Photo Dropper is a WordPress plugin that makes it easy for you to search Flickr for photos with Creative Commons License and insert appropriate images into your blog. Information about the plugin can be found at: http://wordpress.org/plugins/photo-dropper/
Installing the Plugin
You can install the plugin by logging into your WordPress control panel and click on “Plugins -> Add New” on the left menu.
On the next screen, search for Photo Dropper. When you find it, click “Install Now”:
You will be asked for your FTP information in order to perform the installation.
Once you click “Proceed’, you’ll see a screen that indicates your plugin installation has become:
When the installation is complete, click “Activate Plugin”:
Now your plugin is ready to use.
Using Photo Dropper
Now you can create a new post and use Photo Dropper. When you create a new post, you can see the Photo Dropper icon as one of your options at the top of the post.
Click the icon to search for images. In our example, we are searching for “red rose” and get the following results:
You can choose the image that you’d like, choose small (S), medium (M) or large (L) size and it will insert the appropriate attribution into your blog post.
Warning: Confirm Licensing Details
While ongoing use of Photo Dropper seems to indicate it’s pretty accurate in using appropriate images for commercial websites, you should always confirm the license allows you to use the photo for your website. You can see the image information by clicking the arrow icon in the bottom left before you add the image:
This brings you to the image page and you can find the license information on the right menu:
Click the “Some rights reserved” and you’ll see the details about using the image. Make sure to read them completely.
GD Star Ratings is a very sophisticated plugin that allows you to assign ratings and votes to posts, comments and more. This guide will take you through installing the plugin, setting it up and using it.
In your WordPress admin panel, click on “Plugins -> Add New”.
Next, you can search for “GD Star Ratings” in the search box.
Once you find it, click “Install Now”
You will be asked if you’re sure you want to install it. Click “OK”.
Now you need to enter information about your website including your hostname, FTP username and password. Your hostname is usually your domain name. In most cases, you’ll will have an FTP connection. Click “Proceed” when you’re done.
Once you see the message that says you successfully installed the plugin, click “Activate Plugin”.
When your plugin is activated, you’ll see a “Settings” option. Click it.
The settings are actually quite complex and you may not need to use all of them. Below, you can see what the settings menu looks like. We’ll go over each section briefly.
If you look through the features menu, you’ll see some quite technical settings. If you’re not sure what something is, you can certainly leave everything at the default settings. As you get to know the plugin, you can start tweak things.
Some settings you can control here include putting a time limit on adding ratings, moderation options, rating of comments, etc.
Security allows you to adjust settings for banning IPs, user level permissions and more.
This tab gives you access to settings for caching, trend calculations, importing and exporting data.
Some of the settings on this tab are controlling how users can rate, widgets and more.
This tab lets you control rating settings for articles. You can control the look of the ratings (there are different color and holiday themes), positioning, control who can vote (you can set it so only users can vote) and more.
This tab lets you control the same rating settings as in the Articles tab, but these settings are for comments.
Multis are multiple ratings for the same article / product. For example, you can set up ratings for price, value, performance, etc. In this tab, you can control most of the same rating settings as in the Articles and Comments tab.
This tab allows you to control the settings for voting on articles. You can determine which posts can be voted on, how the votes look and where they appear.
This tab allows you to control the settings for voting on comments. You can determine which comments can be voted, how the votes look and where they appear.
This tab controls snippets, RSS features and more.
Add New Post
To get started, go to the Posts menu on the far left side. Click “Add New”.
How to Set Up Multi Sets
The multis feature is likely to be very important to a review site, so let’s make sure we get that set up. You can find the setting for this in the menu of your WordPress admin.
Now click “Add New Multi Rating Set”.
Enter the details for your multi set. You can give it a name, description, determine the number of stars use and decide how the multis will appear.
Then you can add your elements and decide if some will have more weight than others for the overall game rating.
Click “Save Multi Set” when you’re done. Now you’re ready to use your multi-set on your first review post.
Make a Post
In the left menu of WordPress Admin, find the “Posts” menu and click “Add New”.
Enter your post as you would normally. At the bottom of the page, you can see your multis options and can select your set from the drop down menu.
Now when your users or visitors see the post, they can cast their vote, depending on the settings you have chosen.
Then on the right side of your post editing menu, you can see some controls that all you to determine who can rate on the post.
As you can see, this is a very powerful review plugin, even if it seems over-complicated at first. Through continued use of the plugin, it’s wide variety of features and customizations will become more and more useful.
One of the best things about WordPress is its nearly limitless ability to expand. Whether you’re looking to add images, security, RSS feeds, social media integration or any number of other features, you can do so through plugins.
Installing a plugin takes less than 2 minutes and is completely reversible. That allows you to easily play around with all the different things your website can do while being able to undo any changes you don’t like with the click of a button.
If you’re serious about blogging, you’ll need to have a serious arsenal of plugins. These plugins will allow you to do all the things you need to do to create a truly spectacular browsing experience on your site. It’ll allow you to save time through automation and make your website shine.
Here are ten of the must have plugins that every serious blogger should have.
Though Askimet comes pre-installed with every WordPress configuration, newbies often make the mistake of not activating it.
Askimet is the #1 anti-spam tool on WordPress. Activating it is pretty simple; all you need to do is register on their site to get your own API key. Enter the key into the plugin on your site and you’re good to go. Askimet will filter out 99% of the spam your blog will receive, drastically cutting down the time needed to review comments.
One thing new bloggers often neglect is adding a favicon. The favicon is the little icon in the browser bar, next to the title tag. Having your own favicon adds just that little flare that makes your blog look more professional, more stellar.
Creating a favicon in Photoshop, GIMP or any other image editing program is relatively simple. However, WordPress doesn’t inherently have the ability to add your favicon. So, you’ll need a plugin like All in One Favicon to do the job.
WordPress out of the box is actually quite poorly configured for SEO. The page title comes after the site name, which is terrible for keywords. Archive and category pages contain a lot of duplicate content. Some links aren’t formatted the same way (some have www, some have http://, others don’t.) Configuring all of WordPress to be SEO-friendly requires doing quite a few different things. Fortunately, plugins like All in One SEO will do most of the work for you. You’ll still have to do a few things, like internal linking, yourself. That said however, you can eliminate the vast majority of the on-page SEO work by getting a good SEO plugin.
By default, WordPress does have an RSS feed feature, but it may not be properly configured. Also, you won’t be able to track any statistics on your feeds. If you want to create an RSS feed that can be tracked, you’ll probably want to use Feedburner. Installing a Feedburner feed is simple with WordPress: Just signup for Feedburner, then install the plugin on your blog.
In order for Google Analytics to work, you need to have the Google Analytics code on every page and every post on your website. By default, WordPress doesn’t have this option. You can’t just add a snippet of code to every page on your site. You could do it by editing your templates, but that’s time consuming, difficult to change and even potentially dangerous. Instead, you can simply install a plugin like “Simple Google Analytics.” Just plugin your Google Analytics ID and you’re done.
If you like to add photos to your posts, you’ll love PhotoDropper. PhotoDropper allows you to browse a database of Creative Commons photographs and easily add them to your site, along with attributions, all in one click. Gone are the days when you have to browse stock photo sites or scour the internet for free license images. Now you can just pick the images you want from one easy to use gallery and it’ll automatically be dropped into your post.
Add Link to Facebook is an easy to use plugin that allows you to integrate Facebook with your WordPress site. Don’t let the name fool you. It does a whole lot more than just let you add links. You can add like button, share buttons, comments and a whole lot more. With today’s massive social media trend, if you’re not on Facebook, you’re seriously missing out.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) is ironically named, as the plugin is actually the highest rated related post plugin on WordPress. If you’re looking for a plugin that’ll allow you to cross-link your site quickly and in a visually pleasing manner, look no further. This plugin is simple to install and simple to use, but adds a ton of functionality and creates a link box that looks great.
WordPress security is something that isn’t discussed often enough. It’s extremely common for WordPress sites to get hacked. It’s not that WordPress isn’t secure, it’s just that WordPress depends on so many outside factors – Plugins, themes, servers, databases – That securing the whole package is extremely difficult. Better WP Security can handle a lot of this for you. It’ll help you secure your database, your PHP files, your .htaccess files and more. It’s not a bulletproof security package, but if you don’t have any security installed this package will be a vast improvement.
There you have it. If you’re serious about blogging, you absolutely must have these ten plugins. You’ll rank better, your content will go more viral, your site will be more secure and your blog will look better.
Don’t want awkward or long links on your website? Using affiliate links and don’t want a dozen strange characters in the URL? Pretty Link Pro allows you to get around the issue. The plugin can be purchased and downloaded at: http://prettylinkpro.com/
Pretty Link Pro lets you change any link to a short and simple link, hosted on your site as a redirect. You can track how many hits go through the redirect, choose the redirect type and even rotate random pages through the URL. You can even have certain keywords you include in your blog posts automatically become links of your choosing and this is where it becomes a very handy monetization tool.
Step 1: Click Add a Pretty Link
Start by clicking “Add a Pretty Link.”
Step 2: Enter Your Target URL
Copy and paste the URL you want your link to go to into the “Target URL” box.
Step 3: Choose Your Pretty Link
By default, Pretty Link will generate a random snippet of text for your link. You can easily change it by deleting the text and writing your own.
Step 4: Write a Title and Description
Enter a title and description for this link.
Step 5: Select a Group
Choose a group for your link. You can add groups by clicking “Groups” on the left, in the “Settings” tab.
Groups allow you to easily select whole batches of links at once. This is useful for creating reports, as well as just for organization in general.
Step 6: Choose a Redirect Type
Choose what type of redirect you want Pretty Link Pro to use.
Here’s what each of these types means:
307 Temporary: This tells search engines that the redirect is temporary and the old page should still keep its listings.
301 Permanent: This tells search engines that the new Pretty Link is permanent and that it should index the new link.
Pretty Bar: Puts the page after the link in an iFrame, so that your users see a bar on top of their browser that can quickly take them back to your site.
Cloaked: Makes it so that users see your Pretty Link in the URL bar even after they land on the target page.
Pixel: For users who want to use Pretty Link as a pixel tracker, rather than an actual redirect.
Step 7: Set Parameter Forwarding (Optional)
If you’re using additional tracking options in your URLs (i.e. keyword IDs, Clickbank IDs, etc) and you want to make sure those trackers are preserved, then enable parameter forwarding.
Step 8: Enable Keyword or Link Replacements (Optional)
If you want Pretty Link Pro to automatically go through your blog and replace words and/or links with the new pretty links, do so by specifying it here.
Step 9: Rotate URLs
If you want Pretty Link Pro to randomly send people to different URLs instead of just one URL, enter those URLs here.
The weight factor is basically what percentage chance someone has of landing on that URL.
Step 10: Split Testing (Optional)
If you want to use Pretty Link Pro as a split tester, then click the checkbox to enable it.
Make sure you have rotations setup in the previous box, each with a different landing page with different variables.
In the Goal link, select the URL of your “Thank You” page. Pretty Link Pro will track the number of clicks each version of the site gets, along with how many conversions they got and report back.
Step 11: Go to Reports
To see how your links are performing, go to the Reports tab.
Step 12: Set Up the Report
Click on “Add a Pretty Link Report” to add your first report.
First, give it a name. This is only visible to you and is primarily so you can identify which report is which. Then select which links you want to track in the reports. If you want to track conversions, make sure you also select your Goal (i.e. “Thank You” page) links. Once you’ve created your report, click “View” to see the report.
Step 13: Reading the Report
In the report, you’ll see the Hits, Uniques, Conversions and Conversion Rate displayed in a table.
You’ll also see all your data displayed in a graph. Hover your mouse over any bar graph to get the exact numbers.
Congratulations! You’ve now learned how to setup a Pretty Link, configure it and view its reports. You can use Pretty Link Pro for anything from split testing to link cloaking to just good old fashioned link tracking.
Facebook comments for WordPress allows you to put a Facebook comment box and a Facebook like box directly on your blog. Setting it up involves creating an app developer account, which can seem a little daunting at first, but really isn’t all that complicated.
Here’s how to setup Facebook Comments for WordPress.
Step 1: Install and Activate the Plugin
Search for the plugin under “Add New” in the “Plugins” tab. Install the plugin.
Activate the plugin.
Step 2: Creating a Facebook Developer Account
Click on “set your application ID and secret now” in the link that appears after activating the plugin.
Click on “Create a Facebook App.”
You’ll be prompted by Facebook to allow it to access your account. Click “Allow.”
Step 3: Creating a New App
Once signed into Facebook Developer, click “Create New App.”
Give your app a name. The public won’t actually see this, so it doesn’t matter all that much.
Click on “Web” in the left hand side navigation.
Enter the URL of the website you want your Facebook comments to show up on.
Upon hitting save changes, your Application ID and Application Secret will be displayed. Copy these.
Step 4: Entering Your Application ID
Go back into the settings for Facebook Comments. Paste your Application ID and Application Secret into their appropriate fields.
If you hit “Update” now, Facebook Comments for WordPress will go live.
Here are a few more important things to set before finishing up the installation.
Step 5: Basic Settings
Setup your basic settings, such as whether you want to display comments on blog posts (as opposed to just “Like,”) whether you want to count WordPress comments and Facebook comments together and such.
Step 6: Like Button Settings
Setup how the “Like” button on your site should look.
Step 7: Comments Box Settings
Under “Comments Box Settings” there are a few more settings you can set, such as how long the box is and whether to show only on pages, posts or both.
Once you’ve setup everything the way you want it, click “Update” and check your website to see how it looks. Congratulations! You’ve setup Facebook Comments for WordPress, which allows you to “Like” and “Comment” with Facebook’s system integrated into your blog.
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