Wordpress

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The following is really just ongoing information for people with Phatic.org Wordpress setups. It may potentially provide useful information to other people as well but that's not the intention.

Introduction

We run Wordpress MU here which is the version of Wordpress that allows a single installation to be used for multiple sites. Wordpress don't seem to support MU very well and there are quite a few little niggles that pop up every now and then. This section aims to explain how to get a new site up from scratch - There are some prior assumptions that the DNS has been set up and the site administrator has created you the basic weblog and given you the correct rights to it and that we are starting with a clean fresh site.

Quick and dirty configuration

The best way to do this is to explain how to set up a three page Wordpress site. The main page is a static page we'll call "Home" and the other two pages are a Weblog and an About/Contact page. If you want just a Weblog page or a Weblog and Contact page then just miss out a few steps along the way. It will be obvious which, don't worry.

In this example - We'll use bygonestuff.com as the site. Firstly check it's all ok by going to:

http://bygonestuff.com/

It should take you to a very blue Wordpress page with a Hello World! posting on it. If it does then everything is good and you can carry on. If it doesn't then whine at us and find out why.

The first thing to do if to login and go to the Administration page. There is a link at the side in the column entitled Meta that will allow you to login. If you do this it should take you to the site admin page. If you were already logged in then the Meta column will have a Site Admin link. In any case, you want to be at:

http://bygonestuff.com/wp-admin/

The first thing you will notice is that the SEO plugin is whining at you in a vociferous red bar telling you that you need to configure it. Ignore this until much later. Underneath that there is another box asking you to enter your Akismet API key. If you have one, you can do this now. If you don't and you happen to know the sitewide one then do that now. Otherwise, ignore it for now and at the end you can register yourself one.

Create Static Pages

First off we will create three static pages - To do this find the Pages tab on the left sidebar and click it. It will take you to the Edit Pages menu and there should just be one thing in it, an "About" page. We need to create two more pages, Home and Weblog and configure them so...

Home

Let's start with the Home page.

Click on "Add New" right there at the top in the little pill shaped bubble button.

Call this page "Home" so type Home in the title box, and then in the main box, type something like "This is the Home Page". You will see a Permalink box appear below the title you just typed in - You can leave this be but it's useful to remember this is where you'd change it if you ever needed to.

Scroll down a bit to where it says Discussion and untick the two boxes there. You don't want to allow comments nor Trackbacks on this main page.

Now look right to the right hand sidebar and look where it says "Order" - This is the order that pages are displayed in on menus and we want this to be the first. 0 tends to mean "Pick any old order" so change that 0 to a 1.

Now scroll up a bit and look for the big blue button marked (Publish) and press it. Wait till it tells you it is published and if you want, you can have a look at it, though at this point it's not very exciting.

Weblogs

Now back to the Pages menu on the left hand sidebar, and let's do this again, this time creating a new page called Weblog. We want this one a little different so go to Pages, create a new page and call it Weblogs (or Blogs or News or Posts or whatever you want). Don't enter anything in the body of this one, since it will never actually be displayed.

Now on this page we want to allow comments and trackbacks so leave that bit alone, but we do want to change the Order of this one to be 2 so pop to that box and change the 0 to a 2. Now click on (Publish).

About

Since the "About" page has already been created this one is a little easier. Pop to the Pages menu again by selecting Pages on the left hand side bar and hover your cursor over the blue "About" title. A menu should pop up below it and you want to click on Edit.

It should take you to the all familiar page. Now just as an experiment, let's change this page's name to "Contact" so replace "About" with "Contact". This has changed the page name but not the permalink - This still says "http://bygonestuff.com/about/" - So you could now click on (Edit) next to that and change it to "http://bygonestuff.com/contact/" instead. Unless you want to, don't and now change the title back to About.

Go to the body of this and delete all the default stuff in there. We are going to actually put something in this page so type the following:


This is an about page with a contact form on it.

[clean-contact]

You can administer this page here.

When that is done, highlight the word "here" with your mouse and look up a few lines to just above the text box. There are a number of little icons and you want to click the one that looks like a chain link - It's the 10th from the left if that helps. This will pop up a box that will allow you to turn your highlighted text into a link. You want to set the link URL to the name of your admin page which in this case is:

http://bygonestuff.com/wp-admin

Click on Insert and that should all be done. We have done this as a temporary measure because some themes don't give you easy access to the administration menu in the part later where you experiment. This way you can always get back to it by going to your About page. When everything is working you can delete it but leave it for now.

The [clean-contact] bit tells one of the Wordpress plugins that is enabled by default that you want a contact form. We will configure that next.

Before we save, scroll to the bottom and untick the two discussion boxes and change the page order to 3 - You may also want to change the Page Author to your own name. Because this was a system created page it will show up as being written by the Weblog Administrator. When you have made all the changes, click on Update. That's the first bit over.

Quickly Configure the Contact Form

In the left hand sidebar there is a Plugins menu, if you click on this, or on the little "v" next to it, it should expand and show you a new menu option called "Clean-Contact". Click on this and it should give you a small configuration menu. You want to change the email address it posts to to be your own and you probably want to change the subject prefix. Change it to something like: [Bygonestuff.com] so you know where the mails are coming from.

If you have an Akismet key then tick the box to allow it to spam filter, then save your settings.

Configure the Weblog so it all works

If you look at the weblog now, it still won't work how we want it to so we need to change a whole load of settings. The left hand sidebar has a settings menu right at the bottom which we need to click on. This will send us to General Settings.

Change anything you want in here and click on (Save Changes) when you have done so.

Now click on the Reading menu under Settings...

The important bit here is "Front page displays" - We want to change it to a Static page so click the little "O" next to Static page and set the Front Page to "Home" and the Posts page to "Weblog" (or whatever you called it). If you want to change any other settings you can do so now, and click on Save.

You probably don't want to change anything in the Writing setting, but pop to the Discussion setting page and tweak things to your liking in here. If you are using Akismet you may want to lower some of the comment protection and untick things like "Comment author must have a previously approved comment".

Right at the bottom is the Gravatar settings, these allow users to have their own avatars when they comment - Select which scheme you like best. When you have done all this, save it. Incidentally if you want to create your own custom gravatar then go to gravatar.com and create yourself an account.

Suck it and see

It should all work now - Click on the "Visit site" bit at the top of the screen and see how it all looks.

Plugins

Here's what is enabled by default - There are a load more you can activate on a need-to-use basis in the plugins menu.

Akismet

Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. You need an API key to use it. You can review the spam it catches under "Comments." To show off your Akismet stats just put <?php akismet_counter(); ?> in your template. you can use the site wide Akismet key (Just ask) or get your own at http://akismet.com/personal/

All in One SEO Pack

Out-of-the-box SEO for your Wordpress blog. You have to fill in something but trust me it will nag you a lot until you do :)

Clean-Contact

No hassle contact form plugin with advanced Spam protection that doesn't require Captcha. There were a few issues with this but it seems to be better now.

You administer it in a box in the plugins side box, you can set the options. It's a good idea to filter it through Akismet which is a tickbox option.

Invoke the Clean Contact e-mail form on and page or post with the shortcode: [clean-contact]

You can override all or any of the settings above in the shortcode:

[clean-contact email="phatic@eastnet.ca" prefix="contact" bcc="" subject="Greetings" thanks_url="http://phatic.org"]

Clean Archive Reloaded

Using The Plugin:

Just create/edit a post or page and type [cleanarchivesreloaded] where you would like the archives list to show up. You can also use [cartotalposts] to show your total post count.

Example page contents:

Here is all [cartotalposts] of my posts:

[cleanarchivesreloaded]

Configure options via Settings -> Clean Archives.

Custom Meta

This plugin adds a widget that's almost like the vanilla meta widget, but it lets you choose what items to show. Very useful for removing most of the crap in the meta widget box.

Hello Dolly

This is not just a plugin, it symbolizes the hope and enthusiasm of an entire generation summed up in two words sung most famously by Louis Armstrong: Hello, Dolly. When activated you will randomly see a lyric from Hello, Dolly in the upper right of your admin screen on every page.

Don't ask... Don't tell!

ONW Simple Contact Form

This Plugin creates a simple contact form using shortcode in posts or pages. This one uses Recaptcha if you have a key, which you should. Get it from https://admin.recaptcha.net/accounts/signup/ or use the global site one.

The ONW Simple Contact menu is right at the bottom on the left, under settings and it has 2 tabs, one for the main settings and one for the display settings. To use it, just pop the shortcode: [onw_simple_contact_form]

WordPress Hashcash

Client-side javascript blocks all spam bots. XHTML 1.1 compliant. Don't worry about this - It just works.

Themes

What themes we have and what's good and what's crap. This one should be updated a lot.

External Links