Disable the W3 Total Cache Footer Comment

Most of the WordPress/ClassicPress websites I work on use Cloudflare I don’t often have problems with the W3 Total Cache footer comments in the footer. Cloudflare usually just removes them. But recently I was helping a friend with a website that had the W3 Total Cache plugin installed and the footer comments were being inserted. They simply wanted to get rid of them. Thankfully a quick Google search lead me to a WordPress support comment with the solution.

Add the following code to your theme functions file, or a site specific plugin and you can easily turn off the W3 Total Cache footer comments for all visitors to your website.

add_filter( 'w3tc_can_print_comment', function( $w3tc_setting ) { return false; }, 10, 1 );

Your Website Sucks!

Make Your Website Suck Less!

I am very sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I need to be honest with you about your website. IT SUCKS! I know you have spent hours, well at least 30 minutes, working on your website, and I know you are very proud of it but the reality is it sucks and well you have work to do. I know it can be hard to face facts like this, but the sooner you realize it the sooner you can do something about it.

The reality is all websites suck in some way, there is no PERFECT website! That is why you need to constantly be working on your website to improve it. Test how people use your website, test new layouts, create landing pages for specific keywords. Always keep working on your site and eventually, just maybe, your website will at least suck less than it did before.

Unfortunately this is not the way most people view their website. Most people view their website as a one off. They get it done and then they don’t look at it or update it until their customers start telling them that their site sucks. Then the most common thing that is done is not to actually start working on the website, but to give it a redesign and leave it alone all over again. Time to break the cycle. Here are 10 things you can do to improve your website everyday / week / month.

  • Write a Blog Post – It can be hard to write all the time. I know but adding new content will help keep people coming to your website and talking about you. Don’t have a blog, add one. Brochure websites are old and no one wants to see them anymore.
  • Create Videos – People like video and it gives you an opportunity to show off what you do and how you do it. It can be a little more time consuming than just a regular blog post but you can post it to YouTube and you might even gain a few more visitors.
  • Clean Up Links – Links break and going back through and fixing broken links on your website can help your visitors.
  • Get a Favicon / Icon – Not only can a favicon make your website stand out to visitors when they bookmark it a decent icon can really stand out on a mobile device. That means adding more than just the 16×16 or 32×32 pixels size images that a lot of favicon creators make. Not creative? Go and download one from Free Favicon.
  • Update Your CMS – I love using WordPress for creating websites and they are regularly updating the software to make more features available and to keep it secure. It does not matter if you use WordPress or some other CMS keep it updated! It might just make the difference between being hacked or not being hacked. Need a hand? I can help you.
  • Get Mobile – There is no excuse anymore, you need a mobile website and the longer you go without one the more visitors and customers you lose. There are multiple different ways to create a mobile website from updating your theme to using a mobile url.
  • Rewrite Old Posts – Things change, pretty quickly sometimes on the Internet. Taking a few minutes to rewrite an old post, especially if it is a popular post, can help keep the traffic coming. Don’t have a blog see the first point.
  • Check Your Analytics – Everyone wants access to their analytics, but how often do you check them? Go take a look find out what is popular on your site and what people are visiting / using. Not to mention look for a way to perhaps filter out all those stupid referral spammers that keep messing up your stats.
  • Speed Up Your Website – Over time your website gets slower and doing a check of what is causing your site to slow down once in awhile is good for everyone from the search engines to every visitor you get. This can easily become a regular task that you should do just to keeps things running at top speed.
  • Fix HTML Issues – It can get boring, but fixing those little HTML things that are overlooked like titles, meta tags, image alt attributes can all make a difference on your website.

There you go ten ways to make your website suck less. It does not take a rocket scientist to make your website suck less it just takes some time and dedication. Go and make your website suck less!

Get Serious or Go Home!

Photo by:  Luca Zanon From UnSplash

One of the pieces of advice I usually give people about their website is to take it seriously. Think about it, your website is the public face of your business to the world if you don’t take it seriously then why would anyone else take you seriously. It can be hard to take your website seriously though when you get busy. Websites tend to be like New Year’s resolutions, when you launch your website you are all pumped about getting new business, or getting lots of pages views, or just having readers. Slowly the time between updates becomes longer and longer and before you know it, it has been months or even years since you last updated your website.

I know how hard it can be to take your website seriously. I recently looked at the stats here for my LGR website and realized the site has been coasting for far too long. I have failed to take my main business website seriously and it shows. Page views and visits are down and while I have made the occasional post here it has certainly not been a regular part of my weekly routine. Not only are visits down to the site the most important part of this website, helping me find new clients are down as well. How can potential new clients take me and my business seriously if the latest post here is months old?

LGR Internet Solutions Traffic over the years. It has been coasting far too long. Time to change that.
LGR Internet Solutions Traffic over the years. It has been coasting far too long. Time to change that.

I am here to say it happens to all of us. Things get busy with work and family and well just like that New Year’s resolution, updating and posting to the website slowly fall by the wayside. But that does not mean it has to stay that way and I am hear to say that things here at LGR Internet Solutions and this website are about to get serious.

First off, this post is the first of many more to come. While I am still busy with client work and family life posting here is going to become more regular. I will be posting more about the work I am doing, tips and tricks that you can use and well whatever I think is helpful for people and small businesses to keep their websites helping their business.

Second, I have already started making some major changes to the behind the scenes running of the site and there will be many more changes coming. Two of the big changes already include reworking the structure of the website. Things like permalinks, categories and tags are all on the list to clean up and fix. The domain has also been updated to use SSL across the whole website because I want you to know I am serious about your privacy.

It is time to get serious about my website, and I hope you will consider getting serious about yours. I challenge you to take a look at your website and find ways to start making it better. Start posting again, start editing again and like the photo at the top it might seem like a long a trek ahead but it will pay off.

Let’s face it, it is time to get serious about your website or close the doors. I am choosing to get serious!

How to Build a Website in Under 60 Minutes

Building a website used to be extremely difficult. You had to know HTML, cascading style sheets, possibly javascript and graphic design. Things have changed, now it is possible to build a website in under 60 minutes. Don’t believe me? Here are the steps you need to create your own website in 60 minutes.

Step 1: Register a domain. Using GoDaddy or your other favourite domain registrar get your own domain name registered. Time required 5 minutes.

Step 2: Get hosting. You can spend hours and days researching web hosts. To do this as fast as possible look at a decent WordPress host. I recomend Hostgator, but there are several good WordPress hosts. If you already have a hosting account somewhere you can probably skip this step and simply use an addon domain on your current hosting account. Time required 25 minutes.

Step 3: Change nameservers. This step only takes a few minutes. You need to login to your registrar and set your new domain name nameservers to point to your web hosting account. Time required 5 minutes.

Step 4: Login to your web hosting control panel and use their script installer to install WordPress. Most cPanel hosts have Fantastico to quickly install WordPress. Time required 10 minutes.

Step 5: Login to your new WordPress install and start writing! You have 15 mins left to spare to write your first post.

Now of course this only gets you the bare bones of a website. There is still a great deal more work to do like finding a new theme for your website and customizing it. Adding some plugins to help with different website tasks. Creating a Twitter account to help promote your new website. Creating a Facebook page. Taking the time to update your website regularly with new content. Well, you get the idea, but setting up the core of a website can be done in less than an hour.

Hitler Finds Out Blogger FTP Service is Ending

I do not post the Hitler videos very often, but thanks to Blogger Shutting Down FTP Service Erik Aronesty left a comment telling us about his script to keep using Blogger with FTP. I have not tried the script out but it looks interesting. If you are being afected by Bloggers decision to close FTP publishing take a look, might be what you need. Erik had the Hitler video embedded on his site and it made me laugh, so here you are to enjoy.

Blogger Shutting Down FTP Service

It seems like a long time since I logged into Blogger.com to update a Blogger.com powered blog. Blogger.com was the only service I knew of that offered FTP publishing. FTP publishing was a great way to publish a Blogger.com powered blog to your own domain name, before they started offering custom domains. Soon I will not be able too since FTP published blogs since Google and Blogger.com are closing down the FTP publishing feature effective March 26, 2010.

For those blogs that I did occasionally update I will have to consider switching them to a custom domain hosted on Blogger.com. This will have an impact on some of my clients, since it was an easy way for them to update a blog on their website that was easier to learn than WordPress. For those clients that this will effect I will be in touch with you later this week with some easy alternatives for you to continue updating your websites.

Here is a copy of the email that I recieved regarding Blogger.com closing down FTP publishing.

Dear FTP user:

You are receiving this e-mail because one or more of your blogs at Blogger.com are set up to publish via FTP. We recently announced a planned shut-down of FTP support on Blogger Buzz (the official Blogger blog), and wanted to make sure you saw the announcement. We will be following up with more information via e-mail in the weeks ahead, and regularly updating a blog dedicated to this service shut-down here: http://blogger-ftp.blogspot.com/.

The full text of the announcement at Blogger Buzz follows.

Last May, we discussed a number of challenges facing[1] Blogger users who relied on FTP to publish their blogs. FTP remains a significant drain on our ability to improve Blogger: only .5% of active blogs are published via FTP — yet the percentage of our engineering resources devoted to supporting FTP vastly exceeds that. On top of this, critical infrastructure that our FTP support relies on at Google will soon become unavailable, which would require that we completely rewrite the code that handles our FTP processing.

Three years ago we launched Custom Domains[2] to give users the simplicity of Blogger, the scalability of Google hosting, and the flexibility of hosting your blog at your own URL. Last year’s post discussed the advantages of custom domains over FTP[3] and addressed a number of reasons users have continued to use FTP publishing. (If you’re interested in reading more about Custom Domains, our Help Center has a good overview[4] of how to use them on your blog.) In evaluating the investment needed to continue supporting FTP, we have decided that we could not justify diverting further engineering resources away from building new features for all users.

For that reason, we are announcing today that we will no longer support FTP publishing in Blogger after March 26, 2010. We realize that this will not necessarily be welcome news for some users, and we are committed to making the transition as seamless as possible. To that end:

o We are building a migration tool that will walk users through a migration from their current URL to a Blogger-managed URL (either a Custom Domain or a Blogspot URL) that will be available to all users the week of February 22. This tool will handle redirecting traffic from the old URL to the new URL, and will handle the vast majority of situations.
o We will be providing a dedicated blog[5] and help documentation
o Blogger team members will also be available to answer questions on the forum, comments on the blog, and in a few scheduled conference calls once the tool is released.

We have a number of big releases planned in 2010. While we recognize that this decision will frustrate some users, we look forward to showing you the many great things on the way. Thanks for using Blogger.

The Future of Blogging

Way back in July I open the doors up for people’s webmaster and blogging questions. August was just a bit of a blur between holidays and projects and I have not finished answering all of the questions. I thought kicking off September with the question from Rhett would be a good start to the fall.

Rhett asked:

I’ve been thinking about the shift going on in the web. I think some people are trying to call it web 3.0. I think Scoble is saying 2010. Since I like big questions, what do you think about where the web is going, real time or otherwise, and how your blog will make that shift?

Rhett always likes big questions, and he never fails to ask them. I think part of the shift we are seeing going on with the web right now is really nothing more than the web catching up to what the Internet is. Ultimately the Internet is a tool for people to communicate. In the early days of the web it was mostly simple websites that offered information to visitors, but there was little interaction. Eventually contact forms came along and offering website visitors the ability to send email straight from the website.

Fast forward to today where the web is moving into real time updates with Facebook, Twitter and other services. Social networks are common place and the ability to leave comments of all kinds is commonplace. The web is starting to live up to what it was intended to be, a tool to communicate between individuals. Not just a tool to communicate with each other over email, but in real time with status updates, instant messaging, VOIP and video.

Where is the web going, the web is going to continue to become a more seamless communication medium. Real time and instant updates will continue to become more common. If I knew exactly what the next big thing was going to be I would be out there building it, but I can see that part of the future of the web is to become an easier medium to communicate over. For the most part people still use a computer to communicate over the web, but mobile and other forms are starting to become more important. The web is still not as easy as a phone to use to communicate and there are advances to be made in that area.

Blogs will continue to be an important part of the future of the web. More and more everyone publishes on the Internet, whether on a blog, on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Blogs can become the centre of a persons online activity. Not everyone will use a blog to do this, some will use services like Facebook to do this, but publishing on blogs could change from writing longer posts to becoming the centre of a persons online life.

Corporate and business websites and blogs have a unique opportunity now and in the future, the ability to connect with their clients and customers on a one on one basis. This is not much different than how things were when businesses had brick and mortar locations. Businesses can talk and connect with their clients in real time on the web. Twitter is a sign of this, so are the web chats that you can find on many websites now. Add video and audio to that and make it as easy to use as a phone then the future of the web as a communication device.

The future of the web is exciting as a communication medium. The shift to real time is just the beginning of the next communication revolution that is coming. What do you think will be the future of the web and blogs?

Comment Policy

I have been pretty relaxed about comments here, even after attempting to make a comment policy back in 2007. I have had any number of comment bots coming and spamming the blog with automated comment spam. By using my own home grown spam bot solution and then later using WP-SpamFree I have been able to keep the automated comment spam at bay.

Lately I have had a higher than usual amount of keyword comment spam being submitting by people attempting to get a dofollow link using their keywords. This is a direct result of some blogs publishing dofollow lists of blogs. At one time this blog was using the DoFollow plugin that removed nofollow on comments. While I still believe in the DoFollow movement I switched to LinkLove to remove nofollow from people who are regular contributors. I am happy those that regularly contribute to the site with some linklove.

Anyways I have decided to make a comment policy. It is short and simple and easy to find, right below the comment form. Here it is as well for those that want to see it.

My Comment Policy: I moderate comments. Please be patient:

  • Spam will happily be destroyed.
  • Use your real name, not some keywords. Otherwise it will be destroyed.
  • Mean comments aren’t necessary.
  • Lewd comments will be edited, I don’t want my readers leaving because of offensive content.
  • Great debate, ideas, criticism and colorful commentary is always appreciated and approved!

I don’t know if it will reduce the number of spammy comments I have been getting lately but now people have been told. Do you have a comment policy on your blog? Is there anything else you would recommend I add to mine?

The Perfect Blog Post Size

A while ago I complained on Twitter that I was seeing a lot of posts on blogs that are 25 of this or top 50 of that. You know the regular giant list posts. There are some blogs that is all they do and while I do subscribe to some blogs that create these giant list posts they are slowly being weeded out of my feed reader. On the other hand I have also noted that many blogs create blog posts that are just short snippets. Short enough in fact that the whole post could have been posted on Twitter instead of their blog. This has gotten me thinking about what the best blog post length is.

While I don’t spend a great deal of time worrying about how long or short the posts are here I do try to have posts that are roughly 200 words long. So how long should your blog posts be? According to a quick Google search several people have stated that a nice blog post length is roughly 250 words.

Personally I find long posts do not hold my attention while too short of posts often do not have enough information. What do you think? How long should blog posts be?

Website Traffic Tip – Add a Blog

Is one of your goals for the coming year to increase traffic to your website? If it is then here is the one thing you need to do to make that happen, update your website constantly with fresh, new and original content! No problem right? When was the last time you updated your website? Today? Yesterday? Last month? Last year? Want to update your website daily? By adding a blog you can update your website whenever you feel the need to let the world know more about your product, your services, changes in your company, your employee of the month, or whatever you feel like writing about. Blogs have changed how websites are managed, they are faster, easier, get indexed quickly and allow you to have a personal voice. The reasons are clear.

  • No Waiting!

    Traditionally the process to update a website was to gather the information together and then send it off to the person that maintained your website and knew how to code HTML to turn your new content into website pages. With a blog you no longer need to wait for your HTML guru to get around to adding the new content to your website. You can do it yourself. The content can be added as quickly as it takes for you to type it in. Most modern blogging software will take care of the heavy lifting for you like FTPing files up to the server. Modern blogging platforms have made it easy for anyone to manage and update the content on their website. Most blogging platforms allow you to schedule your posts, so you can publish posts and pages even when you are going to be out of the office, on holidays or whenever you want it to go live.

  • Get Found

    Everyone wants their website to rank for number one in the search engines. Search engines love fresh, new and original content. Want to get found by the search engines, then give them what they want and give people new interesting information to read and link to. This will improve your overall rank, get you linked to by other websites and in the long run improve your traffic.

  • Be a Human Being

    Human beings are social creatures. We thrive on social interaction and blogs allow you to interact with people on your website in a whole new way. It can create new conversations and those conversations can take you to new places with new ideas. Blogs also allow you to show some personality. You can use video, audio and photos. You can show your customers that you are a real person.

Still not convinced? Don’t understand what a blog is? Many people think a blog and a website are different things, but a weblog, or blog, is just another form of a website. You can have a blog, a section of your website that is updated regularly, and still have the rest of the pages of your website that are more static. The new LGR Internet Solutions website is a great example. I have pages that are not updated as often, and I have a blog section that I try to update three times a week. The blog section brings in the majority of the visitors to the website, and from there people explore the other pages of the website. They leave comments, send me messages using the contact form and regularly I find new clients who are looking for a new website, want to spruce up their current site or just need a hand with something. Website publishing is not longer the realm of just HTML gurus. Anyone can be their own website publisher.

Why not give it a try? Installing blogging software is easy on many web hosts, and I would bet in as little as four weeks once you start publishing regularly you will have new visitors coming to your website. If you are unsure about installing WordPress I will be glad to give you a hand. In fact I am willing to put my time and money on the line to help you. I will install a WordPress blog on your existing website, using a free theme of your choosing, install the WordPress plugins that are essential, setup a contact form, setup a Feedburner account and get your own WordPress blog up and running for 50% off my current WordPress blog setup fee. My current blog setup fee is $699.00, so you can save $349.50 on your blog setup. Don’t have a website yet, this offer is good for you as well. This offer is good only until the end of January 2009 and I will only be accepting 10 people. Contact me today to get your own WordPress blog setup this Janaury and in four weeks of regular posting you can have more regular visitors and a better website.