Dec 302010

Well, it’s been an interesting couple of days – still trying to get everything configured on my site.  I’ll tell you about a few things that went smooth, and one horrible entire-day-wasted-resulting-in-me-getting-a-new-theme-activity (aka trying to add a favicon).

(image from Stockholm, Sweden – a restaurant on an organic farm.  It was freezing cold outside but the restaurant is actually inside the greenhouse, and is quite warm)

Addthis Is a website I came across which was interesting to me.  It allows you to offer a nice button on all of your posts to allow readers to share your blog entries to over 300 social media outlets.  This takes care of everything all with one nice compact button.  After installing the plug-in, I had to go under the WordPress Admin settings to edit where I want it to be displayed.  I opted to have it shown at the bottom of just about everything.  Here’s a picture of the button in it’s unexpanded form:

As you can see it’s very small and unobtrusive.  If you want to play around with it and see how it actually expands, you will find one at the bottom of this post.  You can even try out sharing if you feel like it!  I would like some feedback on if it actually works for people so if you do this, please drop me a comment or email.

What I also liked about AddThis is it has an analytics section.  If you sign-up through their website, you will get analytics reports on all sorts of things.  Since I just started using this service, I haven’t yet seen how they actually look, but basically I just wanted an idea of what people are most interested in on my blog.  You can see more about the features here:

Next I turned to Facebook.  Even though you can share to Facebook with the AddThis button, I wanted people to actually be able to “Like” my Fan page as well.  I actually haven’t done too much yet with my Facebook Fan page, but I do want to make sure it is integrated with my Blog.  As you can see when reading this blog, to the right I added a “like me on Facebook button” – I have also put it below and ask you to please like me! I need 25 fans before I can get a custom URL so I would greatly appreciate it! I know sounds desperate – but I haven’t yet promoted it yet because as mentioned, it is far from finished.

Its quite easy to add this button.  First you need to get the code.  Go here: All you have to do is enter your Facebook Fan Page URL, set the width, choose light or dark, and decide on the options.  For example you can show your stream, or peoples faces who like your page etc.  I made mine simple and got rid of all the extra stuff.  After that, I grabbed the code.  I went the WordPress widget section, dragged a text widget into my sidebar and copied in the code.

So having finished those two easy tasks, I’m feeling emboldened and ready to take on another small but important aspect of any website.  When you have a tab open (or if you’re like me and have lots and lots of tabs open) you will see a small little icon next to the name of the site.  They also show up in the bookmarks menu if you bookmark a page.   Here’s an actual screenshot from my Google Chrome:

As you can see, with a lot of Windows open, without that little picture it’s very hard to remember what sites you have open.  In this whole batch I have two blank favicon sites and I actually am not even sure right now what those sites are.  The other one’s however I can recognize right away.  A side note, I’ll challenge you to name as many of these sites as you can.  There’s no prize but you might be able to name some right off the bat just based on their favicon.  This reason alone is good enough for me to know I want my site to have one!

So first you have to create a Favicon.ico file.  You take you image and go to a site like this and it will create for you.  Next you save the file with the name Favicon.ico (this is important).  I was originally using the WordPress Twenty Ten theme and this is where all my problems started.  I followed instructions here: and it didn’t work!  I was unsure of myself about whether I uploaded it to the right folder and whether or not I entered the code they provided in the correct place.  I read many more forums and tried to move the code around (which for me was just a guessing game since I don’t really understand what the snippet of code is even for), tried putting the picture all over the place on my FTP, tried changing to a .PNG type file – nothing seemed to work.

After much trial, somehow I got the Favicon to show up on my back-end Admin page, but it wasn’t showing up on my Front-end pages.  I was having a very odd situation where in Chrome the file wasn’t showing up at all.  In Firefox, it was showing up for a second, then going away.  I was so frustrated I was ready to pull out all my hair and quit blogging!

So, I decided to try switching my theme.  I ended up with the Suffusion theme and now everything works fine.  The instructions linked above actually work great so I won’t reiterate them.  I didn’t even have to add the code to my header.  It turns out the browsers automatically check whether or not you have a Favicon.ico file in your root directory and you don’t always need that code – I guess Internet Explorer is more picky (I actually don’t even know if my Favicon works on IE right now – maybe you can let me know?)

I used a site: To test if my Favicon was working.  It apparently works great now.

I’ll end with a funny story 我要疯了!! This means “I’m going crazy” in Chinese.  When I was trying to figure out how to upload to my FTP, I downloaded a program called FileZilla which is a free FTP software.   Well, because I was a student in China, and have some friends living there still, a long time ago I had installed the Chinese language tool on Windows Vista.  In the middle of all the other problems I was having, suddenly the Chinese starts to override everything and my FileZilla menu was in Chinese!  My Chinese is ok but definitely not good enough to figure out how to use an FTP program.  It was one of those days where I am so happy I’m not a programmer – it was like each step I took to try and fix my problem, 3 more sprang up.  OK, I guess this is enough for now, comment please!!

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