ThemeLab » WordPress Plugins http://www.themelab.com We build High Quality, Good Looking Premium WordPress Themes that are Easy to Use and ready for just about anything. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:40:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast – Video Review http://www.themelab.com/wordpress-seo-plugin-review/ http://www.themelab.com/wordpress-seo-plugin-review/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.themelab.com/?p=2493 Yoast, who you might know from the SEO community or from the various WordPress plugins he’s developed, has now created a WordPress SEO plugin. I recently had the chance to try it out. You can follow along in my video screencast below, as well as further thoughts later in the post. A true “all-in-one” solution?

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Yoast, who you might know from the SEO community or from the various WordPress plugins he’s developed, has now created a WordPress SEO plugin.

I recently had the chance to try it out. You can follow along in my video screencast below, as well as further thoughts later in the post.

A true “all-in-one” solution?

Currently on Theme Lab, I use a few different SEO plugins including All-In-One SEO Pack, XML Sitemaps, RSS Footers (also by Yoast). I’ve also used plugins like Yoast Breadcrumbs on other sites.

Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin combines all of these features into a single plugin making it much more of an all-in-one solution than other SEO plugins available on the market today.

It even has features like cleaning up the <head> portion of a document (which I went over in the video). I went over how to remove this code manually in a previous tutorial: Remove Unnecessary Code from wp_head

Best of all, you can import and export all of your settings which can be transferred to other sites easily. With plugins like SEO Data Transporter from StudioPress, you can import SEO settings from pretty much every popular SEO plugin or theme framework to be compatible with Yoast’s WordPress SEO.

Conclusion

I’d recommend WordPress SEO by Yoast as a must have plugin. On more recent site developments, I’ve tried to stop using as many plugins which included cutting out plugins like All-In-One SEO Pack in favor of storing meta tags and custom titles hard coded into custom fields.

With all of the WordPress SEO plugin’s useful features covering many aspects of SEO, you really can’t afford not to use it. I plan on switching to the WordPress SEO plugin on Theme Lab in the future.

What do you think of the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast? If you currently use another SEO plugin or theme framework, would you consider switching?

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Want More Retweets? Use the Official Tweet Button http://www.themelab.com/use-the-official-tweet-button/ http://www.themelab.com/use-the-official-tweet-button/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.themelab.com/?p=2363 A little over a month ago, I recommended to use the TweetMeme WordPress plugin to get more retweets on your posts. A few days ago, Twitter announced their own button for retweeting. Several methods of integrating the official Tweet button in your WordPress sites have already emerged. WordPress Plugins The first Twitter button WordPress plugin

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A little over a month ago, I recommended to use the TweetMeme WordPress plugin to get more retweets on your posts.

A few days ago, Twitter announced their own button for retweeting. Several methods of integrating the official Tweet button in your WordPress sites have already emerged.

WordPress Plugins

The first Twitter button WordPress plugin I came across was from Blogsessive.

Twitter button WordPress plugin

As you can see from the screenshot above, the options integrate all of the options you’d expect from a Twitter button WordPress plugin, with no extraneous features. You can download it from the post linked to above.

After this a few others popped up on the WordPress.org plugin directory:

The Manual Way

Twitter has provided a number of ways to include the Tweet button on your own pages. The most straightforward option is through this customizable form where you can define the type of button, a custom URL, the tweet text, language, and recommended Twitter users.

Let’s take a look at the code that is produced after I input a few sample values.

<a href="http://twitter.com/share" class="twitter-share-button"
data-url="http://example.com/permalink-url/"
data-text="Title of page goes here"
data-count="vertical"
data-via="themelab"
data-related="lelandf:My personal account">Tweet</a>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script>

Let’s go through this line by line.

  • First Line: Basically just opens the link and adds a CSS class.
  • Second line: data-url is used to input a link, probably the permalink of your post.
  • Third line: data-text is used for the tweet text, probably the title of your post.
  • Fourth line: data-count is used to define which type of button: vertical, horizontal, or none
  • Fifth line: data-via is used in the @mention in the tweet, probably your own Twitter account.
  • Sixth line: data-related allows you to define another Twitter account with a custom description.
  • Last line: Basically just closes the link and adds an obligatory line of javascript.

I’d recommend playing around with the button code generator to get a better feel of all the different options.

Inserting into WordPress

Let’s revisit the above code and insert some dynamic WordPress template tags into it for the permalink and title.

<a href="http://twitter.com/share" class="twitter-share-button"
data-url="<?php the_permalink(); ?>"
data-text="<?php the_title_attribute(); ?>"
data-count="vertical"
data-via="themelab"
data-related="lelandf:My personal account">Tweet</a>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script>

This code can be inserted into pretty much any template file you want, including index.php for the main index, single.php for individual blog posts, page.php for static pages, and more.

For styling purposes, you’ll probably want to place the code above <?php the_content(); ?> and use something like the following CSS code to style it.

.twitter-share-button { float: right; margin-left: 10px; display: inline-block; }

More Advanced Usage

For more advanced usage of the Twitter button, have a look at this page on the Twitter developers site. Twitter actually allows you to “build your own Tweet button” (see the bottom of the page) which makes it a lot more customizable than the TweetMeme button.

Conclusion

For some more information on the tweet button, there is a good article entitled 7 Reasons Not to Use the New Tweet Button by Andy Beard. In the comments, a Twitter developer responds to the reasons.

You’ll also noticed I have not myself switched to the official Twitter button and am still using the TweetMeme button. The reason why I haven’t switched is because I don’t see any pressing need to switch to the official version yet, the TweetMeme still works fine.

If you’ve noticed on Twitter, I have been tweeting a lot about the tweet button. After tweeting the link to this post about getting more retweets with the official Twitter tweet button, that will probably be my last tweet on the tweet matter.

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Want More Retweets? Use the TweetMeme WordPress Plugin http://www.themelab.com/tweetmeme-wordpress-plugin/ http://www.themelab.com/tweetmeme-wordpress-plugin/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.themelab.com/?p=2195 I installed the TweetMeme WordPress plugin the other day, and I’m pleased with the results. Not only was it really easy to install and configure, but I’ve noticed several people actually using the button to retweet my posts. You can see it in action in the top right corner of this post. In this WordPress

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tweetmeme-logoI installed the TweetMeme WordPress plugin the other day, and I’m pleased with the results.

Not only was it really easy to install and configure, but I’ve noticed several people actually using the button to retweet my posts. You can see it in action in the top right corner of this post.

In this WordPress plugin review, I’ll go over installing the TweetMeme plugin and give an overview of the options. And there’s a screencast too! All after the jump.

How to Install TweetMeme for WordPress

You can install TweetMeme for WordPress just like any other plugin. Also since it’s available in the WordPress.org plugin repository, you have the option of installing it automatically via your WordPress admin panel.

After installing and activating, you should see a new “TweetMeme” menu in the sidebar of your WordPress dashboard. The settings page should look something like this.

tweetmeme settings

TweetMeme Plugin Settings

Check out the screencast below.

  • Display: I set all of these except on pages, since I really don’t see a need to have a retweet button on my pages (like Contact, About, etc.).
  • Position: For both normal and RSS position, I have it set to display before. This basically places the button at the top of the post where most people will see it.
  • Styling: I use float: right; margin-left: 10px; to display it on the right side of my posts. The opposite would be float: left; margin-right: 10px;
  • Type: I use the normal-sized widget, mostly because I think the compact one is too small.
  • Source: Set this to your own Twitter account. Mine is @themelab if you didn’t already know.

Everything else is pretty much up to your preferences, like your URL shortener of choice (mine is bit.ly).

Advanced TweetMeme Plugin Usage

If you want to manually place the TweetMeme button in your theme, you have to first select “Manual” under the display settings so it doesn’t automatically display anywhere. Then insert the following code within the loop.

<?php if (function_exists('tweetmeme')) echo tweetmeme();?>

Remember the function_exists part is so there’s no fatal error in the event that the TweetMeme plugin is disabled for whatever reason.

Conclusion

If you want more retweets, you have to make it easy for your visitors to do so. The TweetMeme button a recognizable way to encourage this. I wish I set it up a lot earlier since I’m already noticing an increase in my retweets all thanks to this simple button.

By the way, something big is happening in three days. Long time followers of the blog might have a slight idea of what might be going on.

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BackupBuddy WordPress Plugin – Video Review + Giveaway! http://www.themelab.com/backupbuddy-wordpress-plugin-video-review-giveaway/ http://www.themelab.com/backupbuddy-wordpress-plugin-video-review-giveaway/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.themelab.com/?p=1671 A new premium WordPress plugin store launched the other day called PluginBuddy, the same people behind iThemes. Their latest plugin is called BackupBuddy which describes itself as an “all-in-one solution for backups, restoration, and migration”. You can check out my quick video tour below where I go through all the menus and take a (surprisingly)

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A new premium WordPress plugin store launched the other day called PluginBuddy, the same people behind iThemes. Their latest plugin is called BackupBuddy which describes itself as an “all-in-one solution for backups, restoration, and migration”.

You can check out my quick video tour below where I go through all the menus and take a (surprisingly) quick database backup of Theme Lab.

Features

  • Backs up your entire WordPress install (including all files) or just the database
  • Use the restore feature to quickly reinstall a previously made backup
  • Migrate a full WordPress site to a new web host
  • Backup scheduling, includes email and FTP options

The Giveaway + How to Enter

Cory Miller of PluginBuddy was kind enough to donate one single use license ($25 value) and one developer license ($150 value) for a couple of lucky Theme Lab readers.

To enter, we’ll use similar rules to our last giveaway.

  • Tweet a link back to this post saying you just entered the contest to win a BackupBuddy license, along with @themelab (my Twitter username). If you need a short URL, use this: http://www.themelab.com/1671. For example: I just entered a contest at @themelab to win a copy of the BackupBuddy plugin – http://www.themelab.com/1671
  • Post a comment here with the permalink of the tweet you just made. It should be in a similar format to this: http://twitter.com/themelab/status/10079435298
  • That’s it!

Please, only one entry per person. If I catch you trying to cheat, you’ll be disqualified.

On Saturday, March 13, 2010 at 12:00 PM EST this content will be closed to new entries, and I’ll pick two winners at random.

You’ll be contacted through the e-mail address you leave in your comment, so please leave a valid email address, otherwise I’ll have to bother you on Twitter.

Conclusion

You should already know the importance of backing up your WordPress site, and while there are other free backup plugins on the market, nothing quite comes close to this one, plus it’s actively developed and supported.

If you’re not feeling lucky, you can go ahead and purchase BackupBuddy now. Otherwise, go ahead and make your tweet, and enter the contest below. Please only comment unless you’re entering the contest. Good luck!

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Spectacu.la Releases Threaded Comments Plugin http://www.themelab.com/spectacu-la-releases-threaded-comments-plugin/ http://www.themelab.com/spectacu-la-releases-threaded-comments-plugin/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.themelab.com/?p=1242 Spectacu.la, a WordPress theme club, has just announced the release of their free threaded comments plugin for WordPress. Basically what this plugin does is replace your theme’s comments template with a new one, generated by the plugin. In addition to that, you also get pagination and jQuery based roll up of subordinate comments. For those

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Spectacu.la, a WordPress theme club, has just announced the release of their free threaded comments plugin for WordPress. Basically what this plugin does is replace your theme’s comments template with a new one, generated by the plugin.

In addition to that, you also get pagination and jQuery based roll up of subordinate comments. For those who remember the old Theme Lab which used Brian’s Threaded Comments plugin, it’s kind of like that, except neater.

The plugin should work on almost any theme, even if it normally doesn’t support threaded comments, provided it uses the comments_template() call.

spectacu.la threaded comments

Pictured above is the light and dark styles of the comments which are included in the plugin. Read on to check out my screencast which demonstrates these two styles on a really old theme that wasn’t originally designed to support threaded comments.

This can be useful to to theme developers who would rather make use of this comments template instead of designing their own, or at least use their own styles to sculpt the comments form to their liking with the built-in comment stylesheets disabled.

Let me know what you think of this plugin in the comments. Would you consider using this plugin on your sites? Here’s the link again.

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To WordPress Plugin Authors – Add Changelogs http://www.themelab.com/to-wordpress-plugin-authors-add-changelogs/ http://www.themelab.com/to-wordpress-plugin-authors-add-changelogs/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.themelab.com/?p=818 The lack of changelogs in a lot of WordPress plugins is something that’s bothered me for a while, and I wasn’t the only one. I’m very wary of upgrading plugins, and when I see that a plugin needs to be upgraded in my WordPress dashboard, I’d like to know exactly what’s being changed. It might

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The lack of changelogs in a lot of WordPress plugins is something that’s bothered me for a while, and I wasn’t the only one. I’m very wary of upgrading plugins, and when I see that a plugin needs to be upgraded in my WordPress dashboard, I’d like to know exactly what’s being changed. It might be a major security fix, it might be a minor bug, it might not be a necessary update at all. Changelogs give this information to end users about changes from version to version.

Well, there’s some good news for all of you who like to check out the changelogs before upgrading plugins, but it’ll require some action on behalf of the plugin authors. There is now a standardized way of adding changelog information to the plugin’s readme.txt file. To plugin authors wondering how to do this, read this post on Peter Westwood’s blog. This information will then be displayed on a dedicated “Changelog” tab on the plugin’s page on the WordPress.org plugin repository.

I know themes aren’t usually updated as often as plugins are, but I’m wondering if it would be difficult to implement something similar for WordPress themes hosted in the official theme directory. Anyone have any thoughts about changelogs for themes too?

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Wrongfully Flagged As Spam By Akismet? http://www.themelab.com/wrongfully-flagged-as-spam-by-akismet/ http://www.themelab.com/wrongfully-flagged-as-spam-by-akismet/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.themelab.com/?p=653 For the past few days I’ve had some real trouble trying to comment on other blogs. I would make a comment, and it would seem like nothing happened. No “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” message would show up. Same story even with blogs I’ve had previously approved comments on. I started to suspect that for

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For the past few days I’ve had some real trouble trying to comment on other blogs. I would make a comment, and it would seem like nothing happened. No “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” message would show up. Same story even with blogs I’ve had previously approved comments on.

I started to suspect that for some reason my comments weren’t getting through because I was being flagged by Akismet’s spam filter. I confirmed this suspicion this morning when I left a comment on a friend’s blog, and they informed me that I was indeed getting flagged by Akismet.

Remember, Akismet is used on thousands upon thousands of blogs to stop comment spam. Every time I would make a comment, it would be relegated “Akismet Spam” page. People don’t check this page as frequently as their non-spam comments. Although some may check it from time to time for the occasional false positive.

No, I didn’t overreact and start drafting some massive “Why you shouldn’t use Akismet” blog post. I simply posted this tweet and just a couple hours later, I received this response from Mark Riley of Automattic. This totally caught me by surprise, as I was definitely not expecting this issue to be resolved by a quick tweet.

So why was I marked as spam in the first place? I have no clue, other than the fact it had something to do with my URL (http://www.themelab.com). I’m just glad it could be resolved so quickly. Thanks Akismet!

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How To Add PollDaddy Polls On WordPress Blogs http://www.themelab.com/how-to-add-polldaddy-polls-on-wordpress-blogs/ http://www.themelab.com/how-to-add-polldaddy-polls-on-wordpress-blogs/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.themelab.com/?p=644 It’s been a long time since I’ve written a tutorial here. I thought with Automattic’s acquisition of PollDaddy, this would be a good opportunity to write one about adding polls to your self-hosted WordPress blogs, more specifically – PollDaddy polls. In this tutorial I’ll go over: Installing the PollDaddy plugin Signing up to PollDaddy (if

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It’s been a long time since I’ve written a tutorial here. I thought with Automattic’s acquisition of PollDaddy, this would be a good opportunity to write one about adding polls to your self-hosted WordPress blogs, more specifically – PollDaddy polls. In this tutorial I’ll go over:

  • Installing the PollDaddy plugin
  • Signing up to PollDaddy (if you don’t already have an account)
  • Creating and managing polls from within your WordPress admin panel
  • Inserting the polls you create into your WordPress posts and pages

And now onto the tutorial…

The Plugin

You can grab this plugin from this page over at WordPress.org. After installing the plugin, you’ll notice a prompt to input your PollDaddy account details.

Signing Up

If you don’t have a PollDaddy account already, not to worry! I’ll walk you through it. You can sign up for a free account here.

PollDaddy Free

Fill in your name, e-mail address, and password choice, and you’re all set.

Configuring the Plugin

After this, you’ll need to go back to your WordPress admin panel and type in the login details you just created. Upon revisiting the PollDaddy admin page, you’ll see a new screen to create and manage your polls.

PollDaddy Admin

I’m not sure what that warning message means, but I’ll just ignore it and see if the polls work anyway. Seems some others are having the same problem as well.

Creating Polls

Click the “Add New” link to set up your poll. There’s an input box for the poll question, as well as three answers. You can click the “Add Another” button for more answer choices. You can also set up multiple choice polls, randomize the answer order, and allow other answers.

PollDaddy Create Poll

I’ll choose the “Simple White” design and leave the default settings for results and repeat voters.

After clicking the “Add Poll” button, I was greeted with a page with two warning messages on it. After re-logging in to the admin panel (somehow I was logged out) and visited the Polls page, it seems the poll I created was indeed successful.

Inserting Polls

The next step is to go write a post, and click the orange button thingy next to Add Media. You should see a screen like this with your newly created poll.

PollDaddy Send to Editor

Again, the same warning message pops up. I’ll try my best to ignore those since they seem not to make a difference with the actual workings of the plugin. After sending the poll to the editor, WordPress will generate a shortcode to place in your post.

Help Me! It doesn’t work!

After saving/publishing, you’ll notice the actual poll doesn’t display in your post, just the unparsed shortcode. To correct this, you’ll need to install another plugin from PollDaddy. You can get it here. I grabbed the one for version 2.5 and above.

I’m not sure why this plugin isn’t even mentioned at all on the first plugin’s page. I had to check this support thread to find out why the polls weren’t displaying properly. Apparently the first plugin was just for creating/managing polls. This one is for having them display in your WordPress post.

All Done

That’s it. Here’s the poll I’ve just created in action.

PollDaddy Test

Pretty cool?

Conclusion

First of all, I’d like to congratulate Matt Mullenweg and Automattic on this awesome acquisition.

It’s a mystery to me why the plugin for creating/managing polls and the plugin for displaying polls are separate. Maybe someone can enlighten me. I personally think that these two plugins should be combined into one.

I think it’s also worth mentioning the self-hosted WP-Polls plugin by Lester Chan, if you’d rather not be dependent on a third-party service.

Hope you all liked the tutorial. Feel free to comment with your thoughts on the acquisition, the WordPress integration, and the tutorial. I’d love to hear them.

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WordPress Theme Authenticity Checker http://www.themelab.com/wordpress-theme-authenticity-checker/ http://www.themelab.com/wordpress-theme-authenticity-checker/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.themelab.com/?p=517 I just came across this excellent WordPress plugin, and thought I would share it with all of you. It’s called the Theme Authenticity Checker, or TAC for short. What this plugin does is scan for encrypted code and other suspicious looking material within a theme. If you have a theme with base64 encoding, for example,

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I just came across this excellent WordPress plugin, and thought I would share it with all of you. It’s called the Theme Authenticity Checker, or TAC for short. What this plugin does is scan for encrypted code and other suspicious looking material within a theme. If you have a theme with base64 encoding, for example, it will let you know which file in the theme contains the code. It will also list any external links within a theme and separate them by file.

Small Studio TAC

Once you’ve downloaded and installed the plugin, a new page in your Design menu will appear called “TAC.” I tested this plugin on the demo server, and let me tell you – this plugin loads surprisingly fast, even with all of the themes hosted on it. In case you were wondering, all the WordPress themes here got a big green Theme Ok! message.

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If A Commenter Does Not Have A Gravatar http://www.themelab.com/if-a-commenter-does-not-have-a-gravatar/ http://www.themelab.com/if-a-commenter-does-not-have-a-gravatar/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.themelab.com/?p=376 Let’s face it, not everyone who comments on your Gravatar-enabled blog has a Gravatar. Instead, commenters lacking their Gravatar are assigned a boring default icon. What if these commenters could have their own uniquely generated icon, that remained constant as long as their e-mail remained the same? That’s where these WordPress plugins come into play:

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Let’s face it, not everyone who comments on your Gravatar-enabled blog has a Gravatar.

Instead, commenters lacking their Gravatar are assigned a boring default icon.

What if these commenters could have their own uniquely generated icon, that remained constant as long as their e-mail remained the same?

That’s where these WordPress plugins come into play:

  • Wavatars
  • WP_MonsterID
  • WP_Identicon

Each of these plugins will provide your Gravatarless readers with their own custom made avatar. Read on to learn how to use them…

Wavatars

This is the first Gravatar-replacement plugin is the Wavatars plugin. What this will do is assign a colorful face to those users without Gravatars. It’s based on an e-mail address, so as long as the user uses the same e-mail, they’ll have the same icon attached to it.

Wavatars

You can get the plugin at WordPress.org.

WP_MonsterID

MonsterID

Similar to the above plugin, except WP_MonsterID will generate monster-like characters for your Gravatarless users. I currently have them in action on the comments section of Theme Lab, so if you don’t have a Gravatar, you’re assigned a MonsterID. Another similarity with Wavatars, is that WP_MonsterID icons are based of the user’s e-mail address.

You can get the plugin here. After installing the plugin, make sure to select the Gravatar + MonsterID option under Gravatar Support to have MonsterID as your fallback to a Gravatar.

WP_Identicon

Identicon

By the same author as WP_MonsterID, WP_Identicon will generate a pretty pattern-based icon in replacement of a Gravatar. You may recognize these from Matt Mullenweg’s blog.

Conclusion

If you’re tired of the default Gravatar image, luckily there’s a few choices available to you to provide your users a unique (temporary) Gravatar replacement solution. If you’re a blog author, make sure you add Gravatar support to WordPress comments – if not already present in your theme. If you’d like to make your own Gravatar, I suggest you read this article and scroll to the “How Do I Make My Avatar/Gravatar?” section.

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