WordPress 3.8 Is Worth the Upgrade!

WordPress 3.8

wordpress 3.8Know what's great about WordPress? The developers behind this site are constantly trying to make WordPress better for everyone that uses it. And, if your'e one of the many that use WordPress, you'll benefit from what WordPress has created this time around – even if it is a bit more frivolous than actually useful.

Let's jump in, shall we?

New WordPress 3.8 Admin Customization Options

Looking at a WordPress UI can be boring, right? Well, WordPress doesn't want your experience to be boring in any way. So, one of the latest updates that coincides with WordPress version 3.8 is an all new UI. What's so new about it?

You can now set up your UI to look flat (kind of like all the rest of the development world has been doing now). You can also choose from eight new color schemes that will have you yearning to look at your WordPress dashboard instead of dreading opening up something so dreary (ok, maybe not yearning, but it's still more appealing).

What Else Is New?

Lots! Here's a rundown:

  • The new default font in WordPress is now Open Sans (which is much more appealing, by the way).
  • Icons that load super fast have been added instead of images (yay!).
  • Eight different color scheme options are available (as mentioned above).
  • This interface is just way faster. Really, this is a big deal for those that have tired of previous slow interfaces.
  • The new default theme is Twenty Fourteen – and it's a gorgeous, magazine-style, theme.

WordPress has also made some bug fixes. So, all in all, the changes to the new WordPress are definitely welcomed chances – and they have been a long time coming. If you haven't upgraded yet, make sure that you do so.

Why Upgrade?

Not only can you tap into all those new goodies, but you will also be able to prevent any major site attacks or other issues. When you don't upgrade, you are setting your site up to be vulnerable, so do keep this in mind when it comes to speculating whether or not you want to spend the time to upgrade.

Why wouldn't you want to upgrade to these new things, any way? WordPress has done a great job this time around. Granted, the last update wasn't anything special, but this one is really going to knock your socks off. So, if you are currently running WordPress on your site, get in there and upgrade. It just takes a minute, but you'll be happy you did (and you can play with pretty colors, who doesn't like that?).

Need help with the new WordPress options? Can't chance the UI color? Let me know, and I'll be happy to help you out!

6 Great New WordPress Plugins

new wordpress pluginsIf you're working with WordPress, you should really take advantage of all that this platform has to offer – and that means lots and lots of plugins. New WordPress Plugins are created nearly every day by anxious developers. Some of those plugins are useless, but some are just great.

Here are six of the best new WordPress plugins.

  1. Re-slug : if you've been around the SEO world for a while, you know that creating a new permalink once you already have one is a bad idea. Re-slug lets you safely create a new permalink if you decide to change it – useful and simple.
  2. Content Look : need a closer look at your content strategy? This plugin is for you. Content Look will audit your blog to let you know what areas of your content marketing need immediate attention and improvement.
  3. Birthdays Widget : here's one way to make your clients feel special! This plugin wishes your clients a happy birthday whenever a client logs into your site. It's a simple gesture, but it's one that's bound to get you a lot of attention and some very happy clients.
  4. Simply Snow : maybe this one just seems like a great idea because it's wintertime, but Simply Snow creates the appearance of snow on your site. Why would you want to do this? I have no idea, but you could have fun with it.
  5. Accessible Video File : got a lot of videos on your site? This plugin lets your users find all of your videos simply, and you can even ad tags and other bits to videos that you create.
  6. Google Apps Login : finally! This plugin lets your users log into their account through Google. Most of the time, it's a quick Facebook login that's added, but this one makes it possible to use Google instead – and that's a great thing for Google users!

Any Additional New WordPress Plugins?

It's hard to keep track of the many WordPress plugins available, so let me know if I've missed a few here. There are bound to be some great plugins out there that aren't part of this list. And, if you have developed one of these plugins, feel free to let us know more details about your creation.

WordPress plugins do make things simpler when you're using WordPress – just make sure that all of your plugins are useful, working, and won't slow down your page. Otherwise, have fun with the many things that WordPress has to offer. If you want to check out any of these plugins, head to the main WordPress website to see what's new – and don't forget to check out the reviews.

How to Install the REL=AUTHOR Tag for WordPress

Tag for WordPress

tag for wordpressIf you run a blog on your cheap hosting site (and why wouldn't you?), you should really consider the rel=author tag. What is that and why do you need it?

Here's an explanation.

The REL=AUTHOR Tag for WordPress

When you conduct a Google search, which link are you more apt to click on? The link that shows a bunch of words, or the link that has a nice photo of an author next to it?

You'll pick the author, and so will anyone using your search terms. Why? Because adding a photo to a blog post makes your post look more authentic. In other words, people trust posts with pictures. It might sound silly, but I'm not making this stuff up.

In order to add an author photo to a blog post, you have to set up the right tag via WordPress. How can you do this? By entering REL=AUTHOR.

How to Use the REL=AUTHOR Tag

You have two options here. The first is to implement this tag in the post that you've just created.

  1. Add your Google+ profile URL to your name.
  2. Add that anchor text to the blog post.

Here's the code you need to add to your name in order to make your G+ profile photo show up:

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/yourgoogleplusurlherere=author”>YOUR NAME HERE</a>

Do you see the end of this code? The ‘rel=author' bit? This will ensure that your G+ profile is linked to the post that you just wrote. But, this is the tedious way to do things.

A Simpler Way: Plugins

We love WordPress for the many plugins that come with this program. Is there a plugin for the Author tag? You bet! In fact, there are a lot of plugins for this tag. The best one that I've tested is the ‘Google Authorship for Multiple Authors' plugin. This plugin simply adds a nice and neat space for your Google Plus profile.

All you have to do is add the plugin, plug in (haha) your details, and you're ready to roll. Really, the setup couldn't be easier than it is with this plugin. But, if you must find others, there are a ton to choose from. My only word of caution is this: be careful not to install too many plugins because the more you install the slower your page load time is.

One more word of caution (so, two words, really): read plugin reviews prior to picking one. Why? Some of these plugins will mess with your code, or just won't work at all. It always pays to read the reviews first – but, really, a plugin will make your life easier!

Be Careful With Authorship

Lastly, even though allowing authors to add photos to a blog post is a great way to spread the word about your blog, it's also a really good idea to be careful when it comes to allowing any old author to share a post. Why? When someone has authorship privileges, things could go awry.

Need help with this code? Just ask!

WordPress Hacks: A Lesson In What Not To Do

WordPress Hacks: What Not To Do

WordPress HacksWe've said it so many times here on the blog: it is vital, whether on your WordPress site or your shared hosting account, to perform software updates. Beyond vital.

And recent news underscores the importance of this. Outdated versions of WordPress allowed hackers to launch DDoS attacks from a total of 569 separate WordPress blogs. Hackers launched this DDoS attack by hacking into only a few servers.

Easy = Vulnerable

It is the very nature of WordPress that makes it so vulnerable. It's so easy to use, and that means users who might not have any IT experience whatsoever are managing a website or blog.

Because they have no clue as to best practices, they don't update their software when an update becomes available, and they certainly don't have a strong password or unique username. These two problems alone add up to vulnerabilities that can cause a catastrophe.

WordPress Hacks: The Importance Of Updates

There are many out there that ignore updates, putting them off until they “have the time to install them.” This is extremely unwise. While some updates fix simple bugs or add some form of new functionality, there are those updates that fix critical security flaws.

These hackers are banking on you NOT performing the update, leaving the door wide open for them to use your website for malicious DDoS attacks. Don't be a victim! Update, update, update!

WordPress Hacks: What Else Can You Do To Protect Yourself?

  • Get creative with your username. Do you know the number of people that keep the username “admin?” It's almost ridiculous. Don't use your name, either. Try to get creative. Do you like butterflies and the color purple, and have a favorite number? PurpleButterFly is a good one, incorporating that number in there somewhere.
  • Passwords should be strong. So you capitalized a random letter and threw a number in there. Great, but it's still hackable. A strong password is a random string of characters that makes no sense, like X*!/feZ90(# or something else involving multiple character types. In this way, you make the likelihood someone is going to guess that password slim to none.
  • Change your password periodically. While your password might be strong, you should change your password every now and again, like biweekly or monthly. Just to be safe.
  • Update plugins. It isn't just WordPress itself that needs to be updated! Those plugins must also be done in order to maintain the utmost level of security.

Is your WordPress site up to date?

Media Explorer: Storify for WordPress Blogs

Media Explorer

media explorerWordPress is trying to compete with Storify by offering users a new way to embed YouTube videos and Tweets. The newest WP plugin called ‘Media Explorer' will add some spice to your WP blog while also providing a pretty clever way to quickly insert videos and share tweets of interest. Here's how it all comes together.

Using Media Explorer

Directly from the post editor page, you can click on the ‘Add Media' option. From there, you can simply choose ‘Insert Tweet' or ‘Insert YouTube.' You can also search through tweets using hashtags, keywords, user names, replies, mentions, and a ton of other search options. The same can be done when searching for a YouTube video.

The Media Explorer feature drastically differs from previous ways of inserting YouTube videos and tweets into a WordPress blog. Prior to Media Explorer, WP users had to insert tweets and video links manually, now it can all be done with the tap of a button – simple and effective. No HTML, no short code, no buttons or other gadgets to mess around with – just click on that ‘Insert' button, and insert tweets and videos to your heart's content – but, act with caution.

When to Insert Tweets and Videos

Obviously, if you have created a YouTube video or sent out a tweet that you want your blog readers to see, you can insert videos and tweets to your heart's content. Otherwise, the same social media rules apply here. You have to gain permission from YouTube creators to re-post a video, and you'll want to carefully select which tweets to re-post.

Adding videos and Twitter posts to your site is a great way to make your blog stand out, but do be sure that what you are posting is worth it. WordPress has rolled out the new Media Explorer feature to WordPress.com users and to WordPress.com VIP users for now. The feature will arrive on self-hosted WordPress sites through JetPack in the very near future.

No Twitter or YouTube Account? Find Your Balance!

Really, find that right balance between content, videos, and Twitter posts. You don't want your blog to be full of videos or Twitter posts, but you might want to add in some of these things – especially if you send out a Twitter comment that gets a lot of responses. There are a lot of ways to use the new Media Explorer feature, just make sure that you use it wisely!

If you're having trouble with this new feature, feel free to ask for some tips or advice. If you've been dying to enter Tweets and YouTube videos into your WordPress blog, there's no time like the present! Need help? Let us know!