How To Speed Up Your WordPress

 WordPress  Comments Off on How To Speed Up Your WordPress
Jan 102014
 

You might say, why should I care if my WordPress site is fast or not? One reason is because of the impatience of visitors. If I click a link in Google and it takes more than a couple of seconds to load, then I will probably cancel that page and click another faster loading page. Another reason is because Google now uses site speed as a metric to determine where your site appears in it’s web search rankings.

wordpress speed

I knew that my WordPress site was turtle slow, but I didn’t really know what to do about it. So, I dove in head first (as usual), researched the topic to death, and then implemented my findings.

  • The first thing that I learned was that I needed a caching plugin. The two most popular are WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache. I chose the later and turned on the Page, Database, Object, and Browser Caches. Doing this alone significantly sped up my site.
  • The next thing that I learned was that I needed a Content Delivery Network (CDN). I was unaware but I was already using a CDN, JetPack‘s Photon CDN for my images. BTW, if you’re not using JetPack, you are missing out on many wonderful features.

The two most popular full blown CDN’s are CloudFlare and Incapsula. I chose the former. Initially, I set it up through my hosting provider’s Control Panel.  I later found out that because I wanted to advertise garyleemillner.com instead of www.garyleemillner.com that it would be better to use CloudFlare’s DNS servers. So, I deleted my initial Control Panel setup and set it up directly from CloudFlare.com.

  • The third thing that I found out was that, other than the aforementioned plugins above, there are certain other plugins that are must-have’s when it comes to site speed. They are as follows:

Use Google Libraries – Allows your site to use common javascript libraries from Google’s AJAX Libraries CDN, rather than from WordPress’s own copies. | By Jason Penney | Visit plugin site

WP-Optimize – This plugin helps you to keep your database clean by removing post revisions and spams in a blaze. Additionally it allows you to run optimize command on your WordPress core tables (use with caution). | By Ruhani Rabin | Visit plugin site

WP Smush.it – Reduce image file sizes and improve performance using the Smush.it API within WordPress. | By WPMU DEV | Visit plugin site [Note: There are other plugins similar to WP Smush.it that may work just as well.]

  • The next thing that you should do is test your site’s speed with one or more of the following online tools and correct the findings where possible:

Pingdom

GTmetrix

WebPageTest

Google PageSpeed Insights

If you follow the above recommendations you should be well on your way to a very speedy WordPress site.

P.S. I would love to hear from you. Please comment below and tell me what you have done to speed up your WordPress site.

His son,

Gary Lee Millner

recommended wordpress plugins

Recommended WordPress Plugins

 WordPress  Comments Off on Recommended WordPress Plugins
Dec 312013
 

There are numerous WordPress plugins available to accomplish any given task. It takes a finite (seemingly infinite) amount of time to do the research on each individual plugin to attempt to figure out which are the best to use. That’s why I put together this listing. This will give the beginning… even the more advanced… WordPress users a much-needed time savings.

recommended wordpress plugins

Before we dive into the plugin list, I want to share with you what I believe to be perhaps the BEST FREE WordPress theme available. It is called Suffusion. It is touted as “the Best, Most Versatile and Totally Free WordPress Theme.” I would tend to agree. The numerous options that this theme allows are somewhat overwhelming at first. However, if you will take the time to learn the well described and well documented options, this may be the ONLY theme that you will ever need for as many websites as you manage. And, the creator of this theme, Sayontan Sinha, provides quick and accurate support via the support forum if you have a question.

Without further ado, here is my recommended FREE WordPress plugin list:

AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget – Help your visitor promote your site! The AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget allows any visitor to bookmark your site easily with many popular services. Sign up for an AddThis.com account to see how your visitors are sharing your content–which services they’re using for sharing, which content is shared the most, and more. It’s all free–even the pretty charts and graphs. | By The AddThis Team

Akismet – Used by millions, Akismet is quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from comment and trackback spam. It keeps your site protected from spam even while you sleep. | By Automattic

Anthologize – This plugin can be used to transform your blog content into an eBook, which can be offered to your blog subscribers for FREE. | By One Week | One Tool

BackWPup – WordPress Backup Plugin | By Inpsyde GmbH

Black Studio TinyMCE Widget – Adds a WYSIWYG widget based on the standard TinyMCE WordPress visual editor | By Black Studio

Broken Link Checker – Checks your blog for broken links and missing images and notifies you on the dashboard if any are found. | By Janis Elsts

Disable Comments – Allows administrators to globally disable comments on their site. Comments can be disabled according to post type. | By Samir Shah

Facebook Comments – Facebook comments can be annoying to set up. This plugin makes it simple to add the Facebook comments system to your WordPress site without any hassle. You can also insert the comment box as a shortcode into any post, page or template and use your own settings for each time you do it! | By Alex Moss

Follow Button for Jetpack – Adds a floating follow button to Jetpack Powered sites.The same follow button which appears on WP.COM blogs. Use Follow Plugin if your blog isn’t powered by Jetpack. | By TheAdityaJain

GigPress – Provides a database for entering, managing, and displaying speaking engagements. It is a great option for speakers and artists.  | By Derek Hogue

Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your blog. | By Arne Brachhold

iQ Block Country – Block visitors from visiting your website and backend website based on which country their IP address is from. The Maxmind GeoIP lite database is used for looking up from which country an IP address is from. | By Pascal

Jetpack by WordPress.com – Bring the power of the WordPress.com cloud to your self-hosted WordPress. Jetpack enables you to connect your blog to a WordPress.com account to use the powerful features normally only available to WordPress.com users. | By Automattic

Page Links To – Allows you to point WordPress pages or posts to a URL of your choosing. Good for setting up navigational links to non-WP sections of your site or to off-site resources. | By Mark Jaquith

SEO Friendly Images – Automatically adds alt and title attributes to all your images. Improves traffic from search results and makes them W3C/xHTML valid as well. | By Vladimir Prelovac

ShareThis – Let your visitors share a post/page with others. Supports e-mail and posting to social bookmarking sites. | By Kalpak Shah@ShareThis

Social Media Widget – Adds links to all of your social media and sharing site profiles. Tons of icons come in 3 sizes, 4 icon styles, and 4 animations. | By Blink Web Effects

Suffusion Shortcodes – This plugin is an add-on to the Suffusion WordPress Theme. Suffusion offers you a lot of shortcodes, but if you move away from Suffusion, your content might not display properly due to the missing shortcodes. This plugin will ensure that the shortcodes are available even if you decide not to use Suffusion. | By Sayontan Sinha

Ultimate TinyMCE – Beef up your visual tinymce editor with a plethora of advanced options. | By Josh Lobe

W3 Total Cache – The highest rated and most complete WordPress performance plugin. Dramatically improve the speed and user experience of your site. Add browser, page, object and database caching as well as minify and content delivery network (CDN) to WordPress. | By Frederick Townes

Wordfence Security – Anti-virus and Firewall security plugin for WordPress. | By Mark Maunder

WordPress Importer – Import posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, tags and more from a WordPress export file. | By wordpressdotorg

WordPress Notification Bar – Global Notification Bar for WordPress. | By SeedProd

WordPress SEO – The first true all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more. | By Joost de Valk

WP-TopBar –  Create MULTIPLE TopBars that will be shown at the top of your website. TopBars are selected by a variety of options – includes scheduler, custom PHP, custom CSS and more! | By Bob Goetz

Wysija Newsletters – Create and send newsletters. Import and manage your lists. Add subscription forms in widgets, articles and pages. Wysija is a freemium plugin updated regularly with new features. | By Wysija

 

His son,

Gary Lee Millner

recommended wordpress plugins

How to Create and Maintain a Professional Looking Website or Blog the Easy Way – Part 2 of 2

 WordPress  Comments Off on How to Create and Maintain a Professional Looking Website or Blog the Easy Way – Part 2 of 2
Mar 132013
 

In part 1 of this topic, we talked about how WordPress.com is a viable option for folks who want a blog or website that is professional looking, yet easy enough to build and maintain themselves.

However, a WordPress.com site does have it’s limitations. For example, additional plugins and widgets are not supported. So, if you want to add, say drop caps to your blog, you cannot do this with a WordPress.com blog.

You can purchase a premium theme or customize the design of your current theme for a price. However, because of how the WordPress.com platform works, you are still limited in what you can do.

website

Enter WordPress.org. With WordPress.org, the software is free but you have to find a web host to install it on. Thus, the initial setup is a little more complicated than a WordPress.com site and the web hosting will cost you a little money, but the flexibility that you get is priceless.

You now have the ability to load any of the numerous WordPress plugins (including widgets) that are available and you have free access to many fully customizable themes that are not available on WordPress.com. And Google Analytics is fully supported. You can even monetize your site if you like.

Michael Hyatt has an article called, “How to Launch a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog in 20 Minutes or Less.” Both he and WordPress.org recommends Bluehost.com to host your site.

I recently migrated from a WordPress.com site to a WordPress.org self-hosted site. I followed Michael’s instructions linked above and was able to get the WordPress.org software installed in a short period of time! It was literally a one-click install and I never had to touch a server’s desktop!

Migrating my blog posts over to my new site was as easy as clicking Tools > Export > Download Export File on my old site’s admin page, installing the WordPress Importer plugin on my new site, and then clicking Tools > Import > WordPress on my new site’s admin page.

Migrating my email subscribers was straightforward as well. First, I had to make sure that Jetpack was installed on my new site, which is also a one-click install.  Next, I had to contact WordPress.com support and ask them to migrate my email subscribers over from my old site to my new site. I also posted a request in the WordPress.com forums. I think the post in the forums sped up the process.

I chose the Suffusion theme. It is touted as “the Best, Most Versatile and Totally Free WordPress Theme,” and I would tend to agree. The number of options that this theme allows is quite impressive, if not overwhelming at first. Getting your theme (site) to look the way that you want it to is perhaps the most challenging part of the process.

The last step that I had to take was to edit my website’s DNS nameservers. I simply logged into my old WordPress.com site’s admin page, selected Store > Domains, and under “Domain Administration” selected “Make changes to DNS.” I then set a new password and clicked “Save password.” Next, I copied my customer number to my PC’s clipboard and clicked “Manage Your Domains.”

It was here that I changed my nameservers to the following:

NS1.BLUEHOST.COM

NS2.BLUEHOST.COM

After 24-48 hours, all website requests for my domain garyleemillner.com were directed to my new site over at bluehost.com

All-in-all, the WordPress.com to WordPress.org migration went very smoothly.

I would love to hear from you. Have you always wanted a website but have been afraid of taking the leap? Do you have a website that is a pain to update or manage? Do you have website hosting horror stories?

How to Create and Maintain a Professional Looking Website or Blog the Easy Way – Part 1 of 2

 WordPress  Comments Off on How to Create and Maintain a Professional Looking Website or Blog the Easy Way – Part 1 of 2
Feb 242013
 

With the age of the internet (e.g. websites, social networks, and blogging) booming, being online and connected is now more important than ever.

Christian authors, leaders, bloggers, and generally anyone who wants to reach the world with the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ, have a unique opportunity to reach billions of people online (over a billion people on Facebook alone!).

A website or blog has the potential to reach people 24/7/365. Your site works for you even while you sleep. If the world uses the internet for their purposes, shouldn’t we as Christians also take advantage of this wonderful tool for the Kingdom of God?

I started out when the only applications available to help build websites were basically just glorified text editors. You were responsible for writing the HTML code yourself. WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) wasn’t coined yet, at least as far as I know. Creating a website from scratch was a hard road, real hard.

Create Maintain WordPress Website Blog Easy Way

I experimented with creating websites in the early days of the internet but I never really got very far because of the complexity of building them from raw HTML code and the further pain of having to maintain them.

On one occasion, I remember building a website using a free template that I had downloaded. The website looked very nice and used Java script. I was proud of it. The only problem was, since I didn’t understand Java scripting, it was extremely difficult for me to create any additional content and make the website look like I wanted it to look. Thus, I quickly became discouraged and never finished it.

When the age of blogging began, I experimented with different blogging platforms (mainly Google’s Blogger.com but perhaps one or two other platforms). Blogging platforms offered a nice alternative to a full-blown website. I found them very easy to build and maintain and the nice part was that you didn’t have to understand HTML code.

However, the problem was that they looked, well, like a blog, and not a website. Even with the myriad of themes that were available, none looked professional enough to call your homepage.

Enter WordPress.com. I was first exposed to WordPress through a pastor friend’s website. His website was a WordPress.com blog but there was something different about it – it looked very professional. I also noticed that his website did not have the standard xyz.blogging_platform.com naming convention. His website was in this format:  his_name.com. I was quite impressed.

It wasn’t long after this that I decided to give the whole blog/website thing another try. I signed up with WordPress.com and garyleemillner.wordpress.com was born.

I found that WordPress.com made the domain name registration process very easy and even included this functionality within their web-based blog administration software. All I had to do was enter some information, click through a couple of screens, pay $17.00, and before I knew it, I had officially registered garyleemillner.com as a domain name for a year.

I now had a very professional looking blog/website that was relatively easy to build and maintain. I was a happy camper.

I have used my new site for several years now and have been extremely happy with it.

WordPress.com is a viable option for folks who want a blog or website that is professional looking, yet easy enough to build and maintain themselves.