Category Archives: Wordpress tips

5 Easy Steps to Verified Authorship for a WordPress Blog

You may have noticed that some search results have a picture of the author next to the link. Ever wondered what that was? Me too. Turns out that it’s called Google Verified Authorship, it takes five minutes to set up and it can increase the number of visits by up to 400% (apparently).

So what are you waiting for? Here’s five easy steps to get your pretty face next to your links and get the people clicking on it.

1. Set up a Google+ profile.

Whether or not a presence on Google+ is worthwhile at this stage is a topic for a whole other post, but a Google+ profile is essential to this process. (For bonus points, find and add my Google+ profile!)

2. Add your website to the Contributor To section

This points your Google+ profile towards your website. This section is right at the bottom of your profile when you click “edit”.

3. Make sure your +1s are public.

The process won’t work without this step. I don’t know why.

4. Insert the following into your header.php file

This code will point your site to your Google+ profile and complete the online handshake, as it were. Find the “head” section of your header.php file and insert the following code:

link rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/112830526540548509787/posts”/

The link is the link to your Google+ profile, so be sure to substitute it with your own link. Be sure to place a < at the beginning of the line and an > at the end too!

5. Use Google’s Rich Snippets Testing Tool to see if it worked

It won’t work straight away – Google will have to re-crawl your site – but this tool can tell you immediately if everything has been set up correctly.

Now make yourself a margarita, you’re all done! Was that nice and easy or what? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Three Great WordPress Tweaks

The more observant of you may have noticed that things looked a little odd over the weekend. You may even have noticed that there’s no more annoying grey line in my header image. Or that my sidebar doesn’t disappear on a mobile device. Or that my Twitter widget doesn’t show replies (when it works). I hope you have because they had me scratching my head for ages! But those problems are solved at last and, to save anyone else’s scalp from unnecessary friction, I thought I’d share the secrets.

First you need a child theme

If you make changes to the coding of your theme, chances are strong that those changes could be wiped by an update. A child theme is a mini theme that takes all the looks from the main theme but allows you to fiddle to your hearts content. But don’t be lazy. I used the One-Click Child Theme plugin because it was quick and easy. I paid for that when WordPress decided to punish me for my laziness and eat it for lunch. Do it properly.

Got a grey line above your header image?

I thought I’d messed up my image dimensions but this is actually down to a little line of code in the style.css file. Open it and find the line that reads margin: 2em auto. Change that to margin: -.2em auto and kiss that grey line goodbye!

Twenty Eleven display problems on a mobile device?

The Twenty Eleven theme adapts itself to the width of the screen and will dump your sidebar(s) underneath your pages if it detects a small screen. You can stop this misbehaving by going into the header.php file and deleting the line including the text:

meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width”

This will mean your website will display on a mobile device just as it does on a computer.

Want to hide replies on the Twitter widget?

Nothing to do with WordPress or themes but this one drove me a little mad! I don’t like to sees replies in a Twitter widget; it’s like listening in on a conversation and it doesn’t tell you if the tweeter is worth following. But hiding replies isn’t an option in the Twitter widget, so you need to get clever.

When creating the widget on the Twitter site, you’ll need to copy some code and paste it into a text widget. Simply edit this text by inserting &exclude_replies=true after your Twitter username. (Using mine as an example, it should look like this:

}).render().setUser(‘realjtk&exclude_replies=true’).start();

And there you have it! I hope sharing that was helpful and, if any of it didn’t make sense, feel free to ask questions.

5 Things I’ve Learnt About WordPress Sites

The more observant of you will have noticed I’ve moved. No longer do I blog on a WordPress.com site, but on my own self-hosted website powered by WordPress.org! Admittedly, the place is still a little basic. I’m rocking an oh-so-original Twenty Eleven theme. But the basics are here and I’m looking forward to making this a place you’ll want to visit. If there’s anything you’d like to see, drop a comment!

But what you see here are the results of my efforts this weekend and I’ve already learnt quite a few things. In the spirit of warning anyone following a similar path to me, I present my findings to the board:

Don’t be a hero: I decided that it would be best that I install WordPress manually, using an FTP client and all sorts. I thought it would teach me a thing or two. It did. It taught me not to be an idiot and to use the one-click option my host provided. It was called Softaculous and it managed in two minutes what I couldn’t in sixty.
Get plugged in: There’s a lot of great plugins for WordPress and getting them sooner rather than later can make your life a lot easier. Trust me. I’d recommend Jetpack for a whole host of WordPress extras, Google Analytics for WordPress for a quick and easy install of Google Analytics and Google XML Sitemaps to make your site easier for Google to index.
Find your inner child: Creating a child theme is vital if you’re going to start customising a theme, as any updates will wipe your changes. Doing this looked a little tricky so I cheated; I used a plugin that did it for me. Gotta love those plugins!
Nothing doing: Nothing found for wp-login or wp-admin? When I got that error it was my theme causing the problem. I had to use an FTP client to change the name of the theme’s folder in wp-content/themes, which forced WordPress to default back to Twenty Eleven. That fixed it, and I deleted the offending theme.
Fitting in: The Twenty Eleven theme liked to display the side bar underneath my posts. This was because of a line of code in the header file. Making a copy of “header.php” and pasting into my child theme’s folder and then deleting solves the issue.

I’m still digging around so I’ll share any more tips I discover. Any you’d like to share? Let me know!