WordLog

A weblog authored by Carthik about the latest in the WordPress world.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Figure Out What Runs a Site

Filed under: — Carthik @ 12:33 am

BuiltWith.com is a service that tells you what runs a site, the statistics packages used, the blogging software used in case the site is a blog, whether the site uses RSS, Javascript, the works. I found BuiltWith via Mashable, one of my occasional reads.

Interestingly, BuiltWith.com also provides the percentage of profiles sites that use a particular technology, and I LOVE stats. Back in the day I had a pet project going that sought to keep track of all the WordPress powered blogs in the world, and map them on a world map. Yes, I know, I had no idea how popular WordPress would turn out to be. That application of mine soon started grounding servers, but we are getting off track here.

When I checked wordlog.com at BuiltWith I noticed that 8.27% of all profiled sites use WordPress to power the blog. So I got to thinking, “What about MT, Typepad, and Blogger?” Turns out BuiltWith cannot identify MT powered sites, like Boing Boing, so we’ll never know what percentage of the profiled sites run on MT. Maybe MT sites don’t put out that they’re powered by MT (they don’t have a “generator” meta field) so conspicuously, maybe BuiltWith never thought MT important enough – we don’t know. But only 0.52% of all profiled sites use Typepad, and only 1.55% of the sites use Blogger. In the process, I also realized how, by looking at a site, I am generally able to figure out what runs the site. If a site is WordPress or MT powered, I can usually tell just by browsing the site and looking for some signs.

I am not saying WordPress blogs outnumber Blogger blogs by a factor of 5 or more, the results might just as well indicate that WordPress users are among the more inquisitive, wanting to try out new tools, such as BuiltWith, which might explain why more profiled blogs are powered by WordPress. In any case, BuiltWith.com owes me around 15 minutes of my precious time. I suspect I will check back later, when, hopefully, a more representative cross-section of website owners have checked their sites at builtwith. I can think of some cool things those guys could add to the details – such as what resolution the site was designed for, or whether the layout for a site is fluid or fixed-width – all details that can be gleaned from the css stylesheets. Then again, it looks like only 87.6% of the sites profiled use CSS – I wonder what the rest of the 12.4% are thinking, really.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Supplemental Results and WordPress

Filed under: — Carthik @ 7:46 am

I happened upon a curious trick to find out all your pages listed as “supplemental results” in google, and some other associated supplemental result tricks. A lot of you might already know these tricks, but I think reading the rest of this article might get you thinking about these supplemental results in a new way. I spent a good part of 1.5 hours playing with this stuff and reading up on it, which I try to summarize here.

To start off, let us look at the tricks.

Finding all supplemental results for your blog

The trick is to do a search for the string “site:wordlog.com *** -spght” in google. That gives you all the pages on your wordpress blog listed as supplemental results. The search result that google returns will have a “Supplemental Result” in the text that follows the url and the short excerpt, and as you can see, all the results for the string I refer to above have that after the results. The spghy can be changed to some other random characters – it doesn’t matter.

Finding all results that are not supplemental results

The following query will show all results that are not supplemental results:
site:wordlog.com -allinurl:wordlog.com“.

So, for wordlog.com, there are 227 non-supplemental results and 196 supplemental results. However, a search for “site:wordlog.com” returns 325 results, and 196+227 = 423. So I think some of the results returned for “site:wordlog.com” are supplemental results. At the time this article was written, page 25 of the results has two supplemental results right at the top.

What are Supplemental Results?

According to Google,

A supplemental result is just like a regular web result, except that it’s pulled from our supplemental index.

and, additionally, Google maintains that

…the index in which a site is included is completely automated; there’s no way to select or change the index in which a site appears. Please also be assured that the index in which a site is included doesn’t affect its PageRank.

So we know that there is no way to formally request supplemental index pages to be moved to the main results pages. However, one thing bothers me, sort of.

Most of the non-supplemental results for wordlog.com are the archive and category pages. I believe the individual posts should be there in stead. I have noticed, many times, that when I search for a term, I am most often led to the category or date-based archives of a blog, and then I have to manually search for the term again in Firefox, and then, since many themes display only excerpts in these pages, i have to click the article to read it to get the information I need. This is annoying, to say the least.

Fixing the supplemental results problems

There is a duplicate content cure plugin for wordpress that promises to reduce the duplicate content indexed by google by way of your archive and category pages. It does so by adding directives to google to not index archive and category pages by means of meta tags in the page headers. One would think this would cure the supplemental results problem too, and make all your blog posts preferred over the archive pages.

As a small experiment to test this theory that the duplicate content cure plugin will help alleviate the supplemental index problem, I did searches for supplemental and non-supplemental results for seologs.com, the site that published the plugin. Amazingly, seologs has 385 supplemental results and 243 non-supplemental results! So now it appears that the plugin is not the silver bullet for the problem. However, as promised by the plugin, the archive pages are missing from the pages indexed by google. Is this a good thing, though? If the number of indexed, non-supplemental pages are the metric, then it is not. Without the plugin, all of wordlog’s archives are indexed and probably will be returned as search results for some terms. The duplicate content cure plugin prevents some pages from being indexed, totally – it would be nice if it did not do that, really. It is better to have visitors find useful content via your archives if not via a direct link to the relevant article.

Ideally, I would love for the archives pages to be indexed too, with the blog posts being indexed in the main index. Heck, I would love to have all the pages in the supplemental index to be in the main index instead. There are lots of suggested tricks to avoid the supplemental index. The issue with archive pages in wordpress blogs being indexed more prominently is because all WordPress blogs have relative links to the archives pages that look like the following if you look into the source of the page:

"<link rel='archives' title='May 2007' href='http://wordlog.com/archives/2007/05/' />"

In addition to this, you also have links to the archives from the sidebar, which is probably displayed on all pages of your site. The indexing robots should think these pages are really important, since you seem to link to them from every page on your site.

So, a simple way to fix the problem, or at least try to get some pages in the main index might be to have a sitemap containing each and every post on every page in your blog. That would make the pages huge! An alternative would be to have an html sitemap and link to it from the the sidebar or footer. You could also link to posts you think are important from the sidebar. The important things to remember are that:
1) It’s better to have a page in the main index than the supplemental index.
2) It’s better to have a page in the supplemental index than to not have the page indexed at all!

I have a couple of ideas floating around in my brain that I will implement to accomplish item #1 above without violating item #2. I will try them out and let you know if the results are worth mentioning. Do you have any ideas that have worked, that can be verified in a straightforward manner? Blame it on what I do for a living, but I have come to trust verifiable results over speculation and hypothesis.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Displaying HTML Source Code in Your Blog Posts

Filed under: — Carthik @ 2:16 pm

I badly wanted to display the following html code in a blog post that I am drafting:
“<link rel=’archives’ title=’May 2007′ href=’http://wordlog.com/archives/2007/05/’ />”

I tried putting the raw line of html between “code” tags and then even “pre” tags, but it just wouldn’t show up. Turns out you need to encode the html entities, like the “<” by replacing them with their html code equivalents – & lt ; is the equivalent for the left angle bracket.

There is a cute little encoder tool at wordpress.org written by The matt – however it seems to not want to work anymore. So I found a replacement Encode/Decode HTML entities tool at centricle.com. It works, as evidenced by the code displayed in this blog entry.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Download WordPress and Favorite Plugins in One Fell Swoop

Filed under: — Carthik @ 11:38 pm

WPZipper is one of those websites which I have thought of doing myself but never really got around to… Alright, well there is very little we all haven’t thought of and gone, “that would be so nifty!”.

What WPZipper does is pull your blog’s zipper to close shut.

Take 2: It is a service that provides a method for you to download one zip file with wordpress and all of your favorite plugins – plugins which you can select from a list. wpstar made it. I can think of a few small reasons I wouldn’t use it, based on the fact that unless you download it from wordpress.org, you can’t be sure it is the untainted, true, product, and that I might go over with the plugins I get. I manage my plugins, maintaining them at the bare minimum, and even for plugin-intensive blogs, it generally takes weeks to find the plugins I need and add them. But all this shouldn’t stop you from appreciating the effort behind the WPZipper service.

Did you know wordlog.com is using only the Akismet plugin at the moment? Now that’s what I mean by “bare minimum”. :)

Addendum: I must say I am also using the Automattic stats plugin now – so that makes it two plugins. D’oh.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Get WordPress.com Stats for Your Self-Hosted Blog

Filed under: — Carthik @ 6:39 pm

A blog statistics plugin has been announced at wordpress.com that allows you to have wordpress.com style stats on your own, self-hosted WordPress blog. Before we go any further, he’s a glance at the simple, efficient stats that await you:
Blog Stats - Flash

The Automattic stats plugin available at wordpress.org is real easy to install. You download it, upload the stats.php file to your “plugins” directory on your WordPress blog, and activate it. The plugin will then tell you that you need an API key for it to function. If you have an API key for akismet on your blog, you can use the same key for the automattic stats plugin. If you don’t have an API key, you can get one here. You just sign up as a user at wordpress.com and when you activate the account you get an email with the API key.

Once the plugin is installed, you get an extra tab on your blog’s Dashboard, and a half hour later, you can see the wonderful stats, the same way you see it on WordPress.com blogs. Besides the graph showing the number of visitors for the past month, there is also details regarding referrers, popular posts, popular exit links and incoming links – that’s about all the stats I care to know about my blog. Here’s the full screen of stats, for the Ubuntu Blog:
WordPress.com Stats Plugin Screenie

Now here’s the irony in all this: The day after I rekindled this blog, I decided that the first time-intensive article I will do would be one comparing different free blog/website statistics tools available out there. So I installed OneStat Free, Statisfy, Add Free Stats, HitTail, 103 bees, Extreme Stats, GoStats, ActiveMeter, StatCounter, Google Analytics, and Reinvigorate. I thought I’d let them run for a month or so and then compare them, all for your benefit. I left out mint, which seems to be popular among bloggers since I don’t have an expendable $30 to plunk down for fancy stats. I also left out sitemeter since they seem to add 3rd party tracking cookies that may violate browsers’ privacy.

I might as well go ahead and do it – in spite of the wordpress.com automattic stats plugin being available – I think there will be some merit in comparing these alternatives. I want to decide which stat tools to use and stick with them. Now I can compare these, and the wordpress.com stats, and find the best.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Blogger to WordPress – Import Comments Too

Filed under: — Carthik @ 2:38 pm

Skeltoac’s Blogger importer for WordPress can import comments too. Needs a closer look. Try it out if you are ex-blogger (blog spot) user who moved to WordPress leaving your comments behind.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Moving from Manila to WordPress

Filed under: — Carthik @ 1:12 pm

If you have a Manila (Radio Userland) powered blog, and you want to move to WordPress, there is a simpler solution than the one I linked to before.

ahawkins.org tells us that there is now a Manila To MT export script, and since WordPress can import those MovableType import-formatted text files, you can use WordPress’ import-mt.php script to import the entries, and get started with WordPress!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

BlogMine – Rss Ads

Filed under: — Carthik @ 12:47 pm

Advertising in RSS feeds is here. It was just a couple of months ago that Mark was wondering how long it would be before someone started doing ads in RSS feeds. Now we have BlogMine starting to do this. The sanity of the process of feed reading is bound to change with this.

How does it affect me as a publisher? Well, insignificantly. I can’t find advertisers for my weblog, leave alone my RSS feeds :P

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Image Panorama Plugin

Filed under: — Carthik @ 9:26 pm

This is really cool. Taking the photographs and stitching them together might be painful. Creating panormas from images is something I’ve heard of, but never done. Now if you have panoramic images, and you want to display them on your WordPress blog, you can.

The IImage Panorama Plugin helps you display panoramas. Go ahead, click on that link and check out the panoramas.

While at the site, also see the IImage Browser Plugin, which aids in uploading and adding images or thumbnails to you post using some Javascript. The screencaps look neat.

I would love to try the IImage Browser plugin on my personal blog soon.

Neato.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

LiveSearch or “Suggest” search for WordPress

Filed under: — Carthik @ 3:57 pm

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could search your blog like you can on google search with suggestions? Even as you type your search query, you get suggestions as to the number of results for the possible words you are searching for, which is nice, since if you know there are no possible search results, then you might as well stop searching.

To answer my own question – Yes! it would be nice, and so I present to you not one, but two solutions. The first is livesearch from BinaryBonsai, which uses the work of some other individuals. You can try it out at the website while you are there. But even better, there is the Suggest plugin, which not exactly a kosher plugin since it requires you to modify the index page. Both the solutions are known to be buggy at the edges, so be fore-warned. In any case, they are interesting and they work most of the time.

Livejournal to WordPress

Filed under: — Carthik @ 4:32 am

Since the Livejournal sale’s been announced, I’ve been reading a little bit of everyone’s reactions. I do not personally think the deal is going to be a disaster for LiveJournal users. A majority of the 14 to 20 year olds wouldn’t be too worried about who owns LJ, or what the terms of service are, anyways.

Regardless, some folks have been thinking about, or already have explored other options, like migrating to WordPress, for one.

One wrote a long, subjective post describing the move. Now that’s the kind of blogger we dig.

Memorium Victus does a good job listing the backup tools.

For moving to WordPress, there’s Bhansali’s Livejournal importer for WordPress, which goes one step beyond the importer that ships with WordPress by importing the comments for the posts. Of course, you first have to extract the comments from your LJ, using LJArchive or some such program. LiveJournal’s export feature does not export the comments.

Let’s not forget the crschmidt method, which ignores comments, but saves you the pain of having to import entries month-by-month. He actually hacked jbackup (the lj code that backups entries and comments) to not export comments, since the WP importer does not import comments. You don’t need to look far to see why WP does not import LJ comments — the web based LJ export tool, at livejournal.com, available to logged in users does not export comments. What we need is to modify this method to export all of LJ’s comments too, and then use the Bhansali importer, really.

In any case, should you want to know more about moving from Livejournal to WordPress, ask here, and you shall find ;)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Improved b2evo importer

Filed under: — Carthik @ 2:03 pm

David Appleyard has made some changes to Farook’s b2evo importer, and the new, improved b2evo to WordPress importer should be useful to the folks who want to ditch b2evo for WordPress.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

ReBlog 1.0 WP Plugin

Filed under: — Carthik @ 6:51 pm

Reblog 1.0 has been released, and it now includes a WordPress Plugin.

ReBlog lets you read articles from a specified bunch of feeds, and to re-blog them on your blog, using a plugin. You can also put your blog on autopilot, in which case, all the posts appearing on the blogs you have subscribed to will be posted on your blog too, with proper attribution and all that.

The WordPress Plugin provided by reblog could be improved, with a plugin administration page. Since ReBlog is GPL’ed, you can tackle improving it, if you like the tool.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

JustBlogIt Firefox Extension for Right-Click WordPressing

Filed under: — Carthik @ 6:33 pm

JustBlogIt is a new Mozilla/Firefox Extension that allows users of these browsers to blog about links and news items using a right click context menu. (via Meredith)

So install the extension, find a link or page to blog about, right click, and blog away!
Update: What it does for wordpress is it adds a context menu item that can point to your wordpress blog’s bookmarklet.php. Install it and give it a try anyways.

It supports a variety of Blogging Tools including WordPress (who cares about the rest anyway ’round these parts, eh? :P )

An interesting feature is that if you use Bloglines, Rojo, Radio Userland or Amphetadesk, then JustBlogIt checks to see if you are trying to post from a News Reader and adapts the blogging data accordingly.

P.S. Many Apologies to the readers for the recent inactivity at WordLog. One has to earn his bread and degrees. :)

Friday, September 24, 2004

Link Click Counter Hack/Plugin

Filed under: — Carthik @ 1:14 pm

The Click Counter Plugin counts the number of clicks visitors to your websites have made, for each of the links you post.

You can use this to:

  1. Display how many times a link has been clicked (the popularity of links).
  2. Display a list of the most popular links on your blog.
  3. Track the number of ‘downloads’ of a particular file.

The documentation for the plugin is awesome! I am not surprised, therefore, when Ozh says:

It took me almost longer to write this doc than to write the plugin itself :)

Seen at WTC and ScriptyGoddess

Monday, September 13, 2004

Outsource your Mobile Phone Blogging

Filed under: — Carthik @ 12:19 am

The almost-perfect solution to moblogging using your Cellular or Mobile Phone and WordPress is here.

Airblogging provides a method for you to post to your WordPress blog using your mobile phone. You can send pictures (photos) or text to an address and have them appear on your WordPress blog, which makes AirBlogging the perfect outsourcing solution for moblogging.

It currently works with a host of Cellular providers, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Cingular, NexTel, Sprint, Virgin and MetroPCS. You are required to provide a few details when you sign up, and the rest is taken care of.

You probably already use the Ping-o-matic service to ping update services, so outsourcing particular blog-related services is not new.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

WordPress Function Reference

Filed under: — Carthik @ 8:55 pm

PlanetOZH writes :

Whenever I start hacking a bit my Wordpress installation, I always end up asking “in what file is this __ function located ?” and have to search /wp-include directory using grep to find it. So, to make such a search easier, I gathered the full list of functions used in WordPress 1.2 – and their default arguments.

If you have been in a similar situation before, worry not! You can use the excellent PHPXref installs that can be used to search for functions, variables, classes and such in WordPress code.

I personally use http://www.cenamayo.com/wpxref for browsing the (almost) latest CVS code, and http://www.junesix.org/xref/stable/ to browse 1.2 code.

Don’t miss the “search” tool/form that’s present in the top right corner, in the black horizontal bar. Also, when you are browsing code, clicking on a function name will take to the page showing where the function is defined and all the places it is used in.

Now you know why support volunteers seem to know where each function is, and what they do ;)

Saturday, August 28, 2004

How to Add a Paypal Donate Link

Filed under: — Carthik @ 3:35 am

After searching, I found this Guide to Paypal donations (.pdf), which turns out to be all you need to know about how to put a “Make a Donation” button on your weblog or website.

I haven’t got paid in a month, and the pocket is feeling the pinch. Then I got renewal notices for two old domain names I had registered, which is when I thought I probably should help you help me, if you so desire. So this site now has a Paypal “make a donation” button in the menu.

I have made a sum total of Zero dollars through my website and all this work so far, so let’s see if we can change that. On a side note, I tried to donate myself some money, just to test if everything is working fine, and also to see if I can give myself 2 cents ;) , but Paypal told me,”You cannot email money to yourself. Please enter another user’s email address if you would like to send money to someone.

Friday, August 27, 2004

AdSense for Blogs

Filed under: — Carthik @ 1:26 am

Apparently,

chocolate is to peanut butter like AdSense is to blogs

Don’t worry if you can’t make too much sense of that. What matters is :

…set up your own Bloggerized AdSense account so that you make the money. What’s the catch? We’re going to take some of the action. Based on what we have learned from AdSense so far, this will work out very nicely for both of us. Please note that this program is optional and that it is not required for you to have a Blogger powered blog—all bloggers are invited.

So go ahead, read “There’s AdSense in My Blog!”, and start serving some ads, if you’d like to.

My blog got accepted though it had been rejected earlier.

BloGTK Blogs Using WordPress

Filed under: — Carthik @ 1:05 am

BloGTK is a weblog client that allows you to post to your weblog from Linux without the need for a separate browser window. BloGTK allows you to connect with many weblog systems such as Blogger, Movable Type, pMachine, and more. BloGTK is written using Python and PyGTK , and is designed to be fast and simple to use.

BloGTK at sourceforge

I was wondering if BloGTK works with WordPress, until I found the BloGTK Blog, which runs on WordPress. So WordPress is now the blog software of choice for a blogging tool.

 

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