Tips, Tricks & Tutorials

Most Desired WordPress Hacks: 11 Common Requests and Fixes

August 26th, 2008

This is the first article in our new three-part WordPress series. I want to share with you some hacks that i found to be very useful when i was working on the redesign of Noupe and during the design of my other site Devsnippets. Throughout this article, we’ll be focus on many WordPress Theme hacks, ideas, tips and useful tutorials you need to have ready in hand when developing WordPress websites.

You might be interested to check out our previous four part series, "Powerful guide to master Your WordPress Theme

So let’s get started and don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS-Feed to keep track on our next post in this series.

Using Custom Fields to Display Post Thumbnails

One of the most interesting features in WordPress is using Custom Fields, which can turn your WordPress blog into a fully customizable CMS website. I use custom fields to create image thumbnail for each post here on Noupe and on Devsnippets as well and display the thumbnails on the home page and the Archive page.

Follow the steps below and you will get it ready

  1. You need to be able to upload images to your server in order to do this. You can do this using your FTP Client or any WordPress plugins to help you upload your images through the admin area.
  2. Open a new post and scroll all the way down to the bottom where it says Custom Fields. Click on the plus button to expand it.
  3. Enter the word “image_thumb” in the “key” field, and enter the fill path of the image that you uploaded in the “Value” field.
  4. Do what you usually do in every post: add title, post text, choose a category and publish.
  5. Now open your index.php file that is in your current theme folder, search for this line:
    <?php the_content('Read the rest of this entry &raquo;'); ?>
  6. Add the following code above that line
    <a href="<?php the_permalink() ?>" title="<?php the_title(); ?>">
    <img src="<?php $values = get_post_custom_values("image_thumb"); echo $values[0]; ?>" alt="<?php the_title(); ?>" />

Other great Solutions

Avoiding Duplicate Content

Duplicate content refers to two or more web pages that have the same, or almost the same, content. We must avoid duplicate content to not get penalized by search engines. But sometimes we need to show two (or more) lists of posts on one page, we usually do this by using Multiple Loops (one standard loop and one from a certain category). This is done when you want to feature not only the very latest post written, but also posts from a certain category.

<?php $my_query = new WP_Query('category_name=featured&showposts=1');
  while ($my_query->have_posts()) : $my_query->the_post();
  $do_not_duplicate = $post->ID;?>
    <!-- Do stuff... -->
  <?php endwhile; ?>
    <!-- Do other stuff... -->
  <?php if (have_posts()) : while (have_posts()) : the_post(); 
  if( $post->ID == $do_not_duplicate ) continue; update_post_caches($posts); ?>
   <!-- Do stuff... -->
  <?php endwhile; endif; ?>

Other Solutions

Login Box in your sidebar

When i was designing DevSnippets, i wanted the users to easily login through the front page and skip the login page. Many solutions are out there and i found a good one at WPdesigner, i will add the code here just in case we don’t find it in the future.

		<?php global $user_ID, $user_identity, $user_level ?>
		<?php if ( $user_ID ) : ?>
		<h2>Control panel</h2>
			<li>Identified as <strong><?php echo $user_identity ?></strong>.
				<li><a href="<?php bloginfo('url') ?>/wp-admin/">Dashboard</a></li>

				<?php if ( $user_level >= 1 ) : ?>
				<li><a href="<?php bloginfo('url') ?>/wp-admin/post-new.php">Write an article</a></li>
				<?php endif // $user_level >= 1 ?>

				<li><a href="<?php bloginfo('url') ?>/wp-admin/profile.php">Profile and personal options</a></li>
				<li><a href="<?php bloginfo('url') ?>/wp-login.php?action=logout&amp;redirect_to=<?php echo urlencode($_SERVER['REQUEST_URI']) ?>">Exit</a></li>

		<?php elseif ( get_option('users_can_register') ) : ?>

			<form action="<?php bloginfo('url') ?>/wp-login.php" method="post">
				<label for="log"><input type="text" name="log" id="log" value="<?php echo wp_specialchars(stripslashes($user_login), 1) ?>" size="22" /> User</label><br />
				<label for="pwd"><input type="password" name="pwd" id="pwd" size="22" /> Password</label><br />
				<input type="submit" name="submit" value="Send" class="button" />
				<label for="rememberme"><input name="rememberme" id="rememberme" type="checkbox" checked="checked" value="forever" /> Remember me</label><br />
				<input type="hidden" name="redirect_to" value="<?php echo $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI']; ?>"/>

			<li><a href="<?php bloginfo('url') ?>/wp-register.php">Register</a></li>
			<li><a href="<?php bloginfo('url') ?>/wp-login.php?action=lostpassword">Recover password</a></li>

		<?php endif // get_option('users_can_register') ?>


Of course later i wanted to make it even more easier and prettier to register and login through the front page and skip the login and register pages, so we coded a small widget using Prototype to switch between the login and registration box all on the front page. I will write a tutorial about this very soon.

Creating a menu Showing Certain Categories

If you would like to have a menu like the one we have here at noupe, to show certain categories, just add the line of code below and style it as you wish.

<ul class="topmenubar" style="float:left; width:720px;">
<?php wp_list_categories('orderby=name&include=7,72,23,16,1,7,17,26'); ?>

The template tag, wp_list_categories, displays a list of Categories as links. You can Include or Exclude Categories as you wish, just enter the category id and don’t forget to add the “include” or the “exclude” parameters to manage it.

By default, wp_list_categories() generates nested unordered lists (ul) within a single list item (li) titled “Categories”. You can style that list item with a CSS selector.

Other great Solutions

  • Display categories in horizontal Drop-Down menu– This tutorial will explain how to create a horizontal menu bar showing the main categories and sub menus showing the sub-categories using CSS and javascript.

  • Multi-level Navigation Plugin for WordPress– The plugin generates the code necessary to create a Son of Suckerfish horizontal dropdown, vertical flyout or horizontal slider menu. You have control over what items (pages, categories, archives, blogroll etc.) appear in your dropdown via the plugins options page.

Display Categories in a Dropdown box

Sometimes you want to displays a list of categories in a select (i.e dropdown) box with no submit button. The easiest way to do this is use the wp_dropdown_categories template tag.

<form action="<?php bloginfo('url'); ?>/" method="get">
	  $select = wp_dropdown_categories('show_option_none=Select Category&show_count=1&orderby=name&echo=0&selected=6');
	  $select = preg_replace("#<select([^>]*)>#", "<select$1 onchange='return this.form.submit()'>", $select);
	  echo $select;
    <noscript><input type="submit" value="View" /></noscript>

Most Wanted Posts and Categories hacks

How to exclude certain categories from being displayed in the loop.

<?php if ( have_posts() ) : query_posts($query_string .'&cat=-13,-26'); while ( have_posts() ) : the_post(); ?>
  • Advanced Category Excluder- The main goal of this plugin is to enhance WordPress’s functionalities by hiding some unwanted categories, from defined parts of the blog like: your search results, your RSS feed listing, your category listing, and also your entry page, if you want to.

How to display posts from a certain category

If you want to display certain posts from a certain category like the one i am using for the news section on Devsnippets.

<ul  class="news">
     <?php query_posts('cat=6&showposts=5'); ?>
     <?php if (have_posts()) : while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>

Post Author Related Solutions

Having multiple authors on your blog is really fun, we need to have good solutions to have nice custom author pages, show their latest posts, highlight author Comments in WordPress posts, show their avatars and author bio below every post.

Getting Author Page on your WordPress blog

By default WordPress will use the author.php then the archive.php file then your index.php file to display the author info. That is, if you do not have an author.php file, WordPress will check for archive.php, and so on.

So, if you want to change the look of your author pages, you need to create an author.php file if it doesn’t exist, by copying archive.php if that file exists, or index.php if it doesn’t.

If you want to show the author’s main website, email contact, and biography, helping readers learn more about the author.

Articles by <?php the_author(); ?>
Author Website: <?php the_author_url(); ?>
Author Email: <?php the_author_email(); ?>
Author Bio: <?php the_author_description(); ?>


Display Author Bio below each Post

If you want to have that handy little author bio box at the top of the article with an author photo, you can do the following:


Separate Author comments from other comments

When you have multiple authors on your blog, you will need to style the author comments differently, here is how you can do it:

<li class="<?php if ($comment->comment_author_email == "") echo 'author'; else if ($comment->comment_author_email == "") echo 'author2'; else if ($comment->comment_author_email == "") echo 'author3'; else echo $oddcomment; ?> item" id="comment-<?php comment_ID() ?>">

Display Twitter Messages on your blog

If you want to display your Twitter status on your blog instead of using Twitter-hosted scripts to save loading time.

How to

  • Twitter Tools– Twitter Tools is a plugin that creates a complete integration between your WordPress blog and your Twitter account.
  • twitterRSS– This plugin allows you to pull in an rss feed from your twitter account and display it on your site.

The jungle is alive: Be it a collaboration between two or more authors or an article by an author not contributing regularly. In these cases you find the Noupe Editorial Team as the ones who made it. Guest authors get their own little bio boxes below the article, so watch out for these.


91 comments for „Most Desired WordPress Hacks: 11 Common Requests and Fixes
  1. Fubiz on August 26th, 2008 at 6:24 am

    Excellent tips !

  2. K-IntheHouse on August 26th, 2008 at 6:43 am

    Absolutely great tips. I am still trying to get my head wrapped around multiple WP queries. I am using it in a project at the moment but it just seems to break with any change I make elsewhere.


  3. Lachy on August 26th, 2008 at 7:09 am

    Awesome, cheers! Got a few articles like that on my website :D

  4. JamieO on August 26th, 2008 at 7:34 am

    The multiple query thing is a great example. The other piece I would mention is to ensure you delete any page templates that you are intentionally not using in your design.

  5. The Floating frog on August 26th, 2008 at 8:52 am

    A great resource article, I’ll bookmark this for later!

  6. Billee D. on August 26th, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Awesome! Thank you so much for pooling these resources into one convenient place.

  7. Sheena on August 26th, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Great! Thanks for putting this together, its been a big help.

  8. Nick on August 26th, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Although I wouldn’t call them “hacks”, it’s a great post! Thanks!

  9. Noupe on August 26th, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Thank you all guys, i am glad you found some useful stuff here.

    I agree, you need to delete any unused template files due to the Template Hierarchy WordPress is built on, Which controls which template file(s) will WordPress use when it displays a certain type of page.
    Good point :)

  10. Chris on August 26th, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks for the info. More and more clients are wanting a CMS solution and it’s great to be able to bring more flexibility to WordPress.

    On a side note… I like your site design and colours, but a little more spacing between your “fixes” would make it a lot easier to read.


  11. Mommy Brain Reports on August 26th, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Thanks for the tips!!! Definitely bookmarking this page!!! I need some new ideas for my site!

  12. Luke on August 26th, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Re: Avoiding Duplicate Content

    The code you have provided would only handle a single featured post. It would be better to use an Array to hold the displayed post IDs and then check against that, thereby allowing similar code to be used with multiple loops returning multiple posts.

    have_posts()) : $my_query->the_post();
    $shownPosts[] = $post->ID;?>

    ID , $shownPosts ) ) continue; update_post_caches($posts); ?>

  13. MikeWhoBikes on August 26th, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    There are some terrific, useful tips here. Thanks for posting!

  14. Noupe on August 26th, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Thanks for the feedback. I added more space now for every headline fix.

    @Luke, I agree with you. The code i provided here handles a single featured post. Thats why i provided a link to a nice solution by Weblog Tools Collection that shows how to avoid duplicating multiple posts.

  15. JONxBLAZE on August 26th, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    These are awesome hacks…thumbs up for sure!

  16. Adrian | Rubiqube on August 26th, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    Wow! Great stuff! This is the kind of post I like most. The “inside info from the trenches” kind. ;) Keep them coming!

  17. Jason N. on August 26th, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    You can also create a twitter account for a blog at and readers twit to each other…

  18. Splinter09 on August 26th, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    “Using Custom Fields to Display Post Thumbnails” exactly what I needed for my blog. And the other tips are just great, first time here but I’m sure to be coming back. Nice work.

  19. Nathan Beck on August 27th, 2008 at 1:22 am

    Yeh thanks a lot Noupe some top tips there!

  20. The Floating frog on August 27th, 2008 at 2:46 am

    WordPress plugins interest me alot so thanks for the interesting post.

  21. d3bruts1d on August 27th, 2008 at 2:52 am

    Nice tips!

  22. James on August 27th, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Awesome tips! … Bookmarked! :)

  23. Max | Design Shard on August 27th, 2008 at 7:27 am

    This will be useful to me , thanks for posting

  24. IhateDesign on August 27th, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Great tips, a few one i want to use a long time ago..

  25. Steve on August 27th, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    great Noura! I especially like the dropdown categories listing, something that I have been looking for. I think this can be used in the sidebar along with the archives dropdown, especially when space is limited.

    The exclude category code is also very useful when doing advanced WordPress templating I have found.

  26. Susan on August 27th, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Wow…this is very helpful. I’ve added it to my bookmarks!

  27. NaldzGraphics on August 27th, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    very nice tips serve!!.thanks a lot.


  28. Firewalker on August 27th, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Just a suggestion for the list:
    Replacing WordPress search with Custom Google Search without additional post or page:

  29. Gerasimos on August 27th, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    Excellent tips! It seems that WordPress with so many plugins and tips laying around can work in any way we want.

  30. Marketing Network on August 28th, 2008 at 7:21 am

    Indeed great tips! Thanks for the time you spent writing this excellent post!

  31. Mihai on August 28th, 2008 at 7:33 am

    The new Noupe design rocks and allways good resources, thank you!

  32. pmtate on August 28th, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Great tips, one issue is your copy to clipboard piece on the code snippets corrupts the code, the view plain is a better option.

    copied as <?php should be <?php etc.


  33. pmtate on August 28th, 2008 at 11:02 am

    That didn’t display as intended, the copy to clipboard converts the < into & lt ;

  34. Monika on August 28th, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Your tipps are great, but duplicate content doesn’t mean to show the same article on one page ;)

    duplicate content is: the same content under different URI.


  35. Milan Petrovic on August 28th, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Great article, thanx.

    My Starscape theme has some of this ‘hacks’ built in and they can be controled through control panel settings. Theme has Post Author info, Related posts and Author archive page.

  36. byme on August 28th, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    NIce tips

  37. Pinara.Net on August 28th, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Thank you for the hacks, i can make custom theme from this, bravo

  38. Mike on August 28th, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    Great tips! Thanks as always…

  39. Jon on August 29th, 2008 at 2:57 am

    Excellent article, thanks very much

    The section on Avoiding Duplicate Content was especially useful for me, as this can be very tricky to get right with WordPress

    Cheers, Jon

  40. Craig on August 29th, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Great tips, but small bug in “Display Categories in a Dropdown box”. When you select a category it displays the category pages, but the item in the form box goes back to displaying the very first category I selected.

    ?? any suggestions.

  41. Craig on August 29th, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Fixed … just delete &selected=6 from wp_dropdown_categories(‘show_option_none=Select Category&show_count=1&orderby=name&echo=0’);

  42. Dror on August 29th, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Great ! keep on !

  43. Jeromy on August 29th, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Another great post buddy!

    Thanks so much. I admit the language is a bit above my head (I am trying to teach myself how to do this stuff). But the info is GOLD.
    I am sharing your site as a Top Place for WordPress customization.



  44. Abhilash on August 30th, 2008 at 12:04 am

    An excellent resource! Found your site through Webtoolscollection. Will return here soon and check out your other content…

  45. bangbouh on August 30th, 2008 at 6:03 am

    Great Tips. Thanks!

  46. webmaster blog on September 1st, 2008 at 3:09 am


  47. cooper on September 1st, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    I’d like to be able to do the category drop downmenu exclusion thing, with my links drop down, having a certain category of links displayed on the drop down front menu- excluding the rest.

  48. y5cafe on September 2nd, 2008 at 4:04 am

    Great tip.
    Click [Thanks]. :)

  49. SarahG on September 2nd, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    For your highlighting of author comments you’d be better off comparing the ID and not the email. Two reasons
    1. If you change your email address your old comments will not match up to your profile’s new email address
    2. If you have a lot of authors on a multi author blog your if statement will get quite long.

    Comparing the ID is simple:

    if ($comment->user_id == get_the_author_ID())

    Providing the author is logged in (which they usually are), it will highlight the comment.

  50. Noupe on September 2nd, 2008 at 5:52 pm


    I’d like to be able to do the category drop downmenu exclusion thing, with my links drop down, having a certain category of links displayed on the drop down front menu- excluding the rest.

    If you want to exclude certain categories from the frop down box use the following code, ‘exclude=4,12’ means category IDs 4 and 12 will NOT be displayed.

    < ?php $select = wp_dropdown_categories('show_option_none=Select Category&show_count=1&orderby=name&echo=0&selected=6&exclude=4,12'); $select = preg_replace("#]*)>#", "


    For your highlighting of author comments you’d be better off comparing the ID and not the email.

    Good point SarahG, comparing ids is much better than emails. Thanks for the tip :)

  51. Icon on September 2nd, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    Excellent ! Great information, it’s time to customize my blog now. Thanks.

  52. Edi Susanto on September 4th, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Wow, those are great tricks for wordpress. About put category list into drop down, I want to put my tag list into drop down, how do i do that?


  53. zoel on September 5th, 2008 at 6:24 am

    Cools and must be try! ;-)

  54. Abdo on September 7th, 2008 at 4:16 am

    thanks a lot for sharing.

  55. blogsarticle on September 9th, 2008 at 4:10 am

    Although I wouldn’t call them “hacks”, it’s a great post! Thanks!

  56. Kudungga on September 11th, 2008 at 6:19 am

    Excelent thanks a lot for sharing.

  57. Frank Richard on September 16th, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Great tools/plugins, thanks for sharing, I will share the twitter scripts with my friends!

  58. moti levy on September 17th, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Thank you very much
    great tips i used some of them

  59. zmijata on October 6th, 2008 at 2:53 am

    Nice Work :)

  60. Fat Man on October 6th, 2008 at 3:11 am

    Great Post. I always noticed the custom fields but never really thought they had any significance to my work.

    It interesting the way you used them to include the thumbnails in the archives. It’s a nice touch.

    I will be experimenting with them now.

  61. hulif on October 6th, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    It interesting the way you used them to include the thumbnails in the archives. It’s a nice touch.

    I will be experimenting with them now.

  62. wwrth on October 6th, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    Great Post. I always noticed the custom fields but never really thought they had any significance to my work.

    It interesting the way you used them to include the thumbnails in the archives. It’s a nice touch

  63. ciscopower on October 9th, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Very good tips. I will try some of them in my website.

  64. Jeff on October 20th, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Great tips…thanks!

  65. Yeca on October 29th, 2008 at 4:04 am

    Great job ! Thanks !

  66. mrgtb on November 3rd, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    great article, pity I don’t use wordpress. Well not really seeing as I use my own custom blog.

    But seriously, great site you have going here

  67. bugjee on November 16th, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Very good tips. I will try some of them in my website.

  68. office space on December 1st, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    thanks for your tips,it’s very useful,great

  69. hj-cha on December 4th, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    Great job ! Thanks !

  70. antiquarian books on December 10th, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Great site. Thanks… :)

  71. Xtence on November 15th, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Very usefull, thanks for sharing !

  72. Vijendra Mishra on January 2nd, 2010 at 2:27 am

    Nice Hacks thanks for Login Solution.

  73. Munki on February 15th, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you for the tips :-)

    Liking it @ Stumbleupon for later reference

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  76. künstliche Fingernägel on April 3rd, 2010 at 8:24 am

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  77. cappuccino on April 14th, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Good guide.

  78. Belinda on May 4th, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    I love the tip about how to only include specific categories. I don’t know why it took me so long to find out how to do that, but it’s perfect. Thank you! :-)

  79. Dani Raykova on May 17th, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Thank you a lot. Great collection!

  80. Office Space Man on May 27th, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Wanted to know about the author bio information, so thanks very much for that tip.

  81. Claudio Merino on July 25th, 2010 at 7:17 am

    you guys really rocks!

  82. nanee on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    this is wonderful post that fills all requirement of article

  83. fran on November 2nd, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    this post covers all aspects of article

  84. Mats on January 18th, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Really cool article! I enjoyed reading it and will read more of your stuff!!

  85. vermeamburf on March 1st, 2011 at 11:13 am

    People in ancient times did not like to talk much. They felt shame for themselves do not keep up with their own words …

  86. John Willams on March 15th, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Very appreciated! I will definitely use these tips, bookmarked:)

  87. Firma Rehberi on March 17th, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I love the tip about how to only include specific categories. I don’t know why it took me so long to find out how to do that, but it’s perfect. Thank you! :-)

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