New Kubrick Header Switcher for WordPress 1.6

September 24, 2005 at 9:42 pm | In WordPress News | No Comments

Andy Skelton has added a Custom Kubrick Header Art Switcher to the development of WordPress 1.6. This handy feature will allow users of the Kubrick/Default WordPress Theme to quick switch their header art to change the look of their site.

Now, personally, I haven’t found a reason for anyone to use the Kubrick/Default WordPress Theme when there are tons of other choices out there, but I expect this new feature will revive the popularity of this Theme. I do hope the Default Theme will be cleaned up before the WordPress 1.6 release, though, as it continues to be a very problematic Theme for WordPress users.

Keep up the great work, Andy! WordPress 1.6 is getting more and more exciting - gives us more to look forward to.

Kim Komando - Computer and Geek Starlet

September 24, 2005 at 7:45 pm | In Web Wise | No Comments

I adore Kim Komando. I’m sure there are tons of guys out there who lust after her, but I adore what she’s done to the computer world. Haven’t heard of Kim Komando? Have you been living under a rock?

She’s blonde, thin, pretty, and geeky. For women, she should be our idol. She is showing women that it pays to be pretty and super intelligent all bundled up in a neat package. And she is showing the world that computers, the Internet, the web, and blogging can be fun, easy, and good for you.

was determined to bring computer technology to the media to make it live up to its claim of “user friendly” and to bring the excitement of computers “to the people”. Meeting resistance, she finally found some radio stations willing to take on her show, “Kim Komando”, which eventually led founding WestStar Talk Radio Network in 1991. As her radio show grew across the US to about 400 stations, so did her popularity. She is now a columnist with CNN, Gannett newspapers, and USAToday and her website, , attracts millions of readers and fans.

Traveling for years across North America, I kept a list of radio stations that carried her show and would tune in when possible to catch up on the latest news and tips on computers and technology from the road. I might have left my corporate computer world behind, but Kim Komando kept me up-to-date on what I was missing during those early years on the road before Internet access became more wide spread.

A recent column of hers in USAToday tackled Make Blogging Pay is a great example of her friendly, easy-to-read and understand style.

Keeping an online journal, or blog, can be rewarding. You can use it to share opinions or to keep in touch with friends. But you can use it to make money, too. Some bloggers report making a few thousand dollars each month from ads. Unless you have droves of readers, though, your efforts will be less rewarding. But you might cover some of the small monthly expenses associated with hosting a blog…Before you get started, here’s some advice. Keep your visitors in mind. Choose ads that offer value to your readers. They’ll appreciate it, and that means more money for you.

Kim Komando’s Tip of the Day can be read online or emailed to you daily, or in her weekly newsletters, keeping you up-to-date on a variety of things you can do to make your computer life much easier. I’ve found some of my favorite and most useful shareware and freeware programs through recommendations on her shareware recomendations, and her Kool Site of the Day has led me to discover some fun and new websites I would never have thought of checking out.

And she even has a blog called “Kim Komando’s Log”, which helps fans get to know a little more about her and her life, as well as her enthusiasm for computers.

By listening and reading what Kim Komando is talking and writing about, you get a pretty good idea of what mainstream Americans are interested in and what kind of computer help they need. While her information is directed to the average user and computer newbie, if your blog is about following trends and helping others, her services could help you stay on top of what the “common person” is thinking about when it comes to computers and the Internet. And you might learn a thing or two along the way.

Here are some other blogging highlights from recent Kim Komando articles.

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Bad Behavior - Updated New Release

September 24, 2005 at 5:14 pm | In WordPress News | No Comments

If you are a fan of the wonderful comment spam plugin Bad Behavior, the WordPress Plugin with “gives the finger to spammers and bots not on good behavior”, then get excited because ioerror has released a new version!

As a paranoid website administrator, I am constantly on the alert for comment spam, and I’m a long time fan of Bad Behavior. The new version features a time-testing criteria that puts comment spam bots that leave their litter across mutliple blogs in a very short time OUT THE DOOR.

In Bad Behavior 1.2.1, a new feature was implemented which blocked the IP address of a spammer for 48 hours. As it turns out, this is too long for some, too short for others. The new version takes a more balanced approach.

Now, if a spammer is blocked, its IP address is blocked for 10 minutes. If another attempt is received, the block is doubled to 20 minutes. And so on, without limit.

All attempts which are currently in the bad_behavior_log count toward this blocking, so changing the logging duration from the default of 7 days will have an effect on how effectively this new blocking works.

According to Donncha, this new version of Bad Behavior was installed today on wordpress.com, so users are better protected from comment spam.

Thank you, ioerror, for keeping an eye out for us and putting those creepy comment spammers out the door on their buns!

Problem Solving the WordPress Header

September 24, 2005 at 4:54 pm | In WordPress Tips | No Comments
Tips Apply to the Full Version of WordPress.

In order to learn more about WordPress, I started hanging out in the WordPress Codex and on the WordPress Support Forum. Over time, as I became more familiar with the inner workings of WordPress and read much of the documentation in the WordPress Codex, I started answering a few questions in the Forum. Part of giving back to the WordPress Community.

After a while, I found that many of the same questions were being asked over and over again, especially related to the WordPress Theme Header. So I thought I would tackle some of the questions and the answers here.

The main focal point for most websites and blogs, the header, seems to be of great importance and fascination to many users. Along with that fascination, they come up with a lot of problems with their headers in WordPress.

There is an article in the WordPress Codex that tackles just about all you could want to know about designing, styling, and figuring out your WordPress header called Designing Headers. It takes you into the two main versions of the header’s tags and structure, their styles, and the template tags used within them. It features examples of some of the award winning headers from recent WordPress Theme contests, and shows you how to change the header image or header art to better suit your site’s needs.

Here are a few of the most common questions people ask about their WordPress headers.

What are those strange code things in my WordPress header?

Inside the WordPress header of your Theme’s template files are strange looking code that WordPress uses to generate information you provide in your Administration Panels. These are examples of template tags.

<a href="<?php bloginfo('url'); ?>"><?php bloginfo('name'); ?></a>
<?php bloginfo('description'); ?>

The bloginfo() is one of the busiest template tags in WordPress. It features a wide selection of parameters to get different information from your database. In this instance, it pulls information you set in your Administration Panels for the URL or address of the website and puts it in a link, and then uses the “name” of the site as set it in the Administration Panels for the title of the site. The parameter “description” gets the website description and adds that to your header content.

To change the text in these, go to Options > General and change the information in the forum and click the Update button at the bottom of the panel. To change the structure of the tags and HTML code in the template page, open your Theme’s header.php in a text only editor and look for this code and make your changes there.

How Do I Change the WordPress Header Image?

To change the image in the header, the style references are found in the style.css style sheet file or in the head of the header.php template file. Look there for a reference to header, headerimage, or h1 and change the background image reference to the graphic image file you want to replace it.

If you are using a Kubrick/Default WordPress based Theme, a utility tool called Kubrickr changes the header image quickly and easily for you.

How Do I Center My WordPress Header Title

Each WordPress Theme positions the text within the header in a different way, often moving it around to accommodate the header art within it. To position the text to the right, left or center, find the h1 styles and add or change the text-align:right, text-align:left, or text-align:center.

Sometimes you want more control over the positioning of the title. You can use CSS positioning properties to move the text around within your header. The positions are left, right, top, bottom, and vertical-align.

To move the h1 to the upper right corner of the header, you might use:

h1 { position: absolute;
    top: 10px;
    right: 20px
    }

Experiment with the different positions to find the right placement for the text.

How Do I Add/Eliminate the Description in My WordPress Header

Many WordPress Themes include the blog or site description in the header. To remove or add the description, open the header.php template file.

To add the description to the header, below the h1 tag, add:

<div id="description"><?php bloginfo('description'); ?></div >

To remove it, find the above tag and delete it.

To style your description, add #description to your style.css style sheet and add the styles you want.

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Validating the Code Behind the Page

September 24, 2005 at 11:27 am | In Web Wise | No Comments
Checking Content
Begin your web page validation by checking the content of your page. It’s actually fairly simple. Is everything spelled correctly? Are the sentences compete? Is the grammar right? While this should be done at the time of creation, after you’ve messed around with the code for a while, you often have a fresh perspective on the content, so take another look to make sure it says what you want it to say, and it says it well and accurately. Many web pages flop due to horrible misspellings and simple grammar mistakes so easily fixed with today’s built-in spell and grammar checking programs. Take time to triple check the content to be sure.

Validating the code behind your web page isn’t limited to a check to see if the HTML or CSS codes are right. You need to check the content of the page, test and verify accessibility, and thoroughly test your page under different viewing conditions in order to know if the design will indeed be accessible: visible and usable by everyone.

The order for checking and validating your pages should be:

  • Content
  • HTML tags
  • CSS codes
  • Accessibility
  • Links

Creating “accessible” web pages is not just a standard from the W3C Organization. It is considered a requirement by some search engines. Getting noticed means being “seen” by search engines, so do your best to meet their needs, too. Don’t limit your audience by creating limited pages. It’s not hard to make your page accessible, and it will help you in the future as the rules become more stringent on this topic.

By checking the content and basic coding, including the HTML and CSS style sheets, you are making sure the web pages can easily be read by others, no matter their software. After all, if your page is doing strange things because of screwed up bits of code, it makes it difficult to read and people will click away from you quickly. Checking for accessibility guarantees your page will be able to be read by not only any Internet browser software, but by anyone.

Just because a web page looks good on your screen doesn’t mean that all the coding is accurate or that it will look good on someone else’s screen. Begin by checking your page against the W3 validator. If you have left a tag without a closing or have too many tags that don’t match, or the elements within a tag aren’t right, these will show up in your validation report. Any little bugs in the CSS style sheets will also be found.

To check your style sheets thoroughly, run it through W3’s CSS Validator separately. Fix and correct the mistakes and pass it through the tests again. When you get it right, the official validators reward you with an icon to post on your site to tell the world “I passed the test!” Don’t put this on every page on your site, but assign it to a nice “wall” on your “about us” or information page, just so those who are really interested in whether or not you passed can find it.

Most web page validators offer a link to help you understand what element is missing or needed to fix the code. About.com’s article about Using an HTML Validator discusses the most common errors to help you understand how to fix them if you need more information.

Different validators check for different problems. Some only check the HTML while others check both the HTML and CSS. There are validators to check your scripts, too. Some even check your layout to make sure all the containers are lined up as they should be and not spread all over the place overlapping, even though you can’t see it. Take the time to run your test pages through a variety of validation tests to catch all the little problems that might be there.

Helpful Validation Resources

The following are resources that will help you validate your web pages and code and help you understand a little more about how validation works.

HTML - Validation

CSS - Validation

Validation by Uploading Files - Validate From Your Computer

Validators - Resources and Articles

HTML - Articles about Validation

Meta Tag - Validation

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Meet Them: Benefits of Compliance with Web Standards

September 24, 2005 at 7:03 am | In Web Wise | No Comments

Before you can get your web page or blog noticed, you have to make sure all the parts fit together and it works properly.

Why? Well, in order to be seen, the page has to work. In other words, all the pieces and parts must be read by the user’s Internet browser, interpreted, and displayed upon the user’s screen. This seems like a simple task, but there is always a wrench thrown in to make it a little more complicated.

Currently, there are about a half dozen popular Internet browsers. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is the most popular, closely followed by Firefox, Opera, and Safari. An Internet browser is software that interprets a web page’s code (HTML, CSS, PHP, etc.) and visually displays the content so it is easy to view and read. Different browsers feature different ways of interpretation, therefore you need to make sure your site’s coding can be read by the majority of browsers. Let’s look at HTML compliance and how to meet the W3 Organization’s standards and compliance guidelines.

Benefits of Compliance
Only good can come from complying with web design standards.

  • Everyone can read it
  • Viewable by any Internet browser
  • Viewable by any computerized system
  • Viewable by foriegn language-enabled computers
  • Viewable by different types of hardware and software media (cell phones, handheld computers, Web Tv, etc.
  • Avoid lawsuits from non-compliance
  • Search engines adore your pages
  • Faster page loading times
  • Greater odds of visitor return
  • Easier to update, repair, and change in the future

In 1994, a group of web designers and programmers got together to create standards for universal access in web page coding. The World Wide Web was to be the “face” of the Internet, and these people were determined to make all the information available on the Internet open to everyone, no matter what kind of computer or software they were using - and no matter what language they could read. They wanted it open and available, without limits.

This meant that the page not only had to be visually “pretty” for those with eyes, it had to “sound” and work pretty for those who are dependent upon other senses. An accessible web page should work on a computer monitor, with a browser that can’t “see” the graphics, with “reader software” (software that “reads” out loud what is on the screen), braille readers (converts content to a special board that produces braille), and can be used by someone without the use of their arms or hands. With an estimated 20% of all Internet users physically challenged in some way, the need for this kind of access is critical.

Ah, but they didn’t limit the concept of accessibility to only the physically challenged. Millions of people want access to web pages on handheld computers, Web TV, and cell phones. Access for all means access for all.

The W3C created a uniform code for the programing language of the World Wide Web. They set the standards for approval and modification of the code and developed methods of validating that code. Internet browsers slowly caught onto the idea of standardization and today web designers can pretty much design web pages from one set of standard code. This benefits everyone. it’s like everyone speaking the same language at an international meeting - we all understand more.

Part of creating standards for the web is the challenge of compliance. There are no rules that state web page designers have to follow the standards set up by the W3, but if you want to design web pages for everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, then best play by the same rules as everyone else so everyone can access your pages.

Why Validate and Maintain Web Design Standards

There are a lot of reasons to meet web design standards, but one of the biggest reasons is search engine friendliness. The cleaner your code, the more error-free, the happier you make search engines. Google and others actually score points for validated and compliant website code. The easier it is for search engines to crawl through your site, the faster you end up in their database, working on your page rank.

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A New Kind of 404 Page Not Found Result

September 23, 2005 at 9:07 pm | In Blog Babble, Web Wise | No Comments

I love good 404 Page Not Found error pages. These are the web pages you encounter when you have landed on a bad link or wrong address. Really good 404 pages can be helpful to locate the information you want, with links to your sitemap and categories, but the best are the ones that amuse as well as entertain.

Did you know that there are websites dedicated to collecting 404 Page Not Found error pages? They either link to them or provide screen shots of them. They are wonderful. There is a list of some of these Page 404 collections below.

What brought this on? Well, a friend who I got interested in 404 Pages emailed me this 404 Error Page from something called “Softlab” with a Greece extension. It features a javascript that scrolls out a one-sided conversation with you.

Hate to tell you this, but that page ain’t here.
Seriously. It’s not.
404 baby. 40-freakin’-4.
I even tried multi,
which is much more than I do for most folks.
Most times, I just zap up a blank page
and give the old 404 rap,
But you, you’re special, baby.
And, if I could, I’d run off right now
and find the page you wanted.
Or, even better, run off with you
and screw the stupid page.

It goes on and on. It’s wonderful, and the script is in the source of the page.

Here are some other sources for great 404 Page Not Found Error Pages.

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ProBlogger’s One Year Anniversary - Top 20 Posts Showcased

September 23, 2005 at 6:26 pm | In Blog Babble, Web Wise | No Comments

I’ve mentioned Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger site before, packed to the brim with tons of tips, resources, and information you need to become a pro blogger yourself. In honor of the one year anniversary of ProBlogger, Darren’s released his 20 most popular posts.

These top 20 posts about blogging, marketing your blog, writing your blog, advertising on your blog, and search engine optimization should really be put into a book or class - Pro Blogging 101. They should be the first things you read if you want to be a serious blogger.

Congrats, Darren, on one year of ProBlogger, and thank you for helping educate us bloggers and inspiring us to raise the bar not only on our blogs but on ourselves. Your 31 Days to Building a Better Blog is a work of art and it pushed and shoved thousands and thousands of bloggers off their complacent butts to be better and to treat this like a serious business and not just a playground. Cheers.


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Users FAQ for wordpress.com

September 23, 2005 at 4:25 pm | In WordPress News | 2 Comments

Donncha has released a FAQ for wordpress.com users which answers a lot of the most frequently asked questions.

One of the questions and answers is to the recent stripping of all inline styles and use of Javascript inside of posts. While stripping out Javascript is something I can understand, protecting the site from potentially dangerous scripts, HTML inline styles with CSS should be restored. I’m sure there must be some method of permitting inline tag styles to remain while stripping out specific dangers.

I’ll talk more about this later, but remember this. WordPress is user driven. If you don’t like what is going on, complain, loudly, with specific suggestions. Squeaky wheel and all that.

There have been some improvements in the Dashboard and with the exciting new live Post Preview, and we all look forward to watching WordPress grow under our fingers.

Thanks to Donncha for providing extensive information and working so hard with so many other volunteers on the WordPress development team, bringing us the latest and bestest WordPress code, although it is a bit limited on wordpress.com.

WordPress Tips and Tricks for Style Sheets

September 23, 2005 at 4:22 pm | In WordPress Tips | No Comments
Tips Apply to the Full Version of WordPress.

If you are designing or customizing your own WordPress Theme, here are few tips and tricks to help you. Also check out the article on Designing a WordPress Theme - Building a Sandbox. If you are designing a Theme for others to use, see Designing WordPress Themes for Public Release and Attention WordPress Theme Designers: Designing Themes for WordPressMU.

I’m desperate. I’ve been trying to do this for hours? How do I move this little section up just a bit to line up with that little section there? Help me!!!!!

Finding Your CSS Styles

Designing any website, as well as WordPress Themes, the smallest detail in the layout and design can send even the most expert web page designer into fits. Since you probably aren’t a top-notch CSS and HTML expert, how about I show you the tricks they use for finding their CSS styles and tweaking those little bits and pieces into shape.

A web page is generated using a combination of HTML tags which basically hold the structural frame work of the web page, and a style sheet which provides instructions to those tags on how to look and where to put themselves. Going through a style sheet to find the solution to your problem isn’t as easy as it looks. But tracking down the style sheet reference inside of the web page and HTML tags is actually easier than you think. It’s a matter of tracking down the culprit by narrowing the suspects.

View Source of Web Page CodeView the trouble causing page in your browser. Look closely where the trouble maker is and note any text near the problem area. From the browser menu, choose View > Page Source. This will bring up a new window with the code behind your web page. Now, using your “find” (CTRL+F), search for the key text you spotted nearest your problem.

Look closely at the code around the text. You should see a HTML and/or class or ID reference for the CSS. It might look something like this:

<div id="sidebar">

This is an HTML container which has been given the ID of sidebar. If you look in your style sheet, you will find a reference to #sidebar which contains all the layout and presentation codes that designs your sidebar. If the sidebar is the problem area, begin to make small modifications here to fix your problem.

If you are still having troubles tracking down the troublesome area, then put borders around each container near the troublesome area. For example, if it is the sidebar, and the content and header touch it, let’s find out in which of these the problem lies by adding a border in the style sheet to each section.

#sidebar { border:1px red solid; ....}
#content { border:1px blue solid; ...}
#header { border:1px green solid; ....}

This may narrow down your focus, but if it doesn’t, then continue down the various subcontainers within the section. For example, the sidebar is packed with nested lists. So give the lists some borders.

#sidebar ul { border:1px yellow solid; ...}
#sidebar li { border: 1px black solid; ...}
#sidebar ul ul { border:1px pink solid; ...}

And so on. This will help you to isolate the area that needs the work. When you are done, remove the borders.

Get Firefox!One of the best tools recently developed for web page designers is found in the Firefox Internet Browser. Called the Firefox Web Developer Extension, it allows amazing WYSIWYG on the screen live editing of the style sheets of any web page. And a whole lot more. You can learn more about how to use this to style your WordPress Themes and find your problem CSS troublemakers in the article here on The Secret of Successful Editing of WordPress Themes.

You can learn more about troubleshooting your style sheets on the WordPress Codex at Finding Your WordPress CSS Styles. Above all, have patience, take your time, and pick it apart slowly. You’ll find the answer.

Testing Test for Testing Posts

example of the latin filler of loren ipsumWhen you are starting out, it helps to be able to create some test posts. You can slam away at the keyboard, hitting the spacebar once in a while, or you can take advantage of the long held tradition of the Lorem Ipsum.

Lipsum’s Lorem Ipsum website automatically helps you generate and copy the text you need to fill up the empty space.

Image Tags

In FireFox, if an image doesn’t appear, the alt description appears. To change the size of the font for this text description, which distinguishes it from the rest of your content, use the following in your style sheet, changed to your own preferences:

img {border:0; font-size:60%;}

You can expand upon this and make it bold, green, small caps, or whatever, but this is how you make the change.

The key is to make sure your images do show up on your posts, but just in case, at least the text that appears in place of the images will look pretty.

Hiding CSS From Browsers

While it is slowly being “bad mannered” to have your style sheet feature hacks to accomodate the various problems different browsers have with the features you want to use, there are times when it is necessary. While there are plenty of web pages with information on how to add CSS hacks to accommodate browser’s needs, there isn’t much information on HIDING CSS from browsers. Here are a few:

Changing Default or Kubrick Theme

Example of the WordPress Default Theme sidebar arrowsThe Default WordPress Theme, aka Kubrick, is an amazing piece of web page design. It pushed the envelope on what a web page could do using WordPress. I’m not here to debate whether or not the way Kubrick was developed right or wrong, but I do have tips for dealing with some of its eccentricities that causes endless questions on the WordPress Forum.

Working on the WordPress Forum as a volunteer, I look at a LOT of websites. I can spot a WordPress Theme based on Kubrick in a hot second. The dead give-away? The sidebar.

The sidebar features the use of » in the sidebar bullets. I personally don’t like them. The technique to put them there is also a hack, since you can’t use character entity codes to represent images in lists.

To replace them with graphic bullets or to use the default CSS bullets like circle, disc, or square, either delete the section for the bullets in the style sheet, or comment it out. An example of the Default WordPress Theme style sheet for the bullets is shown below, including an example of how to comment out the section:

/* Comment out starts -
.entry ul li:before, #sidebar ul ul li:before { content: \"0BB 020\"; }
Comment out ends */

Now, set up your .entry ul and .entry li and so on with your own styles and bullets.

.entry ul {margin-left: 0px; padding: 0 0 0 30px;
     list-style-position:outside; list-style:url(ball.gif) disc; }
.entry li { margin: 7px 0 8px 10px; }

And adjust the graphic, margins, and padding to your particular Theme’s needs.

Relatives Suck

That’s right. In FireFox, position: relative sucks. I had to remove every reference of position:relative from my CSS because Firefox breaks on any container with that reference that has a link. The link turns off and is inactive. It also is influenced by any nearby float that has a position:relative in it that aligns with a non-relative container. The area where the two align, the links in the non-relative container will turn off. Argh.

More Tips and Tricks for WordPress Themes

We’ve got a huge collection here of a variety of WordPress Tips for you to explore. Here are a few highlights that will help you design and develop your WordPress Themes and style sheets.


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Katrina, Katrina, Hurricane Katrina Everywhere You Look

September 23, 2005 at 2:43 pm | In Web Wise | No Comments

Dave Platter reports that Hurricane Katrina is still the hottest ticket in the Internet town.

It’s still all Katrina, all the Time in the news and public relations business. A survey of Google news shows 330,000 news stories mentioning the term “Hurricane Katrina.” Over at Yahoo, the total is 218,366 news stories.

Those numbers are staggering. His post, though, is fascinating. He highlights the fact that if you want to grab attention to your site and then help attract journalists and bloggers reporting on various aspects of the hurricane by writing on topics that deal with oil and gas, lodging, crime, business involved or impacted by the hurricane, and other human or economic angles worthy of exploring by the media.

I’m torn. I admire these suggestions as they are part of the marketing world, helping to promote your business by taking advantage of current events. This can be done in a good and sensitive way which will benefit everyone. Yet, it can be done in a nasty and spammy way that makes my skin crawl.

We have discussed Hurricane Katrina a few times here. Not so much as to attract attention as to provide information, which in turn did attract a lot of traffic to this site. Our lives were directly impacted as we had to evacuate the Gulf Coast as Katrina bore down on us, so my blogs were about what and how I was learning about what was happening as we sat in Atlanta and weathered the storm from afar.

When Hurricane Katrina comment spam hit my site, I knew it was hitting yours and a warning was necessary. The blog rumor heard around the world dealt with the insanity of how fast rumors spread around the web via blogs. But it also brought up other topical information and application such as a news story I heard on banks putting their backup data in caves, which reminded me to remind you to back up WordPress.

Are these sleazy ways of attacting traffic and attention to this site? Well, it depends upon your point of view. If you want to think that I’m just in this for the money and attention, then yes, this would be a method that I would choose. If you think I’m in this for the help and assistance I can provide to bloggers and WordPress users, then this is just another method of connecting current events to the subject at hand - blogging, since blogging is helping cover this event like few historical events previously.

Platter’s statistics only include news stories. So I did a little survey of my own. On Google, there are 367,000,000 results for “Hurricane Katrina”. There are 151,000,000 search results for Yahoo. Technorati listed 159,557 posts about “Hurricane Katrina”.

Blogging With Current Event Keywords in Mind

Whether it is good or bad, if you have something to say that needs to be heard, it helps to tie it in with a current event. The key is to do it with good keywords.

I’ll be beginning a long series of posts which will discuss how keywords impact your search engine optimization (SEO) and your writing. Keywords help to focus your subject matter, but writing with keywords in mind also helps you focus your writing on the subject, so this is of benefit to you no matter what your end result is.

For now, think about all the different ways you could tie in your writing with current events, be it Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, the pull-out from Gaza, the increase in terrorist attacks and pre-civil war fighting in Iraq, the next Supreme Court Justice, or the video tapes of the bombing terrorists from the London bombings. Can you find a connection that isn’t sleazy or blatant that works for you?

Have you used current events to attract attention to your site? How?

Update: With Hurricane Rita bearing down on Louisiana and Texas - more hurricane related stories are going to be highly in demand.


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Women Bloggers on wordpress.com

September 23, 2005 at 10:16 am | In Blog Babble | 1 Comment

Are you a woman blogging on wordpress.com? Craig is looking for women bloggers on wordpress.com.

Craig is curious about women blogging on wordpress.com, why and what they are saying, and if the wordpress.com community meets their needs.

The issues of being a woman blogger are also worth exploring. Is there a difference? What do you think?

How to Write Like a Wanker

September 23, 2005 at 8:46 am | In Web Wise | No Comments

There is some amazing writing on the web, but then there are gifts of writing that come descending out of clouds of babble like a shining star. The article, How to Write Like a Wanker, by Vincent Flanders, is one of those precious gems.

Like much of his wonderful cynical writing on his site Web Pages That Suck, this article tells it like it “isn’t” to help you understand what not to do when you write on your website or blog.

No matter what Flash-blinded web monkeys would have us believe, the Internet is a text-based medium: especially its major discussion forums (IRC and Usenet) where people from all over the world can interact and share information. A popular misconception about text messages on the Internet is that, to be an effective communicator and earn the respect and admiration of your peers, you must be able to write lucid prose; that your messages, articles, posts and pages must be easy to understand and pleasant to read.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Popular sites filled with cutting-edge Internet cognoscenti (such as Slashdot and ShackNews) give the lie to this harmful and destructive myth: they are brimming with horrific grammar, atrocious spelling, gratuitous abbreviation and childish, arrogant attitude. To be “in” on the net, you must write like a wanker.

This is truely a work of art. Among the tips he offers on writing like a wanker, my favorites are:

  • Claim False Credentials.
  • Make Shit Up.
  • Cite Urban Legends.
  • Ramble.

Take time to read through this thoroughly and see if it resembled anything you do on your site? If it does, consider yourself a wanker. ;-)

And consider fixing it and changing your writing and blogging style.

For more examples of what to do and not do on your site, see more web pages that suck.

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New Write Post Preview - Real Live Preview

September 23, 2005 at 8:30 am | In WordPress News | 3 Comments

Users of wordpress.com woke up this morning to a new feature, one I’ve mentioned before and also described in my post on The Perfect WordPress Dashboard. It is the ability to “see” your post preview in your WordPress Theme - giving you a live preview of what your post will look like when published using the CSS styles used by your Theme - in fact, you see your post in your Theme.

You can do this yourself. When your post is in Draft mode, open another window or tab and type in your blog address using the post ID number: mine.wordpress.com/index.php?p=42. This only works when the post is still a Draft.

WordPress developers have added this Draft view feature in an iframe in the former HTML text preview. It is brilliant. Thank you!

If you are a wordpress.com user, send hugs through the Feedback button.

WordPress New Live Post Preview

Pro Blogging Tips from ProBlogger - Blogging to Success

September 23, 2005 at 7:04 am | In Web Wise | No Comments

Darren Rowse’s 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Headquarters on ProBlogger is a must read for anyone interested in taking their blog to the TOP level, not just the next level. Rowse spent 31 days plus blogging on a wide range of amazing tips, techniques, and resources you need to know to maximize your blog’s success in advertising, marketing, promotion, writing, layout, and design. Not a stone is unturned. He even includes tips from users’ comments to help you even more.

Here are a few highlights:


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