Optimize WordPress loading time by 75%

November 12, 2010 | No Comments Yet

So we’ve confirmed Google is factoring in site speed into their search ranking algorithms, but what exactly can you do to your WordPress site to make it load faster? David Kadavy shares his own website optimization story by doing the following:

  • Move from a shared hosting service (in this case Dreamhost) to VPS (virtual private server) hosting
  • Install the W3 Total Cache plugin
  • Use a CDN (content delivery network) such as Amazon Cloudfront: this works well with W3 Total Cache, which is why he recommends it over other WP caching plugins
  • Optimize with CSS sprites, inline styles and scripts, Gzip, and other recommendations from Yahoo.

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50 traffic sources for your blog

May 21, 2010 | No Comments Yet

QOT has a list of 50 websites that can help drive traffic to your own blog. They’re divided into the following categories:

  1. eBook directories
  2. Blog directories
  3. Social media
  4. News and aggregation sites
  5. Podcast directories
  6. Video marketing
  7. Article directories
  8. Guest posting
  9. Document sharing
  10. RSS feed submissions
  11. Ping submissions
  12. Blog communities and forums

A lot of these are common knowledge to those who have been blogging for a long time now, but it’s great to have a list of sites compiled in one place for you. The bottom line here is to get your content out there; you can’t just create a blog and rely solely on Google search results to bring traffic in. Be creative and find your niche.

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Google Living Stories for WordPress

May 4, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Targeted mainly at news websites, Google Living Stories makes covering an on-going story more convenient and navigable. Old but still working examples are found at this Google Labs website, but now everyone can enjoy the same functionality on their own sites as a plugin and theme package for WordPress.

Here’s a list of features from the Labs site:

  • “All in one place” – all the articles developing around a single story can be found on a single URL, and you can navigate around them much more quickly
  • “Easy to explore” – browse either by timeline, themes, people involved, or multimedia
  • “Smarter reading” – new additions to the story are highlighted while older news is summarized

Grab the code here. Take note that this isn’t just a fancy way of displaying developing stories, but a new content format which Google has open sourced.

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Google factors site speed into search rankings

April 12, 2010 | No Comments Yet

The search marketing and blogging circles have been buzzing about this for a few months now but Google put out the official word on site speed as a new factor in search result rankings just a few days ago. Webmaster Tools lets you measure the speed of your enrolled sites under Site Performance. The blog post also links to other tools like Page Speed.

It’s interesting to note, however, that Google itself says less than 1% of search queries will be affected by this new site speed signal. In any case, faster is usually better both for your visitors and for your site maintenance costs, not just your pagerank. Matt Cutts puts it nicely:

I know that there will be a lot of discussion about this change, and some people won’t like it. But I’m glad that Google is making this step, both for the sake of transparency (letting webmasters know more about how to do better in Google) and because I think this change will make the web better. My takeaway messages would be three-fold: first, this is actually a relatively small-impact change, so you don’t need to panic. Second, speeding up your website is a great thing to do in general. Visitors to your site will be happier (and might convert more or use your site more), and a faster web will be better for all. Third, this change highlights that there are very constructive things that can directly improve your website’s user experience. Instead of wasting time on keyword meta tags, you can focus on some very easy, straightforward, small steps that can really improve how users perceive your site.

Looks like some site spring cleaning is in order!

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WordPress in Google Summer of Code 2010

March 30, 2010 | No Comments Yet

WordPress is once again participating in the annual Google Summer of Code, whose application period just opened. For the unfamiliar, GSoC gives initiatives for student developers to work on open source projects (such as WordPress) in preparation for their foray into real-world software development.

Here is this year’s list of ideas for WordPress:

  • BuddyPress
  • GlotPress
  • bbPress
  • Media
  • Widgets
  • Blog Import/Export
  • User Roles
  • Template Versioning
  • Comment Moderation
  • Move WordPress
  • Enhance Profiles.WordPress.org

The WP GSoC also gathers some of the biggest names in the community to act as mentors to the participants. IRC chats will be held on March 31, April 3, and April 7 to interact with them.

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Google SEO Report Card

March 4, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Google SEO report card

Grab the Google SEO Report Card and see how Google grades not your sites, but its own sites in terms of a dozen different categories.

These optimizations are intended to not only help search engines understand the content of our pages better, but also to improve our users’ experience when visiting our sites. Simple steps such as fixing 404s and broken links, simplifying URL choice, and providing easier-to-understand titles and snippets for our pages can benefit both users and search engines. From the start of the project we also wanted to release the report card publicly so other companies and webmasters could learn from the report, which is filled with dozens of examples taken straight from our products’ pages.

The great thing about this is: first, Google is leading by example and is using its own products; second, Google is being transparent, as most of their sites don’t even make the passing mark. But whether it’s Google’s sites or yours, it’s not too late to try! Perhaps Google can also come out with an automated tool for checking these SEO criteria as part of Webmaster Tools.

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Add Google Buzz to WordPress & BuddyPress

February 15, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Google Buzz Logo

WPMU.org lists 5 different ways you can integrate Google Buzz into your WordPress and BuddyPress site. Aside from a the Buzz This WP plugin and the Digg-like button, you can also display your Buzz stream and share BP profiles to Buzz.

  1. “Buzz This” Plugin for WordPress
  2. Make Your Own Button to Add Anywhere in Your Template
  3. Share Your Google Buzz Posts on Your Site with Google Buzz ER Plugin
  4. Add the Ability to Share BuddyPress Profile Links With a “Buzz This” Button
  5. Add “Buzz This” to Individual BuddyPress Activity Stream Posts

Although Google Buzz is facing controversy right now for privacy issues, it could become a huge social network overnight since it’s built right inside Gmail, and bloggers will definitely want to take advantage of that audience.

Update: see also this post by Mashable.

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Get WordPress for Android

February 3, 2010 | No Comments Yet

It was only a matter of time before WordPress released an official app for the Android platform, and now it’s here. WordPress for Android is based on wpToGo, and now version 1.0 is available in the Android Market. It works for both WordPress.org and WordPress.com blogs and lets you work with posts, pages, and comments on the go.

Features include the ability to:

  • Configure and manage multiple blogs
  • Comment moderation including the ability to reply to comments
  • Create and Edit Posts including categories, tags and photos
  • Create and Edit Pages
  • Get notified of new comments in the Android notification bar

More detailed development info on the Android app can be found here. Download WordPress for Android here.

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Tips for speeding up WordPress

January 19, 2010 | No Comments Yet

Michael Gray of Graywolf’s SEO Blog has compiled a comprehensive list of tips for optimizing load times with your WordPress site. Since Google has announced that it would include page loading time as a factor in its search results rankings, and launched its Let’s make the web faster microsite, site performance & optimization is now the hottest topic in the SEO world. (If you need something to blow up so everyone else follows suit, trust Google to get things done.)

The trick is to look at all the plugins and widgets you’ve added to your site and figure out which ones you can do without. Do you really need that fancy lightbox zooming script to display your larger images? How about opting for a more compact, all-in-one solution for your social media buttons? Or a lighter theme?

But whether or not you’re on WordPress, website analyzing tools and techniques such as gzipping and caching should come in handy. Yahoo! also has a great resource page on speeding up your website.

It seems this will be the year of optimized page loads, so don’t get left behind!

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How to use the WP.me URL shortener for self-hosted WordPress

December 21, 2009 | No Comments Yet

WordPress.com users have enjoyed the WP.me URL shortener since August, but here’s a neat discovery for self-hosted WordPress users, courtesy of the folks at WP Tavern: if you upgrade to WordPress 2.9 and install the WordPress.com Stats plugin, you can get to use WP.me too. Once you type in a post title, a “Get Shortlink” button will appear right beside the “Edit” button for the post permalink. For example, the clicking on said button gives us the shortlink http://wp.me/pely2-Aq.

What do you think of the requirements? Stats buffs probably won’t mind grabbing yet another analytics plugin if they haven’t already. But upgrading to WordPress 2.9 this early might still be discouraging.

What exactly is more attractive about choosing to use WP.me over, say, native post ID-based permalinks instead? Probably the number of characters you can save with a much shorter URL.

But take note that both Google and Facebook have just rolled out their own URL shorteners in goo.gl and fb.me. Seems like the URL shortening arena is getting more serious competition than ever.

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Google doesn’t use the keywords meta tag

October 9, 2009 | No Comments Yet

So Google loves WordPress for SEO, but here’s something it doesn’t care for: the keywords meta tag.

Q: Does Google ever use the “keywords” meta tag in its web search ranking?
A: In a word, no. Google does sell a Google Search Appliance, and that product has the ability to match meta tags, which could include the keywords meta tag. But that’s an enterprise search appliance that is completely separate from our main web search. Our web search (the well-known search at Google.com that hundreds of millions of people use each day) disregards keyword metatags completely. They simply don’t have any effect in our search ranking at present.

In the same blog post, Matt Cutts also admits that they have not been using it for a year. However, Google does use other meta tags, so you might want to read up on that one.

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Google’s Matt Cutts praises WordPress for SEO

August 31, 2009 | 1 Comment

Take it from Matt Cutts, head of the Web Spam team at Google: WordPress is a “fantastic” choice for search engine optimization. That’s what he said at his talk at WordCamp San Francisco last May. Here’s the presentation video:

And here are the slides:

According to Matt, “WordPress takes care of 80-90% of (the mechanics of) SEO”. He goes on to explain PageRank calculation, and what you can do within WordPress to improve search engine ranking, from tweaking post permalinks (hyphens are best, followed by underscores; but no spaces are the worst) to securing your WP install (add .htaccess to your wp-admin folder and update often!).

(Via HowToMakeMyBlog)

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Most downloaded WordPress plugins ever

August 27, 2009 | No Comments Yet

Best Design Options has compiled a list of the 10 most downloaded WordPress plugins of all time. The data is readily available at the WordPress plugin repository, but this post prioritizes download history instead of rating, which the WP site does.

  1. All in One SEO Pack
  2. Akismet
  3. Google XML Sitemaps
  4. NextGEN Gallery
  5. Contact Form 7
  6. WordPress.com Stats
  7. WP Super Cache
  8. Sociable
  9. Google Analyticator
  10. Google Analytics for WordPress

Three Google-related plugins, two of which are for the same purpose—site analytics, but both were beaten by WordPress.com’s own stats service and plugin. Contact Form 7 and NextGEN Gallery are the most popular contact form and gallery plugins, respectively.

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WordPress participates in Google Summer of Code 2009

March 31, 2009 | No Comments Yet

Once again WordPress is participating in the annual Google Summer of Code and is inviting everyone to help out in improving specific aspects of the blogging software as well as related projects like WPMU and BuddyPress.

You name it, we want you to propose it. It’s true, competition is fierce, but hey, if you’re already hacking WordPress, you’re ahead of the pack as far as we’re concerned. Applications are being accepted as of today, and the deadline is on April 3, 2009.

There’s also a list of mentors you can approach if you want to participate in the summer-long hacking. It also helps to check out the suggested ideas section of the website.

Sign up here. Visit the Google Summer of Code 2009 site for more details.

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Plugins for specifying canonical URLs for SEO

February 24, 2009 | No Comments Yet

The almighty Google has come out with guidelines for dealing with duplicate content by specifying a canonical URLs (preferred URLs) in the <head> of a webpage, like so:

Now, you can simply add this tag to specify your preferred version:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish" />

inside the <head> section of the duplicate content URLs:

http://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish&category=gummy-candy
http://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish&trackingid=1234&sessionid=5678

Since WordPress generates webpages dynamically, it’s best to comply with this SEO practice with plugins. WordPress Garage lists two you can try out, and I’ve added one more from the Plugin Directory:

See also Matt Cutts’s post and presentation and the Google Webmasters Help page on Canonical URLs.

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Google Blog Converters

January 19, 2009 | No Comments Yet

Google has released a tool that lets you move from one blogging service to another much more easily. Google Blog Converters is an open source project containing Python libraries and scripts that convert export formats of the leading blog platforms Blogger, LiveJournal, Movable Type, and WordPress.

Blog authors around the world, Google would like to remind you that it’s your blog, your data. Now that Blogger allows users the ability to export all contents of their blog, the Data Liberation team would like to announce the Google Blog Converters project.

It’s great to learn that Google in particular is all for the free transfer of data despite being the owner of Blogger.

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Google says don’t use pretty permalinks!

September 26, 2008 | 2 Comments

We all love our WordPress pretty permalinks, don’t we? Aside from making our blog post links a lot more readable for other people, we’ve always believed Google favored them over the obscure dynamically generated URLs. Well Google has set the record straight in a recent entry at their Webmaster Blog.

While static URLs might have a slight advantage in terms of clickthrough rates because users can easily read the urls, the decision to use database-driven websites does not imply a significant disadvantage in terms of indexing and ranking. Providing search engines with dynamic URLs should be favored over hiding parameters to make them look static.

Here are Google’s recommendations:

  • Avoid reformatting a dynamic URL to make it look static
  • Keep your URLs short (this applies to all URLs, whether static or dynamic)

Does that mean we shouldn’t be taking advantage of WordPress’ built-in URL rewriting system just to avoid penalties in the search engine optmization department? I’ll take readability over PageRank anyday, thank you very much.

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WordPress.com users can go ad-free (for a fee)

September 19, 2008 | No Comments Yet

Matt Mullenweg has just announced at the WordPress.com blog that based on their experimentation with Google ads, they’ve decided to make displaying advertisements optional—but for a fee.

…Light advertising has allowed us to focus on free features for you guys rather than paid upgrades, and enabled us to invest in infrastructure so your blog is always fast and reliable and never shows a fail whale.

[…]

The No-ads upgrade can be purchased for 30 credits a year ($0.08 a day) through the Upgrades tab in your blog’s dashboard.

So that basically answers two things: (1) it costs a lot to keep things free so they’re running ads, though only at a reasonable amount; and (2) yes, you can finally remove them, though you’ll have to pay for it.

The next question would have to be: will WordPress.com users be able to make money for themselves by running their own ads? Matt says they’re thinking about it, though take note that it will probably a paid upgrade too.

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WordPress.com now supports Google Gears

July 3, 2008 | No Comments Yet

WordPress.com announces they now officially supports offline access through Google Gears. This means a faster and more enjoyable blogging experience.

To enable this feature, simply hit “Turbo” in your dashboard.

After that Gears will download around 200 files and store them on your PC. It will also update them when needed automatically in the background, no other actions are required.

For users using self-hosted WordPress, this feature will be coming soon in WordPress 2.6.

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More WordPress blogs being hacked

June 18, 2008 | No Comments Yet

Last time, it was a WordPress vulnerability that was resolved by upgrading to the latest version. This time, it’s a non-WordPress issue, specifically a redirect technique, that’s affecting a lot of WordPress-powered blogs.

The recent security issues concern hackers who work with Google and other search engine results and redirects traffic from your blog or website. The searchers clicks on the link and is redirected to the hacker’s site with the same search string used to search in the search engine. Most bloggers notice a problem when their site traffic drops inexplicably and/or their ad income drops.

Read Lorelle’s post for more information on detecting and eliminating this security issue.

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Blogging about the Lozada Testimony and ZTE Broadband Scandal

February 8, 2008 | 38 Comments

“Ang salitang Pilipino ay tumutukoy sa isang bansa, ang bansang Pilipino. And sometimes, it’s worth taking a risk for this country.” – Jun Lozada

Controversies in Philippine current events almost always spill over to the Philippine Blogosphere because it’s a great way to hear from the many voices that would otherwise be drowned out by hype. This very moment, all eyes are on the brave witness in the ZTE broadband scandal, Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada. How have Pinoy bloggers covered the issue so far?

AWBHoldings.com has a short list of blogged reactions, including a link to Manuel L. Quezon III’s Twitter live tweets of the hearing.

Speaking of MLQ3, he has quite a number of lengthy blog posts himself, the latest being “The Witness”. Lots of links out too, including a plea from Lozada’s niece. It’s clear that aside from blogs running WordPress, Multiply will always be a goldmine Filipinos updating on their lives.

Then there’s the transcript of Lozada’s Exposé from Pedestrian Observer (also available at GMANews.TV).

Oh, and I found an awesome quote by Jun Lozada from Mary Ann Señir and an awesome caricature of Jun Lozada by Jed Segovia, both of which you can see at the top of this post.

This is just the beginning, so be sure to keep up with Jun Lozada and the ZTE Broadband Scandal (tools like Google Blog Search and Twitter are a big help).

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Get Ratified!

February 5, 2008 | 1 Comment

You might remember that we got this WordPress Philippines party started by asking you to contribute in several ways: submitting themes and plugins, posting at the forums, and tagging your blog posts with “wordpressph”.

This time, we’re encouraging all of you to get your Philippine blogs listed at Ratified.org. Ratified ranks Filipino blogs according to various stats from Google, FeedBurner, and Technorati. And yes, Ratified is for Pinoys, by Pinoys. Sa’n ka pa!

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WordPress Plugin: All in One SEO Pack

December 19, 2007 | 1 Comment

The All in One SEO Pack plugin for WordPress makes optimizing your blog for search engines easier, by automating a few steps that will enhance visibility with Google, Yahoo! and other search engines.

The plugin will automatically fix your WordPress blog’s title and meta tags for you, such that the titles is formatted properly (which would make it appear more friendly both to Google and to your readers’ eyes), and that the keywords are included in the header meta tags.

Search results also appear better in the Google results pages because the plugin will define your page descriptions to be the snippets of the actual blog posting, instead of some random words on your site, which can be very unhelpful to potential readers.

The All in one SEO Pack is from uberdose.com. Download and support can be found here.