The Complete Guide to WordPress Editing: Part 1

Whether you’re completely new or have been blogging for a while now, you’re probably still not using everything available to you as a blogger on WordPress. It took me a few years of blogging and developing plugins before I really started getting it. I’m going to save you time and write up what I’ve learned here.

This complete series on writing and editing posts with WordPress will cover…

  1. Customizing Your Interface & Getting to Know Permalinks
  2. Mastering Text Formatting For Your Posts
  3. Leveraging Post Scheduling & Post States
  4. How to Make Private and Password Protected Posts
  5. How to Enable and Disable Comments & Understanding Trackbacks
  6. Finding and Using Theme-Specific Options

First, you’re going to learn about the hidden options you never knew existed. Later in this post, we’ll review how to create custom permalinks (and why you want to).

Customizing Your View: Show & Hide Sections

The Problem: Not Knowing Your Options

Have you ever been working your way through a WordPress tutorial and thought you were missing a field in your WordPress installation? There’s a good chance that you never knew you could show and hide different parts of the interface. Every blogger makes constant use of certain features in WordPress, but who wants to get weighed down by constantly staring at the features they hardly ever use? The question is: How can you make sure you see what you want, and hide what you don’twant?

The Solution: Finding Your Options

It’s pretty simple. If you look up in the right hand corner of your browser, you’ll see two tabs: Screen Options, and Help. If you click on the the gray box that says Screen Options, a whole new world will be opened to you. Quick Guide:Everything you see with a ticked box next to it will display. You can toggle all of the checkboxes to enable and disable each section as you see fit. The problem is, some of these options may sound strange and new. Don’t fret, because we’re going to delve into all of your options through this series.

Writing Your Title & Customizing Your Slug

The Problem: Ugly Links That No One Remembers

You may or may not know that writing a killer headline might make or break your post — but that’s for you to learn about on copywriting and marketing blogs. Once you’ve crafted the perfect post title, you’ll write it in the clearly marked box “Enter title here”. If you are using custom permalinks (you probably are), WordPress will do its best to create a nice URL for you based on your title.

What’s that? The word permalink stands for “permanent link”

For example, a post titled “The Amazing Spider-man Isn’t So Amazing” will default to a slug such as: the-amazing-spider-man-isnt-so-amazing

What’s that? A slug is the unique URL friendly set of letters that follows the base of your website’s domain.

Depending on your domain and settings, the final permalink might then be: http://example.com/archives/the-amazing-spider-man-isnt-so-amazingShorter URLs are very popular lately for a myriad of great reasons, so you’ll want to shorten it.

What’s that? URL friendly means no uppercase letters, special characters or spaces. It is acceptable to substitute a dash instead of spaces for human readability.

The Solution: Easily Creating Short, Memorable Links

Underneath your title, you’ll see a label that says “Permalink”, with the base of your URL such as: http://example.com/archives/ …followed by the new slug of your post. In order to customize that slug, you’ll click on it. Doing so will open an editing box, like magic! It’s here you can insert your custom slug. In this example, you might choose: spiderman-not-amazing …so that your final URL is short, easy to read and remember. Such as: http://example.com/archives/spiderman-not-amazing You can use this feature to include keywords in your URL, sum up the post in fewer words, and make the link easier to remember for your potential readers.

WordPress Theme Generators for 2012

Lubith WordPress Theme Generator (free & pro versions)

Lubith is pretty new to the theme generator frontier.  They have a nice looking interface (you need a free account to even play with it).  It is easy to drag/drop what you want in your theme.  This is pretty different compared to most theme generators that give you finite options for layout, background, etc. and you must choose among them.

It would be nice to see Lubith in action without signing up for an account.  If it’s that good, why not let the product speak for itself?

WordPress Theme Generator (free)

This one has been around a while, I call it “yo-shap” because that’s how I read the TLD it sits on.  I’m not sure if that’s the creators name or what, but it’s one of the original theme generators out there.  It is clean and quick, but doesn’t come with any flashy options.  Maybe that’s what you’re looking for.  It supports up to WordPress 3.1 as of the writing of this post.  If you just want a basic layout generator, this is the one for you.

 WP Theme Generator

A more all-inclusive WordPress theme generator, this one has countless options.  Again, you’re stuck with the options that are available, but it would be difficult to find one that did not work for your purposes.  My challenge with this type of generator is that the themes are not truly unique.  But I’ve yet to see a WordPress theme generator that will come up with something truly unique.

Artisteer

You’ll quickly gather from our previous review of Artisteer that it is all for show.  The interface is the best one available, it works as any other Microsoft Office program might, which is very nice… at first.  Then you realize Artisteer is just another pre-packaged WordPress theme generator with limited options.  If you want to churn out cheap themes quickly, this is the tool to use.  However each file is filled with Artisteer references so you can’t pass themes off as your own.

ThemesPress

A very cool tool that I have admittedly not tried myself is ThemesPress. Unlike the others listed here, ThemesPress lets you turn HTML into a WordPress theme.  Why would this be helpful?  For several reasons: paying for a custom HTML design is cheaper than a full blown WordPress design.  Also, sometimes you’re given an HTML design by a client that you must convert.  It costs $10, but could be well worth the investment.

 

Official Facebook WordPress Plugin Causes Serious Lag

For the last few weeks we have been trialing the official Facebook WordPress plugin. It seemed like a no brainier, adding some nice features including a nice widget the floats down the bottom of the page and encourages users to browse more content on your site that has been popular on Facebook. However, we have noticed on our setup that it was causing some serious issues.

  1. We had some heavy backend lag, and sometime backend pages wouldn’t even load, the comment moderation page seemed to be the worst.
  2. We noticed that the front end of the site was much slower to respond too. It seemed to double the response time of the site which floats around 400-500ms, and has been averaging over 1000ms since we enabled Facebook’s official WordPress plugin.


Pingdom Response time report

I guessing the conflict may be something to do with our setup. Pingable uses a MAXCDN to speed up file delivery, so it may be a conflict with that or the way we have W3 Total Cache configured. Either way…a slow site isn’t good enough, so the Facebook plugin is going for now.

I’d be curious to hear if others are having issues with the new Facebook plugin. A quick search on Google uncoverd a few others having the same issues as we are:

Beautiful Free and Premium Responsive WordPress Themes

A new word is being used to describe some WordPress themes, “responsive WordPress themes”. This descriptor is used when a theme can fit any screen size without needing multiple versions of the design. For example, a theme that adjusts when the screen size changes without reloading or redirecting to a “mobile” version.

There is a simple test for whether or not a theme is responsive. Visit the theme, make sure the browser window is not maximized, and drag the corner of the window in and out, changing the size of the viewable window. If the theme gracefully adjusts without losing perspective, key features or dimensions, the theme is responsive. Think of it like the theme is responding to the window size.

Of course, there is some pretty tricky coding that goes into creating a truly responsive theme.  If you already know how to create a WordPress theme (not using Artisteer) and you have a basic knowledge of CSS, you can check out this tutorial on creating a responsive WordPress theme.

If you are a WordPress administrator that wants to use an ipod/ipad/iphone/tablet friendly design, check out any of these amazing responsive WordPress themes:

Alyeska | Download | Demo

Core Minimalist | Download | Demo

GoodLayers | Download | Demo

Reaction | Download | Demo

Shapeshifter 2 | Download | Demo

This is the second version of a popular theme we reviewed here.

Balita | Download | Demo

Angular | Download | Demo

Bones| Download | Demo

Flexible | Download | Demo

Mixfolio | Download | Demo

Chameleon | Download | Demo