Shell's TechBlabber

…ShelLuser blogs about stuff ;)

Sharing some WordPress experiences…

WordPress logo3 years ago I dove into what is my current all-time favorite hobby and passion: synthesizers and basically everything involved around it. From sound design to synthesis studies, right to simply playing a few tunes yourself. It didn’t take long for me to decide and build a website and an accompanied blog to share my experiences and some of my material (be it sounds or presets and such). This resulted in my hobby site SynthFan.info.

Beginning this year however I decided that I no longer wanted the site to be hosted with a big hosting provider. It would save me some money and I could more easily expand on the site as well. Because I didn’t feel like building the whole thing from scratch, and because I already knew that I wanted to continue blogging I decided to pick up on WordPress. So now I’d like to share some of my experiences so far. Something tells me that I won’t have to explain what WordPress is all about considering the location of this blog, so I’ll skip that one 😀

Why WordPress?

In short: because of its versatility and extensibility. WordPress is more than merely a blog; you can quite easily build a whole website around it as well and basically add whatever you want. Pick a nice theme (or build one yourself) and start filling your site with contents. That is the real strength of WP; it allows you to fully concentrate on the things which matter, namely your site contents.

Plugins

The best part are in my opinion the plugins. These allow you to extend on WP’s functionality. From spam blockers to blog statistics right to intrusion detection. And unfortunately you’re going to need those as soon as your blog slowly catches on. When it comes to the Internet you can never be too careful; and WP has you fully covered.

So without further ado, here is a list of my current favorite plugins with a short description as to why I started to favor them…

  • Akismet; one of the first problems you’re going to face when your blog slowly catches on is spam. And believe me; it can be quite annoying if you have to start blog maintenance by going over dozens of comments of which you need to delete several instances of spam. No more with this plugin!  Get the plugin, sign up for an API key (its free for personal use!) and you’re good to go.
  • Better WP Security; maintaining a blog is one thing. Keeping it safe is something else, especially if you’re not a systems administrator. This plugin is your Swiss army knife on blog security. It has it all; from “security through obscurity” schemes right to blocking attackers (brute force attacks), intrusion detection (checking up on changed files), as well as simple but effective tips and tricks. For example; does your admin area need to be available 24/7 ?
  • WordPress SEO, by Yoast. This plugin helps you to apply Search Engine Optimization (‘SEO’) on your blog.  It checks your posts (and pages) and can then give you hints on how you can optimize the contents in such ways that these will be easier found and processed by search engines such as Google and Bing.
  • Jetpack, by WordPress.com; this gets you the ‘power of the WordPress cloud’ onto your self-hosted WordPress environment. From making WordPress.com keep up with your sites statistics (be it for visitors or even Akismet’s actions) right to providing new ways for people to subscribe or comment on your blog, right to providing easy ways to share contents on social media. This can really help out to enhance your website or blog.
  • Broken Link Checker; a simply yet straight to the point kind of plugin. Ideal to make sure that none of the URL’s in your posts or pages suddenly points to non existing contents.
  • Core Control; last but most certainly not least!  Now, you need to be careful with this one since it can change specific settings which can easily render your website useless when used improperly.
    • The reason why I favor this plugin despite the possible danger is because it can really help you fix problems. For example; I’ve had several issues with WP giving “unknown server errors” on a frequent basis. Turned out that you’re better of disabling the cURL transport and instead only use PHP Streams and/or PHP fsockopen(). Settings like these are very easily changed using Core Control, as long as you’re careful…

In conclusion

WordPress and some of its plugins maybe a little daunting at first, but once you started to get the hang of the way things work then I think you may very well find some of the ones I mentioned above invaluable as well.

 

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June 25, 2012 - Posted by | Tips and tricks, WordPress | , , ,

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