Page Load Time vs SEO: My Experience

February 1st, 2011

It is hardly news that the average load time is one of the many factors that Google uses to determine how well your site will rank. But how much does it matter, really? If my recent experience is anything to go by, the answer is “very little”. Over the last two months, I optimized this […]

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Lazy-Load Avatars

January 31st, 2011

In my previous post, The Quest For Speed, I mentioned that lazy-loading avatars is a good way to improve your site performance: The overwhelming majority of visitors never leave a comment. Chances are, most don’t even scroll down to the comments section. So why waste their time and bandwidth by loading avatars that they’ll never […]

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The Quest For Speed

January 18th, 2011

A little more than a month ago, I logged into my Google Webmaster Tools account and to check if Google had detected any crawl errors or any other problems with my site. Finding everything in good order, I was just about to close the browser tab when I noticed a sidebar link that had somehow […]

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How To Quickly Check Domain Availability

January 4th, 2011

Have you ever wondered how those domain suggestion sites can check so many domain names so quickly? This is how. Below I’ve listed three techniques for checking domain availability. They’re ordered (loosely) from fastest/cheapest/least accurate to slowest/priciest/most accurate. Ideally, you would run each domain through all three in order, and only assume it’s available if […]

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Where Did That JS/CSS Come From?

December 14th, 2010

If you run a WordPress site, chances are that you use plugins. If you use plugins, chances are that some of those plugins add their JavaScript or CSS files to your pages. And if there’s lots of JS/CSS on your pages, chances are that your site isn’t as fast as it could be, and that […]

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Browser Performance Comparison (Updated)

November 3rd, 2010

Most web browsers have gotten an update or two in the 6 months since I posted my previous browser comparison. So lets see how they stack up now, shall we? Click the image for full-size view: Benchmarks Used Kraken JavaScript Benchmark Peacekeeper JavaScript Benchmark (view results) SlickSpeed Selectors Test Acid3 Web Standards Test HTML5 Test […]

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A World Without SEO

October 20th, 2010

Search engine optimization gets a lot of flack from the uninformed. While most web developers know (presumably) that applying basic SEO techniques to a one’s site is just common sense, the average web-dweller needn’t be so lenient. For many, “SEO” is a word to be spoken in disgust, a synonym for spam, viruses and other […]

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Extracting Plugin Metadata

September 15th, 2010

Have you ever dreamed of extracting useful metadata from WordPress plugins? Probably you haven’t. But if you ever need a way to parse a plugin’s readme.txt, or want to simplify metadata generation for the custom update checker, here’s a couple of utility functions that may come in handy. I originally wrote them for internal use, […]

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Fixing “Memory Exhausted” Errors In WP-DBManager

August 25th, 2010

WP-DBManager is a handy plugin that can, among other things, make periodic database backups and send them to a specified email address. I installed it on this blog months ago and up until a week ago everything was working perfectly. Then one day the backup emails simply stopped coming. What Went Wrong? A quick check […]

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Towards a Better dbDelta

July 29th, 2010

When it comes to creating and updating database tables, WordPress has what appears to be a very handy utility function – dbDelta. In theory, this function can take one or more CREATE TABLE queries, compare them to the tables already in the database and automatically figure out how to bring them up to date, adding […]

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Add New Buttons Alongside “Screen Options” And “Help”

June 30th, 2010

Continuing from yesterday’s post about adding custom settings to the “Screen Options” panel in WP, I will now show you how to add your own buttons alongside “Screen Options” and “Help”. But first, here are a few screenshots – to whet your appetite, so to speak. Want those neat buttons in your plugin? Read on. […]

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Adding Stuff To WordPress “Screen Options”

June 29th, 2010

The Screen Options pull-down is the perfect place for those “rarely used but nice to have” settings. It’s unobtrusive and saves screen space. Some plugins could even put all of their settings in this panel and avoid cluttering the Dashboard menu with yet another “Settings” page. While Screen Options were already present in older WP […]

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How To Filter The Whole Page In WordPress

May 20th, 2010

WordPress has numerous hooks for filtering posts, comments, feed items and more, but no built-in filter that would let you intercept and modify an entire page. However, you can do that fairly easily with PHP’s output buffering functions. Today I’m going to show you how. Crash-Course In Output Buffering As the name implies, output buffering […]

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Web Browser Performance Comparison

April 20th, 2010

To see how the latest versions of the most popular web browsers stack up, I ran five of them – Firefox 3.6, Chrome 5-dev, Internet Explorer 8.0, Opera 10.51 and Safari 4.0.5 – through a number of benchmarks and performance tests. The results are below (click the image to enlarge it). Benchmarks Used SunSpider JavaScript […]

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Only 2% Of WordPress Plugins Compatible “For Sure”

March 25th, 2010

Last October, the plugin directory introduced a new “Compatibility” feature that allows users to vote on whether a given plugin version works or doesn’t work with a specific version of WordPress. The idea was to provide a more reliable indicator of plugin compatibility so that you wouldn’t need to worry if upgrading will break […]

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Showing Different Ads To Different Visitors

March 9th, 2010

Just today, I decided to run an impromptu experiment to test if visitors who come from search engines are really more likely to click on ads. It’s considered  “common knowledge” by many bloggers who advise everyone to only show ads to search engine visitors (as a quick Google search will illustrate), but my own AdSense […]

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12 Invisible But Invaluable jQuery Plugins

March 5th, 2010

Not all jQuery plugins are about UI and eye-candy. There’s also a class of plugins that aim to make web development itself easier, either by acting as convenient wrappers around hard-to-use JavaScript functionality, simplifying cross-browser compatibility, or providing small but useful utilities and APIs. Below you’ll find a list of 12 great utility-style jQuery plugins. […]

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The Barest Page Templates Possible

February 25th, 2010

Some WordPress themes include custom page templates that let you add a custom layout or some nifty feature to specific pages. But sometimes you need the exact opposite – a page to be as bare, unadorned, downright plain as possible. No header, no menus, no nothing – just the HTML that you entered in the […]

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Most Popular Words In Plugin Names

February 12th, 2010

Behold, I bring you even more WordPress-related statistics! Today : the most popular words in plugin names. Use them to come up with new plugin ideas, figure out which services/features are over- or under-represented in the WP plugin ecosystem, and more. Here’s a tag cloud of the names of all plugins listed in the […]

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The Viralogy Offer

February 4th, 2010

In this post I will explain what the “ script” thing mentioned in the Broken Link Checker survey was all about, discuss the user response and attempt to verbalize my rather unclear thoughts on the issue. Viralogy Script About two weeks ago, I received an offer to bundle a social media tracking script from Viralogy […]

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Broken Link Checker Survey Results

February 2nd, 2010

Last week I invited everyone who uses my Broken Link Checker plugin to answer a user feedback survey. The survey consisted of 11 questions covering a number of topics from overall user satisfaction to feature suggestions, monetization options and questions about the user’s server configuration. In this post I will summarize the results and maybe […]

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Top 10 Plugin Developers Of 2009

December 28th, 2009

The end of a year is a time for reflection. A time to look back on your accomplishments, and also a time to give thanks to the people who helped you along the way. So, once again, I’ve compiled a list of the top WP developers whose plugins have been an immense boon to thousands […]

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Reliably Detecting The WordPress Version

December 2nd, 2009

Sometimes you might want to find out if a website is built with WordPress, and which specific version of WP it’s running. In this post I’ll discuss a number of detection techniques, including ways to deal with sites that hide the fact that they’re running WordPress or spoof the version info. For non-programmers : If […]

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15+ Useful Firefox Addons For Web Developers

November 27th, 2009

Everyone already knows and loves Firebug and Web Developer. So instead of another redundant “Top 10” list, here’s a collection of 15+ great add-ons that you might not have heard about yet. Dust-Me Selectors Dust-Me Selectors helps you find unused CSS selectors. You can use it to test an individual page, or let it spider […]

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Detecting Parked Domains

November 13th, 2009

Some time ago, a commenter asked me if it was possible to make one of my WordPress plugins detect and report parked domains. I’ve done some research since then, and while it’s probably not practical to add such a feature to the plugin, I did come up with several ways to programmatically detect parked pages. […]

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How To Extract HTML Tags And Their Attributes With PHP

October 20th, 2009

There are several ways to extract specific tags from an HTML document. The one that most people will think of first is probably regular expressions. However, this is not always – or, as some would insist, ever – the best approach. Regular expressions can be handy for small hacks, but using a real HTML parser […]

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How To Make WordPress Check For Updates Immediately

October 1st, 2009

WordPress automatically checks for plugin, theme and core updates once every 12 hours. This is normally fine, but it can become annoying when you know there’s an important update or bugfix available yet it won’t show up in your Dashboard until the next time WP gets around to checking for it. Of course, you can […]

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Vote For The 2009 Open Source CMS Award Nominations

August 19th, 2009

Packt Publishing is running their 2009 Open Source CMS Award, so go forth and nominate your favorite CMS for one of the award categories! And in case you’re not sure which CMS to vote for, here’s a friendly suggestion: Clik the image to go to the nomination screen with WordPress pre-selected 😉 Hat tip to […]

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How To Speed Up Your JavaScript (Video)

August 10th, 2009

JavaScript has become an integral part of the modern Web. Some would praise it as the miracle stuff that ties together diverse web technologies and creates more responsive user interfaces, the stuff that makes glorious mashups and truly interactive web apps possible. Some would rather liken it to a sticky sludge that attaches itself to […]

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Take Advantage of Social Proof for Fun and Profit

June 9th, 2009

Social proof is an easy way to bump your traffic figures a little bit and make yourself look more authoritative. Today I’ll show you five simple ways to apply it to your WordPress blog. Preface The essence of “social proof” is simple : when people don’t have a lot of information about something, they will […]

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