Posts Tagged ‘Contnet Management System’

5 more great WordPress Plugins

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

In a continuing effort to improve both user and usee experience with WordPress sites, I offer a few more handy plugins to help make life on both ends of the site a little easier.

WP-Spam Free
Those of you who have comments enabled for blog postings on your WordPress site know just how annoying comment SPAM can be. Yes, you heard correctly, SPAM (it’s not just for email anymore). But fear not, as with most things WordPress…there’s an app for that. Just like the filter on your inbox, WP-Spam Free will weed out the Viagra and Mortgage company ads (along with any other comments that don’t pass the smell test) that bots try to post to your site as soon as they get wind that there is a form to be submitted. It is great for you because it keeps unwanted content from showing up without your knowledge or in the case of having moderation setup, it will keep your inbox free of most of those blog born irritants. And it is great for your clients and potential clients because they do not have wade through drug and porn ads to find that diamond in the rough comment that they are looking for to make sense of everything they are reading.

Ever wonder about those “Tweet” buttons that appear on some blog posts (like the one to the right), well that is a great little plugin called TweetMeMe. What it does is add that nifty button to each of your postings and then it is kind enough to track the number of times other people thought enough of your latest rant to share it with their friends. All your visitors have to do to spread your wisdom is click the button and login to their Twitter account (assuming they are not already logged in) and there, like a virus, your knowledge finds its way to more willing hosts.

CForms II
OK, so how many of you are frightened by the prospect of adding a form to your site and even more troubled by the spew of nasty that is returned to you in email when your brilliance is rewarded with an inquiry? Worry no more. Contact Forms II was designed with you in mind. Now all you have to do is select from a list of field types, decide the order in which you would like them to display and you are off to the races. There is even an easy interface for setting up the email that comes back to you with those awesome results!

Looking to jazz up your posts to include a photo of the author or maybe want to look really awesome when responding to your blog comments? Well, if you answered “Amen, Brother” or some other type of affirmative response, UserPhoto is the plugin for you. Simply install it and you will find additional fields at the bottom of your account editing screen. All you have to do then is browse for that photo that just screams You and you are set. Let it upload and BAM (to borrow an expression) you are looking more sharp and professional than anyone has the right to be.

After the Deadline
For those of you bemoaning the fact that Spell Check is missing from the WordPress bag of tricks, cry no more. After the Deadline not only finds all of those textual faux pa’s but it also will school you on improper word usage to help you make the most of the brilliance that is leaking from that overstuffed brain. Just tell WordPress you want to publish your post and After the Deadline, like the Gentlemen’s Gentleman that it is, will scan your prose for things it finds to be naughty in its sight and allows you the opportunity to snuff it before your error is seen by the masses waiting for the next installment of the cool that is you.

Now that is what I call putting the Fun in Functionality. So don’t just sit there, strut on over to (or start your search right from your own sites admin interface) and take the first step toward enjoying making your site more enjoyable to use.

5 plugins to streamline your WordPress administration

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

WordPress offers thousands of little pieces of code designed to help you extend the functionality of your site with the least possible effort. These little pieces of code are known as plugins. Plugins can range from simple admin only enhancements to full-on new site features that are ready to deploy to your user base. The trick is finding the right one to fit your particular needs.

Here are 5 great admin enhancements that no site should be without:

Page links to
Although outmoded to a degree by some of the newer “Menu” functionality in recent versions of WordPress, this simple little plugin can save you a significant amount of time when making edits and additions to your site. Essentially it is a simple redirect for the page/post in question. It adds a control to your post/page editing console that allows you to set an internal or external URL and it redirect all traffic to that post/page to the specified URL. It is great when linking menu items out to third-party or other affiliated sites and allows you to either open the link in the existing window or pop up a new one so that you can send people out without forcing them to leave your site. As I said, the new Menu functionality covers this but I really like this plugin because it allow you to do it on the fly while right in the page editor so if you decide that the content on this page is no longer relevant and you would prefer any traffic coming to it to go to another page instead, there is no need to remove any content or do anything fancy, just enter the URL and you are off to the races.

Exclude pages
Another great plugin that is outmoded by the Menu functionality of the recent versions of WordPress but still a must have for simple sites or sites with themes that do not support the new menus (and there are a lot of them out there). All it does is add a single check box to your post/page admin that is checked by default and says “include page in navigation”. Have a sales page that you want to keep it from showing up in your menus? No need to pay a developer to make some funky changes to your theme code, all you have to do is uncheck the box and update the page, easy pease.

TinyMCE Advanced
A strange name but a familiar tool to all WordPress users if they only knew. You disagree? Well, have you ever updated a page or added a post in WordPress? Well, then you have used TinyMCE. TinyMCE is the script that is used to create that wonderfully familiar “Word”-like editing interface that you use to make things pretty in your posts. TinyMCE advanced builds on that great base and offers additional functionality, like table creation and editing, that can make it significantly easier to maintain your pages and posts. Instead of a measly two rows of buttons, you can now customize the features that are available so your editing menu can be as unique as the stellar content that you are creating with it.

Twitter Tools
Twitter tools is a great plugin to help you enhance your social media presence. Although recent version updates have made the configuration a little more involved, it is well worth it. It offers the ability to automatically send a Tweet to your followers each time you make a new post to your blog thus helping you kill two birds with one “publish” click. Now rather than creating a new post and then tweeting about it two days later because you got sidetracked right as you finished, the tweet will go our simultaneously allowing your followers quicker access to the brilliance you offer on a regular basis (kind of like this 🙂 ).

All in one SEO Pack
what can I say, it is all about the SEO and the All in One SEO Pack is just what the doctor ordered. This simple plugin allows you to quickly and easily optimize your site for search engines. If offers base functionality to set keywords and descriptions and home page title while adding a new component to your Page/Post editor that will allow you to optimize every page on your site individually. So now whenever you make changes on your site you can just as easily make sure that your page continues to be optimized to enhance your organic SEO. With this in place, you will have a solid base for any SEO strategy.

These are but a few of the thousands of great plugins out there being developed and maintained by the open source community. Wish you could work more efficiently? In all likelihood there is app for that. So stop wishing, and start searching. And although the first things you see may not be the plugins you’re looking for, move along and you will fins what you need.

Awesome! I have a website, now how do I update it?

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

So you are finally online. You have a great new custom designed website but now you want to make some content changes, so what’s next? It can be easy or it can be hard, it is entirely dependent on how your site was developed. Keep in mind I am only talking about content here, changing the design of a site can be much more involved.

If your website was built to be dynamic (your website content is stored in a database and served up as it is requested – usually done using ASP, PHP, Cold Fusion or some other type of interactive programing language coupled with CSS or standard HTML), you may be in luck. Most of the time when web developers put together this type of site, they also usually build a content management system (CMS) as an easy way to input, edit or delete information on your web pages. This is great for you because that usually means that no coding knowledge is required to make simple updates to your website. If you can use a word processor, you will likely be able to update your website. But keep in mind that not all CMS’s are created equal. They can range from a simple web based form that allows you to enter raw HTML to a full on system of forms to handle all aspects of your site (up to and including uploading images and changing menu items). It is important to discuss this with your developer during the construction process to ensure that what is being built has all of the functionality you need for your (or your designees) skill level. This level is usually pretty low (that is why you hired a professional) so you will want to make sure it is as easy as possible to update without the need for the developers help on an ongoing basis. These types of sites are more expensive to build but save you money in the long run if you plan to update the content on your site as often as you should.

If you are like the majority of site owners out there, your site is static (using basic HTML and/or CSS to build everything). In this case it can be a bit more involved to make your changes but fear not, YOU CAN DO IT!

So what do you need to make a go of it? For starters you will need an HTML editor but don’t be afraid, you don’t need to have the fanciest WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, you can get by with little more than your basic text editor (like notepad).

Next you will need a way to download the files from your server so you can edit them and re-upload them when you are done. This sounds complicated but FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is far from it. In many ways it is no different from moving files around on your own computer and the interface is very similar to how things work in Windows Explorer or the Finder (for you Mac people out there). On a budget, no worries, there is a free tool out there just waiting to be downloaded. Filezilla ( is a free download for both Mac and PC and it is very simple to use once you figure it out.

Now that you have your tools, it is time to get to work. The first thing you need is the FTP information for your site. This can usually be found in the control panel for your sites web hosting. What you need are the URL, ID and Password for your hosting. In general your URL will follow this structure (you need to check with your web host to be sure). That along with your ID and PW is generally emailed to you when you set up your hosting initially.

Once you are confident that you have the correct information, the next step is to launch Filezilla (or the FTP client of your choice) and add a new site. By default most FTP sites use port 21 for this protocol so don’t freak out if you see that it is required in your client. After the info is in, click connect and what you will see is kind of a split screen. On the left you will see the files on your local hard drive and on the right you will see the files on your server. You may have to drill down into a “www”, “public” or “” folder to fine the files you are looking for.

So now you are connected to your site, you have found your files, now what? Well, it is all down hill from here. You can simply drag and drop the files you want from the server (the right side of the screen) into the folder you have chosen on your local hard drive (the left site of the screen) and watch the magic happen then rinse and repeat for each file (or if you want to be tricky you can highlight a group and move them all at once).

Once you have your files, it is editing time. Open up your spiffy new HTML editor (or Notepad/Text Edit for those of you on a budget) and find your way to the memorable location where you downloaded your site files. Once you find it, simple open the file you want (you may have to change the files of type to “all files” to ensure everything shows up in the window) and start editing. Now, I know what you are thinking, why oh why did my word processor choose to throw up in this file? Well, that is not all just bits and pieces of undigested parts of speech, that is the code that makes your site a living breathing thing. Embrace it! Roll around in it, but whatever you do, don’t change it (unless of course you have an idea of what you are doing). Just look through or even search it to find the content you want to change and change away. And if you need to make some basic formatting changes there are a number of simple primers available to tech you the basics of bold, italic, line breaks and more (although if you site was done using CSS, you may need to understand what each style does before you decide to make changes).

Once you finish changing your file, it is good to test what you have done before uploading it back to your site. And remember that since you do not have all of the files on your local machine, things may not look exactly right over all but your chief concern to reviewing the changes you have made. If you want to make sure that what you see locally is exactly like your site, you will have to download all of your files (including and scripts, style sheets and graphics) exactly as they are online to ensure that the site will work offline. This is not a guarantee that it will be exact, differences in the ways pages are coded can result in things not looking right offline.

Now you can then go back to your FTP client and reverse the process to upload your files. Make sure you drill down to the proper folder then Drag from the left, drop on the right.

Once your new files are uploaded you can take a look at your handiwork and marvel at your own brilliance! Then email all of your friends and business associates and tell them about the awesome new update to your site.

Whether you are dealing with a custom dynamic site, or a simple home grown static HTML site you should be able to make the changes you need to keep your content fresh. If you are not comfortable making the changes yourself, there are many qualified individuals out there who would be happy to help but it is always good to try so you know how you want to proceed with ongoing changes.