Muschamp Rd

Jazzing up my blog

August 4th, 2010
WordPress Logo

So I’ve been thinking of upgrading to WordPress 3.x now that the initial 3.0 release has had bug fixes. A wise sysop waits until the point something release after a major revision. Remember all the troubles I had when I upgraded from where I had everything working to the same code base we had installed at BOB? It was hellacious fixing it, all to save the few words and comments that are in Chinese or Japanese. I tried all sorts of plugins and SQL fixes but in the end the best I could do was roll back into the mess of code I’m running now. Officially it is 2.7.1 but I think it is some sort of custom hybrid.

Hmm Firefox thinks I spelled ‘hellacious’ wrong, shows how smart Firefox is. I wish I could make the spell checker learn to spell things like WordPress, plugins, or SQL all of which Firefox/WordPress thinks are spelled wrong in the previous paragraph. I know it isn’t using the built in dictionary on my Mac as that is where I double checked I was spelling hellacious correctly.

The purpose of this post isn’t to complain about spellchecking, whatever words it gets wrong, it still prevents me from making some dumb mistakes so it is a valued feature. What this post is about is jazzing up my blog. No I’m not changing the theme. This theme was custom made by me, to fit inside my static site, which is also heavily customized HTML using a trick I got off of someone years ago. I modified it heavily including making it validate correctly. Plugins and WordPress itself are not totally under my control, but and both validate perfectly or they did prior to my interview with Opera. I think my stubborn hand coding impressed them, as well as Google. I think I had to make it validate XHTML strict too. My hResume template validates perfectly or did last I checked. Valid HTML is more than just some holy grail, it helps people read your website, including those that are visually impaired, it also helps search engines index your site.

Some of the recent changes I’ve made were adding plugins recommend by in their SEO for WordPress article. My blog has entirely too many posts on entirely too many topics, if you want to do well in Google or other search engines you have to focus. That is why I finally did a dedicated hobby blog, plus contribute to a few other more focused blogs. I was doing a lot of blogging and painting for a while, but now after getting some more advice I’ve been tweaking my resume and re-evaluating my web presence.

WordPress has changed a lot over the years. A lot of things are now handled by plugins. Before you used to have to craft custom templates and write various snippets of PHP do do stuff. Now I seem to cut code out of my template and delegate things to WordPress plugins. This can’t always be done but with UI’s on the admin side of WordPress or plugins that are widget-ized it is a lot easier. Some plugins still get abandoned and when you upgrade either break your theme or force you do some theme surgery to get your blog up and running. Either that or you have to roll back to your previous installation. Remember to backup, try backing up multiple ways both with a database dump and with an XML version of your site.

I had so many problems with WordPress and Asian language content that I went to a very minimal install as far as plugins are concerned, but I’ve been slowly re-adding them. They are not always visible as some of them do their work behind the scenes. For instance the search engine optimization ones, we’ll see if this results in more traffic. I’m also using Google’s Webmasters Tools a bit more. I’ve had site analytics forever, I even used Urchin on one of my co-op workterms, but as both a search engine and a provider of analytics software, Google is in a position to give unique insights which probably pisses off some of the other click tracking software manufacturers.

Google used to hate SEO types and never addressed them, now they’ve grown so numerous Google has dedicated SEO blogs and a spokesmen who goes to their conferences. WebmasterWorld used to be where a lot of SEO talk was, then they added a pay private section and a bunch more have since cropped up, there is still a lot of good solid information about search engine optimization available online. In fact consultants often write such articles to try and rank higher for SEO or “search engine optimization”. I even wrote a couple of articles to see just how tough those keywords really are to rank for. Maybe I should revise the best of them as a blog posting.

Back in they day, the forum I liked was Builders Buzz, but then who bought it made some decisions which drove people away. There used to be this one adult webmaster whose handle was NineNine he was a sharp cat. Adult websites are one of the more competitive and underhanded areas of search engine optimization, travel and insurance are two other hyper competitive ones.

I detailed the plugins I used when I set up the Building Opportunities with Business blog, I doubt it has changed much in the last three months. I didn’t create the theme but specified a few things such as it must have a dynamic sidebar. My blog has a custom hand coded sidebar and a portion of my sidebar is dynamic. I’ll probably list all the plugins I have installed on this blog once I’m done tweaking it.

  • How the hell did comments get turned off for my brand new post? I know some sites turn off comments, which makes them less of a blog. The defining features of a blog are chronological publishing, comments, and rss feeds. If your 'site' doesn't have all three of those things it isn't a blog.

    Another common setting is to disable comments after a month of so from the publish date. I don't go for that. I know I find posts on other people's sites often years after they are posted that I want to contribute to, or thank them for posting.

    In addition to adding new plugins to my site it appears both Flickr and Disqus have made changes today or in the last few days, but I'd say they both happened today.

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