Tag Archives: plugins

Preventing form spam with Akismet

This post is part of the Blogging Noob 101 series

logo - AkismetNew bloggers and webmasters will soon discover a brand new category of spam (unwanted messages), heretofore outside of your ken: form spam. Form spam (aka comment spam) is simply spam that originates within HTML forms (e.g., comment forms, contact forms, etc. on websites and blogs) instead of the more familiar email variety of spam.

As we are using WordPress, Akismet – a spam filtering service — is one of the free plugins with which you’ll become somewhat familiar. Akismet is one of the better form spam prevention tools I’m aware of. (Actually, I’ve never required anything more than Akismet in the prevention of spam in my blogs — so far, at least.)

In order to configure Akismet for use on your new WordPress site, simply login as WordPress administrator and go to Plugins – Installed plugins. Akismet will be listed at or near the top, since it starts with an A.

New users must obtain an API key for Akismet. The more technology one uses, the more frequently one will be exposed to “API.” You need not know any technical information about API keys – just know that an API key is like a password that allows you to use a particular set of code. (In this case, the programming code comprises a WordPress plugin.)

When you request an API key and you receive it – the API key is either displayed on the screen for you to copy, or emailed to you – be sure you document your API key for future reference, as you WILL need it again. Copy and paste the API key in a safe place, just as you would any other crucial digital information (passwords, links, email addresses, etc.).

Like so much other code, Akismet is free for non-commercial use but carries a small charge for use on commercial sites. Generally speaking, if a site conducts business, then it is a commercial site; however, a general-use blog or site that happens to include a bit of commercial information may or may not officially be a commercial site. Use your own judgment as to whether your use of Akismet constitutes commercial use.

Resources: Blogging noob 101 – Form spam

YouTube error message: Couldn’t load plugin (Chrome)

I recently received the following error message while using the fantastic Chrome web browser to view YouTube videos:

Couldn’t load plugin

I had several important processes going on, so I did not want to reboot; thankfully, correcting this video error message turns out to be no big deal at all; it is a simple problem that’s easily corrected:

  1. Click on Chrome’s wrench icon (upper right of the Google Chrome browser screen)
  2. Navigate to Tools>Task Manager & open it
  3. With Task Manager open, highlight “Plug-in: Shockwave Flash” and click “End process” (button at lower right of Task Manager dialog box)
  4. Reload/refresh the pages with videos you want to watch

Resources: YouTube error message: Couldn’t load plug-in

Saturday, May 26, 2012

First experiment with NextGen Gallery: Free WordPress plugin

incredible sunset from Green Hills Mall in Nashville - Stephen Frasier PhotographyThis is my very first experiment using the free NextGen Gallery WordPress plugin; it took over an hour to figure this much out. (I’m not referring to the sunset image shown here, but the photo gallery on this hiking blog post about an amazing, horizon-on-fire April sunset.)

In my experience, NextGen Gallery is definitely not the easiest plugin to figure out. However, I’ve finally learned how to:

  1. Create, save, edit photo galleries
  2. incredible sunset from Green Hills Mall in Nashville: Frasier Photos

  3. Edit the ALT tag, description, and the associated tags (keywords) for each image
  4. Float a slideshow to the left or the right so text will flow around it (the same effect used for images on all of my blogs)

I have not figured out how to automatically cause the slideshow to start when it’s not designated in the URL (e.g., http://hikingnature.com/ vs. http://hikingnature.com/sunset/april-sunset-nashville-frasier-photos/nggallery/slideshow/).

Most popular WordPress plugins for ecommerce

In the process of documenting the best ways to sell digital products online without having to pay a third party service, we rounded up the most popular free ecommerce plugins for WordPress. Some of these ecommerce plugins are free versions of paid WordPress plugins, but many of them are completely free.

This is not a comprehensive list – there are many others; however, these are the most popular WordPress plugins for ecommerce.

List of free ecommerce plugins for WordPress

  1. WP e-Commerce – WP e-Commerce is a free WordPress shopping cart plugin that lets customers buy your products, services, and digital downloads online. We make setting up an ecommerce shop easy – and with over 1.3 million downloads, we have unparalleled experience.
  2. WooCommerce – eCommerce plugin for WordPress – Transform your WordPress website into a thorough-bred online store. Delivering enterprise-level quality and features whilst backed by a name you can trust. I believe this is Woo’s freebie to draw users for their paid products.
  3. eShop – eShop is an accessible shopping cart plugin for WordPress, packed with various features.
  4. Jigoshop – WordPress eCommerce – A feature packed ecommerce plugin built upon WordPress core functionality ensuring excellent performance and customizability. Set up shop in minutes with physical and downloadable products or even services. Jigoshop provides you with the features necessary to set up an eCommerce web site lickety-split. With the option to create a multitude of product types and apply detailed attributes customers can easily refine your catalog, ensuring they find what they’re looking for in just a couple of clicks.
  5. wpStoreCart – Ecommerce Plugin for WordPress – The next generation of WordPress ecommerce. Easy to use & fully customizable, it’s the store front of the future; today. wpStoreCart is a free, open source, and full featured e-commerce platform built atop of WordPress. It is easy to use, lightweight, heavily supported and constantly updated with new features.
  6. WordPress eCommerce – MarketPress – Wants to be the best free ecommerce plugin available for WordPress – easy to use, beautiful, and powerful. MarketPress is the easiest to use, best designed, and most powerful ecommerce / shopping cart plugin available for WordPress today. Developed from the ground up to make it simple to set up a stylish online shop, MarketPress has all the features you need, including: Multiple payment gateways (PayPal, Authorize.net, Google checkout, 2checkout, Moneybookers and more); Works great with any WordPress theme and looks great with AJAXy goodness; Fully internationalized by the WPML crew; Sell real objects, or digital downloads (with limits and tracking!), with ease; Shipping, coupons, Google Analytics Ecommerce tracking, sale pricing, unlimited product variations, and more…
  7. WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart – Very easy to use Simple WordPress Paypal Shopping Cart Plugin. Great for selling products online in one click from your WordPress site. WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart allows you to add an ‘Add to Cart’ button on any posts or pages. It also allows you to add/display the shopping cart on any post or page or sidebar easily. The shopping cart shows the user what they currently have in the cart and allows them to remove the items; can be easily integrated with the NextGen Photo Gallery plugin.
  8. Amazon Affiliate Link Localizer – This plugin automatically changes your Amazon links to point to your visitor’s local Amazon store whilst using your affiliate ID for that country. This plugin not only automatically changes any Amazon link on your site to use your affiliate ID, but it also changes the link to point to the user’s local Amazon store; if your visitor is visiting from the UK they’ll get a link to Amazon.co.uk, if they’re visiting from the US they’ll get a link to the same product on Amazon.com; All you have to do is provide all your affiliate IDs.
    It doesn’t matter if the link is in your post, in your template or anywhere else on your page – it’ll be converted automatically.
  9. WordPress Ultra Simple PayPal Shopping Cart – WordPress Ultra Simple PayPal Shopping Cart allows you to add an ‘Add to Cart’ button on any posts or pages. It also allows you to add/display the shopping cart on any post or page or sidebar easily. The shopping cart shows the user what they currently have in the cart and allows them to remove the items. You can also add a form between the cart validation and the PayPal submit if you choose a 3 step process; WP Ultra simple PayPal Cart Plugin, interfaces with the PayPal sandbox to allow for testing. You need to set up a developer test account for the sandbox at PayPal. Simply put you PayPal sandbox merchant email address in the admin panel, and click the ‘test’ radio button.
  10. Cart66 Lite: Ecommerce Shopping Cart Plugin for Your Online Store – Sell digital products and/or physical products with the Cart66 WordPress ecommerce shopping cart plugin; this is the lite version of a paid product.
  11. WP Online Store – A WordPress Online Store plugin that integrates the legendary osCommerce eCommerce shopping cart in any WordPress theme in seconds; WP Online Store is a complete eCommerce plugin for WordPress featuring of the legendary osCommerce online store system. It works with almost any theme. osCommerce shopping carts power millions of sites worldwide. It is one of the most popular eCommerce solutions on the internet and has more features than we could ever list here. It also has an easy to use admin area, so set up is a breeze. Having your WordPress site become a fully operational online store has never been easier, it’s as simple as 1-Install, 2-Activate, and 3-Add store to page.
  12. Ecwid Shopping Cart – Ecwid is a free full-featured shopping cart and an e-commerce solution that can easily be added to any blog or Facebook profile. It offers the performance and flexibility you need, with none of the hassles you don’t. “Ecwid” stands for “ecommerce widgets”. There are eight key advantages to Ecwid:
    1. It’s free.
    2. It has AJAX everywhere and supports drag-and-drop.
    3. It can be easily integrated to any existing site or Facebook profile in minutes.
    4. It can be mirrored on many sites at the same time. Add your store to many sites, manage it from one place.
    5. Integration with social networks. Run your own store on Facebook, mySpace and many others.
    6. Simple to use and maintain. For both store owner and customer.
    7. Lightning fast. New-gen technologies make Ecwid much faster than usual shopping carts regardless the hosting service you use.
    8. Seamless upgrades. You just wake up one day and enjoy new features.
  13. TheCartPress, eCommerce Shopping Cart – Native eCommerce integration and interaction with WordPress. Flexible, scalable; Ideal for theme constructors; Ideal for merchants, themes constructors and developers. Use it as shopping cart, catalog or framework. Extend the eCommerce functionality with plugins and themes exactly in same way that you do with WordPress.
  14. Smart Manager for WP e-Commerce – Smart Manager is a unique, revolutionary tool that gives you the power to efficiently manage products, product variations, customers and orders using the popular WordPress e-Commerce plugin from GetShopped / Instinct.
    As a business owner, your time is better spent on marketing and customer service than on store administration. Unfortunately store administration with WordPress e-Commerce can take significant time. Day after day. Smart Manager will boost your productivity 10x in managing products, customers and orders. You can browse, search, and manage multiple products, customers or orders using a familiar, single page, spreadsheet-like interface.

Other notable resources

  • Google Maps Store Locator for WordPress – Provides Mapping, Display, and Search of Locations For Those of you who create sites for clients using WordPress; Those of you who want to show your important locations (stores, buildings, points of interest, etc.) in an easily searchable manner. Also referred to as a dealer locator (locater), shop finder, and zip code or zipcode search. Its strength is in its flexibility to allow you to easily manage a few or a thousand or more locations through the admin interface.
  • Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    How to quickly create photo galleries in WordPress

    Photoblogging basics & techniques

    LindsleyThis morning, I attended a church service – a somewhat rare event for me, actually – at Lindsley Avenue Church of Christ where Steve Garrett preaches every Sunday. I’ve known Steve since college; we both attended Lipscomb University, graduating around 1989. Lindsley Avenue is a tiny little congregation in downtown Nashville, Tennessee – at least as far as Nashville churches go; but the catch is, the old church building is a classic, beautiful, turn-of-the-century brick sanctuary which has managed to retain most of its original stained glass windows of the sort one just doesn’t see much anymore. The Lindsley Avenue church building is listed on the Nashville Historic Register.

    May 15, 1984 saw several churches added to the National Register by way of a thematic resources listing, Nineteenth Century Churches of South Nashville, including St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and Rectory, Primitive Baptist Church, Elm Street Methodist Church, and the Lindsley Avenue Church of Christ. (Source: Metropolitan Nashville Historical Commission Newsletter, May 2011)

    We had been discussing the design of a new website, blog, events app, and so forth, so I brought along my trusty Olympus Stylus and took a couple hundred photos.

    When I returned home, I began to dread the hours of my time that would be demanded by my usual process of image editing, digital photo organization, file uploading, and finally, website implementation of these hundreds of images, despite saving lots of time by taking advantage of FastStone Photo Resizer’s impressive and efficient batch photo processing capabilities. (If my blog had any regular readers, they’d know I like to use a PHP image rotation script which displays images at random each time a given blog post is loaded into a visitor’s web browser. It’s a rather simple but very effective technique which keeps the pages and posts on my sites and blogs looking as though they’re updated quite frequently, or even daily – even though this is rarely the case.)

    I wanted to find a much speedier method of posting large numbers of photos into my various WordPress blogs. I began to wonder what techniques real photographers might use when they need to post a new photo gallery to their WordPress blogs efficiently and professionally in time to meet a looming deadline. During the course of this research, I started to become personally interested in photoblogging.

    The timing is just perfect; a client and partner of mine is currently growing at least two Nashville photography websites, and I have been planning to start my own photography website and perhaps also sell stock photos in order to create at least a trickle of new revenue…

    What’s a photoblog?

    A photoblog is different than a typical content-centric blog, which emphasizes the textual content and perhaps features only the occasional image; photoblogs focus almost entirely on images. Often, just about the only textual content within a photoblog post would be the photo captions.

    Many more photoblogging basics on the way… still researching, testing… in the meantime, here are a few notable photoblogging resources

    Resources: Photoblogging in general

    Resources: Photoblogging with WordPress

    Photo gallery scripts that work with WordPress

    There are many PHP and Javascripts available that will allow you to create and manage online galleries on your WordPress site. Here are just a few that have been successfully integrated with WordPress. As of Version 2.5, WordPress has included a gallery function using the shortcode.

    ANIga gallery
    AWSOM Pixgallery Art/Webcomic plugin
    Build Your Own CSS-based Gallery
    Duh Gallery
    fMoblog – Upload and display images from your cell phone.
    Gallery 2 embedded in WordPress using the WPG2 Plugin
    GRAND Flash Album Gallery – multi category flash skin based photo gallery with powerful admin. CodEasily.com
    Lazyest Gallery Automatically includes galleries uploaded by ftp
    NextGEN Gallery
    PhotoJAR – Adds numerous features to the built-in WordPress gallery
    PhotoSmash Galleries – User contributable galleries that add images to the WordPress Media Gallery. More info atplugin homepage
    Page Flip Image Gallery – 90 day trialware–other versions require payment. GPL Version
    Piwigo with PiwigoMedia to insert photos in your posts and PiwigoPress to display thumbnails in your sidebar
    eSPG: enhanced Simple PHP Gallery
    WordPress Include Page Plugin
    w3images gallery – add an useful and costumizable Images Gallery to your WordPress
    Zenphoto – +WP plugin

    Resources: Lindsley Avenue Church

    Free sources for great photos to use in your blog posts

    Selling stock photography

    Started on Sunday, November 20, 2011