some WordPress tips

More WordPress stuff, inspired by discussions with Carl and Chris.


When I click on one of my blog category links, for instance Photos, this is the URL that appears (I am not using permalinks):

Putting that link into a blog post sends you to a page of blog post excerpts from that category:

My posts with photos

If I don’t want to display the Categories widget in the right column, I can put that link in a custom menu entry to appear elsewhere — Appearance > Menus

Although, as my dad often says, “There is more than one way to skin a cat,” I choose to use the methods that utilize the built-in features of WordPress rather than custom solutions. (Perhaps it is because I did enough CGI scripting before the web 2 stuff became popular to satisfy the programming urges.)

If you do opt for a lot of customization, be sure to look into using WordPress Child Themes – Codex entry. That way you don’t need to do major recovery every time you upgrade WordPress itself, or even your plugins.

Tip 2

This has come up several times in the past week. That is, if you are a serious “code warrior” ditch the Visual Editor. Unfortunately it seems to be the default in the install.

If you are given HTML code to copy and paste (like to embed a YouTube video) the Visual Editor will trash it. If you want to see what your post looks like, use the “Preview” button instead. That works a lot better anyway because it actually applies your WordPress theme.

Tip 3

Not all web hosting companies are equal when it comes to running WordPress. I use Dreamhost for most of my WordPress installations. Although they have a control panel installer and updater, once you get the initial install you can do all your upgrades and updates from within the WordPress Dashboard. It will even remind you when you go into the Dashboard to make a post.

I have managed a number of web sites on a “big name” provider that charges a lot more than Dreamhost. There is only one site left there now. Their installer for WordPress had the 2005 version. (Hel-lo-o-o! this is 2011).

I went around that and did a manual install of the current version which worked, but I found that updating plugins from the Dashboard failed. Had to use an FTP client to remove the old plugin folder and upload the new one, then activate it in the Dashboard.

What was actually most distressing was that when I attempted to update WordPress itself through the Dashboard, it looked like the update took, but I had to contact their help desk to get the ability to edit and publish both posts and pages back.

So, if you are having difficulties, it may not be WordPress but your web hosting.

About Kathy

Perl, MySQL, CGI scripting, web design, graphics following careers as an analytical chemist and educator, then in IT as a database administrator (DBA), programmer, and server administrator. Diagnosed with Mitochondrial Myopathy in 1997.
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2 Responses to some WordPress tips

  1. Carl Bromley says:

    methinks I should just hire you if you’re available! We have a few new projects in the works and it’s becoming harder and harder to keep up.

    Did you notice the 2-month gap from one of my posts to the next? Oii!

  2. Kathy says:

    I think there are enough people around to start a WordPress users group. As you can see from my archives, I have been using WordPress since 2005 so have had plenty of time for concepts to soak in.

    Did you notice the date of my last post was just as I was starting to work seriously on and sites? I do enjoy writing, although sometimes it doesn’t show here.

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