WordPress SEO, by Joost de Valk

My go to source for WordPress SEO strategy

WordPress SEO, by Joost de Valk
I don’t spend much time optimizing this site, mostly because I don’t care how it ranks for anything other than my name, but I do pay attention to SEO for other sites.

Joost de Valk is a fantastic resource for WordPress SEO strategy. The best part about Joost (pronounced Yoast, like toast) is that he doesn’t fill his posts, presentations and talks with vague garbage. He tells you step by step how to efficiently help yourself rank better in search.

The other day he posted a presentation on common sense practices for Content Marketing and SEO. I highly recommend you check it out. And then, just peruse his archives for awesome stuff.

He also write the absolute best SEO plugin for WordPress.

Download it, set it up, and be happy.

WordPress feature request: Attach image to post in media uploader


When you insert an image into a WordPress post using the media uploader, there are three options: none, file url, or post url. You can also enter a custom link. I want to see a fourth option to link the image to the post that we are inserting our image in.

None obviously removes links altogether. File url links the image to the source file. Post url links the image to the attachment page, as attachments are their own post type in WordPress. None of these options are very good if your image is a prominent part of your post and you want it to link to the post itself.

Let’s say you use a typical blog format and display full content on your blog or home page. You may include up to three or four paragraphs for each post before a read more link that goes to the singular post page. When someone is on your home page and wants to read the full post, a big feature image is a likely candidate to click on to view the full post, so we don’t want this image to link to the source file or attachment file.

We also don’t want it to not link, because the user may expect that it links to the full post view. It is common practice when showing excerpts, rather than full content, to link images to the singular post page. We want to mimic that functionality when viewing home and blog pages with full content and more links. Even if more links aren’t present, we still don’t want to send the user to the attachment or image source pages if they happen to click the feature image.

Currently, you can enter a custom url, and it is easy enough to grab the shortlink from the main post edit screen to do so, but I don’t think it’s good enough. This is a fairly common use case, and there should be a fourth button in the media uploader to link the image attachment to the post itself.

I’ve looked for ways to add this functionality myself, but haven’t been able to figure it out. If anyone knows how, I’d love to see it.

stubhublogo

Stubhub offering $2,500 plus refund for BCS tickets already purchased

Stubhub is in trouble for overselling tickets to the BCS national championship game and now is offering people that already bought tickets a full refund plus $2,500 per ticket to be able to fill other orders that were oversold.

update: My friend was offered $4000 for his seat in the lower bowl. So Stubhub is offering varying amounts depending on where your seat was, understandably.

My thoughts… super tempting, but no way. Good luck Stub hub — and War Eagle. See below for the email screenshot.

stubhub email offers $2500 for BCS tickets plus refund

state of the blog

My 2010 state of the blog

state of the blogI started this blog by accident.

In May I was using the space to manipulate a Hybrid child theme, and it was around the time the Alabama primaries for 2010 were heating up. The Republican primary was June 1st, 2010 and on June 14th I wrote this post in part just writing some random thoughts about the primary runoff and in part creating some dummy content to see on the site.

While I was breaking WordPress on my live site I realized people were actually finding their way to that post from some fairly popular Google search terms.  So I decided I needed to lock down V1 for the blog design and actually start blogging. So I did. And my blog sucked. In fact, it still sucks — depending on how you define sucking.

I think I wrote some decent posts, but if you click on those links or just browse around here for a little while you’ll notice there is no coherent singular topic I wrote about in 2010. In terms of creating a popular blog, such a method is a great recipe for sucking. If the point of the blog is to write what’s on your mind, then perhaps it is not so bad — as long as I don’t care about getting any visitors of course.

So, let’s look at the numbers just for fun and quasi-embarrassment.

  • 4,510 — Visits
  • 8,184 — Pageviews
  • 1.81 — Pages/Visit
  • 70.47% — Bounce Rate
  • 2:08 minutes — Avg. Time on Site
  • 78.31% — % New Visits

In summary: traffic and statistics for this website are terrible. My most popular post was by far my tutorial on creating a feature post slider using jQuery, followed by the few posts on the Alabama elections.

Contributions to other blogs

What I have been far more fortunate with blog-wise over the last few months are my contributions elsewhere. I’ve been able to contribute to two popular blogs that have plenty of readers and are really fun to be a small part of.

Political Parlor

Political Parlor is a great blog about all things Alabama politics that has a very intelligent and involved community of readers that are very generous with comments. Political Parlor is read by just about everyone influential in Alabama Politics and many of the other contributors are legislators themselves.

The man behind the blog, Danny, was kind enough to let me contribute some posts regarding the elections over there throughout the month of October. You can see all my posts here. I hope to continue to contribute to Political Parlor whenever I feel that I can be helpful and add to the conversation. I am very thankful for Danny’s blogging advice and editorial comments on my pieces there.

WPCandy

WPCandy is a leading blog in the WordPress community for news, opinion, tutorials, and more. WPCandy was originally a tutorial site that went quiet before Ryan Imel took over, revitalized it and relaunched in August. Now its purpose includes tutorials but has really become the leader at providing “minty fresh” WordPress news for the community.

I sent Ryan an email in late August saying that his readers might find it interesting that Glenn Beck had launched a major website using WordPress and they put up a post about it and gave me a hat tip (too bad I can’t stand Glenn Beck). Soon after, Ryan asked if I’d be interested in a guest post or two and I loved the idea. As of today I’ve written about 30 posts for WPCandy and am having a great time.

What now?

Between Political Parlor and WPCandy I’ve had a great opportunity to write in some pretty decent sized blogging circles and also learn an enormous amount about my writing style and blogging in general. I continue to have an insatiable desire to design websites and write about various topics I’m passionate about.

Unfortunately writing about all of my interests on this blog will not make it any more fun to read. Most people that end up here are moderately interested in one topic or another, but most definitely not all of them — especially enough to subscribe or keep it as a steady bookmark.

Going forward I will target this website more as a portfolio for sites I design or WordPress themes I release and a place where I talk about things I’m doing elsewhere. Not too many riveting posts will originate here. But you can expect some structure and layout changes to the site itself and a redirection to at least have coherent, singularly focused content. Content about myself.

In the end I hope for krogsgard.com to be my hub where I can direct people to other stuff I’m doing that is more specific and targeted to specific audiences. So traffic will continue to be low fairly low, but the reader will hopefully fully understand why they are here and where I want them to go from here.

Lots of ideas

I don’t know whether it’s good or bad, but I have far more ideas than time. I have been collecting all of my ideas and prioritizing what I actually think I can accomplish and what is most important to me.

  • I intend to keep contributing to Political Parlor when I feel I can provide quality content and WPCandy as much as I can help out and provide quality posts.
  • I certainly plan to release multiple WordPress themes this year, including a couple of parent themes for targeted niches built off of Hybrid Core, an awesome WordPress theme framework.
  • I plan to make my willingness to design custom websites for a bit of extra money more obvious, either on this site or perhaps a different outlet.
  • I think there is a hole in the WordPress community for a singular place for absolute beginners to learn the essential tools of getting started with WordPress.  I plan to plug that hole with a new website called Tutrd.com, pronounced “tutored”, where beginners can go and developers can lead clients in order to learn web design, development, and blogging basics for WordPress. Tutrd.com is in its infancy, but I think it is a great opportunity for 2011.

Wrapping it all up

All in all, this blog sucks, but I’ve had a lot of really great opportunities to contribute other places in 2010.  I’ve learned an enormous amount and hope to keep contributing elsewhere, but I also have some ideas of my own.  I look forward to learning even more in 2011, and making some of my ideas a reality.  So follow me on Twitter, stay tuned for new announcements, and be ready for an incredible 2011.

Brian on a Rock

25 Years and looking forward

Yesterday I officially reached 25 years of existence. I have many things to be thankful for, but I will provide a short list of the things I am most thankful for.

  1. An amazing Savior that can never fall short but will always forgive me despite continuously falling short.
  2. A wonderful, passionate, loving wife that supports me unconditionally.
  3. An incredible family that I appreciate more than I can ever tell them.
  4. 25 years of love, comfort, and joy surrounding me. I’ve been incredibly blessed.
  5. The potential for years to come. I hope to value each day I am given!

I have had so many blessings over the past 25 years, and I am so excited about the future!

Here are some pictures that I like from the past year or two.

As you can see, Lucy May, our great dane has been a significant part of our lives since we got her in May. We love her, but she is such a mess. I hope you enjoyed the pictures, and I apologize if there was too much honeymoon or too much Lucy : ) Erica has a lot more pictures, including more with family, so those will have to get put up eventually.

Happy New Year everybody!

XAMPP Control Panel - Start Apache and Mysqul for local Install of WordPress

Quick fix: http://localhost redirects to http://www.localhost.com

You installed WordPress locally with XAMPP. Now you can’t figure out why your browser is redirecting http://localhost to http://www.localhost.com. This might happen when you first install WordPress locally or sometime down the line after a computer restart or something.

Most likely, you just need to start Apache and MySql. How? Go to the ‘xammp’ folder in you C: folder and double click ‘xammp-control.exe’. While you’re at it make a shortcut for that executable on your desktop. That will bring up the XAMMP Control Panel Application. Press “Start” for Apache and MySql.

XAMPP Control Panel - Start Apache and Mysqul for local Install of WordPress

Now go back go your browser and play with your local install of WordPress!

Websites for Design Inpsiration

5 Awesome websites for web design inspiration, tutorials and freebies

Websites for Design Inpsiration

Lately I’ve been really trying to learn more about solid design principles. I’ve never really approached web design in a way that had me starting with images and layered psd files and slicing them into WordPress themes. I’ve always started with the structure and code and filled in the design.

I decided I needed to broaden my horizons and learn a bit from the design aspect. In my quest to find great tips from respected designers I’ve found a few sites that I really enjoy.  Some of theme are for design only, others mix in a little code as well.

PremiumPixels.com

Premium Pixels by Orman ClarkPremium Pixels is a project by Orman Clark, a fantastic designer and WordPress theme developer. Orman started PremiumPixels recently to share some of his work, and he is very generous with his talent.  For great freebies that range from brushes and textures to more specific web elements like progress bar designs, check out PremiumPixels.  I promise you’ll be happy you did.

You can follow Orman Clark on Twitter.

SixRevisions.com

Six Revisions by Jacob GubeSix Revisions is a very popular tutorial blog geared toward web designers.  Jacob Gube is the very talented designer that started Six Revisions.  The content ranges from tutorials for things like designing movie posters to full out html coded WordPress themes from the ground up. Six Revisions is a must read for any aspiring web designer.

You can follow Six Revisions on Twitter.

DesignInstruct.com

Design InstructDesign Instruct is a sister site to Six Revsions.  Design Instruct doesn’t get into the coding of the tutorials as much, but for outstanding lessons in using Photoshop and Illustrator to create beautiful things for the web, Design Instruct is your friend.

You can follow Design Instruct on Twitter

BrushLovers.com

BrushLoversNot too much is necessary to describe this one.  Brush Lovers is the relatively new project of WebDesigner Depot to share free and inexpensive commercial brushes for photoshop.  If you’re ever looking for that extra touch, or just a way to implement some things a little easier, these brushes will help you. Want to use them in Gimp? You can do that too.

You can follow BrushLovers on Twitter.

WebDesignLedger.com

Web Design LedgerWeb Design Ledger is another great resource for freebies and quality tutorials that span multiple applications.  It’s a bit more broad brush than my other recommendations. Any given day on WDL you will find new posts covering Typography, photo manipulation, textures, logo design and more.

You can follow Web Design Ledger on Twitter

There you have it

This is just a short list of places where I feel like I keep ending up glued to the screen wanting to read more.  Have others you think should have made the list? Let me know in the comments.

WordPress plugin directory

Wanted: front page preview WordPress plugin

WordPress front page preview pluginI use the built in preview feature of WordPress constantly while writings posts to keep tabs on how the finished product is coming along. As far as I know, there is not a way to preview the home page before publishing a WordPress post. I’d love to see a plugin that would allow an author to preview posts not just in the singular post view, but also as it would look on the home page.

Why would I want this? Well, many sites format posts to render differently on the front page than the singular post view. For example, a site may utilize thumbnails on home page excerpts that would be nice to check in the preview. Also, sometimes it is nice to see how the excerpt wraps around thumbnails that don’t have set height dimensions. Or perhaps the title is a different size on the home page than the singular post view, which could cause a widow (title that has one word wrap to the next line) on the home page that doesn’t exist on the singular view.

The WP-Typography plugin has a widow prevention feature for titles, but it doesn’t prevent everything I’d like to check in a home page preview.

I really haven’t looked into it at all as to how this would work, but it seems simple enough. If anyone knows of a plugin like this that already exists, I’d love to know about it.

Exhibit A WordPress child theme

Exhibit A: WordPress child theme

I’m very happy to announce that I’m releasing my very first WordPress theme to the public: Exhibit A.  This has been a goal of mine for a long time, and I am excited that it has become a reality.

It is important to note that Exhibit A is a child theme of Prototype, built on Hybrid Core, Justin Tadlock’s immensely powerful WordPress theme framework.  If you want to know why I use Justin’s framework to develop themes, please read this.

Exhibit A WordPress child theme

Features

  • Custom widget for feature post slider that pulls sticky posts if they exist.
  • Custom widget to grab latest tweet in very light weight manner.
  • Custom widget that creates social follow buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds to match accent colors.
  • Custom accent colors within theme settings to add personal touch.
  • Added widget area at the open of content.
  • Prototype’s post layout options, widget areas, SEO settings, built in hooks and much more.

How much?

$15 will allow you to download the theme and use it however you like.  I can provide support on all additions I’ve made to the theme and as long as you are leaving it “as is” you will not need additional support.  For full support on all aspects of Prototype, the parent theme, you need to be a member of Theme Hybrid.  I am active in this community, and you will receive my own, Justin, and other Theme Hybrid members’ excellent support for only $25 per year.

For the quality of the theme and support you receive, I believe this is the best deal on the WordPress market.

Where do I get it?

I’m releasing the theme on Theme Garden, a new theme marketplace run by Jason Schuller.  You can go through the entire transaction there.  I am also running the theme right here on my own website minus the feature post slider, so you can see it in action.

You can get setup information and more documentation for the theme once you buy it.

I hope you enjoy using this theme as much as I enjoyed making it. And by the way, this is my first of many to come. Feel free to ask questions in the comments or by my contact form.