Getting Started with the BlenzaPlus Linky Widget Plug-In for WordPress

Get In Touch

The first step may be to get in touch with Mister Linky. The best way to do this is using the Help Desk. Let us know your Mister Linky User ID and URL of your blog.

Note, use of the BlenzaPlus plug-in does require a Platinum Mister Linky membership, so beta testers will be given a free membership to try it out.

Widget Wizard

Once you're a platinum member, go to the widget wizard and use it as you normally would. Select WordPress (installed on your host) and the BlenzaPlus plug-in. And when you press the Generate button you'll be given the URL to download the plug-in and you'll also receive a registration key that's needed to activate it.

Download

Here's another link to the plug-in file. You'll download it from here and save it to your computer, but don't unzip it.

Install

Once you have the ZIP file, you can install it in WordPress.

  • Log into your WordPress dashboard as an administrator and click Plugins in the left-hand sidebar.
  • Next, click the Add New near the top of the screen and then click the Upload link that appears.
  • Finally you'll perform browser-specific magic to locate the plug-in zip file (such as a Choose File button) and press Install Now.
  • Once you've done this, you'll need to activate the plug-in before you can continue.

Activate and Configure

Once the plug-in is activated, a BlenzaPlus Configuration link will appear in the Plugins section of the WordPress sidebar. Click that link to reach the configuration page.

License and registration, please

Once you have read and accepted the license, a box will appear where you can enter the registration key you got from the Widget Wizard back on blenza.com -- don't worry if you've lost it, you can always go back and get that key.

Next you'll want to configure the look and feel of your widgets. Some of these options can be overridden for an individual post, but most of them will apply to all of the widgets in your blog. Here is a description of each...

"Should widget links open pages in a new window?"

If you answer Yes, a new browser window (or tab) will open whenever a visitor clicks one of the links in your widget. This is usually a good idea, because then your blog is still in its own window, so that when the visitor is done with that other site and they close that window, they'll still be visiting you.

"Should widget links use the NOFOLLOW attribute?"

There is a link where you can read more about this attribute, but it boils down to whether or not your visitors' links are counted by search engines or not. If you say Yes, your visitors' links will NOT be counted, which is bad news for spammers, who are trying to leave their links all over the place and boost their rankings.

"Set your widget color scheme, font/size, width, number of columns."

This is nearly self-explanatory. For color schemes, you have black-on-white or white-on-black to select from, or you can make your own by selecting Custom and clicking the colors you'd prefer (or typing them in using the #RRGGBB format). You also have two choices of fonts, which I've labeled plain and fancy, and you can also type in something else in the format that CSS is accustomed to. And then you get to pick the size of the font, the width of the widget box, and the number of columns. The preview will show you pretty much how it will look on the screen, so play around with the settings until you find something you like.

"Would you like a checkbox for adding links during commenting?"

This option lets you choose between the Name/Link form that many visitors are accustomed to, or the checkbox-style that some visitors find confusing. The checkbox has a twist to it, though. If a visitor tries to leave a comment without checking the box, they'll be reminded before it's too late. So given that little feature, you might find that you get less link-and-run behavior using the checkbox. But again, you have a choice of either style.

"Would you like an extra box for more information?"

This is something you might want to leave turned off for now and choose to turn it on for individual posts. But again, it's all up to you! When it's turned on, visitors can type whatever they want, whether that's a tip or a recipe or some other information. Use your imagination and have fun with this! One thing I'll point out now is that in general, only you, the administrator, get to see what each user has typed into the "extra" Box -- that is, unless you decide to share that, and that is settable on a post-by-post basis.

"Would you like a widget selector to appear in each post?"

This is one of those features I had to add, but even I don't know if I like it, and that's why you get to choose whether it's on or off. If you choose Yes, the red-dashed box will appear on the screen, but only you, the administrator, will be able to see it. You can use it to select, for any given post, whether there should be a widget and if so, which type of widget (or game or meme, for example) will be shown -- all without having to go to the post editor, where you can also set that up. I'd recommend trying it both ways and seeing which way you like better.

"Would you like the system to connect and validate to each visitor's link?"

When a visitor comments on your blog, they may or may not enter a link URL, and this doesn't even have anything to do with linky widgets. If they do enter a URL, the BlenzaPlus plug-in will make sure it's in the right format. In addition, if you choose Yes for this option, the system will try and connect to the URL, and reject the comment if a connection could not be made, informing the visitor of the error, which they can correct before their comment and link are posted.

If you choose Yes, there's another cool thing you can do, and that's validate the content behind each link to help you figure out who's a real participant and who's a spammer. It doesn't reject the comment right away, the way it would if the link was just broken, because that would be too obvious and the spammers would catch on too quickly. What it will do instead is alert you, the Blog Administrator, that a certain link didn't match the validator, and you can then find and delete it quickly.

Update

Well that's the configuraton page. Once you've made your selections, click the Update Configuration button to save the settings. Once you've made a change, a red link will appear in the lower-right corner to remind you to do that, and in fact, you can click that link instead of the button -- yes, very handy!

Test Post

Once you've configured the widget, it's time to put it into action. You might start with a test post. When you're on the post editor page, scroll down and you'll see a section for BlenzaPlus Linky Widget. There's a checkbox to turn the widget on or off for this post, and if you have the widget turned on, there are a bunch of options, some of which we've already talked about.

"Select a plain widget, one you created, or a new one"

This is like selecting a meme if you're familiar with Mister Linky's Original Auto-Linky (and other) widgets, only simpler! Each widget you define has a name and a description, so people know what your widget is for and what the rules are for participating.

Update: There's already something new and it's only Beta 2!! If you configured the plug-in to connect to visitors' links, the system will reject comments with links that are just plain broken. However, it can also validate the content behind the link and help you decide whether or not a link belongs to a legitimate participant. Here's how it works: Let's say you're creating a widget for Wordless Wednesday. If you want to make sure that each participating post contains the word "wordless" you'll simply create a validator that says "wordless". You could be more clever and design a regular expression that looks for a picture that has a title that includes the word "wordless" -- that's up to you! Keep in mind that the less that spammers know about this, the better, so it's best to avoid mentioning the validation process to your visitors. Just let them play along and enjoy a spam-free environment! ::knock on wood::



"When does this event start/end?"

This should be fairly self-explanatory, but let me mention a couple things: if the date turns red while you're typing, don't worry -- the system is trying to parse as you type. Another thing to bear in mind is the current time. You may live on the west coast but your server is in Texas -- all times are based on the server, so take a peek at what the plug-in says the time is, and you can adjust accordingly.

"Number of columns"

Just like the main plug-in configuration setting, only this overrides that one just for this post.

"Would you like an extra box for more information?"

Ditto, but with a twist. Here on the post editing page, you can add a brief description of what the visitor is expected to put in the "extra" Box. For example, you could say "enter your tip here." The other thing that's different on this screen is the "Share" Setting, where you can indicate whether visitors' "extra" Box inputs are shared or kept private, known only to you, and there is a reminder that if you've asked people to enter something private, that's something that should not be shared.

Save

Once you've made these post-specific widget settings, don't forget to scroll back up and save the post. The widget settings will be saved with it.

Live Widget

Now let's look at the live widget on a post -- you can try it out in a preview or private post, if you like!

The top image on the right is using the name/link form, the bottom one is using the checkbox.

Header

At the top of the widget, you'll see the name of the event, and below that, a link to see the description. Below that, if there is a starting or ending time, that will be displayed.

Entry Form

If you've chosen to use the entry form instead of the checkbox, that will appear next.

Links

Then there are the links, displayed in as many columns as you chose in the widget configuration or the post-specific settings.

Spam Reporting

Next there is a link for visitors to use if they notice an inappropriate link in the list. Once a visitor has reported a link in this way, you, the administrator, will see how many visitors reported the link. You can then either clear the report, if you disagree with the reports, or delete the link, if you find it to be a real problem.

Admistrative Options

Finally there is a set of administrative options that only you can see. This is where you display hidden "extra" box information and where you delete links that you decide don't belong in the list.

Widget Selector

Oh, and if you chose to display the red-dashed widget selector box, you'll see that right below the widget box in all its red-dashed glory.

Checkbox

And really finally, if you've chosen to use the checkbox instead of the name/link entry form, that will appear right above the reply/comment form.

Questions?

That's pretty much all there is to say about the BlenzaPlus Linky Widget Plug-In. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. The best way to ask a question or report a problem is to use the Help Desk.