WordPress Embeds – images and videos the natural way

Those of you who, like me, were using WordPress for a very long time, as well as those who got into WordPress recently, probably don’t know that WordPress can embed images and videos into posts and pages without using any plugins at all.  Even though there are plenty of plugins available (for example, Smart YouTube), you don’t always need them.

As per WordPress Embeds page, all you need to do is add URL to image or video in your post or page.  Just make sure that the URL stands on its own line and that it’s not linked.  Alternatively, you can use [embed] short code. WordPress supports quite a few popular sites – YouTube, Vimeo, Revision3, Flickr,  Google Video, and more.  The support is based on the oEmbed format.

Of course you’ll get more power with specialized plugins, but for many bloggers out there this built-in support will be more than enough.

WordPress galleries – an underutilized gold mine

I think that one of the most underutilized features of WordPress is the image gallery.  It was added recently and all the proper announcements were made, but I still see too many WordPress based sites working too hard to display a bunch of images in post or page.  If you never made an image gallery in WordPress, I suggest you try it.  Maybe you are spending too much time solving your problem using something else.

Trying out the gallery is very easy.  Just attach more than one image to the post, without actually inserting those images to the post, and you’ll see a gallery tab in your media popup.  It will look something like that:

You can  manage the images in the gallery, their order, sorting direction, the size of the thumbnails, number of columns in the gallery, cropping options, and more.  It’s a very balanced compromise between flexibility (make it look the way you want) and ease of use (no coding required – all in mouse clicks).

More so, you can use some shortcuts in your blog posts and pages to control the appearance of the gallery.  There is a Codex manual which documents all options and provides examples of use.  Awesome, isn’t it?

Building a classified ads directory with WordPress

When talking about what else WordPress could be used for except blogs, classified ads directories come up high on the list.  It’s one of those examples which illustrate the scenario nicely and doesn’t require a lot of work.

So, how can WordPress be used to build a classified ads directory?  Here is a list of a few ways you might go:

  1. Buy and install ClassiPress – a theme and plugin to do just that – build a classified ads directory.  This is probably the fastest, cheapest, and simplest option.  If you want one of those directories up and running within a few minutes, that’s the way to go.
  2. Install wp-classified plugin and tweak it until you are happy.  You’ll pay with your time, not your money.  And you won’t have to start from scratch.
  3. Build your own, from scratch.  This is suitable for those who want to have 100% understanding of how their directory works, and for those who want learn how WordPress can be customized beyond blogging.

In this post, I’ll focus only on the third option.

Continue reading Building a classified ads directory with WordPress

Custom uploads directory for WordPress uploads

Tip 0 in this list of tips for a fresh WordPress installation mentions how to configure a custom uploads directory.  By default, uploads go into wp-content/uploads/ folder, but you can easily change that in your administration.  The tip gives to benefits for moving your uploads somewhere else:

These are good, but I think there are more:

  • It’s easier to share the same uploads between several sites.  For example, if your site is multilingual and you use a separate WordPress installation for each language, then you can have a single uploads folder for all your translated sites. (However, there is still something that needs to be done with the database, so it has attachment data properly).
  • In case you move your uploads into a sub-domain, you can save bandwidth.  Caching can be improved, and you don’t need to send cookies any more.   Static content, such as images, CSS and JavaScript files, often don’t need any cookies passed in the request, but if your site is using cookies for some pages, often cookies will be sent for static data as well.  This advantage of course applies more to sites with a lot of traffic and static content.