Things you can do in WordPress

WordPress can do it!

Here’s an incomplete (but growing) collection of various things you can easily do in either or both versions of WordPress.

Add a Pinterest “Pin this” button

Take advantage of the exploding traffic Pinterest is generating by encouraging your readers to pin your content. (A post needs a non-Flash image to be pinnable.) The button looks like this:

If you have a WP.com site, you can add a Pin-it button to individual posts manually. Go to the Pinterest Goodies page, and scroll down to “Pin-it button for websites.” Self-hosted WP.org sites can get an automatic plug-in. The plug-in automatically creates the button for each post, so you don’t have to. Lets you set where it appears on the page and whether it displays a count. Get it here.

Add a Google Friend box to your sidebar:

How to get the code to plug into a text widget to make your Google Friend box: here.

Add Flash-based objects to a WordPress.com site:

Try inserting any Flash (or jquery, or frames) into a WordPress.com site, and you’ll find it gets automatically stripped out. There is a workaround, however. It will require some comfort and skill with pasting together code. This page walks you through it.

Add an image to a sidebar on a WordPress.org site:

Just install Jetpack. From your dashboard, just look for the blue box at the top of the screen that says “Jetpack is installed…” and click the “Learn More” button. On the next screen, click the “connect to WordPress” button, and you’re basically done.

If you don’t want to install Jetpack, here’s the other way:

1. Go to: Media > Add New

2. Upload the image you want to use.

3. Scroll down till you see the field called “File URL”; triple-click in that field to choose the entire thing, then copy it.

4. Before leaving that page, click “Save all changes”.

5. Paste your image URL into this code snippet: <img src=”your-image-URL-goes-here” title=”title-your-image” />

6. Copy that revised code snippet.

7. Go to: Appearance > Widgets

8. Drag a Text widget to your desired sidebar, then paste the code snippet into the widget and Save.

Here’s a video that walks you through it:

An alternate method to uploading the image and dealing with the code snippet: Pretend you’re doing a post; upload the image you want. (Resize and insert destination URL, if you wish.) Then insert it in your post. Switch to “HTML” view, copy the code and insert the code in your text widget.

Add social media icons to the navigation bar:

Note: These will only work if you have access to the CSS, which automatically comes with WP.org sites and is accessible for an annual fee on WP.com sites.

Collect donations or payments via PayPal

You can add a PayPal button into posts and pages that looks (and works) like this:

For a WordPress.com site:

For a WordPress.org site:

Countdown timers

Countdown timers let you dispay the month, days, hours and/or minutes till a given event. Here’s a WP-approved countdown timer plug-in for WP.org sites.

This article lists several timers for WP.com sites, including the shortcode to make them work. You’ll need to click through to pages 2 and 3 to see all of them. (Note: I’ve only used the first one, and had mixed success with it).

Disable comments

Go to “Settings > Discussion,” and un-check the third box, which says “Allow people to post comments on new articles.” On WP.com sites, you can also turn comments on or off for individual posts and pages. The checkbox for that appears just below the text box where you enter content. More info here.

Display a feed from iTunes

Using this nifty little freebie — Feed Flipper — you can generate a URL to plug into the “RSS Feed” widget. This will let you display a list of podcasts anywhere you can put a widget. Want to display it only on one specific page? Use the Widgets-on-Pages plug-in.

Drag-and-drop features in WordPress.org back end not working? Easy fix.

Some combinations of themes and plug-ins cause certain things in the WordPress back end to stop working. For example, you try to drag-and-drop social sharing icons, but they won’t budge. Don’t worry; there’s a simple fix. You just need to install Google Libraries.

1. Go here and click the big red/orange “Download Version x” button.

2. Once it’s downloaded, click the .zip file and save it where you want on your hard drive. (Good idea: create a folder called “WordPress Plug-ins”.)

3. FTP that file (use-google-libraries.php) to this folder: your website > html > wp-content > plugins

4. Once the ftp is complete, go to your WordPress back end. Go to Plug-ins > Installed Plug-ins.

5. Find Google Libraries in the list and click the “Activate” link.

6. You’re done!

Embed ad-free videos

For a flat annual fee ($59.97, as of 7/14/12), VideoPress promises that “You’ll be able to upload videos from your phone or through your WP admin directly to your blog.” Unlike other video hosting services, VideoPress starts and ends on your video, keeping traffic on your site. No teasers for “FUNNY CATS LOL” or the latest celeb faux pas.

Find free images for your blog.

This isn’t specific to WordPress; it works for any blog, CMS or website.

Sure, you can use Google Images, but those aren’t always copyright free — and you should use only copyright free images or images for which you’ve purchased copyrights.

You may already know about low-cost options like iStock and StockFresh. But here are a few good sources for images that are both copyright free and cost free:

owl eyes from Photo Pin

Photo Pin – Good quality images, for the most part; the search results can be a little wonky, though. (The image above is from Photo Pin. Photo credit: Hamed Saber via photo pin cc )

Morguefile – The search works fairly well, but the image quality is very uneven. There’s a lot of bad stuff (bad composition, terrible lighting, no creativity, etc.), but there’s also the occasional gem.

Wikimedia Commons – This collection leans heavily toward historical, technical and scientific collections. For example, you can find drawings by Van Goghmaps of cities, or anatomical plates of the human body. (Art nerd heaven!)

Integrate an Amazon a-Store

How to add your own Amazon store to your self-hosted (WordPress.org) blog. Requires wading into a little bit of copy-and-paste code and the ability to ftp. How to.

Put a widget in a page

Free your widgets from the sidebar! How to. (Update: Here’s a widget that makes this much easier. I’ve used it. Love it!)

Recipe formatting

Have a self-hosted food blog? This plug-in promises to easily and automatically format your posts for Google Recipe View. It’s called Easy Recipe. (Learn more about Google Recipe View.)

Reduce comment spam.

Use “Settings > Discussion” to control various settings related to comments. Note especially the “Comment Blacklist” section. It includes a bunch of suggested words to blacklist, meaning that any comment containing these will immediately be put in the spam folder and not displayed on your site. More info here.

Also, on WordPress.org sites, you can install a CAPTCHA plug-in.

Set up RSS feeds for any author or category.

Info from the WordPress.org Codex here.

Update image links after transferring from WP.com to WP.org

This page gives complete instructions on the full transfer process. Scroll down to “Update Links” for the image-specific info. And here’s a thread that solves the problem some people have with getting thumbnail images to transfer.

Use a WordPress shortcode outside of the post editor

Shortcodes let you do nifty stuff by just placing a specific short code inside square brackets. Normally, they can only be used in posts, but this page shows you how to place them elsewhere.

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