Tag Archives: wordpress plugin

The WordPress Plugin Blog. Out-of-the-box, WordPress is awesome. Add some plugins, and you can do absolutely anything you want. See plugin reviews, and learn to tweak, or create, your own. Make sure your plugins help, not hinder, your website. Learn about WordPress plugins the shrewd way.

The Legacy Of Simple:Press

There are many tips on Shrewdies for making the most of Simple:Press. I’ve saved the best until last – leave it.

If you use it, switch to Question2Answer. If you are contemplating using it, contemplate Question2Answer. It is better, faster, and much easier to integrate with WordPress, despite being a standalone system.

I got a compliment from one of the Simple:Press founders – Wow! what a busy forum!

Not this site of course, but I have success elsewhere on the net, and I needed forum support. Simple:Press was broken, and upsetting some of my thousands of daily visitors. I tried to get support, but now you have to pay for it. Don’t get me wrong – people who give good support deserve to get paid. But if a piece of software is broken, you should not have to pay to get it fixed.

Continue to read how to deal with the legacy of Simple:Press forum software for WordPress

WordPress Plugin: Promotion Tool

Many of you looking for a WordPress plugin promotion tool have stumbled across my Happiness Today plugin.

You seem disappointed that the next version is where the real promotion potential lies, but the good news is that you do not need to wait.

If you have downloaded and activated Happiness Today, then you already have a tool for displaying random (or selected) promotion messages in your WordPress posts, pages or sidebar.

The main appeal of Pods is the way it makes extending the WordPress database so easy. But stored data is of little use if you cannot present it to your visitors. My first release of Happiness Today was just to prove that, like Hello Dolly does for standard WordPress, it is very easy to build a basic plugin. That basic plugin instantly demonstrates how Pods stores and displays data. In keeping with the Hello Dolly tradition, I displayed random lyrics in the Admin area – but the real life potential was always to be able to produce something simple yet useful, that can display random promotion messages to visitors.

Those promotional features are included in the current release, just not obvious. Here’s how to use Pods inbuilt features to get more from the Happiness Today plugin. Start your marketing campaign now. Continue reading

Pods WordPress Plugins Double Overnight

Today, the number of WordPress Pods plugins in the plugin database doubled.

My Happiness Today plugin release joins the Pods UI plugin to double the number of examples of Pods CMS use.

Though this is released as a teaching tool, you should not assume it is perfect. Though it works perfectly, there are a few rough edges in the implementation. But that is the point of Open Source tools – we can improve all aspects of Happiness Today, collectively.

I like the idea of the Hello Dolly plugin as a teaching tool. Though it is criticized for it’s limited usefulness, the WordPress developers have defended it, by rightly explaining:

I think Hello Dolly is a good little example plugin. Users can turn it on, see that it does something, turn it off, see that it doesn’t do it anymore. Plugin functionality exemplified.

This is perfectly true, and useful for novice WordPress users who want to understand what a plugin is, without being intimidated by reams of PHP code. But Pods developers are a different breed. We have varying PHP & HTML skills, but we are bound by a common desire to learn and extend WordPress functionality.

So Happiness Today goes beyond the remit of Hello Dolly, and achieves useful outcomes. Using the simple Pods data edit screens, you can transform Hello Dolly into a client support tool, or promotion tool for any campaign where short messages to WordPress website builders are going to win you a click or three.

Simple Pods WordPress Plugin Output

Simple Pods WordPress Plugin Output

Though I have used plain text in the distributed plugin, the data is stored as rich text, so you can easily include images and hyperlinks in the message display. This is in addition to the included customizable link buttons. After editing the data files with whatever text you need, you can easily import it as a Pods Package for your client sites.

I prepared the plugin in minutes using the Pods Plugin Builder that is the real goal of this project. In fact, most of the time is spent writing the readme.txt file that is generated as part of the plugin distribution package. That tool is still under development, but when available, it will make distribution of your own version of Happiness Today, or any other Pods Package, a very simple process.

Happiness Today Next Steps

Please contribute ideas to the wishlist. Also, if you are a superb PHP programmer, I would love to here your thoughts on code improvement.

I would also like to you to rate the Happiness Today Pods WordPress plugin, but if you cannot give it a 5 star, at least give me the opportunity to fix any problems you have before you vote.

WordPress Pods Plugin Builder Taking Shape

WordPress Pods CMS plugin is fantastic for adding new content to websites that do not easily fit the standard Page or Post styles.

With it’s easy to use interface, it is good for novice writers, but it also stands on a very powerful data management platform.

This makes it a real candidate for Rapid Application Development, but how to package and distribute those applications?

Before I present my latest project for building structured WordPress plugins, packaged with properly formatted readme file, straight from the Pods interface let me explain what Pods is.
Continue reading

Make Microformats Work For You – Ignore Them

Microformats are the latest topic to confuse budding webmasters.

But are they relevant to WordPress website owners, and will they help or hinder your marketing efforts.

More to the point – what are they?

The buzz for webmasters is that microformats help you on Google. But there are one or two fairly large points missing from that.

Before we look into those, let me explain what microformats are. They are tags in your web page, similar in operation to HTML tags. Whereas HTML tags change the appearance of text, microformats tell search engines and other robots what your text means. More specifically they describe the context of your text as structured data.

Whoopi-f-ing-doo you cry, or at least “so what.”

But wait, this is important.

If a search engine can interpret the type of information you are presenting, it can list you better. It puts your information into the right context. You can explicitly distinguish the author of a work from a work about an author.

Your words, with these descriptive tags, are known as rich snippets. If you currently earn money by providing content that includes reviews, people, businesses, organizations, events or video, then you need these snippets to help you get richer.

Why Microformats?

A search engine that might have sent you a little traffic from time to time has more information on rich snippets (including a validation tool), but before you investigate that, consider what is missing from the “Google & Microformats: Drive More Traffic” article. Continue reading

Simple:Press Forum Enhancements

Q2A Update

I no longer support or recommend Simple:Press. Please search here for Question2Answer if you want a forum for your hosted WordPress website.

The Simple:Press forum plugin is one of the most comprehensive and customisable plugins available for WordPress.

Is that enough for me?

Oh, no! I have to push just that little bit further.

It started some time ago, when I wanted to include a hyperlink in a forum description. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the HTML held up fine in the forum, and links, bold text and other markups were easy to add.

I was less happy when I went back to the Admin pages to make other changes – the HTML screwed up the Admin display, and could not be edited. However, it could easily be re-typed, or edited directly in the database through phpMyAdmin, so, I left things as they were. For a while.

I was tempted to raise this with the support guys at Simple:Press. They have always been extremely responsive, and their own forum is a fine example of the best in technical support. However, a new version was in the late stages of the release process, so I thought I would wait until after it’s release.

A few days later, I had the bright idea of including some AdSense in the description. I was certain that the Simple:Press forum description was no match for the AdSense javascript code. However, I remembered how I had used the Enzymes plugin in the past to make adding AdSense code to posts very easy.

WordPress Enzymes Plugin

As good as Enzymes is, I find I can do the same things and more with the Pods CMS plugin. See the WordPress Pods Blog for more.

This is a fascinating plugin that allows so many ways of manipulating your content that it deserves (and probably needs) a series of articles to do it justice.

In it’s very simple form, it allows you to store data in standard WordPress Custom Fields and refer to them wherever you want.

I’ll cover Enzymes in more detail later. For the forum description, all you need to do is to store the HTML for your description in a Custom Field, and it is easy to display, and easy to edit.

Simple:Press Forum Description Enhancement

Continue reading