WordPress Training Options

Hello all!

If you’re new to WordPress or just haven’t logged in for a while, feel free to request a one-on-one WordPress training with Amanda Sweet. They can be done over the phone so you don’t have to worry about travel.

The Online Training section of the Nebraska Libraries on the Web site has also been updated with a more up to date resource selection.

WordPress training is great for a refresher session or to brainstorm new and different content ideas for your website. Feel free to send a quick email if you have any questions!

Amanda Sweet
(402) 471-3106
amanda.sweet@nebraska.gov

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Updated PDF Embedder

Hello all,

My name is Amanda and I started as the new Technology Innovation Librarian back in January. I learned a lot of cool things since I started and am now working on updating WordPress more. On that note, I just added a new PDF Embedder plugin. This means that when you upload a PDF to your website, you now have the option to display the PDF on the full page section. Here’s how to do it:

1. Login to your dashboard and go to “Pages”
2. Open the page where you want to insert the pdf.
3. Click “Add Media” and upload the pdf
4. It should automatically embed on the page after you click “Publish”

I hope everyone has a good Memorial Day weekend!

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RSS feeds for your site

Hi, everyone, I’ve had a question about RSS feed options, so I thought that I’d pass along that information via this blog post.  Some of our themes automatically include “RSS feed” icons that let your visitors quickly view all of your posts or subscribe to your upcoming content.  If your theme doesn’t have that feature, you still have options for adding RSS to your site.  Just go to Appearance -> Widgets in your Dashboard and look for RSS Links (Jetpack).  You’ll want to be cautious here, since there’s another widget just called RSS that’s a little more complicated.  Once you click on RSS Links (Jetpack), you’ll be asked where you’d like to put the widget.

When one of your visitors clicks on the RSS link, he or she will have the opportunity to subscribe to your content.  So, instead of going to your site directly, new posts will appear directly in their browser.  If you’d like to see how it looks on the user side, please click this link to view the RSS feed for all of the sites on Nebraska Libraries on the Web.

As always, if you have any questions or requests for your site, please get in touch!

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One more way to save space

If you’ve noticed your site running more slowly or seen your storage space creeping closer to 100%, there is another easy remedy.  On your dashboard, go to the Media section, then click Library.  By default, you should see all the media items (images) that are active on your site.  But clicking the drop-down menu and changing “All media items” to “Unattached” will show you only images that aren’t currently being used on your pages or posts.  These might be duplicate images that were mistakenly uploaded or items that you’ve used in the past.

Unattached Images

But even though they’re not visible to your visitors, they’re still taking up space on your site.  Deleting these unneeded images is one of the easiest ways to regain storage space and boost your site’s speed.

 

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WordPress updated

Our network has been updated to WordPress 4.4.2.  Please let me know if you experience any strange or unexpected behavior on your site.

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Managing Your Storage Space

Some of you might have noticed something that looks like this when you view your Dashboard:

001

You’re (hopefully) not at 100% space used, but you might be getting closer to it if your site has lots of large images or other media files.  WordPress will add the red X icon to alert you that your remaining storage is getting rather low.  Fortunately, there are ways to easily adjust the amount of space consumed.  If you’re adding photos to your site directly from a digital camera or smartphone, you might check your settings and lower the image quality.  Most devices automatically save pictures at the highest possible resolution—that’s great if you took photos of a family vacation and want every detail of Niagara Falls, but it’s usually not necessary for some of the smaller images that will appear on your website.  Alternately, you can use free programs like Irfanview to reduce the size of your images before you upload them.

For existing images, it’s not a bad idea to check file sizes and use WordPress’s built-in image editor.  Just go to Media on your Dashboard and you’ll see a list of your existing files.  Clicking each one brings up details about the image.  Click the image below to see a larger version of it.

002

On the right, you’ll see File Size and Dimensions.   To give you an idea about dimensions, our sample image above is 1,456 × 883 at full size.  If an image seems to be too big, you can click the Edit Image button at the bottom, then use the Scale tool to shrink it down a bit.  If you see a number that’s larger than around 2000 on either side, the image can definitely be scaled down without a noticeable drop in quality.

Other potential problem areas are duplicate photos or older media that you’re not longer using on your site.  If you’re seeing more than one instance of a particular image in your Media section, it might be a good idea to delete those duplicates and save that storage space for new photos.  Similarly, if you have older photos that you’re not currently using, you might delete those from your Media library.  Just be sure to save them to your computer first, if you think you might use them again someday!

If you’d like any assistance regarding storage on your site (or any other issue), please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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Jetpack disconnection

A few of our libraries have reported that their Jetpack plugin has been disconnected.  If you’re seeing the notification below when you log in to your site, you’ll need to click the Connect Jetpack button in order to reestablish that connection.  You will need a free wordpress.com account in order to do this—the credentials that you use to log in to your website won’t work.  If you’d prefer, please feel free to get in touch with me and I can reconnect Jetpack on your site.  Among other things, Jetpack keeps tracks of visits to your site and can send posts from your website directly to Facebook, Twitter, and more, so it’s a very handy add-on.  My apologies for the inconvenience!

Please Connect Jetpack

 

 

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Embedding Maps

It might occasionally be helpful to include a map in your posts—say, if you’re having an event outside the library or writing about local history.  Here are three different ways that you can incorporate maps into what you’re doing.

Google Maps

Enter your location.  It can be a specific street address or something like “library near [name of city]”.  Once you have your map on the screen, click Share.  You’ll see a popup on your screen with two tabs, Share Link and Embed Map.  You’ll want to click Embed Map.  Now, choose the size of your map.  It’s probably defaulted to Medium, but you might want to opt for Small instead.  Once your size is selected, copy the code provided and go back to your WordPress blog.  You’ll need to click on the Text tab to open up the version of the post editor that will accept code (you’ll find Text right next to Visual at the top of the editor).  After you paste the code into this box, you can switch back over to Visual view.  Once you publish your post, you’ll get something like this:

Bing Maps

The process here is pretty similar.  Enter your address and, once you have your map on screen, click on Share.  The Share button for Bing is located at the top right of your screen.  Your code will be presented in the Embed in a Webpage field, but you can also make changes to the map by clicking Customize and Preview.  Once you have the map correctly sized and with the features you want, copy your code into the Text view of your WordPress post.  Once that’s done, switch back to Visual view to finish writing your post.  Your embedded map will look like this:

Bing includes a few links beneath their maps that might be helpful to your readers.  Google sometimes provides a link for driving directions with their maps, but not always.  If you prefer Google, but also want to make sure that your patrons can access driving directions, you can copy and paste the following code directly into the Text version of your editor:
<form action=”http://maps.google.com/maps” method=”get” target=”_blank”>
Enter your starting address:
<input name=”saddr” type=”text” />
<input name=”daddr” type=”hidden” value=”Disney World, Orlando, Florida” />
<input type=”submit” value=”Submit” />
</form>
Just change the value on the line with input name “daddr” to your address (rather than Disney World).  You’ll end up with an embedded form for driving directions that looks and works like this:
Enter your starting address:


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Using Widgets, Part II

In the last post, I talked about using text widgets to add links to services like Tumblr & Overdrive to your website.  This time, we’ll see how to use some of the widgets built into Jetpack to add Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks to your site.  First, you need to make sure that your Jetpack plugin is connected.  If you log onto your Dashboard and see this—

Please Connect Jetpack

—it is not connected.  But it’s easy to fix.  Just click the Connect Jetpack button.  You’ll then go to a screen that allows you to enter your WordPress username and password.  This is not the same username and password that you use to access your site.  If you don’t already have a WordPress username, you should click Need an Account? and create one.  After all that’s done, enter your credentials to connect Jetpack.  Once you do, you can go to Appearance—>Widgets and see a much longer list of options.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, weather widgets, and more are all right here.  All that you need to do is hover over the widget you want, click on your mouse, and drag the widget over to the right while keeping your mouse button pressed down.  If you’ve played Solitaire on a computer, it’s pretty much the same motion you use to move cards around.  The animated image below shows you how to move the Facebook widget over.  We scroll down to Facebook, click it, drag it, and put it where it needs to go.  I chose to put this widget at the top of the list.  Once it’s there, a new box opens up that allows me to enter the URL of the Facebook page to which I want to connect.

Facebook Widget

As always, if something is giving you problems or you can’t find the right widget for what you want to do, please give me a call or send me an email!  Thanks for reading!

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Using Widgets

Widgets are an easy way to alter your website and can link to other places where you might be posting your content, like Facebook or Twitter.  Most of the time, there are a few steps involved in using widgets, but it’s generally not that difficult to add them to your page.  In many cases, social networks like Tumblr and Pinterest will provide instructions and code for using their widgets (which might also be called “buttons” or “portlets” or “badges”).  Let’s look at Tumblr as an example—it’s one of the easiest to use.

This is Tumblr’s “Buttons” page.  To generate your button, you simply pick what you want your button to do, then choose your placement and color.  A string of code is generated, which you’ll need to highlight and copy.  Now go back to your website’s Dashboard and click on Appearance —> Widgets.

Widget Menu

You’ll see a long list of options in alphabetical order, but for this widget, you’ll want to scroll down to Text.

Text Widget

Click on Text and you’ll see a list of areas where you can place your widget.  Mostly, you’ll want to keep it in the Primary Widget Area.  When you click on that, a new Text Widget area will open up on your right side.  It looks like this:

Content Box

I paste the code that I copied earlier into the Content Box, then click Save at the bottom.  The end result on my website looks like this:

ResultI now have a Tumblr button on my site and my readers can share my page directly to their Tumblr sites.  It’s not a one-step process, but it gets easier with some practice.  Prior posts on this blog outline how to create widgets for Overdrive and Overdrive Kids.  I’ll cover Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest, which act a bit differently, in the next post.  Thanks for reading!

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