Watch Out for This When Manually Updating Your Theme

I am of the mindset to always upgrade my theme and plugins when a new version is available.  I rationalize this by believing that if everything is of the most recent version the pieces are most likely to work together seamlessly.  In so doing, I tripped myself up. I use Google Analytics to track this website.  To do so involves pasting a snippet of code into the header of each page that enables Google to peek under the hood if you will.  In updating the site I reinstalled my header file and therefore deleted the Google code.  For the past few days my site traffic looks to have flatlined, while I know that this is not so. Another side effect is that I had changed the font color from the stock grey to a darker color to make this blog easier to read.  Alas this change got lost as well.  Luckily I remember that I wrote up how to change this so all I have to do is go through my article archive and follow the instructions. So remember: if you update your theme you may lose modifications that you made to your site.  Probably not terminal to the health of your site, but definitely a bit...

Who do I Trust to Teach me WordPress? Why Me, of Course!

So I have been absent from this blog for some time due to (insert list of excuses here).  Life gets in the way of our interests sometimes, and the important thing is that we get back to doing what we enjoy when we are able.  So I am back, though will certainly not be posting as often as I used to. I wanted to create a new site to blog about a hobby of mine, and could not for the life of me remember how I went about setting this or the other half dozen or so sites I created in the winter up.  So what did I do?  I went to my own How To Do WordPress instructions.  And you know what?  They are damn good with a bunch of good screenshots to help navigate the process.  Setting these things up is really easier than I remember.  Now if I can just keep finding the time to post new...
Using the FileZilla FTP Client With HostGator

Using the FileZilla FTP Client With HostGator

WordPress is great.  99% of what you need to do you can do through the admin dashboard.  But what of the other 1%? Sometimes you will need to access the files on your host directly.  You may have some non-WordPress pages that you need to manipulate, or perhaps want to swap one photo for another without messing with WordPress.  So how do  you do that?  With an FTP client. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol.  It is the de facto standard on the internet for moving files from place A to place B.  You may have actually used it through your Windows Explorer without knowing it. There is a good, free FTP client called FileZilla.  FileZilla is donation supported, so if you use it and like it send them a few bucks as a thank you.  To install FileZilla, first go to its website FileZilla-Project.org. On the homepage, you will see two big grey buttons.  You want to select the first one, Download FileZilla Client.  Click it, and you are taken to a screen that allows you to select your operating system from between Windows, Mac OS and Linux.  Obviously you should pick the one appropriate for your situation. Download and install the program as you would any other program.  When it is set, launch the program. Now that you are in FileZilla, take a moment to look around.  You will need to enter the location with which you want to transfer files, and need to enter that information across the top of the screen.  You will need to enter your Host, Username, Password, and Port.  If you know...
How to Hide Your Site While You are Building It

How to Hide Your Site While You are Building It

So the question comes up every once in a while of how to hide a site while it is under construction.  After all, none of us really want to have people looking at our dirty laundry.  As is so often the case, there is a plugin for that. I wish I could remember where I picked this tip up so that I could give credit where it is due.  There is a plugin called WP Maintenance Mode.  If you need it, I have previously created a guide on how to install WordPress plugins. WP Maintenance Mode quite simply replaces your home screen for some period of time.  By default, it replaces it with this: The plugin allows you to set some variables to customize it for your purposes.  Want to change the message?  Go ahead.  Want to put a timer on it so that it automatically switches off?  Go ahead. This is everything good in a plugin.  It is simple and effective.  What more could you want? Looking to learn how to create your own WordPress blog? Then head over to my step by step instructions on how to do...
Not All WordPress Plugins Appear When Searching Through the WordPress Dashboard

Not All WordPress Plugins Appear When Searching Through the WordPress Dashboard

I was recently directed to a WordPress Plugin named ReplyMe.  This plugin will automatically send an email to somebody who left a comment when somebody else replies to his comment.  However, when I searched for the plugin through the dashboard, it did not come up.  I figured it was a premium plugin and searched for it through Google.  Lo and behold, where did I find it?  In the plugins section of WordPress.org. Since I have already created a guide to installing WordPress plugins through the dashboard I will not rehash that here, but what happens when you want to install a plugin that does not show up in the dashboard search?  You have to install them manually.  Lucky for you, it is not hard to do. For this example I will not be installing the ReplyMe plugin, because it does not come up in the search results.  This method works for plugins regardless of the source though – once you download it to your computer the process is identical regardless of the source.  The difference is just in the front end of searching for the plugin. To begin our manual installation, let us pop over to the WordPress.org plugins page.  To get there you can go to the main site and select the Plugins tab.  When you arrive you will see a screen similar to that pictured below.  Note that I have already entered the name of the plugin that I am searching for. So what if you do not know the name of the plugin that you are searching for?  Not a problem, just type some descriptive phrase...
Add to Plugins to Your Site at Your Own Risk

Add to Plugins to Your Site at Your Own Risk

So here I am, a huge believer in the power of plugins and yet I am warning you about them?  What gives, Nick? I am now using a service to post my content to social media.  Twitter, Facebook, Digg, etc.  It is too exhausing to do it all manually, so I I will write that service up down the road a bit, but for irght now I just want to warn you about what happened to me. After I signed up, Google was reporting my traffic as a flatline zero.  What the heck?  Did I get banned? I also use Google Webmaster Tools.  So I went to investigate what it had to say about my site and, much to my surprise, I found that it said that I was not the registered owner of the site.  Now I get really worried.  Have I been hacked? I zip over to my site and log in.  No problem there.  I am not locked out.  I verify that the site is up and displaying properly.  Again, nothing wrong here.  So I have not been hacked.  What else can it be? If you check out my article on registering for Google Analytics, there is a part about inserting code before the </head> tag.  This snippet of code is how Google Webmaster tools verify that you are the owner.  No code, no ownership.  My code had disappeared. So here’s my theory.  When I installed my social media management plugin, my header got rewritten.  Part of that rewriting deleted the google snippet that was there.  My solution was to paste it back in.  Now everything...

Installing a Firefox add-on to check for broken links

It is no secret that Google is a very powerful tool for internet users, including webmasters.  While I have written an article on how to sign up for Google Analytics (it is up at eZine Articles right now, and as soon as I get my screenshots pasted in I will post it here as well), the article on Google Webmaster Tools is forthcoming.  One of the very useful things that Google Webmaster Tools provides is a list of “crawl errors”. Crawl errors are hiccups that Google ran into while investigating your page.  Most of the time these will be 404 errors, which are links in your site that are broken.  As part of your maintenance program you should be making sure you do not have these.  (Another article that will be coming soon is a guide to what maintenance you should be doing, but that one is further off).  The problem that I ran into with these errors is that while I was able to find some of the broken links, I could not find them all.  So what is a webmaster to do? As is pretty much the case with everything that you and I are trying to do online these days, somebody has gotten there before us.  In this case, there are plugins, or add-ons, for your web browser that can check all of your links for you. So which browser do you use?  I have IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari on my machine.  Generally I use Firefox, but I have the other 3 to verify that my sites are displaying correctly, and sometimes I will run...

Adding an Email Address Through cPanel

I received an email today from a reader who had an excellent question.  She asked how does one add an email address through cPanel.  Easy enough, once you know how. You will generally want at least one email account to use with your WordPress website, assuming you want people to contact you.  You could of course use your primary account, but anything posted on the net is a target for spammers and it is easier to change an dedicated email address than the one you use for your whole life. To add an email through cPanel, begin by logging into your hosting service.  Your cPanel should appear.  (At least it does if you are using HostGator). Once clicked, you will see the following on your screen.  You will, of course, need a name as password.  For the purposes of this example I used the names “example” and “second example”, but you should certainly use something relevant to you.  It is your site after all. Finally you will have to decide how much storage you want this email account to have.  250 MB is the default, and if there is only one email account then do not worry about it.  If you are going to have many accounts, then you will probably want to cut it down.  Click “Create Account” when done. You will get a confirmation bar indicating that you have successfully created your email account. Now that you have created an email account, how to access it.  Look in the list of email accounts below the account creation box.  All the way to the right is a dropdown...

Laptop Dies, Blog Doesn’t Get Updated

Sorry to have disappeared there for a bit!  I have a couple of articles on using Google’s administration tools in the can that should get posted in a few days. My HP laptop’s screen decided that it had enough and quit on me, which makes it damn hard to write posts!  I’ve received my new Toshiba from Tiger Direct and I’m very happy with it so far.  Of course, one day is not enough time to really get to know one’s new system. I had a Toshiba back in school, which I loved.  Until I dropped it and broke the screen.  then I got an HP whose keyboard decided to wear out.  Well, not the whole keyboard.  Only a few letters.  I do not use the “W” very often, but when I need it… My last HP had the screen crap out.  It would come up for a while if I only opened the cover 30 degrees or so, so it was clear that it was not going to be long for this world.  What a disappointment that system was. So I am back with Toshiba, and this time I actually bought the extended warranty as well.  Now I know, these are supposed to be terrible deals.  Normally I never get these, but since my last two laptops have both suffered mechanical failures after 18 months or so I am tired of having to buy a whole new system.  I would rather pay the $100 now than ten times that in a year and a half. It is a Square Trade warranty, which covers up to my purchase price...

Changed the font color because you asked for it

Thanks for the feedback you are sending folks!  Seeing as I have had several people let me know thet the text was too hard to read I have changed the color to be easier on the eyes. I appreciate that you are taking the time to look around my site and welcome your feedback. Over the next week I will be adding instructions on how to add Google Analytics and webmaster tools to your site, so keep on visiting.   How you can change your style sheet’s color (if you are using Elegant Themes Studio Blue) As this site is all about how to do WordPress, I thought that I would share with you how I made the change.  Your theme has some CSS files that control the appearance of everything on the site.   A CSS file is a Cascading Style Sheet, or style sheet for short.  You can find them by navigating on your WordPress dashboard to Appearance –> Editor. Look at the list of files on the right side of the page.  Towards the bottom of the list are the style sheets.  My theme has different color options (I could make the site purple at the click of a button if I so chose), so I have about a half dozen CSS files listed, but I only need to alter the one that I am using (if I switch from green to purple at some point in the future I will lose the change of text color that I made since I am only going to edit the one CSS). Select the CSS that your theme is...

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