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Tims Minions WordPress Tip: Adding Images to Side Bar

11 Apr

Today I will share a quick and easy WordPress Tip that can make your site look a little more personal.

This is a little trick for adding extra pictures into the side bar widgets in WordPress. Giving your site that little bit more personalized feeling. You can of course use plugins for this, the plugin WP Photo Album gives you some funky little sidebar widgets that will incorporate slide shows and top ten picture etc. but if you want to just add a few pictures to the sidebar then it is simple enough.

The width of your picture will be determined by the width of the side bar on your WordPress theme, they are usually around 250 wide so I will use that as my example. Using free software like paint, open up a photo, go to the tab that says resize. Click on it and open up the re size box, check the ‘pixels’ radio button and make sure the ‘maintain aspect ratio’ button is also checked.

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Type in the size you want in the box that says Horizontal (width) then press ok. The vertical (height) should automatically resize to suit the Horizontal. All you need to do is save the image.

The image is now the size you require, you now need to open up a new post box in the dashboard area of your WordPress site, you are not going to publish a new post however you will be inserting the image into the post as you would normally. Make sure that the image is set for centre of the post; it is advised to hit ‘None’ so the image URL is not accessible. (When you click on the picture it won’t open up in a separate window of its own). Then insert into post.

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As you will already know, WordPress has a HTML and a Visual editor for creating posts. You need to upload the image in the Visual then click to go into the HTML editor where you will find the HTML code of the image that you need to add to the Text widget where your image will sit. Copy the code.

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You now need to go to the widget are that is found under ‘Appearance’ you need to add a Text widget to the side bar to put your image code in.

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Simply drag it from the widget area and drop it into your chosen side bar or footer. Once it has been dragged properly it will open up.

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What is left for you to do now is paste the code into the box, hit save then close the box up. Done and dusted.

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You should now have a picture in the side bar or footer depending on where you want it.

If you wanted to have the image clickable so that it sent people to an affiliate offer like an advert would then all you do when inside the Visual editor is add a link to the image which will automatically be added to the code that you will copy from the HTML editor.

Click on the image and click the Link icon ( it might appear different in your editor as I am using the CKEditor for WordPress plugin that gives me a bit more functionality when creating posts.)

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Once the link icon is clicked a box will open where all you have to do is add the new destination URL into the URL bar (see image below) and hit ok. The image will now be linked to that site and when anyone clicks it they will go there.

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As shown above all you need is to go into the HTML editor and copy the code and place it into the widget.

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BIG BONUS TIP: Do it once, copy the code, save it to your desk top in a text file and in the future all you need to do is change the relevant URLs in the code then copy and paste that to wherever you want.

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I hope you found this post useful – Andi the (trying to be useful) Minion 🙂

5 great plugins to help you make money from your blog.

23 Feb

 

Do you have a blog? Is your blog just a personal blog where you can jabber on about your favourite things? Or maybe a specific hobby that enjoy? There are many reasons for people having a blog, some are for fun and some are purely designed to generate money.

Whatever your blog is about, if you have a good following of regular readers and have not monetized it in any way, you might as well make some money from it. Let’s be honest here, we enjoy blogging and we enjoy having money. So it makes sense to combine the two. Doesn’t it?

There are many ways to monetize a blog, the usual way is from promoting affiliate products or selling advertising space. This is usually done by copying and pasting code into parts of your site. Which isn’t hard, but it can be a bit of a ball ache. If you are not sure about HTML coding and where to put it then you may shy away from doing it entirely.

However I am here to save the day, well I say me, these few plugins are. (I cannot really take the credit lol) As ever, your trusted Minion has done some research and found some great plugins that you can install which will take a lot of the hard work out of it all. And make you some money.

 

WordPress-Amazon-Associate

This is a great plugin if you have an Amazon Associate account. (Amazon affiliate) Once this plugin has been installed you will need to set it up with your Amazon affiliate access keys which you will find in your Amazon affiliate profile. Adding affiliate links to your posts is really very simple.

5 great plugins to help you make money from your blog

 

 

There is an Amazon search box found in the New Post section. You highlight the text you want to link to, enter the search term that is relevant to your post in the side widget, select a category and hit search.  A list of products will be brought up from the search and you chose which one you want to use then hit the ‘Insert Link’ button and it will put the link into your post.

There are also several types of Amazon sidebar widgets, found in the widget are of your WordPress site, you just drag the widget over to where you want it, open them up and edit them. You can set up a product carousel, favourites, a product cloud, MP3 clips and there is also an Amazon search bar.  When a visitor on your site clicks through to Amazon and buys through your affiliate ID you earn a commission.  

 

Ad Rotator

This plugin will require some copy and paste but it works well if you sell advertising space on your site. Whoever buys the space will send you the code or it will be accessible via a dash board if you use a company to sell your space like buysellads.com.

This plugin gives you a widget very similar to the default text widget. You can drag and drop these widgets into the side bars or footers and they work for any ad size.

You simply paste the ad code into the widget and in between different ad codes you paste in <!–more–> to separate the code. Every time you refresh your page a different advert is shown.

5 great plugins to help you make money from your blog.

 

You can have more than one Ad Rotator block in your side bars so you can have static adverts as well as rotating ones. There isn’t a CPM system with this plugin so you can charge whatever you like.

MediaPass

This is a great system, really great for content based sites and educational sites. MediaPass plugin allows you to hide certain content behind a ‘pay to view’ box.  For instance you may create a site where 4 tutorial videos on WordPress are free to see but the remaining 12 tutorials that you have made can be locked off to people unless they pay to see them.  

Once the plugin is installed, you chose which content you want hiding behind the paid wall, click one of 3 boxes on the posts tool bar and chose which subscription model you want. Big magazine and papers use this system a lot. 

5 great plugins to help you make money from your blog.

 

You need to set up a MediaPass account before you can use the plugin but once it’s set up they do all the work. They take the card payments and then send you a cheque every month. They do take out a hefty 35% of the price but imagine what they save you. No faffing with card problems, you don’t spend time taking the money, setting up merchant accounts, posting and packaging DVDs. You just have to concentrate on the blogging side of your business.

You could try charging more than the price you want to ask for to cover the 35% and if your customers are happy to pay that then you are on to a winner.

Skimlinks Affiliate Marketing Tool

This plugin is great if you want to go down the affiliate marketing route. This plugin will turn any product links and references into affiliate links. There are over 17,000 merchants in the Skimlinks database.

The big advantage of this plugin is that it frees you up to concentrate on what you do best which is blogging. You will need a Skimlinks account and then they take care of business, they do all the tracking codes and maintaining of accounts.

5 great plugins to help you make money from your blog

 

Skimlinks take 25% commissions from the merchants. You get a percentage of that but consider the amount you would have made if you had to source the affiliate products and set up the links yourself, it would have been a lot less and very time consuming.

With Skimlinks you can concentrate on creating more and better blog posts to bring more visitors and re visits to your blog.

Kontera Plugin for WordPress

Again this is another great affiliate plug in. Very handy for those with blogs that do not use side bars. This plugin adds contextual ads within the text of a page. Like amazon and Skimlinks you will need an account first and you will be given a publisher ID which you enter inside the plugin setup. All you do then is choose the colour for the links and add in the generated code into the pages that you want the ads to appear.

5 great plugins to help you make money from your blog

 

Ads don’t appear straight away, it can take up to 24 hours for them to appear in your pages so be patient. Kontera isn’t just for WordPress, if you are also a fan of Blogger or Drupal then you can also use this plugin to monetize those types of sites as well.

So there you have it. 5 great plugins to help you make money from your blog, images taken from WordPress Plugin Centre. – Andi the Minion

The Best 15 WordPress Plugins The Newbie Blogger Needs

21 Feb

The Best 15 WordPress Plugins The Newbie Blogger Needs

The Best 15 WordPress Plugins The Newbie Blogger Needs

WordPress is an awesome website building platform that is relatively easy to learn, within days even the most timid internet user can have a professional looking blog and website up and running. With WordPress there is no need for HTML or Javascript coding skills. Everything is created with an easy to use ‘plug n play’ style system. I guess that is why they call the add-ons ‘plugins’ 🙂

Once you have WordPress installed onto your server a default theme will be visible, this is usually the ‘Twenty Eleven’ theme, if you do not like this theme all you need to do is change it. We will talk about how to change themes in another post. For now, the default theme is good enough to start your newbie blog.

WordPress functionality may seem a bit basic at first and it is, but even the basic theme can look great if you use it well, once you start to add the plugins then the magic can really start. Plugins can turn your blog from just a one or two video posts to a complete video style website or it can become a photo gallery. You can add podcasts, sales pages, and ecommerce stores. The possibilities are endless.  Anyway, I better not get you either too excited or frazzle your brain with ‘too much to learn syndrome’.

I will take it easy and start small. I am going to give you a list of plugins that I think every new blog owner should know about and install before you go into the seriously good plugins. Some are essential and some are, well you guessed it, not. These are in no particular order

1.Akismet– Great plugin that stops spamming comments and deletes them automatically saving you the time and annoyance of having to go through the comments left by people pushing porn or Viagra! Akismet is usually pre-loaded into WordPress and should be found in the plugin section. This will need a key for it to be enabled and you will need to register with Akismet to get a key. It used to be available from WordPress.org but unfortunately they have stopped doing that.  [Essential]

 

2.Contact Form 7 – Great plugin this, adds a contact form (if you hadn’t already guessed) to your site. You simply add in your email address that you want emails sent to, and any other info you require then copy and paste the simple code it gives you into a page. Give the page a name like hmmm ‘Contact Me’ hit publish and you are done. [Essential]

 

3.Ezine Articles – This is a cool plugin, when you write a blog post, before you put links or pictures into it you can hit a couple of buttons and send your fresh article straight to Ezine articles for distribution. Now article marketing used to be big but since Google have taken a bit of a dislike to article sites I am not sure how powerful article marketing is these days however, it can still be good for you if other websites and newsletters do take your article with a link to your site and use it.

 

4.Google Privacy Policy – This is a must if you want to monetize your site with Google Adsence. They will not add any adverts to a site that doesn’t comply with their terms and a site must have a Privacy Policy. This sorts it all out, similar to Contact Form 7, you copy a bit of code and post it into a page and hit publish. Job done. [Essential]

 

5.Google XML Sitemaps – The best way to describe this is by using the plugin description itself ‘This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your blog’ I couldn’t have put it better myself. [Essential]

 

6.CKEditor for WordPress– This is great for copying and pasting from Word etc, keeping the text and font formatting. Better than the standard default text editor in WordPress. It gives you more choice and control when writing your blog posts or importing pictures. This is not an essential plugin really, more a preference.

 

7.cbnet Ping Optimizer – This stops the over excessive ‘pinging’ of your website to search engines. WordPress by default will ‘ping’ your blog posts to help them get index by the search engines. If you are like me, you will create blog posts by adding bits, publishing it, taking a look, editing it, updating it etc. etc. This can go on time after time after time. Every time you hit ‘Update’ WordPress will send a new ‘ping’. You may think this is good, it is not. Too much ‘pinging’ can in fact go against you. Google may think you are spamming and trying to get index really fast for naughty reasons. So you could in fact be punished for excessive pinging. Installing this plugin is a must. [Essential]

 

8.Share and Follow – This is a social share plugging that adds all those lovely Social Media and bookmarking buttons at the top/bottom of posts allowing people who like your posts to share and bookmark them (obviously) There is also a ‘Follow Us’ bar where you can add your Twitter and Facebook links so your site visitors can easily join up and follow you on the popular Social Media networks.

 

9.Yoast SEO – Search Engine optimization is a must for websites to help them get higher rankings in the search engines, this great plugin checks your posts before you publish them to see if they are written as best as they can be with your chosen keyword for them to have a better ranking in places like Google.  Alternately you can use All in One SEO Pack plugin. I prefer the Yoast personally. [Essential]

 

10.Digg Digg – Another Social Media plugin that allows your site visitors to ReTweet or Share your posts. Digg Digg has a great funky floating bar that runs up the side of your posts. I run this alongside share and follow.

 

11.Statpress Reloaded – This is great little plugin for showing you how many visitors you have had to your site, where they came from, what page they looked at, what search terms they used etc.  Once you have activated it, it is up and running unlike Google Analyticator plugin which requires you to set up a Google Analytics account and get an ID password before you can use the plugin. Statpress Reloaded is straightforward and fast working. [Essential]

 

12.WPtouch – Awesome plugin that automatically turns your site into a smart phone friendly version. Most smart phones these days can view normal websites well and the new version of WordPress seems to adapt automatically when viewed in phones, however saying that. WP Touch makes your site look a lot better and arranges your posts into an easier to read list. Install, give it a try, if you do not like it deactivate it and delete. Not a problem

 

13.Related Posts Thumbnails – This cool plugin allows related posts to be seen on the side bar and at the bottom of your posts with the featured image, giving your reader something else to see, possibly capture their attention and have them clicking through to your other posts keeping them where you want them, on your site!

 

14.WP Photo Album – Another excellent plugin that gives a greater visual dimension to your blog. This plugin allows you to upload loads of photos, create albums and galleries.  You copy some code into a page, give it a title and hit publish to create picture galleries within your site. It has several widgets that can be placed into the sidebar creating a picture of the day/hour, a slide show of pictures and a top ten pictures section giving your site an incredible visual experience.

 

15.FeedWordPress – This is for the lazy people who don’t like creating their own content. Plugin this baby and it will pull content via RSS from the websites that you choose and place them onto your blog as posts. As long as they have an RSS feed of course. Great for news based blogs. Use this alongside your own content then you have a winning combination. Regular posting of content is good in the eyes of search engines, they don’t normally like duplicate content but if you use it wisely it can do you good. The only drawback is that you must choose the websites that you pull your feed from wisely otherwise your site could get populated with rubbish.

 

So there you have it 15 essential and non-essential WordPress plugins for the newbie blogger. Plugins can be deactivated at any time so try them out and if you don’t like them then stop using them. It will not affect your site. I advise you to keep the essential ones in as they are important.  – Andi the Minion.

Tim’s Minions Mini Tutorials – Adding Facebook Like and Share Buttons To Your Blog

14 Feb

New Video Tutorial for you today, I was asked how you add a Facebook ‘Like’ button to your website. In this video I show you how to add 2 of the favourite social Media plugins for WordPress as well as adding a ‘Like’ button and a ‘Like’ box from Facebook. I hope you find it useful :-) – Andi the Minion