How To Fix The WordPress Visual Editor

Have you got the issue in WordPress where the Visual Editor is not working? You can see the Visual and Text tabs but no icons or buttons are showing?

This has been happening a lot for brand new installs for various clients and readers emailing me.

If it’s an existing install that you’ve had for a while, often this can be solved by deactivating plugins and then reactivating them one by one. Usually it’s a plugin (or theme) that is adding something to the Add/Edit Post/Page screen

However with a new install you don’t have any of those to cause an issue and it’s one of those unusual cases.

The way to solve it it to go to Plugins > Add new and search for

Use Google Libraries

This plugin uses the latest javascript files from Google’s AJAX Library API rather than the ones built into WordPress and fixes the issue. Click Install and Activate once it’s installed.

Now the Text editor has the icons/buttons and the Visual Editor works too.

When is a Blog Not a Blog?

I come across as a huge fan of WordPress . . . because that’s what I am. Of all the blogging software I’ve encountered it’s the most comprehensive and the one which I find is easiest to use thanks to the functionality and intuitive interface. However, with online marketing strategies becoming more complex with each passing day, is it time for us to migrate to something more than a simple blogging platform? When it comes to optimizing our Web advertising and attracting customers to our sites, do we need to look beyond the common blog template?

Our faithful WordPress software is evolving at least as quickly as its competitors. This development means that there is now a lot more that can be done with the software than a simple process of blogging. Without the need to move to a new platform, we can now access a wealth of services that can transform our online marketing strategy and move us from being simple bloggers to advanced advertising specialists. Even if you’re not a blogging aficionado, you can still benefit from the enhanced functionality of the software without ever again having to pop up another post. Result!

There are two basic ways you can use WordPress for additional functionality. The first is by using a plugin that enables you to retain your existing site and theme, or you can choose to upload a new theme which takes over your entire site and brings a wealth of new functions. Please note none of the links below are affiliate links.

Job Board Services

For people looking to either source jobs, or advertise them online, WordPress has some great plugins that you can use to draw the right sort of customers to your site. The following can be easily installed, letting you open up your site to new revenue streams for the job search market, choosing whichever industry niche best fits your site.

WPJobBoard
Jobpress Simple
Job Manager
WPCareers

Review Builders

Online reviews are a huge draw, whether people want the latest news on cinema listings, movie reviews, and books, or are looking for somewhere to share their own opinions. Adding a review builder to your WordPress blog is a great way to bring in more traffic and provide your customers with a safe and reliable platform.

Easy Review Builder:
GD Star Rating
WordPress Review Theme
reviewsPRESS

Classified Ads

Every industry sector can benefit from advertising revenue, and WordPress supports a comprehensive set of online marketing tools that can tap into this lucrative market.

Classifieds Theme:
ClassiPress
Classifieds
ClassifiedTheme
wp-classified

Voucher Codes

Online vouchers are a burgeoning trend; Google and Yahoo!, among others, are currently looking for ways to tap into this money spinner. You can follow the trend on your site by featuring discount vouchers and coupons for your industry or geographical area.

Coupon Press
WP Coupon Plugin

Squeeze Pages

Squeeze pages are simple landing pages, designed to solicit opt-in email addresses from prospective subscribers. WordPress enables you to create them quickly and easily, in addition to publishing customized landing pages for customers.

SqueezeTheme
Optimize Press
FlexSqueeze
WP Squeeze

E-commerce Market

A solid strategy for e-commerce means more revenue for your site, enhanced traffic, and increased services for your customers. You can use WordPress plugins to link to various sites that will pay you for your traffic, or sell your own products directly from your site.

Amazon Reloaded
AmazonSimpleAdmin
WP e-Commerce
Ecwid
ShopperPress

Directory Services

Searching online is a key element in providing a comprehensive service to your customers. Whatever your industry sector, there will be people out there who will be drawn to a site that offers a good, regularly updated, listings service. The following are the best WordPress plugins for directory services:

DirectoryPress
Business Directory
WordPress Link Directory

Social Networking

When it comes to optimizing your site for your customers, are you tapping into the best that social networking can offer? BuddyPress is a free, open-source plugin that enables you to create your own niche community.

Need For Speed

Speed. It’s what we all crave in today’s busy world of work and home life. Whether we are waiting for a train, hurrying from one meeting to the next, or waiting for the microwave to “ping,” we’re never far from a glance at the clock and an impatient gesture.

A few decades ago, we were more accustomed to waiting for what we wanted. We’d save up for things instead of going out and buying them on credit cards. We appreciated that the best things in life took time to acquire and we were prepared to hold out for them. Bread wouldn’t rise on demand, travel took hours, and we all had an in-built patience born of experience.
The advent of the World Wide Web went a long way to changing our expectations of speed. We became accustomed to typing a request into a search engine and getting an instant result on our screens that answered all of our needs. Pages began to load faster and the search engines were enhanced until we reached the present day of browsing. These days, every possible configuration of data is presented to us even before we have finished typing in what we’re looking for (thank you, Google Instant).

This has had a huge effect upon our culture overall, particularly with regards to the way in which we access information and expect to have it delivered to us. Newspapers are becoming less popular as people realize the benefit of reading their news online, where they can flit from article to article in the space of seconds. Pressured for time, we are all seeking new ways of generating extra hours to keep up with our demanding schedules, and the internet is one of the tools that we use to achieve this goal.

As the average surfer spends just a matter of minutes on each site that they visit, it makes a lot of sense to ensure that our visitors find what they need quickly and easily. Nothing turns off potential customers more than having to work hard to find what they are looking for; this is a certain way of ensuring your visitors never return for a second visit. There are plenty of things you can do to make navigation quicker for your visitors, including providing great signposting to everything they need, a good search facility, and a sensible structure. Labeling clearly the information you provide and using a site index to facilitate easy navigation are also good strategies to support an efficient service provision for your potential customers.

Even if you have the best possible site in terms of design and navigation, it could be that your WordPress blog still takes a long time to load. If this is the case, you can use a number of techniques to make sure your visitors get what they are looking for in double-quick time. Having large images on your site can greatly reduce the loading speed of your pages. To cut down on loading time, reducing the size of your images to the smallest possible size – that still displays well – is a good idea. There’s no point slowly loading an enormous photo, when it only displays at 300px wide. A good plugin to help you do this is WP Smush.it, which automatically optimizes your images to the best size.

Part of the way in which Google determines search rankings comes down to the speed that your webpages load. As the search engines get more fluid in terms of how they retrieve answers to queries, it’s important to make sure that our sites are as efficient as possible. To support a quick download we can use caching. Caching essentially creates a static version of a dynamic WordPress page, which is only refreshed when any changes (such as comments) are made. This means that the page does not have to query your WordPress database to display, and therefore brings up results much more quickly.

Use a caching plugin such as WP Super Cache  or W3 Total Cache (i use this); this will allow visitors to your site to get what they need quickly. W3 Total Cache also uses ”minifying,” that involves combining multiple CSS and JavaScript files into one, and then reducing the size by removing white space and unnecessary line breaks. Both plugins enable the use of a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to speed up your site, this can be complicated and is probably best left to an expert to setup.

As long as you keep your images small, and regularly undertake housekeeping to keep your WordPress site optimized, it should be relatively easy to ensure that your visitors are provided with a seamless and efficient service. Using the caching process will also ensure that the major search engines can find your site easily, and will factor this into their rankings. With so much technology going into the speed of navigation online, it’s important to make sure that your WordPress blog has everything in place to ensure a fast, efficient, and customer-focused service.

Five Easy Ways to Secure Your WordPress Blog

These days everyone from savvy professionals to total beginners are using blogs to build and promote their businesses. In fact many times a blog can be the core platform for a venture. The most popular blog software at this time is WordPress, probably because it’s free, user friendly, and provides loads of benefits and options.

Continue reading Five Easy Ways to Secure Your WordPress Blog

How To Redirect Only Your Homepage

A client recently asked me how to redirect your homepage only and not any archive pages.

It took me a long while to figure it out, so for anyone else who’s searching for it, this is how it’s done. You need to add a line to the start of your website’s .htaccess file.

A 301 redirect won’t work as it will redirect the whole site, so you have to use a RedirectMatch. The code below will redirect the home page only to google.com, but leave any other pages and archives in place for people to come to your site.

RedirectMatch ^/$ http://google.com

There are a couple of reasons you might want to do this, so hope it helps!

Three Cool Features of WordPress You Don’t Know About

WordPress has lots of useful features, and the latest version keeps adding to them. A quick three and a half minute video will show you my three current favorite features that you might not know about.

If you need to see anything more clearly, you can change it to 720p HD and watch full screen.

Do you have any favorite features in WordPress?

10 Plugins To Harden WordPress

Those in the WordPress world understand that security is a key concern of any online application, and that includes with WordPress. After all, the majority of updates released by the WordPress team involve hardening – or securing – the WordPress platform against continuous ingenious attacks and vulnerabilities that are discovered.

No site is ever safe from being hacked, like in the real world, if someone really wants to break in they can, it’s just a matter of making yourself a much harder target so it’s not worthwhile.

You should check out the following ten plugins to harden WordPress to defend your blog.

  1. Login Lockdown: when someone attempts to access restricted areas of your blog by logging in, Login Lockdown records the attempt and its associated IP address. If multiple failed login attempts are detected that come from a group of similar addresses, Login Lockdown will deny further attempts from those addresses. This is an important tool that can protect your blog from dreaded brute force password attacks.
  2. WordPress File Monitor: check the files that run WordPress for anything that has been changed, deleted, or added. When an event has been detected, the plugin sends an email alert to a user-defined address. This plugin can be vital to bloggers defending themselves against SQL injection.
  3. Bot Block: harden your WordPress installation by preventing multiple registrations from the same IP address. It also compares new registrations with blacklisted IP addresses to make sure no known troublemakers are signing up. This is an effective tool in the fight against automated WordPress user registrations.
    Even better, if there is no reason for you to allow user registrations, prevent this by going to Settings > General and under Membership unchecking the box that says “Anyone can register”.
  4. Admin Renamer Extended: everyone knows what the default administrative user name for WordPress is. That give hackers half the information they need to access your site. This plugin will change your administrator user names including the default admin and any other admin logins that have been created. It checks the validity of user names, user names that are unfilled, and for user names that already are present in the system. Keep attackers off guard by making them have to guess your admin usernames.
  5. HTTPS for WordPress: a plugin that forces users to login over secure connections. By sending authentication information over SSL, login information is encrypted between a user’s browser and the Web host. This eliminates the risk of interception associated with unsecured logins. This is an essential tool that will help prevent login credentials for your site from being compromised, however can be difficult to configure and is not always compatible with your web server or the latest version of WordPress, so be careful!
  6. WordPress Security Scan: finds vulnerable areas of your blog and recommends specific actions to take to harden it. Because there is so much involved in security, this is a great tool to help make sure you don’t miss anything.
  7. AskApache Password Protect: protects important folders like wp-admin, wp-include, and wp-content, guarding against automated and manual attacks against your WordPress blog.
  8. WordPress Exploit Scanner: this plugin will look through all the code in your posts, comments, and plugins looking for something suspicious. Often attacks on WordPress enter through these three paths, so take the time to guard against exploits by installing this plugin. Don’t worry about the plugin making any mistakes either because it relies on the blogger to take any necessary action.
  9. The WP-Scanner: scans for weaknesses within your WordPress installation, checks to make sure you have changed your table prefixes (you did, didn’t you?) and a variety of other important steps that need to be taken to harden your blog.
  10. Stealth Login: create unique URLs that are used when logging in and out of your blog. This plugin can also be used to keep registered users from logging in using the wp-login.php file. By making it difficult for attackers to find your login page, you have just made your blog more secure.

Finally you may want to check your wp-config.php file has file permissions of 644 and not higher – this has been the cause of the latest “security scare”.

This was a guest post by Tom Walker who is the lead editor of the CreativeCloud blog, which he runs on behalf of a leading supplier of franking machine ink based in the UK. Old school print ads, book art and modern print design are among the topics he most enjoys writing about.

If you’d like to write a guest post for Blog Tech Guy, get in touch here.

WordPress Template Tags Cheat Sheet

For those of you who might be like me and need to regularly edit WordPress themes/templates, add custom code, change things around and edit them, then WordPress Template tags are our friend.

Ekin Ertac has produced a WordPress Template Tag Cheatsheet that lists the available template tags and what they do. You can download it in PDF from his site.

It also includes tips on a standard theme structure, what the loop is and a couple of example navigation menus for good measure.

WP_Cheatsheet

[Via WeblogTools Collection]

Fixing A Hacked Blog Is Hard

Those of you who are members of my newsletter (if not, sign up on the right on my blog page), and anyone who follows WordPress announcements will know that there has been a worm attacking WordPress blogs that have not been updated to the latest version.

You can read the full details here, but please don’t ignore the Upgrade notice.

Backup, using a plugin like WP DB Backup (while you’re there, set it to regularly email you backups).

Why not also go to Tools > Export and backup all your post/page/comments in a smaller XML file. This can be useful too.

If you like you can backup your uploaded images via FTP in the wp-content folder, but that’s up to you.

Then Tools > Upgrade.

Some people will have to upgrade manually depending on their server setup, so here are the manual upgrade instructions.

Wordpress logo

While you’re at it, take a look at upgrading your out of date plugins too, why not?

The basics: Upgrading is easy, fixing a hacked blog is hard.

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.