Twitter updates for your sidebar

Twitter_IconHi there,

A bit of bad news, but a lot of good news when it comes to Twitter.

As you know, widgets are only as good as the developer that updates it and one of our widgets “Latest Twitter Sidebar Widget” is no longer functioning and the developer will not be updating the plug-in due to Twitter’s new API.  I will be removing it from the list of available plug-ins.

WordPress - Extra Sidebar Widget

 

Onto the good news!! We were using that widget because at the time when I installed it, WordPress did not offer a way to show your feed from the dashboard.  Jetpack, in one of its later releases, did just that and you will find in the Jetpack menu the following option for Extra Sidebar Widgets

 

With this widget you can add:

The RSS Links Widget lets you easily add post and comment RSS feeds to a sidebar on your theme.

The Twitter Widget shows your latest tweets within a sidebar on your theme.

The Facebook Like Box Widget shows your Facebook Like Box within a sidebar on your theme.

The Image Widget lets you easily add images to a sidebar on your theme.

Each of these widgets has a number of customization options. To use the widgets, go to Appearance → Widgets. Drag them into one of your sidebars and configure away.

As always, feel free to contact me if you need any help.

July 11: WordPress Restore

As many of you have experienced, we have had a number of issues with the wordpress blogs over the past two days.  There is a corruption and we will restoring the blogs back to working order later this afternoon.  The last clean backup before the corruption began was on July 5th.

This means that when we restore wordpress later today any posts that you have made from July 5th and on will not appear on your blog.
What to do:  Please copy and paste the text from your blog posts (July 5th to today) to another source like Word, or notepad. You will be able to repost those entries and postdate them to what ever date you want.  I will follow-up to this email with instructions on how to do that.
I am very sorry for the inconvenience. Please contact me if you have any questions. I will do my best to get back to you as quickly as possible.  Please pass this information to anyone else in your departments that might be affected by this information.
Thanks,
Meredith

WordPress moved to new server

Blog type keysYou 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.

Happy Monday.

Upgrade to WordPress 3.5.1

Hello Bloggers!

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.

Easy Contact Form

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)

WordPress - Custom Form Button

  • 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”

WordPress - Edit Custom Form Field

  • 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.

WordPress - Contact Form Code

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.

 

Enable Blog Comments through Facebook or Twitter

Social Media CommentsIntegrate 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.

 

Hidden Font Options

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.

Kitchen Sink Button

Automatically Post to Twitter, Facebook and More

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.

 

Publicize on WordPress

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.

Easy right?

 

Changing your “by-line” name in your posts

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.

WordPress - Edit Profile

WordPress - Change your screen name