Top five reasons why WordPress is the best “Press”

wordpress-logoWordPress is arguably known as one of the leading content management providers. It’s recognizable, compatible, and free to use – covering all of the online basics and plenty more. But for whatever reason, there are still website owners opting for a buggy competitor, or sticking to basic HTML for their web-viewing needs. As the Internet changes, however, it’s time to stick to a uniform, reliable source, and WordPress fits that bill.

Still on the fence? Check out the top five reasons WordPress is a better website content managing system than your current provider.

5. It’s User Friendly

Whether a beginner or a WordPress expert, the program comes in a simple, easy-to-use package. Updates notify users when they’re necessary, pages are labeled with large tags, and the navigation section provides a descriptive layout of all available actions. New features even come with descriptive tags so users can learn any adjustments with ease. The content management system (CMS) also has a sleek, simplified look so no tasks are bogged down or lost in the action.

4. Free, One-click Upload

When hosting outside of WordPress, the program is as easy to upload as a single click. Even for those without website building experience can do it. Just sign in with your host, upload, and start building pages. As for those who do host with WordPress, the CMS is already available, saving a whole two seconds of work.

3. Unlimited Options with Plugins

Want to upload an RSS feed? A signup box? Social media accounts? A page view counter? There’s a plugin for that … and for hundreds of other add-ins. Just upload and customize to create a completely unique website. Store your content in cloud storage, or stick to design-related features. Best of all, they’re free to use and have the ability to completely makeover a website.

2. Shows Site Data and Traffic

One of the best WordPress abilities is that it compiles and keeps track of all website hits. See where viewers came from (including referrers and keyword searches), how many clicks came in each day, as well as how that compares to the previous month. Over time, charts will show how traffic changes, and how posts affected those differences in numbers.

1. There are Hundreds of Free Resources

Can’t figure something out? Just perform a Google search to see what the experts have to say. Because WordPress is so widely used, there are entire websites dedicated to helping others fix their design, formatting, or other WordPress issues – free of charge. Just ask and search to receive access to thousands of free WordPress CMS tips.

8 Best Mobile Android Apps for Bloggers

If you are a blogger and cannot be bothered being tied to only laptops and desktops to do your writing, consider these eight, highly useful Android apps to get work done while really on the go.

WordPress

The WordPress Android app works a lot better on tablets than smartphones because of the larger display, but it still works beautifully just like its desktop counterpart. With the app, you can create and edit blog posts, view traffic statistics, and manage comments. The WordPress Android app works for both WordPress.com-hosted blogs and self-hosted blogs.

LiveJournal

If you are a travel blogger, the LiveJournal app is a great choice. Like its desktop counterpart, you can easily access your LiveJournal account, create new entries, manage previously published posts and manage comments right from your tablet or smartphone.

Posterous

Developed by Posterous Spaces, this app allows you to upload images, and share texts and videos with anyone. Posterous also allows users to create communities for group contributions. Like LiveJournal and WordPress, Posterous users can control with whom they share their content with.

Tumblr

Another micro-blogging platform, the Tumblr Android app offers all the features a blogger gets in the desktop version – post video links and images, create texts, share quotes, re-blog posts and more. You can manage more than one blog from the same app and follow people from your phone’s contacts. Other features include scheduling posts, saving drafts and customizing tweets. However, unlike the previous blogging platforms, Tumblr doesn’t let the user choose people with whom the user would like to share content.

Moby

Moby is a social content sharing application on which you can share images, videos, audio and text through syncing with social networking platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Blogger, LiveJournal and WordPress.

Blogger

The Blogger app is not rich in features like other blogging apps, but nonetheless, you can create, publish and share posts.

HootSuite

Like Moby, this is another favorite app for mobile bloggers. HootSuite’s Android app let’s you connect with Twitter and Facebook and share your blog posts seamlessly. Moreover, you can schedule tweets and start campaigns right from the app.

PayPal

We know how much PayPal is useful for any kind of online business. If you have a monetized blog, using the PayPal app on your smartphone or tablet is a good choice to monitor incoming payments and send money when necessary.

Fix: WordPress 3.1 and Disqus Plugin Error When Returning Comments Count

If you use the popular 3rd-party commenting system Disqus in your WordPress-powered website, you may have noticed that some errors appeared in your Posts lists after upgrading to WordPress 3.1.  The specific error you see would be something like:

Warning: number_format() expects parameter 1 to be double, string given in /wp-includes/functions.php on line 155

I’ve had problems with Disqus messing with WordPress comment counts in the past, and since those minor problems were never properly resolved, they caused more severe problems when WordPress updated their Posts view in version 3.1.

Essentially, Disqus takes the WordPress comment count and reformats it internally to wrap it in an identifying span that follows the format:


{number of comments}

Disqus effectively usurps WordPress’s comment count (which isn’t a big deal by itself), but the added HTML around the comment count is what breaks WordPress 3.1.

Why It Breaks

In the WordPress core file /wp-admin/includes/class-wp-list-table.php, WordPress makes a call to the get_comments_number() function and passes it to its internal function number_format_i18n().  Since Disqus has replaced the normal value returned from get_comments_number() with its own value wrapped in HTML, this breaks WordPress’s number_format_i18n function which expects the value to be a double instead of a string.

After quite a bit of troubleshooting, I figured out a way to fix this by making a small change to the Disqus plugin.

How to Fix It

Note: This method involves editing PHP files for WordPress plugins on your web server. If you do not feel comfortable following this guide, please seek assistance. And above all – make a backup!

Step 1: Edit the file /wp-content/plugins/disqus-comment-system/disqus.php

Step 2: Locate the following code at line 692:


function dsq_comments_number($count) {
 global $post;

 if ( dsq_can_replace() ) {
 return ''.$count.'';
 } else {
 return $count;
 }
}

Replace it with:


function dsq_comments_number($count) {
global $post;

return $count;
}

Step 4 (optional – this will fix comment counts in the front-end of your blog if using the comments_number() function in your theme): Locate the following code at line 697:


function dsq_comments_text($comment_text) {
global $post;

if ( dsq_can_replace() ) {
return 'View Comments';
} else {
return $comment_text;
}
}

Replace it with:


function dsq_comments_text($comment_text) {
global $post;
$number_of_comments = get_comments_number();
return $number_of_comments;
}

Finally, to display the comment count in your WordPress theme, use the following code wherever you want to display “X Comments”:




This should fix the comments count in your WordPress Posts view, and make comments appear correctly on your blog if you use the comments_number() function in your theme.

Fix: WPtouch Pro Plugin Breaks WordPress 3.1’s Admin Bar

WordPress 3.1 rolled out today and brought with it several new features, one being the WordPress admin bar. This feature has been previously available to WordPress.com users and is now available to self-hosted sites (like Techerator), and gives logged-in users access to page controls without having to leave the site.

Sites that use the popular WordPress plugin WPtouch or WPtouch Pro will notice that this plugin breaks the new admin bar. While WPtouch is active, the admin bar will not appear on the main site or in the WordPress Dashboard (it took quite a bit of troubleshooting to narrow down which plugin was the culprit!).

The fix is very simple, and the team behind WPtouch has confirmed they are aware of the problem and intend to fix it.

The Fix

This guide requires that you edit plugin files in your WordPress installation. If you do not feel comfortable following this guide, please seek assitance before proceeding. And above all – make a backup!

Step 1: Navigate to the WPtouch plugin themes folder on your web server. Mine was located in /wp-content/plugins/wptouch-pro/themes/classic (If you’re using a different mobile theme, select that instead of classic.)

Step 2: Edit root-functions.php

Step 3: Locate the following code:


if ( function_exists( 'show_admin_bar' ) ) {
add_filter( 'show_admin_bar', '__return_false' );
}

And comment it all out:


//if ( function_exists( 'show_admin_bar' ) ) {
//    add_filter( 'show_admin_bar', '__return_false' );
//}

That’s it! Your WordPress 3.1 admin bar should now be visible on your site. To enable or disable the admin bar, visit your User settings under Users –> Your Profile in WordPress.

WordPress: How to Fix Author RSS Feeds with the FD Feedburner Plugin

If you run a WordPress-based website and offer RSS feeds to your readers, the WordPress plugin FD Feedburner is invaluable. This plugin automatically redirects any RSS feed on your website to the correct Feedburner feed with very simple configuration.

One problem with FD Feedburner is that it doesn’t support individual author RSS feeds. Since we have a team of writers here at Techerator, each author has their own individual RSS feed that follows the format http://www.techerator.com/author/{author’s username}/rss2. By default, FD Feedburner automatically redirects individual author pages to the main RSS feed.

The fix is straightforward, but requires you to log into your web server via FTP and copy-and-paste code into a PHP file. If you do not feel comfortable with these tasks, seek assistance before making any changes. And above all: always make a backup!

Step 1: Log into your web server with your FTP client of choice. I prefer WinSCP (free).

Step 2: Navigate to FD Feedburner’s plugin folder within WordPress (by default, it should be located at /wp-content/plugins/feedburner-plugin) and edit the file fdfeedburner.php.

Step 3: Locate the following code (in current version 1.43, it’s located at line 220):

if (($cat || $tag) && $options['feedburner_no_cats'] == 1) {

And replace it with the following code:

if (( ($cat || $tag) && $options['feedburner_no_cats'] == 1) || preg_match("/^\/author\//", $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'])) {

Note: This code is designed for standard WordPress configurations. If you’ve made changes to your directory structure, you’ll have to change the regular expression specified in the preg_match() function.

Now when you link to an author’s individual RSS page, like mine at http://www.techerator.com/author/ewondrasek/rss2, you’ll be taken right to the individual author feed! Special thanks to my former MakeUseOf colleague Jorge Sierra for figuring this out.

How to View Google Analytics from Your WordPress Dashboard

Keeping track of visitors to your blog is important.  While there are many services and tools available for tracking visitors to your site, Google Analytics is often the service of choice.

In this article I am going to provide you with a couple of plugins to view Google Analytics within your WordPress blog.

Google Analytics Dashboard Widget

The Google Analytics Dashboard Widget allows you to view a simple Google Analytics graph in your WordPress Dashboard.  This plugin requires that the Google Analytics code already be added to your site.

To get started using this widget, download and install the Google Analytics Dashboard Widget plugin.  Once installed, enable the plugin and navigate to the Google Analytic Dashboard settings page.

Enter your Analytics email and password and select the site you wish to access data about.  You can also specify who is able to see the dashboard widget but only Administrators are allowed by default.

After enabling the plugin and making the necessary configuration, the widget will be shown on the WordPress Dashboard.  Only a basic chart along with information about the most popular posts are shown.

The plugin also adds a column to the Edit Posts page, showing Analytics information for each post.

Google Analyticator

The Google Analyticator WordPress plugin is another way to view basic Google Analytics information within your WordPress blog.  The Analyticator plugin also offers an easy way to add the Google Analytics code to your WordPress site.

Start by downloading and installing the Google Analyticator plugin.  Navigate to the settings page to configure the plugin.

The easiest way to configure the plugin is to log in with your Analytics account.  Select the correct Analytics profile once logged in.

The settings page contains some other options regarding tracking so be sure to look through those as well if you enable Analytics logging with Google Analyticator.

The Google Analyticator plugin also contains a WordPress Dashboard widget for easy viewing of your site stats.  Other information shown in the widget includes Top Pages, Top Referrers, and Top Searches.

Have any tips for Google Analytics in WordPress?  Let us know by commenting below! And make sure to check out our other great guides about WordPress.

How to Let Your WordPress Blog Visitors Upload Files To Your Dropbox

Dropbox is one of our favorite pieces of software here at Techerator.  Every day, people are coming up with new ways to use the free online file backup and syncing service.  When used with other software, Dropbox can be utilized for just about anything.

The Dropbox Upload Form plugin for WordPress is a small plugin that adds a file upload form to a WordPress Post or Page and adds the uploaded file to your personal Dropbox.

Start by downloading and installing the Dropbox Upload Form plugin to your WordPress blog.  Activate the plugin once it is installed.  You can then navigate to Settings -> WP-Dropbox to configure the plugin.

Fill in the requested information to connect your Dropbox to the form.  Once the plugin has been configured properly, click Save options.

Now you need to add the proper code to your Page or Post to show the upload form.  Add [wp-dropbox] to a post or page to show the upload form in that part of the post and save when finished.

Below is how the upload form will look in your WordPress site.  Any files submitted through this form will appear in the Dropbox folder you specified in the settings above.  The date of submission is added to the end of the file name.

One thing you should be aware of when using this plugin is that the size of the upload file is limited by the PHP configuration of your web host.  You can check with your host to find out the maximum file upload size limit.

Know of any other ways to integrate Dropbox with WordPress?  Let us know by commenting below!

Significantly Reduce Website Spam with the ‘Bad Behavior’ Plugin

Spam is everywhere and can easily overrun a website.  If not controlled, it is possible for spam comments to infiltrate your WordPress blog, forum, guestbook or other content-management system, redirecting your readers to malicious websites.

The graph below shows the distribution of comments on a site.  As you can see, spam comments make up the largest majority, with just over 97% of the total comments for the site.

Bad Behavior is a free, open-source, PHP-based solution for significantly reducing you website spam.  While originally developed for WordPress installations, the PHP code can be downloaded and implemented into your website or other CMS.  Installation directions are available for popular content-management systems such as WordPress, Drupal, MediaWiki, and others.

Bad Behavior works by looking at the source of the comment and checks for spam-like or other malicious activity.  If invalid requests are received, the source is blocked, preventing the spam from reaching your site.  This is different from other spam-prevention solutions which look at the content of the comment for links and other common keywords, not the source of the comment.

It’s often hard to judge whether these plugins work or not, but that’s not the case with Bad Behavior.  Check out the image below showing a graph of spam from Akismet before and after Bad Behavior was enabled.

It’s pretty easy to see the effect Bad Behavior is having on spam reduction.

Spam on Techerator Before and After 'Bad Behavior'

If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to reduce and almost eliminate spam on your site, then I suggest you give Bad Behavior a try.

Have any other tips on reducing website spam?  Let us know by commenting below.

Photo credit: ines

WordPress Fix: How to Properly Align Images in RSS Feeds

This image is on the right here, but in the RSS feed it would appear without formatting.

One of the only complaints I’ve ever had about WordPress is that images didn’t maintain alignment in our RSS feedRSS feeds are used to offer subscriptions to visitors and can be used with applications like Google Reader.

When adding an image to an article in WordPress, you have the option to align it on the left/center/right side of the screen – but when viewed in the RSS feed the images appear with no formatting.  A little searching revealed why images weren’t aligning in the RSS feed: WordPress developers removed the deprecated align attribute from image tags.

Removing the align attribute was the right thing to do to stay compliant with web standards, but it had the unfortunate side effect of breaking alignment in RSS feeds (the alignment for the web version of an article works because it is defined by in a CSS file).

The Fix

Fixing the alignment is as simple as installing and activating the Align RSS Images plugin for WordPress.  After activating the Align RSS Images plugin, images will automatically appear with the correct format in your RSS feed.

Align RSS Images works by finding any images in a post and applying the correct formatting to them in the RSS feed.  This is done dynamically when the RSS feed is generated, so no code gets added to your original post.  Best of all: the feed still remains compliant with W3C feed standards.

Note: After activating Align RSS Images, it may take a few hours for the changes to appear in your RSS feed.

Check out a before and after comparison below!

Before, no image alignment.
After, now properly aligned!

[Align RSS Images – WordPress Plugins]

Essential WordPress Plugins Part 2: Administration

In the second part of our Essential WordPress Plugins series we will be taking a look at some plugins that are designed to make managing your WordPress site easier.

WP-Database backup

The WP-Database Backup plugin automates the database backup process and puts your mind to ease about the safety of your blog. WP-Database Backup can perform a manual backup, allowing you to save it to the server, download it to your computer, or email the backup to you.  WP-Database Backup also allows to schedule hourly, daily, or weekly backups and have them automatically emailed to you.

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WP DB Optimizer

As your WordPress blog continues to grow, your database can become cluttered and will slow down your blog.  The WP-DB Optimizer plugin is a simple plugin that allows you to optimize your database from within the WordPress Dashboard.  This is the same form of optimization that you can perform from within another database management software such as phpMyAdmin.

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WP-DBManager

A combination of the above plugins, WP-DBManager increases the amount of control you have on your database from the WordPress Dashboard and provides features similar to those found in phpMyAdmin.  WP-DBManager is a powerful database manager that allows you to add, drop, or edit tables.  WP-DBManager also can optimize, backup, or restore your database, and has the ability to schedule backups and database optimization.  If you’re looking for total database management, then I suggest you give WP-DBManager a try.

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WP-Memory-Usage

Many hosts may limit your PHP memory usage to keep your site from affecting others within a shared hosting environment.  As you install more WordPress plugins and add more functionality to your site, the amount of consumed PHP memory increases.  WP-Memory-Usage is a WordPress plugin that allows you to see how much memory your WordPress installation consumes.  WP-Memory-Usage simply adds a single bar graph to your WordPress Dashboard that give your important information regarding PHP and the amount of memory being used.  If you notice memory usage is high, disable a WordPress plugin or two and check the memory usage.

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Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu

The default WordPress installation includes the WordPress menu vertically stacked on the left side of the screen.  Clicking menu options and waiting for the page to reload to display the sub-menus can be quite frustrating.  Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu for WordPress changes the way WordPress menus work by displaying them horizontally across the top of the screen which allows for a wider WordPress Dashboard.  The Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu also features mouse-over drop downs so there is no more reloading to display sub-menu items, saving unnecessary clicks and page loads.

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Maintenance Mode

When performing work on your WordPress blog, it may be necessary to have some downtime.  The Maintenance Mode plugin works by blocking users from visiting your site when downtime is scheduled.  Administrators and other WordPress users will still have the ability to login to the Dashboard.  When in Maintenance Mode, visitors are presented with a message saying the site is down for maintenance.  Logged in users are able to access every part of the site while in maintenance mode.

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Admin Menu Editor

If you’ve installed a few WordPress plugins on your site, you may notice the addition of new menu buttons.  Depending on the WordPress plugin, a new menu item may be added to the main menu or an item of a sub-menu.  As more plugins are installed, your WordPress menu may become cluttered with menu buttons that you never use.  The Admin Menu Editor plugin allows you to edit your WordPress menus with a convenient drag-and-drop interface.  You can also create custom menus to access any part of the WordPress Dashboard.  If you mess up or simply don’t like your changes, Admin Menu Editor allows you to return to the default menu configuration.

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WP-Task-Manager

WP-Task-Manager is a plugin that allows you to create and manage a virtual to-do list.  This plugin creates a task manager within the WordPress Dashboard, allowing you to create and assign tasks that can be completed by your contributors.  WP-Task-Manager includes feature such as due dates, commenting, and the ability to control who can modify tasks.

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Check back later as we continue our Essential WordPress Plugins series when we look at plugins for tracking your website’s statistics.

What WordPress plugins do you use to administer your WordPress site?  Let us know by commenting below.