Simple Banner Ad Management For Your WordPress Site

Ad Management Plugins for WordPress

Running advertising on your WordPress site can get pretty complicated and so can the plugins available. This particular post is aimed at those whose needs are on the lower end so I’m only looking at free plugins here. If you’re really serious about advertising and need robust features, chances are you’ll need a fully featured paid plugin such as OIO Publisher or Adsanity.

For my situation, the criteria is:

  • The chosen plugin must be easy enough for my client to manage themselves
  • It must have a widget for easily displaying ads, or at least have an easy short code that will work in a widget
  • It must be able to handle either uploading a banner image, or pasting in ad code from a 3rd party such as Google AdSense, BlogHer, etc.

I tried out a bunch of plugins and below are the only ones worth mentioning.  

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The Most Flexible Featured Posts Widget You’ll Need

Flexible Posts Widget WordPress Plugin

Recently I had a client that needed to display a grid of images in a sidebar widget, each one of which would link to a different page. Previously they had hard coded all the images and links as HTML in a text widget but this was understandably a pain for the client to maintain and update.

I previously used Special Recent Posts as my go-to plugin for this type of thing (although I’m not sure it could handle Pages) but the free version is no longer being updated so I needed a new solution. Fortunately I found the Flexible Posts Widget plugin – the best featured posts widget I think you’ll ever need.

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Best Way To Add Blank Lines & Space In WordPress Editor

If you’ve used WordPress even just a little bit,  you’ve probably come up against the fact that it’s really hard to add extra space into the editor. You can only hit “return” a couple of times before it starts eating those extra line spaces you’re trying to create.

So if you want to create extra empty space in your page or post – anything beyond a paragraph break or two, you’ve probably pulled your hair out. This guide will show you the reliable ways to work with spacing in WordPress.

Adding a blank or empty line in WordPress

Hitting the Enter or Return key in the WordPress editor will create a new paragraph. This will leave a blank line before starting a new line.

If you don’t want to skip a line, you can use a line break instead. To do that, hold down the Shift key while pressing Enter/Return. This will start a new line without making a new paragraph.

Add a line break in a WordPress list

If you hit Enter while in a list, you will create a new bullet point. If you don’t want to do that, but just have a line break within the same list item (see item 2 in the screenshot below), hold down Shift and press Enter.

How to add space between letters in WordPress

To add spacing between letters in the Block Editor:

  1. Click on the text you want to change. In the right panel, make sure the Block options are showing.
  2. Click the 3 dots next to Typography
  3. Click letter spacing
  4. Choose the unit of spacing and set the value.

Note that this applies to all the text in the block.

If you want to apply the spacing to specific words within the block, you have to edit the HTML directly.

  1. Select the block that contains the text
  2. In the top toolbar, click the 3 dots and select Edit as HTML
  3. The code we will add is: <span style="letter-spacing:1em"> Your text here</span>
  4. Look for the text you want to change. Immediately before it, paste: <span style="letter-spacing:1em">
  5. After the text you want to change, paste </span> – this closes the style and ends the spacing.
  6. When you are done editing the HTML, click the 3 dots again and select Edit Visually.

How to add space between words in WordPress

There isn’t a way to do this without editing the HTML (that I have found). Possibly some plugins that extend the editor might have this feature, but since it probabbly shouldn’t be used much, adding one of those plugins just for this, would be overkill.

  1. Select the block that contains the text
  2. In the top toolbar, click the 3 dots and select Edit as HTML
  3. The code we will add is: <span style="word-spacing:1em"> Your text here</span>
  4. Look for the text you want to change. Immediately before it, paste: <span style="word-spacing:1em">
  5. After the text you want to change, paste </span> – this closes the style and ends the spacing.
  6. When you are done editing the HTML, click the 3 dots again and select Edit Visually.

How to add spacing between blocks in Gutenberg / block editor

The Block editor makes it quite easy to add vertical space between blocks. There is a block called Spacer which is there by default.

Simply add it and then choose how much space you want to add.

You can choose any of the following units to set the space in:

  • px – pixels
  • em
  • rem
  • vh
  • vw

For full explanations of these units, please see this guide.

Pixels is the simplest and one we are all mostly familiar with. The problem is that this won’t scale with different device sizes. For example, if you add 200 pixels of space, it may look fine on desktop, but may be too much for mobile.

So using one of the other relative units may be a better choice.

You can also click on the block and drag the edges to expand or reduce the size of the block.

Adding space in the Classic Editor

There’s several workarounds you can use if you happen to know HTML but that horrifies many non-techie WordPress users. Well the best way I have now found is an awesomely simple and to-the-point plugin called Spacer.

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WordPress Twitter Plugin Stopped Working Recently? Here’s Some That Work

Twitter Plugins For WordPress

You may have noticed your Twitter feed stopped showing up on your WordPress site just recently. This is because Twitter changed their API. An API is something that various web services like Twitter provide in order to allow developers to tap into the service and work with information from it. So a WordPress plugin that pulls information from Twitter needs to utilize their API. When Twitter changes their API as they did recently, that will affect the plugin.

Hopefully the Twitter plugin you have been using has a developer that stays on top of such changes and provides an update to the plugin. With this recent Twitter update however there’s some steps that you as the site owner need to take to make sure the plugin will work. You basically have to create your own Twitter app – but don’t worry,  it’s not as scary as it sounds.

Here are my current favorite Twitter plugins that have been updated to work with the new Twitter API.

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Mobile Plugins For Your WordPress Site

WordPress Mobile Plugins

I recently had to find a mobile solution for a client. Their theme had been custom made a while ago and was not responsive so the easiest route (and the one that fit their budget) was to use one of the many available mobile plugins for WordPress.

If one of your goals is to make the mobile version of your site perform better on PageSpeed Insights and other speed tests, check out this guide to making your mobile WordPress pages faster.

What’s the Difference Between A Responsive Theme and A Mobile Plugin?

A responsive theme adapts to the size of the screen it is being viewed on, so it retains a consistent overall look and feel. The mobile plugins work in various ways – some of them do let you use a responsive theme of your choosing, but oftentimes they install their own mobile theme which could look significantly different than your standard theme, but it may have some handy mobile-specific features. A mobile plugin will detect the actual device being used (rather than just the width of the screen) and show a different display based on that. It’s a quick and easy way to get a mobile solution for your site. Retrofitting an existing theme to make it responsive requires custom coding, so for many people, a plugin is the easier way to go.

Criteria for Comparing Mobile Plugins

As I played around with various plugins, several key distinguishing factors emerged. So before you start looking at plugins you may want to think about these factors and how important they are for your circumstance so you can make an informed decision:

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