Wordpress

New to Blogging — 5 useful widgets

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I started blogging about a month ago so I thought I’d do a short bit on what I’ve learned.

First off, I’m using a blogging software, WordPress.  Honestly, mostly because it was provided free at my hosting site. Yes, I can do the html but this

makes it so much easier.  Click a button to make a new post.  As each post gets posted, the sidebar gets updated with “recent posts”, “menu”, etc.  You can choose what you want in the sidebar through “widgets.”  Because it’s a popular platform, lots of people are making widgets for free which I love so you don’t need to know coding to add more capabilities.

Here are five useful things to know as you blog. The More tag and 5 very useful widgets. (Plus an added PS because I just figured out the Like button). The thing I think I love best about the widgets is that it’s easy to do a search for them and install.  And so far, knock on wood, I haven’t run into any problems.  A very useful site to visit is the WordPress.org plugins site. They have a handy little search bar that lets you sort through more than 50,000 plugins to find the one you want from free ones on up.

Read More tag

 

The read more tag shortens the blog post on your home page and adds a direct link to the rest of the article on the post page.

It’s pretty simple.  Just click the “more” tag (2 heavy lines sandwiching a dotted line) where you want the link to be.  The post will end there on the home page (or feed) and a link “Continue reading” will appear.

 

TinyMCE Advanced

An awesome free widget. If it comes pre-installed, activate it.  If you don’t have it, go get it.  The formatting menu that I had originally was pretty bare bones. You can see it to the left 

 

So I made some choices in the TinyMCE Advanced options pictured below:

 

and this is the formatting menu I work with now — on the left. Makes things so much nicer.

 

Social Pug

Free widget. I wanted to people to be able to post to their Facebook and other social medias with a simple click.  Widget posts social media icons on the blog post (not the menu) that gives people the ability to do this.

The free one has Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.  You can choose to show the share counts or an aggregate.  I have mine at the top and the bottom of the post.  That way on a long post, if they like it, they don’t have to scroll all the way back to the top to share it. Socialpug has a more advanced widget that you can buy with a lot more social networks, plus you can set it to float to the side of the post.  For now, the free one is enough for me.

 

Jetpack

Jetpack is another must have widget.  It gives you options.  You can just go free or you can pay a monthly fee to get more abilities.  Here is what you can get for free (copied from the WordPress.org plugins site):

[free] Site stats and analytics
[free] Automatic sharing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Reddit, and WhatsApp
[free] Related posts
[free] Brute force attack protection
[free] Downtime and uptime monitoring
[free] Secured logins and two-factor authentication
[free] A high-speed CDN for your images
[free] Carousels, slideshows, and tiled galleries
[free] Simple embeds from YouTube, Google Documents, Spotify and more
[free] Sidebar customization including Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds
[free] Extra sidebar widgets including blog stats, calendar, and author widgets
[free] Email subscriptions
[free] Comment login with Facebook, Twitter, and Google
[free] Fully-customizable contact forms
[free] Infinite scroll for your posts

As you can see, it’s got a lot.  I love the stats and email subscriptions but my favorite is the “Related Posts”.  At the end of each of my posts, it automatically adds 3 other posts of mine that relate to the one I just finished.  It’s pretty cool.

Wordfence

I like this security widget. It allows you to see Live traffic and gives you options on Firewall and Blocking.   On Live traffic I was able to see people supposedly on the diffrent Ukraine and Russian IPs was trying to login as admin onto my wordpress site. Since at this time, I am the only writer on this blog and I live in the USA, I know that person was not me. Using the Wordfence blocking capability, I blocked a range of addresses that had attempted to login.  Now when I view the live traffic, I can see that though they try to go to that login page again, they are being blocked these days from the whole site.  Wordfence also stopped a fake googlebot from loading a file onto my site. I am surprised that someone has already tried to hack my site since I am so new and it’s a very tiny site.

Category Specific RSS

Some people like to follow a blog through RSS feeds.  If you have a blog with a number of different topics, this widget is for you.  It allows people to sign up for feeds on specific categories instead of an all or nothing feed.

 

Oh and one more — the Like Button

Found the “Like Button”.  Under “Setting” under “Sharing”.  Now I had initially clicked “WordPress.com Likes are”  “on for all posts” but the like button had not shown up.  So I had scratched my head and went on my way.

Today the lightbulb went on — mostly because I visited a few sites and everyone had THE button.  I went back to “Setting” to “Sharing” determined to figure out why I had no button. I saw there was a section above that read “Show button on”  and I had not clicked anything.   So I clicked on the checkmark for “Posts.”  And Viola!  It showed!   Yay!  So I added the top one “Front Page, … ” and wow, it showed even when you read the post on the front page.  Now people can like me!  Well, hopefully they liked me before, lol, but now I’ll know they liked me.

Okay. that’s it.  unless I find out something else and another postscript.

References:

Category Specific RSS

Jetpack

Social Pug

Tiny MCE Advanced

Wordfence

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