“How am I Doing?”

WordPress users often ask “How am I doing? Who’s visiting my site?” Out of the box, WordPress doesn’t give you that information. But there is an easy-to-use plugin called “Counts Per Day” that will graphically show you how many visitors you have by day/week/month; where the visitors are from; what posts and pages they are reading and how long they spend on your site. Here’s a screenshot of what some of the data looks like:

See the easy-to-install steps below to start using Counts Per Day.

Equally important is how to drive people to your site. Think of your WordPress site as a store on a dead-end street. Just because you open the story doesn’t mean customers will flock to it. You have to get into your mattress costume, go down to the corner with all the traffic, wave and hold up your sign. You can do this by including a link to your site in your email signature, add it to paper newsletters, tell parents about it at conferences or when running into parents in the produce aisle at the super market.

You can also use the Post Notification plugin to send an emailed link to your registered users every time you publish a post.

How to set up Counts Per Day:

1. From your WordPress Dashboard, click on Plugins.

2. Scroll down and find Counts Per Day. Click on “Activate”.

3. There are a myriad of settings for this plugin, but I didn’t even look at them. I just kept all the defaults.

Now that the plugin is installed, you will find Counts Per Day on your Dashboard just under Dashboard and Home at the very top-left. Click on Counts Per Day and view your data.

You can also put a Counts Per Day Widget on your site. I did that below left to show you what it looks like. Just go to Widgets under Appearance on your Dashboard, find the Counts Per Day Widget and drag it to the appropriate Widget area.

Happy counting and be sure to send me an email when you get to 10,000 visitors.

Khan Academy: Scale of Earth and Sun

Here’s an example of how you can embed a Khan Academy video into your WordPress site:

1. Find the video on the Khan Academy site and right click on it and select “copy embed html”.
2. Create a new WordPress post and paste the copied embed code into the post with the HTML tab selected.
3. Adjust the height and width of the video by changing those values in the html code.

Earth and Sun Quiz

Now that you have watched the Khan Academy Scale of Earth and Sun video, you’re ready to take the quiz to see how close you were paying attention. Although Khan Academy provides some practice activities, having the quiz and video on your WordPress site keeps your audience focused right here. This quiz is a Google Docs form. So you will see the results in a Google Spreadsheet.

What’s in a Post Name?

Apparently not commas. Depending on how you have WordPress configured (see below), using a comma, period or perhaps some other punctuation marks in your post name will break the link to the post. It seems to be just good practice not to use a comma or period in your post title and to avoid any unnecessary marks as well including colons, quotation marks and slashes.

To see how you have WordPress set up to create the links to your posts (and pages):

1. Go to the Dashboard and click on Settings.
2. Under Settings click on Permalinks.
3. If you have Permalinks set to include the name of your post, either change it to some other format, or be cautious when creating post titles and avoid unnecessary punctuation.

Two more suggestion:

1. Make each post name unique. Having all your posts named “Room 25 Newsletter” doesn’t say anything about the content of the post and it doesn’t help user find posts when searching.

2. Make post names short but expressive. Using action verbs in the name makes it more interesting. A post name of “Science Projects” might be improved with “Science Projects Dazzle Parents”. The name for this post might have been “Commas Can Break Your Links”.

Make 2012 the Year of WordPress

Welcome back to school! The Chinese New Year is January 23 and 2012 is the Year of the Dragon. Let’s make our 2012 the Year of WordPress and make updating your WordPress site your new year’s resolution. The timing couldn’t be better. WordPress 3.3, the newest version, is now installed on your site. Check out all the new features. And we now have over 30 themes for teachers to choose from including these new ones:

Ink Spots
Pink Chalk
Blue Header
Learning Tree

Look for these two WordPress workshops when you receive this month’s Bethel Training Opportunities email:

WordPress Dr0p-In: Stop by to get your questions answered or learn a new WordPress skill. Stay for 10 minutes or the whole 90 minutes.

WordPress Next Steps: Get step-by-step instructions on how to add some great WordPress features to your site including videos, picture galleries, widgets and plugins,  embedded Google Docs,  posts sent to your email list and much more.

Use the search box at the top left on this page to find other posts that give you step-by-step instructions for a variety of WordPress skills.

Questions? Comments? Ask or share by clicking on the “Leave Comment” link at the bottom of this post.


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.

Adding an Insert More Tag

If your post is rather long and would require the reader to scroll to continue reading, you might consider adding an “Insert More” tag to jump to the full story. Here’s how:

1. Compose your post then find the point where you’d like the jump to occur. Place the cursor there. If you have a picture or graphic with your post, put the “Insert More” tag at least below the picture so it stays on the front page.

2. Move to the edit window menu bar and click on the “Insert More” button. You’ll see the line appear where the cursor is blinking.

3. Publish or Update your post and then view the post to see how it looks. Not where you want the “Insert More” tag?

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