Category Archives: Plugins

Our preferred plugins for Wordpress

How can I prevent WordPress authors from being tracked in Google Analytics?

There are two methods of inserting the analytics tracking code into a wordpress website.

1. Edit the header.php file and insert the code manually – Not Recommended.  This works fine but using option #2 is better.  If you update your theme you may loose the analytics code if you use this method.

2. Use the Google Analytics for WordPress Plugin – This will make sure your analytics code is update proof plus you can turn off analytics tracking for logged in users.  This will prevent all sorts of data from being gathered that should not be included in your Google Analytics data.  Think about what WordPress authors do to average time on site, bounce rate, page loads etc.

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There a few other great features in the Google Analytics plugin you may not know existed.  Posts on these topics are coming soon.

  • How to track WordPress tags and categories in Google Analytics
  • How to track WordPress Author’s in Google Analyitcs

 

How does WP Super Cache make my website faster?

A common misconception about WP Super Cache is that is works by increasing how much is cached on website visitors computers.  It really works by caching was is on your website’s server.

Without a cache your website server combines a series of PHP files to generate the HTML of your website.  It may also call a series of scripts and css files depending on what plugins are installed.  What often makes a website slow is not how big the files are being downloaded, but how many there are.  Each time the server loads a file it takes time no matter how small it is.

WP Super Cache and other similar plugins create a minified version of your website for users to download.  They combine all of your PHP files, and sometimes the javascript and CSS too, before a visitor arrives at the website. Users download the same website with many fewer server requests which makes it load faster.

Note that when you are working on your website you should disable WP super cache and then re enable it when you are finished.  If you do not disable the plugin you will not see the updates to your website because you will download the cached (minified) version.

How to fight spam without Askimet

Askimet is not free for commercial use.  Although many commercial WordPress users lie and sign up for the free ‘personal use’ version, we sleep a little better at night knowing we are abiding by the rules.  Here are a few tools to manage spam without Askimet.

1. Install Anti-spam Bee – This is a free alternative to Askimet that blocks spammers based on a blacklist of IP addresses.  Just activate the plugin and you are good to go.

2. Install a captcha for comments – We use Captcha by BestWebSoft because it is easier than recaptcha.  ReCaptcha is more effective in blocking spam but the letters are often difficult for actual users.  Si Captcha may allow for the occasional spam comment but that is better than frustrating people who actually want to comment.

That is usually all it takes to reduce 95% of the spam you will receive on your WordPress blogs.  Here are a few other techniques we have used.

Turn off comments on older posts – Not recommended.  The great thing about blogs is that they live on forever in the search engines long after they are recent news.  We often receive important comments years after something was posted.

Remove the website URL from the comment form – Not Recommended.  A great thing about all social media sites is that you can click on a person’s name and visit their profile.  If you like what they had to say you can find more information.  The URL field is the same type of feature for blogs.

Remove Trackbacks altogether – OK. Trackbacks were made with good intentions but they are pretty pointless.

How do I prevent WordPress users from uploading oversized images?

Many new WordPress users don’t understand the difference between an image file taken directly from a digital camera and images that are used on the web.  If they don’t understand the difference you can bet that training them to use an image editor to decrease the size of the photo is a lost cause

The problem: Large digital camera images can take over 5 seconds to download and make the website REALLY slow.

The solution: Use Resize at Upload Plus to automatically optimize photos as they are uploaded.

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Specify a max height and width in the plugin settings and you are good to go.  If the user is struggling to create WordPress photo galleries we recommend reading this post.

Note: This plugin does not appear to update very often, but it has always worked for us.

Other Search terms for this problem include…

  • Prevent large images WordPress
  • Oversized images WordPress
  • Decrease image size WordPress

Content and Image Slider Plugins

Free Image and Content Slider Plugins
Coda Slider – This plugin is good if you want to use posts for your slides. You can create a category called “featured” and use the same post in your slider and your blog. The downside of this plugin is that it will only slide posts, you can’t choose to fade or any other transition.

Thethe Image Slider – This plugin works well with images and captions but it has its shortcomings. You have to know some HMTL to make more advanced captions, and there are a lot of advertisements in the WordPress side. This plugin is based off of the Nivo Slider which is better for images than content.

The Best Slider Plugin
We use WooSlider because it has a lot of flexibility. Its based off of Flexislider. It will work with just images, posts, or its own custom post type call slideshows. These slideshow posts can be categorized to support multiple slideshows on the website. Also wooslider has a slider widget, and it will show images attached to a post like a WordPress gallery.

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Its not free but only costs $29.

Photo & Photo Gallery Plugins

Standard WordPress Gallery Method
If you use the Standard WordPress Gallery method we recommend using the PrettyPhoto Media plugin. After you install the plugin go to the plugin settings and enable use for Standard WordPress galleries.

Use NextGen Gallery to make it easier
If you have every tried to train a WordPress beginner on how to insert a photo gallery you will know how many steps it involves. Although the new Media management in WP 3.5 looks nice I don’t think it made it any easier to create photo galleries. I think it easier to train beginners on how to create galleries in NextGen Gallery, then insert them into posts.

Use both plugins together
NextGen makes it easy to incorporate PrettyPhoto as well as other lightbox plugins to display photo galleries. Go to the NextGen Options, then click effects and you can set a custom setting for PrettyPhoto, rel=”prettyPhoto[%GALLERY_NAME%]”

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Here is prettyPhoto Gallery with some of our recent designs.