About WordPress

New Jimmy Smith 3.9

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 3.57.20 PMWordPress was just updated on all Bethel sites and the new version is named after jazz musician Jimmy Smith. A common name for a very slick update. Here are the highlights:

There are three new improvements about which you’ll want to know:

Improved visual editing

There is no longer a “W” folder in the tool bar because you can now paste into your post or page from your word processor without wasting time to clean up messy styling. (Yeah, we’re talking about you, Microsoft Word.)

Edit images easily

With quicker access to crop and rotation tools, it’s now much easier to edit your images while editing posts. You can also scale images directly in the editor to find just the right fit. Simply drag a corner toward the middle of the image.

Drag and drop your images

Uploading your images is easier than ever. Just grab them from your desktop and drop them in the editor. This takes the steps of opening your media library, clicking on Upload, finding the file and uploading it.

The new WordPress is singing a sweet tune. Thanks Jimmy!

WordPress 3.8 is Here!

ectoplasmAll Bethel School District WordPress sites have been upgraded to version 3.8. Although there aren’t a lot of dramatic changes with 3.8, the Dashboard has had a real makeover. You’ll find the Dashboard has a much more intuitive look and feel with new color schemes, better fonts and a more dramatic contrast.

You can even customize the color of your Dashboard. You have a choice of nine different color schemes. You can select a new scheme by logging in and clicking on “Your Profile” under “Users” at the far left of the Dashboard. Give Ectoplasm a try or maybe you’d favor Ocean or Sunrise.

WordPress 3.8 gives users a better experience with tablets and phones. No matter how your users are viewing your site, WordPress will format to match screen size and resolution.

The new WordPress default theme, 2014, is the most elegant yet. It provides a magazine-like experience for users and is very customizable.

Widgets have also gotten a new look with a compact layout and easier ways to edit. You can now just tap a Widget to add it to a sidebar, header or footer.

Have questions about version 3.8 or anything WordPress, just post a comment below.


Welcome WordPress 3.5


A new year brings a new WordPress: Version 3.5. It is called Elvin after Jazz drummer Elvin Jones. Unlike moving from version 3.3 to 3.4, slipping into this new version of WordPress has a significantly new feel in several areas. Here’s a summary of things you should be aware of as you create posts and pages. I’ll be sending out weekly “WordPress Tip of the Week” posts for the rest of the year (a new year’s resolution) detailing many of the changes and how to use them:

1. New Media Manager – When adding an image to a post or page you’ll see some changes. In the past, adding multiple images to a post or page has been cumbersome and adding photo galleries a separate process. Now you can upload multiple images and create photo galleries in one location. You can even define how many columns in the gallery and insert multiple images at once with Shift/Ctrl+click.

2. New Default Theme – The WordPress default theme just keeps getting better and better. For most users, there isn’t a need for a custom theme. The 2012 default theme has great flexibility for header images, background images, colors and sidebars.

3. The overall design and functionality of the WordPress 3.5 dashboard is more elegant and easier to use.

4. The HTML tab you use to enter code (embedding Google Docs or YouTube videos, for example) has been renamed to Text. I’m not sure why.

4. Creating tables in WordPress where you can add images, lists and data (think spreadsheet), just got easier with the plugin WP Tables Reload smack dab on the tool bar where it belongs. And creating tables will be my first WordPress Tip of the Week. Watch your email Monday morning.

Play us out Elvin!

WordPress 3.3 Brings New Functionality

WordPress 3.3 is here and all Bethel WordPress sites have been upgraded to the new version. Here is a quick overview of changes that you’ll want to look for:

File Type Detection

We’ve streamlined things! Instead of needing to click on a specific upload icon based on your file type, now there’s just one. Once your file is uploaded, the appropriate fields will be displayed for entering information based on the file type.

Drag-and-Drop Media Uploader

Adding photos or other files to posts and pages just got easier. Drag files from your desktop and drop them into the uploader. Add one file at a time, or many at once.

Flyout Menus

Speed up navigating the dashboard and reduce repetitive clicking with our new flyout submenus. As you hover over each main menu item in your dashboard navigation, the submenus will magically appear, providing single-click access to any dashboard screen.

Header + Admin Bar = Toolbar

To save space and increase efficiency, we’ve combined the admin bar and the old Dashboard header into one persistent toolbar. Hovering over the toolbar items will reveal submenus when available for quick access.

It’s WordPress 3.0!

We’ve upgraded all Bethel WordPress bloggers to WordPress 3.0. You’ll notice some differences with the Dashboard as they’ve renamed a few things and made things a bit easier to format. Here are some highlights:

  1. There is not longer an “Edit” option under the Post heading in the Dashboard. Instead there is simply “Posts” where you’ll find all the posts and the ability to edit then.
  2. 3.0 now refers to blogs as sites. I guess that makes sense since WordPress makes a blog much more than just a blog.
  3. They’ve combined all the updates into one area so plugins, widgets and themes are all right upfront when you go to update.
  4. The entire Dashboard is lighter with a lot less clutter.
  5. For those of you who had a romance with the simple blue default theme, well, you’re out of luck as WordPress 3.0’s default is a lot nicer. . .er . . . I mean different.
  6. With 3.0 you can now easily change a theme’s background colors and header pictures. In fact you can have different header pictures on different pages.
  7. Navigational menus are now much more customizable where you can drag and drop things to meet your needs. And there is even a new Dashboard item under Appearance called Menus where you can create custom menus.
  8. And finally, Cory and I are now called Super Admins in WordPress 3.0. That should be deserving of a t-shirt!

All-Time Favorite Spam Comment

And here is my all-time favorite spam comment:

“Superbly written article, if only all website owners offered the same quality information as you, the internet would be a far better place. Please keep it up! Cheers.”

Recognizing Spam

WordPress, being as popular as it is, has a downside: It collects a lot of spammers. Spam comes in the form of comments to your blog. Spammers hope you’ll approve their comments because spammers leave their Web address in the comment giving their Web site more traffic.

There are four things you can do:

1. Install appropriate plugins that will eliminate most of the spam. In your Bethel Blogs you can activate a plugin called Akismet. Simply by activating this plugin most of the spam will never reach you.

2. Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks. You can do this by going to your dashboard, scrolling down to Settings >Discussions and then unchecking the second box (“Allow notification from other blogs”).

3. Although you want legitimate comments, if you create a post where you don’t want comments, be sure to turn off comments for that particular posting. You can do this by scrolling to the bottom of your post in the edit mode and unchecking “Allow Comments”.

4. And finally, recognize spam when you see it. If you don’t recognize the name of the person commenting and the email address isn’t familiar, it is likely spam. The most telling sign is spammers try to make it sound like they read your blog, when in reality it is likely an Internet robot madly posting all over the place. The comments are generic and often sound like this:

“Thanks for taking the time to post this.”
“Dear admin, thnx for sharing this blog post. I found it wonderful. Best regards, Victoria…”

At first you might feel flattered that someone is reading your post. Once you’ve seen a few of the spam comments, you’ll be able to delete them (or better yet), mark them as spam as you delete them. I wait until I have a few and then go in and delete them as a group.

If you have questions or comments about this post, add a comment unless, of course, you’re a robot in which case I hope your joints rust.

WordPress: Two Words Capital P

I love WordPress. I currently have five WordPress blogs even though I don’t have enough to say to fill even one. I’m like a kid in a software candy story. Okay, I admit it: I even made WordPress t-shirts. To know WordPress is to love it. Here are the top 10 reasons you’ll love WordPress too:

10. Anyone can learn to use it. I can teach someone to use WordPress in 20 minutes and they’d be happy as a clam blogging away for years.

9. It is open-source. That means it is free.

8. WordPress is a Web-based application so it doesn’t run on your computer. There is no software to download and manage. You can go to a number of Web sites and set up your blog in minutes for free.

7. It’s complicated, but only if you want it to be. The beauty of WordPress is its flexibility. It can be used by the total Web novice or the high end user. There is enough to WordPress to keep the most avid techie engaged.

6. Themes galore! Unlike BlogSpot, you aren’t confined to a limited number of themes and functions. There are hundreds of free themes to download and use. And you can change themes with a click of the mouse.

5. It doesn’t have to look like a blog. WordPress is so flexible that you can make it look (and work) like a Web page but with the ease of managing a blog. You get the best of both worlds. Continue reading

Welcome to Bethel Blogs

Bethel School District is now using WordPress  blogging software. This dynamic, yet easy-to-use program is available to all Bethel staff members. Creating your blog is a snap! You are required to take a one hour training to ensure that you have the requisite skills to manage your blog.  Watch this space or your email for future trainings.