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Easy Way to Improve Your Search Engine Ranking

One of my WP-Minify users emailed me the other day referencing me to this post on the Google Adsense blog. In summary, the article says that Google will start including your site speed to figure out how you rank in their search results page.

I believe that Google is doing the right thing here. I also believe that top sites that show up on search results pages shouldn’t be overly slow (else it’ll ruin my search experience).

WP-Minify and WP Super Cache are the two easiest things you can implement on your WordPress blog to give you site a huge speed boost. You should definitely take an hour out of your day to install these two plugins to make sure Google won’t de-rank you due to your site speed.

Also make sure to spread the word to your friends and followers about this!

Weekend Links – Mar 21, 2009

Plugin Review: “Top 10”

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photo credit: David Locke1

Ajay D’Souza has done it again and brought fellow WordPress users another much needed plugin called Top 10. This plugin counts daily/total visits per post and displays the most popular posts based on the number of views. Now you might just smirk and say that this is just another popular post plugin, but if you continue reading, I will go over how this plugin is different from many other popular posts plugins.

What’s special about Top 10?

Read on…

Use Custom Fields to Dynamically Display Content

You might have noticed that I have a post footer section on every one of my posts. What you might not have noticed is that this post footer changes depending on what type of post it is. For example on each of my plugin pages (e.g. SEO No Duplicate plugin), you will see that the footer looks like this:
Plugins Footer
But on each of my popular articles pages (e.g. Make Any Plugin Work with WP Super Cache), you will see that my footer looks like the following:
Articles Footer
Better yet, on any other posts, the footer shows:
Other Footer

In this post I will show you how to easily implement this feature on your WordPress blog.
Read on…

Make Any Plugin Work with WP Super Cache

I notice that a lot of people visit my blog because they want to get WP-PostViews or Popularity Contest plugin to work with a WordPress cache plugin like WP Super Cache. In this post I will show you the general technique I use to make (almost) any plugin compatible with WP Super Cache.

Understanding WP Super Cache

As you all may know, WP Super Cache when fully enabled works by saving a copy of the generated HTML file and using .htaccess to redeliver that same static file upon repeated requests. The benefit of this is obviously the time saving from the absence of PHP execution and database queries. This “feature” also has the side effect of staticizing any parts of the page that needs to be dynamic, such as:

  1. Statistics tracking: This includes things like page view counting/displaying and visitor tracking. Some plugins that do this are WP Post Views and Popularity Contest.
  2. Dynamic visitor targeting: This includes things like showing different content depending on who your visitor is. Some plugins that do this are What Would Seth Godin Do and Who Sees Ads.

Read on…

Make Popularity Contest Work with WP-Super-Cache

Previously I wrote ‘Make Your WordPress 10X faster During Traffic Storms‘, which is a post about automatically turning WP-[Super]-Cache on/off and automatically switching your WordPress theme to a lighter theme during heavy traffic. One of the main reasons that I had this setup was because I could not get statistics to work with WP-Super-Cache (i.e. my chCounter & Popularity Contest plugin is hosed).

After some tinkering, I was able to get chCounter and Popularity Contest to work with WP-Super-Cache. This involves using javascript to count instead of PHP. chCounter was a simple change, but Popularity Contest was a bit more challenging. Usually I would immediately post the “How-to” here, or rather release the modded plugin to the public myself, but I believe that I shouldn’t step on Alex King’s shoes (the original developer of Popularity Contest). I’ve sent the Popularity Contest code to Alex for code review. He’s been doing some of the same work, and hopefully he can incorporate some of my changes into the plugin and release it to the public soon.

If anybody would like to use my version of the Popularity Contest before Alex King releases it to the public, you may download the WordPress 2.3.3 and WordPress 2.5 compatible version here:
Read on…

WP-Super-Cache Released!

What more can I say but “GPL FTW”. This is what happens when you release something under GPL and do not put in much effort in supporting it. Someone else takes it over and releases a better version of your own code leaving the consumers to benefit! Donncha O Chaoimh from Holy Shmoly! released WP-Super-Cache, a WordPress caching plugin built on top of WP-Cache. From Holy Shmoly!, here are the differences between WP-Super-Cache and WP-Cache:

  1. A plugin and hooks system. A common complaint with WP Cache was that hacking was required to make it work nicely with other plugins. Now you can take advantage of the simple plugin system built in to change how or when pages are cached. Use do_cacheaction() and add_cacheaction() like you would with WordPress hooks. Plugins can add their own options to the admin page too.
  2. Works well with WordPress MU in VHOST or non-VHOST configuration. Each blog’s cache files are identified to improve performance.
  3. Normal WP-Cache files are now split in two. Meta files go in their own directory making it much faster to scan and update the cache.
  4. Includes this WP-Cache and protected posts fix.
  5. Automatically disable gzip compression in WordPress instead of dying.
  6. As Akismet and other spam fighting tools have improved, the cache will only be invalidated if a comment is definitely not spam.
  7. Version 0.2 supports gzip compression

Did you see that? Supports gzip compression! Finally, an easy way to enable gzip and WP-Cache. The best part of all of this is that the automatic WP-Cache enabling method still works for this plugin since it was built on top of WP-Cache. I encourage everybody to upgrade!

Make Your WordPress 10X faster During Traffic Storms


This tutorial will augment the technique of automatically enabling WP-Cache during heavy load with the ability to switch to a low-bandwidth WordPress theme at the same time.

Few reasons to do this

1. WP-Cache messes with your site statistics, so you do not want to leave it on when your site is not being hammered.
2. You don’t want to use a bandwidth efficient theme all the time because it’s not pretty-lookin’.
3. During traffic storms (e.g. Digg Effect), every 1/100 second optimization tweak counts.
4. If you host your site on a shared host, you will most likely have a bandwidth quota. Switching to a leaner theme conserves your bandwidth (duh!)
5. If you host your site on a home connection, your upload is not up to par with most hosting services, so you need to use that small pipe efficiently.
6. Each “IMG” tag, even if it’s a 1×1 pixel gif, requires an HTTP request to your web server. If you have 10 images on your page, and 10 users are loading your page, that’s 100 simultaneous calls to your server already. Leaner themes usually means less/no images, giving Apache some break.
7. If you’re server is non-uber, you don’t deserve to administer it.
Read on…

Automatically Turn on WP-Cache During Traffic Storms


I am a semi-fan of WP-Cache. On the good side, it reduces strain on apache by staticising WordPress pages. On the bad side, it messes with my site statistics and makes development hard (I always forget that the page I’m working on is being cached). I like my statistics, but what if I suddenly get a traffic storm? If my site gets dugg, there is no time to worry about statistics. I would need all the help I can get to serve pages efficiently. This is why WP-Cache should be off by default and automatically turned on during traffic storms. Read on…