WordPress QuickStart Q & A

Post your questions about our WordPress 2: Visual QuickStart Guide here.

Have a question about something in WordPress 2: Visual QuickStart Guide? Here’s how to get the answer:

  1. Browse through the comments at the end of this article to see if someone else has already asked your question. You might get the answer without even asking!
  2. If your question is not asked (or answered), use the Leave a Comment form at the bottom of this post to enter your question. (If the form does not appear, click the Comment link below to display it.)
  3. Check in once in a while to see if your question is answered. I usually answer questions within 48 hours, unless I’m out of town. To have responses to your question delivered to you automatically by e-mail, along with other Q & A comments submitted for this book, turn on the Notify Me check box at the bottom of the form when submitting your question (step 2). You can unsubscribe to the notification feature at any time.

Please do not use the Contact form to ask me questions. I won’t answer them. I want the questions and answers here, where everyone can see them, so I don’t have to answer the same questions over and over again.

Remember, I can only answer questions that clarify or correct information in my books. If the answer to your question is in my book, I will provide a page number reference to help you find it.

October 27, 2011 Update: Due to the age of this title, it are no longer supported. Comments have been closed but remain in case you have a question that has already been answered here. I no longer provide support for my Lynda.com WordPress titles as those titles were turned over to another author.

33 thoughts on “WordPress QuickStart Q & A

  1. Hi Maria

    First of all, can I just say that I think your book, WordPress 2 Visual QuickStart Guide, is excellent.

    However, I don’t seem to be able to follow the instuctions on page 131, where you explain how to change the Default theme’s header image. The code that you show in figures 31 & 32 does not seem to be in the standard Default theme’s header.php file, so I get stuck at step 5 (because there is no line in the header.php file that begins with #headerimg).

    Do you or any of your readers have any ideas as to why this is?

    Many thanks and kind regards.

    Mike O’Hara

  2. I just checked what you said and you’re right! The current version of header.php in the Default theme IS different than the one we used when writing the book (possibly WordPress 2.0.1).

    The instructions in our book will NOT work as written for the Default theme as provided with WordPress 2.0.4 (and possibly one or two previous versions). Unfortunately, I don’t have time to come up with a new set of instructions today. I’ve uploaded the Default theme we used for the book to the book’s companion Web site (www.wpvqs.com) for you to work with until we come up with revised instructions.

    Thanks for reporting this problem. I just hope it’s the only one related to the Default theme.

  3. On Page 47 of WordPress Quickstart, Figure 27 shows the Insert/Edit Image Dialog. It shows vertical space and horizontal space fields. I have a server installed Word Press blog and when I click insert images my dialog box does NOT have and of those fields below ‘Alignment’. I cannot for the life of me find anything on the WordPress site or anywhere else showing the design in Figure 27. (I use a Firefox browser on an Intel iMac). I need it badly to create the separation between text and photos. How / where do I get that version. I am totally new to this and it is driving me nuts! Thanks so much. I love your book. Jim Siverts

  4. This is the version of the Insert Image dialog for a WordPress.com account. If you have a WordPress server installation, the dialog does not offer spacing or border options.

    The best way to add code for spacing or border options is to use the HTML editor. The resulting code could look something like this:

    <img src=”http://www.kbsz-am.com/images/kbszhat.jpg” alt=”Hat” title=”KBSZ Hat” align=”left” hspace=”8″ vspace=”5″ border=”1″ />

    Keep in mind that you can use the dialog you see to get the code started, then switch to the HTML editor to refine it as shown above.

    Good luck!

  5. I have just bought your book and I am trying to follow the steps on page 18 to modify Sidebar Widgets. The Sidebar Widgets button does not appear. I am using 2.0.4 installed on a server and the default theme 1.06. Could you point me in the right direction?


    Jon K

  6. The widgets feature is a WordPress.com feature — not a built-in WordPress server version feature. I don’t have the book in front of me, but I’m pretty sure that’s mentioned somewhere in or near that discussion.

    That said, I believe there is a plugin that will give you Widgets functionality in a server installation of WordPress. Try this link: http://automattic.com/code/widgets/

    Widgets were brand new when we wrote the book (the server version was only 2.0.2 at the time; they’re up to 2.0.5 as I write this) and the widgets plugin was not yet available for the server version, so our coverage is scant. This would make a good topic for a new article on our book support Web site; I’ll put it on my list of things to do.

    Sorry about the confusion. Good luck!

  7. Red eyed and 24 hours on the computer, I still can’t find the sidebar widget that is supposed to be in my dashboard>presentation>themes(page 18-19). Paid $26.00 for your book and it looks like I will still have to hire someone to develop my WordPress website. I guess if I don’t know PHP I should stay with Adobe GoLive and HTML. I should have believed the one star ratings on Amazon.

    Maybe firewood? Sorry, but I’m exhaused and frustrated.

  8. Jock,

    If you would have read all the Q & As — those messages right above yours? — you would have found the answer to your question. The Question is number 6; my answer is number 7.

    Remember, there’s WordPress.com sites and WordPress server installation sites. The book clearly distinguishes between the two.

    Also remember that WordPress is changing regularly — it’s constantly being updated and revised. Our book was written on the currently available version when the book went to press: 2.0.2. Version 2.0.5 is now available. Although with that numbering scheme there should only be a few changes, the folks at WordPress often make a lot of changes. For example, the Widget feature wasn’t available AT ALL when we began writing based on version 2.0.

    If you think you made a mistake trying WordPress because of your superior skills with Adobe GoLive and HTML, you’re right — you should have stuck with that. Having worked with HTML-based sites, however, and having a limited knowledge of PHP, I certainly don’t regret switching to WordPress. It’s a far superior solution, but it’s not the right answer for folks who aren’t willing to take the time to learn the basics needed to get started.


  9. Hi Mary,

    First, congratulations for your excellent book “WordPress2″.

    in my opinion, an important limitation of WordPress as a blogging tool is that you have to type the content of your posts. Is there an easy way to cut and paste text from your local files? Is it possible even if the blog is located at WordPress.com server?

    Thanks in advance

    Pablo from MAdrid (Spain)

  10. Now who told you that you couldn’t copy and paste?

    WordPress supports copy and paste, both in server installations and on WordPress.com. Give it a try!

  11. Hi Maria!

    Excellent book, bought in South Africa while on holiday. Started first with wordpress.com as a test, and then the day before WP2.1 came out, I installed and started my first WP blog.

    The books instructions were great… I have always been a fan of the VQS series, but yours (& Miraz) is one of the best! Thanks!

    As you say above, how is one to keep up to date? Yours seems to be the most up-to-date on the market, and there is nothing available in German… and the market is blooming.

    My question concerns inserting PHP coding, for various purposes… plug-ins, and probably widgets.

    Many add-ons require the installation of a file in the wp-content/plugins folder, activate the plugin, and then one is required to just “paste the following code/snippet” and the function will be activated.”

    Whenever I try to paste code into a Text Widget, or onto a Page, for expanded functionality, using the CODE section of the WYSIWYG entry, the code is always altered and tags are stripped.

    WHERE and HOW does one do this? I tried using Dreamweaver, but for that one has to know exavtly which .php file to edit, and much about syntax.

    What am I missing? I assume this is a result of the upgrade to WP2.1

    A dissection of templates & pHP for newbies would be a very useful Q&A addition to this site!

    Once again, thanks and congrats!

    Peter (in Munich)

  12. In answer to Pablo (#12)… you can also drop and drag (at least using a Mac) from external documents into WP, in your browser.

    I use Word.Xfor Mac, and can drag everything across to the input field.

    The problem to look out for is that Word generates much hidden garbage in its text-coding, and one often has to cleanup in the code view. It’s best to save your Text as a “.txt” file, and then drag and drop.



  13. Peter, I’m not quite clear on where you’re trying to paste in the code.

    For most plugins, the code that’s required to be pasted in should be pasted into a theme’s template or PHP file — not an entry or post content. The code I use to display the “print” link beneath each entry is pasted into my post.php file within The Loop. I do this by opening the file with a text editor, modifying the code, and saving it. This is all covered in Chapter 6, starting on page 125 of our book. The plugins chapter has further examples that show template files being modified for specific plugins. You might want to try a plugin like Event Calendar (pretty simple) or Customizable Post Listings (more advanced) to get a better idea of how to do this.

    If that’s what you’re doing already, then I’m not sure why it’s not working. Provide some more details, like step by step instructions for what you ARE doing.

    As for your response to Pablo’s comment (#12), you bring up a very good point. Word puts special characters like curly quotes and em-dashes into text. It’s always best to use a plain text editor when working with anything for the Internet. Appendix C of our book goes into some detail about a few popular text editors.

  14. Thanks Maria…

    that makes sense, but most often, the plugin developers assume that “we” all know which Template or PHP file one should insert the new code, and that we know exactly how. Only one in 10 thus far (in my experience) has been specific about which document and where to do this… Sometimes the code snippet specified also doesn’t contain tags etc. Hmm!

    I guess back to Chapter 6, and then write to the developers and ask for idiot-instructions?



  15. First off, I find your book, WordPress 2, to be very instuctional. Now my question is this: on page 44 and 45, you talk about a “Toggle spellchecker button” which you can access from your visual rich editor’s toolbar. Well, my web hosting provider – NETFIRMS- offers access to WordPress software. They tell me that they are offering 2.0 however, the visual rich editor’s toolbar does not include a Toggle spellchecker button. I’ve confirmed with them three times that the version they are running is infact wordpress 2.0.

    Oddly enough, i visted wordpress.org and others are encountering the exact same problem- no Toggle spellchecker button on the visual editor’s tool bar. So, what’s the problem? Please help.

  16. I don’t understand why you aren’t seeing this button. I double-checked this just today on a WordPress 2.1 server installation and the WordPress.com Web site. The button appears, just as it’s illustrated in our book.

    What Web browser are you using? Perhaps that’s the problem? I know that some older Web browsers don’t support the JavaScript that’s used to display the buttons properly. If you don’t have the most current version of whatever browser you’re using, try upgrading and taking another look. If that doesn’t help (or even if it does!) please let me know here. We’ll troubleshoot this together; perhaps another user checking in can shed some light on the problem, too.

  17. thank you for responding to my question regarding the “toggle spell checker button” you asked what browser I am using? Internet Explore. I uploaded Mozilla Firefox and the spell checker button still does not appear; however, Mozilla provides an interactive spell check. Solved.

    Could you explain the purpose of the page which appears immediately after you click – Submit Comment below, and is this something which is available on WordPress?

  18. I’m glad you solved your spelling checker problem, but it still doesn’t explain why I can see the button and you can’t. I wish I could duplicate the problem!

    As for what you saw when you clicked the Submit Comment button, I can only guess that it was a captcha. Did it display an image of characters and ask you to type them in a box? If so, that’s the captcha that’s part of SpamKarma 2. It doesn’t appear for me since Spam Karma “knows” me. The purpose of the feature is to prevent automated commenting software from successfully posting a spam comment on this site. Since it requires human intervention — someone to read the characters in the graphics — anyone able to complete the little puzzle is not likely to be a piece of software.

    If you’re talking about something else, please describe it. When I click Submit Comment, the comment is simply submitted, so I don’t see anything else here.

  19. Maria! Thanks for the follow up… have now started to figure this all out. Had to divert onto other products and now making progress in the templates.

    I know my next question is not 100% appropriate, but you being the WP Guru, maybe you can give me an opinion… I have been asked to set up a simple CMS site including shopping cart, special category pages plus some static pages. There is much hoo-ha as to whether one can/should use WP2.1 as a CMS, or rather use a CMS-specific application.

    I have tried a few systems with varying results, and am looking for something intuitive and relatively easy to install & configure. EG. tried TextPattern and was totally underwhelmed, and Joomla, but my host won’t unlock PHP Safe Mode so I can’t upload or customize templates. Hmm!

    Forgive the tangent!

    Many thanks


  20. I’ve used WordPress as a true CMS for my Flying M Air Web site (http://www.flyingmair.com/). I wrote about it in a long series of articles on this site; just use the search feature (top of sidebar) to search for CMS and you should find them.

    Unfortunately, I know nothing about shopping carts and rather like it that way. I have no idea if WordPress would support them or if a plugin or other “canned” solution is available to help out. You’re on your own there.

    I also have no experience with specific CMS software packages, so I don’t know what they could do for you and can’t advise you. Sorry!

    I know a little about a lot of things, a lot about a few things, and absolutely nothing about the rest. There’s only so much that can fit in my brain.

    Good luck! You have your work cut out for you.

  21. Maria!

    Great information, and lovely site (Flying M)!! I will check out the articles.

    I will keep you posted!



  22. Thank you for your WordPress guide. It was helpful for me as I am new to this blog technology. I had to install WordPress myself and configure it.

  23. Hi Maria,

    Thanks for your book, it was a great help in getting started with WordPress and setting up my greenpolitics.ca site.

    I’m not clear about how to use trackbacks as they are not clearly explained in the book.

    When I go to the Index it quotes the same pages references for trackbacks as for comments, but there is only scant mention of trackbacks on these pages.

    Where do I find and put a trackback link? Do I copy it from a blog I am reading and then paste it into my own blog?

    Or, if I am writing a post, do I put a trackback link at the bottom or top of the post? Can I do that with a WordPress php tag in the theme template for a post page?

    Do explain!

  24. Stuart, sorry we weren’t clearer. The truth of the matter is, you don’t need to include a trackback link in a post. Trackbacks have been pretty much replaced by pingbacks, which work automatically. When you write a post that includes a link to another post on your blog or another blog, a pingback is automatically sent to that other post as a comment. Ditto for other people linking to yours. There’s a really good tutorial about it here:


    Hope this helps!

  25. bought your wordpress 2 book trying to put a picture in the sidebar…. i have tried via the authour picture directions and webcam directions i get the x and it looks like its trying (storing image in images file on server)…. is there a specific way for still images …. and do they need to be turned down for size …. pixal and mb….????

  26. Johnny, I’m not sure what directions you’re referring to. Please give me a page reference so I can help you. Also, are you using WordPress.com or your own WordPress installation on a server? The instructions for modifying the sidebar do not work on WordPress.com blogs.

  27. The picture you want to use must be sized to fit where you want it to go. You can either size it in your image editing program or include height and width tags in the HTML you use to put it on your site.

    Make sure the image is on your server in the location you specified using the code on page 190 (for an author photo) or 198 (for a WebCam image or other image).

    If this doesn’t work, check your code. If you make a mistake by even one character, it won’t work.

    This code is correct as presented in the book. I use the Author image instructions and code on two of my WordPress-based blogs and the WebCam/image instructions on several blogs. If it’s not working for you, either you’ve got the wrong path to the image file or the wrong code.

    Good luck!

  28. Maria,

    I am using WordPress.com 2.7 and subscribe to Lynda.com and followed your tutorial. I am trying to add a link and it shows that the link was added but does not appear on my blog. I don’t know what I am doing wrong. My blog site is socalboxing.wordpress.com The link I am trying to add is http://standnfight.com/ I also tried http://www.standnfight.com/ but again it shows that it was added but does not appear on my blog. I didn’t see anyone asking this question here, so can you help me out?