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WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks Newsletter

Here is the archive of articles written for our monthly WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks Newsletter.

A well-made plugin is a beautiful thing. But sometimes when you know what you want, it’s better to just fix the code rather than add yet another plugin to an already long list of them. Here are some plugin-free hacks to spruce up the appearance of your blog posts.

Display a snapshot of an external website

If you showcase websites on your blog or simply want to add the ability to put a snapshot of one anywhere you please, here’s an easy hack that started as a plugin from BinaryMoon.

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SEO has always been a complicated subject with few inviolable rules that aren’t subject to drastic change as Google updates its search algorithms. 2012 looks to be even more confusing and uncertain, especially for webmasters hoping to improve their search rankings through “traditional” SEO methods.

As chronicled by SEO Moz, Google has been picking up the pace in pursuit of its goal of promoting unique, useful content and demoting poor-quality, spam-like content. New algorithm updates and tweaks are likely to continue this year, destroying page rankings for some and doing large favors for others. New advances in web-crawling technology and the continued rise of sharing sites like Pinterest further muddy the waters while also presenting new opportunities.

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With all the recent internet hubbub over SOPA and PIPA, the US Congress legislation that would have created unprecedented censorship of popular websites, along with last year’s furor over Wall Street excesses, business owners are thinking more frequently about corporate responsibility and business ethics than they otherwise might.

While any judgment about “good” companies and “bad” companies is bound to be subjective, it’s worthwhile to take a moment to step back and recognize who’s making an effort to make the world a better place and who’s simply trying to make money at any cost. We all need to put food on the table, but hopefully we can do it while making an effort to leave a better planet for our grandchildren.

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In the wake of the recent surge of online activism that led to the defeat (for now) of SOPA and PIPA, the US Congress bills that would have paved the way for unprecedented censorship of the web, it seems fitting to touch on a few ways you can use your WordPress site to create online petitions.

In addition to providing a platform for citizens to speak out on a particular issue, petitions can help you build your contact lists by getting new people to sign up for your newsletter or link to your site via social media. Of course, creating a petition solely for this purpose is pretty unethical and very inadvisable, but every social movement needs momentum and a healthy dose of opportunism to thrive.

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youtube(1)

If you’ve got videos to display, layout is everything. Whether you want users to watch your videos so they’ll be persuaded to buy your product or you just want people to get a laugh out of seeing your cat fall off the couch, it’s important that they’re enticed to watch and that the watching experience is attractive and seamless.

Here are the best WordPress Video plugins that take content from YouTube, Vimeo, Metacafe, etc. and dress them up just for your blog.

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WordPress-icon

WordPress is, for clients as large as the New York Times to as small as your buddy Greg’s vacation blog, a remarkably versatile and user-friendly option that legions of webmasters are already using as their preferred CMS. But you probably already knew that. Your problem is that not everyone’s on board. Some have complaints about the learning curve, others might not quite get how themes and plugins work, and still others don’t understand what “open-source” means and they’re suspicious of it.

An important aspect of building websites for third parties using WP as a CMS is being able to talk to clients and explain lucidly why this thing is the real deal. Here are 8 handy reasons to keep in mind as you fill them in:

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chat

Some bloggers take a hands-off attitude toward comments. They figure they’ve got better things to do than worry about select opinions that may not even provide any helpful insight. Anyone who’s ever spent some time reading YouTube comments can relate: Comments aren’t always Grade-A discourse.

However, ignoring your comment boards is not only a mistake that will allow them to be overrun by trolls and spammers, but a huge missed opportunity to increase your readership. As any good social media expert will tell you, building a fan base is about creating a conversation between your readers and you.

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html_editor

Compared with most other WYSIWYG editors, WordPress’s visual interface is smooth and full-featured. However, most WordPress users run into a problem with it at some point or another. Whether your line breaks went AWOL, your paragraph tags disappeared, or your headings came out looking funky, if you’ve had issues you’re not alone.

Unfortunately, pasting directly from Microsoft Word has always created more problems than it solves, with loads of extraneous code hitching a ride with your content and making it look downright weird. While WordPress’s “Paste from Word” tool, included with the visual editor, solves some of these problems, we’ve found that often it still creates text that doesn’t look right. So what’s a blogger to do?

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protection

Hacking happens. While WordPress and your hosting company are doing their best to keep malicious viruses out of your directories, your site may still be vulnerable to a wide range of attacks if you don't seal up some of the possible holes they can exploit. Here are six of the most important things you can do to make your WP site more secure.

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tumblr

Tumblr is like WordPress Lite, offering a sleek, slimmed-down blogging experience. Since it began in 2007, Tumblr has attracted more than 3 million users. As a way to simply and easily post short-form content, it's a handy little platform. It doesn't replace our beloved WordPress, of course, since the latter is far more full-featured. In fact, many savvy bloggers use both. If you've got our would like to get a Tumblr blog and a WordPress site, we've got 6 plugins that will allow you to connect your two outlets and streamline your publishing.

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colorize

WordPress message boards and forums are often dominated by two types of users: Know-nothings and know-it-alls. Some ask questions, some answer them. But as WordPress has grown in popularity, a large intermediate class has emerged: the “know-a-little-bits.” They might know a little HTML, a little CSS, maybe even some PHP. Sound like you or someone you know?

As a confessed “know-a-little-bit,” I sympathize. Here’s a basic bit of knowledge for semi-noobs like me: The four places where you can edit the appearance of your blog.

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rss

If you’re serious about blogging, you’re probably no stranger to RSS (Really Simple Syndication). As the most widespread and easy way to distribute your content to faithful readers, it’s a powerful tool that has become the standard for content syndication.

Many bloggers, unfortunately, never consider how their content will appear in an RSS feed. With a bit of extra code here and there, you can easily optimize your RSS presence and make it easier for readers to share your material with the world. Here are five of the most important things you can do to show your RSS feed some love right now.

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