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 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=”” 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” />
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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WordPress 4.3.1

Our WordPress installation has been upgraded to 4.3.1. You shouldn’t see any differences in using your sites, but please let me know if you run into any weird behavior or find that something isn’t functioning the way that it should. Thanks!

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One of the easiest ways to spruce up your page and make your images more distinct is WordPress’s Gallery feature. It allows you to embed thumbnails with captions directly into your posts or create a moving slideshow of images, all without entering code. Just click the Add Media button as you normally would to add an image. You’ll see a popup and Insert Media will be checked by default.  Click on Create Gallery instead and then select your images.  You’ll see small preview thumbnails appear at the bottom.

Create Gallery

The next screen will allow you to change the number of columns used for your thumbnails or change your image type to a slideshow.

Gallery 2

Below is an example of a gallery in the “thumbnail grid” style with three columns:

And this is an example of a slideshow:

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Facebook and social networks

Your users connect with you in many different ways.  Some might start at your website, some might go straight to your Facebook or Twitter, but it’s easy to make sure that all of them can reach the same content.  No matter which “door” they choose, they all lead to your library.

You can always add links in your posts, so if you mention something about your library’s Facebook page, it’s a great idea to go ahead and add that link to Facebook.  That way, your patron can see what you mean with one click.  If you’d like a refresher on the process, this video offers a solid explanation.

You can also link your website and your social network (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), so that your content goes to multiple places all at the same time.  This happens via the Jetpack plugin on your site.  You might need to re-connect Jetpack if you don’t have an existing connection (this post will give you details on that).  Once Jetpack is connected, click on Jetpack in the menu on your Dashboard.  You’ll see a group of options, but we’ll focus on Sharing in the second row.  Click the Configure button and you’ll see this:


Just click Connect beside the network on which you’d like to share your content.  You’ll have a “sharing” setting in future posts, so you can turn it off if you don’t want a particular post going out to those social networks.  Please see this post for a video that demonstrates the process.

You can also allow your readers to share your posts on their own social network accounts.  In that same area of Jetpack, you’ll see a section called “Sharing Buttons” with a number of social networks represented.  Just click and drag the ones that you’d like to activate into the box below and your future posts will include those buttons.  Click here to see how it works.

Once you’ve chosen your services, scroll down the page to select which of your posts will have sharing enabled.  Remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes when you’re done!

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Finding images

I’ve enjoyed reading your posts this week!  It’s great to see how Nebraska libraries are using your websites to promote programming, provide reader’s advisory, or just share information with your users.  Incidentally, if you’d like to see what other libraries are doing, it’s easy to do so with this RSS feed (created by Michael Sauers).

castleEven when you’ve written the most amazing post, you sometimes feel that it needs something else.  Pictures can add a lot to your page, but locating images that are freely available can sometimes be tough.  Thankfully, there are a few Internet resources that can assist!

One of my go-to websites is Creative Commons Search.  Just type what you want to find & select a source to search: Google Images and Flickr for pictures, YouTube for video, & more.  You’ll want to open the actual page that hosts your content & check the attribution requirements.  Some creators allow you to use their stuff as long as you give them credit.  Some don’t even require that!

Compfight is a similar site that searches Flickr for available images.  You should be aware that, like a lot of search engines, it puts advertiser content at the top of the page, so look below the line if you’re specifically interested in the free stuff.

 Of course, we can’t forget about Google Images.  A basic search includes both copyrighted and freely-available images, but you can click “Search Tools” and get a new menu that includes “Usage Rights”.  Again, you should definitely check the originating page and verify that the image really is freely available before using it.  Google can make mistakes!

Oh, and please remember not to copy and paste images into your posts.

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Using Screen Options

Screen OptionsIf you’re like me and prefer a distraction-free environment when you’re writing, you might want to get to know the Screen Options feature in WordPress.  The menu resides at the top right corner of your Dashboard and allows you to add or remove elements from your screen.  Don’t need to see WordPress news?  Remove it with a single click.  Can’t find something that’s ordinarily present?  Check Screen Options and see if the option has been unchecked.

In the image to the right, I’ve hidden the QuickDraft and WordPress News sections from my screen.  If I want to bring them back, I’ll simply click Screen Options to expand the menu and then check them again.  The options vary depending upon which section you’re viewing, so give it a try and see what you can find!

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Are your post still going to Facebook and Twitter?

JetpackQuite a while back I installed Jetpack which allowed interested sites to have their posts automatically post to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter via the Publicize function. In the past week I’ve had two libraries report that this no longer seems to be working for them. In both cases, the connection between Jetpack and has been lost.

So, if this is a feature that you previously set up, please make sure that it’s still working. You can do this by checking to see if your most recent post was sent to your social media site(s). If not, log into your dashboard and select Jetpack from the menu. If you see a large green area at the top of the page telling you to “Connect to Get Started” this means your connection has been lost and needs to be reestablished.

The Setting Up Jetpack and Publicize videos will walk you through the steps needed to get you up and running again. You will need your account login information to get this to work. (There is no need to sign up for another account.)

If you also were using the Statistics and/or Subscription services from Jetpack, you may need to set those up again too.

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