Instructions to update to wordpress 2.8 without any down time and trouble

WordPress 2.8 was released a day before, i’m sure most of you want to upgrade to the latest version of wordpress. Here are the instructions on upgrading to wordpress2.8 with out any downtime or hastle.

You can update from your dashboard directly like you install a plugin, It’s very simple. WordPress is gettting better day by day and the improvement is exponential ūüôā . Follow the below instructions if this doesnt work for you. Before anything backup your wordpress database.

  1. Backup the wordpress database through your cpanel or by using this database backup plugin http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-db-backup/
  2. Now delete all the files except, wp-content folder and wp-config.php
  3. Replace the above deleted files with the files from wordpress2.8.

Here are some common mistakes done by bloggers while upgrading.

  1. Deleting all the wordpress installation folder. This way you will loose your wp-content folder, where your themes,plugins and the uploaded files are stored. You need not upgrade this folder. So dont ever delete it.
  2. Are you looking for your posts in the installation folder?? They can not be found there, they are stored in your sql database. In order to backup your posts you have to backup your database. You will not loose your posts if you delete your wordpress install directry or mess with it. So dont worry as long as your database is safe and you have its details.

Tips to choose a theme for your wordpress powered blog.

Please your readers with a clean look
Please your readers with a clean look

With wordpress as a blogging platform you have lot of themes to choose from, choosing a theme is a tough job with thousands of themes around. Here are some tipsto help you choose a theme for your blog.

  • Decide a colour scheme for your blog. Colours speak a lot of emotions so choose them with care. If you already have a logo for your blog choose a theme that fits your logo. Don‚Äôt choose dark colours unless your niche or logo demands it, make it pleasing for your readers eyes. Black/dark grey on white is ideal for reading.
  • Check the top blogs in your niche and make a list of features that you would like to have on your blog, make sure that the theme you choose provides all the features, if it doesnt provide all the features see if you need see if you can add them yourself.
  • Before testing a theme on your blog, write at least 3 posts,
  1. One including a list.
  2. One with an image.
  3. Comment on one post and leave one post uncommented.
  • In general, websites feature some standard layouts. Which layout you choose is based upon your needs, imagination, and potential inclusion of additional features like feeds and advertising in additional columns. Themes with widgetised footer are becoming popular these days, advantage with these themes is you get some extra place on your blog. If a person is scrolling till the end of the fotter, then he is genuinely intersted in your blog and you. So its a ideal place for wrting a short about me and placing links to your other blogs.
  • Fluid width versus Fixed width

I prefer fixed width over fluid width, with fixed width you have control over how your blog looks to users with different resolutions. Another disadvantage with fluid width is the long lines, if the user has high resolution. Its hard to read long lines compared to short lines of text.

  • Do not choose themes with heavy graphics, they take lot of time to load and your users may not be patient enough to wait till it loads.
  • Keep the blog design simple and usable.
  • Will you be able to grow with the same theme? As your blog grows you may want new features or room to add new things. Some themes won‚Äôt offer much flexibility or room for growth. Be sure that your theme isn‚Äôt going to limit you.

Resources..

  1. http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/
  2. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/05/18/100-amazing-free-wordpress-themes-for-2009/

Task

Choose a theme for your blog follwing the above suggestions. If you already have a good theme, check top blogs in your niche and make a list of features you would like to have in your currnet theme.

Post how you accomplished this task in the discussion thread located here

After you have choosen your theme, there are some things to be cleaned and some minor tweaks to be applied to your theme. I will write about them in my next post.

Updates from the forum

Here are some resources pointed by Julius Santos @ DialysisPostings.Com

and for WordPress resources:

Changing File Permissions via FileZilla

File Permissions affect the capability of users or group of users to Read, Write or Execute files. They define who or what can read , write or execute the files or directories.

Different files need different file permissions to do the work they are programmed to do.

The File Permissions can be easily changed by using FTP Clients such as FileZilla.

The steps to change File Permissions using FileZilla

Changing File Permissions using the Interface:

  1. Install and configure FileZilla, if you haven’t done it yet.
  2. Open FileZilla and browse to the directory/file, of which you want to change the File Permissions.
  3. Right-click on it and click on “File Permissions…

    Selecting File Permissions
    Selecting File Permissions
  4. An interface would pop-up asking for the required File Permissions. Fill the box with the required File Permissions. If you are changing the File Permissions of a directory, choose the option “Recurse into Subdirectories“and then select the preferred sub-options.

    Entering the Required File Permission
    Entering the Required File Permission
  5. Then click “OK“. You can see the status of the process of changing File Permissions in the Status Bar on top.

Changing File Permissions using the Command Line:

Here, I’m just showing how to use the command line to change the FPs of a single file, there are some extra commands that are used to recurse FPs into subdirectories.

  1. Run FileZilla and connect to your server.
  2. In the Menubar, click on “Server” and choose “Enter Custom Command…
  3. A dialogue box would pop-up asking for the FTP Command.

    Raw FTP Command Dialogue Box
    Command Line Dialogue Box
  4. Enter this command:”chmod *** DIR“; where “***” is the numerical value of the required FPs and “DIR” is the location of the file to be modified. “chmod” stands for “Change Mode

    Changing File Permissions using Command Line
    Changing File Permissions using Command Line
  5. Click “OK” and you would get a message in the top Status bar informing that the command was a success.

SEO: Get your blog indexed at all major search engines

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a must to-do if you want to drive a lot of traffic to your blog.

In this post you will be learning how to get your site in the index/directories of the top 4  search engines:

  1. Google
  2. Yahoo
  3. Windows Live/MSN
  4. Ask

Google

The simple first steps to get your site indexed:

  1. Fill up the Site Submission Form over here.
  2. On the next step you may need to confirm the ownership of your site, either by uploading a page to your site or adding a meta tag to your site.
  3. After your confirmation, just wait for the bots to index your site.
  4. In the mean time you can do some link exchange with some sites with a higher PR (Page Rank) than yours. Its recommended to exchange links with a site with higher than PR3. Link exchange will help you to get traffic and also in the index progress as the Bots will visit these higher PR rank sites and when they find your link over there, they will index it.
  5. Use social bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon, Digg. Doing these will help you increase your popularity.

Yahoo

The basic steps:

  1. Submit your site Here. Make sure you are logged-in to Yahoo before submitting the URL, or else it you can log-in to yahoo after entering the URL.
  2. If you want to do some investment for your site on Yahoo, you can select from the plans that appear after the URL submission.
  3. In the mean time you can do some link exchange with some sites with a higher popularity than yours. Link exchange will help you to get traffic and also in the index progress as the Yahoo Bots will visit these higher popularity sites and when they find your link over there, they will index it.
  4. Use social bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon, Digg. Doing these will help you increase your popularity.

Windows Live/MSN

Here are the easy steps:

  1. Submit your site Here. Make sure to fill the Captcha before submitting.
  2. That’s it…wait for the MSNBots to do their work.
  3. In the mean time you can do some link exchange with some sites with a higher popularity than yours. Link exchange will help you to get traffic and also in the index progress as the MSNBots will visit these higher popularity sites and when they find your link over there, they will index it.
  4. Use social bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon, Digg. Doing these will help you increase your popularity.

Ask

There’s no specific way to submit your site to Ask. Ask doesn’t offer any site submission ways for free. But the Bot at Ask does crawl the web and it automatically adds pages. And being in DMOZ helps in fast submission to Ask.

Make your blog 100% Secure

Security of a blog is the major component of blog management. By securing your blog, you mean that your blog is safe from intrusion by hackers and other badmen who want to intrude into your blog and put some malicious content on your Blog.

Security should be the major cause of concern for the blog owners who run a blog that recieves a good traffic and is popular, because such sites have more chances to be targeted.

Here are some basic things to be done to protect your WP powered blog:

  • Check if your WP is of the latest released version. Always upgrade to the latest version available, as the new releases are more secure and bug-fixed.
  • Choose a secure password, using atleast one special character and/or numbers.
  • Assign only the required File Permission for any file, not more than the required FP. More details on FPs can be found here.
  • And lastly, implement some Security Plugins on your Blog.

Security Plugins help you to secure your blog. I’ll be introducing you to some of the most useful and affective plugins:

WordPress Firewall

It acts like a Firewall for your blog. It blocks the most obvious attacks. WP Firewall can block directory traversals, SQL queries, WordPress specific terms, field truncation attacks, leading in application parameters. It can also block the uploads of executable files such as .exe, .php, etc.

Login Lockdown

It records the IP Address and Timestap of the failed login attempts. If more than 3 failed login attempts are done within 5 minutes from the same IP,  then the login function is disabled for all requests from that IP Address. This helps to overcome Bruteforce attacks.

WPIDS (WordPress Intruder Detection System)

It is the WP version of the PHPIDS. It blocks all the malicious code that is used to attack your blog like¬†SQL Injection/XSS/CSRF, etc…

WP Security Scan

It scans your WP for vulnerabilities and gives suggestions to correct the vulnerabilities. It also offers to change the table prefix (wp_) easily to some other prefix.

AskApache Password Protect

This plugin protects your whole wp-admin with a password. This helps to prevent unskilled, newbie hackers from attacking your blog with some special vulnerabilities.

Immediate things to be done after installing wordpress

This post is written targeting the budding bloggers participants,  all the points except 1,3 are applicable to any general blog.

  1. Save your ftp login details carefully.
  2. Backup the wp-config file in the blog directory.
  3. Create a administrator account for your self from the temporary administrator account we provide, and delete the temporary administrator account.
  4. Update the title and tag line of your blog, to update goto settings->general
  5. WordPress is installed in the directory /blog to keep your root directory clean. So your blog will be having url of this form by default http://buddingbloggers.com/blog/?p=11 . This makes your url unnecessarily lengthy,also this is not a good SEO practice. To give your blog url of the form http://buddingbloggers.com/?p=11
    1. Go to the settings -> General panel.
    2. In the box for WordPress address (URL): change the address to the new location of your main WordPress core files. Example: http://buddingbloggers.com/blog
    3. In the box for Blog address (URL): change the address to the root directory’s URL. Example: http://buddingbloggers.com
    4. Giving wordpress its own install directory
      Giving wordpress its own install directory

    5. Click Update Options. (Do not worry about the error message and do not try to see your blog at this point! You will probably get a message about file not found.)
    6. Copy the index.php and .htaccess files from the blog directory into the root directory of your site (Blog address).¬† If .htaccess file is not already present, create one yourself and upload it. Change its permissions to “666”
    7. Open your root directory’s index.php file in a text editor
    8. Change the following and save the file. Change the line that says:
      require('./wp-blog-header.php');
      to the following, using your directory name for the WordPress core files:
      require('./blog/wp-blog-header.php');
    9. Your wordpress administration url will be http://buddingbloggers.com/blog/wp-admin/ and your blog url will be http://buddingbloggers.com
  6. Change the Permalink
    The default looks like

    http://buddingbloggers.com/?p=N

    This is called ugly link structure and not good a good SEO practice. To give your blog a URL structure that pleases search engines
    In the Settings ? Permalinks panel, you can choose one of the “common” structures or enter your own in the “Custom structure” field using the structure tags.This is the one I commonly use on all my blogs /%year%/%monthnum%/%category%/%postname%/ you can also try

    • /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/ (Third one in wordpress admin panel )
      Using date in the url makes it easy for your readers to find out how old the post is
    • /%postname%/ (Only post name)

    wordpress-permalinks

    Structure tags

    %year%

    The year of the post, four digits, for example 2004
    %monthnum%
    Month of the year, for example 05
    %day%
    Day of the month, for example 28
    %hour%
    Hour of the day, for example 15
    %minute%
    Minute of the hour, for example 43
    %second%
    Second of the minute, for example 33
    %postname%
    A sanitized version of the title of the post (post slug field on Edit Post/Page panel). So ‚ÄúThis Is A Great Post!‚ÄĚ becomesthis-is-a-great-post in the URI (see¬†Using only¬†%postname%)
    %post_id%
    The unique ID # of the post, for example 423
    %category%
    A sanitized version of the category name (category slug field on New/Edit Category panel). Nested sub-categories appear as nested directories in the URI.
    %tag%
    A sanitized version of the tag name (tag slug field on New/Edit Tag panel).
    %author%
    A sanitized version of the author name.
  7. Delete the hello world post or update it with your blog intro.
  8. The most addictive thing for bloggers are stats, the daily raise in your stats gives you the motivation to deliver your best. The best stats plugin available for wordpres is WordPress.Com stats http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/stats/ .
  9. Install the akisment spam plugin, both akisment and wordpress.com stats plugin require the api key, I will explain how to get a api key in mynext post.
  10. Browse the wordpress themes directory and select a theme that matches your needs and site content. http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/

Using Fireftp and filezilla to upload files onto your webserver

FTP clients are softwares used for managing files on the server, using FTP (File Transfer Protocol). This is the most common method to uplaod files on to your webserver.
In this article, you’ll be learning to install, configure and use two of the pouplar FTP Clients

  • FireFTP
  • FileZilla

Lets start out with FireFTP…
FireFTP is the best free, secure and cross-platform integration for Firefox. It offers the best that a FTP Client can offer. ( Click here to see its features)
Installation

  1. Go Here and click “Download FireFTP”.
  2. A banner would appear on top asking to install it. Click “Allow”.
    Step1: Downloading fireftp
    Step1: Downloading fireftp

    Downloading and installing fireftp
    Downloading and installing fireftp
  3. After the installation, restart Firefox and check in the “Tools” in the menubar. There will be a new icon “FireFTP”. Click it and a new tab would open.
  4. In the “Account Manager”, fill up all the settings. ¬† ¬†

    Step3: Configuring fireftp
    Step3: Configuring fireftp
  5. In my case, the Account name is “HackersLane.com“; Host is 66.185.20.4; Login is hackerslane@buddingbloggers.com & password is ************![:)]
  6. Your FireFTP is ready to use now.

How to Transfer Files/Folders:
The left-column shows your PC and the right-column shows your Domain. Your blog would be installed in the “/blog/” directory by default.
To upload files:

  1. Right-click on the file to be uploaded and click “Upload” or else you can “Drag & Drop” the fileto be uploaded to the destination loacation.
  2. Make sure you are uploading things in correct directory. For example, the theme should go to Root:/blog/wp-content/themes/ and for plugins it should go to Root:/blog/wp-content/plugins/.
  3. The transfer status would appear in the bottom-column.

And for FileZilla…

FileZilla is one of the most popular FTP Clients. It is easy to use and very reliable.
Installation

  1. Download FileZilla (Click Here & choose your OS)
  2. Run the Setup file.  Agree the license agreement.    

    Installing filezilla ftp client
    Installing filezilla ftp client
  3. Select your settings & select the installation folder.

    FileZilla installation
    FileZilla installation
  4. After the Setup is finished, Run FileZilla.
  5. On the Menubar, go to File\Site Manager.    

    Using FileZilla ftp client
    Using FileZilla ftp client
  6. Click on “New site” option on the left.
  7. Fill up the settings; the Host, port, User, Password,etc.    

    Configuring FileZilla to work with your ftp account
    Configuring FileZilla to work with your ftp account
  8. Your FileZilla is ready to use…

How to Transfer Files/Folders:
The left-column shows your PC and the right-column shows your Domain. Your blog would be installed in the “/blog/” directory by default.
To upload files:

  1. Right-click on the file to be uploaded and click “Upload” or else you can “Drag & Drop” the fileto be uploaded to the destination loacation.
  2. Make sure you are uploading things in correct directory. For example, the theme should go to Root:/blog/wp-content/themes/ and for plugins it should go to Root:/blog/wp-content/plugins/.
  3. The transfer status would appear in the bottom-column, along with the Successful, Failed Transfers List…

Maximize your chances of getting selected.

We really felt the need for this post after getting some crappy applications. There were 20+ applications the first day and none were selected. They are the kind of people who would stretch their hand at everything that is called free, without even bothering to know what it is. So if you are one of them please do us a favour by not applying.

We get lot of applications every day. We don’t have the enough man power to reply to crappy applications.I have given my staff strict instructions to not to forward me the applications that are incomplete and inaccurate. Incomplete applications will never reach my desk and never be reviewed.

Two main factors that we take into consideration while selecting you for this sponsorship program are

  1. Your writing skills and your knowledge in your field.
  2. Your writing skills and your knowledge in your field.

Your selection will be based on the content in your current blog or the blog posts you write. These two fields help us know your writing skills. If you don’t give us a url to your blog or submit your posts, we cannot know your writing skills and we are left with no choice but to send your application to trash.
Can I submit a url to my blog and the posts??
Yes, you can submit your blog url and blog posts to maximize your chances of getting selected.
Minimum and maximum length of sample posts??
There is no maximum and minimum length for the posts, two decent 300 word articles should get you selected.

Another major factor that influences your selection is this question.
Tell us about your experience in the topic you choose to blog about, and tell us why we should select you??
Your answer to this question tells us how motivated you are about blogging. If you don’t know why we should select you then don’t bother to apply.
Why do we ask Age,Gender, Address, Education??
We ask these questions to know more about our participants and for administrative purposes. Your answers to these questions have no weight in the selection procedure.
FYI: There are no age restrictions for this program.
How to select the domain name??
.Com domains are always the best domains, try to pick a .com domain name. please check if the domain you asked for is available before applying for it.

Please note that domains like satish.com, satishtalks.com, techsatish.com will not be selected. Don’t associate your name with the domain.
You can check the domain availability here
http://godaddy.com

These resources should help you in choosing your domain name.

Good Luck

Satish Gandham