You may have noticed little blips here and there when trying to access your blog recently. Our amazing Windows team (thank you especially to Stephen Cattaneo) graciously moved WordPress to a new server. Hopefully this will minimize the blips and bumps.
As always… if you do run into problems, please contact me and let me know what’s going on. I really depend on your feedback.
Now that I am back from my leave, I would like to get my hands back into WordPress and start with upgrading to version 3.5.1. You will not need to do anything but please let me know if you see anything unusual or if you find a widget or plug-in is misbehaving. I will be upgrading later today.
The new version does have new features options for uploading multiple images to create easy photo galleries in your post – finally!
There will be lots of new posts coming on the FIT Bloggers’ Blog so please check in for more information or please let me know if there is a topic or feature you would like to see more information on. Sign up for the email updates on the home page so that you will be automatically informed of new posts.
I wanted to highlight the option built right in to your new posts and pages to create a very easy contact form. This can come in really handy if you are looking for feedback, requesting basic information, or want to give your readers an option to contact you directly through your blog.
I used this form creator on the FIT Bloggers blog and is labeled in the menu as Have an Idea For This Site? In my example, I placed the form on a static page, however, this could be done in an individual post as well.
How to create a contact form directly in your post or page:
- Type in your introduction to the form or any verbiage that should precede the form
- Place your cursor where on your post or page you would like the form to start
- Click on the “Add Custom Form” button just above your formatting toolbar (see screenshot)
- A new window will pop open and on the first tab “Form Builder” where you can decide what your form will look like. When you click on each field, such as “Name” two options will appear to either “move” or “edit”
- The “move” feature allows you to drag and drop and fields into the specific order that you would like them to appear in. ”Edit” will let you change the label name, choose the type of field information you are collecting, and also to decide if the information you are collecting for that particular field is required or not. (In my example, I changed the email field to read “FIT Email Address” and also changed the website field to read “Name of FIT Blog”.
- Remember to click “Save This Field” for each line you change.
- You can also choose to use the option at the bottom of the form to create your own fields.
- The second tab at the top of the form builder, called “Email Notification” allows you to decide who will receive the notification of a new comment. This should be the Administrator of the FIT blog, or an author on the blog that you trust to check their FIT email accounts. (General comments on the blog are all sent by default to the blog administrator).
- If you made any changes, click “Save and go back to form builder.”
- If happy with your form click on the blue button “Add this form to my post”
- You see a bunch of new code on your page that will look like the below. You do not need to fo anything else other than adding any additional text below the new code if needed.
There are more complex form building plug-ins for WordPress, and please contact the Technology Development Team (TDT) if you would like to explore other options.
Integrate social media login options for your blog’s comments:
If you haven’t had the chance to review all of the recent changes in the Jetpack menu, I wanted to make you aware of an option called “Jetpack Comments.” By default all FIT blogs are enabled to use a spam filter requiring all commenters to fill out their name and email address before a comment can be submitted for approval. And in most cases, an administrator must always approve the comment before it goes live.
Jetpack Comments allows the commenter to use their Twitter, Facebook, or WordPress account if they have one to automatically log in. Once you activate Jetpack Comments through the Jetpack menu additional options will appear under Settings > Discussion at the bottom of the page allowing you to choose a greeting text and a color scheme.
Depending on the theme that you are using for your blog you will have different options on how you can (or can’t in some instances) manipulate the fonts in your posts. If you are using the original FIT template and a few of the others there is a button in the tool bar when composing a new post called the “kitchen sink.” And clicking it will either hide or reveal the kitchen sink of font options available such as font color, pasting text directly from MS Word, removing formatting, custom characters, and more.
Below is a screenshot of the kitchen sink button for reference.
In the past you had to jump through some hoops to get your posts sent directly to your affiliated Facebook or Twitter accounts. Well, not anymore. Jetpack was upgraded today to version 2.0 which includes a very powerful sharing tool that allows you to choose what social networks you want your information to post to automatically for you. You also have the ability to choose by each post which networks to activate/deactivate.
Click on Jetpack in the left-hand navigation, and from the Jetpack menu find the option for “Publicize” and then click on “Configure.” Connect your account one by one for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumbler, or Yahoo. If you are already logged into any of these networks, it should pick up the account right away. Just be wary of what account you are signed into if you have more than one. Also be sure to save the setting changes at the bottom of the page.
After linking your networks you will now see a difference when you go to publish a new post. You will have a few new options.
Just above the “Publish” button, all of your linked accounts will appear by default. If you would like to disable one or more of your networks for a single post then choose “edit” to customize which networks to send to as well as the customized message sent.
The log-in migration has been completed for all of the FIT blogs. This means that at this point you will only be able to log into your FIT account with your FIT username and password.
If you are having any trouble with your password, please contact Customer Service but either calling 7-TECH while on campus, visit room C305b, or email email@example.com.
Do you have a nickname you prefer to go by? Or do you want just your first name to show when you post? No sweat.
Click on your name on the upper-right corner of the page from the dashboard to edit your profile and you will see that about half way down your profile there are a few options for you to play with on how your name will show.
If you have a nickname fill that in the “nickname” text box and then when you click the drop down menu next to “Display name publicly as” option, select the name that you want and be sure to save your changes.
I recently stumbled upon this proofreading option within the profile options in WordPress. I tend to write a post when the moment strikes and even though my computer’s OS picks up on most typos, I am loving the build in option to proofread a post before publishing.
To activate the option hover over your name on the upper right corner of the window and select “Edit My Profile.”
Locate the section for Proofreading and make a selection of having your post proofread before you publish a post and/or when you update a post.
I tried it out on my last post and after I clicked “Publish” a window popped up asking if I wanted to review the spelling/grammar errors found. All of the items in question were underlined in red and very easy to find.
So what’s the deal with having “Jetpack” in your dashboard other than knowing that is where you go to find your blog stats now?
Well, there is a lot of functionality there that you can take advantage of. An extra tool box of goodies, if you will. I will be taking a look at a few of its features in upcoming posts because the list of features is pretty long. Taken from the plug-in summary page, here is a list of those features:
- Simple, concise stats with no additional load on your server. Previously provided byWordPress.com Stats.
- Email subscriptions for your blog’s posts and your post’s comments.
- Social networking enabled comment system.
- Simple, Akismet-backed contact forms.
- The WP.me URL shortener.
- Hovercard popups for your commenters via Gravatar.
- Easily embedded media from popular sites like YouTube, Digg, and Vimeo.
- For the Math geeks, a simple way to include beautiful mathematical expressions on your site.
- A widget for displaying recent tweets. Previously provided by Wickett Twitter Widget
- Your readers can easily share your posts via email or their favorite social networks. Previously provided by the Sharedaddy WordPress plugin.
- Your writing will improve thanks to After the Deadline, an artificial intelligence based spell, style, and grammar checker. Previously provided by the After the DeadlineWordPress plugin.
- With Carousel active, any standard WordPress galleries you have embedded in posts or pages will launch a gorgeous full-screen photo browsing experience with comments and EXIF metadata.
- A CSS editor that lets you customize your site design without modifying your theme.
- A mobile theme that automatically streamlines your site for visitors on mobile devices.
- Mobile push notifications for new comments via WordPress mobile apps.
- and many more to come!
I would love to hear how you are using any of these features and please feel free to comment on what you think about this new functionality. Is it too much? Not enough? Too Confusing or overwhelming?