Why Are My Plugins Not Showing In My Dashboard?

A common complaint about WordPress is that after uploading plugins to your server they do not show up in WordPress. But what is really going on?

If you don’t have WordPress 2.7

Make sure you’re uploading to the correct folder. This should be wp-content/plugins.
Make sure the files have uploaded. There should be no Failed Transfers listed in Filezilla and you can see the files on your server.
Make sure the plugin is not in a zip folder. Most plugins are downloaded zipped, you need to upzip the zip folder contents before uploading.
Make sure there are some files in the top level folder. Some plugins have a folder, then inside that no files, just another folder. WordPress will not see these files if there is no file in the top level folder.

A great video found on YouTube shows you how to upload a plugin:

If you have WordPress 2.7 or above

Then to avoid these issues you can use the inbuilt plugin uploader. Go to Plugins > Add New. There you can search for a plugin and if it’s in the WordPress repository you can install it then and there. If not you can upload the zip file from the site you have downloaded it from and it will install that for you.

Hopefully the next version of WordPress will allow a similar action for installing new WordPress Themes, as it’s a great feature to avoid the frustration many bloggers have with installing plugins.

Cool Twitter Tools

Do you use Twitter? The short conversation (or some say “micro blogging” ) tool is a great way to keep in touch with your friends, family, business partners and clients.

Twitter

There are many tools out there that interact with Twitter, and an internet search will bring up lots of top 10 Twitter tools lists, but a couple of tools have come to my attention as I’ve been using them for clients recently. The first is Twitterbacks created by Jim Kukral.

Essentially a selection of free Photoshop files that you can download and use as templates for your Twitter profile page. Very easy to use, and free. Yaro Starak reports that he has noticed “Twitter.com profile pages are starting to rank in Google really well. Might be an SEO strategy there!” and so isn’t it time you looked at your profile page? My Twitter profile page needs a bit of work I admit, but I’m waiting for my new blog design to create a consistent image – oh yes, a new blog design is coming soon but more on that sometime soon!

The second is a plugin called TweetSuite that can display TweetBacks on your site (like Trackbacks or Pingbacks, above your comments), automatic tweeting of new posts, and many other features that you can choose to use or not.

While you’re playing around with Twitter, why not follow me? Do you have any other Twitter tools, tips or tricks you would like to share?

Why I Finally Paid For A WordPress Plugin

I’ve been using the free version of Max Banner Ads on various client sites for a while, and quite frankly it’s brilliant.

The WordPress community spend a lot of time and effort making free plugins, and I often donate to those I find most useful (and encourage you to do the same), however there are also many I would happily pay for, and Max Banner Ads is one of them, from Pawan over at MaxBlogPress.

So what’s good about it?

Pretty much everything! It makes adding ads to your site a breeze for a non-techie, though of course there is a learning curve. The more I use it the more I like it. You can set up zones – areas in your site to have advertising – and these can be within posts, in the sidebar (it can create a widget for you), above the first post, and below the last post automatically. If you want to place it elsewhere it will give you the template tag code for adding to your theme.

– Flexible layout options are available plus custom css if you need it, but there is no need to mess with code or template files if you don’t want to.

– It will automatically rotate any number of banners, say if you want to show four 125×125 ads in your sidebar, but have six ads – no problem, it will just show 4 if you want it to.

mba1

The site has an excellent video (linked above), well worth 6 minutes of your time, showing how in around 14 minutes you can have all the advertising on your site sorted out and managed through the WordPress dashboard.

– For your own ads it will track impressions and clicks therefore giving you a Click Through Rate (CTR) for each ad.

– If you get given some ad code you can even paste it into a box and it will automatically take out the relevant image URL and the hyperlink for you – how good is that?

The free version is fully functional, the paid version ($47) simply removes the Powered by Max Banner Ads link if you want to. You can also leave it there, with an affiliate link in to promote it. So I finally bought a premium plugin and paid for this because I use it so much and think it’s worth paying for. You can also use it on as many of your personal sites as you like, I have it on two.

So what’s bad about it?

There are obviously some things the plugin doesn’t do:

– Manage payments for you. This requires a different plugin (a paid for one), or a system like OpenX. For most bloggers though direct sales are a small part of what they do, most are affiliate ads or ad server code that can be handled by this plugin.

– Not rotate ads. Sometimes it would be nice not to rotate a group of ads and just keep the same one or two in the same position. To get around this you can just create two (or more) zones each with one ad in, and then put the zones next to each other using the code provided.

– Not all locations can be managed by this plugin. Sometimes template changes are necessary to get adverts in the right location, but the options that do come with the plugin are very impressive and powerful. And for those times you do need to add code to the template it gives you the code to add. Excellent.

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I recommend anyone starting out who would like to manage some adverts themselves to take a look at the free version, it really is an excellent system. I don’t even have graphical adverts on this site, but I’ve found it invaluable on others, and worth paying for even if it didn’t remove the Powered By link. Have you used it? Or something else? Any thoughts?

WordPress 2.6 Plugin Issues

Just a quick note to those of you wanting to upgrade to WordPress 2.6. From my testing and reading there are a few issues with some popular plugins not working.

The first is the Google Analytics plugin. You will need to install the latest version, then on the Google Analytics option page you will need to click Reset all settings at the bottom, and then re-enter your UA number and select the options you require. If you use the robots meta plugin and RSS Footer plugin from the same author you will need to do a similar thing.

Secondly the Unique Blog Designs Block Ad plugin does not currently work. A fix will be available very shortly so just hang on a few days if you use this plugin and want to upgrade.

Third, another popular plugin, Popularity Contest, has issues. A fix can be found here.

Look here for a further list of plugins that don’t work with WordPress 2.6.

Please let me know if you would like to upgrade and have any of these plugins installed.

Content Suggestion For WordPress

Just a quick note, if you use Firefox, there is a new release of a content suggestion plugin for the Write screen in WordPress (and Typepad and Blogger). Note that this is a plugin for Firefox and NOT a WordPress plugin, but does add functionality to WordPress. More info can be found at Zemanta.

It’s an Alpha release which means it is early testing code, but if you want to give it a try, then here’s a demo video below. If you do try it, please let me know what you think!

[Via: Weblog Tools Collection]