Archive by Sam Holtby

The best WordPress Plugins and Tools to Improve your SEO

28Jun

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving how easily search engines read and analyze the data from your website. Improving SEO means higher search engine rankings and greater online visibility. It can determine how a page is displayed on the search engine’s results, how much traffic it gets, and much more. To learn more about SEO see our SEO basics article.
Improving a website’s SEO can be quite challenging if you don’t understand how to edit your site code. Luckily with WordPress there are hundreds of plugins and tools to help you.
This article details the tools and plugins that will make optimising your pages a piece of cake. As well as this, it will explain ways to test the various parts of SEO, such as Schema and social cards.

Tools

SEO Site Checkup

This tool lets you know exactly how good your SEO is. It provides a score from 0 – 100. The score will increase the more ‘checks’ you get right. Each check is explained in detail and gives you tips on how to improve.
The tool is free but will only allow you to check one website a day. However, with an account, you can check multiple websites a day. There is also a premium service, which provides more features.

Quick Sprout

This tool analyzes a given page and shows you what it will look like on a search engine. It’s great to see how your search result will look once you have updated the page’s SEO data.
Most search engines take time to crawl your site again unless you use Google Webmaster tools. This tool helps to prevent that issue.

Google Schema Data Testing Tool

Schema data allows Google and other search engines to know exactly what data they can use on the site. This data can then be used for various bits of functionality on the search reasons page. Functionality such as Social Profile links, articles, books, and more. To see more examples you can go their Search Gallery.
This testing tool allows you to test the schema on each page, making sure the search engine can read the data correctly. The tool can be used via a URL or a code snippet.

Hall Analysis

Hall Analysis Schema Generator allows you to create the schema data step by step. Providing the various types of markup you can have with field inputs. Once finished you can copy the JSON-ID code onto your site.
This tool is great if you don’t have the time to go through the Schema.org site to check what you need.

Facebook Sharing Debug

The Facebook sharing debugger allows you to see how the page will be shown on a user’s Facebook feed. It’s great for debugging how the page’s meta actually looks on the card.
The best thing about this tool is it allows you to scrape the page for updated data. So for example, if you update an image or title on the site but Facebook is still showing the old data, scraping will solve the issue.

Google Page Speed

The speed at which a website loads can affect the SEO rating. Even if the page has great SEO in other areas, having poor page speed will decrease the SEO rating significantly because it provides a bad user experience.
Google PageSpeed gives a page a score out of 100 and lists what issues there are. Issues such as un-minified JS and CSS, uncompressed images, and server loading time.
The tool can actually solve some of the issues for you by sending you a zip file with the corrected files. However, it is recommended you only use this tool to analyse the issues at hand and go about fixing them with a plugin, such as W3 Total Cache.

WordPress Plugins

Yoast SEO

Yoast is one of the most popular SEO plugins for WordPress. It provides all the tools you need to improve the SEO on your website. From basic details, such as titles, descriptions, and keywords, to more complex details as Open Graph data, Sitemaps, and content analysis.
It’s a must needed plugin for every WordPress website.

All in One SEO

All in One SEO is the second most popular SEO plugin for WordPress. Much like Yoast, All in One SEO provides the tools needed to optimise your page.
Yoast and All In One are both great complete plugins to help with SEO. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference and the specific features available on the free version.
WPbeginner release a great article comparing the two – http://www.wpbeginner.com/opinion/yoast-seo-vs-all-in-one-seo-pack-which-is-the-best-wordpress-seo-plugin/

Broken Link Checker

It’s generally a good idea to keep on top of broken links and missing images on your site. Having these broken links won’t affect the search engine as they will eventually be removed from their index. However, it will hurt the user’s experience and how the user views your page.
This plugin scans the website for 404 links and images and allows you to fix them via the admin area.  

Google Sitemap Generator

This plugin creates a sitemap that helps search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your site. With such a sitemap, it’s much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently.

W3 Total Cache

As stated earlier, your websites loading speed will affect your search engine result page rankings. Total Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins that provides tools to make your pages load faster. Tools such as improved browser caching, minified CSS and JS, HTTP compression, and more.

So, that’s about it!

We use a lot of these plugins and tools on a daily basis to help us improve a website’s search engine result page ranking. There are many tools and practices that will improve your SEO.
If you’re interested in learning more about SEO, check out these articles from our SEO experts.

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Migrating a WordPress Multisite Database – Local to Live

06Jan

Wordpress-Multisite-Inner

What is a WordPress Multisite?

Today on the blog we’ll look at how to migrate a WordPress Multisite domain from local to live. Simples!

WordPress has an awesome feature that allows you to create multiple websites, which can all be managed by one WordPress installation. There are two different options when configuring WPMS address configuration. Sub-domains and sub-directories. This blog article will mainly be looking at sub-directories but the same principles could also be applied to sub-domains.

The Issue

I spend a lot of time performing web development with WPMS on a local virtual server and one of the main issues for me is figuring out how to migrate a #WordPress database from local to live. There are a lot of different tables in the database that have to be changed. Along with some PHP.

So, to ease the pain, I have created some Structured Query Language (SQL) Queries that you can use. Once all the WordPress files are on the new site’s server we can begin!

Note

If you’re going to try and migrate, remember to backup any database or PHP you are going to change. You have been warned!

SQL Queries

First of all we need to change the main WPMS tables.

  1. wp_site
  2. wp_sitemeta
  3. wp_blogs

In this example I have the default table prefix. Of course you would change this to your own prefix.

/* WPMS UPDATE */
UPDATE wp_site SET domain = replace(domain, 'localhost', 'new-domain');
UPDATE wp_sitemeta SET meta_value = replace(meta_value, 'http://localhost', 'http://www.new-domain.com') WHERE meta_key = 'siteurl';
UPDATE wp_blogs SET domain = replace(domain, 'localhost', 'new-domain');

 


Next we update the main site WP tables.

This will change the the sitter as well as any reference to the site within your posts.

/* options and posts UPDATE */
UPDATE wp_options SET option_value = replace(option_value, 'http://localhost', 'http://www.new-domain.com') WHERE option_name = 'home' OR option_name = 'siteurl';
UPDATE wp_posts SET guid = replace(guid, 'http://localhost', 'http://www.new-domain.com');
UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = replace(post_content, 'http://localhost', 'http://www.new-domain.com');

 


Finally, we change the other sites. This is basically an alteration of the our previous query, with the prefix of the site number. In this case, 1.

/* repeat for each domain */
UPDATE wp_1_options SET option_value = replace(option_value, 'http://localhost', 'http://www.new-domain.com') WHERE option_name = 'home' OR option_name = 'siteurl';
UPDATE wp_1_posts SET guid = replace(guid, 'http://localhost', 'http://www.new-domain.com');
UPDATE wp_1_posts SET post_content = replace(post_content, 'http://localhost', 'http://www.new-domain.com');

 


That’s it for the SQL. This should have, if done correctly, changed your site’s url to a new domain.

All together now:

/* WPMS UPDATE */
UPDATE wp_site SET domain = replace(domain, 'localhost', 'new-domain');
UPDATE wp_sitemeta SET meta_value = replace(meta_value, 'http://localhost', 'http://www.new-domain.com') WHERE meta_key = 'siteurl';
UPDATE wp_blogs SET domain = replace(domain, 'localhost', 'new-domain');

/* options and posts UPDATE */
UPDATE wp_options SET option_value = replace(option_value, 'http://localhost', 'http://www.new-domain.com') WHERE option_name = 'home' OR option_name = 'siteurl';
UPDATE wp_posts SET guid = replace(guid, 'http://localhost', 'http://www.new-domain.com');
UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = replace(post_content, 'http://localhost', 'http://www.new-domain.com');

/* repeat for each domain */
UPDATE wp_1_options SET option_value = replace(option_value, 'http://localhost', 'http://www.new-domain.com') WHERE option_name = 'home' OR option_name = 'siteurl';
UPDATE wp_1_posts SET guid = replace(guid, 'http://localhost', 'http://www.new-domain.com');
UPDATE wp_1_posts SET post_content = replace(post_content, 'http://localhost', 'http://www.new-domain.com');

 


PHP

The final thing we need to do is change the site’s domain within the wp-config.php file, which is located in the root of your site.

We need to change this:

define('DOMAIN_CURRENT_SITE','localhost');
define('PATH_CURRENT_SITE','/');

To this:

define('DOMAIN_CURRENT_SITE','new-domain');
define('PATH_CURRENT_SITE','/');

Once all of this has been done you should have a WPMS on a different domain.

If you have any digital marketing queries which you’d like answering please get in touch with us at fruit@passion.digital . ‘Till next time!

 

My Top 5 Google Chrome Web Development Tools

24Apr

Top-5-Google-Web-Dev-Tools

One aspect of web development that I really enjoy is the vast amount of tools available to help build and maintain websites. Whether it be testing out a new style for a button or making a website responsive, these tools have a great influence on the development process. I have comprised a short list of Google Chrome web development tools that I think even  a novice could use and benefit from.

5. Google Chrome DevTools

chrome-web-dev-tool-5

One of my favourite development tools is the widely used Chrome DevTools. These tools have proven to be really helpful when debugging and trying to understand a web page in more depth. From the awesome Elements section where you can see and edit the pages HTML DOM tree, to adding and modifying the CSS and the Emulation section which provides a great testing environment for mobile devices. Chrome DevTools provides a huge amount of advanced and intermediate tools.

Whether you’re using DevTools for the first time or if you’re a experienced user, I would recommend going through their documentation and in particular the massive tips and trick section.

Find out more

 

4. Page Speed Insight

chrome-web-dev-tool-4

Page speed is a tool that can help you to optimize your website by analysing it against various rules and standards. This tool can actually be used in different platforms, from their online site analyzer,  to Chrome or Firefox extension, and Page Speed’s API. Personally I use the Chrome extension as it binds on to the Chrome DevTools and is a lot easier to access than the online analyser.

The tool is basically a checklist that will scan your website and tell you what you need to do and what has already been done. A priority rating and detail of what needs to be changed is provided, which is quite handy. An experienced web developer may not benefit from this tool as much as a beginner.

With the use of the Grunt Task Runner, most of the checklist will already be done, but never the less, this tool provides a great insight in to the speed improvements and optimizations a website needs.

Find out more

 

3. Web Developer Checklist:

chrome-web-dev-tool-3

The web developer checklist tool allows you to check a website through a checklist of standards and best practices. A handy link is provided with each of the checklist items to allow you to quickly sort out the issues. The checklist has a wide range of categories, such as accessibility – checking for WAI-ARIA landmarks, mobile – media queries ad view port, SEO- robots.txt and meaningful descriptions. The tool also incorporates the Page Speed insight tool, giving you even more things to check against.

The checklist is great for quickly ensuring that you have included all the necessary components to the webpage. However, as mentioned earlier, these checklist items will in time come naturally. In the meantime this proves a great way of getting to grips with and understand what a website needs to function efficiently.

Download

 

2. Stylebot

chrome-web-dev-tool-2

Stylebot is a tool that allows you to modify the CSS of a page and save it for any subsequent  visit. It comes with basic section which allows you to select an element with your mouse pointer; a tool particularly for novice users. The advanced section is pretty much a blank text area where you can add your own CSS.

The great thing about this tool is that you can share your templates with other users of Stylebot. Granted most of the templates are for Facebook, YouTube and other popular website, still it’s quite a handy tool to have around.

I have mostly used this for goofing around or seeing if I can fix an issue I have noticed. However it can of course be used for debugging as well as to show new web designs and layouts without having access to the files of the webpage.

Stylebot is a very easy to use tool that I would highly recommend adding to your extension arsenal.

Download

 

1. Web Developer

chrome-web-dev-tool-1

The simply named Chrome extension “Web Developer” provides a whole bucket load of tools and gadgets to analyse and modify a website. There are 11 sections you can work with, from changing form information to outlining different display types, viewing a website in different responsive layouts,  finding out the order of the Divs and many more.

One of the tools that I use the most is the outline tool; gives a element a type a outline to show the area in which it is contained. In addition I frequently use the responsive layout tool which provides different version of the website on one page.

As well as providing loads of tools, you can add or modify some of them. Such as resize dimensions, responsive sizes, and validations(wc3 HTML/CSS).

The extension is available on Chrome,Firefox and Opera. The developer Chris Pederick is consistently adding new features, which can been found on his to-do list, along with list of issues.

Find out more

Download

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