Round up of Three Google+1 Plugins for WordPress

Yesterday we showed you how to add a Google+ profile widget to your site. Now let’s take a look at two new to us sharing plugins with Google+1 integration. The important thing to point out is the term “Google+” usually refers to the social network that in my (humble) opinion is a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook. Considering that Google’s has had two years to dissect their competitors and figure out the best of both worlds, they’ve managed to make something…”magical.”

Then moving on, there’s the “Google+1” button you see on a lot of websites (including our site) is a component of “Google+”. Think of “+1” as something similar to the Facebook like button. But this button keeps your history that just happens to have “+1” navigation button on your Google+ profile page that shows everyone all the pages you have “liked” by clicking on the “+1” buttons. I am sure there’s some privacy control for it but I haven’t dived into it.

The particular button I am using on this site is simply called “Google +1” by Yatko. If you do a search for “Google +1” on the WordPress plugin repository you’ll see quite a few choices. We tried quite a few plugins and this one seems to be the most compatible with different themes so make sure you find the plugin by the author Yatko.

Once it’s installed and activated, just drag the widget onto your sidebar to have it appear.

So what if you want to have a Google+1 button that appears as part of your social sharing button suite? Unfortunately our favorites Sharedaddy or Share and Follow have not been updated with it.

But we just found a new player in town called Digg Digg that happens to have a lot of the same features of Sharedaddy but throws in “+1” button.

As you can see in the admin below there are a ton of choices, maybe too many choices.

Digg digg sharing

Like Share and Follow you can have it appear at the top of posts with different position options like floating (wrapping) with the content. Depending on your theme CSS you’ll have mixed luck with this. The fail-safe option is to select to have it appear at the bottom of the post so it avoids any mashups. The plugin also offers a “lazy loading” option so your post or page content loads before the javascript needed to render the sharing buttons. That way your page isn’t blank white while it’s waiting for the sharing assets and APIs to load.

The next plugin we’ll take a quick look at is called “Twitter Facebook Social Share” by Kunal Chichkar. This plugin also now features the Google+1 button in addition to the usual Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, etc. services. It’s unique in that the sharing buttons sit stationary on the side of your pages regardless of what position you are on the page. The advantage to this is that it a visitor doesn’t have to scroll up or down to share the post. Here’s a screenshot of how it looks like on a demo site:

Googleplus share

The plugin settings offer quite a few customization options including the ability for the plugin to load the script at the bottom of the page similar to lazy loading. You can also define the background color and turn on rounded corners for the box too. Here’s a screenshot of the options:

Tf social googleplus share2

So give these a try of either one of these Google+1 plugins for WordPress and let us know what think!

Get it: Google +1 | Digg DiggTwitter Facebook Social Share

How to add a sidebar in Twenty Eleven theme

A few weeks before the WordPress 3.2 general release came out, we linked up a beta copy of the Twenty Eleven theme with a download link so our readers could preview it on pre 3.2 sites.

And no doubt many of you have updated to WordPress 3.2 by now. And some of you may have noticed that Twenty Eleven for whatever strange reason doesn’t have a sidebar widget area on the inner pages?!

It’s one of those “what were they thinking?” questions we like to cynically ask.

Kevin Muldoon and Bart Surminski to the rescue as Kevin outlines around 4 steps to easily add the sidebar to Twenty Eleven theme on his site. This could be a great exercise if you’re a confident beginner who wants to hack a theme for the first time.

But if you just want the modified theme pre-baked, there’s also a link by Niraj in the comments section of that article so you can grab a copy of the theme with the widget enabled.


Sharedaddy adds Linkedin

If you haven’t updated your Sharedaddy WordPress plugin recently, it might a good time to do so because they’ve just added Linkedin as another sharing service. It’s quite useful if you’re running a business or professional related blog or site. Note that as far as we can tell, the Jetpack version of Shareaddy hasn’t been updated with the Linkedin share button yet. Once you’ve gotten the latest copy of Sharedaddy, add Linkedin by going to Settings -> Sharing and drag down the Linkedin sharing button down to “Enabled Services.”

Sharedaddy linkedin

And make sure to click on “Save Changes,”

If you haven’t chosen a social sharing plugin, give Sharedaddy a try.

Get it: Sharedaddy plugin


How to bulk edit post attributes/settings

Here are three tips and tricks in case you ever need to edit the attributes for a ton of posts or pages and avoid sitting there for hours manually adjusting each post.

Tip one answers the question: How do I bulk edit the attributes for a bunch of posts?

For example if you wanted to close the discussion/comments for a bunch of posts without having to manually edit or even quick edit each post? Here’s how. When you’re in the WP admin posts listing page, click on the checkbox on the top far left column (next to Title) to have the system select all posts on the screen. Or click on the checkbox for which ever posts you want changed. Next click on the “Bulk Actions” drop down right above the select all checkbox.

Wordpress posts bulk select

One of the drop down items under “Bulk Actions” is “Edit”. Click “Edit” and then “Apply” button.

Wordpress posts bulk edit3

Then you’ll then see a screen like this:

Wordpress posts bulk edit2

Here you can apply a set of the same category(s), change the author, set comment/discussion status to the all the posts you’ve selected. Remember, once you click on “Update” – there’s no undo for your actions. So while its powerful tool, it can also be dangerous.

Tip two is: What if I have a 100 posts and don’t want to click-through 5 pages of posts? Did you know that you can define how many posts will show up per post listing page? WordPress normally shows 20 posts per page but you can set it up to 200. Once you’re in the posts listing page, click on “Screen Options” near the top right and you’ll see the “Show on-screen” field magically appear. Don’t forget to click on “Apply.”

Wordpress posts on screen limit

So both tips one and two could help an admin who needs to bulk edit the attributes for 100s of posts and wants to avoid having to browse through multiple pages of posts. Simply set the “show on-screen” field to “200”, click apply, and then bulk edit all the posts.

Tip 3 is for more advanced WordPress designers. Have you ever needed to know what ID numbers are your posts, categories, tags, links, and media without having to decipher the hyperlink in the status bar? Give “WP Show IDs” a try. It will add a new column to all your admin listings that show IDs on the far right column. It works great in conjunction with plugins that use shortcodes and require IDs like List Category Posts (which displays select blog posts on defined pages).

My favorite plugins of 2011 (so far)

A lot of people ask me what are my favorite WordPress plugins. So here they are in alphabetical order as of June.

I’ve covered a lot of these plugins already but I might omitted a few of them and some of them are new ones I’ve discovered from fellow WordPress designers and developers (like Natalie MacLees of the SoCal WordPress meetup group). All of these are available through the repository so they should be malware free and well-tested. And the beautiful thing is that I have most of the 20+ plugins all running here on WPVerse without any conflicts as far as I can tell.

Click on the Plugin name to go to the plugin page.

After the Deadline (also available as part of Jetpack)
Replaces the built-in spell checker with better spell and grammar checker.

Speed up your WordPress site easily through HTML/CSS and Javascript optimization.

Bad Behavior
Reduce Spam comments from your site

Contact Form 7
One of the easiest ways to set up a quick contact form.

Enable Media Replace
Overwrite existing media library images without deleting them first.

Hikari Category Permalink
Gives you more control over the way posts appear in the URL using categories.

Google Analyticator
Great way to add Goole Analytics track coding and show summary report on your admin dashboard

Google XML Sitemaps
Works in conjunction with SEO plugins to help search engines crawl your site more accurately.

Import Blogroll with Categories
Lets you import links (blogroll) with categories intact

la petite url
Great URL shortner using your own domain

NextGen Gallery
A grand daddy of WordPress plugins that allows you to quickly build WordPress thumbnails and picture galleries. There are tons of add-on plugins to extend it even further.

Page Links To
Redirect pages or post to other URLs.

Enhances WordPress’ built in search function to make it easy for visitors to find content.

Search and Replace
Just wrote about this powerful (and dangerous) tool a few days ago to let you search/replace the WordPress database tables.

Sharedaddy (also available as part of Jetpack)
Allows your visitors to share pages and post with a few clicks. Initial setup could be a lot easier but still a good plugin.

Simple Lightbox
Easily replace full size image links to lightbox viewer.

Twitter Goodies Widget
Nice looking Twitter widget to show your tweets on your sidebar with customizable color schemes.

Widgets Reloaded
Replaces some of the built-in widgets that come with WordPress including a better version of archives, authors, bookmarks (blogroll), calendar, categories, navigation, pages, search, and tags. Some of the widgets like bookmarks are extensive upgrades while others like calendar aren’t as complex.

WP Super Cache
The “That was easy” way to speed up your WordPress site. Can work in conjunction with Autoptimize.

WP CSS button
Add a slick-looking Web 2.0 call to action button with shortcodes.

Using Pagelines Platform Pro and Jetpack together

We took a look at the free version of Platform Pro a few months ago and were impressed with the features and customization options enough so that we bought it. So we recently built a traditional blog for a client with the commercial version of Platform Pro.  We also looked at Jetpack plugin when it first came out a few weeks ago but were turned off by some bugs typically found in a version 1.0 product. Pagelines  So we decided to take a second look at both Platform Pro and Jetpack at the same time. These are not meant to be full reviews but provide some key insights in a short amount of space.

Platform Pro
During the process of customizing our client site we were reminded of how powerful Platform Pro can be but there are a ton of options to look through. One of the most powerful features allows users to select what kind of modules show up on each type of page (home, blog, individual posts, etc.).

For us, this process became be downright confusing when we had to figure out which page type we were modifying. We had to keep refreshing the published page to see which page type we were editing at the moment. It’d be great if there was a preview or explanation of which page type was being currently edited.

We also wish there was a simple footer module that could be used instead of 3 or 5 column design that forces the user to show extra content when it may not be needed or desired.

Also as we mentioned in our previous review, some similar options are saved into two different pages. For example the social network features of the theme appear in three separate pages: global options (footer Twitter feed), Template Setup (post/page sharing buttons), and Header and Nav (Social Network profile URLs). Our suggestion would be to perhaps keep these fields on their current pages but also add a new page that has all the social media features on one page.

Platform Pro when it was first released was great for its time but the complexity of the theme panel is starting wear us down even after we’ve used it on several sites. Call us hypercritical but if we’re confused, imagine what a new WordPress user could feel like. We hope the next major revision of Platform Pro improves the grouping of menus/options and provides a more intuitive way to build page types.

When we were first tried Jetpack, we didn’t try the bundled Twitter widget so this was a good time for us to try it out.

Some people once seeing it on their site may be disappointed that there’s not much options for color styling. The Twitter Widget looks very plain and boring but heck it works without very little effort or configuration. We’re using the standalone version of the widget, here on our site on our sidebar, so you can see it’s very plain-jane.

If you want something that’s slicker and customizable with colors, we’d recommend the Twitter Goodies Widget by NetWebLogic. It’s a bit more effort to customize the color but it maybe worth the effort to some.

Here’s a tip for Jetpack (and Sharedaddy stand-alone) plugin users who are using Platform Pro. If you enable Shareadaddy to show sharing buttons on the home page, your sidebar widgets may wrap to the bottom of the page into the footer area. And it currently doesn’t show the share buttons on the home page anyways so selecting it doesn’t work in the first place. To fix the sidebar from appearing in the footer, you need to set the display to show only “Posts and pages only.” See the screenshot below.

Wordpress jetpack sharedaddy index

Get it: Platform Pro theme / Jetpack plugin

WordPress theme of the week: The Talking Fowl

The Talking Fowl theme is one of the more unique looking WordPress themes we’ve seen in a while. The author, Tolu Sonaike, has designed a blog centric WordPress theme with a stylized timeline view.

Talkingfowl wordpress theme

The Talking Fowl theme also features an Ajax drop down menu to hide the main navigation near the top right corner. It also has built-in Twitter and Flickr feed integration at the top of the home page without the need for a plugin.

With a lot of WordPress themes looking more and more alike these days, Tolu Sonaike has been generous to give this theme out to the WP community.

Get it: The Talking Fowl theme

Quick tip: Styling posts with a different background

Here’s a typical scenario: Say you have a WordPress blog and wanted to highlight certain posts (blog entries) on the home page to show up with a different background color or other styling like a border to draw more attention to these posts.

So how do you do that? With WordPress it’s surprisingly easy to do and it’s a good way for beginners to start theme hacking. As always make sure you have a backup copy of your original theme file that you can re-upload via FTP in case something goes wrong.

In this example, let’s say that you want posts for “events” to have a slightly gray background.

So the first thing is to mark all your post(s) with the “events” category in the WP admin post editor.

Then you would go to Appearance -> Editor and select the “style.css” file (or if you’re using something like Pagelines or WooThemes, go to your theme control panel’s custom CSS editor page).

Then you’d add something like this to the bottom of your CSS file.

background-color: #e9e9e9;
padding:5px 10px 5px 10px;

And voila, if the CSS class matches the actual “slug” name being generated by WordPress, all the “events” posts on the home page will have a light gray background.

The important thing is that the CSS class (e.g; .category-events) matches the WordPress slug for that category. Sometimes if you have previously deleted that category and re-created it, WordPress will add “-2” to the end of that slug. You can tell what the slug name is by looking in the slug column in Posts -> Categories. Unfortunately other than directly editing the MySQL database there’s no easy way to rename or delete category slugs.

Site of the week:

If you’re a WordPress designer, you’re probably always on the hunt for the latest WordPress theme to help save time building a new site. In addition to WP Candy’s theme finder, you may want to check out ThemeSorter.


The layout like WP Candy has a lot of thumbnails and some visually driven options like colors but it’s all geared towards commercial themes where as WP Candy has a list of free themes to choose from. Still it’s a lot of hard work to maintain a useable directory of commercial WordPress themes as they’re a bunch of new ones released almost every week, so we encourage you to check them out!

BTW, is it us or has ThemeFinder not been updated recently?

Go: ThemeSorter