How I Made PHPList Autoresponder Work In My Site

PHPList is a free autoresponder plugin for wordpress. It takes some tweaking to make it work though.

Being a newbie in the blogging world, I was not ready to invest hard-earned money on an Aweber autoresponder or other list-building autoresponder services that required monthly payments. I purchased a software called FreeAutoresponder Pro which only needed a one time payment. However, I believe it requires a lot of PHP know-how in order to make it work to my liking. So after trying for weeks to make it behave the way I want it, and failing, I decided to find some other tools that don’t entail a lot of expense. That’s when I found PHPList. It actually surprised me that it has always been there waiting for me because it is included in Fantastico. And most importantly, this autoresponder is FREE!.


The installation was a breeze because I did it through Fantastico in Lunarpages. I just accepted all the default values already in the boxes. I only needed to input some required fields like the install directory (which usually is ‘lists‘), the admin name and password you need to login to your PHPList account, etc.

After the installation, I logged in through http://mydomain.com/lists/admin/. The resulting page was very user friendly. PHPList by default only asks your subscribers for their email address. If you want to require their names, you need to create a Name Attribute. You do this by going to the PHPList main page and clicking on the ‘attributes‘ link under the ‘Configuration Functions‘ block. In the resulting PhpList Configure Attributes page, click the ‘add a new one‘ link. Type ‘Name‘ in the name field box, choose ‘textline‘ in the Type menu, leave the Default Value and Order of Listing as is, and check the ‘Is this attribute required?‘ checkbox. Save Changes.

Next step is to create a list. In the sidebar to the right, click on the ‘lists‘ link. Click on the ‘add a list‘ link. Type in the name of your list in the ‘List name‘ text box; check the checkbox to make the list ‘active‘; leave the ‘Order for listing‘ as is; and finally, write the description of your list in the large text box. Save.

Create Subscribe pages. Click the ‘subscribe pages‘ link on the sidebar. ‘Add a new one‘. The fields are self-explanatory like the previous ones. When you come to the ‘Select the attributes to use‘, check the ‘Check this box to use this attribute in the page‘ checkbox. This makes sure that the Name field will appear in the subscribe page besides the email fields. Then check your list in ‘Select the lists to offer‘ portion. ‘Save and Activate‘.

To start having your readers subscribe to you, you need to find out the url link to your subscribe page. You do this by going back to the subscribe page and clicking the ‘view‘ link of your created list. The url you find in your browser’s url box is that link e.g. ‘http://yourdomain.com/lists/?p=subscribe&id=1‘. Copy that and use it in your site’s side bar or wherever you want people to click in order to subscribe. Of course, this arrangement is not same as those you find in most websites where their name box, email box and submit buttons are integrated right on their website (with the theme). Using PHPList requires your reader to be directed to the PHPList subscribe page which usually does not look like your regular themed pages. There is however a plugin that can integrate this into your wordpress pages beautifully. Please refer to the article Making The PHPList Form Integration Plugin Work to know how to do this.

Making The PHPList Form Integration Plugin Work

The PHPList Form Integration plugin is a really wonderful piece of work that takes the use of PHPList to a new level.

I installed the PHPList form integration plugin for the first time in a test site and was glad that I did not install it directly on my wordpress blog because it did not work right out. It took me a few days of googling (after office hours, and errr… (cough)… during some of my office hours too) before I was finally able to make it work. And boy, how I did jump and shout in glee when it happened. The people downstairs probably thought I won the lottery or something. This PHPList form integration plugin is a God-send for bloggers who start out with a PHPList autoresponder.

My problem was like that of the majority of users who commented on Jesse Heap’s post. The name and email boxes are indeed nicely integrated in my wordpress blog page. When I entered a name and email address and clicked on the ‘submit’ button, the page tells me I got through all right. However, I did not receive any confirmation email. The PHPList database also did not reflect the email address I entered earlier.

General Settings:

After activating the plugin, go to its settings page by clicking ‘PHPList’ under the dashboard’s Settings drop down menu. Do not be fooled by some default values that are already there. The first field under the General Settings block, PHPList URL, has a default value of ‘http://yourdomain.com/lists/’. Change this one accordingly. The ‘lists‘ in the url is the install directory that you specified in Fantastico when you installed PHPList. In the ‘PHPList List Information‘, if you’re not sure of the PHPList ID, go back to your PHPList page (http://yourdomain.com/lists/admin/?page=home) and click on the ‘lists‘ link on the sidebar. The List ID is that leftmost number (under the ‘No’ column) corresponding to your created list’s row. Then, to play safe with the CAN-SPAM Act, uncheck the ‘Skip Confirmation Email‘ checkbox. Click ‘Update Options‘.

Form Settings:

If you want to have the Name box appear in your form, check the first leftmost checkbox under the ‘Show the Form‘ heading. Under the ‘Text Field Label Name‘, type ‘Name:’ or just ‘Name‘. For the ‘Text Field ID‘ of your name box, go back to your PHPList subscribe pages section (http://yourdomain.com/lists/admin/?page=spage) and click on the ‘edit‘ link of your subscribe page. Scroll down until you get to the ‘Select the attributes to use‘ section. Find the one for your Name field. On the top-leftmost grid of the box, you’ll find ‘Attribute:x‘, where x is a number, e.g. 1. So, if you find there ‘Attribute:2’, your Text Field ID for your Name field shall be ‘attribute2‘. Prior to clicking the ‘Update Options‘ button, make sure you check the ‘Required Field‘ checkbox if you so desire this field to be required.

Now, there’s only one more thing to do, and that’s to place your form on your desired page. Say, you want it on your ‘signup’ page. Just insert ‘<!--phplist form-->‘ (w/o the quotes) wherever you want it to appear in that page. Unfortunately, this plugin is not widgetized; so you can not just drop it in your sidebar like the other plugins. You can however still insert it into your sidebar by inserting the following codes in your sidebar.php file.

<?php
   $content = apply_filters('the_content', '<!--phplist form-->');
   echo $content;
?>

The important thing is to make sure all the entered data are correct. Go back and forth between your WP dashboard and your PHPList home page to make sure that their data match.

You can download and find the documentation of the PHPList Form Integration Plugin at its creator’s (Jesse Heap) site.

Jesse Heap, btw, has stopped further development of this amazing plugin because of his commitment to their business and his studies. Hopefully, some other genius can pick up where he left off and make our life even easier.

Great Tinyurl Alternative: Pretty Link Plugin

I finally found the tinyurl alternative I was looking for – the Pretty Link plugin for wordpress. Not only does it provide the link shortening feature, it’s got more to offer than your average tinyurl service.

I find tinyurl a very great tool for bloggers/webmasters as it helps shorten very long wicked-looking links. It also masks affiliate links from people who are allergic to it. However, there is the danger, though highly improbable, of it not working should the tinyurl service provider undergo some unanticipated failures or accidentally goes offline, thus leaving you with a lot of broken links. With that in mind, I present to you the Pretty Link plugin, a great tinyurl alternative.

prettlylinkage

I have searched for some time for a tinyurl alternative. I found bitly in the process, but this still doesn’t address the issue of a service that goes on (or, God forbid, goes off) with your blog or website as long as your website lives. I mean, using tinyurl or bitly is like leaning heavily on a cane that you don’t own. You’ll never know when the owner comes and what he’s gonna do later on. I also found some guy who shared php/javascript code that does just what I wanted. It was nice code, as far as what little PHP knowledge I have is concerned. But before I even tried to sit down to unwillingly do the hardwork of implementing his code, I stumbled upon Pretty Link plugin; one that you just install and configure. No more coding and analyzing complicated algorithms, wondering where to insert the codes, running the risk of ruining your whole setup, etc.

The Pretty Link plugin is a wordpress plugin. It is not just a great tinyurl alternative. It is an even better tinyurl alternative because it has other features not found in either tinyurl or bitly. There’s the pretty bar for instance. The pretty bar is a feature that could have stood alone as another separate plugin. But the Pretty Link plugin author choose to incorporate it into the plugin. The pretty bar is an optional feature where you can choose to show it or not. A user who clicks your link will be brought to the intended page as usual. If the pretty bar option is checked, a fixed bar is made visible on top of the that page, and stays fixed and visible even when the user scrolls down or up the page. The pretty bar displays your blog’s name with a live link attached to it, so the user will have no problem finding your blog. With a little tweaking in your wordpress editor, you can also insert all kinds of cool things in it, e.g. ads. And that’s not all. You can also cloak the link such that when the user lands on the intended page, he’ll still see your generated pretty link (which contains your website’s url) in the url box, instead of the intended page’s url. There’s also this feature where you can monitor hits on your link. Nothing but cool wordpress stuff here guys.

As the Pretty Link plugin owner has already given the perfect instructions in the use of the plugin, please go here to download it and enjoy. The link I gave you is one that has been generated by Pretty Link, so don’t forget to glance at the top of the resulting page to check out my pretty bar. It’s still raw and default in terms of looks. But I can change that by adding a background graphic in Pretty link’s admin area if I want to. Isn’t that simply perfect? Well you’ve got wordpress user Blair, the very generous and brilliant plugin author of this tinyurl alternative to thank for.

How to Install Pagepeel in WordPress Update

An update to an earlier article called “How to Install PagePeel in WordPress”. This time, it details the installation of a different pagepeel plugin.

In an earlier post called “How to Install PagePeel in WordPress“, I presented a detailed elaboration on the procedures for installing Pagepeel in wordpress. I also noted that I’m still tweaking the codes further because I am not satisfied with the current setup in my test site (i.e. I don’t want the page to peel automatically on loading).

peel
Well, I was about to give the pagepeel codes a go at tweaking again, when I stumbled upon another set of codes similar to pagepeel. This one needs fewer code modifications and works the way it should, at least for me. That is, it has no automatic onLoad opening feature. I found this in another one of my ‘how to install pagepeel in wordpress’ sorties in google. Again, let me lay out the steps I took to make it work. Please find the download links of the ‘peel’ plugin below.

After the usual unzipping procedures, I editted the following lines in the peel.js file:

  • jaaspeel.ad_url = escape(‘http://localhost/wpflexir/?page_id=2’);
  • jaaspeel.small_path = ‘http://localhost/wpflexir/peel/small.swf’;
  • jaaspeel.small_image = escape(‘http://localhost/wpflexir/peel/small.jpg’);
  • jaaspeel.big_path = ‘http://localhost/wpflexir/peel/large.swf’;
  • jaaspeel.big_image = escape(‘http://localhost/wpflexir/peel/large.jpg’);

The jaaspeel.ad_url variable functions the same ways as the jumpTo variable in the the previous ‘How to Install PagePeel in WordPress‘ article. Replace the “http://localhost/wpflexir” portions with your site’s url. Please note that the small.jpg and large.jpg included in the download are blank image files. You need to paste into it the images you want to appear in your peel feature.

Once the peel.js editting is done, create a ‘peel’ folder in your site’s root directory and upload the files (large.jpg, large.swf, peel.js, small.jpg, small.swf) into it.

Then, access your wordpress admin page and edit the theme’s header.php file to reflect the following lines just before the <body> tag.

<script src="http://localhost/wpflexir/peel/peel.js" 
type="text/javascript">
</script>

Again, replace “http://localhost/wpflexir” with your site’s url. And that’s it.

Please download the peel files here. The peel author at marcofolio.net also offerred a ‘troubleshoot‘ version as well as the flash source files for download.

Now, this would have been perfect for me. However I noticed that the animation is kinda choppy. And there seems to be no code to tweak in the peel.js file regarding the speed of the animation. I concluded that perhaps it’s in the .fla files. This time I may have to venture into flash code editting to really get the effect I wanted. Now, if I’m still in first grade in PHP, where am I in Flash? Kindergarten?

How to Install PagePeel in WordPress

The pagepeel or sometimes called peel away or some other name, is that interesting feature you see usually located in the upper right corner of a webpage in a lot of websites. This serves usually as a clickable link to an advertised product.

The moment I saw those pageears in some leading websites, I immediately reacted with “I want those in my site too”. I immediately searched out for codes or plugins related to this. I found a lot of commercial ones but I also found some free versions which are as good as the commercial ones. When I started tinkering with it, I have to search out in google the “how to install pagepeel in wordpress” phrase because the instructions in the download page were still fuzzy to me. In the end, after collecting several tips from all over, I sat down to experiment with it myself.

The pagepeel as it appears on test.moralde.com
The pagepeel as it appears on test.moralde.com

First, I just simply followed the instructions which came with the downloaded zip file. Eventually I had to resort to trial and error to get the thing to work.

How to Install PagePeel In WordPress: The Procedures

  1. After downloading the pagepeel (also known as pageear or peel away) zip file, I unzipped it into my harddisk. (Note: The download link is given at the end of this article).
  2. Since I was just in the testing phase, I left the 2 image files as they are. That is, I used them uneditted. The images remained uneditted to this day in the test site i put them in.
  3. I editted the pageear.js file using wordpad. I could have used Dreamweaver to make things easier and quicker, but I was in the mood for taking the long hard way at the moment. The following lines were the ones changed into its present form:
    • var pagearSmallImg = ‘http://www.test.moralde.com/pagepeel/pageear_s.jpg’;
    • var pagearSmallSwf = ‘http://www.test.moralde.com/pagepeel/pageear_s.swf’;
    • var pagearBigImg = ‘http://www.test.moralde.com/pagepeel/pageear_b.jpg’;
    • var pagearBigSwf = ‘http://www.test.moralde.com/pagepeel/pageear_b.swf’;
    • var jumpTo = ‘http://www.moralde.com/’;
    • var openOnLoad = 1;
    • var closeOnLoad = 1;
    • var setDirection = ‘lt’;

    The first 4 variables are just references to the necessary files. The jumpTo variable points to the page you want the visitor to go after clicking on the pagepeel. The ‘1’ in openOnLoad tells it to automatically open pagepeel 1 second after loading, and closeOnLoad closes it 1 second afterwards. This way, the visitor can’t help but notice it, yet it happens just long enough not to annoy him/her. The setDirection’s ‘lt’ value is something you don’t see very often. Most websites set this to ‘rt’ to install pagepeel in the usual upper-right most corner of the page. Just for the heck of it, I placed it in the upper-left most corner.

  4. I then uploaded pageear.js, AC_OETags.js and the 2 image files into the test subdomain I created just for this, under a folder I called ‘pagepeel’. Thus the files are now located in ‘http://www.test.moralde.com/pagepeel/’.
  5. Then I accessed my test site’s wordpress admin page and editted the theme’s header.php and footer.php (e.g. click on the ‘Editor’ link under the ‘Appearance’ box and click on ‘Header(header.php) to display its code).In the header.php file, I located the <body> tag and inserted the following code lines right before it:

    <script src="http://www.test.moralde.com/pagepeel/AC_OETags.js">
       language="javascript"></script>
    <script src="http://www.test.moralde.com/pagepeel/pageear.js" 
       type="text/javascript"></script>

    In the footer.php file, I located the closing </body> tag and inserted the following codes right before it:

    <script type="text/javascript">
    writeObjects();
    </script>

That’s it!

Now, why is this pagepeel feature not installed in this site? I had installed it in my test subdomain, obviously for testing purposes and I have not installed it here because I have yet to make further tweakings to make it work the way I want it to. Perhaps some knowledgeable folks out there can help me here. I tried “openOnLoad = ‘false’;”, no joy; “openOnLoad = ‘off’;”, doesn’t work either. The present setup opens and closes automatically in the onLoad event. But I prefer to not let it do that because I believe this only looks impressive for first time visitors but irritating to returning or frequent visitors. The solution is probably very simple. But as I’m not so well-versed in PHP, it might take some time for me to figure this out, but I will.

Although this particular article is not as good as I want it to be, this is the kind of article format and content I would have wanted to see when I first searched for “how to install pagepeel in wordpress”. Like I said, being not so php savvy, I need to be given all the steps to take, not just given clues like I’m some algebra freshman.

Get the pagepeel files here.

Webhost for my first website: Lunarpages

It’s my first website/blog ever. I need a webhost that can meet my expectations. I don’t want to make mistakes. After all, webhosting is a per-year affair. Which webhosts should I choose among the thousands out there?

Just as I was very thorough in researching for a domain registrar, I similarly did quite a load of research into my choice of webhost for my first website. Like I always say, I don’t want to make a hurried choice which might lead to stupid regrets later. Thus, off I dived into the ocean of information, or should I say a huge haystack of information. This time, the haystack has several needles in it and my goal is to search for the best needle that would serve me best for my weaving.

Yes, I took notes, I made a list with 2 additional columns for pros and cons, and acted out the whole regimen of exercises that one does when one is faced with a lot of choices and options. Of course the final page of the bunch of notes resulting from my research contained the final conclusion: “Webhost for my first website: Lunarpages”.

Even though I had seen and analyzed a lot of webhosting companies earlier, my first cursory scanning of Lunarpages’ offerings alone kept me glued there and made me forget about the rest. You know why?lunarpagesimg While the majority of webhosts are trying to keep you confined within specific space and bandwidth limits designed to maximize their profits, Lunarpages gives you total freedom. Unlimited space. Unlimited bandwidth. Who can top that? Not only that. They give you all that for a crazy low price of $4.95/month!

The question arises: How can a company afford to give unlimited space and bandwidth? Well, if you really want to know, this is your chance to test how Lunarpages Support deals with queries, both from their clients or non-clients. Go to Lunarpages and ask.

The other juicy add-ons to their service are the following:

  • Free domain name. (For the first year only. After the first year, you pay an annual fee of $12.95 for the domain name.)*
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited bandwith
  • unlimited domain hosting
  • unlimited subdomains
  • unlimited parked domains
  • unlimited MySQL
  • $775 free bonuses
  • POP3/SMTP included
  • email accounts unlimited
  • email forwarding unlimited
  • email autoresponders unlimited
  • webmail 2 types included
  • mailing list included
  • spam protection included
  • ecommerce included
  • Free Web Scripts:
    • Fantastico Script Library included
    • Blogs 3 included
    • Content Management 6 included
    • SMF Forum included
    • Guest Book included
    • Web site templates included
    • etc.
  • Media Support:
    • Flash support included
    • MIDI file support included
    • REal Media Audio & Video support included
    • etc.…

I am now into my first months with Lunarpages. Support is prompt and very friendly. Any future additional websites of mine shall certainly be hosted by them. Recently, I ventured into creating a subdomain: binaural-isochronic.moralde.com. Another first. All in all, I am perfectly contented with Lunarpages as my webhost for my first website.

*Some webhosts offer free domain name for life. That is, as long as you continue having them as your webhost, your domain is free.

How to install wordpress on a subdomain

How to install wordpress on a subdomain. Doing anything using the CPanel should be very easy. There are just some things that you may be uncertain about and you don’t want to do a trial and error test as your website is already live.

Installing wordpress using Lunarpages’ CPanel is a breeze. I simply followed the instructions and voila! I have a fully working wordpress site ready to take in my posts and settings. It is a one-click affair, in contrast to manually installing wordpress where you have to edit the config file and create a database. But that was wordpress on my main domain. To install wordpress on a subdomain was different. I need a ‘How to install wordpress on a subdomain’ tutorial to proceed. Or so I thought.

I remember the first time I decided to install wordpress on a subdomain, I was stumped when it came to the ‘install directory’ textbox in Lunarpages CPanel. lunarpagesiconEarlier, I had installed wordpress using the same Lunarpages CPanel for my main domain moralde.com. That was easy. However, for the subdomain, binaural-isochronic.moralde.com, I was hesitant to proceed as I did not want to take the risk of messing up my existing wordpress installation. What if I install wordpress on a subdomain and it overwrites the previous one? This concern wouldn’t have been an issue had I chosen to install manually. But I was using CPanel now. The ‘install directory’ part prompts me to leave it blank to install wordpress on the root directory. Which root directory?

Googling for the answer did not immediately give me a satisfactory and direct answer. Thus I had to submit a ticket for this no-brainer question. Lunarpages support , helpful as ever, promptly provided me the answer on how to install wordpress on a subdomain.

  • If you have not created a subdomain, create it first in CPanel.
  • Then click Fantastico icon.
  • Click on WordPress (under ‘blogs’ on the left side), then click on the ‘New installation’ link.
  • Select the subdomain you want to install wordpress in on the ‘Install on domain’ dropbox.
  • Leave the ‘Install in directory’ textbox blank. This will install wordpress on the directory of the subdomain which was automatically created when you created a subdomain through the CPanel.
  • Type in your desired username and password under the ‘Admin access data’ section.
  • Under ‘Base Configuration’, fill up the necessary boxes. ‘Site name’ is the name you want for your subdomain.’ Description’ is anything you want to describe your subdomain.
  • Click ‘Install WordPress’.
  • That’s it. To install wordpress on a subdomain is a piece of cake after all.

    My very first domain name from Godaddy

    I bought my very first domain name from Godaddy.com. Being a total newbie, I came to this decision only after a few weeks of intensive research and comparisons of all registrars I could get data from.

    I purchased my very first domain name from Godaddy. I mean ‘my very first domain name ever’. Prior to purchasing, I made a lot of research on which domain registrar to buy from. After all, it’s my very first venture into the world wide web. I don’t want to make any mistakes. I’m sure everyone who has a website or websites understands this .

    picgodaddy

    I made a list and entered the pros and cons and every little feature that these domain registrars offer. Not content at the data I got from the domain registrars’ respective websites, I researched on other websites as well. I tried to know the domain registrars of all the websites that I liked and looked up to. Not surprisingly, it’s Godaddy. After a few weeks of research, I finally weighed everything based on the data I have gathered. Thus, I bought my very first domain from Godaddy. Moralde.com was born.

    And I felt really justified with the choice I made. The transaction was very smooth. Every little newbie question I submitted thereafter was answered promptly. I looked back at all the saved webpages from my researches and I found that some negative reviews about Godaddy (btw, every domain registrar I looked into has negative reviews) were not necessarily true. The nay-sayer’s issue revolves mostly on Godaddy’s support, which on the contrary, I found to be exceptionally prompt and perfect.

    Had I taken more time, say months instead of weeks, researching , I would probably have added more prospective registrars to my list. Thus, I cannot assure myself that Godaddy is the best in the world, but having procured my very first domain name from Godaddy is one perfect decision I find no reason to regret. For me, there’s no doubt where I’m going to buy my next domain name.