Falling Snow on Your WordPress Blog

Each year around this time you can have some pretty realistic-looking snowfall on your WordPress.com site – like you see here on Business Blogging 101. All you need to do is the following:

In the Dashboard, under Appearance, click on Extras and check the box next to “Show falling snow on my blog. (Only until January 4th 2009.)” Don’t forget to click the “Update Extras” button.

If you want falling snow on a self-hosted WordPress site, check out this post or visit the plugin page where Aen Tan has updated his Falling Snow WordPress plugin. Thanks, Aen!

Happy Holidays!

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WordPress Security: The Simplest Way to Improve Security on Your WordPress Website or Blog

Recently there was a big security scare for WordPress users. A “worm” (a form of automated malicious software) was traveling around the Internet trying to break into unsuspecting WordPress users’ sites. Even high-profile bloggers like Robert Scoble were caught without adequate file and database backups in place. Scoble lost a bunch of posts, and said he felt less certain of WordPress as a result.

You can read the full post over on the McBuzz.com website: WordPress Security: Create a New User and Delete the Default “admin” Account

More General Questions About WordPress? Ask Them Here

[Click here to ask a general question about WordPress]

(you will be taken to the mcbuzz.com website)

Or add your question to the comments on a specific post.

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The first installment of Business Blogging 101’s Answers to General Questions About WordPress has gotten rather long – 65+ entries and counting, including questions and replies – so here’s another post for Questions About WordPress. Keep ’em coming!

Can You Have Quotation Marks and Apostrophes (Single Quotes) in Your Permalink URL?

Can quotation marks (double quotes and single quotes) and apostrophes be included in your WordPress permalink URLs? I am not an authority on this, but I found a case recently where an apostrophe from a post title was being included in the permalink and it was causing the permalink to produce a “Page Not Found” 404 error. Removing the apostrophe from the permalink fixed the problem.

By the way, if you are looking for a solution to the problem of multiplying apostrophes and quotes in your WordPress posts, click here: How to Fix WordPress Multiple Apostrophe.

The example looked something like this. This is not the actual URL and title, but it did include “Montezuma’s Revenge”. Maybe that’s what the server found offensive! 😉

http://www.example.com/2009/blah-blah-montezuma’s-revenge-blah-blah/

The title of the post was “Blah Blah Montezuma’s Revenge Blah Blah” (without the double quotes).

As you probably know, you can put apostrophes and quote marks in post and page titles, but if your site is hosted on WordPress.com, those will be removed when WordPress creates the permalink URL. [UPDATE: No. Double quotes will not necessarily be removed, as you can see from the URL for a recent post on WordPress Security.]

The problem with an apostrophe in a URL happened on a self-hosted WordPress installation, and, as a matter of fact, it is installed on a Windows IIS server, rather than the usual Linux/Unix Apache server.

I’m not an expert at server issues, but I do know that sometimes things like this happen with WordPress only on Windows servers. For instance, when you enable permalinks on Windows, sometimes the URLs will include “index.php” – like http://www.example.com/index.php/2009/blah-blah-montezuma’s-revenge-blah-blah/ when this normally never shows up in a URL.

At any rate, when I used the Permalink Edit button (under the post/page title window in the WordPress Editor) to remove the apostrophe, the problem went away. The permalink URL now looks like: http://www.example.com/2009/blah-blah-montezumas-revenge-blah-blah/

Oddly enough, I can now get to the page from both URLs
http://www.example.com/2009/blah-blah-montezumas-revenge-blah-blah/
and
http://www.example.com/2009/blah-blah-montezuma’s-revenge-blah-blah/

No idea why that would be, but who cares since there’s no longer a 404 error.

WordPress HTML Editing Window – Can I Have More Control Over My Pages and Posts?

A reader offered the following comment/question today about the WordPress HTML Editing Window.

I’m frustrated with the WP editor. I’m used to Dreamweaver and having lots of html coding available to me, along with design view. I find that the html view of WP jumps around, doesn’t take me to where I was in the design view, is limiting on features, increases or decreases spacing between lines on me once posted, and is generally frustrating. It won’t even underline properly.

Do you have any suggestions about an outside editor for WP??

Here’s my answer:

@energeticnutrition
Thanks for your question. It’s something that I’m hearing more often these days. In general, it’s the idea that people want more control over their pages and posts.

Bloggers in the traditional sense are not the ones calling for this. It’s usually businesses, independent consultants and professionals that are using WordPress for full-blown websites.

What most people seem to want is a WYSIWYG editor that will allow them to do more with layout and styling using the Visual editing window. For that, there are several solutions. The most popular is TinyMCE Advanced WordPress Plugin.

But what you are asking for is more control over the HTML. This is tricky.

On the one hand, you have just about as much control as your HTML and CSS skills allow, but practically speaking it’s a pain. You can paste all kinds of code into the HTML window. For this, I usually use an external HTML editor. Dreamweaver works fine. There’s a free editor on the Business Blogging 101 Resources page. You can’t preview your work in Dreamweaver, however, unless you go through some other technical setup. Not worth it, imo. You can paste the HTML into the WP editor and save the changes, then view the page. The more complicated your HTML, the more tedious it gets!

The other thing you have to contend with is that your WordPress theme may conflict with the CSS you use in your hand-coded HTML. My guess is that the problem you cite with underlining is due to such a conflict. If the conflicts are very disruptive or they don’t allow you to do what you want at all, you may need to edit your style.css or other CSS files.

If you want to simplify the editing process and see how things work when you edit your page using HTML without having to constantly paste your changes into WordPress to preview them, you might try this:

In a web browser, View the Source Code for the page or post you are working on. Select All. Copy and Paste the code into the Code/HTML window of Dreamweaver. Now save that page somewhere, and you should be able to open it in a browser – or maybe view it in Dreamweaver’s visual window – that is, you should be able to view it from your desktop, so that you don’t have to keep saving changes into the WordPress editor to see how they look.

You’ll need to identify the section of the HTML page that is the chuck of code you will paste into the WordPress HTML editing window when you get things looking the way you want. (Try demarcating it with <!– HTML comments –>.) This doesn’t always work, but if you want more control over your pages, this is the easiest way to do it.

“Add New Themes” Link is Not There on WordPress.com-Hosted Sites

The “Add New Themes” link is not available in the Dashboard navigation on WordPress.com-hosted sites because you are not allowed to upload your own themes on WordPress.com. You can pay extra to be able to use custom CSS on WordPress.com, but this is not the same as being able to upload your own theme. There are other limitations with WordPress.com-hosted sites, like the fact that you cannot install Google Analytics and you cannot add plugins.

In general, if you want to start off with WordPress.com-hosted site, I recommend that you pay to register and use your own domain name. That way, if you decide to change your site to a self-hosted WordPress installation, all your links will be preserved.

Here’s what the menus look like in the self-hosted WordPress Dashboard versus WordPress.com:

Self-Hosted WordPress
Dashboard Navigation

On a self-hosted WordPress site, there is an "Add New Themes" link under Appearance

On a self-hosted WordPress site, there is an "Add New Themes" link under Appearance

WordPress.com
Dashboard Navigation

On a WordPress.com-hosted WordPress site, there is no "Add New Themes" link under Appearance

On a WordPress.com-hosted WordPress site, there is no "Add New Themes" link under Appearance

WordPress Tutorial – Where is the “Insert Image Into Post” Button – and How to Insert a Photo Gallery

This WordPress tutorial show two things:

  1. Where the “Insert Into Post” button is so that you can insert an image into a WordPress post or page.
  2. How to insert a gallery of images into a WordPress post or page.
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