Category Archives: blog

a wordpress full site spell checker tool

A while ago I noticed that some of my older posts had some silly misspellings in it, so I was looking for a way to spell check all my posts in one shot. I couldn’t really find anything that was free, so I figured I’d try to write something myself to do this for me.

I knew about the free and open source Hunspell spell checker and that you can use it from the command line. So I thought using that together with the WordPress export XML file which has all your post’s content it should be possible to spell check the whole lot.

The end result is a PowerShell script which reads out the XML export file and runs it through Hunspell, parses the spelling errors found and finally bundling it all into a simple HTML report.

It worked nicely for me, even though it’s pretty crude and simple. I only had to use this once, so I don’t see the point of fine-tuning it a lot further.

However this could be handy for others who want to do the same thing, so I cleaned it up a bit, slapped a readme file on it and posted it on Github as the WordPress full site spell checker.
Check it out if you want to spell check your WordPress blog in a single run and maybe this will be good enough to get your job done. You find more info on how to set up and use it on the Github page.

That very basic report I was talking about.

how to exclude yourself from WordPress analytics

I use a number of analytics tools to see how little hits I get a month and one of the things that annoyed me is that my own visits as I’m writing posts or looking up older posts also get counted. There’s a silly trick to avoid this and it’s so easy it’s stupid I didn’t think of it before.

WordPress has these widgets in the Appearance menu which make it easy to put all sorts of components in your sidebar and footer. I also use the Text Widget to insert snippets of custom javascript code in my pages, things like those analytics tracker code for example.

To exclude yourself from those stats all you need to do is make sure that code doesn’t get included when you are browsing your own site. Here’s how it works.

  1. Put your web analytics script code in a sidebar text widget. Leave the title empty if you don’t want anything to show up.
  2. Click the “Visibility” button at the bottom of the widget panel.
  3. In the options, choose “Hide” if: “User” is “Logged in”.
  4. Save.

You can set visibility options on WordPress sidebar widgets.

That’s all.
The cool thing is this works with any analytics tool (or any other custom javascript code you want to exclude yourself from) without having to figure out if it has any support for that itself.

why I’m getting more hits since I updated my wordpress theme

Getting more hits in case of my blog means getting more Google love (90% of my traffic comes from the G), which means I get a higher ranking and end up higher in the search results.
So why could this be?

I don’t know really. I mean, it’s not like I A/B tested this and have raw hardcore scientific data or something like that, but that doesn’t stop us from guessing and coming up with the following list!

1. Google loves my new layout and gives me a better rating cause it’s pretty. Not likely.
2. Google loves HTML5. The previous theme was ugly HTML4.
3. Displaying full posts instead of a digest on the front page gives Google more content to index and it likes that.
4. The Twenty Twelve WordPress theme is a marvel of SEO goodness and Google fell for it.
5. Google likes a minimal layout linking to very few external sources better than something that links to plenty of external sites. Maybe it thought my blog was a bit spammy before. Who knows?

I’m thinking it’s probably 2, 3 and 5 that are doing the trick, but still I can’t be sure.
But apparently your site layout really matters judging from the stats.

The update went live in week 28. Below you can see that in the weeks before the update, I was maxing out around 150 hits a week. Afterwards, It started reached over 200.

Weekly stats after theme update

The monthly stats show the same thing.

Monthly stats after theme update
Interesting isn’t it? All of that is without actually publishing a lot of new content in that period. I wonder how long this effect will last.

get some neato wordpress plugin speed profiling stats

wp stats pie

Stats. Geeks love em and at some point my blog was acting sluggish and I was all like “OMG would it be that mobile plugin? Or the spam blocker? Or that one that makes it available for mobile?”.
Yep, you guessed it. A shear geek panic attack. So I head over to the virtual plugin store and checked if there was something out there to do that for me. Yep, having the computer do stuff for you. Another one of those things geeks love.

Enter P3, the Plugin Profiler.
After a quick profile test (takes about 5 minutes) it presents you with pretty pie and line charts telling you how long it took for your pages to load (average is less than a second, which is nice), which plugins are slowing you down and how many database queries where launched (56 on average, wow).
Interesting stuff!

To give you an idea of what that looks like without the pretty pie charts, here’s some plain old text output.

WordPress Plugin Profile Report

Report date: July 24, 2012
Theme name: Evening Red (based on Sandbox)
Pages browsed: 11
Avg. load time: 0.7966 sec
Number of plugins: 23
Plugin impact: 54.10% of load time
Avg. plugin time: 0.4310 sec
Avg. core time: 0.3161 sec
Avg. theme time: 0.0474 sec
Avg. mem usage: 19.95 MB
Avg. ticks: 4,232
Avg. db queries : 56.27
Margin of error : 0.0021 sec

Plugin list:

P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) – 0.0054 sec – 1.26%
After The Deadline – 0.0093 sec – 2.16%
Akismet – 0.0205 sec – 4.76%
Bad Behavior – 0.0251 sec – 5.82%
Dean’s Permalinks Migration – 0.0222 sec – 5.16%
Exploit Scanner – 0.0064 sec – 1.48%
Feedburner Plugin – 0.0019 sec – 0.45%
Google Sitemap Generator – 0.0013 sec – 0.30%
Lightbox 2 – 0.0048 sec – 1.12%
Do Follow – 0.0121 sec – 2.80%
Simple Reverse Comments – 0.0020 sec – 0.47%
SoundCloud Shortcode – 0.0091 sec – 2.11%
WordPress.com Stats – 0.0147 sec – 3.42%
Subscribe To Comments – 0.0647 sec – 15.01%
Viper’s Video Quicktags – 0.0088 sec – 2.04%
Widget Category Cloud – 0.0449 sec – 10.42%
Wordpress Mobile Edition – 0.0131 sec – 3.04%
Wordpress Popular Posts – 0.0105 sec – 2.44%
wp-cache – 0.0105 sec – 2.45%
WordPress Database Backup – 0.0120 sec – 2.79%
WP Tweet Button – 0.0533 sec – 12.36%
WPtouch – 0.0225 sec – 5.23%
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – 0.0557 sec – 12.93%

getting good stats without google analytics

I Spy Cynthia K

Google is huge and scary these days isn’t it? I mean they track our ass all over the place and I was actually helping them to do so. On my blog I was using Google’s free Analytics service to keep track of who, when, where and why people came to my blog.

The stats are pretty, easy to understand and extremely extensive. The downside is that all these stats end up in the massive Googleplex data center and are without doubt neatly analysed and lined up with your regular Google searches through that cookie that identifies you no matter if you’re logged on or not.

No me gusta.
So I removed that line of JavaScript from my pages ét voila, no more Google snooping on my watch. Problem is I liked those pretty graphs and lines and I sort of missed taking a peek at them now and then to see what pages where the most interesting and what crazy search results people where using to get to my blog.

Then I ran into something called Piwik. It’s free, open source and it does pretty much exactly the same thing as GA, but stores everything in your own private MySQL DB. It installs as easily as WordPress on your web server, and to activate it you just insert the JavaScript snippet it provides you with. A few seconds later you’ll be getting pretty graphs and figures and spend countless hours spying on your blog’s visitors with the real-time results.

Sweet!

Photo by Flood, cc-licensed.

don’t let the EU censor your internet: stop ACTA

ACTA infographic

You might have heard that SOPA got stopped (for now) in the USA, a bill to censor the internet and limit online freedom for everyone. An even worse deal is going down on our EU-side of the globe unfortunately, where ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) has already been signed, but not yet approved (luckily).

ACTA – a global treaty – could allow corporations to censor the Internet. Negotiated in secret by a small number of rich countries and corporate powers, it would set up a shadowy new anti-counterfeiting body to allow private interests to police everything that we do online and impose massive penalties — even prison sentences — against people they say have harmed their business.
avaaz.org

So it’s about time to do something about this before this bill gets voted in the EU Parliament and gets adopted globally.
First you can start by reading about ACTA, find out what’s wrong with it, sign the petition and act against it.

For those in the US, you can go sign the White House petition. Do it, because this deal is worse than SOPA, as it spans beyond the internet and deals even with regulations on medication and food.

The oppressively strict regulations could mean people everywhere are punished for simple acts such as sharing a newspaper article or uploading a video of a party where copyrighted music is played. Sold as a trade agreement to protect copyrights, ACTA could also ban lifesaving generic drugs and threaten local farmers’ access to the seeds they need. And, amazingly, t he ACTA committee will have carte blanche to change its own rules and sanctions with no democratic scrutiny.
avaaz.org

Spread the word, sign the petition, just do something so this is stopped just like SOPA was.

Afterwards, you can get back to your memes and lolcats. :)

 

10 reasons why wordpress kicks ass

Chapas WordPress
  1. 5 minute install. Seriously.
  2. Install a new theme for your blog from inside WP. No need to mess with FTP clients and uploading files and stuff. Easy peasy.
  3. Tons of free and open source themes to choose from.
  4. Plugins allow endless possibilities. Whatever you are looking for probably exists already. Facebook/twitter/whatever integration, fancy widgets, syntax highlighting for code, caching, Google site map generators, you name it.
  5. Install plugins without leaving your WP admin page. No geek skills required.
  6. Comes with an automated backup plugin. Backup your database and email it to yourself daily. Do this!
  7. Upgrade your WP installation with 2 clicks. Maybe 3 (didn’t actually count, but it’s just clicking).
  8. The layout is super-flexible. 1, 2, 3 columns? None? Make your site look like less like a blog and very CMS-like? No problem. There are themes for all that.
  9. PHP & MySQL hosts are everywhere. You’ll have no trouble finding a host at all. If you don’t want to do your own hosting, you can always create your blog at wordpress.com.
  10. It’s Open Source and has a huge community. This means that WordPress will never die! *stabs and Amen break start here*

Photo by {El Gris}, cc-licensed.