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4 Things You Can Do With Your WordPress Blog You Might Not Know Already

Posted by on Sep 24, 2011
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You know, every day it seems like I discover something new about WordPress. Some of these things I’m betting many of you know, but I’m also betting that the majority probably doesn’t know these things. So, I thought I’d share a few things to help everyone become more proficient with their WordPress blogs.

First, let’s talk about the Add New Post area. I’ve always used the HTML version instead of the WYSIWYG version, which means I code all my stuff. However, in this newer version it actually gives me some choices of things I can do that I don’t have to specifically write code for anymore. By just highlighting the text, I can then decide to bold, italicize, link, and do a host of other things I had never noticed before. That stuff hasn’t always been there, and like ads on many blogs, you just go blind to stuff. For me, the only ones I’ll probably use are bold, italicize, ul, ol and li. List posts will be much easier now; whew!

Second, while still here, y’all know about the Upload/Insert thing as it applies to adding pictures and the like, correct? You know that little box next to these words is if you want to add an image to your blog post, right? When you click on it, you can select an image from your computer and pop it into your post. You’re usually given four choices to select from if your image is large enough: thumbnail, medium, large and full size. Did you know that you can change the sizes of the first three?

What you do is go into your settings at the bottom left and select Media. Once you click on it you’ll see the 3 choices. I alter the size of medium to have a width of 235, which is just slightly less than half the width of my content area. I have the max height around 300. For the large, I changed the size to 480 because that’s the full width of my content area on this blog, and I made that the max height as well. I left thumbnail alone because making it smaller makes the image hard to see, and making it larger means it’s not quite a thumbnail anymore. If you like the images you’re putting into your blog to always be the same size, this works wonders.

Next, have you been getting more spam comments than normal lately? Do you look at the IP addresses and notice that many of them that come in on the same day come from the same IP addresses? If so you can have these particular IP addresses send these comments directly to your spam filter instead of having to do it manually.

You do that by highlighting and copying the number, then go to setting and Discussion. Go all the way down to where it says Comment Blacklist and paste the number in there. Save and you’re on your way. I also use that for some people that come by often to comment but their comments are a bit dodgy, as Sire might say.

This way it’s kind of a moderation for you to determine whether you want to allow that comment to show on your blog post or not. Some might say I’m now moderating comments, but these are people who have proven that they really aren’t participating in the process, including ever responding to questions you might ask them in a comment; trust me, I’ve tested this.

The last thing I’m going to talk about are screen options. Every page you go to in your admin area is also called a ‘screen’. If you look at the top right of each page you’ll see something called screen options. If you click on that, a menu drops down that shows you everything on that particular page except your menu to the left. You can now select stuff you want to see and stuff you don’t want to see.

For instance, on my posts page I keep things really simple because I don’t need to see all those tags and a lot of other stuff next to each post. I limit mine to title, categories, comments, date and Post Rank, which is a plugin I’ve talked about in the past. I know I’m the only author on this blog, so I don’t need to keep seeing my name.

As a by-the-way item, you can also move most things around on your screen to where you’d rather see them. Just put your mouse over the top of each window, hold down on your left mouse button, and drag the window to where you’d like it to be. Move it slowly and you’ll see impressions show up and drop your window where you’d like. Sometimes you might have to move in increments if you’re making a drastic move.

There you are, 4 things you may or may not have known. Of course, this might spark someone to write a post of their own on things they know that I didn’t know, but if you’re going to do that make sure you’ve looked at my post on 5 Areas You Should Know More About In Your WordPress Admin Area and then the followup, 5 More Things To Know About Your WordPress Admin Area.
 

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36 Comments »

Neat! I vividly remember when I discovered that cute little image upload button – I no longer had to manually ftp the images to my site! :)

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

I was the same Barb. And by using the little window thing you can then use a plugin to help reduce the size of the uploaded images.

September 24th, 2011 | 9:55 AM

Hi Mitchel,

I find this article useful because I have been blogging all these while and I haven’t noticed that image upload button you just mentioned. Thanks a lot for this, but what do you mean about the Post Rank plugin you mentioned? Please explain.

Thanks

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Olawale, there’s a plugin called Post Rank which, well, ranks the popularity of a post. I’m not sure of all their algorithms, but in general it’s just something else to look at and talk about. lol

September 24th, 2011 | 2:29 PM

Have you ever heard of the Tiny MCE Advanced plugin? It can help you add headers and a whole bunch of other things with the push of a button in the visual editor.

Great reminders of all we can do, Mitch!

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Grady, I tried it once some years ago and I had some problems and decided I didn’t want to go there. Course I also don’t use the Visual Editor so that could be one of the issues.

vhien Reply:

I don’t use visual editor either so we are the same. Thanks for sharing these ideas but I am aware in some of these. Like, the spam filtering via IP address tracing. This feature is really helpful,just know how to differ the SEO guys from spammers.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Well vhien, as long as you weren’t aware of them all, you learned something. BTW, you do know if you put your blog address in instead of the link to your website that it’ll pull up some of your blog articles, right?

September 24th, 2011 | 3:56 PM

What? No breast slapping? You KNOW that’s why I read this article! :)

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Now Althea, you know better than that; I only write about cleavage here. lol

September 24th, 2011 | 7:13 PM

Yeah I gave up on WordPress’s WYSIWYG editor long ago. TinyMCE itself is functional but not very polished, I guess. I tried some others but nothing worked as well as I would like.

This is the one area where Joomla’s JCE plugin just blows away anything I’ve seen in WordPress.

Now I always just compose my post in Textwrangler, then run a few search/replace functions I created to wrap up things in paragraph/list/header tags and then I’m done.

One button I use all the time is the fullscreen button. It’s a lot easier for me to spot typos and such that way.

I’m definitely gonna use this tip and start blocking some IP addresses. These spammers are wearing me out these days..!

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

John, I’ve never thought about using the full screen, though I can’t tell you why. And I have to say that I love the ease of WordPress, which is why I know I’ll always stick with it. I have to admit I’m not quite sure what you’re saying about this Textwrangler program or plugin, but now I’m going to have to go check into it.

September 24th, 2011 | 9:22 PM

When I started by career, I was doing 3D graphics, interface is pretty complicated with probably more than 100 tabs and under every tab, there are at least 50 sets of tools. Because I like communication, I decided to contact some of the most popular 3D artists for the this time. Well, only 2 of them replied, one of them have helped me a lot and actually opened my eyes, so probably I can work with any software after 20 min examination. I will never forget his words – “Learn how to read the interface, everything is there”. Of course as for any particular software and WordPress there are things which are hidden.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Carl, I just don’t want to work that hard; too many other things to do. :-)

Carl Reply:

Absolutely understand that, my point was that things are fairly easy especially nowadays, there are info pop-ups or browser titles on almost every tool. Compared to few years ago when every time bloggers have to reinvent wheel and code everything.

September 25th, 2011 | 5:52 AM

Hey,

I am implemented the spam blocking on my blog. Thanks for the tip. I find I do get the same people trying to leave garbage comments on my blog.

September 25th, 2011 | 8:02 PM

Hi Mitch

You can also choose the additional functions you use above tbe posts like comments, all in one seo pack and a load of other things.

I must admit i didn’t notice the moving things around the screen. On this site I’m a little stuck as upgrading to the next version of wordpress has screwed the site so I had to restore.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

That’s too bad Pete. And yes, you’ve added some extras to the mix that I knew about, but I didn’t want to overwhelm anyone. :-)

September 26th, 2011 | 5:14 AM

Great information, Mitch. I didn’t know I could change the sizes of thumbnail, small, and medium images. This post is also a good reminder that WordPress is always making subtle and not-so-subtle changes to settings and controls. It’s easy to miss them, until one day we’re completely knocked off our routine and we have no idea how to do something we’ve been doing for months. Much better to stay on top of things all along. Thanks.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Charles, often I’m just sitting here looking at the admin panel and suddenly something pops into my eye that I’ve never paid attention to before. Three of these points I already knew, but one is a recent thing and it just made sense to turn it into a post.

September 26th, 2011 | 8:16 AM

Mitch, the admin area is pretty cool. I also delete unwanted sections, like WordPress news. As for the editor and image uploader, I’ve talked about this before: I hate them. I lost a whole post once and that was that.

I use MS Word, my handy-dandy auto-text software for inserting everything from ul and li tags to image tags and hyperlinks to my old posts. As for images, yes, it’s a bit more work to FTP them, but I do them all at once and it’s done.

Now, the spam list only recently came to my attention. I’ve been using it diligently, ever since.

I’m going to check out your other posts, see if there some stuff I don’t know about.

Cheers,

Mitch

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Cool Mitch. I’ve never lost a post or anything so I’m feeling pretty confident. At one point I was creating in MS Word, but adding images that way is irritating. And the reason one uses WP’s image thing is do you can reduce image sizes with a plugin; at least that’s how I use it. Some folks have said they run their images through some other site but you know me, not quite my style if I don’t have to go that route.

Mitchell Allen Reply:

I’ve just become aware of those sites (Thanks, Google+). I try to minimize image size using Irfanview. Free download. JPEGmini, the one site I played with, did an outstanding job of reducing file size but here, I agree with you 100% – I’m not doing that! Besides, that was a raw image (700KB), which is about the size of most of my digital camera pictures. It created a 269KB version. The images I used on my blog are resized to fit my width. The largest comparable image is 135KB! Yay, Irfanview.

Cheers,

Mitch

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Mitch, I definitely resize to fit the blog, but that doesn’t always resize the… well… weight (?) of the file. With the plugin it usually brings the image files below 100K, making things move much faster.

September 26th, 2011 | 8:19 AM

I knew almost everything highlighted in the post Mitch except the admin area. I’ve never really bothered delving into that. Reckon I’ll go have a look and see what I can do.

Damn, there’s that word reckon again :D

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Sire, you and “reckon” would have been big in the days of the Beverly Hillbillies. lol And dude, it’s my job to try to find things that not everyone knows about, right? ;-)

Sire Reply:

You reckon? ;)

Gee, now it just doesn’t sound right. Man, I’m going to have to rethink my whole vocabulary.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Sorry to do that to you Sire. Maybe pick something especially Aussie. lol

September 26th, 2011 | 9:59 AM

Thank you so much for the tips on spam because it was a bit disturbing. I’m doing this now!

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Good deal Marcie; it should bring some relief. :-)

September 26th, 2011 | 7:58 PM

I’ve known all these points you mentioned except protecting our blogs from the spam comments by the way you mentioned!! but we don’t actually need it while we have ” GASAP” plugin which adds check box below the comment to protect our blogs from the spams.

thanks for the post.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Actually Faissal you’re incorrect. GASP has always said it doesn’t have a way to protect your blog from human spam, only automated spam. As more people are paying people to leave junk comments on many blogs, blocking them by their IP addresses, at least for now, is the way to go.

September 30th, 2011 | 10:59 AM

Wow, I never knew I could change the default picture sizes in WordPress. I’ve always used an image resizer (not in WP) program. Nice tip, thanks!
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Glad to be of service Mira.

September 30th, 2011 | 12:26 PM

Interesting observations. I knew about most of them except the screen option thing, its actually a very helpful feature as will allow me to clean stuff on dashboard or other places. I can’t imagine why I didn’t know about this till now. So thanks for the tip!
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Cristian, it probably just never occurred to you before since it’s always kind of just been there.

September 30th, 2011 | 1:29 PM