme.

To save you some time, I’ve assembled this list of places to find good themes.

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WordPress as an Online Magazine

WordPress is more than a blog engine. It’s an easy-to-use CMS (Content Management System) perfect for running a “webzine.” I’m not a big fan of most CMS systems, though I’m a huge fan of WordPress. Joomla is too convoluted and Drupal isn’t that great either. I’m not going to go around the web bashing other CMSes right and left, but I do like to point out WordPress as a viable option for “non-blog” sites.

The Main Page

The main difference between a blog an a webzine is the index page. While the typical blog just shows the most recent posts, a webzine goes beyond that. There are a lot of ways to display content on the main page. Here are some examples of webzines:

Look around the internet. You’ll find no shortage of different “non-blog” index styles. Do you see how they are all similar? They highlight different types of content. “Featured” posts, “normal” posts, “news,” etc. Before you get into developing your webzine too much, map out the main page on paper. Decide what types of content you will have, and how you will display them on the main page.

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Schedule Your Posts

How do you blog currently? Do you just enter your post and hit publish? Sure, that works fine, but there’s a better way.

Most blog software includes a Time Stamp feature that allows you to write your post ahead of time and have it appear on your blog at a pre-scheduled time. Using this feature you can make blogging easier.

How often do you post something to your blog? Every day? Every other day? For simplicity, I’ll assume you post to your blog every day. What if you were unable to blog for a day (for whatever reason)? Some your readers wouldn’t like that too much. You can avoid that using the Time Stamp option.

At the beginning of the week, write a few posts and set them to post on the following days. Now you can do other things over the rest of the week. You can write more posts for the next week, you can work on some linkbait, or you could play Pirates of the Caribbean Online. :D

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Is ShareThis 1.0 Better Than ShareThis 2.0?

What do you think? Alex King just released the new version of the great ShareThis plugin, but I don’t like it as much. Here are my main reasons:

  • It’s a lot slower, as it uses JavaScript to load the collapsible DIV’s contents from ShareThis.com.
  • The default styling doesn’t look as good.

I’m still using the original plugin, and I don’t intend to stop.

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WordPress Theme of The Month: Grid Focus

This month’s WordPress theme is Grid Focus.

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On WP Super Cache

Everyone’s been talking about WP Super Cache, the new WordPress plugin based off the old WP-Cache 2. By storing static copies of your posts for a predetermined amount of time (then refreshing them after they expire), it reduces server load by a huge margin, which hopefully keeps your site from going down if you get “Dugg.”

It’s a great idea, but I’m not about to install it yet. As it says on the website, “dynamic content such as that within the sidebar, will only refresh when the cached pages are refreshed.” That, of course will cause major problems with some plugins. It’s hard to explain why those plugins won’t work, but I can give you some examples.

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The WordPress Moderation Queue: Avoid it Like the Plague

WordPress can hold comments for approval before they appear on your blog. While this keeps spammers at bay, you want to use this feature as little as possible. Comments should generally appear on the blog immediately. Why?

  • WordPress normally does not notify the commenter that his or her comment is being held for moderation. Instead the page just refreshes…. A usability nightmare.
  • It disrupts the flow of the conversation. Comments will repeat themselves, questions will go unanswered, and windows of opportunity for jokes will be missed.

Do everyone a favor and turn comment approval off. To keep the spam out, here are some tips:

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WordPress Wishlist: What WordPress Really Needs

WordPress is a great blogging package, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. There are several things that I want added/fixed, but who knows when (if ever) they will be addressed.

Instead of complaining randomly, I’ve assembled a prioritized “Top 6″ list of things that need adding/fixing. The top two on the list are important, and pretty much everyone wants to see the points addressed. The WP developers really need to get to work on them.

If you have anything to add, mention it in the comments. What bugs you about WordPress? What killer feature (that can’t be done well as a plugin) does WordPress need?

Without further delay, rambling, or anything like that, here is the list:

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