One of the great things about WordPress blogs is that each one is like the individual who writes the posts – unique! The WordPress blogging platform starts with a basic shell that can be modified in two main ways.
Firstly, the appearance of the blog can be modified by installing and activating a new “theme”. WordPress themes consist of a collection of code that governs how the blog looks, what colors and fonts are used, where everything is located on the page, whether there are two or three columns, and so on.
WordPress themes are available for download from many sites. The best place to get a look at new themes is the theme depository at WordPress, where there are hundreds of themes waiting for your review.
Secondly, the functionality of WordPress blogs can be extended with plugins. Plugins are useful bits of code that give added functionality to your blog. Plugins are available to help you deal with comments, feeds, media, searching, backing up your blog, and a host of other topics.
Over 3000 plugins are listed in the WordPress Plugin directory and that’s way too many to personally review – even for someone who has extra time on their hands! That wouldn’t include me, but I’ve tried a number of plugins and found some real gems. Others have been tested and then deleted, and for many reasons.
Take a look at the WordPress Plugins Directory. You might want to start with the most popular plugins as they are practically guaranteed to work as intended.
Running out of room on that great big hard drive? If you find yourself needing more space for all those pictures or mp3s, try the free service from Mozy. You get 2 GB free and they have automated backups so you’re never bothered.
Into widgets? Get all the colors you want by posting the Farbtastic Widget to your favorite site, or put it right on your desktop.
Don’t have a site yet? Post your widgets to iGoogle, a Google “homepage” that you can modify as you see fit. Click on the iGoogle link at the the top right of www.google.com and you’ll see a version of google that you can modify to your liking by arranging tabs and blocks of content.
Here’s the widget I’m talking about:
Try moving either color pointer and see the resulting color and #hex value in the top box.
On the widget’s page at widgetbox, look under Get Widget on the right side of the page. If you’re not familiar with some of the icons, just hover your mouse pointer to get a tool tip that tells you the name of the site that the icon represents. Click on “more…” to see other icons. Here, you can also choose your language and modify your widget, if possible. Code is available for WordPress blogs – just look for the big W in the icon list.
To post the widget at iGoogle, click on the big G icon. A small window pops up that directs you to click on the “Add Widget” button to open the iGoogle installer. When the installer page opens click on the “Add to Google” button. Your new iGoogle page opens with the new widget displayed. Drag and drop the widget into the place you prefer and make sure to sign in to Google to save your page.
Same thing with WordPress. Add your favorite widget to a post or put it in your sidebar.
The only catch here is to grab the right code. If you take the code from one of the icons presented, the widget will be in its default state. Should you modify or customize your widget – like I did with Farbtastic by changing the language to English and enlarging the widget to 300 x 300 px – make sure to click on the small “Get Widget” button that has a little checkmark – it’s right below the customize part of the Get Widget section. Post your customized widget and make sure it’s what you want before you finish up with widgetbox.
Today, I ran into this fatal error when trying to post to a WordPress blog. In Firefox 2 this error message was dumped to the screen:
Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 8388608 bytes exhausted
This error message is saying that the software needed more than 8MB of memory to perform its function. You may need to look in an error log file to read the message as some famous browsers may just give you a blank screen!
If you can’t find your php.ini file, try submitting a help ticket to your host and request them to change the value for “memory_limit” in php.ini to 16M or 24M. Doubling or tripling the default memory allocation should do the trick. This way, any PHP script will have a larger working memory.