Categories
Blog Portfolio

Jared Rey Blog

Jared Rey BlogJared has been one of my good friends for a while, and when he started getting serious about photography he wanted a custom designed blog so he came to me. He actually had already put together a design he wanted to go with and just needed my help making it come to life.

Included in Jared’s site are a few little features that you may not notice unless they’re pointed out. All of so-called “pages” are navigated to from the menu but are also viewed in the menu. Instead of clicking on the About page and going to a whole new page, for example, the menu drops down and displays all of the information normally displayed on the full About page. This keeps navigation simple and simplifies the entire site. Jared wanted comments to be quickly viewable, so if you want to see the comments, click the link and they drop down – again, avoiding a page refresh and interrupting the flow of the site.

Website: No longer online

Platform: WordPress

Categories
WordPress

Hardcore WordPress Tips

Update: See WordPress Tips 2009 for a new & improved list

I’m not the first one to write a post that outlines major WordPress tips and tricks to implement into your WordPress site (or any kind of site for a number of these tips). Search engines will be much more proud to display your content if it follows some of these WordPress tips. In order to improve SEO on your blog, improve site speed, improve user-friendliness, and ease site management.

WordPress Tip 1. Use The Title Tag Correctly

Making the best use of your title tag can make a huge a difference in how people find your site. Search engines base the title in the SERP on your title tag and if you don’t sell the content in that one line, chances are you won’t sell it at all.

The following code enables your site to make better use of your post titles and blog description. Basically it says that if you are viewing a post, a page, or an archive that it should display the title of that page in the title tag and if it is anything else (i.e. the home page) then it should display the description of the blog. This means that you should make sure your blog’s description is very relevant to your site’s content.

Source: Pearsonified

WordPress Tip 2. Direct Bots To Your Content

You’ve got a lot of great content and you want people to find it in as many places as possible, but Google doesn’t like duplicated content – no problem. Michael Gray outlines how to organize your content in such a way that bots can easily find your content.

His advice is geared more towards brand new sites, but another solution is the Meta Robots plugin. This plugin blocks bots from following and/or indexing pages on your site.

For example, I’m using the Meta Robots plugin to prevent the indexing of these pages:

  • The login and register pages
  • All admin pages
  • Author pages
  • Date-based archives
  • Tag archives

In addition I’m using the plugin to add nofollow to these:

  • Nofollow category listings on pages
  • Nofollow category listings on single posts
  • Nofollow outbound links on the frontpage
  • Nofollow login and registration links

Joost de Valk’s SEO blog is an excellent source of WordPress tips.

WordPress Tip 3. RSS Is Super Powerful

For the normal person RSS is just a really handy way to get their favorite blogs in one spot. Awesome.

However, what is even better is the resulting SEO of RSS.

RSS has the potential to push your content to SERPs quicker than not utilizing it. We all know that if you write a new post you’ve got to wait for the Google bot to come by and snatch up the new content and then display in the SERPs. WRONG.

What I’ve found out is that by utilizing FeedBurner, you enable your content to be pushed to SERPs nearly immediately. Your content hasn’t even been chached yet! Google recognizes that your content is fresh, and therefore may be more relevant to searches and gives it better results than others (others that you normally WOULDN’T beat).

So get yourself a FeedBurner account!

WordPress Tip 4. Post Frequently and/or Consistently

Bots know to return to sites more often when they recognize that content is being created…more often. This can ensure that all of your content is being indexed and tells search engines that you’re alive, producing new, fresh content. Even if you aren’t posting everyday, some sort of a routine is good to keep bots coming back regularly.

WordPress Tip 5. Site Maps

I’m not talking about the site map that you link to in your footer. I’m talking about the one-time-plugin-install that automatically creates a site map for you and pings the search engines, alerting them that you have new content. The best plugin for this is, of course, the Google Sitemaps Generator.

The site map is standardized and can be read by Google, Ask, Yahoo!, and MSN. Auto generate your site map and forget about it.

Download the Google Sitemaps Generator.

WordPress Tip 6. Secure Your Site

Matt Cutts suggested three things to lock down your site and keep hackers out:

  1. Prevent access to your wp-admin directory from unauthorized IP addresses via an .htaccess file
  2. Make an empty index.html file in your plugins directory to avoid people gaining access to your current plugins
  3. Always update to the newest version of WordPress so that publicly released security flaws don’t catch up with you

Source: Three tips to protect your WordPress installation

Matt sometimes posts some great WordPress tips as well, so check his blog out.

WordPress Tip 7. Speed Your Site Up and Don’t Run the Risk of the “Digg Effect”

Hopefully you’re writing good enough content that someday may be worthy of the “Digg Effect” (captivating so many people that your site goes down at a most critical point). Of course you can’t assure perfection without spending the big bucks, but there are some things to keep yourself alive during these times.

The WP-Cache plugin is the single-most common and easiest way to speed your site up. It simply caches pages as they are visited and automatically dumps the cache at a custom interval (default is an hour).

For more advanced methods of caching and speed improvement, visit Elliot Back’s “WordPress Improvement: Why My Site Is So Much Faster Than Yours

WordPress Tip 8. For Media: podPress

There is no other plugin as easy to use for rich media than podPress. With this single install you can upload almost any media file (audio or video) and have it play via a player of your choice right in your blog – complete with an assortment of customization options. In addition, turn your media into a podcast and let podPress do all the work. This is a very powerful plugin and can be used in all sorts of ways.

I can’t wait to start using it more. Download podPress here.

WordPress Tip 9. Use a Related Posts Plugin

A lot of times organic visitors have found content that they like. Assuming they made it all the way to the bottom of your post (or wherever your choose to put it) they might encounter a list of related posts. This is nearly essential. Again, they found content they like, so if you’ve written other posts around the same subject they will most likely be interested in those as well. Keep people clicking and moving around your site.

Download the Similar Posts plugin.

WordPress Tip 10. Use the Yahoo! User Interface Library

One of the best things Yahoo! has done has been releasing the YUI Library. For a good number of benefits, you are better off creating your themes using this – you won’t regret it. Read my “Easy Workflow for Site Creation” post.

In Conclusion

Hopefully I’ve been able to provide some useful tips. As more come in I’ll continue to compile them and share them with you as I learn. After all, that’s what makes WordPress so great!

Feel free to share your tips below!

Categories
General

Do You Always Feel Like You Want to Start A New Project?

I do.

Nearly everyday I have a new idea of something I’d like to build. Most of these are quasi-doable, while others stem from frustration and are pretty much impossible. Some ideas are:

  • local social music sites (ahem, hearDenton…still on the the very last back burner)
  • software that tracks drivers’ bad driving and penalizing them for it (maybe sending their stats to their insurance companies – also, not a project for me…I’m a web guy)
  • a site to compile LOTS of information on good worship songs (I started this and accidentally deleted…oh well)
  • a more stream-lined CMS solution built on WordPress
  • build a premium WordPress theme
  • turn the Shuttle design into a real theme

The list could go on. The point, though, is that I always have this feeling of wanting to accomplish another project. Of course I’m prevented by time mostly. If only I didn’t have to work full-time. One day…

So do you feel like this?

Categories
WordPress

Thinking About the WordPress Admin Panel

This week the WordPress team announced that a new admin panel is going to be implemented into the next release, 2.5.

Well, I’m pretty disappointed in the new design. What confuses me even more is that the overwhelming support for the Shuttle design seems to have been completely ignored, and instead, WordPress’ attention was put into a poor attempt at a color makeover (there seem to be some new features and re-organization, but really…).

Well I contacted Khaled (Shuttle designer) to see if he would want to partner with me in actually creating the Shuttle theme. I’d love to see Shuttle in use. How about you guys?

Categories
General

Completely Revamped/Fresh Start

Well, for anyone that has been a subscriber, I’m starting over. The reasons are many – briefly stated:

  • PagesGarden hosting support sucked and only allowed 3 MySQL databases
  • I wanted to setup my blog in a folder “/blog” because of the point that Matt Cutts made in a PowerPoint about future expansion.
  • I wanted to start with fresh content
  • I’m going to be moderating several blogs and other projects and wanted to get everything in order for that
  • My site is going to be less portfolio focused and more on content (I got a job…so yeah)
  • I really wanted to organize my content in a better fashion, using a sort of magazine style theme – for the time being, thanks to The Masterplan
  • WordPress now supports tags, so I’m going to use them

So here we are on the new site. I’ll still be talking about SEO, user interface, design, WordPress, and other web-releated topics.

Also, I started for for Lead Maverick (don’t fret – I’m redesigning the site right now!) in November. We offer small to medium size businesses an SEO solution. Basically we optimize, aggregate, and localize content that customers insert into our application and we output it into a directory. Check it out – its really cool how well it works.

Hope to hear from you guys!

Disclaimer: The views expressed on my blog are not that of Lead Maverick.

Categories
Full Site Portfolio

CollegeLife

college-life-2CollegeLife wanted a very simple, very streamlined site design and I was able to accomplish that. We were also able to work in a very robust featured content area on the home page which enables the highlighting of the more important pieces of information on the site. Because of using WordPress the administration of the site is very easy, yet very flexible and makes for a very dynamic site.

Website: CollegeLife

Platform: WordPress