Automated Image optimization has come a long way over the last few years. This round up compares some of the biggest names in that field and declares a winner... but with quite a few caveats.
I’ve long been an advocate of optimizing images for better site performance. I have a short series of articles (of which this is now the fourth) talking about different ways to optimize your WordPress website.
Until now, my recommendation to anyone serious about page speed has been to optimize their images manually. My first article on this, talked about the science behind it and how to do it for free. Next I delved into automation options and highlighted why at that time they were not quite as beneficial as optimizing by hand.
I’m really happy to write this comparison article in order to highlight a couple methods now that do image optimization really well so we can finally have our cake and eat it too when it comes to image optimization.
Different Image Optimization Scenarios
Before I jump into this knock-down, drag out showdown I need to highlight that different websites will have different image compression needs. For example, my site is primarily a blog/portfolio/product site. None of those purposes require high quality images. My image use revolves around supporting my words in a visually attractive way that make people remember the post/page/product.
A look at some of the problems with Envato and ThemeForest and why the race to the bottom is dangerous
I have a few friends who are pretty good with WordPress development, have a few decent plugins out there and love the community. They started small and began with playing with some themes and plugins, and then learned development by building their own solutions in the evening and over the weekend. For some of them that adventure happened some 6-7 years ago. They still love WordPress, and they also like the community. They maintain their free plugins and such.
But they have to do other 9-to-5 jobs in order to make a living. They’ve tried to sell their services and products, but within that competitive ecosystem with constant race to the bottom it never worked out. They have explored the local opportunities for work, but the small digital agencies are paying nickles or they live in a country with a less developed business ecosystem than, for example, the US, Canada, Australia or the UK.
At the same time we discuss the talent shortage – does it sound familiar now?
Is Envato All Bad?
For those who don’t know, Envato is the company behind ThemeForest, CodeCanyon and a few other brands related to building websites and selling cheap solutions.
Envato has become notorious in the WordPress ecosystem
Good news. Things are not as bad as they once seemed to be.
Good news. Things are not as bad as they once seemed to be.
A great case study for WordPress. My only regret is that we lost them as ManageWP customers once they switched from 17 WordPress installs to a singe one :)
Today, we’re proud and excited to launch the completely revamped WIRED.com. It’s been a while since our last redesign—8 years, we sheepishly admit—so this overhaul of our site is long overdue. But this gave us the time to build a smarter, more beautiful website that looks to the future as much as our reporting does. It’ll also be more fun for you to read and explore.
Over the last couple of years as we prepared to embark on our major site redesign, Condé Nast has made significant investments in the WIRED Tech Team. We’ve more than doubled in size, adding both product and project management teams. In the past, our team was so small that we spent most of our time scrambling to fix bugs and keep the site from 503’ing. Now we have a diverse team of specialists who are devoted to making sure our site meets the growing demands of digital readers like you—people who know a bit about programming and what makes a good website.
Our redesign is here thanks to a big under-the-radar project in March 2014, when we migrated 17 active WIRED blogs into a single WordPress install. If we did our jobs right, you barely noticed that happen. Clandestine though that mission was, it put us exactly where we
This is more of an intro to Pressidium, a new WordPress managed host. Good luck guys.
What is Enterprise Architecture? and why does Pressidium® Pinnacle Platform implement it? At Pressidium we're all about making things as simple as possible for our partners. However we've realised when talking about the Pressidium® Pinnacle Platform, our enthusiasm for the technical nature of our work has got the better of us. We often refer to the term Enterprise Architecture - the core aspect of our design but we now realise this can be a challenging concept to wrap your head around, if you're unfamiliar with the terminology.
We're sorry about that and we want to put things right.
Today we're going to explain in plain English what we mean when we say 'Enterprise Architecture'. We'll explore why we use this model for delivering managed WordPress hosting that's fast, reliable and secure. We'll also delve into how this can help you and the benefits it will provide you and your ongoing projects.
What Is Enterprise Architecture?
To understand Enterprise Architecture hosting, we first need to look at the conventional hosting solutions already available on the market. It's likely the case if you own a website or blog that you use one of these solutions already and are familiar with how they
By actual installs, and not just download counts, here are some of the most popular WordPress plugins. This is based on research and new stats that were in Beta on WordPress.org.
WordPress plugin popularity has always been pretty tough to figure out. We only had download counts or independent, third party website scrapers to tell us anything. Now, WordPress.org itself has more data that’s being tested and launched to give us real insight into the popularity of WordPress plugins. WordPress has long had download counts for core WordPress, plugins, and themes.
But downloads counts are deceiving. They count downloads, but are not representative of actual active installs.
Recently — in my Club member newsletter — I noted that it is past time to get data for actual installs, versus download counts. There is a private beta program on WordPress.org that offers just that, and at least some of the new stats are launching very, very soon.
The new plugin stats pages will show four new charts, visible to plugin authors:
New installs per day
Updates per day
Active installs per day
Most importantly, the “active installs per day” chart shows us — with much greater precision than we previously had — how many actual websites are running any plugin available on WordPress.org.
For the beta period, utilizing a non-public query string parameter, I was able to see
While not ideal in most cases, for large old sites that have lots of images, and you just can't possibly get to them all, this is a great idea. I would only use it in such a situation, though, as the title won't really be reflective of the actual image in many cases.
Images are important for engagement with your visitors but the problem with images is that they mean nothing to search engines. The only way search engines can tell what an image is about is by reading the information inside the alt attribute. If you are using WordPress you can easily include images on the page by using the media library. This is where you can select the alt text for the image, but what if you don't have alt text on your images or you forget to enter the alt text?
You need a way to automatically populate your image tags with an alt attribute.
Below is a WordPress snippet to put into your functions.php file to search your content for images which don't have an alt attribute. If they don't have an alt attribute this function will add it in with a default of the post title.
preg_match_all('//', $content, $images);
foreach($images as $index => $value)
$new_img = str_replace('
The importance of setting your prices based on the value you provide to your customers, not on how technical the work is you're doing...
Tons of things have changed At one point in time, if you owned a restaurant, maybe you thought of hiring someone to stand outside on the street corner wearing a sandwich board to tell people about your spot.
Or maybe, if it was a different time, you decided to spend money on a Yellow Pages ad.
I’m linking to these items on Wikipedia because there’s a chance today that you don’t know what these things are.
They were the distribution mechanism of marketing at one point in life.
Today, people don’t always think about sandwich boards or the Yellow Pages.
Today they think about a website and maybe Google’s local ads. Or maybe you ask customers to rank you on Yelp or TripAdvisor.
Maybe you’d integrate with OpenTable.
Here’s the truth – the objective won’t often change but the distribution mechanism will keep changing over time.
I tell you what seems obvious because I want to talk about a pricing dynamic that requires context.
Marketing hasn’t changed
I tell you about the difference between objective and distribution mechanism, but those words seem stilted. So instead, let’s call it the destination and the vehicle.
For many businesses, the destination is always the same – to gather a group
WP-Sweep a new Plugin That does all the general cleaning of WordPress Installations
After years of creating new content, changing themes, and adding and removing plugins, a WordPress installation can become littered with unused, orphaned, and duplicated data. Not every plugin properly extricates itself and its data from your site when you uninstall. Lester Chan‘s new WP Sweep plugin was designed to perform housekeeping on WordPress installations. Chan is a prolific plugin developer, who created his first plugin in 2003 shortly after WordPress was forked from b2. He now has 24+ plugins listed in directory.
WP-Sweep’s distinguishing characteristic is that it uses proper WordPress delete functions as much as possible instead of running direct delete MySQL queries. This method is in direct contrast to similarly purposed plugins such as WP-Optimize, which has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times.
Looking through WP-Optimize and they are using SQL query to delete post revisions which means there will be orphaned data left behind.
— Lester Chan (@gamerz) February 23, 2015
What can WP-Sweep clean?
WP-Sweep uses WordPress delete functions, such as wp_delete_post_revision(), delete_post_meta(), wp_delete_comment(), etc. to clean up the database. It can perform sweeps
Another fine round-up of this month. Ariel Rule curated a list of interesting stories in and around WordPress. Tutorials and guides and an interview with Peter Nilsson.
Time goes by way too fast! All...
Unsurprisingly, there's a great discussion going in the comments of this one.
Over the weekend, the WordPress plugin directory implemented a major change that better reflects how popular a plugin is. The number of total downloads has been replaced with the number of active installs. While the numbers are not exact, they’re close enough to give people insight into usage. When it comes to reporting WordPress plugin security vulnerabilities, this is a welcome change. The active install numbers give the media a better idea on how many sites are potentially at risk. In addition to knowing the active installs for a given plugin, we can also see a breakdown of which versions are used.
Using Outdated Versions of Plugins
With Jetpack, we see that nearly 40% of sites use the latest version while the other 60% use an older version.
Yoast SEO is split down the middle with 50% of sites using the latest version and the other combined 50% using an older version.
Only a quarter of the sites using Contact Form 7 are using the most recent version, while nearly 75% combined are using an outdated version.
For other plugins, the trend is the same. A majority of sites are using older versions of plugins. For all of the effort that goes into informing users to keep sites up to date
Good intro into PHP autoloader concept in the context of WordPress development.
Good intro into PHP autoloader concept in the context of WordPress development.
I gave some background on Twitter's new official plugin, including some screenshots of it in action.
Twitter has finally announced an official WordPress plugin. It’s pretty thorough, and on a quick test run, works as advertised. Here’s a rundown of some of the features and background. “About time” is probably what comes to mind. Twitter has announced an official WordPress plugin to support their platform. It’s available now on the WordPress plugin repo.
They just released the plugin a couple of hours ago. It’s actually taking the place of an existing plugin, which was wiped from the plugin repo two weeks ago by Otto Wood. That’s what will account for the 150,000+ downloads upon initial release. Otto has now reset the count in the database, so the numbers are more realistic.
I reached out to Otto to see how these decisions are made. Otto is one of the managers of the repo.
A twitter representative emailed us, sent us the plugin, and asked to have the “twitter” name in the directory. We reviewed the plugin as per normal, found no issues with it, and decided to give them the name because, after all, they are indeed “Twitter” and have the rights to their own name.
The previous plugin occupying that space had been inactive for a long period of time and had no real existing installations
Everyone wants to "Do It Right," but do you have a clear definition of what that means for everyone yourself and those you work with? If you don't spending a little time on defining your standards and workflow can provide a big return on investment in the long-term--saving you time and money.
These days everyone is talking about following best practices, established standards, and just doing it right. This is undeniably great, but does your company have a clear definition of what any of this means? I ask because documenting this information can create a valuable resource for your employees and contractors to learn from—all while establishing a company-wide standard. More importantly, however, it creates a way to offer the most constructive type of feedback to those who are not doing it right. Instead of telling them they are flat out wrong, you can direct them to where it says how to do it right.
Establishing best practices for a WordPress development agency (of any kind) can also be part of creating standard operating procedures (SOP). Having an established set of SOPs not only creates consistency and helps to further refine expectations, but it also eases the on-boarding process of new employees, as your institutional memory is recorded.
Like programming, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel—your best practices can be linked to documents. In this article, I will discuss where to find the best documents to help construct your best practices, what they should include,
Envato’s dominance and loose product standards with themes packaged as complete website solutions
This week Envato published stats on how WordPress product sellers are doing within its economy. Theme authors make up the bulk of WordPress-based earnings on its marketplace and continue to dominate sales. Inspired by his interaction with the WordPress business community at Pressnomics, Ben Chan, director of Growth and Revenue at Envato, penned an insider brief about the WordPress segment of Envato’s economy. The post makes it abundantly clear why theme authors continue to sell their products on Themeforest, despite the marketplace’s poor reputation among WordPress consultants.
Envato’s steady pipeline of traffic is the deciding factor for many commercial theme authors. “In September 2014, ThemeForest was the 88th most trafficked website in the world (according to Alexa.com), at the time ahead of Netflix,” Chan said. “The traffic it receives is more than just eyeballs; these are buyers looking to purchase a theme and many are introduced to WordPress for the first time.”
This volume has made it possible for 31 authors to sell more than $1 million dollars worth of products through Envato. “We have authors earning tens of thousands of dollars from our various product types, but it’s WordPress
Largely a response to the recent WPTavern article and Ben Chan's "Insider Info" on ThemeForest sales, we talk about why we're entering the Theme Market and don't see ThemeForest as the problem.
I have a past that not many WordPress folks know about: I’m a social justice, hippy protester at heart. Back in the day, I was one of those guys who went to protest rally meetings. Sometimes it didn’t matter what the protest was for, I just wanted to be there. But one of the “social justice” issues that often got me riled up was the way giant conglomerate corporations loved to sweep into small towns and swallow local businesses whole. I still to this day can’t be PAID to step foot in a WalMart. At one time, I wouldn’t step foot in a Starbucks. I believed at that time that Starbuck’s very presence in a community triggered the end of other private local economies and that was simply unjust. While there is merit to that argument still, the data collected about Starbucks specifically over the last few decades is showing a different picture. Starbucks, rather than being a threat to other small coffee shops, can provide a standard by which private shops can distinguish themselves against and actually indirectly benefit other local coffee shops.
Don’t get me wrong. Starbucks doesn’t go out seeking to benefit other shops. A lot of the criticism against them has to do with their strong-arm tactics
Some information on when you should, and when you shouldn't use a CDN on your WordPress website.
If you’re looking for ways to make your WordPress website load faster in order to deliver a more enjoyable experience to your users, and reap all the benefits associated with that, then you might have come across the acronym CDN, or content delivery network. Content delivery networks essentially host much of your website’s content on servers that are distributed around the world. The advantage of this is that when a visitor reaches your website, the content can be loaded from the data center that is nearest to them, improving the time it takes for the page to load.
While you might be skeptical of the difference the location of a server might have on the experience of a visitor to your website, studies have shown that milliseconds really do make a difference. Slow loading times can impact user satisfaction levels, the perceived trustworthiness, and goal conversion rates of your website.
So whether you are selling items from your website, or you just want to offer the best user experience possible, utilizing the services of a CDN could very well help you achieve your goals.
CloudFlare CDN Network Map
How Does a CDN Service Work?
Although content delivery networks are in the realm of web
A practical guide to starting your own affiliate program for your WordPress + WooCommerce store with AffiliateWP.
For anyone with an online store, driving traffic and generating sales is a constant priority. You want to make sure that you’re using all the resources at your disposal, while still keeping the amount of effort you’re puting in under control. Incentivizing and rewarding those sending visitors to your site is a tried-and-tested way of generating more leads and sales. Although the idea of using an affiliate model to drive sales in your online store might seem complicated on the surface, it’s actually really rather straightforward. What’s more, because affiliate payments are performance-based, you’ll only have to pay out referral fees when a sale has been made and you’ve generated revenue from the referred visitor. Some might balk at the idea of paying out a percentage of your profits to those promoting your store, but if you look at the potential return on investment and lack of financial risk in comparison to other forms of promotion and advertisement, you’ll quickly begin to see the appeal!
If you’d like to set up an affiliate program for your WooCommerce-powered online store and get more eyeballs on your products without any of the upfront costs of traditional advertising, then this
Mel Choyce shares tips for giving your themes a solid design base.
Making a theme is really exciting. It’s a great way to practice your coding skills. It could be a good way to bring in some extra pocket change. Best yet, seeing someone use something you’ve built is incredibly rewarding. I’ve watched the quality of theme design get better and better in the WordPress.org directory in the last few years, but I still see a lot of themes that look the same. Free themes still lag behind premium themes in terms of design quality. You can help change all that. You don’t need a design background to make good design decisions: a developer conscious of design can still make a good-looking theme.
Here are a few general tips and tricks you can apply to your themes to give them a solid design base, regardless of your background.
Pick a Direction
When planning out your new theme, have a specific user or use case in mind. That use case shouldn’t be “a theme for everyone.” Your use case can still be pretty broad — “a modern theme for small businesses” is still targeted enough for your ideal user to solve a specific goal by using your theme. Alternately, you can get super specific, giving yourself a prompt like “a food blogging theme targeting smartphone photographers.”
Taking a look at WordPress.tv video site to give you an idea of what to expect and why you should check it out.
If you are new to WordPress then you might be unaware that conferences called WordCamps are held on a regular basis, all around the world. At these events attendees can improve their knowledge on all aspects of using WordPress by sitting in on presentations from local and international speakers that are experts in their respective fields. WordCamps and other WordPress-related events are great opportunities for learning and cater to all levels of ability, from beginner bloggers to advanced coders. Whether you are just starting out with WordPress, or you want to keep your programming and development skills up to date, there will often be a selection of talks of interest to choose from at each event – not to mention the excellent opportunities to network with like-minded individuals.
However, if you aren’t fortunate enough to live in an area with regular WordCamps taking place, you just can’t find the time to attend a local event, or you’d like to hear from a wider range of speakers from events held further afield, there is a free website that can provide you with the next best thing to attending a live event in person.
That website is WordPress.tv and it’s a free online archive of presentations
Philip Arthur Moore shares this thoughts on why ThemeForest isn't the problem and perhaps WordPress.org should've put a bit of effort into thinking about premium themes would be sold.
One of my biggest regrets about publishing We’re Ruining WordPress last year is that I didn’t make it abundantly clear that my issue was with theme authors, not theme marketplaces like ThemeForest. I forgot that the WordPress community—whatever that means at this point—loves red meat, and any mention of ThemeForest would overshadow a larger point that I was trying to make. The point was simple and it still stands: theme authors are hurting WordPress due to our unprofessional approach to both business and development. Here’s a fact. Creative Market has absolutely no review process, and yet because all of its themes are 100% GPL it’s celebrated as the go-to alternative to ThemeForest. ThemeForest has a review process in place, one that is more efficient and more streamlined than I have seen in any other marketplace, including WordPress.com. I’m not writing about quality; I’m writing about a very predictable set of expectations that theme authors can look to when submitting and launching a theme, as well as planning for the future.
I’ve slowly and quietly taken on an important role at Professional Themes lately. My title on paper is CTO (I’m still Managing Member of Press Build, as well).
A review of the CSS Hero plugin which allows you to customize your WordPress website through a visual editor.
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No website is complete without a design that grabs and holds your reader’s attention. With so many themes for WordPress sites on the market, it can be easy be overwhelmed by the amount of choice.
How do you know which theme is the best for you without trying it out first? What if you need to make extensive customizations but have a limited budget? Perhaps your design knowledge is lacking and you don’t have the budget to hire someone to do it for you.
Any of those scenarios can be applicable – I’ve been in that situation myself. But what if I told you there was a tool out there, that could help you make the design changes you need for your website, without having to touch a single line of code?
CSS Hero is that tool, a plugin for WordPress to be exact. Today I’ll look at what it can do by testing it out myself. I’ll be showing you just how easy it is to change the look and feel of your website, with only a few clicks and how you can use it yourself to inject new life into a standard WordPress theme.
The guys behind CSSHero has given us 5 copies (starter plan) of CSS Hero WordPress plugin to giveaway to our readers. You can use the widget
Things like this make me want that 'development' category asap!
For a while now PHP-FIG has been making the PHP world better by defining standards for things like coding standards, coding styles, loggers and, importantly, autoloading. Autoloading is important because it allows us to write our code using Namespaces which makes for a much nicer folder structure and more modular classes (and packages), without having to worry about require(ing) files all the time. If you're still not with me have a look at the PSR-4 spec. Anyway, I would recommend that any PHP developer worth their salt should be using PSR-0 and PSR-4 as much as possbile. So how do you go about doing this in WordPress plugins? Well it's actually relatively simple.
Let's say we have a WordPress plugin called "Turnover", with a basic folder structure that looks like:
So the content of our main turnover.php plugin file should look like this:
Here is one useful free plugin which let you transfer SEO values from one theme/plugin to another. I used this to migrate my SEO values from Thesis to SEO by Yoast.
In my earlier posts I informed you that I’m breaking up with Thesis theme and migrating to Genesis theme. After using Thesis Theme for 4 years, I realised that it was a big mistake to rely on WordPress theme for SEO configuration. Thesis used to be a great theme, but lately it become a dying WordPress theme and specially with fewer support and no support for popular WordPress plugins like SEO by Yoast, I got no reason to stick to it. I will be moving ShoutMeLoud Theme to Genesis soon, for now I started moving my other WordPress sites to Genesis and for SEO, started using SEO by Yoast. One of the biggest challenge is to move all my SEO settings from Thesis theme to WordPress SEO by Yoast. I bumped into one simple plugin, which can migrate everything from your existing theme to another theme or plugin of your choice.
In this tutorial, I will share about the plugin, share about the process and also few important things that you need to take care of after migrating SEO settings.
SEO Data Transport : Transfer WordPress SEO Settings
SEO Data transport is a free plugin which is available in WordPress plugin repo (It has not been updated for long), but it still works perfectly fine. Using this