Archive for the 'Wordpress' category

Maintaining Consistent WWW Prefix in Drupal

It has been bothering me for months that visitors arriving at my sites without the www (for example, discover-doug.com rather than www.discover-doug.com) end up at two different places (as far as Google is concerned).

Note to WordPress users: this does not seem to work for WordPress. I just tried it with out success. That is why this blog, which runs on WordPress, will not change discover-doug.com/something into www.discover-doug.com/something.

I just stumbled across the solution in the Drupal Issues page which explains how to fix this.

Actually, I was lucky, because Drupal 5.x has a bug in the.htaccess file. There is provision for this - an explanation and some lines to be un-commented, but I had not bothered to read the .htaccess file.

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Improvement Ideas for the WordPress Shopping Cart

I recently set up an ecommerce website using WordPress and Instinct Software’s ecommerce plugin. I have already written briefly about customizing WP Shopping Cart for WordPress. I explained how I had to hack the system to get the look that I wanted.

I a simple suggestion for improving how WP Shopping Cart outputs its HTML so that the process of customizing the look becomes much easier.

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rel=nofollow pros and cons

nofollowI recently ran across another article about whether to use rel=nofollow in links from your visitors comments. Jonathan, the author, advocates installing the Dofollow Plugin For WordPress, which removes the rel-nofollow attribute in comments.

Is this a good idea?

In a previous article on this blog, I commented that using rel-nofollow may improve the quality of comments. While this may be true, it may also discourage commenting in general, certainly among the link-savvy. At the same time, it may discourage comments for the sake of a link to the commenter’s blog.

I think I have a solution to this for anyone who wants to develop a plugin to make the following idea happen.

Extending the publish/delete comment function in a blog, how about being able to publish with or without rel=nofollow? This way you can reward on-topic comments with links to a related blog, but still publish comments that are a bit off-topic, or do not link to a related blog. Such a plugin would flag which comments are which, and publish your rel=nofollow policy next to the comment form.

I have not yet installed the dofollow plugin, but I am considering it.

What is your opinion about rel=nofollow? Would you like to be able to rate the comments left on your blog and reward the most relevant ones? Are you more likely to leave quality comments on a blog which does follow links back to your blog? Your comments please!

 


 

More articles about rel=nofollow:

Burry rel-nofollow - clearly against it.

Accessing Files in a WordPress Theme Directory

When developing or modifying themes in WordPress, you may want to reference a file in the theme, such as a graphic, or an additional style sheet.

The php function bloginfo(’template_directory’) outputs the path to the template to the template. In other words, this function has an echo statement built right into it. You can not assign a variable to the path using this method.

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Improved WordPress Template

When I first set up this blog, I used a template adapted from my travel information website. That template isn’t perfect, actually it has some major problems that need to be adjusted, but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere! There are things I like about that template too.

Sooner or later though, the template for this site had to change, and that time turned out to be yesterday.

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Extending The Use Of BlogDesk

blogdesk-logoIn a separate post, I have complained about the shortcomings of the editors available for WordPress, Drupal and other content management systems.

The solution I have been using lately is BlogDesk. I have been using it for months to post on my blogs (I’m using it now). Lately I have extended its use for other projects such as my new allergy information website. That one uses Drupal, and has many types of content (blog, page, story, book …). Some of these need more configuration than BlogDesk can manage, so uploading from my desk top does not work for everything.

What does work well is to use BlogDesk to type text, embed images, format, add links etc. The built-in spell checker is pretty good to. Use only the Post section, not the More section. Add page breaks manually.

You can then view the HTML, where you can make further changes if necessary, such as adding floating DIV blocks etc.

When you are done editing, switch the view to HTML, then copy the entire post.

Disable the editor in the editor in your content management system. Paste the HTML into the body of your post body.

WARNING: Do not attempt to edit your post with a built-in editor at a later time if you use the above method to add additional HTML tags. The editor may remove or alter your carefully constructed HTML code. FCKeditor (for Drupal) seems to alter the HTML less than most.

Is Any Web-Based Built-In Editor Good?

I just disabled the built-in editor for WordPress. After trying several editors for Drupal, I’ve given up on them all. For now, I’ll stick to HTML, thanks.

I love the idea of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors, but I don’t like what any of these editors do to my posts.

I’ve had problems with TinyMCE, for example, I lost a lot of work when I tried to edit a link, and ended up jumping to the link instead.

Most on-line editors filter the HTML, which is just plain nasty if you are trying to embed elements in floating DIV statements for example (for an example, see this article on how to install TinyMCE in Drupal).

Although the idea of WYSIWYG is great, in practice the available options are wanting.

Typing HTML has problems as well. At first there is a lot to learn, but you get used to it. The problem is typos. Most of the links in my posts open a new window - it would be too easy to mistype “_blank” or leave out a quote somewhere.

The solution I have been using lately is BlogDesk. You can read more about extending the use of BlogDesk on a separate post.

Another WordPress Template Adjustment

The template I have been using for this and some of my other blogs had some serious flaws. The biggest was that you could not see hyper links! This has been corrected, by making some changes to the CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) file.

While I was at it, I addressed another big problem: confusion over how to make comments. A number of people were telling me that they could see if comments had been made or not, but did not understand how to read the comments or leave their own. This lead me to suspect that the “Read more” link at the end of posts on the main page was not being used. When I look at my server logs, I can see that few people navigate beyond whatever page they land on.

As I made changes to the style sheet, I also felt the need to make adjustments to the layout, to make navigation more obvious. The template started to look messy, so I have moved a few things around.

I hope you will agree that this results in a website that is easier to read and easier to navigate.

I have also made the ads easer to see. As long as people take advantage of them, there will be a revenue stream from this website (and my other websites) which makes it all worth while. So I have changed the colour scheme of the ads so that they show up more. I hope they catch your eye, without distracting you too much or annoying you. I see some websites with bright red titles in the ads - this is ugly, and screams “click me, click me!” which makes me want to do the opposite. I hope I have come up with a tasteful and attractive alternative.

What do you think of the changes? Feel free to leave your comments .

For comparison, you can visit my travel information website. I have not yet changed that template, partly due to time constraints, and partly to see how the changes go over on this website. I might make further adjustments, based on your feedback.

I invite you to tell me just what you think about the layout, colour scheme and navigation of this website, so do please comment !

Getting Started with Blogging and WordPress

A friend of mine sent me a question about how to get started with blogging. I am sharing my reply to him with all of you, I hope you find it useful!

Just got back from Mexico a few days ago, and am cleaning things up and transitioning back to being here! By the way, you can read about my traveling in Mexico at journal.dougs-travels.com … I’ll be adding to that site for quite a while.

Anyhow, of all my websites, the ones that I have put effort into promoting have all achieved a PR of 4, which I am really happy about! Traffic is increasing, I would not say it is a lot yet, not enough yet to generate significant income, but that will come. I’m on the right trajectory, so if I keep doing what I’ve been doing, and learn to do it better, I will get there alright!

WordPress is easy to use. That does not make it easy to set up in just the way you want. If you like it “out of the box” it is easy, and if you can find a template you like, it is easy to switch the template. Modifying a template or customizing WordPress is more of a challenge, depending on your background. So if use an existing template, you really don’t need to know HTML or programming.

WordPress is very flexible when it comes to changing the layout. Again, if you can’t find a template that does it for you, then you need to roll up your sleeves and get into HTML, CSS and programming (or pay someone to do this for you). Probably this is not necessary when you start out, the first thing to do is generate traffic. I did lots of work on my website, but that’s because doing this sort of work fits in to my big picture plan.

WordPress is open-source, so the software itself is free. The cost is for your server, and your personal time to learn how to use it. There are additional costs to customizing it, either your time, or paying for someone else’s time. I would say on a comparative basis though, it is about the cheapest option for a blog.

In terms of how long it would take to get a blog up and running? Depends on your experience. I could register a domain, and likely have it working with WordPress within an hour, and it might take me a few hours or days to customize a template with which I am already familiar. But it took me years and decades to gain general computer experience, and weeks and months to learn the inner workings of servers and WordPress.

I don’t know how savvy you are with computers. It could take you days or weeks to get started, depending on what you know. Don’t worry if it takes you weeks, that in a way is a good thing, it means you are learning a lot!

Hope all this helps!