How to blog like a pro?

Blogging like a pro is the wish of every blogger. If you are a blogger or you want to start blogging you will definitely want to blog like a pro. Zemanta is the service that lets you blog like a pro by helping you find the related images, articles and videos to your posts.

Zemanta provides browser addons for almost all the browsers out there. All you have to do is just install the addon and goto your blog admin panel (I have tested with WordPress 3.0.2 but it works with all blogging platforms). As soon as you will goto the “Add New Post” i.e post editor of your blog you will find a new panel “Content Recommendations” on the right hand side of the editor.

Using Zemanta is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Below are the steps:

Step 1: Start writing your blog post.

Step 2: Zemanta will find the related content and show them to you in the Content Recommendation box.

Step 3: Add the images, videos, links from Zemanta recommendations to your blog by dragging them or click them.

Zemanta Blogging Steps

Here is how it looked while writing this post.

Zemanta Blog Post

Zemanta will not work with the post editor in HTML mode, you will need to switch to Visual editor to be able to use Zemanta.

Zemanta Visual Editor

What methods you use to find the related content to your post? Do you think Zemanta will help boost the blogging experience for bloggers? Write a comment to let us know your views.

WordPress 3.0.2 is available for download.

WordPress 3.0.2 has been released couple of days ago. The release fixes a security issue and some other bugs.

The security issue in the older versions of wordpress could allow author level users to gain further access on the blog. But even if you don’t have other users on your blog you should upgrade your blog to the latest version.

If your theme does not support the newer versions of wordpress you can hire me or any other wordpress developer to make your theme and plugins compatible with newer version of wordpress. But do not delay the update as you might later regret it and will have to hire someone to not only update your theme but also fixed your hacked blog or in worse case you might even lose all your precious data on your blog.

You can update automatically using the WordPress Dashboard of your blog or you can download the update and then do the manual upload. Once again if you are worried about breaking your blog you can hire me.

P.S I will soon write the step by step howto to update your wordpress installation to the latest version without breaking the blog.

WordPress 3.0 has been released

Finally long awaited version 3.0 of WordPress has been released. This version has got 1,217 bug fixes, so upgrading to WordPress 3.0 is must must. Get ready to upgrade to WordPress 3.0 as this is a major update so you have to prepare for the update before actually trying it on your live site.

Major new features of this upgrades are the new default theme “Twenty Ten“.  Wordpress MU is now part of WordPress, so now you can run off multiple sites from your single WordPress install. One feature that will going to be very useful for WordPress blog administrators is the bulk upgrade of plugins, you can now upgrade all selected plugins with just one click.

You must watch the WordPress 3.0 tour video, specially in HD to catch the Easter eggs (that is what the announcement blog says):

When are you planning to upgrade to WordPress 3.0? Is your theme WordPress 3.0 ready? Are you plugins WordPress 3.0 ready?

WP Super Cache 0.9.9.2 has been released

WP Super Cache 0.9.9.2 has been released, this is the biggest release because it support WordPress 3.0 which will be coming out very soon. So now the users will not have to wait for WP Super Cache to be WordPress 3.0 compatible, it already works with it.

The other major features being added to this release are:

  • Better support for mobile plugins.
  • Cache preloading to cache every post of the blog.
  • Cache tester to test if home page of the blog has been cached.

The only glitch which only affects huge blogs (specially those with more then 32K posts) is that Cache preloading will cache all posts of your blog which means you will hit the file system limits, so if your blog is hosted on ext2 or ext3 file systems (99% chance it is) then you should be careful about this feature. You can read more about the issue at WordPress.org support forum. Read official release announcement here.

Have you tried WP Super Cache 0.9.9.2 yet? Are you going to upgrade to it or will you wait till WordPress 3.0? Let us know.

The iPad Expereince

Once again I have not been able to update my blog for quiet a long time. I had been working on few things which kept me busy during those days. Now the reason of writing this post is actually I am test driving the WordPress App for iPad.

Yes, yes I remember that last time I wrote how an iPad is just a big iPhone. But after using iPad my views have been changed. iPad is not just a big iPhone, at least not for me. Writing this blog justifies having an iPad for bloggers, designers, developers, system admins and business people.

iPad Home Screen

I am planning on jailbreaking my iPad later today, so expect blog posts about jailbreaking experience and hoots over the couple of next days. I also have many cool applications to share for almost every possible use that I can think of.

The only thing that is frustrating is the WiFi bug, but Apple has promised to fix that with the next firmware update. The games are amazing and I have already been addicted to Need For Speed, Fast and Furious, Fifa and Iron Man 2.

As I mentioned I am writing this post to actually test WordPress application for iPad, the applications seems a little buggy. Still haven’t tried the WordPress admin stuff, but I am assuming it should work out of the box.

Wordpress application for iPad

Expect couple of other posts this week about how to jailbreak the iPad. Have you tried the iPad? Do you think it is useful for Bloggers?

How to Add Facebook Like Button to Your WordPress Blog Posts

Facebook recently launched a web wide Like button which allows everyone to add Like buttons on every page of their site. With in hours of launching everyone started adding buttons on their site. The bloggers who use WordPress platform for blogging didn’t stay behind in the race, they also started adding the button on their blog and very soon the button started appearing on thousands of blogs.

Let me tell you how can you add the Facebook Like button on you WordPress Blog with in 5 minutes, without any extra plugin.

Goto the your WordPress theme directory and open the file single.php and add the following code snippet to appropriate position in your file.

<iframe src="http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=<?php echo urlencode(get_permalink($post->ID)); ?>&amp;layout=standard&amp;show_faces=false&amp;width=450&amp;action=like&amp;colorscheme=light" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" style="border:none; overflow:hidden; width:450px; height:60px;"></iframe>

The above code adds an iFrame to your site which displays the Facebook Like button. You can modify the look & feel of the button by changing following parameters in the iFrame URL.

Facebook Like Standard Layout

Layout:

The above example uses the layout “standard” but you can also use the “button_count” layout which will display Like button as follows:
“layout=standard”

Facebook Layout Button Count

Show Face:

If you wish to show the friends who have already liked the page, then use the option “show_face=true”.

Color Scheme:

If you want to use the dark color scheme use the parameter of colorscheme to change the colors. You can use “dark” as follows to use the dark color scheme for your Like button.

“colorscheme=dark”

Facebook Like Dark ColorScheme

Are you using Facebook Like button on your blog? Are you seeing any results? Share your success story with us!

Google has released official Buzz Share Button

Google has release official Buzz share button with share count support. The new button was announced on official Google Blog on 13th April. You can go directly to Buzz Stuff page to configure the button and get the code for your site. If you are a wordpress user you can use my WPBuzzer plugin to add official Google Share button to your blog. Official Google Share button allows you to configure many different aspects of your button which includes:

  1. Show or not show count.
  2. Button size.
  3. Button type.
  4. Button language.

The WPBuzzer plugin also allows you to configure most of the options via your plugin settings page. You can see the plugin and button in action on this blog. And don’t forget to share this post on Google Buzz to actually see the button working 🙂

How to track adsense clicks on your wordpress blog

Stats, stats, stats!!! Every blogger love their stats, specially if the graph is moving up. You might already be using Google Analytics to track visitors on your blog. From where they are coming, what articles they are reading. But won’t it be great if you knew what user clicked on adsense ad? On what page a visitor clicked on adsense ad? How they came to your site? With the tracking information in front of you, you can optimize your web site for your visitors to increase conversions. I won’t be teaching Analytics here in detail, but if you have any issues or don’t understand anything you should ask.

To better integrate Google Analytics with your wordpress blog, I would recommend you use a plugin because adding tracking manually in your template is prone to errors and you might mess up your theme. I personally use Google Analytics for WordPress and you can get it from here.

Once you have installed Google Analytics for WordPress, goto Google Analytics configuration page and enable “Track Adsense clicks“.

Enable adsense click in Analytics plugin

Save your settings and then login to your Google Analytics. We will be creating new Goal on Google Analytics, if you are wondering what is a Goal? it lets you track conversion rate. You can evaluate your traffic in terms of money and much more. When you are logged into your Google Analytics account, goto your Website Profiles and click Edit in front of your website profile.

Edit analytics profile

Now you are on Profile Settings page and you should now be seeing a section Goals. By default there are 4 sets of Goals available for every profile and you can add upto 5 Goals in every set.

Analytics Profile Settings Goal

Click on “Add goal” to add new Goal. Once you are on Goal Setting page to add new Goal. Enter your Goal Name we will use “Adsense Clicks” for this example and select URL Destination as Goal Type.

Goal Add Settings

As soon as you will select URL Destination as your Goal Type, the Goal Details panel will be shown. Enter “/outbound/asclick” as the Goal URL, you can also enter your optional Goal Value.

Analytics Goal Details

Click Save Goal and you will see the new Goal listed under Goals on your Profile settings.

New goal  adsense click listed

From now on Google analytics will track your adsense clicks. You can track your conversion rates under Goals while viewing reports of your site.

This is how I have setup my adsense tracking, do you have suggestions to improve it? Do you know how else can those adsense clicks can be tracked?

Disable wordpress post revisions

WordPress being most popular blogging platform has been used by hundreds of thousands of bloggers. As we all know that WordPress is an Open Source software that is in continuous development. With every release numerous new features are added to the platform. Not every new feature is suitable for everyone and this is what is good about WordPress. You can disable most if not all of the functionalities or features that does not suite you.

Post revisions is a feature that was added in WordPress with version 2.6, it is useful for most of the bloggers. But suppose you have thousands of posts and you are hard core fan of WordPress Post Editor so you only use it to edit posts. WordPress saves copy of your posts while you edit them, by default its every 60 seconds. So suppose you create a new post and it took you 15 minutes to write it, there will be 15 revisions of the same post in your WordPress database. By the time you reach 1000 posts the number of revisions will be 15000. Though revisions may be useful for some cases but not for everyone. WordPress saves a revision of every post when ever you will make changes to it while in Drafts or after publishing.

Few drawbacks of Post Revisions are:

  • Wastes space
  • Makes db slower
  • Makes editing slower

I am sure there will be more drawback. But for me it is enough that if I am not using or do not want a feature I can disable it. I am sure you will want to disable it too until there is an absolute need for it.

Lets see how we can disable the post revisions. After installing WordPress open your wp-config.php in your favorite text editor and add the following line:
define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', false );

In case if you do not want to disable it but want to limit the number of post revisions you can change false to number of revisions you want to allow, e.g:
define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', 5);

Save the file and you are done.

Do you use post revisions? Do you know any other drawbacks of using post revisions?

Secure wordpress by changing default administrator username

Securing wordpress installation is the first thing that I do after installing wordpress. There are many security measures I take but changing default administrator username is the very basic and important security measure that people often forget about. Here I am listing down the steps that are required to change the username.

  1. Goto Users->Authors & Users to verify that you or your partner (if you have one) haven’t already change the default admin username. You should see admin listed under the Username.
  2. Users Panel

    Default admin username

  3. Now to change the username “admin” we have to run a MySQL query. There are two ways to do it. You can use PhpMyAdmin or login directly to your MySQL server and do it. Below I have listed both ways.

Change admin username using phpMyAdmin

The easiest way is to use phpMyAdmin. Follow the steps below to change username using phpMyAdmin.

  1. Login to your phpMyAdmin and select your wordpress database.
  2. Select wordpress database

  3. Then click on the wp_users table under the tables list.
  4. Select wordpress users table

  5. Click the pencil icon just before admin username.
  6. Click pencil icon with admin username record

  7. Change admin entry under user_login to your desired admin username.
  8. Change default admin under user_login field
    Before
    The changed admin field
    After
  9. Click the “Go” button. Thats it. You are done, now you can login with your new admin username

Change the admin username directly from MySQL shell.

  1. conntect to your MySQL server using mysql client.
  2. select your db by issue following command.
  3. USE <database_name>;

  4. Use the following query to change the default admin username to your desired username. In this case we will change it to “thewordpressguy
  5. UPDATE wp_users SET user_login='admin' WHERE ID=1;

  6. Thats it. You are done. Now you can login to your wordpress admin with your new admin username.

This was the first step that I take when I install wordpress. What is your first step after installing wordpress?