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June Is Busting Out All Over

June 4th, 2007 · 10 Comments

No, I’ve not got a part in Carousel. It just seemed like a great title for the first post in June especially since I’ve been a busy bunny over the last few days as you can probably see.

We’ve got a new theme, I’ve installed a couple of new plugins including one which will directly benefit you and I’ve updated some of the old features on here.

Curious to find out more?

First things first. I’ve revamped the theme as you can see. The old style was kinda based on how Technorati used to look. Well, as you probably know, they’ve recently made some changes to their site so I thought it was time to have a bit of a change myself. It’s still based on the excellent Cutline theme by Chris Pearson but I’ve just made a few tweaks in the background so that it fits in more with what I’m trying to do. I wanted to retain elements of the old style (i.e. lots of whitespace) as well as making it look a bit sleeker.

What do you think? Do you like it? Do you hate it? I tell you what, why not leave a comment?

Which leads me nicely on to the next change. I’ve installed the DoFollow WordPress plugin by Semiologic. In case you didn’t know, WordPress by default adds the “nofollow” rule to any URLs in comments. This is a bad thing because it means that there’s no flow of Google juice whenever you leave a comment. I think that people should be rewarded for leaving comments so, on the advice of Andy Beard and Lyndon Antcliff, I’ve installed this spiffy new plugin. As a result I’ve also put into place a comment policy which I suggest you have a read of.

Next up I’ve changed the permalink structure for the site to something a little bit more search engine friendly. Previously I was using one of the default options which included date information in the URL. It didn’t look pretty and wasn’t really helping me search wise so, taking on board what Michael Gray suggested in his excellent Make WordPress Search Engine Friendly video along with his post SEO Plugins For WordPress, I’ve cut out all the fluff in the URLs and installed the Permalink Redirect WordPress plugin. The reason for the plugin is because changing the permalink structure would have meant that any old links didn’t work any more. Now I could have hard coded the .htaccess file to point the old URLs to the new structure but that would have taken ages and there was a chance I could screw things up. The plugin takes care of all of that and is something that I highly recommend it.

As a result of the new permalink structure, I’m able to make my robots.txt file more efficient. As you know, I’ve been looking to create the ultimate robots.txt file for WordPress for some time and I think that the new structure will go some way to sorting out the whole supplemental index issue.

I’ve made some changes to the About page so that it’s more up to date than the old one. I’ve even included one of my cheesy publicity photos for you to print out and throw darts at! I’m also in the process of writing the Resources page. Hopefully it’ll be finished in the next couple of days and will contain a number of the links that used to be in the sidebar as well as pointing you to some useful resources. Hence the name of the page. No, really.

There’s also a new Sitemap just in case you get lost!

So there you go. Now you can see why June is busting out all over Twenty Steps! I hope that the changes will make the site more useful to you and I’d love to hear your feedback.

UPDATE: I forgot to thank RT Cunningham for reminding me about the permalink redirect plugin. RT is a recent addition to my RSS reader but he writes in a way that makes me feel like I’ve known him for years.

Tags: Twenty Steps Site News

10 responses so far ↓

  • Cornwall // Jun 4, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    Welcome to a very select club. I was expecting a ton of spam, but it has not appeared.

  • Mike // Jun 4, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    Glad to hear the spam counter hasn’t been working overtime since the switch! Thanks again for spurring me on to make the switch. I’d been looking at manually changing the WordPress files so when I saw the plugin on your site I had no reason not to put it in place.

  • John // Jun 4, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    New theme looks good. I look forward to hearing how you get on with the move to dofollow.

  • Mike // Jun 4, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    Wow John! That is a radical overhaul to your site! I didn’t realise it was yours to begin with.

    How are you getting on with TLA?

  • Charity // Jun 5, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Wow, sounds like you’ve made some really positive changes behind the scenes, in addition to the new theme. Thanks for the invitation to have a look-see – I was flattered. :) I can honestly say it looks great. Very clean, which I’m always partial to. I like the favicon also. 😉 We must be like-minded individuals, because I launched a refresh of my own site yesterday as well! Anyway great job.

  • Mike // Jun 6, 2007 at 9:25 am

    Glad you like the new look, Charity. Incidentally, which favicon are you seeing? I’ve uploaded a new one but am still seeing the old green foot 😕

  • Charity // Jun 6, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    Hm, I’m seeing the one that looks like a little blue staircase. Have you tried clearing out your cache? I have to do that whenever I upload a new favicon.

  • Mike // Jun 6, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    D’oh! 😳

  • Brandon // Jul 7, 2007 at 12:56 am

    I’ve been reading your site all day, and going back and forth cleaning my site up and using a lot of your SEO tips. One of favorites was simplifying my permalinks, really great idea and much cleaner but I was always afraid to do it because of the possible broken links on old posts.

    I found the permalink redirect plugin you recommended and it worked perfectly, but here’s a little brain teaser for you if you know a way to solve this using .htaccess or any other way:

    OK, here’s an example of what my blog links used to look like: http://www.fitbuff.com/blog/2007/07/06/contest-the-game-by-neil-strauss/

    Here’s what they look like now:
    http://www.fitbuff.com/contest-the-game-by-neil-strauss/

    Much better, and those redirects work perfectly, but here’s the problem. My old link to my blog index page was http://www.fitbuff.com/blog/

    I moved it over to the root directory to keep with the new cleaner style and setup.

    But now, when someone types in http://www.fitbuff.com/blog/ that’s just a blank page, because I had a static page and a /blog/ page on my old setup (and this isn’t great news because http://www.fitbuff.com/blog/ is one of my top 5 entry pages.

    So I thought the obvious thing to do would be to add a redirect for just http://www.fitbuff.com/blog/ to http://www.fitbuff.com

    BUT, then it also breaks all my old links even with the redirect plugin by making, for example:

    http://www.fitbuff.com/blog/2007/07/06/contest-the-game-by-neil-strauss/

    into

    http://www.fitbuff.com2007/07/06/contest-the-game-by-neil-strauss/

    Wow, haha, this post went on longer than I thought, and it may not even make it through your spam filters, but if you can understand what I’m rambling on about and have any suggestions, it would be a great help.

  • Mike // Jul 7, 2007 at 1:24 am

    Yup – it hit the spam filter alright…Just as well I manually check the gazillions of spam messages I get and found you.

    I’m in a benevolent mood since it’s 2am and I’ve had a beer so won’t stick a pink condom on the links either…

    As far as I can see, all of the above links work fine so either

    a) you’ve fixed it with a 301 in your .htaccess or
    b) you didn’t clear your cache before checking your site.

    Provided you enter the correct permalink structure into the plugin, you should face no problems with the redirects. It automatically 301’s the old URL structure to whatever you entered in the WP admin console.

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