Tag Archives: wordpress

Do you use dates in your URLs?

Several of my clients are jumping into the world of blogging and I reached out to my most excellent colleagues (Hi Max & Brian) to help get some WordPress blogs designed, installed and setup for me.

Since these are new blogs, the question of subdomains vs. subdirectories came up (more on that later, still researching a few things) as did the question of blog URLs including dates or not.

URLs Dates or Not?

This blog is currently setup with year and month in the URL. Nearly all news sites I’ve seen use the full date in their posts. I’ve had a blog since May 2006, so I have a pretty good archive of posts that include the date in the URL. If I were to change mid-stream to a no-date structure, I think I’d have a lot of redirecting to do.

Although I just made the change for my personal blogs and posts seem to be redirecting properly from the old date format URLs… H’mm, am I bold enough to try making the change on my 7 year old blog just to “see what happens?”

Here are links to a few differing viewpoints on dates in URLs:

And a quick video from Matt Cutts about it. Basically he says you don’t need the date, but that it can be a good usability feature to have the date easy for your visitors to find. However, the date doesn’t have to be in the URL, it can be in the post content. Google doesn’t use the URL to determine “freshness” of information.

 

So, if you are starting a new blog, will you use dates in your URLs or not?

Activating Yoast Breadcrumbs on the Weaver Theme for WordPress

I love the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin. I still have not learned nearly all it can do. I also love the Weaver Theme for WordPress. I find it so easy to customize (I am fairly tech savvy, but a non-programmer).

I wanted to use Breadcrumbs on all my sites/blogs but could NOT figure out how to get them to work.

Yoast SEO for WordPress Breadcrumbs

I tried inserting the code on the settings page into widgets and sidebars, etc. until I finally stumbled upon the WordPress Forum that had the answer. Unfortunately I didn’t bookmark it…. but I do remember the answer.

And here is a short (under 5 minute) video tutorial on activating breadcrumbs on your WordPress site using the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin.

So, that’s it for today. Let me know if you have any questions.

 

10 Best WordPress Plugins

10 Best WordPress Plugins

Here’s a list of what I think are the Top 10 Best (and most useful) WordPress plugins.

  1. WordPress SEO by Yoast
    • A fantastic and fully featured plugin to customize the SEO on your WordPress site. You even get advanced options like specific descriptions to use when someone posts your page on Facebook or Twitter.
  2. Akismet
    • For Comment SPAM, the bane of the WordPress existence. Akismet requires you to purchase a key for it to work properly, but the cost is well worth it as it saves the aggravation of wading through mountains of comment spam.
  3. Simple Page Ordering
    • I discovered this plugin early on when I realized that my WordPress theme was only putting pages in alphabetical order in my menu bars (bleh!). Simple Page Ordering allows you to order your pages any way you like in the menu.
  4. Shareaholic Bookmarks
    • This is a new favorite of mine. I have seen it all over, but didn’t know what it was called. They are the cute pop-up social icons at the bottom of posts.
  5. Ultimate Follow Me
    • Another new one for me, this is the nicely formatted social icons on the right sidebar. This plugin is an easy way to connect people to your other online profiles.
  6. AuthorSure
    • As with many plugins, they are an easier way to do something that can be done with programming code (if you know how). This plugin allows you to enter your Google+ Profile page so that every post on your blog that’s “by You” will get the proper Google Authorship Markup.
  7. Google AdSense Plug and Play
    • This plugin makes it SUPER easy to install Google AdWords code to different places on your blog (above and/or below posts), different sized ad-blocks are automatically available to you. All you need to do is add your Google AdSense Publisher code into the plugin settings.
  8. Google Analytics for WordPress
    • Another easy solution for something that would otherwise require editing php files with the Google Analytics code. This plugin only requires you to enter your Google Analytics UA number and it does the rest.
  9. WPTouch
    • There are alot of ways to get a mobile version of your site (and many plugins that can do it) but I found WPTouch to be the easiest to use. As I’ve said before, I am not a programmer, just slightly tech-savvy. So I like to find solutions that don’t require programming.
  10. WordPress Related Posts
    • Another new discovery for me. I had begun following threads of related posts on other blogs while researching and I realized that it’s very handy way to let visitors know what other content on your site relates to the page they’ve landed on. You can even upload your own default image to display with related posts if the post doesn’t have it’s own image.

Do you have others that you love? Please share them here.

How To: WordPress Basics – Tutorials

WordpressI am a big fan of things that are fast, easy and free. I used to design websites in HTML, but since I am not an artist, they were, at best, utilitarian and rather plain. I now leave the real designing to professionals like SJP Designs and Group Somma. However, when I get an idea and I want a website up and running quickly. I head to WordPress.

GoDaddy

For Registering a domain, I recommend GoDaddy. My only pet peeve with them is the concentrated “up-sell” you have to go through to actually get a domain name registered. I tend to answer “no thanks” to almost all they offer.

I also prefer to keep my domain registrar and hosting companies separate. You’re probably fine registering and hosting with GoDaddy, but early in my career I got burned when the company I was registered with/hosting went out of business. It took a lot of time and effort to get the domain registered with a new registrar.

Westhost

So, once you own the domain, get a hosting account setup. I use Westhost and have for over 12 years. They are a great company, reasonably priced, with very good customer service. They also offer WordPress one click install with a lot of fantastic available themes for free with your hosting account.

Here’s a quick How To on installing WordPress at your Westhost hosting account: http://askjoanne.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Use-Wordpress-for-Your-Website

Next step once WordPress is installed on your website is to set it up as the main platform for your domain (instead of just as an add-on blog). This is where I think WordPress can really shine… no programmer/designer required a complete DIY solution.

The next steps get a little bit technical, but not overwhelming. You’ll need to be able to use FTP to upload/download files and feel confident enough to copy some files and change a couple of lines of code.

I wrote a few Hubpage articles about how to use WordPress as your Main Domain and how to use a static homepage on your site (instead of the homepage going right to the blog).

http://askjoanne.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Make-Wordpress-your-Main-Domain

http://askjoanne.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Make-a-Static-Wordpress-Page-your-Sites-Homepage

The next articles will focus on how to customize your WordPress theme and which plugins I think are essential to extend the functionality of WordPress.

Here’s the WordPress site I launched last week:

Quasi-Crunchy
Easy WordPress Site

Comments? Questions? Please post below.

Image Sizes for Google+, Facebook and WordPress Header Images

I find myself looking for this information all the time, so here’s a quick cheat sheet.

On the current date, 5 April 2013 here are the pixel dimensions for the header images on Facebook profiles, Google+ pages, and the header image for WordPress (Weaver theme).

This image is a snippet from a full and super-helpful infographic by Jon Loomer:

fb-header-dimensions

 

The new image size for Google+ is 480 x 270

ScreenShot871

And for WordPress Weaver header images, the dimensions are: 940 x 198

Collages

Ooops, almost forgot Twitter profile banners. They are ideally 1252 x 626 pixels and cannot be larger than 5MB.

twitter profile

I find that an easy way to be able to change out my header images myself (without a graphic designer’s help) is to setup custom cropping sizes in Picasa and label them accordingly (eg. put in the dimensions for the Facebook cover image and name the custom size “facebook cover”)

That way you have an easy way to crop any photos you’ve imported from your phone or camera. You can also use Picasa to create a collage of images and then have it create the collage to match the dimensions of the image you are trying to create. You can even add text, or a watermark to your finished image easily.

Here’s a quick Tutorial on creating profile images in Picasa:

Questions? please ask below in the comments section.

SEO for WordPress Websites

Just found a great article over at Search Engine Journal about SEO for WordPress Websites. I will summarize and comment on their recommendations here.

1) Optimizing your URL Structure.

This is a very easy fix to the most basic problem I see on WordPress sites, most people take the default URL structure which includes something like ?p=765 as the URL for each page or post. This tells the search engines nothing about the page. A better way is to use one of the settings that includes the Post Name (and then remember to name your posts intelligently!). This setting can be changed in Settings>Permalinks. Search Engine Journal recommends the Post Name setting. I prefer Month & Name setting. This is so that I could have other posts with the same name, but are differentiated by when they were written.

2) Use of the H1 Blog Title on all Pages

This one I have to look into in a little more detail, but according to SEJ, the H1 tag is used for the Title of the Site/Blog on all pages. This is a mistake because Google places a fair amount of importance to what text uses the H1 tag and you don’t want to have them the same throughout the site. Much better to use the H1 tag as you would a page title, unique to each page of the site.

3) Allow Categories/Tags to be Indexed?

Yes, if you have setup Tags and Categories with appropriate names, your page and blog archives can help users find exactly what they are looking for. SEJ recommends a follow up article on this topic from WPBeginner.

4) Use a good SEO Plugin for WordPress

My favorite is Yoast and SEJ agrees.

5) Image Optimization on WordPress

Don’t forget to use Alt-text, Captions and Descriptions when uploading image content!

6) Google Author Profile on WordPress

This is an option in Yoast as well, but you definitely want to link your content to your Google+ profile so you have the option for Authorship Markup. Here’s an example of what Authorship Markup can do in the search results:

Ask Joanne Google+ Authorship

Authorship Markup on Search Results

7) Schema.org microdata on WordPress

I’m learning more about structured data and microdata every day, in fact there’s a very cool new tool over at Webmaster tools called the data highlighter for sites that feature event listings. Anyway, this is something I need to check into in more detail. SEJ gives a link to a plugin that will help: Schema Creator by Raven. Note: So far this plugin has only a few schema types (and when I tried it, all the data was visible on the page. I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to work -will check it out and report back.)

8) Keep an Eye on Your Plugins and Themes

This is always good advice…make sure the plugins you’ve installed and rely on for the best functioning of your site are working as they should. Questions?, go to the WordPress Community Forum.

9) Webmaster Tools and Analytics

Now this is always good advice, WordPress site or not! Make sure you are setup with Webmaster tools on both Google and Bing. Also, make sure you are tracking your site analytics!