Benefits of a Bespoke Website over a Standard WordPress Template

Whether you are trying to promote your business, your cause or anything else, you will find that one thing that you absolutely need is a website. While many people consider that it is enough to have a presence on places like Facebook, there needs to be a place where people can get all of the information that they need about you right away.

When you need a website, it is very tempting to pick up a free WordPress template, but the truth is that it is always better to invest in a bespoke website, that is, one that is made especially for you.

Unique Look

Screen Shot 2012 06 28 at 10.30.10 AM 266x318 Benefits of a Bespoke Website over a Standard Wordpress Template

Here are some examples of bespoke templates available for WordPress in various marketplaces.

Take a look at the other websites that are in your field. Once you start looking around, you’ll find that just about everyone is using the same, rather small set of WordPress templates! Some hide it better than others, but when you get right down to it, there are more and more sites that are simply taking their template from WordPress whole cloth.

Now that you have noticed it, you will also note that this creates a look where their sites all have the same appearance. When you are told that you need to stand out to get your business or cause of the ground, this is the last thing that you want!

Increased Functionality

If you are a unique cause or a unique business, chances are very good that you need some unique functionality.

For example, if you are an artist, you need to have a gallery setup for your work. You need to have a space where people can page through a number of images, and these images need to be set up clearly and simply. WordPress does not offer this kind of functionality. Think about what you need your customers or interested parties to see.

A bespoke website gives you a great deal of freedom when it comes to design.   [Read more...]

Publishing with WordPress iPhone App

Writing and blogging via the WordPress App for iPhone (iOS) and iPad has evolved tremendously.

20120627 234325 266x398 Publishing with Wordpress iPhone App

Screenshot I took while writing this actual post.

Saying that the early versions of this app were “clunky” would be a nice way of putting it. I would argue that using the WordPress iPhone App to publish or author content was a nightmare.

I, like many urban lifestylers, spend a good part of my day on some form of public transportation.  That used to be a time that I would spend writing blog content on my old Blackberry.  I would at least have time to get a good post started or nearly completed.  Often, I could have an entire post done by the time I got to work.

The dark ages.

At the time, I was using a post-by-email plugin that allowed me to email posts to a secret email account.  Any email sent to that address would automatically be converted to a blog post.

The email subject line became the post subject line, etc.

It worked well enough but the formatting was always a little wonky.  There was no way to insert links or other basic HTML markup.  At the time, there was no such thing as a Blackberry with a camera in it.  That meant no embedded photos in my mobile posts either.

Eventually, WordPress made post-by-email part of the core platform.  During that change over, formatting continued to get even more difficult to manage.  Also, if you changed devices from one phone to whatever was next, there was a good chance that there would be some extra markup in the email that would cause formatting to be a disaster.

Fast forward a few years to the debut of the iPhone.  I immediately could not wait.  Once I saw the potential of apps on this device, I knew that the WordPress community would build a WordPress CMS App for iPhone.

And they did.

Sadly, it sucked.

The first few times I attempted to use the iOS app, I was very disappointed.  Publishing, including links, adding images, tags, content categories, etc. were all difficult to manage or completely impossible.   [Read more...]

Facebook Creates Official Plugin for WordPress

Facebook and the WordPress development community have teamed up to build a more integrated Facebook sharing plugin. An official Facebook plugin for WordPress.

The plugin is available at WordPress.org for free.

WordPress is the largest digital publishing platform powering over 16% of the sites on the Internet.  Stop and think about that for a second.  A single platform powers over 16% of the sites on the entire Internet.  That’s pretty amazing.  As you’ve read here before, we are big WordPress fans.

facebook for wordpress Facebook Creates Official Plugin for Wordpress

Image Credit: Facebook

The plugin allows WordPress authors to tag their friends on Facebook from within the article that they are writing.  That tag shares the story snippet onto your friend’s wall.

You can also tag pages (fan pages) from within the post, or update your own status.

Make your WordPress site social in a couple of clicks, powered by Facebook.

This kind of deeper WordPress integration makes sharing authored content onto Facebook that much easier.  No more having to copy/paste the link to your latest update and ping it out to everyone manually.  You can all your Facebook promotion and post syndication from right inside the WordPress platform.  To use it is just as easy as the tagging feature in the WordPress core.

The setup is a little tricky.  The plugin requires some extra steps and signups to pass the security muster of Facebook.  Basically, you have to create a Facebook “application” in order for seamless system interplay.  The whole process is fairly painless as long as you follow all the setup instructions.

The new plugin also comes with some extra Widgets for your sidebars.  Very easy to drag and drop into the site.

WordPress Blog Security

It is a terrible feeling the day you realize that your WordPress blog security was compromised.  When you’ve been hacked, it is like getting punched in the stomach.  You’ve always heard how important it is to keep your site secure, but you never really paid attention.

passwords 480x287 Wordpress Blog Security

Photo Credit: Ron Bennetts

Boom, you just learned the hard way.

Whether you know it or not, your site is constantly under attack.  There are malicious crawlers, bots, and scripts trying to poke holes into your site.  It might be happening right this second, and you’d never even know it until it is too late.

Here’s some tips to keep your site secure.

Updates, updates, updates.

There’s a reason that you see that band across the top of your WordPress dashboard screaming at you to update.  Don’t ignore it!  Virtually all WordPress core updates come with some level of increased security.  The same goes for plugins.  When security flaws are discovered in WordPress, the community is very quick to resolve them and push a new release.

Change your password regularly.

Yes, I agree.  Updating your passwords is a massive pain.  Keeping track of them all is ridiculously hard.  Unfortunately, it just needs to be done.  However, you need to go deeper than just your WordPress dashboard password.  You should also change:

  • Email Password.  Remember, if I can get into your email, all I need to do is use the WordPress “Forgot my password” feature to get into your blog.
  • Hosting Account Password. Why hack into your WordPress account when I can just get right into your host?
  • Server Passwords.  If you are using your own servers and hosting provider, there’s passwords for your database and FTP that need to be updated.

Take this stuff seriously.  Just look how bad it ended up for LinkedIn.

Try using a password generator to help you make a more secure password.   [Read more...]

Is WordPress a Superior Publishing Platform?

Yes.

If you’re a regular at BlogCraving, you know that we are huge WordPress fans. Guilty as charged.

However, we are constantly reminded why it is a superior publishing platform.

wordpress vip logo Is Wordpress a Superior Publishing Platform?For example, 15% of the top 1 million sites on the web are powered by the WordPress platform.  At first glance, that sounds like a big fluffy number.  Stop for a second and take a look at the caliber of publishers using the platform, and you will see it is not all fluff.

Publishers using WordPress: NBC Sports, CNN, TED, TechCrunch (AOL), Time, Wall Street Journal, CBS Radio, CBS Local, and the LA Times…just to name a few.

Recently, WordPress also announced its Partners program for companies that want to build WordPress ready versions of their products into the WP platform.  The WordPress team then certifies these vendors as “partners” basically saying that the code is compliant with the WP core.

The fact that other digital and web companies are building specific instances of their products for the WordPress community says something about the scale and quality of WP.

Getting to Partner status with WordPress is no joke either.  Their developers run through every single line of code to make sure that there is nothing being committed that could endanger the health of a WP site.

WordPress FTW.

Tutorial: Different Sidebars for Homepage and Posts

This is an update with full illustrations to an older post.

Basic Method:

1) Find your sidebar.php file.

2) Make a copy of it.
Name it sidebar-secondary.php. Your second, third, forth, etc. sidebars
all need to start with sidebar-NAMEHERE.php. That’s part of the naming
convention in WordPress.

2sidebars Tutorial: Different Sidebars for Homepage and Posts

3) Make the content changes you need in secondary sidebar file.
This is where you make the secondary sidebar different. Whatever it is
you need to be different should go in this file. Save
sidebar-inside.php and upload it to your server.

4) Locate your single.php file.

5) Look for a line near the end of the file that looks like this: <?php get_sidebar(); ?>

6) Change it to <?php get_sidebar(‘inside’); ?> (note, the ‘inside’ part should match the name of the new sidebar-inside.php file). The single quote marks ‘ ‘ are required. [Read more...]

PSD to WordPress Conversion Instructions

Section 1 – Designing a WordPress theme in Photoshop

Designing a theme for WordPress in Photoshop is straightforward. In our example today, we will create a simple two column fixed width theme. Before we start, we need to decide what the width of our theme will be. I chose a 980-pixel sixe because it will fit on most screens without the need to scroll form side to side, as most screens today are at least 1024 pixels wide.

To get started create a rectangle that is 1024px x 768px. This will serve as our background for the theme. You can color your backgrounds or even add an image. For our tutorial, we will color the background blue. [Read more...]

Top WordPress Plugins and Widgets for Bloggers

WordPress is the best blogging tool anyone can use. The most exciting part of WordPress is that it is flexible to use and has many options. Users can get more plugins to have much more fun while blogging. Here are some recommended WordPress plugins to make the blogging experience more adventurous.

WordPress plugins and widgets are categorized based on their usage.

Manage Comments with WordPress:

  • Subscribe to Comments: To allow readers get notifications of latest comments posted on an entry.
  • WP AJAX Edit Comments: This allows wordpress users to edit commentary on posts inline.
  • WP Grins: Allows users to include clickable “smilies” on posts and comments.

Prevent Spam with WordPress:

  • Akismet: This plug-in intelligently prevents users from receiving spam.
  • Bad Behavior: These are a set of PHP scripts to prevent spambots from accessing the site.
  • Digital Fingerprint: This helps in detecting theft of your content.

Expert SEO with WordPress:

  • All in one SEO Pack: This helps users by optimizing the WordPress Blog for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • Broken Link Checker: This helps one to monitor and notify them when the links on blogs are broken.

Easy Navigation with WordPress:

  • Homepage Excerpts: These make both posts and excerpts flexible to use on the homepage.
  • WordPress Mobile Edition: This indicates when a visitor logs on to your site through a mobile device.
  • Random Redirect: This plugin allows the user to create a StumbleUpon link to the posts on the blogs.
  • Wp-Cumulus: Makes 3D tags and categories in a rotating sphere.
  • Clean Archives: This displays the archives in lists with uniformity and clean presentation. Visitors can easily find the article or blog they want by checking in the category according to content, day, month and year.

Twitter Plugins with Twitter:

  • TweetSuite: This incorporates twitter into your blogs along with other tweet plugins and widgets.
  • WP Twitip ID: This allows users to put in their usernames to the comment forms on blogs.

Admin Management Tools in WordPress:

  • PodPress: This enables the user to add many designed features to make their blogs exciting and ideal to host Podcasts.
  • Admin Drop Down Menu: No more double clicking on the admin screen. This plugin allows you to choose from a list making things easier and quicker.

There are many more plugins for various necessities. You can easily download those which work best for you.