How to Disable Trackbacks and Pings in WordPress

Are you seeing more spam trackbacks listed in WordPress comments?

A trackback helps to notify another author that something related was written to what the they wrote, even if you don’t have an explicit link to his article. This improves the chances of the other author sitting up and noticing that you gave him credit for something, or that you improved upon something he wrote, or something similar. With pingback and trackback, blogs are interconnected. Think of them as the equivalents of acknowledgements and references at the end of an academic paper, or a chapter in a textbook.

That’s the way they are supposed to work. But spammers are also using them to bring unwanted comments into your site.

A pingback is an actual link to another blog contained within a post. 

To prevent the unwanted trackbacks and pings you can disable them in WordPress. Here’s how….

Disabling trackbacks and pings can be done in 2 places.

Overall under WordPress Settings > Discussion.  Uncheck the box next to allow link notifications from other blogs. settings-discussion
This will only apply to new posts.

To prevent trackbacks and pings on existing posts you’ll need to edit each one individually.

Open the post for editing and go to Screen Options at the top of the browser window to make sure that the discussion box is checked so it appears under the editor.

screen-options

Then scroll down to find the discussion task pane and uncheck the boxes. You can disable comments if you like as well.
disscussion

Trackbacks and pings can also be place on you media files. You will need to follow the instructions above to disable them by opening each image for editing.

If you’re not getting a lot of trackback spam you can simply keep deleting it from comment moderation. However, if you’re getting so much that it is making you crazy you can mas disable site wide via the database by following the instructions at WPBeginner.com post.. If that freaks you out, contact me and I will do it for you for a nominal fee.

The Blog Newsletter Combo Makes Art Blogging Easy

CONCEPT: The concept behind the blog newsletter combo is that content sent to followers in emails can also be blog posts. This will make creating content and art blogging  easy.

 

After I settled into routine of blogging both here at Artbiz and my fine art site, I came up with one really good use for my art blog.  I use my fine art blog as an archive for my exhibitions (here’s how to use your blog for exhibition history).  It’s great because it provides a chronological listing of my exhibits with pictures, review links and I can write about it as much or as little as it want.

Now I have another idea on how you can use your art blog and not have to go through writers anxiety every time you feel it’s time to communicate with your followers. I call it your blog newsletter combo!

No doubt you have an email list to send out your studio news. You may even have a Mail Chimp  or similar account that you use to send out your emails. If you don’t, get one, it’s free.

THE IDEA: Turn studio newsletter’s into a blog posts and use Mail Chimp to send it out automatically. Oh Yeah, we`re done here.

Well not quite. You probably wonder what makes good blog newsletter  content. Here`s some ideas…

  • Show images of your studio, people love to see artist studios.
  • Document the stages of your work. This could also be turned into a how to article.
  • Take pictures and write about  your visit to a local art show.
  • The opening of your show (see here’s how to use your blog for exhibition history), or an artist you admire.
  • Your fav art reading list.
  • Interview an artist you admire.
  • Take pictures of crating and shipping your work.
  • Ask collectors for images of your work in their home or office.
  • Ask for testimonials if you do commissions.

There’s so much you can write about that will let people into your mysterious life of an artist.  You don’t have to do both a newsletter and a blog. Make art blogging easy by combining the two tasks into one.

What do you think, will you turn your newsletter into blog posts? Any other content ideas you wish to add?

Reasons to write blog excerpts

When you write blog excerpts you provide your readers a straight to the point summary and a reason to click-through to read the full post.

1. Write Blog Excerpts So They Appear On Archives

If your WordPress theme is set up to use excerpts you can craft a few sentences that will provide readers a snippet of what the post is about.

The problem with having a theme setup to use excerpts but then not write one, is that all the paragraphs run together when the excerpt is displayed. That’s because WordPress will grab the first 240 characters or so from your blog post and use it as an excerpt if none is available.

  • excerpts appear in category archives and search results
  • write blog excerpts to influence your readers to click-through
  • make searching and scanning easier for readers

Below is an example from this blog where I have used some HTML to format the excerpt and provide a to the point summary on what the post is about.

excerpt
In this example I used HTML in my excerpt to create paragraphs and line breaks

2. A well crafted excerpt can also be your meta description

An excerpt can be longer than a meta description so be careful what you write. The first 140 characters is all that will show in search engine results, making your first sentence the most important.

Where to write blog excerpts

excerpt-dialogue-box

To add an excerpt use the “Excerpt” dialogue box under the editor in WordPress. A sentence or two is fine and you can use HTML in the excerpt to make it readable.

The difference between a Meta Description and an Excerpt

If you write a meta description it will become the excerpt when sharing on Facebook or LinkedIn, not your excerpt. If you don’t write a meta description or an excerpt the first few sentences from the post are used and it all runs together with no styling.

excerpt-applied
Excerpt and meta description from my Open Book series page as it appears when shared on Facebook

The excerpt will appear with a thumbnail image along with the title and a link to the rest of the article.

It is good practice to write blog excerpts, it will help you focus and stay on topic when writing the full post. An excerpt can be used as the basis to write a meta description and will help your readers find what they are looking for faster. For these reasons what you write for your excerpt is important.

How to use Excerpts and Read More Tags

There are two ways to create summaries of blog posts; excerpts and read more tags. The results are quite different depending on the styling and coding of your WordPress theme. In this article I show visual examples of both and explain how to use Excerpts and Read More Tags

How the Read More Tag works

The Read More tag is added to the content at a place of your choosing. The tag is added in the visual editor of WordPress.

read-more-tag

Simply place your mouse cursor where you want the tag to appear and click the icon shown in the image above. Once inserted into the content it looks like the image below.

more-tag
Once inserted on the page it looks like this

Once the tag has been inserted it appears similar to the image below on the live site. When clicked the link takes the reader to the rest of the article.

read-more-tag
More tag linked to the rest of the article on the live site

What I like about the read more tag is that it maintains the post formatting, showing the full size feature image, the meta data and comment links at the bottom of the post.

The Read More tag is useful if you have long articles and your reading settings are set to show a number of posts on a page. This reduces the amount of scrolling and exposes your readers to more of your posts.

When using the read more tag it is important that the first few sentences provide the essence of the article because this will be what influences your readers to click-through.

How Excerpts Work

When you write blog excerpts for your posts you are providing your readers a teaser. These words can be quite different from the open sentences of the post.

If your WordPress theme is coded to use excerpts you can craft an excerpt otherwise use the Read More Tag as explained above.

The excerpt is a content summary, use this opportunity to influence your readers and give them a reason to click-through and read the entire article.

excerpt
Custom crafted excerpt

The excerpt will appear with a thumbnail rather than the full size image, along with the title and a link to the rest of the article, as shown in the image above.

Under the editor you’ll find the “excerpt” dialogue box. Write your excerpt here. You can use HTML to provide some styling to your excerpt.

excerpt-dialogue-box
The excerpt dialogue box is under the visual editor

Either way you chose to summarize your blog posts the important thing to remember is that it’s the opening sentence for the read more tag and the excerpt itself that are MOST IMPORTANT words. Chose your words wisely and you will have also created a meta description for search engines.

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Schedule WordPress Posts to Auto Publish

One of the keys to a successful blog is consistency. If you’re anything like me you produce a number of articles in one sitting (or two). Well you can’t publish them all at once but you can schedule WordPress posts to auto publish.

Reasons why you may want to schedule your posts to publish automatically on the dates and times you choose.

1. You’re going on vacation.
2. You much rather be in your studio knowing your blog is taken care of (to a point, see below).
3. An unforeseen event happens and you forgot to publish your post but your email was scheduled and now your link to the post is broken.

Here is how to schedule WordPress posts to auto publish in 3 easy steps.

Schedule WordPress Posts to Auto Publish

1. While your post is in “draft” stage and before you actually click the big blue publish button, click the edit link next to the “publish immediately” text. The schedule form will appear.

2. Select a month from the drop down menu and then enter your date and time, even the year. The time is in the 24 hour military clock. For example, if you want to publish at 7:00 in the evening you enter 19:00.

3. Click the Schedule button and you’re done.

Now that you have scheduled your WordPress posts to auto publish don’t forget that you still have to check in and reply to comments. 

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Blogging Terms

Blogging Terms and Definitions

In a recent article “Website Terms” I explained common terms used when working on your site.  In this article I explain the blogging terms you should know if you are using a blog on your website. I have tried to keep it simple providing definitions for the most common terms and things you may ask about.

1. Avatar

An avatar is a graphic image or picture that represents a user. You typically see it next to their comment on a blog. Look at any comments on this site and you will see avatars. If someone has not created their global avatar (see #13 Gravatar below) a generic one will be created for them. Avatars can be enabled or disabled under Settings/Discussion.

2. Archive

A collection of all your posts on one page. Can be categorized by month, year, etc and can include post counts. As your blog grows you may want to use archives in your sidebar.

3. Blog

blog, or weblog, is an online journal, diary, or serial published by a person or group of people. Blogs are dynamic and built-in chronological order typically with the newest content at the top of the page.

Blogging is the act of writing in one’s blog. To blog something is to write about something in one’s blog. This sometimes involves linking to something the author finds interesting on the internet.

4. Blogroll

blogroll is a list of links to various blogs or web sites. You can create categories for your links thus organizing them and insert them into your sidebar using the widget.

5. CAPTCHA

CAPTCHA – short for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”. Those word and letter verification images you need to type in to show you are human and not a bot. Helpful to block automated spam comments. You can use a plugin on your comment form to add CAPTCHA.

6. Category

Each post in WordPress is filed under a category. Thoughtful categorization allows posts to be grouped with others of similar content and aids in the navigation of a site. Please note, the post category should not be confused with the Link Categories used to classify and manage Links. Think of categories as your table of contents or navigation for your blog.

7. Comments

Comments are a feature of blogs which allow readers to respond to posts. Typically readers simply provide their own thoughts regarding the content of the post, but users may also provide links to other resources, generate discussion, or simply compliment the author for a well-written post.

You can control and regulate comments by filters for language and content. Comments can be queued for approval before they are visible on the web site. This is useful in dealing with comment spam.

8. Content

Content consists of text, images, or other information shared in posts or pages. This is separate from the structural design of a website, which provides a framework into which the content is inserted, and the presentation of a site, which involves graphic design. A Content Management System changes and updates content, rather than the structural or graphic design of a web site.

9. Content Management System

Content Management System, or CMS, is software for facilitating the maintenance of content, but not design, on a web site. WordPress is an example of a Content Management System.

10. Draft

The draft post status is for WordPress posts which are saved, but as yet unpublished. A draft post can only be edited through the Administration Panel. Drafts can be created in both posts and pages.

11. Feed

feed is a function of special software that allows “Feedreaders” to access a site automatically looking for new content and then posting the information about new content and updates to the feed reader. This provides a way for users to keep up with the latest and hottest information posted on different blogging sites. Some Feeds include RSS (alternately defined as “Rich Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication”), Atom or RDF files.

12. Gallery

In the WordPress uploader there is a “Gallery” tab that shows all the uploads attached to the post you are editing. When you have more than one attachment in a post, you should see at the bottom of the Gallery tab a button marked “Insert gallery into post”. That button inserts a shortcode into the post. WordPress replaces that shortcode with an exposition of all images attached to that post. Non-image file types are excluded from the gallery.

Note: If you don’t see the “Insert galley into post” button, it may be because you have not attached two images to the post.

13. Gravatar

Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar (a graphic image or picture that represents a user). Typically a user’s gravatar is associated with their email address, and using a service such as Gravatar.com, a blog owner to can configure their blog so that a user’s gravatar is displayed along with their comments.

14. Meta

Meta has several meanings, but generally means information about.

Meta is the HTML tag used to describe and define a web page to the outside world (search engines). But it also refers to information associated with each post, such as the author’s name and the date posted.

15. Page

Page is often used to present “static” information about yourself or your site. A good example of a Page is information you would place on an About Page. A Page should not be confused with the time-oriented objects called posts. Pages are typically “timeless” in nature and live “outside” your blog.

16. Permalink

permalink is a URL at which a resource or article will be permanently stored. Many pages driven by Content Management Systems contain excerpts of content which is frequently rotated, making linking to bits of information within them a game of chance. Permalinks allow users to bookmark full articles at a URL they know will never change, and will always present the same content.

Permalinks are optional in WordPress, but are highly recommended as they greatly increase the cleanliness of URL. (All sites created by Artbiz implements the Permalink structure.)

17. Pingback

Pingback lets you notify the author of an article if you link to his article (article on a blog, of course). If the links you include in an article you write on a blog lead to a blog which is pingback enabled, then the author of that blog gets a notification in the form of a pingback that you linked to his article.

18. Post

A post sometimes referred to as an Entry consists of individual articles that make up a blog. Blogs run in chronological order with the newest post at the top.

19. RSS

Really Simple Syndication“: a format for syndicating many types of content, including blog entries. An RSS feed can contain a summary of content or the full text, and makes it easier for people to keep up to date with sites they like in an automated manner (much like e-mail).

The content of the feed can be read by using software called an RSS or Feed reader. Feed readers display hyperlinks, and include other metadata (information about information) that helps you decide whether they want to read more, follow a link, or move on.

The original intent of RSS is to make information come to you (via the feed reader) instead of you going out to look for it (via the Web).

20. Sidebar

The sidebar, sometimes called the menu, is a narrow vertical column often jam-packed with lots of information about a website. Found on most WordPress sites, the sidebar is usually placed on the right or left-hand side of the web page, though in some cases, a site will feature two sidebars, one on each side of the main content where your posts are found. A sidebar is also referred to as a Theme Template file and is typically called sidebar.php.

21. Slug

slug is a few words that describe a post or a page. Slugs are usually a URL friendly version of the post title (which has been automatically generated by WordPress), but a slug can be anything you like. Slugs are meant to be used with permalinks as they help describe what the content at the URL. If you article has a very long name use a Slug to make it shorter but meaningful.

22. Tag

A tag is a keyword which describes all or part of a Post. Think of it like a Category, but smaller in scope. A post may have several tags, many of which relate to it only peripherally. Like Categories, Tags are usually linked to a page which shows all posts having the same tag.

Tags can also be displayed in “clouds” which show large numbers of Tags in various sizes, colors, etc. This allows for a sort of total perspective on the blog, allowing people to see the sort of things your blog is about most.

Many people confuse Tags and Categories, but the difference is easy: Categories generally don’t change often, while your Tags usually change with every Post. Think of tags as the index of a book and categories as the table of contents.

23. Tagline

A tagline is a catchy phrase that describes the character or the attributes of the blog in a brief, concise manner. Think of it as the slogan, or catch line for a weblog.

24. Theme

A theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog. A theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software. Essentially, the WordPress theme system is a way to skin your website.

25. Trackback

Trackback helps you to notify another author that you wrote something related to what he had written on his blog, even if you don’t have an explicit link to his article. This improves the chances of the other author sitting up and noticing that you gave him credit for something, or that you improved upon something he wrote, or something similar. With pingback and trackback, blogs are interconnected. Think of them as the equivalents of acknowledgements and references at the end of an academic paper, or a chapter in a textbook.

Other Sources for Blogging Terms:

WordPress Glossary