WordPress Slideshow Plugin

In the WordPress world you can typically find a free plugin that does exactly what you need. But, occasionally circumstances warrant buying a premium plugin. Recently, I was looking for a really nimble, smart WordPress slideshow plugin. I tried and tried all of the usual suspects that have worked for previous clients, but the look I was going for on this current project just simply couldn’t be accomplished. So, I headed over to CodeCanyon, one of my favorite resources, and discovered Royal Slider.

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Not gonna lie folks, this WordPress slideshow plugin rocks my socks. Not only is it easy to use, but the presentation is beautiful across every single device I’ve tested on. It’s full screen capabilities are particularly pretty.

As a web designer and developer my time is valuable. When I find a plugin that not only works beautifully, but saves me time, well…I fall in love. I highly recommend the Royal Slider.

How to Add a Custom Read More Link in WordPress

Today’s post may be short and sweet, but it’s to share a great plugin available for WordPress: Custom More Link Complete. If you are looking for a great solution for a WordPress custom more link, this is the plugin for you (and it’s FREE!).

Even though we don’t use the “More” functionality on this site, another site I’ve been working on does use it and I found the default text super boring. I wanted a quick, easy way to change the text without hard-coding it, as I may want to change it on a whim in the future and don’t want to have to search it out again.

Enter this great plugin! Once you install the plug-in you simply go to your settings and type in the text that you’d like to use, click save and the new text is there.

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In this example, I’m using it to emphasize that in addition to reading the rest of the post, there is also a video that you can see. Even though the text is nice and short, I’m able to convey two big actions available by clicking through.

This plugin isn’t fancy, but it gets the job done in a very intuitive and user-friendly way!

WordPress Tips: How to Add a Pinterest Button to Your Blog Post Images

Want to know a secret? It’s super easy to add a Pinterest button to your blog. That’s good news right?

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In this post I’m going to show you how to add a Pinterest button to your blog in under 10 minutes. Woot woot!

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From your WordPress dashboard navigate to Plugins > Add New. Search for Pinterest Pin It Button For Images. It should be the first result, but if not be sure to find the right one in the list. Then, click “Install Now.” Once the plugin is installed, click Activate.

Now, when you hover the Setting option in the sidebar you should see the Pinterest Pin It option. Click it! The screen you now is your admin panel for this plug. Lets talk about your options…

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You need to customize the plugin a bit to work just right with your blog.

  • For content width, you want to put in the width of the content area of your site. Typically, this is around 600-700 pixels. If you’re unsure what to put, stick with the default number.
  • Now, you need to decide where you want the Pin It button to show. Do you want it on every single image on every single type of page or post? If so, check all the boxes. I stick with the defaults — Index/Home and Single Post.
  • The next box allows you to choose on a page-by-page basis whether or not use the button on that particular page. This is just more work for you and your workflow, so I say don’t check it.
  • The Advanced section is just what it says — advanced. The average user won’t need to worry about these. If, however, you want to control which images are pinnable and which aren't, you need to check the box that says “Show ‘Pin It’ button only on images with “pinthis” class. When you insert a picture into a blog post, you then add a class tag if, and only if, you want the Pinterest button to appear. Here’s what the code looks like:

So, that’s how to add a Pinterest button to blog posts. Easy peasy, no?

WordPress Tips: Why I Love Google XML Sitemaps

In Tuesday's Tech Talk I explained how mapping out the content for your site can help you get organized and present your content in the best light possible. Today, I'd like to talk about the more tech side of sitemaps, in terms of how an XML file can actually help your organic search results with Google. Before you get nervous about this mysterious XML file structure let me tell you everything you need to know about creating a sitemap for your WordPress site with Google XML Sitemaps:

Creating a sitemap takes 2 minutes with this plugin.

In fact, if you go with their standard settings you can have a sitemap generated in about 30 seconds. OK, now you can breath a sigh of relief.

Here's why I love this plugin: if gives you enough control over your sitemap that you can really tailor it specifically to your site, but not so much so that you're overwhelmed by all of the options and not sure what will be best for your site.

In my mind, the top three things about Google XML sitemaps are:

  • You can exclude certain pages, categories and tags.
  • You can determine the crawl frequencies by page/post type.
  • You can use comment counts to determine post priority.

Once you generate a sitemap with this plugin, your map will (most likely) live at your URL + sitemap.xml. Then, you simply need to log into Google Webmaster Tools and let Google know where your sitemap is located. Pretty cool right?

Here's something else to know about sitemaps: Google will index/crawl your site with or without them. And, Google will not necessarily listen 100% to what your sitemap asks/tells. What your sitemap is doing is telling Google what you think is most important, what should and should not be indexed and how often you suggest certain parts of your site be crawled.