Ultimate Guide to WordPress SEO – META Descriptions

One of the tricks to WordPress SEO is understanding that it’s not all about rankings.  Sure, high rankings for your target keywords are awesome, and they definitely produce great returns, but lower rankings aren’t bad all the time either. If we think about a search engine results page (SERP) as a billboard for our content, then sure, position matters, but so does the content of our billboard.

And that’s exactly what we can do using the META description tag.  We can actually control what gets displayed in our little spot of SERP real estate, therefore utilizing a tremendous opportunity to convert that space into traffic. [Read more…]

An Easy Way To Get the Contents of a Custom Field

If you do any hardcore WordPress coding, then you’re probably aware of Custom Fields and the unlimited possibilities they offer you as a WordPress designer or developer.  For instance, I use custom fields as a means of attaching a feature image and thumbnail to posts in my Proximity News Theme.

But, they can be a bit cumbersome to use throughout your theme because of the ridiculous amount of code that it takes just to pull the data out and display it. [Read more…]

Creating a “Blog Page” — With Paging

If there was one question I get asked the most about WordPress themes, it’s this one: how do I make a custom static homepage at the root of my blog’s address (e.g. http://example.com/) and have my blog posts go into a /blog section (http://example.com/blog)?

WordPress is becoming more and more usable as a Content Management System, so naturally the question comes up.

But they don’t want to abandon the idea of a blog either. Blogs can be an integral part of a business website, and it makes sense that businesses and individuals would want the site and the blog managed from the same WordPress installation. [Read more…]

WordPress Single Post Templates

I’ve recently released a plugin that is far more robust than the methods outlined below. It actually duplicates the functionality of WordPress Page Templates, and allows you to create individual post templates, selectable on a per post basis via a dropdown menu. Head over to my WordPress Plugins page and find the “Post Templates Plugin”

UPDATED:
Austin recommends using a filter in your functions.php file as an alternative to the method below. IMO, his suggestion is much simpler and quite elegant. Here’s the code to add to your theme’s functions.php file. (be sure you paste this code between <?php ?> tags):

add_filter('single_template', create_function('$t', 'foreach( (array) get_the_category() as $cat ) { if ( file_exists(TEMPLATEPATH . "/single-{$cat->term_id}.php") ) return TEMPLATEPATH . "/single-{$cat->term_id}.php"; } return $t;' ));

It helps solve the multiple categories issue since it cycles through all the categories in the array and checks to see which one of them has an associated post template. When it finds one, it uses the post template file, but if it doesn’t, then it falls back on the default single.php template.

So if you are used to placing posts in multiple categories, be sure to only create post templates for the categories you know won’t ever conflict.

Again, I highly recommend using this technique. It’s much simpler and works much better. If you care to, however, the original article is still below.
END UPDATE

A few months ago, I wrote a post over at the Blog Herald explaining how to set up and use WordPress Page Templates to control the way indivudual WordPress “Pages” appeared on your blog.  The process was pretty simple … create the page template, insert the necessary code at the top of the file, and upload it to your themes folder.

What what about blog posts?  As far as I could tell, there’s no way to do a similar thing with single posts without some manual code (see the “Unique Single Template” section).

Is it possible to have post templates like page templates???

Cory sent me this simple question a few days ago, and it got me thinking. So I started investigating. [Read more…]

Comment Link in single.php

Ever noticed that the comments_popup_link function doesn’t actually output anything when viewing a single post?

I have … and until recently, I ended up just not including a link to the “comments” of a post when viewing a single post, and just hoping that either 1) no one noticed, or 2) no one would care, assuming they would just scroll down to the bottom of the post to see the number of comments.

But, I don’t like to assume. I like to think of the user as a person … a person that has normal expectations when using a theme.

Therefore, I decided to figure out a way (I’m sure I’m not the only one) to keep that darn link working … even when viewing a single post. [Read more…]

WordPress 2.3 Theme Backward Compatibility

Over at BlogginPro, the question was posed:

My biggest question is “what will happen if we take the newly updated theme, and place it on a blog running a previous version of WordPress?”

Is there some way to check which version of WordPress is being run, or will we have to put out a WordPress 2.3 only version of each and every theme?

I’m not normally an active commenter on blogs, but since I knew the answer to the question, I figured I’d speak up and answer the question. Because of this, I figured I’d go ahead and answer it here as well.

PHP comes with the built in capability to check to see if a function exists. Since template tags are nothing more than PHP functions, it makes sense that you can very easily use the function_exists condition to check the availability of the function before actually calling it. It would go a little something like this: [Read more…]

3 Ways to Optimize Your Blog Homepage

Back when I wrote “Good Design Starts with the Homepage”, I didn’t include much in the way of tips for actually achieving that perfect homepage. The fact is, there is an endless list of possibilities to optimizing your blog’s homepage, but I believe that if you do these 3 simple things, you’ll be on your way to the perfect homepage!

(disclaimer: all the below tips pertain to WordPress blogs. Sorry guys, I’m a WordPress fanboy.)

1. Use the correct header tags

One of the most common semantic mistakes made by blog designers (at one time, myself included) is using the wrong header tag to wrap your titles in. [Read more…]