Tag Archives: WordPress30


WordPress Plugin #7: Twitter Card

Note: In this series I’ll delve into some of the better plugins available for WordPress that I am already using, or about to start using. I’m aiming to highlight 30 of the better plugins.

If, like me, you use Twitter a lot, and have something like WordTwit installed (tweet your new blog post when you publish it) then you’ll also want to explore the new world of Twitter Cards. Thanks for Paul Simbeck-Hampson for showing and explaining this to me.

What is it … well, Twitter Cards:

“make it possible for you to attach media experiences to Tweets that link to your content. Simply add a few lines of HTML to your webpages, and users who Tweet links to your content will have a “card” added to the Tweet that’s visible to all of their followers.”

Here is it in action, it’s the snippet of the linked webpage (and image) that appears beneath the tweet on both the website and in Twitter Apps – it comes into it’s element if someone tweets a link to or about one of your blog posts and doesn’t include your twitter name, as the Card will do this for you, so your work is correctly attributed:

WordPressPlugin #7: Twitter Card (Working)

Here’s an example of a non-cited tweet, where my Twitter username ‘@hopkinsdavid’ is not mentioned:

WordPressPlugin #7: Twitter Card (Working)

How does this work, and what do you need? First you need to install the Twitter Cards plugin (available as download or by searching the Plugin database through your WordPress admin panel). It’s simple and done in a matter of seconds, and that’s all you need to do in WordPress.

The next stage is to test it using the Twitter developer page- Twitter Development / Cards Preview –  and request its activation. Take a URL for one of your blog posts or pages and enter it in the box and press ‘preview’, to get something like this, including the snippet of the post and the image:

WordPressPlugin #7: Twitter Card (Preview)

 NB: You must be sure that the post in WordPress has an image set as the ‘featured image’ if you want it to show the image in the Twitter Card. If it doesn’t have one set it’ll display the text with no image – it’s not a bad thing but, if you’re working hard to promote yourself and images are important then it’s worth making sure you have one set.

The final step is to apply to have the Card approved and activated on this page: dev.twitter.com/form/participate-twitter-cards. The form does state:

“As we roll out this new feature to users and publishers, we are looking for sites with great content and those that drive active discussion and activity on Twitter. Expect a few weeks for turn-around time. You will receive an email message with the confirmation or rejection notice.” [emphasis is mine]

Fill in all the fields as best you can and sit back and wait. Simple! It took just over 12 hours for mine to be approved, you may be luckier than me.


WordPress Plugin #2: Social Sharing with ShareThis

Note: In this series I’ll delve into some of the better plugins available for WordPress that I am already using, or about to start using. I’m aiming to highlight 30 of my favourites.

You have a blog, and you use various different ways of publicising it (try WordTwit and WordBooker) automatically when you publish a new post. But what about getting your audience to share your content when they find it?

There are many plugins available that can help with this, I’ve used some in the past but the one I’m currently ‘liking’ is ShareThis:

“Increase your audience engagement with our innovative sharing tools … the plugin allows users to share your content through email and 50+ social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Pinterest. You can broadcast your message more easily and widely than ever before.”

Available from the WordPress plugin area through your blogs admin panel it’s easy to install and configure. You have the option on which of the major networks to have sharing to (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest) and, if you sign up for a free account on the ShareThis website you can store your ‘publisher key’ for analytics which you can browse and interrogate (I haven’t been able to get mine working properly, it doesn’t seem to like self-hosted WordPress blogs).

It’s important to note that this doesn’t capture the sharing of the post on the networks unless the click/link was generated on the blog itself. So, for example, a re-tweet on Twitter of your tweet from ShareThis does not increase the number shown on your blog.


WordPress Plugins #30: Cookies

New laws that came into being recently (May 26, 2012) state that websites must get “informed consent” from users before they record any detailed information in the cookies they store on visitors’ computers.”

Note: In this series I’ll delve into some of the better plugins available for WordPress that I am already using, or about to start using. I’m aiming to highlight 30 of the better plugins.

Those of us running a blog based on the popular blogging platforms will find a handy plugin or two in the respective directory, and the one I’ve started testing using is called Cookie Control, and is available from the WordPress website or by searching the directory directly from within your own WordPress blog.

“Cookie Control is a mechanism for obtaining a user’s explicit consent for the use of cookies on their computer. It was created by Civic UK because recent legislation requires websites to obtain explicit consent before leaving behind or reading files (mostly cookies) on user’s computers.”

The Plugin sits in a fairly unobstructed location of your choosing (bottom-left or bottom-right are good places) and can hold user-defined text based on the type of cookies you use (basic blog, Google analytics, etc). Here it is when viewing this blog on a desktop / non-mobile device:

The admin pages reflect the ones readily available on the Cookie Control Configuration website (for those who want to use it without installing a plugin) where you can choose from different icons and position, as well as light or dark background to the text box, and you also get to enter your own specific text and links to your privacy policy (do you have one?).

Have you done anything to address the cookie-question, or are you going to carry on as business-as-usual? And if so, why and what?

Here are few of the storied being discussed on Twitter this morning:

“In an updated version of its advice for websites on how to use cookies the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has said that websites can assume that users have consented to their use of them. The advice was only updated on Thursday, 48 hours before the deadline for implementing the new rules, and published the next day.”
The Guardian: Cookies law changed at 11th hour to introduce ‘implied consent’

“Fines for non-compliance were unlikely to be levied, he said [Dave Evans, ICO], because there was little risk that a non-compliant site would cause a serious breach of data protection laws that was likely to cause substantial damage and distress to a user.”
BBC News: Thousands of websites in breach of new cookie law

“The Information Commissioner’s Office has updated advice and changes to the EU cookie law on the ICO blog.  The guidance stresses that there is no ‘one size fits all approach’.  Dave Evans, the Group Manager for Business and Industry at the ICO, addresses some FAQs on the new law in a short video.”
JISC Legal
: ICO Cookies Update


Measuring user engagement by leveraging the power of ‘copy-and-paste’

A year or so ago I wrote about the system Tynt “What’s being copied from your website?” and I thought it warranted an update, seeing as the service is very different to what it was back then. Tynt is:

“Improve your seo, keep users longer and measure your user engagement by leveraging the power of copy and paste.”

Tynt now has four distinct ‘products’, these being:

  • Keywords: Unlock the secrets to outbound traffic and keep users on your site longer.
  • SEO: Leverage copy and paste functionality to improve your search ranking.
  • Content: Measure user engagement and shape subject matter that matters.
  • Social: Identify which social channels produce the most lift and impact for your site.

What is Tynt?

How does it work?

Once you’ve signed up on the website you’ll be given some code to place in your website (if you’re running a CMS then you’ll need to put it in the template, as per the video above), and then sit back and watch the copy-and-paste happen.

Each time someone copies something from your website, a ‘read more’ link will go with it along with a link back to your website and the copied text is highlighted for whoever received the link.

Click to enlarge

You can configure the text that is appended to the text on the Tynt website, adding attribution and modifying the text/link that is pasted.

You can also set your preferences to receiving notifications on content copied to daily, weekly, or monthly, or just log back to the website to see the latest report:

Click to enlarge

If you’re a WordPress user then I’d suggest using one of the plugins readily available (hosted or self-hosted) which will post the code in the page for you: just search the plugin directory for ‘tynt’ and try one out. There is plenty of support for other blogging platforms on the Tynt installation help page (including Blogger, Ning, Typepad, Tumblr, etc).

My greatest surprise in looking through the copied content is how well my older posts are still doing with regard views and copied content. I am also intrigued by the number of instances my images are used on other peoples website – this is not downloaded and uploaded to their own, this is sourced from my website … no wonder the bandwidth for the blog is so high!

Are you using Tynt, have you seen anything in the stats that surprised or shocked (or disappointed) you? If you’re not using it, will you? Drop a comment below and share your thoughts.

WordPress Plugin #11: Poll

Note: In this series I’ll delve into some of the better plugins available for WordPress that I am already using, or about to start using. I’m aiming to highlight 30 of the better plugins.

What better way than to get (almost) immediate feedback on something than with a question or poll? This is yet another easy thing to do with WordPress and the ‘WP-Polls‘ plugin can handle everything you need, including:

  • multiple polls
  • side-bar widget for latest and closed polls
  • choice of how your polls are dislpayed (default or CSS driven)
  • logging of responses
  • time-out / close polls after specificed time, or leave open

You can put the poll anywhere in a post, or have it all on it’s own, the choice is yours – all you need to do is click the image in the blog post tool bar and assign the poll ID, you can get this from the Admin panel (see image below).

Here are a few screenshots of the admin panel and how the polls are displayed (click to enlarge):

Admin Panel images:

Poll Admin Options

Add Poll and Poll answers

Active Poll and Poll Widget:

Active Poll (inc. results) in blog post

Active Poll (inc. results) in side-bar (Widget)


WordPress Plugin #18: Popular Posts

Note: In this series I’ll delve into some of the better plugins available for WordPress that I am already using, or about to start using. I’m aiming to highlight 30 of the better plugins.

Some blogs get more traffic than most, and I am confident when I say I get a fair amount of page views and visitors (yes, I check my Google Analytics about twice a month). When was the last time you looked at your OWN blog with a fresh pair of eyes, and thought about how you would find more about the author and/or subjects?

One way is the About page, where you ought to have some background information about you and why you are an authority on the subject you blog about (for me it’s eLearning, blogging, Social Media, etc, etc). Another great way to direct visitors to content is through a ‘Related Links‘ list of posts – which I wrote about last year.

Another way is to publish a list of ‘popular posts’ in the sidebar and, yes you guessed it, there’s a plugin for that.

Installation of the ‘WordPress Popular Posts‘ plugin is, as always, simple and quick to do. once installed and activated you head on over to the Widget section of the’Appearance’ admin panels and drag the widget into your sidebar.

The settings are fairly self-explanatory (click on the image below to enlarge and see the full widget option list) like what details to show on the post (number of comments, views, excerpt, etc), how many posts to show and over what date/time scale, and may more:

Click to enlarge

Unfortunately the stats and numbers only start once you’ve installed the plugin, as you can see from the screenshot below, the posts have only had a couple of views each, but that’s not too bad since I only installed it about 10 minutes ago:

Click to enlarge

Watch this plugin grow!


WordPress Plugin #17: TwitPic and WP-TwitPic

Note: In this series I’ll delve into some of the better plugins available for WordPress that I am already using, or about to start using. I’m aiming to highlight 30 of the better plugins.

If, like me, you use Twitter on a mobile device then you’ll be aware of Twitpic – you can share photos you take on the move quickly and easily as they are published with your tweet, as you tweet; “You can post photos to TwitPic from your phone, from the site, or through email.”

Great, but now what? The only time you or anyone else can see those wonderful sunsets or conference photos is when they find your old tweet from last year. But not any more – here are two great WordPress plugins that can bring your twitpics to your blog.

Firstly I want to introduce TwitPic for WordPress. This plugin enables a widget for your sidebar and displays your latest pictures. The plugin is widget ready and has many different options for configuration so install it, play with it, and see what is best for you and your blog.

This is how my sidebar looks, today, with TwitPic;

The second plugin I want you to hear about is called WP-Twitpic which allows you to insert an image from  TwitPic into your blog posts. Once the plugin in installed you insert any image from TwitPic into your post using the unique hash provided by TwitPic. You can then change its size, URL, alignment etc, as you can with any other image. Just activate the plugin and use [ twitpic id = hash ] (without the spaces!).

Here’s a photo from the FOTE2010 conference a month or so back using the code [ twitpic id = 2tlr0v ] (without the spaces);

[twitpic id=2tlr0v]


WordPress Plugin #29: Collapsible Archive Widget

Note: In this series I’ll delve into some of the better plugins available for WordPress that I am already using, or about to start using. I’m aiming to highlight 30 of the better plugins.

I like to browse through blogs to see what the author has had to say in previous posts, and there are several ways of doing this;

  • browse the contents on the home page – nice but a little too random.  Sometimes I am looking for something specific.
  • browse the contents of a category – much clearer contents based on category the author posted to.
  • browse the contents of a tag – this is my preferred method, you get a wider selection of relative and appropriate content.
  • use the search tool – this is always a good one, but often the search box is hidden and it’s too much trouble to hunt for it.
  • use the archive list – browse the archive, month by month.

The other way is to browse the blog y date, and this is where the ‘archive’ come in. This is often the last item in the side-bar and sometimes not even present at all – let’s face it, if you’ve been blogging for any amount of time this can be quite a long list of months to show.

So, after a short hunt through a popular search engine I came across this plugin, installed it, and haven’t looked back – the Collapsible Archive Widget loads a javascript list in the side-bar, where ever you choose to put it (even in the footer?) with  and  images to indicate more or less information to be shown.

Here it is working;

It’s good, but I admit that I don’t use them … so why have them? I have this purely for the search engines; while it’s a bit of a download (and getting longer with the more posts I make) it’s good for the search engines. I will eventually remove this feature on the blog but for now, it stays.

Do you use/browse through websites using the archive lists? Why (or why not)?


WordPress Plugin #4: Creative Commons Licence

Note: In this series I’ll delve into some of the better plugins available for WordPress that I am already using, or about to start using. I’m aiming to highlight 30 of the better plugins.

Much has been written recently about people having their work ripped off, word for word. It’s happened to me once or twice, and there is little bloggers can do about it. Dave Colman (@davecoleman146) had this happen as well, and wrote about it on his blog “SharePointEduTech“, and the comments were well made and sympathetic to his plight.

But what can you or I do about protecting our blog content, our intellectual property? I’ve already mentioned the copy-protect service called Tynt, in the post “What’s being copied from your blog?“.

Well, here’s another little thing you can add to your blog. It won’t stop it happening but it will give a visual identity to your awareness of the facts, and that you are covering yourself for any future action you want to take. The plugin is called “Creative Commons Configurator” and you go through a process of selecting the type of licence you want to use, and how you want it displayed.

You can add the text to the HTML meta tags too, all part of the plugin.

have you been the victim of someone copying your content (and they even use the links to your images too)? How did you deal with them and handle the situation?


WordPress Plugin #15: Blackbird Pie (WordPress and Twitter)

Note: In this series I’ll delve into some of the better plugins available for WordPress that I am already using, or about to start using. I’m aiming to highlight 30 of the better plugins.

Can WordPress get any better, whether it’s for a simple blog of a full corporate platform for the website and much more … yup, it can!

Just announced is the new Blackbird Pie pluginfor WordPress, which will automatically display the tweet, it’s author, and appropriate links in your WordPress page or post. They say it …

“… is a method of displaying tweets as rich full content rather than as just simple URLs or images. With Blackbird Pie Twitter, hashtags link to search pages and usernames link to twitter profiles. An individual tweet, or pie, includes all the details, design, and information that a single tweet page would include. As a blogger, Blackbird Pie offers a great way to engage Twitter on your site and bring discussion to your blog.”

What do you need to do … other than install the plugin? Easy, just like the YouTube plugin to embed YouTube videos by simply pasting the URL, all you do it paste the URL of the tweet and the plugin does the rest (don’t forget to remove the link on the text!). Here it is in action (I thought I’d use one of my old tweets as an example);

Blogged: What is a Learning Technologist (part 2)? http://is.gd/gcwCs
David Hopkins

Great, isn’t it!

Since the upgrade I downloaded this morning (November 16th) there’s now a lovely little blackbird button that’s been added to the toolbar, and from here you can insert a tweet based on full URL, the ID of the tweet, or search for a username and select the tweet from the list;

The options are …

Which gives you the tweet like this;

This Robin Hood Airport thing is being blown up out of all proportion #twitterjoketrial
Gene Hunt