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WordPress 3.0 – Complete Upgrade Tutorial

wordpress logoWordPress has just released the newest version – WordPress 3.0 “Thelonious”. The new version is available for download from the official wordpress website, or you can just get the latest wordpress zip file from this direct link.

Whats New in WordPress 3?

There are quite a number of nifty feature and improvements in this new WordPress 3 series. I have highlighted some of the important ones below:

WordPress MU Merges with WordPress — The multi-user project WPMU and WordPress is becoming one! This will make creating sub-sites via sub-domains or sub directories very easy going forward.

Set custom username & password during installation — In WordPress 3.0 you will be able to choose your own username and password, instead of accepting the auto-generated “admin” as your default user, which was irritating and an easy target for any hackers.

New “Twenty Ten” wordpress default theme — WordPress 3.0 is now using “Twenty-Ten” as default theme to take full advantages of current WordPress features. Bye Bye Kubrick theme.

Custom post types — In previous versions of wordpress, only posts or pages could be added to a WordPress blog. But the good news is in this new version of WordPress, users will be able to set up common post taxonomies (or tags) and templates pages such as videos, quotes, products etc. This feature won’t replace the categories and tags however this will be a very handy way of organising posts and very useful for those who blog a lot. As WordPress’s Jane Wells puts it: Custom Post Types + taxonomies = Better CMS.

Improved Look & Feel — WordPress dashboard is now more snappier and has on screen help on every single page.

Support of Canonical plugins — Don’t you get annoyed when you find a plugin that you really want and then you realize that the plugin is no longer supported by it’s original author? Well not anymore as Canonical plugins has now been introduced meaning that a community develops a plugin rather than an individual.

Support for Bulk updates — Finally a way for you to update all your plugins in bulk!

Custom menu management — WordPress 3.0 now allows creation of custom menus combining posts, pages, categories, tags, and links for use in theme menus or widgets.

Support for custom background image — In WordPress 3.0 you’ll be able to upload a background image and make some basic changes to its settings within the admin interface.

You can read the complete feature list of WordPress 3.0 from the official wordpress site.

How to: Upgrade to WordPress 3.0

If you are coming from an old version of WordPress and want to upgrade to WordPress 3.0 there are a few options for you. Since WordPress 2.7+ there is an automatic upgrade feature. You can launch the automatic Update by clicking the link in the new version banner (if it’s there) or by going to the Tools -> Upgrade (or Update for version 3) menu. Once you are on the “Update WordPress” page, click the button “Update Automatically” to start the process off. You shouldn’t need to do anything else and, once it’s finished, you will be up-to-date.

If for any reason the automatic update doesn’t work for you then you have to go for a lengthier manual update. To manually update your wordpress installation follow the steps below:

Step 1: Replace WordPress files Get the latest WordPress file – Simply unpack the zip file and delete the old wp-includes and wp-admin directories on your web host (via FTP). Later upload the new WordPress files to your web host, overwriting old files.

NOTE – you should replace all the old WordPress files with the new ones, including those in the root directory like index.php, wp-login.php and so on. Simply copying the contents of the zip you downloaded over the top of your existing files should achieve this. Make sure you copy all the sub-directories as well. Don’t worry – your wp-config.php will be safe. Be careful when you come to copying the wp-content directory. You should make sure that you only copy the files from this directory, rather than replacing your existing wp-content directory. This is where your themes and plugins live, so you will want to keep theme.

Step 2: Update your installation – Visit your main WordPress admin page at /wp-admin. You may be asked to login again. If a database upgrade is necessary at this point, WordPress will detect it and give you a link to a URL like http://example.com/wordpress/wp-admin/upgrade.php. Follow that link and follow the instructions. This will update your database to be compatible with the latest code. You should do this as soon as possible after step 1. And that’s all!

Things to Remember before you Upgrade to WordPress 3.0

  • Just assume that things are going to break (it always does!). Thus, before upgrade make sure that your plugins support the latest version of wordpress. If it doesn’t and you have already upgraded then reversing the whole thing would be a troublesome job. Before upgrading disable all your plugins and re-enable them once the upgrade is complete.
  • Don’t even touch your wordpress files if you don’t have a full backup or at least a recent backup of your database (which contains all your posts & comments). Backing up wordpress regularly is very essential and you should just do it anyway. If you want an easy way to backup your wordpress database, I would highly recommend the plugin: WP-Db Backup. It automatically backs up your wordpress database everyday and sends it to you via email. Another new cloud backup service is – Backupify (which currently has wordpress support).
  • Ask yourself if you really need to upgrade right away. With every new WordPress release there are always bugs & security holes which are sometimes missed by the developers on a test environment. So its always good to wait for few weeks/months before you are certain that no big exploit has been found on the particular release that you plan to upgrade to.

Questions? Please ask them on twitter – @saadkamal or post them in the comments below.

HOW TO: Import a Posterous Blog in WordPress.com

If you have started blogging with a posterous blog for convenience and now thinking of moving to a full-blown blogging platform like WordPress then they have just the right solution for you.

WordPress has just launched a Posterous import feature inside all WordPress.com dashboard. It uses the Posterous API so the import is seamless & easy. Basically all you need to do is, just login to your wordpress.com dashboard and go under Tools -> Import.

There you should see a Posterous importer option. Once you click that a form should appear, type in your Posterous host name, user name, and password in the appropriate fields and hit the Submit button.

Once the importer validates your credentials it will automatically start the import. If everything works out great then you should receive an email from WordPress saying that your import has been successful!

Why would someone want to move from Posterous?

Even though posterous is a great platform to maintain something like a tumblelog, it may not be suitable for mainstream blogging due to some limitations. For instance, Posterous currently doesn’t support javascript which is required to run Advertising programs like Google Adsense or any analytics or tracking program like Google Analytics and so on.

Download WordPress 2.8 Beta 1

wordpress-2-8-beta WordPress has recently announced their WordPress 2.8 Beta 1.

You can easily download WordPress 2.8 Beta 1, here, and also leave your feedback for the developers, here. This is not a final release, so don’t update your blog just yet, as it may have a lot of bugs and loop holes.

So what to expect in the new WordPress 2.8? Well they have put up a whole list here.

How to try WordPress 2.8 Beta in a safe way?

If you are really interested to try out this new beta but don’t want to screw up any of your blog up by doing an upgrade,I strongly suggest that you do a fresh installation of this version on a sub-folder of your website/blog. There you can play with it without having to worry about any problems it might cause.

If you are too cautious or don’t have a web hosting account yet, You can download this free program called – EasyPHP, which has a built in MySQL DB Server and Apache Web server that can run quietly on your Windows taskbar. It replicates an actual web hosting account with access to database and a webserver and can run any html/php web platform like wordpress smoothly on your own computer. You don’t even need an active internet connection to try this!

So have you tried out WordPress 2.8 Beta 1 already? Share your views in the comments!

WordPress 2.7 Coltrane is Out

Download WordPress 2.7WordPress has just made the official launch of WordPress 2.7 Coltrane. (Download it Now!).

WordPress 2.7 provides an interface that is amazingly flexible – As a user you will have the ultimate control over the way you want to arrange things. You can simply drag & drop items in your dashboard arrange them in any order you want.

The new release also offers features that users have been requesting for a long time. Some of them includes – “sticky posts” – posts that can remain stuck on your blog as the first post even though additional posts are published after that. (This is a useful feature if you are using your wordpress blog more like a CMS than just a blog). Now wordpress users have the ability to do more from the dashboard – users can write quick posts, moderate comments, access drafts and many more.

Watch the following video to find out whats new in WordPress 2.7 –

Bloggers Best Practices Guide by Google

After launching the Official Google SEO Guide, many webmasters has really appreciated Google’s effort in trying to help out web community. The blogosphere demanded that Google should often come up with more such guides so that at least the ‘best practices’ of the subject matter is clear to the public.

And now It looks like Google has came up with another Guide for Bloggers, unfortunately its not a PDF this time but instead its a new document inside the Google Webmaster Help archive. So in this small guide, the Google Webmaster Central team has offered some basic but useful tips on how bloggers can improve their blogs. They have divided the document in 3 parts – Creating great content, Making the content Crawler & user friendly & lastly use of Google Webmaster tools for your blog.

I have created a small summary of what the guide talks about. So here goes:

Creating Great Content

  • Write Good content & Write as Frequently as possible — As you may already know, Content is King but do you know that writing more ‘frequently’ can encourage your readers to come back to your site more often? But obviously you need to take into account that the subject of your writing should be the same as what your readers expect from your blog. A very good quality post once a week is better than many low-quality content published daily.Tip: — Perform a search in Google for a subject of interest on your niche. If you can’t find a good answer, simply create a blog post about that particular subject – chances are that other people are also searching for the same thing.
  • Always follow the Webmasters Guideline and try do things naturally. Try not to get involved in shady practices like this.
  • Organize your content to make your Blog more User-friendly! Use categories, tags & labels appropriately so that your content are easy to find.
  • Host your blog in your own domain and link it from your Home page so that the users & search crawlers can easily find your content
  • Always create original content & content that are primarily for users and not the search engines. If you are promoting a affiliate product, DON’T use the content that they provide which has probably been used in tons of other places and are just duplicates. Always write unique & original content that you feel will be useful for the reader (e.g. Product reviews, How-tos etc.)
  • Stop Comment Spam – Comments are Good but SPAMs are not. Read more about how to stop comment spam.

Making your Blog Crawler & User Friendly

  • Always use Descriptive Titles for each your posts – Think of words that people may use to search for that particular post and include them in your title. Write Unique Titles so that it doesn’t get mixed up with another post of yours in your blog.
  • Engage in your community, participate in discussion and interact with the readers who leaves a comment in your blog
  • Publish a FULL feed of your content rather than a partial Feed. Full feeds can make users happy because they can view your content with a lot less effort. Even though it might result in a short-term decline in visits to your actual blog, but it has long-term benefits for you

Webmaster Tools For Your Blog

Thats all! Pretty basic isn’t it? If you were expecting more “advanced” stuffs I invite you to read some of the following:

Bloggers Guide to SEO by Aaron Wall & Giovanna Wall – SEOBook.com

WordPress SEO – Definitive Guide To High Rankings For Your Blog by Joost de Valk – Yoost.com

Search Engine Optimization for Blogs by Darren Rowse – Problogger.net

Whitehat SEO tips for bloggers by Matt Cutts – Mattcutts.com/blog/

21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic by Rank Fishkin – SEOmoz.org

Tips for Optimizing Blogs and Feeds by Ross Dunn – SearchEngineGuide.com

Do-It-Yourself Search Engine Optimization Guide by Lorelle – Lorelle.Wordpress.com

SEO For WordPress – The Complete Guide by Jim Westergren – JimWestergren.com

Did I miss any great resources? Please Include it in comments or notify me via twitter (@saadkamal).

Update: I forgot to add my very own post that I wrote particularly for Bloggers titled: How to Rank Your Blog High in Search Engines. Check it out and I’m sure you will be able to take some useful pieces from it.

WordPress Comment Reply via Email

Do you often get tired of replying to comments in wordpress blogs once you have subscribed to it? Well I often do, because once I get a comment I need to log back in to my site and then reply to that comment. So if say you are getting an average of 10 comments per post, it may be a hard task for you.

But today Heather at WordPress WebBlog says – Not Anymore, as closed beta testing for comment reply by email is currently undergoing. Check out this video to see how it works, and to hear about another upcoming goody of WordPress:

Comment reply by email makes replying to comments easy. Once you enable e-mail notifications for comments as you normally would under Settings > Discussion. Then, instead of clicking back to your dashboard, with this new feature you can reply to the comment straight from inbox. When you click reply, a special WordPress e-mail address will appear in the “To” box, matching your reply to the proper comment thread. Send it off, and your reply is up on your blog in seconds! Isn’t that amazing?

However you can’t check it out now unless you’re part of the closed beta, so be sure to sign up if you want to check this cool feature!

In order to sign up for this closed beta, you will have to leave a comment in Heather’s post here.

For your information Signups for the closed beta will close at 6 p.m. PST (UTC-8) tomorrow, Friday, October 24.

WordPress Upload Problem

After I upgraded to WordPress 2.5+, my old wordpress upload feature replaced by a new fancy Flash based Image Uploader. Even though the new feature looked really cool at first, after the very first use, I wished to go back to my old Upload feature. Anyway Long story short, From day one I was having issues with WordPress 2.5 Image Upload Feature. Whenever I wanted to upload any image of any type/size, I got a “HTTP Error”.

Wordpress Image Upload Problem

Initially I thought its my firewall that is probably not letting the ‘flash uploader’ to make a connection to the internet. But later I figured that the problem was with wordpress itself and apparently many other users were facing it. So anyway I did a quick search on Google and found a fix that works 100%. So if you have the same problem follow the steps below and you will be uploading images again in your WordPress 2.5+ in no time!

Fix WordPress 2.5 Image Upload Problem

Step 1: Using a FTP client, login to your server (where wordpress is installed) and navigate to the root of your WP folders.

Step 2: Now, Download a filed called .htaccess and open it with any text editor. (If you don’t see a .htaaccess file simply create one blank text file and name it .htaccess)

Step 3: Insert the following code at the end of your .htaccess file:

    <IfModule mod_security.c>
    <Files async-upload.php>
    SecFilterEngine Off
    SecFilterScanPOST Off

Step 4: Save the file, and upload to replace your current .htaccess. Now go to your WordPress admin panel and the wordpress 2.5 upload feature should be working for you!

Very easy fix, Isn’t it? But frankly, even though the new image upload feature was working for me, I felt that the old uploader was much better. It was more faster, and gave me more freedom in terms of image location, thumbnails and so on. So I did another search and found a very cool plugin that can give you the old wordpress Image Upload feature in the New WordPress 2.5+. And don’t worry after you install this plugin, you will still be able to use the new Image uploader whenever you want. But in case if that doesn’t work for you well, you can always upload images using the traditional way.

Download the Old WordPress Upload Plugin (Works 100% with all the New WordPress versions)

WordPress No-follow Links

wordpress-logoThere are often times when you want to cite a website (that you don’t really trust) or you are just hesitant to give link love to that ‘slightly shady’ or new site. Adding a No-Follow attribute (rel=”nofollow”) to that particular link is a good way of letting the engines know that you don’t really ‘trust’ the site and thus you don’t want any of your link juice to be passed on to him.

Even though adding nofollow to links is very easy, but sometimes people are just lazy to edit a link manually. So someone just came up with this WordPress “NoFollow Plugin” that adds automatically adds a checkbox to the “Insert Link” dialog box. If you want to “nofollow” the link, just check the box, and you are done!

Installation Instruction of WordPress No Follow Plugin

Step 1: Download WordPress No Follow Plugin
Step 2: Un-zip the archive and upload it in your wordpress “plugins” directory.
Step 3: Activate the plugin from your WP Dashboard
Step 4: Since most browsers cache javascript files, you will probably need to flush your cache for the changes to show up in your wordpress editor.

Plug-in Compatibility: Works well with WordPress 2.5+

So how do you find this plugin? Share your comments & feedback here for the author