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Heading Back to the Old Blog January 10, 2006

Posted by Leita in Flotsam/Jetsam, Internet, Wordpress.com.

It’s been a hoot, but I am floundering in a sea of too many blogs so I am placing this one on temporary hold and returning to my old Sparktown.

Not that I’ve been keeping up with that one, either, but it’s been home for a long time. Maybe I’ll even find time to change the header image there; I do miss having access to the backend of these things. In the meantime most of my time is taken up by a sparkling new venture scheduled to go live later this month.

It was fun here in the beginning, just a few invited blogs posting per day (instead of a thousand new blogs created). Last summer’s WordPress.com had a small community ambiance. I miss that. Take a look at my sidebar and you’ll find some of the original wp.com group.



New WordPress.com Themes November 29, 2005

Posted by Leita in Design, Internet, Wordpress.com.

The three new themes for WordPress.com look great but because of minor details I’ll probably revert back to the default Kubrick.

Neat! 0.01 is just that except for the dark blue border around images that reminds me of old sites built with Front Page themes. If I don’t include images with links that’ll work around that slight irritation. Also, the blog title isn’t included in the header.

wp theme Toni with white linesRegulus 1 combines all the Link Categories into one long, messy sidebar scroll and the images I use for Today’s Surf disappear. Dammit, this one was my favorite, too.

Toni 1.0 isn’t my favorite visually, reminding me of the original wordpress theme in blue. The Categories list has an out-of-place white bar where the category children could be, but they’re not which looks.. well, here’s a screenshot:

If anyone knows a workaround for these nitpicky reasons why I’ll be returning to Kubrick, I’m all ears.

Feedster Beta: Search for WordPress Blogs November 23, 2005

Posted by Leita in Internet, Wordpress.com, Wordpress.org.

wordpress - the logo Similar to Technorati’s Claim Your Blog feature, Feedster now allows an easy way to search for WordPress blog feeds.

Follow the instructions to add yours to the pile.

  • Hint: WordPress feeds look like this: you.com/feed/

I’m adding mine right now (trying, actually.. WordPress isn’t publishing or editing at the moment and the link keeps disappearing):

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New to WordPress.com? Tips to Get Started Fast November 22, 2005

Posted by Leita in Internet, Wordpress.com.

Under construction clipart circa 1995. Sorry, I couldn't resist.The WordPress.com gates are open now, at least temporarily. With so many blogs starting from scratch by new wordpress users, I thought a few tips might help get some blogs set up fast without looking like the little man here.

The best tip I can give anyone new to wordpress.com is to visit the wordpress.com faq site and Lorelle’s. There are plenty others, but these two are my favorites.

Note: this is the procedure I use for fast-starting a wordpress.com blog but everyone will have their own. Feel free to comment if you have additional tips.

Time to start:

After your blog is created, login to the Dashboard (located at
http://foo.wordpress.com/wp-admin/) and click on the User menu option (aka foo.wordpress.com/wp-admin/profile.php) and fill out the form.

Important: If you want rich text editing, there’s a box at the bottom of this page. Click it if you want wysiwyg editing, leave it unchecked if you do not.

Contrary to semi-popular belief, WordPress.com blogs can have more than one author. Within the Users section, there is a tab for Authors and Users. Here you can add other people to your blog and give them various authorities: Admin, Editor, Author, Contributor or Subscriber. (Update: Adding a link to Matt’s post regarding multi-users in WordPress.com so he’ll know someone really did post about it.)
After updating your Users, head next door to Options. Tabs here are: General, Writing, Reading and Discussion.

While you cannot change your WordPress url, you can change the Title and Tagline here. This is also the tab for setting your time, date, and the day you wish your weeks to begin.

Important: It seems a little out of place, but there is a box for determining whether or not users must be registered and logged in to comment. Click or not, your choice.

Writing: Here is where you decide how many lines will appear in your Write Post box. If you want extra space to write without scrolling as much increase this numer. (I use 16)
Indicate whether emoticons should be little images or text. Guess which one I selected. ;) Last item in this section is the name of the Category where posts default. Leave this as Uncatagorized for now and remember to come back after setting up your Categories if you want to call it something else.

Reading: Where you decide how many posts to show per page and in your feed. Also indicate whether you want your full posts to feed or just a Summary.

Discussion: Decide whether you want to moderate comments or let them post right away, whether you want trackbacks/pingbacks and notify weblogs. This is all pretty self-explanatory but if you’re unsure exactly what how trackbacks and pingbacks work, Lorelle has the answer written in non-techno babble. In a shell of some nut, you don’t have to actually do anything. WordPress.com automatically pings the big boys like Technorati and Feedster whenever you post something new. Easy, eh? You betcha.

Almost Done! Read on…

Themes: (Didn’t you want to do this one first?)When selecting one, consider more than just the way they look. Some have options (such as calendars and contact pages), some do not. Pick the one you think best matches what you want your site to do in addition to how it should look. If you select Kubrick there’s a tab for changing the header and title colors.. nice!

Links: Obvious, eh? Add your links and blogrolls here, either under one category or create several of your own. If you use a service that offers OPML links or backups, click on the Import Blogroll and fill in the url or browse for the file if it’s stored on your hard drive.

Manage: Much of what you’ll find here will be used as you begin posting. If you already know what your post Categories will be you can add them now.

Note: when writing a new post, you’ll find a Category box on the right side of the page where you can select which category the post will belong and also an empty box for creating a new category without having to make a separate trip to Manage/Category. All these boxes (discussion, password-protect, slug, etc. are moveable; click and hold to arrange them the way you want.)

Bonus tips:

  1. If your theme has a default “About” page, go to Manage/Pages and edit that sucker. Leaving the default message can make a blog look unprofessional and unfinished, especially when a slew of posts are already published. Remember: Search engines find wordpress.com blogs fast, usually within days and people will be clicking that About link. Make up a big lie if you want, just give them something that doesn’t say Under Construction.
  2. Please edit or remove the default post and the attached comment. You won’t get in trouble, the WordPress.com folks don’t mind at all, I promise.
  3. The Write Post is buggy on occasion. This post has an image in the first paragraph and a [more] link that didn’t work. Published three times, changes would not show up and it finally wouldn’t publish at all and wound up in the Drafts minus some last minute edits. You’ll learn to deal with it by copying post content before saving in case it doesn’t go through and you wind up with a blank post or, as in this case, one where the formatting is all awry. (This rarely happens anymore, but it still does on occasion.. like today.)

That’s it! Your blog is ready for the first post.

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Spellcheck WordPress Posts in Firefox November 17, 2005

Posted by Leita in Browsers, Internet, Wordpress.com.
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Finally, an easy way to spellcheck WordPress.com posts on-the-fly (not to mention wordpress.org–the spellcheck plugins available work great but are bloaty and slow). No more battling MS Word’s weird curly quotes and insane hidden formatting code that destroys the most simple of paragraphs just to perform a basic spell check.

How To Set It Up:

It takes two downloads for this to work. The dictionary to use with Spellbound is located at Dictionaries for Mozilla. Click your favorite language(s) and install. Most Firefox users shouldn’t have to tinker with the install, but just in case, instructions are included on the same page. Firefox will ask for the usual permission, of course.

Then go to the Spellbound install page, enter in the correct information, click and restart Firefox.

Update: The spell-checker works great in Firefox but will not install in Flock and wouldn’t it be nice if the Flock blog post feature had a simple spell-checker (not to mention a way to edit code directly)? Sheesh, the flocksucks.wordpress.com folks just gained another supporter.

How to Use It

To use, type into any input box (such as a Write Post); right-click and a new option “check spelling” will show up. When using for the first time, be sure and click the Language dropdown and select your favorite language, otherwise the spellchecker will indicate no spelling errors.

That’s it!

Cheers to addons that’ll make more blogs look intelligent and cheers to posts that’ll make our grade school teachers proud.

Source: LifeHacker (other nifty tools listed, worth clicking)

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Blog Burp? October 25, 2005

Posted by Leita in Internet, Wordpress.com.
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My blog

Fun With 30gigs and WordPress Invites October 25, 2005

Posted by Leita in Flotsam/Jetsam, Internet, Wordpress.com.
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In the preceeding post Invites to 30gigs.com Available, a chronic commenter has left several cryptic messages in an unintelligible language. It’s obvious he/she is asking for an invite but in what language? What exactly is being said? The best I can decypher is “I gave.. “

Can you do better? Post a comment explaining what this person is saying and in what language and I’ll give you a 30gigs.com invite. Make it clever, witty and well-written and I’ll throw in a WordPress.com invite as well.

Extra points for commenters who will use the wordpress invite to start an engaging blog on any topic that does not focus on video games, Web2.0, the latest buzz or use the word “meme” more than once a month.

Import Blogger Posts to WordPress.com October 18, 2005

Posted by Leita in Flotsam/Jetsam, Internet, Wordpress.com.
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Is as easy as clicking Import and watching it go.

Brilliant! I hadn’t planned on doing any importing but since it was there and I was here and I wanted to see how it worked, why not?

Indeed. Why the heck not?  

Web Fads: The Future “Don’t” List October 15, 2005

Posted by Leita in Browsers, CMS, Design, Internet, Wordpress.com, Wordpress.org.

Here is my list of current trends that will eventually be considered as stale as the half-eaten sandwich nestled between the sofa cushions. (Admit it, you know you have one, too.) Note: Inclusion in this list in no way means it is disliked, only that its popularity will fade.

Still popular, some even gaining momentum, they are not on their way out just yet but will be:

  1. Background images that look like your daddy’s necktie. Add a nice serif font and ta-daaa… instant credibility and a look that is either duller than dirt or a nauseating salute to magenta and chartreuse paisley.
  2. Miniscule fonts – already on the wane but still viewable on a few fancy “Made with Flash” design sites. Any font with the words “mini” in the name or comes with the disclaimer “only to be used at 8 px” should be ashamed of itself.
  3. Tables – Also on the wane, but until more of the big boys put away their layout hacks and delete their 1px transparent gifs once and for all, it stays in the Future list.
  4. Bloated CMS – The emperor’s new clothes told backwards. Plugins, modules, components, no matter what they’re called, these toys can turn the most mundane website into one that looks like it should be good. (“Look Mum, the emperor has no content!”)
  5. Invite-only sites – Did Google really start this or was it copied from someone else? Matters not, people love feeling in while throngs who aren’t fill up comment space with requests to be included in the party. Ning, Flock, Orkut, 30gigs, WordPress (cough), the concept will stick as long as it is human nature to need to feel part of an exclusive group. What will not survive is the guarantee any product using this method will automatically succeed. (Which reminds me, anyone wanting an invite to ImPress: Build Your Own Invite-Only Community can leave a comment below stating why you are interesting enough to deserve an invitation.)
  6. Ning and the inevitable Ning wannabes – Anyone can call themselves a developer, even when cloning someone else’s work. Of course, I am biting my nails waiting for the officail email telling me I can create my own.
  7. The blog look – I don’t like including this one. The birth of the blog almost single-handedly killed the old “Website In a Night” look and did the world a favor. Blogs may look cookie-cutter but at least they don’t cause epileptic fits. Sadly, the two-column header, footer, sidebar, content with shadows on the edges format will be outgrown. Let’s hope it’ll evolve into something just as visually attractive. I feel confident it will.
  8. The High Tech Interface Look – Futuristic, brushed metal design popular with gamers and teen boys (redundant, but true).
  9. Dreamweaver – (Front Page was never really in, so is not included here) As more people turn to content management and blog systems, they’re finding it is damn difficult creating a site from scratch with this fine product. WYSISYG editors will gather dust and text editors make a comeback, separating the hand-coders from the weekend warriors who pass themselves off as (cringe) webmasters.
  10. Podcasts – Does Every-freaking-body need a podcast? Does Aunt Polly’s Recipe Blog need a podcast? Of course not. Be gone!
  11. Flash ads – Sure, they look better than blinking animated gifs, but not much. No ad, no matter how well done should compete with the site’s content for attention. (See below.)
  12. LowerMyBills.com ads – (See above.) Unfortunately, I don’t really see these obnoxious boxes of animated hell going away, I just wish they would.
  13. iPod Video – After the initial crowd of gadget junkies get theirs (see #5 above, many are invite junkies, too) and then feel compelled to buy the next version that will be on the market within the next three months, they’ll tire of the novelty. “Oh, Nathan, look! I am watching fancy moving pictures while trying to answer my iPod-enabled cell phone and maneuver down a New York City street at lunchtime.” Steve Jobs will joke about these someday. We all will.
  14. Adsense – Blogs with sidebar ads that direct viewers to sites selling blogs. Unless Google improves the relationship between the page content and the ads few blogs will make enough money for a cup of Starbucks.

Best Path to SEO Success? WordPress.com/.org October 10, 2005

Posted by Leita in Internet, Wordpress.com, Wordpress.org.

Less than a month has passed since my first post here (dated Sept. 26) and hits from Google and MSN searches are starting to appear regularly in my referrer log even though I didn’t do a thing but post a little.

I never submitted this blog to Dmoz, Sitemap, Technorati or the Dorky Blondes Web Ring. Nor have I sent a link to my friends, my family, my primary physician or the local newspaper. The Chamber of Commerce does not know this blog exists nor does my favorite coffee shop (Miss Lucille’s Gossip Parlor, corner of 393 and Hwy 30A in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida).

Due to the nature of wordpress.com I cannot tinker with metas, robots.txt or any of the usual suspects to increase the chances of getting listed on page 521 in some obscure search engine. All I can do is post on occasion and forget the rest.

I have another blog in addition to this one–don’t we all? Old in blog years, it’s been around for awhile and is even less coherent than this one. I switched it over to WordPress (org) a few months ago and the result was similar: unique visitors from search engine results increased substantially after a couple weeks and I didn’t do anything but add it to the Technorati blog list.

Given all that, could WordPress—rhetorically speaking–in all its manifestations be the SEO Holy Grail? I am beginning to believe it might be a combination of Word Press and Google’s blog search function.

What does this mean? For me, not much, this is pure hobby. But for those who wish to become famous–or infamous–or make a little pocket money I believe the best SEO tool is right here.