Hooray For Likes On Self-Hosted Sites!

WordPress, you made me a very happy man today with the latest release of Jetpack. I’ve wished. I’ve hoped. I’ve prayed for Likes to come to self-hosted sites. It was the only thing that I was jealous of on WordPress.com hosted sites. With today’s update you’ve finally done it!

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

 

The Problem With Free

By William Kristoph

Over on Kristoph’s K-Time I decided to change to the Twenty-Twelve theme that WordPress fired my way late last year. I saw it as clean and easy to read. I made a few tweaks to it and I am very, very happy with it overall. That’s a great example of “free” that works out well. The problem is that “free” sometimes has a problem.

All In One SEO Plugin

I’ve used the All-In-One SEO Plugin on K-Time for a while. It’s been fantastic, however, there’s a little bug in the current version when used with Twenty-Twelve. For whatever reason, the plugin doesn’t properly auto-generate the optimized post title for categories or tags like it used to do. And here we find the problem with “free.” For two weeks, there have been a couple of complains in the support forum on WordPress. They’ve gone unanswered so far. I’m sure the next release will clear up the bug, but who knows when that will happen.

For now, I came up with a workaround that’s not perfect and not optimized but is better than the bug is spitting out. I tried my solution instead of switching back to Twenty-Eleven. I liked that option less. Either way, I don’t particularly want to pay for support. So I’m stuck with the downside of “free” which is patching a problem until the free version fixes it. It’s not perfect. It’s certainly not the developer’s fault who guarantees nothing unless you pay for support (I totally understand that). But it is the hidden problem with some of the great “free” tools and plugins we use. We’re left on our own to deal with the occasional bug or problem.

 

The Evil Little Mistake Of Messing With A Default Theme

By William Kristoph

Yes, yes. I know. Make a child theme. Don’t mess up the original theme by stick some Adsense code in there and wondering where it is when you hit the update button on a self-hosted WordPress site. I know, I know. I was warned. At least 100 different times I was warned. Keep the parent theme clean.

Oh yeah? Well I remembered to copy the code before updating this time Suckers! :)

Theme Change And SEO

So… here’s a question I don’t have the answer to: If I change my theme from the default WordPress theme to Delicacy, is my SEO going to go out the window?

I really have no idea, and that’s keeping me from putting up a sweet new theme on Kristoph’s K-Time. I played around with Delicacy. Previewed it, liked it, but couldn’t pull the trigger because I don’t want search engines to cough on a new theme. When I poked through the code, I couldn’t tell if it would be any better or worse than the default WordPress theme. So I’m confused. :)

In other news, the quote website gets a good reaction or two occasionally. I’m quite happy with that since I didn’t expect it. And I really, really need to get back to posting photos regularly on the photo website. It’s a disgrace lately. It’s something that I really enjoy too, but I just haven’t found the time to keep so many blogs going. It’s especially tough now with some TFBA duties too.

Testing the Delicacy Theme

Ooooh. Aaah. I think I might have found something I really, really like finally. The Delicacy Theme! I’ll be testing it here for a bit, before possibly making a switch over on Kristoph’s K-Time. I just wish that changing colors wasn’t a premium feature here on WordPress.com. Maybe the battle for something other than the default them is finally over?

In other news, I’m happy to see K-Time traffic rising. People love food, whether it’s food reviews or recipes. In a super-crowded niche, I still get visitors. Go figure. I love the interaction I get and I’m very excited that my food writing led to meeting some great new people and to starting the Tallahassee Food Bloggers Association. I hope the group of new friends can do something that not only feeds our bellies, but maybe feeds some less fortunate folks in the future. We’ll see how that all pans out though.

My other sites are in varying states. The photo website is behind the quote website for sure, but both are fun little side projects that I enjoy. The quote website sees more Likes and comments than I expected. It’s an unexpected win! The same goes for my fantasy baseball and fantasy football sites. They’re good side projects that don’t take much time to enjoy. I’m not quote sure how much more effort I want to put into them, but maybe a better theme or two will help eventually?

Also, in a totally unrelated note there’s one thing I don’t like about Florida. I can’t carve my pumpkin til October 29 or 30, because it will spectacularly rot before Halloween if I do. Back in New England it was easy to carve it ahead of time, because the outside temps would keep it from rotting too quickly. Down here though? Not so much. It’s kind of a bummer.

Why I Write Multiple Blogs

By William Kristoph

I read a few articles yesterday about why writers shouldn’t bother with multiple blogs. Basically, the arguments involved either the author thinking that her readers are stupid and can’t handle more than one topic on a blog or that multiple blogs are a waste of time. I couldn’t disagree more.

First of all, I don’t think that my readers are incapable of handling multiple topics. While Kristoph’s K-Time is a lot of food and a lot of Tallahassee, it’s other things too. I see plenty of spikes and dips in my visits based on what I write there, but it doesn’t direct me to one topic or another. I write what I like to write there. I trust that reader knows that it’s my personal blog and the topics will vary.

Why would I take a fictional fantasy football team or fantasy baseball team website and integrate into K-Time? I wouldn’t and I don’t. I write my New Canaan Chrebets and Mianus Mookies sites for fun, for the few buddies I have in those fantasy leagues and for an outlet for fiction. Contrary to what I read yesterday, I didn’t bifurcate these blogs because I think the reader is stupid and can’t figure out a fictional post from non-fiction. I did it because it’s easy and keeps my mind straight when I write.

The same idea goes for my photos and my quotes website. Could I cram it into K-Time? Sure. Would readers understand it? Yes. But, I want to keep my photos and quotes separate. I like the cleanliness of it for me. I also like the fact that those particular sites aren’t self-hosted. My favorites are saved off in “the cloud” where I don’t have to worry about them too much.

I never intentionally insult my readers’ intelligence. I know they can understand what I write. I know they might like some of my other sites if they were integrated into K-Time. I also know what is a clean 5-day-per-week presentation would become cluttered and confusing to me if I jammed every post in there. Multiple blogs are not silly or  a waste of time or an insult when used properly. They are a way to focus work and free up creativity.

The Struggle To Find A Theme

By William Kristoph

Struggling to find a theme is a recurring issue for me lately with my websites. First, I tried out 20 different themes here over the last two weeks and I just haven’t found one that I really want to use. I’d love to freshen up Kristoph’s K-Time and move it from the default theme, but everything I test bugs me.

And in a sort of related theme struggle, I haven’t found any consistency for my Friday posts since the Ben Franklin Quotes series expired. Blah, sometimes writing is such a struggle. It feels like my feet drag through the mud for ideas sometimes and others I could write for three weeks straight and still have plenty of ideas to follow. I just wish my process was a little more consistent, and not full of hills and valleys.

My plan of attack to solve these couple of problems:

  • Forget about the theme for a month. I’ll probably revisit one later on and find that I like it.
  • Read more. I’m halfway through a couple of books, usually books will give me a lift of inspiration.
  • Watch college football. Okay this has nothing to do with inspiration, but college football is finally back thank God. :)

 

Tallahassee Food Blogger Explosion

By William Kristoph

Thanks to K-Time I’ve found a few more Tallahassee area food bloggers out there in addition to Sweet Tea & Bourbon. It’s pretty awesome to compare notes with the other reviews and check out opinions of restaurants, especially the ones I’ve dined in already. I like to see who I disagree with and why, and many times I leave with a desire to try a different dish at a restaurant I probably would have skipped in the future.

K-Time itself is chugging along and reaching all the goals I originally set for it. That just means it’s time to set new goals in the near future. I already have some ideas, we’ll see which ones pan out.

The Importance Of A Contact Page

By William Kristoph

Yesterday a PR firm contacted me that is representing Buca di Beppo, an Italian restaurant chain opening in Tallahassee. The grand opening is August 20, and I’ve been invited to check it out and blog about it. How fun is that? After bouncing back a couple of emails, I found out the PR firm used my Contact page on K-Time to reach out to me.

What I found interesting was that a friend of mine, who is a better and more experienced food blogger, was not yet contacted because the firm couldn’t find contact information for him. I passed the info along, they got in touch with him and now he’s added a contact page on his site. It made me wonder about what makes a good contact page?

Three Ways To Make A Great Contact Page

  1. It’s easy to find. – I like to put a link in my top menu bar, and I always put it as the last item. I also generally make the slug “contact” so that it’s easy to guess if someone is having a problem finding it.
  2. It’s easy to use. – There are terrible pages out there filling with way too many specific options. The point of the contact page is to tell me that you’d like my attention for a minute. A name, email address and a subject / text box are all I need to start a conversation.
  3. It actually works. – Test, test and test again. I see too many contact pages that die when the wrong character is in a field instead of properly telling the user, “Hey fix this and resubmit it.”

The Occasional Frustrations Of Shared Hosting

By William Kristoph

I love the company that hosts my main website K-Time. Love them. They’ve been great for many years now at a very inexpensive price. They’ve been very helpful with the few questions I’ve had and they’ve done a very good job with uptime. Overall, I give them an A+.

What I can’t stand, though, is when I have a bad neighbor on the same shared server. I had an issue over a couple of weeks where all of my sites on a particular server would grind to a halt for an hour or two because of some rogue process. Even more annoying was that by the time I saw it, opened a ticket and then reported it, the process would die and everything would be back to normal. It made it very difficult on the host company technicians to find the problem.

Thankfully, after three tries they found the culprit and thanks to three weeks of stability, a permanent solution was found!

 

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