Troubleshooting Post Content Errors

Title: Blog Struggles: When Are Too Many Comments Too Many Comments?

The following is a test article for students in the WordPress class. It was originally published in 2007 on Lorelle on WordPress and is used with permission.

Blog Struggles badgeRecently, what appeared to be a thoroughly delighted fan went through my blog with a vengeance and left over 40 comments within a two day period. Each were personalized and directed to me, with enthusiastic comments and reflections on what was written. At first I was pleased, as I always am when my blog touches and teaches, but after the eight consecutive comment, I began to get suspicious. Row after row of comments all from the same person filled my Comments panel. Wouldn’t you be suspicious? Let’s assume this isn’t a clever human comment spammer and consider this is a person who is really thrilled with what they are finding and reading on your blog. Then ask yourself: When are too many comments, too many comments?

Begging for Blog Comments
Bloggers spend a lot of time thinking about how to provoke more comments on their blogs. We add “subscribe to comments” WordPress Plugins, comment feeds, and innovative comment methods to encourage comments. WordPress Themes feature pleading phrases like “No comments yet. Why don’t you be the first?” or “Care to be the first one to jump into the fray?” We write to challenge our readers, asking questions and writing combinations of words to encourage them to click away from their feed readers to jump into the pool and have their say. When a conversation strikes between two or more of the commenters, we love watching the conversation grow, bantering back and forth, passing on ideas or exchanging spitfire. We rub our hands together with glee. We started something. But what about the lone enthusiastic commenter who plows through your blog littering dozens of posts with kind words? They may or may not continue the conversation between you and the reader or the other commenters. But the words are all nice and pleasant, doing no harm. Just sitting there like a white pawn piece reaching the other side of the chess board. You know it’s a threat, but it’s a harmless pawn piece. What do you do?

Perception Versus Reality

My perception was that this person was stuffing my Comment “inbox” with comments, trying to get my attention, or building up link juice, page ranking links. The reality was that I’m the only one who can tell this person is spamming my blog with comments. No one else sees my Comments panel. I don’t have a comments counter or public reward system that promotes who commented on what, when, and how often. I’m the only one bothered by all the comments, so who cares? I care. That’s the problem. And I’m suspicious and paranoid. I’ve been doing this online stuff for too long. I’ve been abused with the best and worst of the abusers out there, and I have the callouses and scars to prove it. It’s natural that I’m suspicious of 40 comments by one person within a few days. That’s just strange. I had many choices. I could ignore it and see if it continued. I could delete the ones that didn’t add to the conversation. I could also contact the commenter to find out their true intentions. I chose the latter. I emailed the commenter and thanked them for their comments and enthusiasm on my blog. I kept it neutral and asked if there was something in particular they were interested in that maybe they hadn’t found on my blog. The response was clearly that of a naive, new-to-the-web youngster. I now knew my enemy and it was a young girl discovering blogging for the first time and just over enthusiastic. I can live with that. We exchanged a few emails and finally I felt confident enough to mention the suspicious her many comments had originally aroused. She was embarrassed but it was a good lesson. She’s now a better commenter, leaving comments that continue the conversation not just say something to say something, and a much better blogger as she understands more about how important the conversation is on a blog.

Judging a Comment

With all the comment spam that attacks our blogs daily, along with “nice people” craving link juice in comments, it’s easy to get suspicious and paranoid about comments. In time, I’ve come up with a filter list that helps me better evaluate whether or not to keep a comment or trackback on my blog.

  • What is it really saying?
  • Does it continue the conversation?
  • Will my readers benefit from the comment?
  • Can I look at this comment for the rest of my life?

If it passes that quick test, then it stays. Especially if it passes the last question in the test. Everything else can be deleted, or if appropriate, marked as comment spam. Life is too short to struggle over idiot commenters on my blog.

Related Articles

How to Link to Posts, Pages, Categories, Tags, Authors, and Feeds in WordPress

Featured

WordPress code logo thumbnailThis is a tutorial on how to link to the various features found on a typical WordPress site.

Wish to promote an author your site? Need the link to their author pageview? Wish to link to a specific category? Want to share the link to your WordPress site feed?

There are many times when you may wish to link to a feature or function on your site. Here is a list of the various areas you may wish to link to from posts, Pages, Widgets, and in emails and social media posts to help people find information on your site.

How to Copy a Link

We call them “links” but the proper names are hypertext link and the link is created with an HTML Anchor Tag.

A well-formed link in HTML looks like this:

<a href="http://lorelle.wordpress.com/" 
title="Lorelle VanFossen of Lorelle on WordPress.">
Lorelle VanFossen</a>

It features the link to the destination, the title selector to describe the destination of the link, and the anchor text, the words visible on the page to the reader.

This is called a well-formed or properly formed link as these three items are required by US and international law for web standards and web accessibility.

To copy a link, there are two methods. The first is the most commonly used technique.
Continue reading

How to Add Images in Your Post Content

Round beach rocks in shade - photography by Brent VanFossen.Images, graphics, photographs, drawings, cartoons, badges…our websites are filled with imagery.

This article addresses the techniques used by WordPress for aligning images and image sizing and links in published content. Check your publishing platform for their methods.

Image Terminology in WordPress

There are several terms we need to develop to help you understand how images are used in WordPress. The most important terms describe the images within WordPress based upon how they are used and generated: original image, published image, media file, and attachment image.

The image uploaded to your site is called the original image or image file. When uploaded to WordPress, a minimum of three sizes are automatically created and stored in the wp-content/uploads/ directory on the server. The images are grouped by year then month by default.

The image sizes available for displaying in your content are thumbnail, medium, and full-size. Depending upon the image’s original size, large and x-large may be available. Full-size is the original uploaded image size.

When an image is used on a web page in WordPress, it is typically viewed within the content area of a post or Page. For the sake of this tutorial, we will called this the published image. WordPress makes available the three size options by default.

Image Sizes and Links

WordPress Media Uploader featuring multiple images - screencap by Lorelle VanFossen.

The WordPress Media Uploader redesigned in 2012 now features Attachment Display Settings options. They include setting the alignment of the image, the size of the published image, and the Link To feature. Continue reading

The Basics You Must Know About a WordPress Theme

code wordle - group of words that are synonyms and types of code.In 2005, WordPress became modular separating the design and architecture from the core programming code.

Today, a WordPress Theme contains files called template files that hold the architecture of the site and template tags, code that initiates actions within the site and data from the database. The design is applied through a stylesheet, holding the instructions for the colors, images, and look and feel of the entire site.

This tutorial covers the basics of the structure of a WordPress Theme and standard customization options.

The Structure of a WordPress Site

WordPress Example site featuring the layout basics of header, content, sidebar, and footer.Like all websites today, a WordPress site contains a background area, header, sidebar(s), content area, and footer.

The background area is considered the canvas that the site’s structural and design elements rest. It is usually a solid color, pattern, texture, or a design that does not overwhelm the rest of the content and design elements.

The header area content is set from within the WordPress Administration Panels through the Settings > General for the site title and site tagline.

The header art image is set from within the Appearance > Custom Header Image. WordPress now permits a wide range of images and image sizes to be used as the custom header image, and permits some level of cropping and positioning.

The sidebar(s) contain navigation, information, and design elements that complement the site’s purpose and content. In WordPress, this information is held in WordPress Widgets, modular content elements that can be moved around in the various sidebars, footers, and occasionally the header area. These are accessed and modified in Appearance > Widgets.

The footer is located at the bottom of the site. It usually features the name of the WordPress Theme and its author to give them credit, and the words “Powered By WordPress” with a link to or . It may also feature footer Widgets accessed through Appearance > Widgets > Footer.

The content area holds the content of the page depending upon the request of the user to view the front page, a Page, a single post, a search, categories, tags, author posts, archives, and other multiple post pageviews. Continue reading

What is the Difference Between a Website and a Blog

Colorful text says blog versus website.We live in a world of ever changing terms and jargon. Let’s see if this will add to the confusion or clear things up when it comes to what to call a blog and what to call a website.

A website, or site, is a collection of web pages.

A site is designated by its domain name, the part of the address or URL that defines the site such as WordPress.com, WordPress.org, or lorelle.wordpress.com.

A web page is any page on the web, usually found within a website.

A web page address is an extension of the domain name that points to the web page location on the site, such as example.com/article-title or example.com/2014/03/21/article-title/.

A blog is a site with content displayed in reverse chronological order.

These are the facts. A site can be a blog and a blog is a site.

However, there are the myths that we have to deal with. Continue reading

How to Schedule Your Posts in WordPress

Example of the Publish Immediate, future or schedule post feature of WordPress.To schedule a post or Page to publish at a time before or after this moment, you may use the Schedule feature in WordPress.

  1. Edit or Add New post or Page.
  2. In the Publish panel of the screen, go to Publish immediately.
  3. Click Edit.
  4. Set the Month, Day, Year, and Time.
  5. Click OK.

WordPress Schedule future post feature allows you to set the date and time the post or Page will publish.If the post or Page is a draft, the Publish button will change to read Schedule.

If the post or Page was published, it will say Update.

Click this when you are ready to update or publish the post or Page. Continue reading

The Basic Structure of a Blog Post

There are many ways to present a post or article on a web page. This tutorial will cover the basic formatting, styles, and structure.

The structure of an article or content on a web page is the same for any web publishing platform. This article focuses specifically on WordPress but the principles apply whether you are on Blogger, Google+, LinkedIn, Drupla, Joomla, Facebook, or a forum.

If an article is long, and this is, and divided up into separate sections, a table of contents consisting of jump links that jump down to the section the reader wishes to get to first, or second, or whatever their reading preference might be.

The table of contents maybe a list within the article or featured in a box aligned to the right or left of the content area with text flowing around it, best left to those with some HTML and CSS skills.

Article Table of Contents

WordPress Tip: Every WordPress Theme handles the basic elements in a post different, making the headings stand out in a variety of ways, adding borders around images or not, adding design elements to a blockquote…the list is long.

I recommend that you test your own WordPress Theme by writing a test post following the examples in this article, or you may use the Sandbox Post for Testing WordPress Themes. It is a text file with HTML code representative of all the HTML tags found in a blog post.

Formatting the Post in WordPress

Before we begin, I will be making references to the formatting toolbar found on the post and Page Edit Screens. It is blow the post title area and directly above the content textarea where you will write your post.

The WordPress Visual Editor Toolbar featuring the Kitchen Sink Button which expands to feature a second row.

By default, you see only one line of buttons in the Visual Editor. The last button on the row is called the Kitchen Sink or Toolbar Toggle. If you click it, a second row will drop down. Continue reading

Welcome to Introduction to WordPress Spring 2012

WordPress word wordle artWelcome to the second “Introduction to WordPress” class at Clark College this spring, the second ever in the world. The first course was a resounding success with no students failing nor dropping the class. Amazing. You can read more about it

Introduction to WordPress is focused on the core features and functionality of WordPress right out of the box – specifically out of the WordPress.com box. We’ll explore the full features of WordPress and WordPress.com and concentrate on content building and strategies. The extra features that come with free WordPress.com blogs are based upon popular WordPress Themes and Plugins, giving us experience using the extensible and customization features available for the self-hosted version of WordPress.

If time allows, we’ll work our way towards some basic WordPress development, planning website layouts and content support for a variety of business needs.

I’ve summed up most of what you will learn in this Introduction to WordPress course in WordPress Credit Course at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington.

You will learn:

  • What is WordPress?
  • How to setup a WordPress.com blog.
  • Categories, tags, and content organization and navigation.
  • Web publishing with the visual editor, HTML editor, QuickPress/PressThis, mobile, and alternative publishing tools.
  • Publishing multimedia with WordPress.
  • Content development and management.
  • Introduction to basic core site customization (header art, widgets, etc.).
  • Introduction to dynamic web page generation.
  • Introduction to dynamic web design.
  • Introduction to WordPress Themes.
  • How to use Post Format Types.
  • Comments and spam management.
  • Multiple users and authors (permissions/authorities).
  • Managing multiple contributors.
  • Basic analytics and statistics with WordPress.com Stats.
  • WordPress and SEO.
  • Introduction to WordPress hybrid sites.
  • How to create and manage custom menus.
  • WordPress Widget functionality and customization.
  • Understanding WordPress interactivity through trackbacks, pingbacks, and pings.
  • WordPress feed management, integration, and customization.
  • Integration of social media to and from WordPress.
  • Managing a private or restricted access WordPress site.
  • Introduction to WordPress Plugins.
  • WordPress installation options.
  • Troubleshooting WordPress.
  • Introduction to WordPress development for employers and clients.

The program is fairly flexible based upon student abilities and learning process. We will explained into more technical aspects in WordPress as much as time permits.

The class requires are competency with computers and web browsers, as well as basic writing skills. See Class Requirements below for details. It is highly recommended that you have HTML Fundamentals and Introduction to PHP if you wish to pursue WordPress towards a career. Check with Clark College’s course catalog and counselors for more information on the various programs you will need for a WordPress and web practitioner degree program.

Be ready to:

  • Create your own blog.
  • Have something to say and share on your blog, enough for ten weeks.
  • Use social media networks (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Google+).
  • Interact with fellow students.
  • Interact with fellow bloggers.

Continue reading

Introduction to WordPress – Special Guest Panel

Our Introduction to WordPress class is honored tonight with five fascinating business people, each one using WordPress in different ways. This is the time to get all your WordPress questions asked and answered by WordPress users, designers, and developers, especially questions associated with your final class projects. The group represents all levels of WordPress expertise.

Kim GreenhouseKim Greenhouse is the producer of It’s Rainmaking Time!™ — Amazing Breakthroughs, Conversations, and Discoveries for Everyone, a multimedia publishing company focused on new and ancient knowledge, solutions, and discoveries – uncovering the “truth behind the news.” Recent podcast episodes include Finding Light in the Thick, Dark Fog about social inequality and cultural oppression for a small group of Native Americans, Is Something Fishy About Fish Oil? on the true impact of the fish oil supplement, A Real Life Da Vinci Code about the Chinese arriving in the Americas before Columbus, Healthy & Safe Dentistry, and New Hope for the World on Internet privacy, freedom of speech, and economics in Iceland.

dan portis-cathersDan Portis-Cathers of Deep Sea Music is an award-winning composer for film and television and a specialist in music production and sound design, and developer of computer music applications. His original music is exceptionally diverse ranging from country-western to jazz, from children songs to alternative rock and roll and funky sports themes. He’s released more than 30 albums in traditional and digital formats. Intimate Guitar Suites is his music catalog store featuring his own work and fellow artists from around the country. Dan is in the digital design, development, and marketing program at Portland State University and converting his sites over to WordPress, integrating custom JavaScript, jQuery, and AJAX scripts.

Scott KritzerScott Kritzer is a classical guitar artist and performer, touring world-wide, and a popular teacher in Portland with a large social community and fan club. He created the Kritzer Method, a master program for integrating physiology and guitar technique to promote long-term playing and hand and body health. Scott is the founder of the successful Classical Guitar Immersion Conference (CGI) bringing 20-40 guitar students and professionals from around the world together for an intensive week-long conference annually. He also developed the unique Performance Anxiety Rehab (PAR) workshop to help guitarists overcome stage fright and performance anxiety. Scott converted his static site and active forum to an integrated WordPress site (maintaining the forum) a year ago, making it easy to promote his concerts, classes, and social events as well as share his innovative teaching techniques.

Randy Sandberg of beAutomatedRandy Sandberg is the Software Test Engineer of beAutomated, a web development company specializing in building custom WordPress Plugins for the enterprise market. Their customers are small to large ecommerce and online businesses eager to automate the business process online, especially within the WordPress environment. Examples include custom email and subscription handling, database integration, ecommerce/store integration, migration, and conversion, directory development and management, and other website automation. They’ve created several popular free WordPress Plugins including Benchmark Email Lite emailing management program and beCounted, a unique Plugin that counts up (or down) annual statistics for anything you wish to count such as animal kill statistics, CMS downloads, mobile phone shipments, and the number of mythological created created since arriving on the web page.

Jeff BrockJeff Brock of Jeff Brock Studio is a long-time web designer specializing in designing on WordPress for small businesses, celebrities, and innovative enterprises around the country. He is also a professional photographer, integrating photography with digital arts. He works with beAutomated as a partner, focusing on custom wireframes and frameworks with WordPress. His company offers WordPress installation and upgrades, WordPress Theme and template design and development, WordPress Pluguin creation and modification, content customization, third-party integration, optimization, and graphic design.