WordPress 3.1 Released – My Thoughts on it

WordPress 3.1 was released yesterday with a massive fanfare. The fact it’s now a 3.1 release means that there’s significant new features added, rather than just bug fixes.

What’s New?

Although there’s a full list of updates on WordPress’ website, here’s the features I’m most looking forward to:-

  • Internal Linking - Auto target keywords to get links to your best or most relevant posts. I’m really looking forward to this one! It’s something that WordPress has needed for ages, as internal linking is a crucial yet often ignored part of SEO. This makes it a lot easier to manage.
  • Admin Bar - Browsing your blog as an admin allows you to make quick & simple changes via a black bar along the top of the site. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not, I’ve played with it on You’re Supposed to Be At Home & it blends in with the header navigation too much for my liking. Can you change the colour of it?
  • Post Formats - This is very interesting. Basically, you can have a different style of post depending on what that post is about. A large comment list will display differently from a video. I’m really looking forward to play with this!

Upgrading?

I’ve upgraded (I’m often very cautious and generally wait to x.x.1 release, which spots a few bug fixes & security updates), but noticed that a few people are having problems. Remember to backup before upgrading!

Favourite Parts of the new WordPress?

What’s your favourite parts of the new WordPress? Have you had a play around with Post Formats? If you have, share them in the comments, I’d love to see them!

How To Test Software With Fiverr

If you read anywhere near the scale of blogs I do, you get the hard sell on various pieces of software a lot. Often a lot of the reviews of things are positive and the software’s official website are often those long sales pages that look basic, promise the world & are difficult to leave. However, I’ve bought software from similar sites & been very happy with them. I’ve also bought some crap before now and whilst you can get refunds, it can be tricky.

Recently though, the amount of poor software I have bought has dropped considerably, how have I done it? Simple – I’ve used Fiverr.

What is Fiverr?

Fiverr is the next big thing in marketplaces, my twitter feed raves about it, ViperChill raved about it, I love it. Basically it lists jobs and tasks that people are willing to do for $5. It was in ViperChill’s comments that I shared this technique, in this post I’ll expand what I mean.

How To Use Fiverr To Test Software

When you login to Fiverr, you need to search for the name of the software you’re looking for in the search box in the left hand column and press enter.

Unless you’re really unlucky, you should get a list of gigs and tasks for $5. Then you simply pick a user (known as a seller) to test the software (some of them are really in your favour. For example, I searched for ArticleRanks and found some people selling five article submissions (that cost $10) for $5!

You need to carry out a small amount due dilligence to help eliminate time wasters. It’s definitely a buyer’s market with Fiverr protecting you but things I would look out for are the following:-

  • Amount of feedback - Obvious Really
  • Date since last feedback - A lot of gigs receive no feedback whatsoever. The gigs with recent feedback are probably the ones you want to look at.
  • What’s needed from you - Often before work begins you need to supply some items to the seller. This as well is a good indication of what you need to run the software should you decide to use it. Obviously you don’t want to pay $5 and then help your contractor carry out the task.

Don’t rely solely on feedback though, as it can be gamed, but as it’s only $5 per task, it’s a great way to test run software.

One Thing To Bear In Mind

Problems can arise however should sellers not deliver on the task. This is unfortunate but not particularly avoidable (for $5, you cannot expect the world). This has happened to me once before: the seller to had a family illness and asked me to cancel. Which was fine, I’m not a complete slave driver!

Unfortunately, when I cancelled, I got this message:-

I knew that there was a problem well before the end of the task thanks to my seller being responsive, but I couldn’t cancel until after the end of the expected delivery time.

Furthermore, instead of getting your $5, it goes into credit on the site. So although you aren’t out of pocket & can use it on the site, you’ll never see your $5 again.

How To Get Digg Digg & Sexybookmarks To Work With Woothemes Bueno

I’m a huge fan of Woothemes themes, they can be uploaded & installed in seconds, have a nice framework & are able to be edited. I’m also a huge fan of Digg Digg & Sexybookmarks. Unfortunately, when testing with the free theme Bueno by Woothemes with a new blog – You’re Supposed To Be At Home, it lead to this problem with the featured posts section:-

What’s Happening Here?

As the featured section is treated as a separate post cycle, it’s includes whatever is included in the original post cycle, which includes the bookmarks. What we need to do is remove them.

Removing the Sexybookmarks from Featured Posts

To remove the Sexybookmarks from the Featured Posts, what you have to do is make sure that the featured posts feature the excerpt, rather than the content. Simply go to Appearance > Widgets, and change it to the following:-

Removing Digg Digg From The Featured Posts

To remove Digg Digg takes a little bit more work, and edit the actual theme. It’s a bit codey, but it’s straightforward!

1. Open theme-widgets.php file

Firstly you need to open the theme-widgets.php file (after backing it up, of course!). This file is located in the “includes” directory in the theme template (for this I’ll be talking about Bueno, the free Woothemes theme).

2. Edit the_excerpt Loop Using Regex

What we are doing here is editing the excerpt so instead of placing the excerpt on the page, we’ll remove the Digg Digg Links. Luckily the links are all wrapped in a div, so if we find the div using Regular Expression (Regex), we can remove it.

To do this you need to go line 207, which looks something like this:-

if($content == "excerpt") { get_the_excerpt(); }

Replace it with the following code:-

if($content == "excerpt") {
 $ex = get_the_excerpt();
 $ex = preg_replace("/<div class='[a-z_'<> =\/(){.A-Z,1-9[0\];:}?%-^\"!]*<\/div>/", "", $ex);
 echo $ex; }

This should get rid of any of the buttons from the featured posts. If it doesn’t please let me know & I will research further.

Still Stuck?

Contact me & I’ll help you sort this issue out.

Do I Still Like Woothemes?

Absolutely! I’m still a huge fan. The fact that you can dive into the code & edit it is a beautiful thing that many other templates don’t allow you to do easily. As such I’d recommend signing up for them. I’m subscribed to their monthly package, but you can download the themes one off as well. They’re well worth getting for your blog. Check them out!

WooThemes - Made by Designers

How To Write A Guest Post Proposal

I accept guest blog posts on this blog, which is the same as many other blogs. However, even though I accept them, the main focus for my blog is to keep the quality of posts. As a result, I do reject guest posts (probably why you haven’t seen any posts yet!), even those that don’t get past the proposal phrase.

One such proposal was sent to my personal blog (which I rarely, if ever, accept guest posts on!) in the past few days. It was long with 4 wordy paragraphs, which I read then immediately sent it into the bin.

Why didn’t it work? Well it was long & wordy, but there were a few phrases that stood out:-

  • “Whilst reading your blog I noticed that you have used guest posters previously, and so thought I’d send you a quick email.” - Lazy. I had never guest post on the website.
  • “The post would offer simple [their niche] advice (not a sales pitch in any way!) for the readers of your blog, with the post being relevant to the details of your niche….I think it’s safe to say that we could really help your readers with some high quality unbiased (and uncommercial) advice..” - Again, their niche was completely unrelated to mine. I also wasn’t happy having ‘advice’ posts on my website, which is a personal blog.

But the main phrase that stood out was the following:-

We’re offering to write you a unique 400-600 word blog post, which will be relevant to your readers and will enhance your website as the quality of the content will be very high. Hopefully the post will be helpful to your readers and also will help your exposure in the search engines due to having more content.

Two reasons why this stood out for me. Firstly, the fact that they mention the words “quality”, “expert”, “unique” & “helpful” a lot. Ever see a drunk who try so hard to convince you they are sober they give the game away? That’s what the email & the passage reads to me.

Secondly, it felt like they were patronising me, that my blog needed their content to be a great blog.

So how should you effectively pitch when guest posting?

Simple, don’t. Write a blog post that you want publishing & send it yourself. Make your first guest posts generic (so that if they are refused, you can still use the blog post), before going into tailored blog posts to blogs. By pitching, you’re setting yourself up for a fall, so don’t!

Photo Credit: http://www.rodolfoclix.com.br/2000info.html