The purpose of a business website it to produce a result of some kind. It could be educating your prospective customers about the products/services you provide or enticing the customer to buy the service or make a purchase.

In the early days of the Internet (read 1990s), building and maintaining websites was an expensive proposition and hence only large enterprises could afford this luxury. Add to that, there was no clear understanding of what the website was supposed to do and businesses were at the mercy of the geeks to get even small changes done.

The advent of WordPress and other CMS sites (such as Joomla, Drupal to name a few) changed all this. Small (or large for that matter) want websites to offer stability (be up all the time), speed and most importantly peace of mind – the fact that the website should “just run” – without having to worry about the technical mumbo-jumbo. And this is what WordPress does best!

– It is very fast and easy to deploy (most of the hosting providers give you a 1-click install)

– Low Cost

Search engine friendly – keeps code fresh, has awesome set of plugins to help you make your site easy for search engines to crawl

– Huge array of plugins to do anything and everything to want

In fact, Rick Nielsen mentions in his WordCamp talk that it seems WordPress is being developed keeping the small businesses in mind. This is apparent in the features being added, plugins being developed and the design of the program to ease deployment and maintenance tasks.

Watch the video here:

Website performance is crucial!

wordpress site optimizations

Considering the average Internet user has an attention span of a rat, all the effort put into SEO, PPC, social media and other channels goes waste, if the user gets impatient and bounces off because of slow load time.

The problem gets more pronounced in wordpress based sites as majority of folks running wordpress sites don’t have the necessary skill sets or a tech team to optimize it for them.

What the average wordpress site owner needs is some simple tips and tricks that can be done by a single person and will give the most bang for the buck!

Nifty Tips for Front End Performance improvement

In this context, I came across a WordCamp talk by Chris Coyier, who covers the basic tips focused on improving front end website speed. This talk is mainly for people who have not done the basic level of optimizations and

Some of the tips covered in this presentation are:

– Turn on HTTP Compression
– Cache Stuff
– Losslessly optimize images
– Combine CSS and JS

 

Themes

Wordpress themes are what distinguishes one wordpress site from 55 million others and gives it an individual personality. However, for a beginner starting off using wordpress finding a good theme which not only expresses the website’s brand & intent but also is bug free and SEO-optimized is a challenge.

Themes come in various forms – free or premium, there are also theme frameworks such as Genesis, Hybrid and so on which provide basic functionality and hooks (optimized code) and can be extended/customized using “child” themes.

The video below is an excellent presentation by Lance Willett from Automattic and talks about the various facets of the wordpress landscape.

Some of the concepts covered in this video are:

– Frameworks – Starter frameworks, Options Framework and Child Themes

– Commercial Themes and Marketplace

Couple of interesting ways to check for good themes is by verifying if the theme developer has put in a 404 error (and if he/she has put some creative thoughts into it) and by looking at how they have designed the “Widgets” area.

For more such nifty tips, watch this video:

How to Switch from Blogger to WordPress without Losing Google Rankings
Choosing between WordPress and Blogger is a tough decision that new bloggers must make. Most blogging experts and experienced users choose WordPress as the better blogging platform due to its robust features and flexibility. If you are interested in taking your BlogSpot blog to the next level by using WordPress, then you have come to the right place.

Read more: http://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/how-to-switch-from-blogger-to-wordpress-without-losing-google-rankings/

Gravity Forms vs. Wufoo (Which is a better form management solution?)
In this article, we will compare Gravity Forms vs. Wufoo to determine which is the better form management solution for WordPress. One thing that is important to note is that we will be using our frugal blogger / developer mentality to cast the winner.

Read more: http://www.wpbeginner.com/opinion/gravity-forms-vs-wufoo-which-is-a-better-form-management-solution/

[Tech How To] Master the WordPress Loop
The Loop is the basis of dynamic content in WordPress. The Loop is used by WordPress to display each of your posts. Using the Loop, WordPress processes each of the posts to be displayed on the current page and formats them according to how they match specified criteria within the Loop tags.

Read more: http://www.netmagazine.com/tutorials/master-wordpress-loop

[Marketing How To] How to Increase Pageviews and Reduce Bounce Rate in WordPress
When starting out, most bloggers believe that it is super hard to get people to your blog. Whereas most expert bloggers think that getting people to your blog is the easy part. Getting the users to stay on your site is harder. Most users come to your site and end up leaving without even going to the second page. When a user leaves without even going to the second page, it increases your bounce rate.

Read more: http://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/how-to-increase-pageviews-and-reduce-bounce-rate-in-wordpress/

My Go-To Resources for WordPress – BRIAN KROGSGARD

I often notice people looking for reliable WordPress resources. I’ve answered as much on Quora before, and the newly relaunched Code Poet recently asked people to share resources on Twitter. But I really just need to blog about all of the resources I use most often. I’ve been meaning to make this for a long time, so here I am.

Read more: http://krogsgard.com/2012/wordpress-resources/

How to contribute to WordPress – ManageWP

As you no doubt already know, WordPress in its current form wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the input of a huge number of developers all over the world, who happily sacrifice their hours to improve upon our favorite content management system.

Read more: http://managewp.com/how-to-contribute-to-wordpress

[Tech How To] User Contact Fields in WordPress

WordPress comes with a “default” set of user contact fields, which has always looked random to me: AIM, Yahoo IM and Jabber / Google Talk, instead of what I’d want to have there: Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Read more: http://yoast.com/user-contact-fields-wordpress/

[Marketing How To] Twitter Business Marketing v Search Engine Optimization

Is it more productive to spend time marketing your business using Twitter or with SEO?

Not so very long ago this is not a question I’d ever really ask. But recently I’ve found with my clients effort put into marketing a website using Twitter can often deliver as many visitors than the same effort put into SEO.

Read more: http://www.reallysimpleseo.com/twitter-for-business/twitter-business-marketing-v-search-engine-optimization

7 steps to secure your wordpress site WordPress is a robust blogging and CMS platform powering over 70 million websites – from single blogs to large corporate portals. However, with growing popularity comes growing woes. Web-based malicious attacks have gone up by 81% in 2010-2011 and since WordPress is a popular platform it gets its fair share of attacks.

We, at blogVault, have faced several instances wherein our clients’ websites have faced vulnerabilities such as Link Injection (SQL injection, shared folders), blackhole exploits, Javascript and PHP code injections to name a few. As a user of WordPress how do you protect your site against these exploits?

Here are few house keeping steps to get to started…

1. Update! Update! Update!

Most of the common hacks/injections happen because of outdated WP or plugin. WordPress has a very strong community and as soon as a vulnerability is detected, it gets plugged. No excuses for not updating!

2. Delete the ‘admin’ account – Make it harder for the hackers!

WordPress lets you give administrator access to other user accounts. So, instead of using ‘admin’ username use some other unique username.

3. Check your file and folder permissions

File permissions set to 777 are a red carpet welcome for hackers to set up base on your website! A good rule of thumb is to set files to 644 and folders to 755.

4. Hide your wp-config.php

This is another file which is most vulnerable to attacks and by default will be located at your_host/wordpress/wp-config.php. You can move it to the root directory i.e your_host/wp-config.php because WordPress automatically checks the root directory for this file if it doesn’t find it at the default location.

5. Use trusted sources for themes and plugins

Beware of pirated themes and plugins, they usually contain malware or spam bots which at best will hamper your site performance and worst case – steal critical information and spread viruses to its users.

6. Connect to your server securely

Use sFTP or SSH instead of FTP. Use SSL whenever possible. HTTPS is most preferred and secure way of transacting online.

7. Backup regularly

I suggest using a premium backup solution who will take secure and periodic backups of your site, and also gives you the option to switch hosts (migrate) efficiently and in a matter of minutes, if your site gets compromised. blogVault is one such host and we have plans starting for as low as $9/month.

As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure. Secure your website and protect yourself from these attacks.

The 3 pieces that are turning worpress into a platform

WordPress started as a simple blogging platform and open source project. As the platform and the themes running on top of it grew more sophisticated, WordPress became a full-fledged content management system somewhere around 2004.

These days, WordPress acts a lot more like a development framework or a PaaS (Platform as a Service). The full WordPress stack is not just integrated, it’s mature. And in the last year, several new services have sprung up to provide the missing pieces that today make WordPress a platform in the truest sense of the word.

Read more: http://gigaom.com/2012/06/23/the-3-pieces-that-are-turning-wordpress-into-a-platform/

 

3 simple ways to cut back spam on your WordPress blog or Website

We all get it, and all hate it. SPAM! Well,WordPress has 3 simple ways to cut down on the spam that gets through.

1. If you are self-hosted, make sure and activate the plugin Akismet. You will need to grab an API key from the Akismet site. They ask for a small donation or fee if you are using it on a commercial site, but it’s well worth it!

Read more: http://www.bobwp.com/3-simple-ways-cut-back-spam-on-your-wordpress-blog-or-website/
[How To] Make an Interesting and Useful Archive or Explore Page for Your WordPress Site
My original intent was to give users a variety of ways, in one place, to locate content which might interest them. My secondary goal was to cut down on widgets in my sidebar. I wanted to put up some cool widgets, but also wanted to list categories, archives by date, etc. Having that all in the sidebar takes a lot of space.

Read more: http://voodoopress.com/make-interesting-useful-archive-explore-page-your-wordpress-site/

[Podcast] What is the Purpose of Your WordPress Site

What is the purpose of your WordPress site?
Do you want to people to follow you on Facebook, buy your book or product or sign up for your email newsletter list?
Figure out what your main goal is then design your site around it

Read more and Listen: http://yourwebsiteengineer.com/080-what-is-the-purpose-of-your-wordpress-site/

 

How to Add Custom Post Type to XML-Sitemap Generator (via wpmodder.com)

XML-Sitemap Generator plugin plugin creates and updates your XML Sitemap whenever you add a new page or post BUT it does not account for custom post types. We did our due diligence and read through the plugin documentation and forum threads, and even found a plugin that hooks into the XML-Sitemap plugin to include custom post types, but decided not to use it because of forward compatibility if the XML-Sitemap plugin gets updated to include custom post types.

Read more: http://wpmodder.com/how-to-add-custom-post-type-to-xml-sitemap-generator-1206.html

5 Surprising Observations from BlogWorld Expo New York City (via bobwp.com)

Most bloggers go the session-recap, photos-with-peeps and pictures-of-massive-plates of-food route. I could do that, too, but I’ve decided instead to offer a few BlogWorld observations that intrigued or surprised me.

Read more: http://www.bobwp.com/5-surprising-observations-from-blogworld-expo-new-york-city/

 

Cool WordPress shortcode plugins to snap your blog into style (via wpmu.org)

Shortcodes are, imho, one of the best things to happen to WordPress. They allow you to do all kinds of cool things on your blog with just a few mouse clicks; like create beautiful buttons, boxes, columns and tabs. Today, I’d like to share 3 of my favorite shortcode plugins to do just that, and then some… check out #3 on the list; it’s awesome!

Read more: http://wpmu.org/cool-wordpress-shortcode-plugins-to-snap-your-blog-into-style/

WordPress ‘Green’ 3.4

The wonderful guys at WordPress have released the next version of our favorite CMS/Blogging solution. Code named ‘Green’, after the famous guitarist ‘Grant Green’; WordPress 3.4 has made several cosmetic changes for bloggers and changes under-the-hood for developers and designers to create ‘magic’ on this wonderful platform!

Enough said… hit the video to see all this and more..

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As always, we advice you to take a backup of your entire site (including plugins and themes) for the just-in-case scenario where your theme or a plugin might conflict with the new release.

We would feel humbled if you use blogvault.net to take care of this backup for you. Psst.. It is free for the first 30 days! 🙂

 

How to reduce your bounce rate by over 40% (or at least how we did it!)

In fact, it was so radical that even the prospect of AB testing it had to be thrown out of the window, it’d be like apples and oranges, and so we took a deep breath, popped her out of the door and waited to see what happened… gulp.

Read more: http://wpmu.org/how-to-reduce-your-bounce-rate/

Learn If WordPress Is Secure

One of the most common questions that people have when they are thinking about using self hosted WordPress for their website revolves around whether or not WordPress is secure. When you’re running a website for either personal or business reasons, you want to make sure that your site isn’t vulnerable to attacks.

Read more: http://www.learnhowtousewordpress.com/learn-if-wordpress-is-secure

Serve your WordPress site 10x faster

You might be thinking to yourself, this guy is trying to sell some type of miracle snake-oil potion. How could it be so easy to speed up your WordPress site? The truth of the matter is that most of the time we don’t take advantage of many of the resources available to us. Most WordPress users are delivering uncompressed content to visitors of their sites.

Read more: http://www.benjaminbradley.com/serve-your-wordpress-site-10x-faster/