Once you have the Headspace 2 plugin installed, activated and configured to use the customizable “more text” field, simply do the following:
1. Place your cursor where you wish your “more text” link to appear, then click on the “more text button
2. Enter your own customized phrase into the “more text” field in the Headspace area
Did you know that if you compose your blog entries in Word, then cut & paste them directly to your WordPress blog, you can completely bork your blog??? It can do weird little things like move your sidebar completely to the bottom of the page – that’s one of the more minor things it can do. It can also make your whole blog disappear after the header!
Fortunately there is a button in the “Add New Post” screen that will allow you to paste from Word without borking your blog.
First you click on the button to show/hide kitchen sink:
Next you click on the “Paste From Word” button:
Finally, just hit CTRL V to paste into the box that comes up and click on “Insert”:
Voila! All Word code is now neutralized, and you can publish your post without borking your blog!
The latest WordPress release is a security fix with three bug fixes. It came out November 25, 2008 and is a recommended upgrade.
But do *you* really need to upgrade? According to WordPress, the XSS security issue that prompted this upgrade, “…only affects IP-based virtual servers running on Apache 2.x.”
So the answer is that if your site is running on a shared server (and most sites are), the security issue won’t affect your installation. The security issue only affects websites that are using a dedicated IP address (most sites are not).
So my official recommendation is always to be safe and go with what WordPress.org recommends. This is a recommended upgrade for everyone, so that is Blog Solace’s official stance. You can make your own decision about what is right for you and your blog/site.
People often ask me my opinion about whether/how often to upgrade WordPress. Mainly they want to know whether they need to upgrade with every single release. And if not, then what is the criteria for deciding yes or no?
My basic policiy for myself is also what I recommend for my clients or anyone seeking this advice. My policy is to upgrade WordPress with every security-related recommended upgrade. If the upgrade is related to security, there is not even a question in my opinion. Do the upgrade or risk the security of your WordPress installtion.
As far as non-security, non-recommended upgrades, it depends. If it is simply fixing a few bugs or adding new, minor fuctionality, I usually do not upgrade. Whether you do or not is up to you. Look at the new features/bug fixes. Do they apply to features you are using or any bug you have experienced? If so, weigh the benefits of the upgrade against the financial cost (if you hire someone to do WordPress upgrades for you) or your time investment (if you do this yourself). It should be pretty easy to decide from there.
However, if it is a major upgrade, there are greater things to consider. Here are the issues I sometimes see with a major WordPress upgrade, some more often than others:
• At least a minor change to the layout or look of the dashboard/admin panel, sometimes major
• Potential issues with plug-ins you are using, depending on what you are using on your blog/site
• Potential database or log-in issues, usually more to do with your web host than WordPress – this can require some major troubleshooting
• Conflicts with your theme, especially if using an older theme with potentially deprecated or outdated code
I tend not to be an “early adopter” anyway, generally speaking, and WordPress is no exception with me. My process is usually to watch the help forums and see what the issues are and how to fix them, and watch for a new release (bug fix or security patch). So basically I let all the problems get ironed out before I will upgrade my sites to the new version of WordPress, which is a time period of about 5-6 weeks, usually.
Once a new version (major upgrade) of WordPress has been out about 6 weeks, I usually have learned of any problems or issues, learned about how to solve them, and WordPress itself will have fixed some of them with bug fixes and security updates if necessary. WordPress 2.7 will be coming out relatively soon, but I won’t be installing it on any of my sites until about 6 weeks after that, and the likely version I will be installing will be WordPress version 2.7.1 – or something like that!
Additionally, I don’t recommend waiting TOO long after a major upgrade of WordPress to upgrade your installation. The reason for that is that any new security patches will apply only to the new version and not the older versions. i.e. if you are running version 2.3.3 right now, you have missed all security patches that have come out since the upgrades to 2.5 and 2.6 – and you DO need to upgrade or risk security issues and problems!
Hopefully that answers most questions about when and why to upgrade WordPress. Feel free to ask questions or make comments in the comments area below or Contact Me about hiring Blog Solace to do your upgrade for you.
Blog Solace recommends the Quantum of Solace theme by Jack White and Alicia Keys called, “Another Way To Die.” Enjoy!
Next week, November 15th, 2008, Blog Solace will be giving a seminar called Blogs and Blogging Platforms in Business at the Courtyard Hotel in Bellevue, Washington. It will cover the basic differences between bogging platforms and how regular websites are run, blogging for business, using the WordPress platform to run a regular, non-blog website, and the extensive and powerful SEO (Search Engine Optimization) capabilities of WordPress.
Additionally, a short demonstration of the easy-to-update, web-interface of the WordPress administration panel will be given. If you’ve ever wished you could just update your phone number or hours of operation without contacting your web designer, you will be very pleased with the WordPress CMS (Content Management System) for this purpose!
More details and registration information can be found here: Blogs & Blogging Platforms In Business
There are approximately four levels (very basically speaking) of zen you can achieve via your widgets panel on WordPress. What you can do with your widgets depends on what you want, your skill level with xhtml and CSS and, oddly enough, a really cool plug-in (more on that when I discuss Widget Zen, Level 4).
Widget Zen, Level 1: For someone very new to WordPress, it is a world of wonder when they realize they can control what appears on their sidebars! Just go to your widgets panel on your dashboard (Design -> Widgets), choose to “show” the sidebar you want to work with and ta-da! You can add and remove elements from your sidebar and even change their order. Just add what you’d like to see on your sidebar and remove what you don’t want, then save your changes. View your blog in all it’s newly widgetized glory and voila! Widget Zen, Level 1 has been achieved!
Widget Zen, Level 2: The next level of Widget Zen comes when you notice those widgets over on the left that simply say “Text” on them. Oh my gosh – it is now time to create your very own widget! Just click to add then click to “save changes.” Then click on “Edit.” (You do have to “save changes” before editing the text widget, believe it or not). Then you can add virtually whatever you like. In the header field you could put “Currently Reading” and in the field put, “Anything Considered by Peter Mayle.” Click “Save Changes” again, visit your site and voila! Widge Zen, Level 2 has been achieved!
Widget Zen, Level 3: The next level of Widget Zen comes when you look at your newly created widget and think, “Hmmm, I would really like it if the “Currently Reading” was centered and in bold. And while I”m on it, I would like the title of the book to be in italics.” So you go back to the widgets area in your sidebar, click to Edit the widget, and have at it with your xhtml and CSS skilss! Save the changes, view your site and Voila! Widget Zen, Level 3 has now been achieved.
Widget Zen, Level 4: This next level of Widget Zen comes when you start hankering for a bit of functionality in your widget. You want PHP in your widget. But no matter how many times you add the bit PHP for what you want to work with into the widget, it just won’t function. That is because text widgets cannot execute PHP. Unless you install a very special Plug-In! It’s called Exec-PHP . Install it. Activate it. Go back and do your PHP widget thang, and Voila! Widget Zen, Level 4 has been achieved! This is such an awesome plug-in, and there is so much you can do with it. It’s also THE best-documented plug-in I’ve ever seen. See the Exec-PHP Plug-In Page .
So what are you waiting for? Go make yourself a widget! Just do what I do – Back up everything you work on before you start when you’re doing something for the first time or that you are unsure of. Seems like it takes unnecessary time, and I know you want to get right to it. But backing up has saved me hours and hours of time over the years. I tend to mess things up the first few times I do them.
Just a little note: EasyBlogHelp.com is not affiliated with WordPress or the maker of the Exec-PHP Plug_In in any way. I just love the platform and plug-in, respectively, and have used both with much success and enjoyment.
Almost anything you want to do to your WordPress blog can be done via a plug-in. And plug-ins do things more cleanly and efficiently than a “hack” or inserting third party code yourself about 99.9% of the time.
For instance, if you have a Google Analytics account and want to add that code to your blog, there is a plug-in for that. Why use a plug-in instead of adding the code to the footer.php file as seems only natural? Because not all themes are created equal. Because other plug-ins may be inserting code into your footer.php file and fighting with the code you are trying to insert. Because future plug-ins may interfere with the code, etc.
I’ve experienced Google Analytics code not working, even though the code was installed correctly, due to the peculiarities of a client’s custom WordPress theme (created by someone else). And using the Google Analyticator plug-in was the only way to make the code work in this case.
The amount of WordPress plug-ins is staggering, but that only makes sense. WordPress on its own is absolutely awesome, but is basically an empty canvas. It needs your content. It needs your unique look applied to it. And it needs its extended functionality to be whatever you make it – think of the plug-ins directory at WordPress.org as an a la carte menu – and build your own hot lunch!
Plug-ins designers usually love what they do and spend all their spare time creating and perfecting these plug-ins. So their specialized installation is virtually always going to be cleaner and more efficient than cutting and pasting some code or applying a creative “hack.” A word of warning: One should only ever use plug-ins from the official WordPress Plug-Ins directory. Using some rogue plug-in from a web site somewhere could open you up to security problems, malicious mischief, unwanted links on your site and more. The official WordPress Plug-Ins directory is the only place you should be acquiring your plug-ins.
So what are you waiting for? Give the plug-ins a try! Save yourself some work and enjoy the benefits of using an expertly-created element for your WordPress blog. They’re free and of the highest quality. How can you lose?