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How To

How on earth do you create a WordPress plugin?

Have you ever wanted to create a WordPress plugin?

Creating WordPress plugins is hot and has been for years now. The trend in plugin creation also shows no signs of waning.

Why are plugins so hot?

Because usually, if they are made well and designed with thought and a dash of love they solve a problem. They make life easier for us mere mortals that couldn’t live without the code geeks add ons.

Creating free plugins gives you credibility and enhances your reputation in the WordPress community. Add to that a dash of link love as well.

Creating premium plugins gives you the same as the free plugins but also offsets the expense of creation, development and support.

So how on earth do you create a plugin?

That was the question the team at Foo Plugins asked themselves this week when they wanted to teach a member of staff, Matt,  how to make a plugin.   You can follow along on both the Foo Plugins website and see how they teach Matt.   Then you can switch over to Matt’s blog and see how he is going with the process.     They’ve given this plugin creation project the cute name of  Foo Camp 

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

It’s free to follow along with this project and I’m sure you will learn something just by watching over the shoulders of  team Foo and Matt.   It will be interesting to see what Matt comes up and what struggles he encounters along the way.

I’m ready to grab my popcorn and notebook and join in!

Categories
How To

Export Google Reader Feeds

As most people know Google Reader is no longer being supported from 1 July, 2000.

I’ve used  Reader for years now and have over 100 subscriptions that I regularly check on my iphone.

Now I have to find a new Reader 🙁     Luckily, there are heaps to choose from!

In the meantime, it is important to export your feeds so you can import them into a new Reader.    Luckily, this is a task that can be done in minutes.

First of all you need to login to your Reader account.   Click the cog on the right hand side of the menu and go to Reader Settings.

reader-settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once in Reader Settings click on the Import/Export tab

export google reader file

 

 

 

 

 

Once in the Import/Export tab click the link to download your data through Takeout

download google reader data

 

 

 

 

 

Your takeout screen will now load up. Click on the tab labelled “Choose Services” and be patient while it loads up your data. Once it is loaded up click on the “create archive” button.

archive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the archive has been created you can either download it or email it to yourself.

downlaod

Unless you have a massive collection of feeds the process of exporting your Google Reader feeds takes less than five minutes. Once you have downloaded your archive you will have .xml file that you can use to import to a new feed reader.

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How To

Make Your Own WP Magazine – Using A Free WP Magazine Plugin

Ever wanted to have an online magazine?   If you have, you are in luck!  Now you can create an online magazine for your niche using a free magazine plugin and theme package from the folks at Issue M.

wordpress magazine plugin

Like most plugins Issue M was created to solve a problem for the users and was then made available to the general public.   The creators of Issue M were looking for a way to publish their Dartmouth College Engineering magazine online. The magazine had traditionally been published with an “issue based production cycle”. They wanted to keep this format, but transport it to the online world by being able to “load up all their stories and publish each issue with one click”. The advantages of getting email subscribers, search engine traffic as well as social media coverage was part of the reason they combined their problem into a WordPress solution.

There are a number of advantages to using WordPress as a magazine platform as set out in this article.

What I like about Issue M (as well as being free) is that it is super simple and intuitive to use.

You simply create the Issue of your Magazine in the dashboard of  WordPress and then add articles to each issue.   Easy peasy.

This short video shows just how simple it is to set up:

The magazine plugin has a number of in built features including:

  • the ability to publish your articles as a slideshow,
  • a cover issue widget quickly shows the user what issue they are browsing
  • an archive widget allows people to easily find and browse previous issues; and
  • an article teaser widget

 

The team at Issue M have released this package for free for use by the WordPress community. It is available either at their site or through the repository. It would appear that in the future to monetize the software they have created and that they will develop additional add ons for purchase.   Out of the box, it’s a quick, elegant and free solution to get started as an online magazine publisher for your niche.

Categories
How To

Include Selected Pages in RSS Feed

Often you might want to include pages that are updated in your RSS feed. You might have a testimonials page, services page or portfolio that is constantly updated for your visitors.

Most feeds generated for WordPress are for posts.   This is great if you have a blog that is constantly updated but it’s not good for those that have a blog and a static site or a static site that is updated.

The good news is that you can also include pages in your feed by using the RSS Include Pages Plugin.

I’ve long been a fan of this free plugin from the repository but it has one problem 🙂 It includes ALL pages.  Most webmasters would have no need for our contact page for example to be included in a feed. The contact page doesn’t change and is static in function so it would not be of interest to our regular rss readers to access rss content on their favorite feed reader.

There must be a way to include only SPECIFIC pages in the RSS feed. One way that I’ve done this (without any code hacking or geekiness)  is by installing the Stealth Publish plugin in addition to the Include Pages plugin.    The Stealth Publish plugin allows me to simply go to each page or post that I do not want included in the rss feed and stealth publish them.    This simply means that they are published but hidden from the feed.    Pretty cool huh?

You can see how easy it is to do this for yourself in the short video below (less than 5 minutes).

[youtube]http://youtu.be/FFO_z5z5rvU[/youtube]

Categories
How To

Multiple Themes on One WordPress Installation

Years ago I wrote a post on using different themes on different pages. That post is now out of date because nowadays we can have different themes on different posts/pages and core pages like Category/Archive and Home.

Multiple Themes WordPress Plugin

The reason that we have more control over our sites is because of the new multiple themes WordPress plugin.

Why would you want a different theme on a page/post?

You might like to have your home page as:

  • a sales page
  • lead generation form
  • squeeze page
  • shop front

You might use a specific theme like Optimize Press for those pages. On other areas of your site you might apply multiple themes to incorporate a blog, a magazine, forum, jobs board or a store and want a similar but different look for those areas.

You can quickly and easily have multiple themes on different areas of your site just by using a free multiple themes plugin available from the WordPress repository.  You can search for the plugin via your WordPress dashboard and activate it in the usual way.

Once you have activated the plugin (or before if you prefer) upload all the themes that you wish to use throughout your site.    Unless all the themes are uploaded you will not be able to use the plugin.

Have a quick  video (less than 5 minutes) showing you  how simple the multiple themes plugin  is to use:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/Qza38SyUSxE[/youtube]

Categories
How To

How to attract foreign visitors to your site

If you have a website that attracts a global array of visitors then you’ll probably want to know how you can optimize your site to attract more of those visitors.

Why would you want foreign visitors?

how to do foreign seoWe live in a global world 🙂 A lot of visitors to our sites may not speak English as a first or second language but they may be part of our target market. Having your content in a language that your visitors can easily understand improves your chances of converting them to returning visitors or customers.

Can you SEO your site for foreign visitors?

Short answer – yes. I’m going to step you through the process of foreign seo further on in this tutorial. Relax – it won’t cost you a penny and it won’t take too much of your time up. This free method is low cost on time and money. However, what I would suggest is once you have tried out the system, tracked your results and where your visitors are coming from that you invest in some quality translated articles for your site.

There are four steps to optimizing our sites for foreign visitors.

Now before you run away and think I’m going to install a translation widget and that’s it, let me say that there is a lot more to it than that. You need to read the whole tutorial though to “get” what we are going to do.

Step 1

Head on over to the WordPress repository and download the free WordPress plugin called Transposh. Install and activate the plugin on your site.
The advantage of Transposh is three fold a) it is free b) it translates words on a page to another language and c) it redirects the visitor to a specific language page set up for them.

You MAY also want to install the SEO Search Terms Tagging 2 plugin. This plugin records what visitors are typing into the search engines to find your site. You can then use this data to create content specific to that search term and translate the content for your foreign visitors. However, I would use this plugin with caution. A lot of users have experienced fluctuations in the SERPS as a result of using it (either up or sadly down). We would only ever  use this plugin to see the data in our WordPress dashboard and not use it as part of our theme.

Step 2

Now that we have our plugin/s installed it’s time to identify which countries/languages we wish to target. Initially, you probably don’t want to make too much work for yourself so I’d select a few common languages that are spoken in a number of countries for example; Spanish, German and French.

Transposh comes with a widget that you can use in your theme. The plugin developer also has provided a number of ways that you can show visitors what languages you can translate your content into. You can choose an image selection of flags, flags and text or a dropdown menu. Make your choice and move the widget to a widgetized area on your theme.

Step 3

Grab your list of keywords that you are targeting on your website and head on over to the Google Translation tool. Translate each of your keywords into your chosen language eg “remove pimples” into say German.

Now pop on over to the Google Keyword Tool. We’ll be setting the country of search to Germany (or any other country that has a high proportion of  German speaking residents) and gathering data for each of our translated keywords. Google will also “suggest” a number of keywords to us that are related to our search term. Of course, the suggestions will be in the translated language. Unless you are a native speaker you will need to pop on over to the translation page and translate each term into English so you know that the keyword is relevant to your website and can be used. By now, you should have found at least 3-5 keywords that when translated have good search terms, low competition and are relevant to your website.

Step 4

Now we are going to start optimizing our pages for the language that you selected. I’ve selected German. I suggest you start with one language at a time and with a small group of keywords. Then you can test your results and add more foreign keywords and languages over time to suit your target market.

Go to your WordPress dashboard and the Transposh settings. You need to check the box as Administrator to do the following work.

For those that prefer video here is a quick overview of what we are doing:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/38ob7-ARn9I[/youtube]

Taking your list of keywords find a post/page on your site that is relevant to one of your translated keywords. When you locate that page click your transposh widget to the relevant language eg German. This will translate the language for you. You will also notice that under your widget you will see a box, tick that box which will allow you to make live edits of the page wherever the yellow markers are.

The yellow markers highlight the text in blocks available for translation. You will see that you can view the original English text and under it the translated version. Now all you need to do is locate the translated keyword you wish to replace in the article based on your keyword research. You do not need to replace any other translated content – just the keyword you want to rank for.

Like all foreign language seo tactics the trick is to be relevant and not keyword stuff. I’d suggest that you also use a few words for LSI or related words and only use the translated keyword in a few places (depending on the size of the article). Remember, do not over do the keyword placement!

Click save and you are done

Finally

So far we’ve translated and researched one language on our site.  I would suggest that over time you gradually translate and research other foreign languages until at least you have the most popular languages targeted on your site for all round foreign seo.

If you installed the Search Tagging plugin you should notice that in the next few days you will start to see the search terms people are using when visiting your site. This will give you ideas for new content to create and new languages to incorporate.

If you didn’t install the plugin – no problems.   You can still find out what are the most popular countries visiting your blog and what search phrases they are using to find you by using Google Analytics (or if you are g paranoid then awstats in your cpanel)

awstats lists popular foreign seo terms

Simply login to cpanel and go to the section that shows statistics.   Choose awstats from the available selection.    On the left hand side  under the heading “Who”  you can select a full list of  countries visiting your site.    Start optimizing your site for the most popular foreign countries that you are already receiving visitors from.

If you look further down the menu you will also see that you can view the keywords and key phrases people are using to find your site. Look for the foreign search terms, translate them and assess whether the term could be added to some of your existing content or if you should create a new post optimized for this term.   If  you are finding one country/language particularly popular on your site you may want to set up a directory of content translated into that particular language eg wpqueen.com/de (for the German version of the site) or even start a foreign site for that language eg WordPress Königin.com (the German translation – I hope) of WordPress Queen.

Image courtesy of  Pixabay.

Categories
How To

3 Tips to Improve WordPress Website Security

Most WordPress users are already aware WordPress sites are being heavily targeted by hackers. Hackers are targeting the wp-login.php page in particular and sites that have a username of “admin”

Don’t panic – here’s what to do

wordpress website security

Tip 1

If you haven’t done so already it’s time to install the Limit Login Attempts plugin. This is a free but powerful plugin from the WordPress repository. It limits the number of times that a user can try and login to your site. Remember, these hackers are bots that are trying a number of combinations of passwords with the username of “admin”. Chances are they’ll need more than a few tries to get in. By using this plugin you are reducing the risk of them being successful.

Tip 2

Next, change your username if it is “admin” or something super simple and easily guessed. You can change your username in two ways:

Method 1

Go to your dashboard, Users and add a new user (with a strong username) and Administrator rights. Delete the old “admin” user.

You may find that you are unable to delete a user because it was the original user name assigned when WordPress was installed. We can still change the username though and to do this we need to login to our Cpanel.

Method 2

The steps to change your username via your cpanel are below.  Or, if you prefer to watch, the short video below will guide you through the steps.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/4a2GwSWUn-8[/youtube]

1) Go to your Cpanel and scroll down until you find the icon that says PHP My Admin and click that icon.

2) You will then be taken to a screen showing your databases. You need to locate the database that is relevant for this website. If you have a lot of sites installed (or a lot of databases on that server) you may find the list long.

3) Once you have located the database you need to click the relevant database. You will then be taken to a screen that lists all of the tables on your site.

Scroll down until you find the table that is named “wp_users” and click the Edit link.

4) You will then find that you can edit the name of the “wp-login” name to another name. Simply delete “admin” and insert a more difficult name. Click the Go button when you have finished.

Congratulations you’re done!

It is  recommended that you have a strong password if you don’t already have one in place. Try and use a password generator which is often included with password management software like Roboform  to create a password at least 14-22 characters long (comprising symbols as well as numbers and letters).

Should you find that these tips have come too late and you have been hacked then I thoroughly recommend that you call in the experts. This service has saved my bacon a number of times. Even when I’ve spent hours cleaning up a hacked website Sucuri have come and cleaned and found even more things that I didn’t find!

Tip 3

Sucuri also have a new service that is available only for Sucuri users. It is called Cloud Proxy and is an additional firewall level of security for your website. It’s certainly worth considering for any website that would cause you tears if it was hacked 🙂 There’s a small monthly fee for this additional protection.  In my opinion, it is  a worthwhile WordPress website security expense.