WordPress: Redirect Blog to First Post

I just created a simple WordPress installation. It was only going to be short pages and a simple shopping cart, but at the last minute, they decided to add a blog. Since the area for text was so small, we decided to only have one post for every page. As it would only act as duplicate content, there is no point in using the blog home page at all.

With some help from WP Recipes, I created this code to redirect the blog home template (home.php) to the first post:

<?php
/*
home.php (Blog Home Page):
Redirect To First Post
*/
if (have_posts()) {
while (have_posts()) {
the_post();
wp_redirect(get_permalink());
}
}
?>

It’s actually very simple. It just uses the WordPress Redirect function to redirect to the first permalink that would show up on that page.

Enjoy,
Ashton Sanders

(P.S. If you haven’t heard, Adobe just released the pre-order for CS5… If I were to get one of the packages today, I’d probably get: Adobe Web Premium CS5. It looks ridiculously epic.)

Free Vector RSS Icon – Fireworks PhotoShop Adobe Illustrator

I recreated the normal RSS icon as a vector image, and thought I’d make it available for free (and store it for the next time I need it). Having the vector images make it so much easier to tweak colors and size.

Download Free RSS Icons
Here are three file types of a large RSS vector Image I created.

These RSS images were created as vectors in Fireworks and then exported as layered vector images to PhotoShop (.PSD) and Adobe Illustrator (.AI). I don’t have Adobe illustrator to test, but the other two seem to work fine.

You can see where I added this RSS icon to the top of my sidebar on this blog as well as the blue RSS icon I made for CSS Videos.com. Although the RSS is supposed to be orange, I wanted to go as different as possible while still being useful with CSS Videos.com.

Enjoy,
Ashton Sanders

What CMS Fits Your Website Needs?

This is a question I’ve been asking for a few years.

Recently, I’ve heard a lot about WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, but it’s practically impossible to find someone who knows all three and is unbiased enough to tell you the pros and cons of each.

Through Montana Programmers, I’ve been able to find a very unbiased Polson Website Developer who has been an excellent resource for asking all sorts of random questions. Although he knows more programming languages than I have fingers and toes, he hasn’t spent years of time testing out CMS’s. 😉

As you can tell, it’s pretty hard to find a unbiased website developer who knows a lot about many of the Content Management Systems, who could give me a good comparison of the Pro’s and Con’s of each. There are a few problems here:

Twitter Plugins for WordPress

I just searched the WordPress Plugins section for “twitter” and I got 17 pages of plugins and most of them are crap… ugh.

All I want is a Twitter Plugin that will:

  1. Send a tweet to my twitter when I post on my blog.
  2. Adds a re-tweet link to each blog post.

How difficult can this be? After installing a few highly-rated plugins, and not being satisfied, I decided to write up what I found. This is only 6 of the most popular twitter plugins I could find. If you know of a better one, please let me know so I can check it out. This is in order of Best to Good. I don’t have any crappy plugins on this list. They should all work, at least partially.

Twitter Tools – v1.6

WordPress Plugin Page

Twitter Tools is a plugin that creates a complete integration between your WordPress blog and your Twitter account.

Well that’s a promising introduction. It’s a very simple installation, and just about everything is editable in an easily-accessible Twitter Tools Page. Put in your information, select your preferences, and you are good to go.

Simple PHP Blog

I have already done a lot of ranting and raving about Blogger and WordPress.

Although I consider these two to be the leaders of the blogging pack (by a large margin), I did run across a blog using Simple PHP Blog, and was impressed. It doesn’t have all the crazy features like the other two, but it does have a feature which really attracted my attention. On the bottom of every post there are five dots, and you can rate the post 1 to 5. This way, people can interact with your posts and website without actually having to write a comment.

Don’t get me wrong, the comment function is still intact, but the percent of comments compared to visitors is tiny, while the percent of “ratings” to visitors is much higher.

Another note: Simple PHP Blog isn’t database driven. You can run it on a server without needing a database!

If anyone ends up using this system, please let me know how it goes.
-Ashton Sanders

Mordheim Blog – Update

It has been under two months since I have started my Mordheim Blog, and we are seeing lots of good progress in the Search Engine Rankings.

For almost the entirety of the last 7 weeks, my blog has been ranked on the second page for the keyword “Mordheim” at Google. Just this last week, I’ve arrived on the first page! My blog has been sitting in the #10 rank for about 3 or 4 days now.

My blog is very content heavy on the word “Mordheim” and is included in the title of my website and in almost every post title and keywords. Many of my categories also begin with the word Mordheim. I currently have 42 posts in my Mordheim blog. That is almost .9 posts a day!

Merry Christmas,
Ashton Sanders

Let it Snow, Let it Snow

On a separate hobby of mine, I came across Tom’s Boring Mordheim Blog. Tom is a very skilled miniature painter and modeler. After joining his online community, I helped him to make his home page “Snow.”

Check out the link to the blog above to check out (EDIT: see what his header image usually looks like. Now that he has taken down the snowing animation, click here to see the same image Christmas Style. It used to be just a plain .JPG. I replaced it with a Flash Animation, and amazingly, it is a smaller file than the .JPG!

Enjoy,
Ashton Sanders

Google Index Spasm (Google Dance)

I call this the Google index Spasm (other’s call it the Google Dance):

After a couple weeks in existence, my new blog found itself on the second page for it’s main keyword. After fluctuating between rank 12 and 18 for another two weeks, it fell to rank 80+… If I didn’t know better, this would have caused me to be very disgruntled.

I don’t know the purpose is of the Google Spasm, but it’s kind of funny and annoying at the same time.

Today my blog is back up to rank 19 for its keyword. I think some call this the “sandbox” but my site wasn’t in it for very long. Although that could be because it is a blog.

-Ashton Sanders

Google’s Indexing Delay: Update

As of today, Google knows about 35 pages of my Mordheim blog. The last time the Googlebot hit this blog was on the 22nd, and my post on the 21st of November is up second when I check to see how many of my pages Google has added to it’s search index.

It looks like Google has a fondness for blogs, as I’ve never had a page on my website get into the Google index that fast. Usually it takes at least a couple weeks.

Another thing to note: this blog is a subdomain of www.ashtonsanders.com, and Google already knows about this site. Even thought it is only a one page site, I’m sure it helped the speed into Google’s index because it already knew that that domain existed.

-Ashton Sanders

Google’s Indexing Delay

Websites in a Flash MascotI created a new blog about Mordheim on the 10th of November. I worked on the design of the blog for about a day, and then linked to it for the first time on the 11th. I linked to it from a couple different sites: Websites in a Flash on the 11th, my Website Design Blog on the 17th, and Board Game Geek on the 17th.

By adding this new blog to my Google Webmaster Tools account, I could tell that Google Accessed my new blog on the 11th of November, 11 days ago. I have checked my site in Google’s Index everyday for the last week, and yesterday, the 21st, I got my first click through from organic search results. Today, I have 5 pages in the Google index; the same five pages that were my only pages on the 12th of November (Home Page, About the Author and the entries for the 10th, 11th and 12th).

From this, it seems that it takes 10 days from the time that the Google-bot sees your page/site till the time that it gets entered into Google’s search index.

I’ll keep my eye on how Google reacts to my blog, and will keep you posted.
-Ashton Sanders

Update: This blog shows up at #23 for the keyword term “Mordheim”