Posts Tagged ‘plugin’

Improve WordPress Database Performance

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

I was browsing Greatnexus Internet and Web page and came across Yoast’s Optimizing WordPress Database Performance article. This article caught my interest because I have been having issue with my VPS crashing more often than it should and was trying to figure out what’s wrong.

In the article Yoast, mentioned a new WordPress plugin called Debug Queries and said that it’s design to help you find inefficient database queries — naturally, I was interested. I downloaded the plugin and installed it on my main blog. The result was very surprising. Debug Queries found that my home page was making 1,776 database queries per page load — yes, almost 2,000! Upon further inspection, I found the offending plugin to be Cross-Linker. After deactivation of Cross-Linker, the number of database queries dropped to 21.

This is unfortunate because I like the plugin. But fortunately, I found another linking plugin called KB Linker that works just as well, and impressively, the number of queries remained at 21.

So I just want to shout out to Joost de Valk, Frank Bültge, and Adam R. Brown.  Good job guys. Thank you for terrific blogs and plugins.

Plugin Update: BT-Active Discussions 1.1.1

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Today, I updated the BT Active Discussions to version 1.1.1. If you are using my plugin please update as soon as you can.

Summary of Changes

The following are changes made since the previous version:

  • The SQL query is now faster — One thing I noticed about the first version is that it works slowly on my personal finance blog which only has about 3,900 comments. This is unacceptable because it wouldn’t be very functional on bigger blogs. After toiling with the query for about a week, I finally came up with the solution. If you have a lot of comments on your blog, you’ll notice the difference.
  • Option to remove the credit link — The plugin automatically insert a credit link to the plugin home page at the bottom of the table. I’ve decided to make it easier for you to remove it via a variable in the plugin. However, I would really appreciate it if you can keep the link intact so that others may find and enjoy this plugin.
  • Installation instruction — Thanks to Alistair of The Urban Fly Fisher, I was able a slight error with the installation instruction. Specifically, it incorrectly tell you to insert the string %%bt-active-discussion%% instead of the correct bt-active-discussion(I left out the “s”).

As always, if you found this plugin useful. Your donation to this project is greatly appreciated. Please donate via PayPal.

New Plugin: BT-Active Discussions

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Over the weekend, I just created my first WordPress plugin, called BT Active Discussions. It is a recent comments plugin that displays customizable number of blog posts with recently updated comment. The output is very similar to phpBB’s View Active Topics and vBulletin’s Today’s Posts functions.

Recent Discussions

You can see a demo at Moolanomy Personal Finance Blog.

I’d appreciate any feedback you can provide below.

How To Start A Blog in 9 Easy Steps

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Over the past few weeks, my friends and I wrote about different aspects of blogging and how to position your blog more successful. In this post, I would like to take a step back and talk about how to start a blog. Specifically, I will discuss how to start a self-hosted WordPress blog since we already established that it’s one of the best platforms to start on.

Launch
Photo by rocatis via Flickr

Please note the discussion below assumes that you are interested in monetizing your blog and attracting readership. It’s not as applicable to if you want to blog casually.

1. Establish a business plan for your blog

This doesn’t have to be a full business plan since blogging has a very low cost of entry. But before you begin, there are several things you need to consider:

  • What’s the main focus of your blog? — I discussed this in Key to Successful Blogging. Be sure to pick a topic that you are passionate and knowledgeable about.
  • What are you trying to accomplish with your blog? — Do you want to start a blog to complement your business, products, and services? For side income? For notoriety? To open doors to other opportunities? To help others? To keep yourself accountable?
  • What are your expectations? — How much time are you willing to commit? What level of traffic, subscribers, income do you expect 3 months, 6 months, and a year from now? What would you do if you fail to meet those expectations?

2. Find and register a domain name

Once you have identified your blog’s topic, it’s time to find relevant and brandable domain name. I discussed this topic in detail in How to Create an Amazing Domain Name. I currently use GoDaddy.com and I do recommend them for domain name registration.

3. Find the right web hosting company

Finding the right web hosting company is probably one of the bothersome aspects of starting your own self-hosted web site. I have used many hosting companies in the past, including GoDaddy.com Hosting.

I am currently with Media Temple and have been very satisfied.

I think the four most important things to do when you start out initially are:

  • Pick the Linux package over Windows. With Linux you will have greater flexibility with .htaccess and working with PHP.
  • Pick a host that offers cPanel and phpMyAdmin administrative interfaces.
  • Use the lowest cost package. Don’t worry, you won’t go over the limits any time soon.
  • Sign up for 1 month only. Extend an additional month if you are happy and slowly work your way up to full year commitment. Use the money back guarantee if needed.

Here are a few more web hosting companies you could choose from:

4. Install WordPress

Installing WordPress is not too difficult, but it could be challenging if you are unfamiliar with the web. The basic steps are as follow:

  1. Download WordPress
  2. Unzip and FTP files to your web host
  3. Set up database
  4. Set up database username and password
  5. Update wp-config.php file
  6. Run WordPress built-in installation
  7. 5. Find and install a WordPress theme

    One of the nice thing about WordPress is that there are literally thousands of theme to choose from. With minimal effort you can make your blog looks fairly unique. I discussed this in detail in How to Find the Right WordPress Theme.

    6. Install and set up essentials plug-ins

    Plug-ins are add on programs that enhance the functionality of WordPress. You can find hundreds of plug-ins at the WordPress plugin directory. However, the ones that I considered essential are:

    7. Set up companion accounts and integrate their functionalities

    Companion accounts are other online services that make your blog more effective. I shared more information in 12 Essential Companion Accounts for a Successful Blog. Basically, these accounts will help in different aspects like monetization, marketing, traffic generation, search engines optimization, and so on.

    8. Configure your WordPress installation

    Once you have everything set up and installed, you’ll have to make everything works together. This involves making configuration changes in the administrative control panel, as well as some minor tweaking of your WordPress theme. This latter part will involve a little bit of HTML and PHP programming.

    9. Start blogging

    That’s it! You’re done and ready to share your ideas with the world. At this point, you’ll want to read How To Grow A New Blog Efficiently and other fine articles to help your blog grow.

5 Essential Items Every WordPress Blog Should Have

Monday, February 11th, 2008

Every blogger starts at the same place – a theme you chose and your first article. But once you start writing and getting your groove, you will want to do more for your blog to help promote it and follow it’s growth. Although there is a ton of advice available on what every blog should have, these 5 items that I have chosen are a good place to start if you are just starting a blog or just starting to look under the hood to see what you can do to improve it.

A Robots.txt file – If you do not have a robots.txt file installed inside your blog, you might be allowing the search engines to see duplicate content and other content that you do not want indexed. This is very important because you only want your content to be indexed at places like Google, and not, for instance, your categories, certain informational pages, your RSS feed, or your admin pages. You can normally see anyone’s robots file by just putting robots.txt after the domain name – “www.example.com/robots.txt”. You can create this file in any text editor, and there are samples available everywhere on the internet and on most major sites. Check out your favorite blog and see what theirs says! Once you have created the file, you should save it as “robots.txt” and place it in your root folder of your blog through your FTP program.

A Google XML Sitemap – This easy-to-use plugin generates a map of your WordPress blog for Ask.com, Google, MSN Search and Yahoo. A sitemap basically tells search engines how your blog works, where the content is, and anything else that helps the search engines index your site correctly. I use the plugin that is actually called Google XML Sitemaps. Set up is easy – download the file, FTP it into your Plugins folder, and activate it. Once you have done that, click once on “Rebuild Sitemap” to create your sitemap the first time.

Akismet Spam Killer – I was a big fan of Spam Karma for stopping spam comments and trackbacks; that is, until I started using Akismet instead. Each day, I was receiving tons spam comments and trackbacks, no matter how much work I put into blacklisting IP addresses or deleting comments. So I switched to Akismet, and BAM – it stopped. Not one spam comment or trackback in the first 5 days of use! Amazing. This is another simple plugin – download, upload to your Plugins folder, activate. In order to activate though, you do need a WordPress API key, which you might already have. If you don’t you can get by signing up for a simple account at WordPress.com (even if you host your own site somewhere else). That’s it, you don’t have to do anything else!

All-in-One-SEO – Probably the easiest to use Search Engine Optimization plugin available, the All-in-One-SEO pack is something no WordPress blog should be without. I mean, you want the search engines to find your great content, don’t you? With this installed, you can automatically optimize your titles for search engines, generate META tags automatically, and helps to avoid duplicate content. Even if you don’t do anything other than install the plugin and activate it, this plugin will help your blog get noticed by the search engines. But if you do decide to tinker with it, there is a lot you can do to optimize your site, and the explanations on how to use it is very well done. A definite must have that I have used for a long time.

A way to track visitors – You want to know where people are coming from and what they are looking at, don’t you? Sure you do! I have both Sitemeter and Google Analytics installed on all my sites, and each of them serves a purpose for me. Sitemeter I use as a basic “quick-look” stat counter, where I can see how many visitors I get in a day, where they came from, and how long they stayed. I take a look at it daily so I get a feeling as to how the site is doing. Google Analytics, on the other hand, is a monster of a tracking program – you can see traffic referrers, bounce rates, item uses, time of day vs. amount of visits – basically anything you could want to track, you can do with Analytics. And I think the coolest part is that you can run weekly or monthly reports, and export them as Excel or PDF files. These come in very handy when advertisers want to see your traffic numbers!

All of these things are free and very easy to use, and no blogger should be without them. And although there are many more things that every blog could have installed, if I had to pick 5 to install right away from the beginning, these are the 5 I would pick after blogging for quite some time. In another post in the near future, I will cover each plugin that I have installed on my sites, and how I use them all to my advantage. Happy blogging!

Increase Your AdSense Revenue With “Who Sees Ads?”

Friday, February 8th, 2008

One key concern about having advertisement on my blog is the fear of alienating my readers; especially regular readers who come to the blog daily and leave comments. Unfortunately, some of the best monetization opportunities call for disruptive ad placement. For example, one of the best performing AdSense ad is the large rectangular block placed inside the content itself.

So, how can a blogger strike a balance between maintaining an appealing blog while maximizing its revenue potential? On my personal finance blog, I struggled to make decent money with AdSense. I can’t reveal my CTR (Click Through Rate) and eCPM (Effective Cost Per 1,000 Impressions), but I thought they were abysmal. After some research, I stumbled upon what seems to be a perfect solution. The plugin is called, “Who Sees Ads?

Who Sees Ads? allows me to show a 300 x 250 AdSense ad block for posts older than 20 days old and for anyone that comes through a search engine (note that these conditions are highly configurable). This means that my regular readers (who mostly read newer posts) wouldn’t see the large and disruptive AdSense ad block at all.

This is what most regular readers see:

Web page with no ad

This is what shown on posts older than 20 days old:

Webpage with ad

The result? My AdSense revenue (measured by CTR and eCPM) increased by over three folds!