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Archive for the ‘WordPress Tips’ Category

The Importance of Caching in WordPress

W3 Total Cache LogoI had a pretty rough night last month.

After relaxing for a bit with my wife, I checked my site only to find that it wasn’t there at all. Instead, I was greeted with an error message saying that WordPress could not connect to the database.

I logged into my server’s control panel and noticed that the server load was unfathomably high, much more than it could ever take. I’d been dealing with a weird CPU issue for a while so I restarted the server, expecting it to correct itself.

But when my server eventually restarted, the site came back but only for a second, it quickly went down again. Whatever was causing it wasn’t just a temporary issue.

I contacted my host, which told me that they were seeing very high levels of traffic to the server, more than it could handle. It turns out the article I had written about a recent plagiarism case on Reddit was getting some attention both via Reddit itself and Google searches. The volume just seemed too high.

But then I looked at the sample level of traffic that I managed to snag when the site came back up briefly. It was high, many times my normal level, but nothing the server shouldn’t be able to take easily. It had, in the past, handled spiked much bigger than this.

My host agreed and we worked together to keep the site offline but give me access. Once in, I realized that I had made a terrible mistake.

The week before, I had to, in an emergency, create a new theme for my site. As part of that I had disabled W3 Total Cache. While a great move at the time, when I was done I had forgotten to reenable it and the site was without any kind of caching.

I reenabled the plugin, checked that it was working and then opened the site back up to the rest of the world. Sure enough, though the load was high and the server was straining some, it was nowhere near buckling. The highly-elevated traffic remained for several days and, through it all, there wasn’t as much as a glitch or a hiccup.

If I had remembered to reenable W3 Total Cache, or any caching plugin, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the traffic spike until I checked the stats the next day and I certainly wouldn’t have people on Reddit commenting about how quickly my site went down.

It was an embarrassment that ended up being minor, but it serves as a reminder to every WordPress user: Make sure you are using a caching plugin. Read More

Categories: WordPress Plugins, WordPress Tips

How I Created a New WordPress Theme in 5 Hours

WordPress LogoLast month I found myself with my back against the wall: My theme was falling apart.

In June of 2011 I had switched my site to the Headway Theme Framework, version 2.X. The changeover, initially, went very well. The theme was wonderful on the test site and, despite a hiccup or two in transferring it to the new main site, things were up and running quickly.

But problems slowly began to arise. The theme would occasionally have errors where the settings would change or elements would be added, causing sections of my pages to be repeated many times over. Most of the time the problems were minor and easily fixed, but they were annoying. However, over time the problems began to escalate.

After setting up the theme, I was at a major plagiarism conference in the UK when my site broke completely and became unreadable. The smaller errors started to become more common and it began to feel as if I was doing patch jobs on the theme weekly or more regularly.

I tried addressing the issue with both my host and with Headway’s support but none of the changes, including increasing the memory in my VPS, seemed to help. The people at Headway encouraged me to upgrade to the 3.X branch, saying it was much more stable and resource-friendly. However, there’s no upgrade path to go from 2.X to 3.X, meaning that doing so would require starting from scratch. In my mind, I didn’t have the time to set up a new theme and the patches, while annoying, were not time-consuming.

But then things went from bad to worse. In one day the theme went down three times and, the last time, temporarily took the entire database with you. Though I have good backups of my database, nothing causes a moment of panic quite like realizing that 8 years of hard work may have just been erased.

Fortunately it wasn’t, but with errors now as frequent as coffee breaks, I knew something had to be done quickly. So, that evening, I set out on one of my most ambitious WordPress-related tasks, creating an entire new theme in one night. Read More

Categories: WordPress Themes, WordPress Tips, WordPress Tools
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The 5 Best Features in WordPress JetPack

If you haven’t been following WordPress development closely this past year, you haven’t missed much. The last major version of WordPress, 3.4, was released On June 13th and the next, 3.5, is scheduled to be released on December 5th.

Neither version added what could be considered major user-facing features, especially to bloggers who are already working on the platform. Version 3.4 introduced greater theme controls and improved localization while 3.5 will introduce a new default theme and revamp the upload/insert workflow.

While all of these are great features and important to have, they don’t exactly set the world on fire with new functionality either. They’re incremental improvements and not sexy new features that get bloggers excited about new releases. However, cautious updates make sense given that it’s important for the WordPress core to be stable and consistent for the many corporate applications it sees these days

However, that doesn’t mean WordPress is being left to stagnate. Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com and primary driver behind developing the WordPress platform, has been dishing out a bevy of new features and tools, but they haven’t been baking it into the WordPress core. Instead, they’ve been taking advantage of WordPress’ plugin architecture and have built a plugin of plugins, named Jetpack, to incorporate new features they don’t want to code into WordPress itself.

While the reception of Jetpack was somewhat cool at first, it’s grown to incorporate a wide number of features, many of which have been widely requested by bloggers for some time.

So, keeping in mind that Jetpack is being rapidly updated, what are some of the best features it adds? Here are of the best to consider. Read More

Categories: WordPress Tips
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The 5 Most Underused WordPress Features

WordPress LogoWhen it comes to blogging, you need to know how to use your tools to their maximum potential. Whether they’re for researching, writing, publishing or promotion, knowing how to use the tools of your trade is vital to your success.

However, of all of those tools, none is more important than your blogging platform as it’s the only one that can be useful for every single stage of the writing process. For more and more bloggers, that tool of choice is WordPress.

But while WordPress has earned its popularity by being a robust blogging platform that almost anyone can pick up and use, there are many features of the platform that many of its users either aren’t aware of or simply don’t take adequate advantage of.

While the total number of such features is too great too count, a few features stand out as being drastically underused. Here are five of those features and why they don’t get the love they deserve. Read More

Categories: WordPress Tips
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5 Killer Tips to Make Your WordPress Blogs SEO Friendly

It’s really hard to get readers on your blog keeping in mind the fact that there are millions of blog on internets already. If you believe on facts, WordPress 3.0 version was downloading 65 million times by August 2011. So you can analyse the kind of completion you will need to face to get your blog on first page of Google and other search engines for its targeted terms. So how you go about doing SEO for your blog and how you will make sure you will be able to get lots of targeted traffic on your blog in today’s web world which is too competitive.

There are some measures you can actually take to make your WordPress blogs more SEO friendly and as a result will be able to compete with the top guns in your niche. So here is the ultimate list of 5 killer tips that will help you make your blog a perfect paradise for search engines: Read More

Categories: Blogging Tips, WordPress Tips
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New Trends In Analytics: Tag Management

As organizations look to continue pushing their online presence, their websites are likely to see an influx of page tags. These tags can vary from affiliate marketing to web analytics. As the tags stockpile on the site, marketing teams may experience some difficulty keeping up. A tag management system can be used to resolve this issue.

A tag management system helps a company turn the managing of tags over to the marketing team. These systems allow for a managing interface which allows a marketing team to easily keep their obligations fulfilled. Read More

Categories: Blog Statistics, Blogging Tips, Blogging Tools, WordPress Tips
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Change WordPress 3.2 Editor Font

With the launch of WordPress 3.2 a new monospace was introduced for the editor. Not everyone likes monospaced fonts though. Justin Tadlock explains how to change the editor font, via a simple addition to your theme’s functions.php.

After applying Justin’s tip, your editor will look like this:

Change Font WordPress 3.2 Editor

WordPress 3.2 editor with different font

Categories: Linking, WordPress Tips
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The Art Of Live Blogging: Tips For Guru’s And New Comers

Whenever a major event occurs (such as Apple unveiling the latest iPad or a natural disaster), many bloggers on site set up “live blogs” in order to provide real time coverage (minus the lengthy and formal blog postings of course).

While everyone has their own preference as to how one should setup a live blog, here are a few tips (as well as a couple of tools) for those of you seeking a way to update your readers in real time without using external tools (like Twitter and Cover It Live). Read More

Categories: WordPress Tips

How to Move From WordPress.com to WordPress.org

WordPress.com is a hosted service, which allows you to set up multiple blogs for free, however there are optional paid options which add functionality to your blog. WordPress.com is perfect for a beginner blogger, however many bloggers find that it is to restrictive and looks unprofessional. In this Conor P. explains how to move from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, with the help of some video tutorials.

Visit the tutorial here.

Categories: Linking, WordPress Tips, WordPress Tutorials
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Tutorial: Show All WordPress Image Sizes

Justin Tadlock, of Theme Hybrid fame, has published a new entry describing how to display links to all images sizes within WordPress (or on your attachment pages). The attachment page often is a forgotten area in many a WordPress design.

At Splashpress Media we also made sure to pay extra attention to the attachment page in our redesigns and all our newly designed pages also include an ‘Attachment gallery’ as can be seen in this ForeverGeek post. Click any image in that post or just visit an attachment page:

Justin’s entry explains how to include links to every image size in your designs.

Links to all image sizes in WordPress

Read Justin’s tutorial here

Categories: Linking, WordPress Tips, WordPress Tutorials
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