Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Blogging Tips and Tricks

SEO Robots.txt File for WordPress

Self-hosted Wordpress blog is advised by Wordpress.org to use Robots.txt file to tell search engine about what to crawl and what not.

Here's Robots.txt file example which is good for SEO (search engine optimization) according to WP

User-agent: *
Disallow: /cgi-bin
Disallow: /wp-admin
Disallow: /wp-includes
Disallow: /wp-content/plugins
Disallow: /wp-content/cache
Disallow: /wp-content/themes
Disallow: /trackback
Disallow: /feed
Disallow: /comments
Disallow: /category/*/*
Disallow: */trackback
Disallow: */feed
Disallow: */comments
Disallow: /*?*
Disallow: /*?
Allow: /wp-content/uploads

# Google Image
User-agent: Googlebot-Image
Disallow:
Allow: /*

# Google AdSense
User-agent: Mediapartners-Google*
Disallow:
Allow: /*

# digg mirror
User-agent: duggmirror
Disallow: /

Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml
Don't know how to create robots.txt file? See here.

Another sample of a good robots.txt file is here.

Facebook Photo Fetcher WP Plugins

Facebook Photo Fetcher is a Wordpress plugins which llows you to automatically create WordPress photo galleries from any Facebook album (profile or Facebook fan page) you can access.

Name of Plugins: Facebook Photo Fetcher
Compatible up to: Wordpress version 3.0.5
Author: Justin K
Download: Free download here.

Other features:
  • Uses Facebook's API to instantly create WordPress photo galleries from Facebook albums.
  • Galleries are fully customizable: you can import complete albums, select excerpts, random excerpts, album descriptions, photo captions, and more.
  • Galleries can be organized however you like: in any post or page, alone or alongside your other content.
  • More details

Top 11 WordPress Plugins

Joost de Valk of Yoast.com has listed a 11 must-have wordpress plugins for better SEO ans security of your Wordpress-Powered blog. I used some of those in this blog, not all. Read Joost's explanation here as to why you need all these plugins.

1. W3 Total Cache
2. Google Analytics for WordPress
3. pageMash
4. Redirection
5. WP-DBManager
6. VaultPress
7. Clean Notifications
8. Comment e-mail verification
9. MediaRSS
10. Blackbird Pie
11. WordPress SEO plugin

Page Content Not Showing


One of my wordpress powered blog has this weird problem: the page content is not showing. The title, however, is showing.

Strangely enough, when I log-in to the wordpress admin panel, then I open the homepage, all is working perfectly: all title and contents are working correctly. I am also able to write a new post and make editing to the old posts.

Problem: Article Content Not Showing
How to Fix it

So, I email the hosting provider at Hostgator and their response was: "This was being caused by a mysql kill script on the server. I have optimized the database tables and the site is now loading fine on the server."

But after the response, the problem still occur. I write to them again and waiting for their next answer. Meanwhile, I tried deactivating the plugins one after another to no avail. I also tried reinstalling the Wordpress, but the problem remains. Anyone has similar problem and successfully fix it?

I got a quick response and fix from Hostgator. This is what Hostgator technician did to fix the problem:
"This issue was caused by the database caching option of W3 Total Cache. It is either likely confusing itself thinking the query is user-specific/private, or W3 may disable this cache when you are logged into the main website.

As such, I've disabled this option and cleared the cache. The site is now showing up okay when not being logged in. Please let us know if you run across anything else that is amiss."


To sum it up, to fix the problem Hostgator did two things:

One, optimizing the database tables.
Two, disabling the database cache at W3 Total Cache.

w3 total cache data base cache disable
The above two fixes has proved to work wonders for my site. Now, the site has work normal again.

Further reading:

If your problem is similar to mine i.e. title is showing, but the body content is not, yet you think the case is different, you might read the following wordpress.org threads forum for references:

1. The_content not showing the content, only excerpt
Case: website is not showing any content where the_content() is called, but DOES show the_excerpt() .. More

2. Page Content not showing up with Warpack theme
Case: using the theme called "Warpack" and when I try and view one of my pages it doesn't show the content, just the comments. It also displays the right sidebar in the footer. I doubled checked and the content shows in other themes but not this one. More

3. Post Content not showing due to visual tab editor, not HTML editor
Case: For each post, I can see the title, the post meta, even a section I titled 'biline' everything but the actual post content. if I enter info in the HTML tab... it shows in the post, but won't show if i use the visual tab. More

4. Post content not showing on single page only.
Case: The single-post page, which shows the entry title and date but not its content, not the comment form, and not the sidebar. More

5. Post and Page content missing, not displaying
Case: post and page content and nothing shows up. Titles show but no content. More

Redirect 404 Not Found Errors to the Main Pages Automatically

All webmaster and blogmaster must have experienced a 404 Not Found Errors of their web or blog. This is caused by many things. But the important is how to redirect the 404 errors to a more meaningful page. There are many wordpress plugins which offer free services to handle and fix this errors. I have tried most of them, None of which is up to my expectation.

Until I found out a plugin called 404-to-Start. This plugin is easy to install and will automatically redirect all 404 Not Found Errors to the main page of your blog. All you need is install the plugin and activate it. That's it. No more settings. No 404 page is required.

Here's the detail:

Name of plugin: 404-to-Start
Requires WordPress Version: 2.8 or higher
Compatible up to: 3.0.4
Last Updated: 2011-1-2
Functionality:
Redirecting all 404 page not found errors permanently to the start page / main page.
This will help you solve problems with external bad links which are not under your influence.
Download: Download it for free here.
Installation: See here for easy installation tutorial

How to Reduce WordPress Server Load

How to Reduce Wordpress High Server Load

Qeqnes gives a good 15 different plugins and tips to optimize your WordPress site.
Here are the summary:

WordPress Plugins To Monitor, Cache And Speed Up Your Blog
1. WP System Health 2. Hosting Monitor Plugin 3. WP super Cache 4. IP Host Blocker 5. Throttle 6. Error Reporting 7. Amazon S3 for WordPress 8. http:BL WordPress Plugin

Essential Tips And Tricks To Optimize Your WordPress Blog
1. Combine and compress Javascript and CSS files
2. Remove unnecessary PHP executions
3. Optimize CSS and Javascript files
4. Optimize your images
5. Move the Javascript calls to the footer
6. Use Google Ajax Libraries API
7. Remove unnecessary plugins

If you need to read further, go to this nice article

Create Free Islamic Topic Blog on Muslimblogs

If you like to write specifically on Islam, Muslim and anything related to them, you may try a free services blog named http://muslimblogs.com/. You may create your first Muslim blog here.

Some features to make you interested in joining this free Muslim blog are:

Revenue Sharing! Get 90% of revenue share
FREE! Gorgeous Islamic Themes
Excellent Plugins Add Extra Features to Your Blog!
Create your very own FREE Forums with each blog

Happy blogging with free blog.

W3 Total Cache Install Errors


W3 Total Cache Installation Errors. I found errors when installing W3 Total Cache Plugins in some of my wordpress powered blogs. The errors vary, some because of the absence of advanced-cache.php; another due to the absence of wp-content/db.php file. Installation might be successful. But the error message will keep eppearing in your wp dashboard. Here's how to fix the problem.

Intro
Error: advanced-cache.php is not installed
Error: db.php is not installed


ERROR ONE: advanced-cache.php is not installed/copied.
Error message: Page caching is not available: advanced-cache.php is not installed. Either the .../wp-content directory is not write-able or you have another caching plugin installed. This error message will automatically disappear once the change is successfully made.

How to fix it:

Copy advanced-cache.php file from wp-content/plugins/w3-total-cache/wp-content/advanced-cache.php
Add advanced-cache.php to wp-content/put it here. It'll look like this -> wp-content/advanced-cache.php

Step by step Tutorial:

Open your server using Filezilla FTP client or login directly into your CPANEL (example.com/cpanel)
Go to wp-content/plugins/w3-total-cache/wp-content/advanced-cache.php -> copy or download the advanced-cache.php
Back to wp-content/, and paste or upload the advanced-cache.php after wp-content.
It'll look like this: wp-content/advanced-cache.php
Done. There'll be no error message after this.


ERROR TWO. db.php is not installed/copied.
Error message: Database caching is not available. db.php is not installed. Either the C.--/wp-content directory is not write-able or you have another caching plugin installed.

How to Fix it:

Copy db.php file from wp-content/plugins/w3-total-cache/wp-content/db.php
Add db.php to wp-content/put it here. It'll look like this -> wp-content/db.php

Step by step Tutorial:

Open your server using Filezilla FTP client or login directly into your CPANEL (example.com/cpanel)
Go to wp-content/plugins/w3-total-cache/wp-content/db.php -> copy or download the db.php
Back to wp-content/, and paste or upload the db.php after wp-content.
It'll look like this: wp-content/db.php
Done. There'll be no error message after this.

Credit: Frederick Townes, the plugins creator.

Hostgator and Media Temple

Ben Ho compares Hostgator shared hosting package with Media Temple Grid Service (GS) which he says the former performance is way better with way cheaper price.

Agreed. I don't know about MT. What I know for sure is Hostgator is great.

Export Import Blogsome to WordPress

How to export import migrate Blogsome blog posts / articles / contents to Wordpress blog with xml wxr file or Sql dump (mysql) backup file. Applied to self-hosted wordpress and wordpress.com blog.

There are two options to migrate (export/import) your Blogsome content to self-hosted Wordpress blog. One via RSS feed xml file. Another through sql file.

CONTENTS

Why any need to Migrate?
Migrating Blogsome to Wordpress via RSS
Export Blogsome RSS Feed XML File
Import to Self-hosted Wordpress Blog
Migrating Blogsome to Wordpress via MySql Dump file
Export by Saving Blogsome Sql Dump File (MySql Backup)
Import to Self-hosted Wodpress Blog
Import to Self-hosted Wodpress.com Blog (Free Services)


I. Why any Need to Migrate from Blogsome to Wordpress

Blogsome now has closed any new registration / sign-up. Which means it's a matter of time when Blogsome will close down its free services entirely. So, for those who blogs a lot in Blogsome blog, it's urgent to save their posts/articles by migrating (export/import) them to Wordpress powered blog before it becomes too late.


II. Migrating Blogsome to Wordpress via RSS
II.1 Step 1: Export/import Blogsome via RSS Feed

After login to your Blogsome account -> Dashboard -> see the number of posts you have (at bottom right) and write it down. Example, 562 posts.
Click Options -> Reading ->
Reading Options
Blog Pages -> Show at Most -> type all number of posts, in my case 562
Syndication Feeds -> Show the Most Recent -> type 562 posts (see screenshot) blogsome 2 set all posts and feed
Click Update Options to save.
Now, Go to yourblogname.blogsome.com/feed. E.g. http://example.blogsome.com/feed/
Save the feed page with xml format:
After opening http://example.blogsome.com/feed/ -> click File in the browser
Save Page as -> name the file with xml extension like this: blogsome.xml
Save it in your pc / laptop.
Done. This blogsome.xml file will be used later to export all blogsome posts to Wordpress blog.


II.2. Step 2. Import the Blogsome xml file to Wordpress Blog

Login to your self-hosted Wordpress blog -> Tools
Import ->RSS
You will be redirected to install RSS plugins
After installation -> browse to Blogsome xml file. Example, blogsome.xml. Wait for a while.
Done. All your Blogsome posts are imported to your self-hosted Wordpress blog.

Notes:

This method will only import Blogsome posts, not including comments, trackbacks or pages.
The xml file you just saved could be exported to Self-Hosted Wordpress blog, not Wordpress.com.
After saving the RSS xml file, you may return the option in your Blogsome post to previous settings.


III. Migrating Blogsome to Wordpress via Sql file
You may migrate Blogsome blog posts/articles to self-hosted Wordpress blog using Sql file backup. It is capable of importing all of your blog contents including posts/articles, comments, and static pages. However, the importing process is very difficult and challenging. Often times it ends up in failure. So, don't try this if you don't know what you're doing or lest you're wasted a lot of your precious time.

III.1. Saving MySql backup (Sql Dump) file from Blogsome Blog

Login to your Blogsome blog admin -> Manage ->
Click Backup link ->Save File -> name and save it to your computer in zip format blogsome sql dump
Unzip it. Done. (the unzipped file will be used to import to Wordpress)


III.2. Import Blogsome MySql File (Sql Dump) to Self-Hosted Wordpress Blog

Login to your website/blog cpanel (http://website.com/cpanel)
Install Wordpress. Using Fantastico is recommended
Login to your Wordpress Blog (blogname.com/wp-login.php) and make proper settings.
Back to your Cpanel -> phpMyAdmin to export your SQL for the just installed WordPress
For more details, refer to this site and this site (particularly for non-latin/UTF8 characters' blog).


III.3. Import Blogsome MySql File (Sql Dump) to Wordpess.com Blog
Is it possible to export/import Blogsome Sql Dump to Wordpress.com? Yes, with the help of Wordpress.com support team.

Assuming you have a Wordpress.com blog, create one first if you don't.
Send an email to support@wordpress.com (Attention: Mark)
Attache the zip file of your Blogsome Sql dump and ask his help to turn it into XML or WXR (WordPress eXtended RSS) format for export/import purposes to Wordpress.com
Once you get the xml/wxr file, all you need is this:
Login to your Wordpress.com blog.
Tools -> Import -> Wordpress
Browse the Blogsome XML /WXR file ->click Upload files and import.
Done.

Further reading on this regard.

Get Indexed Listed in Google Blog Search

How to Get Indexed listed in Google Blog Search and remove noindex tag from RSS Feed / Feedburner. Part of SEO Tutorial series.

Getting indexed or listed in Google Blogsearch means you get more traffic and exposure. Hence it's important to have your blog post seen in Google Blog Search. Note, having indexed in Google.com will not automatically get your blog indexed in Google Blogsearch.

CONTENTS

Automatic Ping
Self-Hosted Wordpress Blog
Blogger Blogspot
Wordpress.com
Manual Ping
Feedburner Setting
Platinum SEO Pack / All in One Seo Pack Plugins Setting
How to know it is Indexed?
Conclusion
If everything does not work

Below some simple tips to get crawled by Google Blogsearch.

I. Automatic Ping

I.A. Self-Hosted Wordpress Blog

After login -> Settings -> Writing
Update Services (at the bottom) put this inside the box -> http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2
Save Changes. Done.

If you are using Feedburner, see Feedburner Setting


I.B.Blogger Blogspot

After login to Blogger.com -> Settings -> Basic
Opt "Yes" at Let search engines find your blog?
Save Settings. Done.

If you are using Feedburner, see Feedburner Setting


I.C. Wordpress.com

After login to Wordpress.com -> Settings -> Privacy
Site Visibility -> check the I would like my site to be visible to everyone, including search engines (like Google, Bing, Technorati) and archivers.
Save changes. Done.

If you are using Feedburner, see Feedburner Setting


II. Manual Pinging

If you are blogging on free blogging services such as Blogger.com Blogspot or Wordpress.com, you may ping Google Blogsearch manually.

Go to http://blogsearch.google.com/ping
Enter your blog URL address
Click Submit Blog. Done.


III. For Feedburner User

If you are using Feedburner, make sure you deactivate the Noindex feature (Publicize -> No Index; by default it's already deactivated / inactive).

After deactivating / disabling this feature, check your Feedburner's source in browser (Firefox: view -> page source; Internet Explorer: View -> Source; Chrome: press CTRL+U), if this noindex code (
) still there, check your Wordpress original feed, see this tutorial how to remove noindex tag from Wordpress RSS Feed.

1. Correct Settings: Deactivate noindex. feedburner deactivate disable noindex

2. Wrong Settings: Activating and selecting/checking or deselecting/unchecking both options will make your blog not-indexed by Google Blogsearch.

selecting feedburner noindex option is wrong

Further reading on this Feedbuer noindex thing, read Andybeard's post

IV. IF You are using Platinum SEO Pack or All in One SEO Pack Plugins
You have to make sure that the no-index RSS Feed option left unchecked.

After login -> Platinum SEO Pack / All in One SEO Pack admin setting
Uncheck the option: Use noindex for comments RSS feeds
Uncheck the option: Use noindex for all RSS feeds
Click Update Options. Done.

Note: After all this, if you have Wordpress cache plugins (super-cache, w3 total cache, wp cache) installed, make sure you clear / delete / empty caches from Wordpress cache plugins admin and delete cache from your browser as well and see the result from the browser source (Firefox: view -> page source; IE: view -> source; Chrome: press Ctrl+U). If the [name="robots" content="noindex"] is still there, just write a new post. The noindex will be gone.

In Pictures:

Correct settings: platinum seo pack setting
Wrong Settings: platinum seo pack wrong setting


V. How to Know Your Blog Get Indexed or Not

Just go to http://blogsearch.google.com/
Enter this: site:example.com or try site:afatih.wordpress.com -> click Search Blogs

If the response like this: Results 1 - 10 of about 11,317 for blogurl:afatih.wordpress.com -> this means the blog afatih.wordpress.com has been properly indexed by Google Blog Search.
If there's no result found (like, Your search - site:example.com - did not match any documents.) , it means your blog is not yet indexed by Google Blogsearch.


VI. Conclusion

Google Blog Search will crawl, index and aggregate a blog based on the blog's RSS feed.
Therefore, Google Blog Search will not index a particular blog if the RSS feed is set to noindex-- either through Feedburner noindex feature or setting the original feed to noindex with or without plugins-- as understood from point III and IV.
To see if your Feedburner is visible to Google Blog Search, open your Feedburner page. Example, http://feeds.feedburner.com/fatihsyuhud. View the source, if there's "noindex" in it, your Feedburner's feed will not appear in Google Blog Search. To fix it, see point III and point IV.
After fixing the noindex problem, write a post or two. Once the new post shown in your Feedburner, the noindex tag is gone.

Further reading


VII. If Everything Does not Work

If every attempts mentioned above does not work; your blog is still not indexed / listed by Google Blog Search after a week or two, you may want to contact Google Blog Search support for help since there's a possibility that there's a bug in Google Blog Search system that prevent your blog/site from being listed/indexed. Try to email them at blogsearch-support[at]google.com


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