Space shuttle lift off by NASA Imagery

Site Accelerator

Site Accelerator
To accelerate or not to accelerate, that is the question.

I draw comics and webcomics. Comics is a passion of mine since I was a kid. It is important that my webcomics loads fast and clear. I am particular on site caching.

Jetpack had an option called “Photon.” Photon accelerated images by using WordPress.com as a Content Delivery Network. Photon did the reverse for my images. My sites loaded very slow. If my site lost its connection to WordPress.com, my images would not load at all. I stopped using the Photon option.

Jetpack merged Photon with a new option called “Site Accelerator.” I was skeptical about activating this option because of my experience. To my surprise, the Site Accelerator did NOT screw up my webcomic; it improved my site’s load speed.

I am happy that Jetpack continues to improve their service. I am also happy that my load speeds improved.

Happy Birthday WP

WordPress celebrates 16 years today. You can read more about it via WP Tavern at https://wptavern.com/happy-sweet-16-wordpress.

I began using WordPress in 2009. I worked on a site called Real Life Superheroes.org. I used WP to repost articles about people dressing up as Superheroes to do good deeds. The site evolved into a Social Network (due to BuddyPress). When the movie Kick-Ass came out, Lionsgate offered my co-admin and I a cross marketing deal. In 2011, I stepped down as admin and left the site to new administrators. They could not maintain the site. It broke due to viruses and spambots. I moved the old content to a wordpress.com address.

Since then, WordPress is my go-to site builder. I often experiment with other platforms, but my bread and butter is WordPress. It is what I am familiar with and it is what I’ve taken classes for. It’s a powerful piece of software. I don’t know where I would be without WordPress.

Thank you to the Automattic team for building a CMS that has shaped how I develop websites.

Thoughts on Narrow Search

Search engines have evolved from simple keyword searches. They are more intuitive to the user. But, like most technologies, narrow search engine scope is a double-edged sword.  

Search filter bubbles are helpful when eliminating unnecessary results. If I am searching for new clothes, it is helpful that Amazon yield results based on my previous purchases. The time to search for what I want is shorten my account history. When search for a restaurant based on my likes, Google will recommend places based on what I like. From a marketing and promotion standpoint, custom search results is fantastic. The customers receive what they want based on their tastes with extensive research.

But, there is a downside to a narrow search scope. Filter bubbles promote news articles based on our political bias. This leads to misinformation or uninformed information which in turn leads to distrust. The user is not getting information based on contextual reality.  

Focus searches are great for the marketplace but horrible for news. It would behoove the user to understand how search engines work. If users want true news, they need to clear their search history. If a user needs to shop, there needs to be a in depth search history.

SEO- The Never-Ending Battle

One challenge about SEO optimization is understanding that it is an ongoing process. It is not enough to have keywords embedded into a site’s webpage. Images need to contain ALT tags. A meta description must be present on a page. XML files must be updated as often as a site posts new content. A site’s load performance is another factor into a business’ SEO ranking. The mobile readiness of a website contributes into SEO.

In the article titled “The 3 Biggest Small Business SEO Challenges & How to Overcome Them”, the writer point out that SEO is not a one and done action. The article also discusses that good SEO doesn’t mean instant profits. SEO is one part in effective online marketing and is an ongoing process. Thus, a web developer should be conscious of site coding and how it affects a domain’s SEO ranking. This includes adding new content and optimizing a site’s performance on a regular basis.

Reference:

Kemick, Donny. “The 3 Biggest Small Business SEO Challenges & How to Overcome Them.” Inbound Marketing Agency and B2B Lead Generation Improvement, Protocol 80, Inc., 21 Oct. 2016, www.protocol80.com/blog/the-3-biggest-small-business-seo-challenges-how-to-overcome-them.

WordPress 5.0 Icon

WP 5.0 is Live

WordPress 5.0 just launched today. I have updated all my WP sites. There are no issues to report right now. All is good.

This is my first blog with Gutenberg as the native text editor.I’m not skeptical about how WP would function with Gutenberg. I am concerned with how awkward the new text editor is. WP is reaching out to Squarespace and WIX users. I will learn to live without a basic text editor. I remain annoyed by the Document/Block options on the right-hand side. This may be another feature that appeals to non-WP users. 

There are new plugins to build on Gutenberg framework. Block Gallery by Rich Tabor allows users to build better galleries. Block Lab is another plugin to create custom Gutenberg block. I’ve loaded both in this install and will experiment with them. 

Good luck to everyone updating their installations today. I hope it is a smooth transition. 

Moving my blog

I changed my Heart WordPress blog address! I want toexperiment with the latest version of WordPress (WP 4.9.9 Alpha). Although WPdoes not recommend beta testing their programs on live site, I am doing itanyway.

My Heart WP site is a continuation of my college finalproject. Rather than let my WP project fade into portfolio obscurity, I use itto test new WP features. My final blog project site was a subfolder my WP network install. I created that network using the WP Multi-Network plugin and WordPress Multi-Site option. But, the plugins I use for my final are not usedanywhere else on in the network. This concerns me because I don’t want to usean untested plugin that will destroy my network. So I moved my blog to adifferent install which I can destroy without worry.

This site will be the first site I upgrade when WP 5.0 comesout. I’m anxious to see how WordPress runs when Gutenberg is its core text editor (https://wordpress.org/gutenberg).

Le Image Issues

WPTavern reported on the Image issues with Gutenberg, the new editor for WordPress 5.0.  I reported a similar image issue-  https://wordpress.org/support/topic/adding-an-image-is-a-nightmare/#post-10647313

I’ve accepting that  images cannot post left or right. I wanted to have images within a paragraph body, but its difficult in Gutenberg. After reading the WP Tavern post, I see that I’m not the only one frustrated with the image options in Gutenberg. 

I hope that this issue is resolve before the 5.0 release date later this month. 

Site Builders

I’m not fond of site builders. I don’t care for them. I’ve felt that using website builders was cheating. It is like tracing when drawing buildings. The latest theme from Cyber Chimps, called Solome, requires the Elementor plugin. I was not happy with having to use a builder plugin. But, after using the plugin, I’ve revised my opinion about page builders.

Elementor is a WordPress plugin designed to “build” custom pages and posts. Users can add responsive columns and widgets as well as add background not set by the WP theme. Users can also save designed templates to use on other pages or export to other WP sites. There is no extra coding required and the free version is powerful.

The one thing I liked about Elementor is how much I can do with a simple page. I used to rely in tables and HTML tricks for custom page layouts. The plugin removes the need to hard code. Verse Gutenberg, Elementor is much easier to use. The block editing/drop and drag designer with this plugin is superior.

My opinion has changed about site builders. Site builders for WordPress are good… if the user knows the fundamentals of WP. I wouldn’t recommend it for all types of websites. A user/developer would need to decide if it is right direction on a case by case basis.

The Gutenberg Debate

Gutenberg will be the new WP editor, wither or not users want it. WP Tavern posted about the mixed user reviews at (https://wptavern.com/gutenberg-plugin-garners-mixed-reactions-from-new-wave-of-testers).

I try to be open to change. I understand that programs need to evolve to meet the needs of the user. I am also very aware that I am not a programmer nor a web developer. I have a very limited knowledge so I am not an educated authority on the topic. In my attempt at learning, Gutenberg became my default text editor for my sites.

The issue I have is the block editing. This is distracting and unwieldy. I want to create a post. I don’t enjoy writing when every block of text has it’s own option sections. I also want the option to edit my entire post using the HTML editor. I don’t want to go through each paragraph and select “Edit as HTML.” I don’t want pictures to be its own block. I want to add a picture and choose where it’s located with ease. In Gutenberg, the picture is its own editing block. Once the image is set then it is very difficult to impossible to change its location. 

I know that like it or not I must learn to love Gutenberg. I trust that WordPress is reaching out to a broader range of uses. I also know that the Gutenberg Editor will become intuitive. I am worried that the new core editor may make the WP experience more cumbersome. 

Learn more about Gutenberg at https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/

Heart Beat Flaticon from Cyberchimps.com

Health Check Plugin

Health Check & Troubleshooting is a new plugin by The WordPress.org community. The plugin test the WP install for errors. The plugin will troubleshoot some common problems offer solutions to solve install issues.

Before anyone runs the plugin, it is ideal to do a backup. I was too eager to explore this plugin and ran it. I had no errors on my WP network install. My multisite install had some issues with the scheduling functions. In both sites, the troubleshooting section, both sites were clear of errors.

The Health Check & Troubleshooting is definitely a great plugin to install. For more information, read up about it at https://make.wordpress.org/support/handbook/appendix/troubleshooting-using-the-health-check/.