WordPress Optimization Presentation – PubCon New Orleans 2013

I recently presented at PubCon New Orleans about WordPress optimization. Here’s a copy of my slides and a link to the resources discussed in the presentation.

PubCon New Orleans 2013 – WordPress Optimization

Who Deserves That Ticket to the Upcoming BlueGlass TPA

As part of the We suck at contests promotion for a free ticket to BlueGlass TPA, we’re asking people to post why they deserve the ticket. So far, the top 5 (in no particular order) are:

  • Dixon Jones
  • Sanjay Sabnani
  • Christa Watson
  • Justin Freid
  • Andrew Norcross

So…who do you think deserves that ticket to BlueGlass TPA?

How to Use Google Alerts to Watch for WordPress Hacks

This may not be a perfect solution, but Google Alerts can at least be helpful in watching for hacks in your WordPress sites. If you’re like many of the people I know, you probably have more than one site running WordPress. Doing a site: search in Google every day is not the most efficient way of staying on top of the sites and making sure that they have not been compromised. Some hacks are hidden from normal browsing, so you won’t find them by simply visiting your own sites every day. For example, Chris Pearson has mentioned a recent issue with pharmacy spam showing up in search results for his site but not visible to users:

WP Hack

Setting up the Alert

Google Alerts

Here are the settings that I use:

Search Terms: I normally enter a site: search string into this box such as site:pearsonified.com prozac OR viagra OR prescription OR cialis OR pharmacy. Feel free to play with the various keywords that are being looked for based on whatever hacks are popular. Most of the time, there are at least some pharmacy terms being targeted.

Type: I choose Web for this one

How often: I choose as-it-happens

Email length: 20 results is fine here. In most cases, 1 result is enough to know that there’s something wrong.

Deliver to: I have the alerts sent to my email account. Not sure how feeds work but I suppose that if you’re a feed addict it might work fine.

Click “Create Alert” and you’re good to go. Just hope that you never get an email for the alert you just set :)

Does anyone know of other options for this? Did I miss anything?

Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund

PubCon Poker TournamentI will be playing in a charity poker tournament next week in Vegas and part of the entry process is that I need to choose a charity. One charity that has really stuck out to me in the past couple years and I think does an awesome job is the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

Even if you don’t agree with current wars that our country is involved in, there are thousands of soldiers and families who are impacted by them, and I know you’ll agree that they need help. IFHF assists with the rehab and medical support for soldiers who have sustained serious injuries and usually become permanently disabled. These soldiers are giving up their “normal” life to fight for our country. Some may never return home and many may never return to the life they had before going to war.

One thing that I find really important in a charity is that as much of the donations as possible should go toward what the charity supports. In the case of Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, 100% of donations goes to support soldiers. No administrative costs are taken out of the donations, and I think that’s awesome and all charities should strive for that.

Year in Cities 2008

I forgot that I usually copy Sean Keener on making one of these lists. Here’s a list of places I spent at least one night in during 2008:

Queen Creek, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Keizer, OR
Portland, OR
Starkey, OR
Coeur d’ Alene, ID
Jackson, WY
Colorado Springs, CO
Snowmass, CO
Durango, CO
Las Vegas, NV
Del Mar, CA
Ogden, UT

…my list is pretty weak compared to Sean’s.

A Few Good Posts

I’ve decided that for the two visitors a day I get, I might as well pass on some good info. I’m not very good at communicating anything original, so what I’m going to do is start posting a few good posts that I’ve seen over the past few days. Here’s volume 1 in no particular order:

Thesis Theme Ad Targeting Tutorial – Rae did a great, detailed post on how to target ads to specific pages & categories when using the Thesis Theme for WordPress. I will soon be moving my site to that theme.

Everything I Know About Business I Learned From Poker
– Good tips from the guys that run Zappos.com

25 Resources to Get You Started with PHP from Scratch – Pretty good reference for someone wanting to get started writing their own code. If I had something like this back when I was learning php, I’d probably be alot better at it than I am now.

40+ Useful Cheat Sheets for Designers – I love design…I just suck at it. There are some pretty good cheat sheets in this list for more than just web designers. You can almost always learn something from a cheat sheet.

My Blog Sucks

I need to do something about the design…it seemed cool at the time, but now I hate it. Maybe I’ll try to do something about it one of these weekends.

Blog Spam is a Pain in the…

Lately we’ve had issues with blog spammers creating annoyances with some of our sites at BootsnAll. The volume on our soccer blogs has been pretty insane. During live blogs of games there was a noticeable slowdown caused by the spammers coupled with visitors refreshing pages and posting high numbers of comments. Initially, I was suspicious of a few plugins, which may still not be well optimized, but after getting mod_status running on one of the servers and monitoring activity, it was becoming obvious that it was more than just plugin issues.

We already run Akismet and Spam Karma on some blogs, and those do a good job of catching spam when it hits the server. The main problem with those plugins is that they still allow the spammers to post comments before taking action. I decided that we needed to give Bad Behavior a shot. The nice thing about Bad Behavior is that it stops most spammers before they can post comments. Soon after activating the plugin across the sites, the server loads were cut from averaging around 5 to 1.5 and around 4 to 1. I’m pretty happy with the results and hopefully we’ll make it through Euro 2008 with no problems.

Obviously we can’t prevent all spammers. Especially someone like the guy spamming for The Ski Channel on Gary’s skiing blog. Manual spammers will slip by, but as Matt Cutts said, making spammers lose time or frustrating them is at least good for preventing spam.

Google Maps Needs To Update Their Data More Often

I love using Google maps. I’m a complete nerd when it comes to anything having to do with maps and satellite imagery. What drives me nuts, though, is that my house is now 2 years old and it still can’t be found on their maps and the satellite images appear to be from about 3 years ago. Google Earth isn’t any better. I know I’m complaining about something that’s free and that kind of a weak thing to do, but if you know that your product is used by millions of people to find their way around, you really need to update data as much as possible. At least Live.com has a year and a half old image of my house in their Bird’s eye and Aerial views…

Red Shirt Fridays

Just do it – http://38pitches.com/2007/12/17/ill-be-wearing-mine/