Dealing with Big Pages

Suppose you were writing a new blog post or a page for your website, and when you get done you realize that it’s a bit long – more of a novel. What should you do?

A lot of internet users are intimidated by big blocks of text. It doesn’t matter if that novel you wrote is a good read or even a quick read, if it simply looks like a lot to take in, the visitor might just move along.

Sometimes the answer is to just rewrite. There are contexts when less really is more. Think about why the user might have come to that particular page. If it’s a location or directions page, for instance, the user most likely has a clear purpose for being there, and they want specific information. In this case, hand over that information and leave the flowing prose out.

But what if what you’ve written is really good, just long? Don’t worry, you haven’t invested that time for nothing! Let’s look at how we can break up that text into easier-to-digest pieces.

To start, go to the next page to see our “before” example of the post we’re going to fix up.

What Are All Those Buttons For? (Or, Formatting Your Posts)

formatting-toolbarHave you ever been writing up a blog post and wanted to add a little flourish? Most of us have. But have you also found yourself wondering just what some of those buttons do? Some are easy, but let’s go though all of the toolbar buttons anyway.

bold

Bold. Makes selected text bold. Should be used to make something stand out – if everything is in bold, it can’t do its job.

italics

Italics. Makes selected text italicized, or emphasized. Like bold, if overused it loses its meaning.

strikethrough

Strikethrough. Puts a line through the text, as if to cross it out.

bulleted-list

  • Creates
  • a
  • bulleted
  • list

numbered-list

  1. Creates
  2. a
  3. numbered
  4. list

blockquote

Blockquote.

“Makes the selected text stand out, great for highlighting quotes you may have used.”

– Kailey

left-align

Standard left-aligned text.

center-align

Centers the text. Use as needed but keep in mind not everything is meant for centering. For example, long blocks of text or recipes with ingredients lists and step-by-step directions become hard to follow when centered.

right-align

Makes text align to the right.

link

When you have selected text, this button will become active. You can enter a URL and turn the text into a link, or even search through and link to your past posts and pages.

unlink

Removes a link.

more

Use this to break a post into a ‘teaser’ with a ‘read more’ link.
Continue reading

Making Friendly URLs

You may have noticed that when you write a blog post in WordPress, your post’s title becomes part of the URL or permalink for that post. This is really handy and prevents “ugly” links like yoursite.com/?p=1837. But if you have a nice long title, the automatic URL that’s created can be a little overbearing – and sometimes even uglier than the question mark style, especially when key punctuation gets removed.

Additionally, these nice casual human-friendly titles don’t always lend themselves to search-engine-friendly (SEF) URLs. Of course, I’m not telling you this so you’ll start writing short boring titles for your posts, since you are, after all, ultimately writing for people. I’m telling you this so you’ll be interested in making your blog posts good for humans and robots (as I like to call the search engines we do these things for).

For example, you might have written a post something like this:

1-default-slug

But then your URL ends up like yoursite.com/get-ready-for-the-annual-tulip-festival-april-15-18-2013/ Not terrible, but it could be better.

Let’s start by clicking the Edit button at the end of that permalink.2-click-edit

Now our “slug” (the lowercase, hyphenated version of our title that’s used in the URL) is editable.3-editable-slug

Let’s change that slug to something short and sweet.4-change-slug

And just click OK when it looks good.5-clicked-ok

Now you’ll have a really nice, to-the-point URL like yoursite.com/2013-tulip-festival/ which is nice for robots and humans.

WordPress won’t let you create 2 identical links, so be careful about making the slugs too simple. If you do end up choosing a slug that’s already been used, WordPress will append “-2″ at the end.

Important! Once a post or page has been published, you shouldn’t go back and change it unless you really, really, really need to, and in that case you should be sure to setup a 301 redirect (you may need the assistance of your web developer for this one). This is because if you change the permalink, the original link, which may already be indexed and bookmarked, will stop working and lead visitors to the dreaded “404 Page Not Found” error. A 301 redirect will notify search engines that the page has permanently moved and redirect any visitors, but it’s best to have a good link from the start.

Alternative Ways to Start a Blog Post

You know you need to blog more, but you just can’t seem to get in the habit. Right?

We know it can be a real challenge to stare at the “Add New Post” screen and just write something. And then there are days where you have a dozen ideas and no time to write! Let’s look at a couple WordPress tools that might make it easier for you to remember those ideas or even write quick posts on the fly.

QuickPress

QuickPress is a great tool found right on your WordPress Dashboard. Many people find it too small to write anything of length, but it can be very useful to just write down a title and finish the post later when you have time. Just be careful not to hit Publish till you’re ready! I like to use QuickPress to create quick drafts with a few notes that I can flesh out later before I publish.

PressThis

If you’re a big use of social networks like Pinterest, you may have learned about bookmarklets. Bookmarklets are like regular browser bookmarks, but instead of going to a website, they do something to the page you’re on. The PressThis bookmarklet (found under the Tools menu of your WordPress site), lets you quickly create a post based on any page you’re visiting. Perhaps there’s a news article praising your business or a new recipe you love, you can very quickly create a new post featuring a link to that site.

Check out the video below for a quick introduction to both QuickPress and PressThis.

Customizing the WordPress Dashboard

Like to get rid of things you don’t use? Of course! Clutter can be very distracting and even stressful for some. So let’s talk about cleaning the clutter from your WordPress Dashboard.

When you’re in logged into your WordPress site, sometimes there are too many boxes. There’s something for everyone, but no one wants everything! Fortunately, there are many things you can control that you might just not know about yet. Look for the Screen Options tab in the upper-right-hand corner to find a little options panel that controls what you do and don’t see on a given admin page.

Here’s a little video that goes over a few of the options to get you started.

How to Link to Your Own Posts and Pages with Ease

When you’re writing a new blog post, you may want to reference something you’ve previously written. For example, if you are writing about an upcoming annual event, you might want to share a link to a post you wrote last year that shared the highlights of the event. Or maybe you’ve developed a new recipe that was based off one you shared a few years ago.

Whatever the specifics, it’s nice to let your readers know about older posts that may interest them. Plus, there are search engine optimization benefits (so long as your links are genuine) to help improve your ranking.

Trying to find that old post can be a cumbersome task, especially if you’ve been blogging for years and you can’t quite remember when you posted something. Fortunately, WordPress knows the value of linking to your own content and has made it easy – it’s just a little hidden and you may not have noticed it before. Watch the video below to see how it’s done.

How to Change Your Password

We need passwords for just about everything anymore. A fear my next toaster will require me to sign in and agree to terms before I can toast a bagel.

Here are a few tips to keep yourself protected:

1) Don’t reuse passwords.

It’s true, keeping track of all those passwords is tough. At a bare minimum, you probably have online accounts with Facebook, Google, your bank, your email, and your website admin. And many of you will also have Flickr, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon, eBay, LinkedIn, Spotify, Foursquare, etc. My personal password manager keeps track of more than 300 logins.

But if you use the same password across multiple accounts, that means the weakness of one service becomes a weakness for all the services you use. Suppose you have a really strong password like le8'a6[Nwva7Y)lq/RSy that you use everywhere. If just one of your accounts gets hacked, then it is only a matter of time before the hacker uses that to gain access to your other accounts.

2) Don’t use common passwords.

If you can find your password in the dictionary, don’t use it. Those passwords are the easiest to guess. Remember, we’re not worried about a person sitting at a computer trying these passwords one-by-one, we’re worried about bot-attacks which can try thousands of passwords per second.

If your password is one of these 25 most common passwords, don’t use it, and change it immediately: password, 123456, 12345678, abc123, qwerty, monkey, letmein, dragon, 111111, baseball, iloveyou, trustno1, 1234567, sunshine, master, 123123, welcome, shadow, ashley, football, jesus, michael, ninja, mustang, password1
(More information about that list)

You should also make sure that your password isn’t your username, real name, email address, or some combination thereof. Children’s and pets’ names should be avoided too.

3) Try a pass-phrase

We have been conditioned to not use spaces in our passwords (I’ll admit that I often don’t), but this is a great way to use a strong password that is easy to remember.

4) “Retire” old passwords

If a password has been in use for a while, it might be time to retire it. In case a site was compromised, changing your password regularly will help ensure that the password that someone else has is out-of-date by the time they try to use it.

5) Find a system

Your system might be to find a tool like 1Password or LastPass to keep track of your various passwords (as well as storing other secure information). Or you might want to use some sort of naming convention to make it easier to remember your passwords (for example, having a base password like “myDogHas3Legs” and prefix it for the site like “facebook-myDogHas3Legs”).

The important thing is to pick whatever method works best for you.

Ready to change your password?

Here’s how to change your inndx.com password:

6) Bonus: Watch out for those security questions!

A good password is worthless if a hacker can reset it by answering a security question or two. You wouldn’t give your password out, but sometimes we don’t think twice about leaking information like where you were born, your first pet’s name, or the street you grew up on. So be mindful that security questions are a second point of entry, and should be just as difficult to get past as your password.

How to Create an Image Gallery

The ability to insert image galleries has admittedly been a bit of an ‘unfun’ experience. What looked like an obvious solution often proved deficient, and the tool with the right features was often buried under a pile of confusing features.

But no more! Since WordPress reached version 3.5, we now have a glorious new media workflow that actually makes adding galleries enjoyable. Take a look at how it works in the video below.

How to Embed YouTube and Vimeo Videos

Embellishing your content with multimedia is more and more common today. Being able to include a useful and relevant video is a must. Unfortunately, for a while this was not a pleasant experience – hunting down embed codes that look like gibberish, and hoping that when you saved your page, the code wouldn’t be corrupted or removed.

Fortunately, this is wonderfully easy to do in WordPress! All you really need to do is paste the URL of the YouTube or Vimeo video page on its own line, and WordPress will do the rest. Here’s a short video to demonstrate:

WordPress Update!

The software that powers Inndx.com is called WordPress, and it just recently had a big update.

Last night, these updates were applied to Inndx so you can get the latest and greatest features!

welcome

Get a quick overview of what’s new by finding the About page in your Dashboard:

about-link

While not all of the new updates may be relevant to you, I’m sure you’ll find the new media features quite lovely. Stay tuned for some more information about how you can make the most use of it in your website.