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wordpress tips – themes and widgets (nbi)

Ok so I’m not going to talk about the basics or how tos as WordPress has plenty of help and tutorials already.  What I aim to do, is to point out some tips to get your blog looking the way you want, how to use screenshots in a post and how to organise content.  phew!  I think I’ll need to split this into three posts ;)

Themes:

There are tons of free themes for WordPress.com users.  The best thing to do is experiment and start deciding what features you like.  For example 2 or 3 columns, the size of the header, featured images, sticky posts etc etc.  My current must-haves are a customisable header, sticky post slider, custom menu, 2 columns and featured images attached to your posts on your front page…  You can filter your theme search with these features which makes it easier.  If you are worried about completely messing up your blog while experimenting, you can create another wordpress blog (make it private if you like), stick some test content up and play around with themes as much as you like.  You can also preview new themes to get an idea of how the new theme would look (thanks to Rakuno for reminding me :))

Widgets:

These are great!  The only problem I have is limiting them ;)  Aside from the obvious recent comments, recent posts widgets, there are some really neat widgets available.

Twitter widget: displays your most recent tweets, Flickr widget: link up to your flickr account and it will display a thumbnail gallery, Top Posts and Pages: will display your most popular posts and pages,

Text widget:  I use this for my Raptr card (easy copy and paste html).  I also use for my rss/flickr/twitter links – and this was a pain to configure so… here’s what you’ll need to do.

Firstly, find the icon images of the services you want to use and upload them as media.

<a href=”http://suzitastarshadow.wordpress.com/category/lotro/feed/&#8221; title=”Lotro RSS Feed”><img src=”http://suzitastarshadow.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/rss-icon.png?&#8221; alt=”Lotro RSS Feed” style=”border:none;” /></a>

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/YOURFLICKRID&#8221; title=”Find my profile on Flickr”><img src=”YOUR FILE LOCATION” alt=”MY FLICKR GALLERY” style=”border:none;” /></a>

<a href=”http://twitter.com//#!/YOURTWITTERID&#8221; title=”Follow me on Twitter”> <img src=”YOUR FILE LOCATION” alt=”FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER” style=”border:none;” /></a>

The first set of < > is the link to the rss feed, your flickr album etc , the second set of < > is the image file link followed by alt text.  The image file URL is found by viewing the image in your media library. I’ve left my details in the RSS html so you can see what it looks like.  I hope that makes sense… it can be a bit fiddly but the above html works for me.   You may need a ? after the YOUR FILE LOCATION…  If it doesn’t work I’m going to have to say to start googling I’m afraid, I have little html knowledge but not enough to give proper advice.

see this great post (Tales of the Agronaut) to combine your google reader into a text box widget (I’ll be doing this once my blogroll settles down ;))

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20 comments on “wordpress tips – themes and widgets (nbi)

  1. Nice tips! :)

    I was wondering how to get a feed link yours in mine for a while but my all my fiddlings with WordPress widgets didn’t work out so I stopped trying. I will give it a try later.

    Also, about the themes, when you are browsing them there is an option to preview it that will use your current blog content. So it is a good way to discard the ones who will really look bad with your content. For the others that are not so clear your suggestion about creating another blog with testing content might be the best answer.

  2. there is actually a RSS widget which should be pretty easy to sort out and if you go to feedburner it gives you some html to cut and paste into a text widget (thanks to the peeps at the nbi forums for explaining that :)) but at the time I wanted the RSS icon with the twitter and flickr icon and that was the only way I could do it…

    thanks so much for pointing out the preview option – I completely forgot about that! will update :)

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