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!

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.

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.

Changing Permalinks and Categories Retroactively (on a WordPress site with lots of posts)

A new aquaintance asked me about changing permalinks. He has a successful blog with lots of posts, and he wants to be sure to keep all the link juice associated with the old URLs for those posts.

His site had a kind of default permalink structure that did not use English language words in the URLs. He wanted to change this so that it would use English words, like Business Blogging 101 does.

There’s a plugin for that called WordPress Redirection.

He also wanted to change his category names, since he had been using only one “general” category for all his posts. Here’s my advice on that point.

I’m not sure of all the implications of changing categories retroactively. I know that it’s possible to simply create new categories and assign them to old posts. You can delete an old category and, if that’s the only one assigned to a post, WordPress will ask which category you want to replace it.

Before going further with any of this, be sure to back up your database and also use Tools > Export to export an .xml file of your site. You should back up files in the wp-content directory regularly as well (although that’s not directly affected by these changes).

Some people choose to exclude categories from Google using noindex to avoid duplicate content issues. IMO, I don’t think you need to worry about this. Google has gotten much better at ignoring duplicate content.

If you are very keen on increasing search optimization using categories, you can remove the “general” cat and replace it with more specific cats on each post. I favor using only one category per post. You can use tags for any other keywords you want to associate with posts.

If you have lots of “general” posts, I would not worry about going back to do this. Leave the general category. Create new, more specific categories, and use those going forward. The most important thing for blog SEO is that you keep producing good content on a consistent basis and get lots of comments from readers like you are doing. That will also lead to more people linking to you. The SEO significance of categories on older posts is not nearly as great as these things.

Lorelle VanFossen is a great WordPress resource, in general, and about categories and tags among other things.

WordPress Tutorial – How to Install WordPress on BlueHost Web Hosting

Here’s how to get started building your own self-hosted WordPress website or blog with BlueHost web hosting. Installing WordPress on BlueHost hosting is quick and easy. Watch this tutorial, and you can do it in under four minutes!

WordPress Tutorial – How to Change Your Theme or Install & Activate a New WordPress Theme

This WordPress Tutorial shows how to change your WordPress theme, and how to install & activate a new theme. It uses WordPress version 2.8.4 (the latest version) hosted on a third-party web host. You change a theme in the same way on a WordPress.com site.

Third-party-hosted (also called “self-hosted”) WordPress sites allow you to upload and install more themes through the WordPress Dashboard. You can find free themes by browsing with the Dashboard Theme Installer. Or you can find themes on the Web using a Google search for “free wordpress themes” or just “wordpress themes”. If you find a theme you like on the Web, you can download it to your computer and then upload it using the Theme Installer.

In addition to the thousands of free themes available, you can also buy “premium” themes, which have extra features like additional page templates and search engine optimization. There is a list of WordPress premium theme providers on the Business Blogging 101 Resources page.

As happens in this tutorial, some premium themes do not install well using the Dashboard Theme Installer. You may need to upload these themes to the /wp-content/themes/ directory using FTP software.

This tutorial shows how to delete a theme using Appearance > Manage Themes in the WordPress Dashboard. It shows how to find new free themes using Appearance > Install Themes in the WordPress Dashboard. And shows how to upload a theme  from your computer. It shows how to activate a new theme once you install it.

WordPress themes come in the form of a .zip file.

What are your favorite WordPress themes? Let me know and I will add them to my Resources page.

Note that if you have a fast Internet connection, you can play the video in HD by clicking the HD button on the player, and you can also click the button next to that to play in full-screen mode.

How to Change, Install & Activate a New WordPress Theme

New Features in WordPress 2.8

Over at the McBuzz Communications website, I have posted a nice video overview of the new features in WordPress 2.8, and a short description of one of the coolest new features: the ability to insert more than one instance of the same widget into one – or more – of your sidebars. This gives you a powerful new way to customize the link menus in your sidebars. If you have a theme that allows you to have different sidebars on different pages, you can now have custom links on every page – without having to hack the PHP code for the theme!

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