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Posts Tagged ‘theme’

Why Bloggers Should Care About WordPress 3.6

WordPress LogoAfter well over half a year since the previous 3.X release, two weeks ago WordPress 3.6, named “Oscar”, was released and the blogging world, it seemed, barely took notice.

Sure, there was the standard griping about having to update X number of blogs and clamoring to learn about the new features, but it can’t be said that those new features set the world on fire in any major way (good or bad). Sure, they were welcome additions, but most of the features aren’t particularly useful to any established blogger who is the sole author of their site.

Still, bloggers should be taking notice of WordPress 3.6, there are several additions to it that represent not just a pivot point for WordPress, but for blogging in general. If the release feels like WordPress isn’t moving forward, it’s likely just because it’s changing direction and soon, whether you like it or not, it’s likely that you’ll be going along with it.

In short, WordPress 3.6 may not drastically change how you blog today, but it may have big implications for your site down the road, implications you can start preparing for now. Read More

Categories: WordPress News
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5 Keys for a Successful Site Redesign

Design ImageThe time has come and it can’t be put off any longer. You need to update your site’s look (and hopefully you have more than five hours to do it in).

Whether your existing theme isn’t compatible with newer versions of your content management system (CMS), your layout isn’t isn’t capable of keeping up with what you want to do next with your site or your existing look has grown too dated, the decision to redesign a site is never easy.

Not only is it a great deal of work to create a new theme, but your readers, even if they don’t realize it, have likely become familiar and comfortable with it. As Facebook has shown us repeatedly, even small changes can lead to user revolts if you take your visitors out of their comfort zone.

So you do you prevent a site redesign from taking on a life of its own and becoming either a technical or a user nightmare? Obviously, planning is key but how you plan and what you plan is the difference between a relatively painless transition to a disaster that sets your site back months or years.

With that in mind, here are five of the biggest keys to focus on when you’re looking to redesign your site. Read More

Categories: General
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How I Created a New WordPress Theme in 5 Hours

WordPress LogoLast month I found myself with my back against the wall: My theme was falling apart.

In June of 2011 I had switched my site to the Headway Theme Framework, version 2.X. The changeover, initially, went very well. The theme was wonderful on the test site and, despite a hiccup or two in transferring it to the new main site, things were up and running quickly.

But problems slowly began to arise. The theme would occasionally have errors where the settings would change or elements would be added, causing sections of my pages to be repeated many times over. Most of the time the problems were minor and easily fixed, but they were annoying. However, over time the problems began to escalate.

After setting up the theme, I was at a major plagiarism conference in the UK when my site broke completely and became unreadable. The smaller errors started to become more common and it began to feel as if I was doing patch jobs on the theme weekly or more regularly.

I tried addressing the issue with both my host and with Headway’s support but none of the changes, including increasing the memory in my VPS, seemed to help. The people at Headway encouraged me to upgrade to the 3.X branch, saying it was much more stable and resource-friendly. However, there’s no upgrade path to go from 2.X to 3.X, meaning that doing so would require starting from scratch. In my mind, I didn’t have the time to set up a new theme and the patches, while annoying, were not time-consuming.

But then things went from bad to worse. In one day the theme went down three times and, the last time, temporarily took the entire database with you. Though I have good backups of my database, nothing causes a moment of panic quite like realizing that 8 years of hard work may have just been erased.

Fortunately it wasn’t, but with errors now as frequent as coffee breaks, I knew something had to be done quickly. So, that evening, I set out on one of my most ambitious WordPress-related tasks, creating an entire new theme in one night. Read More

Categories: WordPress Themes, WordPress Tips, WordPress Tools
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Blogging Pitfalls: How to Create or Find Your Blog’s Identity

Very quickly, if I visit your blog, will it stand out and be memorable to me? Will it separate itself from any of the sixty blogs created in the last minute? What about any of the more than 86,000 that will be created today? What about the more than half a million created this week?

If your blog is going to succeed, it has to stand out and be something other than “Just another WordPress (or other blogging system) blog”. Doing that, however, isn’t very easy not because it’s difficult to give your site a custom identity but because, with so many other sites out there, it can take a lot of work to give your site something that no one, or almost no one else, has.

However, if you don’t do it, you risk your good work and your energy going to waste, getting lost in the endless and faceless crowd that is 99% of all blogs created. For your site to succeed, it must have a “face” and a unique presence, something you’re not going to get without rolling up your sleeves and getting a little bit dirty with your theme, logo and your domain.

It might be intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but it isn’t half as scary as having millions of twins out there, ready to take your blogging identity in a heartbeat by sheer accident alone.

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Categories: Blogging: How To
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Blogging Pitfalls: How to Build and Maintain Trust

Trust ButtonTrust is easily the most valuable and most fragile of all the commodities a blogger has to have to be successful.

However, making complete strangers trust you and count on you is no simple task, especially when they will most likely never meet you. It can require years of tireless, consistent work, the ability to repeatedly prove that you are capable of delivering on what you promise and constantly striving to build a reputation for high quality work.

But for all of the work required to build trust, it can be lost in the blink of an eye. One breach of that trust, no matter how small, can set you back months, even years in terms of trust and some incidents can even overshadow your entire history, becoming damaging “buts” to an otherwise stellar reputation.

Learning how to build and keep trust is critical for every blogger. If your readers are going to let you in as part of their lives, no matter how small of a part that is, they need to know what role you’re going to fulfill and that you will do it well. Trust is often what separates the one-off or casual reader from the avid fan, trust is how you build inbound links and trust is how you grow your site.

Fortunately, building and managing trust is easier than many make it out to be, but it isn’t quite as simple as just doing quality work either. To build and keep trust, there are steps you have to take to ensure that others are receptive to your work and will notice your efforts, thus ensuring that your hard work doesn’t go to waste.

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Categories: Blogging Sense, Blogging Tips, Blogging: How To
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