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Blog FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

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WordPress DocumentationSee the WordPress Codex for excellent uptodate information for WordPress users.

Basic Blogging Questions

Where do I make new entries in my new Blog?

You create new Posts for your blog in the WordPress Dashboard.
  1. Use Post > Add New to display a form for creating a new post.
  2. Compose your post.
  3. Use Publish button to make a post visible on your blog.

How do I find my DashBoard?

A common dashboard location is:


Two other less common blog locations are:


What's the difference between a Post and a Comment?

  • A post is what you write on your blog.
  • A comment is what a reader writes in response to your post. A reader's comment is normally not visible until you approve the it via the Comments link on the Dashboard.

I just received my first comment to my blog. How do I make it show up on the blog page?

Adding a comment to a post on your blog is a two step process:
  1. A blog reader types and submit her comment via the comments form. This part is done already, because you received a notice of comment.
  2. The blog owner approves the comment via the Comments tab. This is the part you need to do now.

What is a Blogroll?

Links to other blogs are often listed vertically in the margin. Blogroll resembles an "Honor Roll" of outstanding students.

How do I change the Blogroll links on the side of my Blog?

Links in the margins of your Blog are controlled from the Links hyperlink of your Dashboard. If you have a lot of links, you will need to organize them into Categories from the Links > Link Categories page.

What is a Track Back?

TrackBack is a mechanism for communication between blogs:
  • a blogger writes a new post referring to a post found at another blog,
  • if both blogging tools support the TrackBack protocol, then the referring blog notifies the other blog with a "TrackBack ping";
  • the receiving blog typically displays summaries of, and links to, all the referring entries below the original entry

This communication allows for conversations between blogs that readers can review.

Blog Editing

How do I link to an external site from my Blog?

Link to an any other page on the internet by entering an anchor tag. For example, type:

<a href="https://secure.webvalence.com/">WebValence</a>

to link to the WebValence home page.

Quotation marks surrounding the URL: "https://secure.webvalence.com/" must be straight quotes, not curly quotes.

If you don't relate to entering anchor tags with the angle brackets and so forth, you will want to download and install a Smart Link plugin. Search the plugins area for the phrase "Smart Link".

How do I change the appearance of my Blog?

The appearance of your blog is controlled by the Active WordPress Theme. Change the active Theme in three optional ways:

  1. Select and activate a different Theme from the supplied Themes that were installed with your WordPress. Use the Appearance link to review and select from options that we uploaded with your installation.

  2. Download and install a WordPress theme from the Internet. Themes are available from many sources. Search for them starting with the WordPress Dashboard: Appearance > Get More Themes.

    Once you have located a desirable theme, download the theme archive to your personal computer and do the following to install the theme:

    a. Expand the theme archive by double clicking on the downloaded file.
    b. Upload the resulting theme folder to your Wordpress server using an ftp program.
    c. Activate the new theme from the Appearance > Themes > Manage Themes page of your Wordpress dashboard.

  3. Modify an existing Wordpress Theme to change it's appearance. This will require at least a basic knowledge of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and HTML and a willingness to learn.

    Modify themes inside WordPress with the built-in Theme Editor. See the WordPress Dashboard: Appearance > Editor. Start by modifying these files: header.php, footer.php and style.css.

    If you prefer to work in a WYSIWYG editor, you may want to download the theme folder to your Personal Computer and work with the elements of a theme there.

How do I add a graphic to my Blog?

Add a graphic by uploading it from your hard drive to your blog Post page. Before you upload, you need to crop and resize the image so that it is an appropriate size for web display. Generally, media files should not exceed 10KB to 100KBytes.

Navigate to Media > Add New and use the Upload New Media interaction to upload files from your hard drive.

Subscription Questions

What is a Subscription?

Subscribing to a blog means that you will be notified when new entries are added to the blog. There are generally two ways of being notified:

  1. Via RSS: In the standard subscription functionality, Blog reader software uses RSS to discover new posts that have been published to the blog.
  2. Via Email: Alternatively, a plugin may be added to send an Email notice when posts are published.

What's a blog reader and why do viewers need it?

Blog reader functionality is used to:

  1. Subscribe to a blog feeds,
  2. notify a user of new blog posts, and
  3. display a blog for reading

Blog reader capability is found in blog reader applications, in web sites for blog reading, and in general purpose Email and web browser applications.

  • Application Programs: Net News Wire and or RSS Owl are examples of excellent blog readers. These must be downloaded and installed by the user.
  • Web Browsers: Apple Safari and Microsoft Internet Explorer provide an integrated blog reader. Blog reader functionality may be added to Firefox by downloading a Firefox plugin.
  • Web Sites: My Google, My Yahoo, and Blog Lines are examples of web sites that can include blog reader functionality in a personalized start page.

How do I enable visitors to subscribe to my WordPress Blog?

Visitors subscribe to a WordPress Feed in order to be notified of new postings on your blog. In addition to notice of new postings, they also gain easy access to a summary and/or the full content of your Blog through their blog reader software.

The ability to do the blog reader function has been integrated into web browsers. Apple led this development by integrating a blog reader in Safari. In Safari, a feed subscription is accomplished by clicking an RSS Really Simple Syndication appearing in the address bar of the web browser. Microsoft added this capability in Internet Explorer version 7.

While we wait for standardization, a good strategy is to provide several options and links to encourage people to subscribe to your blog. One easy way to do this is with the subscribe-me plugin

  1. Options for web site readers: Users of My Google, My Yahoo, and Blog Lines are easy to accomodate. Provide the following links for these:

    : <a href="http://fusion.google.com/add?feedurl=http://your_blog_url/?feed=rss2">

    link: <a href="http://add.my.yahoo.com/rss?url=http://your_blog_url/?feed=rss2">

    : <a href="http://bloglines.com/sub/http://your_blog_url/?feed=rss2">
  2. Option for FireFox users: Subscribe to my blog with Firefox.
    Instructions: Download and install a free Firefox blog reader extension.
  3. Option for Internet Explorer users: Download and install the free RSS Owl blog reader.

How do I enable visitors to subscribe for Email notices from my WordPress Blog?

The Feedburner plugin is the most popular way to enable Email notices. Simply install and enable this plugin on your Blog.

What's a Subscribe Chicklet and how do I use it?

A Chicklet is a button graphic used to encourage readers to subscribe to your blog. Google the word chicklet to find sites that will help you create a custom chicklet.

Use the information above to link your chicklet graphic to the feed.

Comment Spam

Spammers are sending many garbage comments to my blog; what can I do to stop this?

Comment abuse occurs when unwanted comments are submitted in response to a post. These comments sometimes comes in large batches. Usually they are caused by a "bot" (program that searches the net for opporunities to post spam) in a comment form.

There are three main ways to combat comment spam:

  1. Require user registration: From the Dashboard, use Settings > Discussion to require users to register before they may comment.
  2. Disallow all comments: From the Dashboard, you can control comments on individual posts. Allow/Disallow comments from the check box at the bottom of the Posts > Edit Post page.
  3. Install comment filters: WordPress plugins that filter comment spam are available. WordPress comes pre-installed with the Akismet plugin. We recommend that you activate it -- even if you don't yet have a spam problem.
Activate the Akismet comment filter
Wordpress provides Akismet as a free service. Several steps are required to activate Akismet:
  1. Register at Wordpress.com, as if you were setting up a new blog.
  2. Don't setup a new blog.
  3. Wordpress will send an API key to the Email address you provide.
  4. Copy the API key from your Email.
  5. Login to the Dashboard on your existing blog.
  6. Select Plugins section.
  7. Locate the Akismet plugin and activate Activate.
  8. From the Akismet Description, locate words to the affect that an API key is required to complete the activation.
  9. Enter your API key.
  10. Congratulations: Akismet will now filter all incoming comments. You will no longer be notified when spam is received.
  11. If you are curious, you can review Akismet's results by checking Comments > Spam at any time.

Visit Combating Spam for the latest on Wordpress comment spam.

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