15 “Must Have” WordPress Plugins For 2010

Skip on over to Site Sketch and see the 15 best wordpress plugins for 2010. Here’s a quick list for reference:
Each of these plugins are used at Site Sketch 101 and I personally recommend each of them to you. The following plugins are posted in the order that I recommend them.

WP Super Cache – This plugin is great for two reasons. First, it makes your pages load way faster. Second, since it stores static versions of your site, it requires much less CPU processing than using WordPress all by itself. This WordPress plugin is number one on the list for a reason.
HeadSpace 2: WordPress SEO Made Simple- Move over All in one SEO. There’s a new guy in town. HeadSpace provides you with the features you need to drive your site to the top. People spend way to much time working on SEO and too little time writing great content. This plugin let’s you put your focus back where it belongs. It takes care of all the SEO work that your blog will need.
Akismet – Akismet is the comment spam fighter that comes built into WordPress and it does a mighty fine job. Activate this plugin and you won’t need to moderate or captcha your comment submissions. Akismet does 99% of the work for you.
WPtouch iPhone Theme – This plugin allows you to instantly and effortlessly transform your website into a mobile paradise. Whenever a mobile user accesses your blog a pleasant looking lighter version designed specially for mobile devices is presented. This is a must have for 2010.
Backtype Tweetcount – If you’re using the TweetMeMe tweet counter badge on your blog then kill it right now. Nobody wants to authorize another program to access their Twitter account just to share a link to your site.
Nofollow Case by Case – This site’s comment links are dofollow. I’ve stripped out all of the nofollow tags from the comment section of Site Sketch 101. You leave a comment here and Google page rank will chase you all the way back to your site. This plugin is what makes that happen. So leave a comment here and then install this awesome WordPress Plugin at your blog.
WP-DBManager – This little gem is amazing for backing up your website. It actually has quite a few functions that it can perform but perhaps it’s most impressive feature is it’s ability to email the entire WordPress databse to me every day.
Thank Me Later – This plugin is great. It sends an email to all first-time visitors. You can write up the email to remind them about your RSS feed or just to invite them to connect with you personally. I do both.
WP-PageNavi – Those ‘Older Posts’ and ‘Newer Posts’ links are boring. With WP-PaveNavi you can get page buttons so users can go directly to whichever page they want. Plus they look a lot better than plain little links.
Permalinks Moved Permanently – Last year I moved all of my permalinks to post the page so that they wouldn’t be so long. This would have meant that all of the links to my posts would generate 404 errors. This plugin just forwards all the links and PR to the new addresses.
SEO Slugs – Using your entire post title as the slug for the article can make web addresses long and it can waste the opportunity to focus on using your keywords. This plugin strips out all the unnecessary words from the permalink for you so that you don’t have to.
SEO Smart Links – Do you inter-link your articles? You should. Linking within an article to other articles is a great way to build Page Rank throughout your site and it’s a great way to get readers to find your other articles on similar subjects. This plugin will interlink keywords to your other articles for you.
Subscribe to Comments – This plugin took a little bit of work to get it to work right but it’s great because it allows people to subscribe via email to any other comments that show up on a given post. This helps get readers to keep coming back.
Top Commentators Widget – At the bottom of the sidebar here, you can see the top 10 commentators for this month. This is a great way to provide a dofollow link back to the people who help make your site great.
WordPress Related Posts – If a reader enjoys one of your articles then one of the best things that you can do is to put some more articles in front of them to keep them digging through your site.

Christopher Dungey

Cello is one of those instruments that seems to have a never ending sound capability and Christopher Dungey seems to be able to make all those sounds that much better. Recently featured on the ABC television show “Extreme Home Makeover” Christopher made a generous donation of a cello to a teenager who’s cello had been destroyed in a fire. The cello’s made by Christopher are truly amazing, superior craftsmanship and great attention to every detail.

For more information about Christopher Dungey visit his website:  dungeycello.com

Jonn Devon

Jonn offers a unique style and flare to graphic design and we recently began a new campaign to optimize his website and help him drive new clients with his web presence.  Visit his site, Jonn Devon Graphic Design

BeachFront Furniture

Living by a lake can sometimes be challenging, and there is nothing more challenging than living by a body of salt water!  However, it goes without saying that there is nothing more beautiful than beachfront property. And while we are talking about beachfront lets get specific and talk about beachfront furniture.  One of the very important issues to deal with when choosing which beachfront furniture collection to choose.  Choosing HDPE furniture by POLYWOOD INC. of syracuse indiana is a wise choice because it is constructed of virtually indestructible material that withstands winds, sun, salt water and many chemicals.
So what does make a beachfront property look amazing? Perhaps its the collection of furniture that gives it the curb appeal. Maybe it’s something else, but one thing is for sure, When you own a home no matter where it is you need great chairs! You know your going to need a great assortment of furniture if you have beachfront property, all your friends are going to come over and you will not want them sitting in the sand!
Poly-Wood®

Adding a favicon to wordpress

Creating a Favicon

A favicon (short for “favorites icon”) is an icon associated with a website or webpage intended to be used when you bookmark the web page. Web browsers use them in the URL bar, on tabs, and elsewhere to help identify a website visually.

A favicon is typically a graphic 16 x 16 pixels square and is saved as favicon.ico in the root directory of your server. You can use a favicon with any WordPress blog on a web server that allows access to the root directories.

Creating a Favicon

A favicon can be easily created using any graphic program that will allow saving of .ico graphic files, such as The GIMP. There are also online services that will allow you to create a favicon for free.

The image should be clear and is usually designed to match your blog image and/or content, a big task for something so small.

To prepare the image to be saved as favicon.ico:

  1. By cropping or adding space around the image, make the image square.
  2. Resize the image to 16 x 16 pixels.
  3. Save the file as favicon.ico.

If using an online service to create your favicon, such as favicon.co.uk, follow the instructions provided by the site. Then download the image of the favicon.ico to your computer.

Installing a Favicon in WordPress

If there is already an old favicon.ico file in your current theme’s main folder, delete it using FTP Clients.

  1. With an FTP Client, upload the new favicon.ico file into your current theme’s main folder.
  2. Upload another copy of your favicon.ico file to the main directory of your site (ie. http://example.com/favicon.ico). This will display the favicon in your subscribers’ feedreaders.

In order for your favicon to show up in some older browsers, you will need to edit your page header.

  1. Go to your WordPress Administration Panel.
  2. Click on Design (called Presentation in WordPress 2.3.x and below, and Appearance in WordPress 2.7+).
  3. Click on Theme Editor.
  4. Select the file called Header or header.php to edit the file.
  5. Search for the line of code that begins with <link rel="shortcut icon" and ends with /favicon.ico" />. Overwrite it, if it exists, or add the following code below the <head> HTML tag.
    <link rel="shortcut icon" href="<?php bloginfo('template_directory'); ?>/favicon.ico" />
  6. Save the changes.

To see your new favicon, clear your WP-Cache and your browser’s cache. You may need to restart your browser in order to see the new favicon.

Common SEO in practice

The following is a direct quotation from my good friends at SKYNET… I mean GOOGLE of course 😉

SEO is an acronym for “search engine optimization” or “search engine optimizer.” Deciding to hire an SEO is a big decision that can potentially improve your site and save time, but you can also risk damage to your site and reputation. Make sure to research the potential advantages as well as the damage that an irresponsible SEO can do to your site. Many SEOs and other agencies and consultants provide useful services for website owners, including:

* Review of your site content or structure
* Technical advice on website development: for example, hosting, redirects, error pages, use of JavaScript
* Content development
* Management of online business development campaigns
* Keyword research
* SEO training
* Expertise in specific markets and geographies.

Keep in mind that the Google search results page includes organic search results and often paid advertisement (denoted by the heading “Sponsored Links”) as well. Advertising with Google won’t have any effect on your site’s presence in our search results. Google never accepts money to include or rank sites in our search results, and it costs nothing to appear in our organic search results. Free resources such as Webmaster Tools, the official Webmaster Central blog, and our discussion forum can provide you with a great deal of information about how to optimize your site for organic search. Many of these free sources, as well as information on paid search, can be found on Google Webmaster Central.

Before beginning your search for an SEO, it’s a great idea to become an educated consumer and get familiar with how search engines work. We recommend starting here:

* Google Webmaster Guidelines
* Google 101: How Google crawls, indexes and serves the web.

If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you’re considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up. However, a good SEO can also help improve an existing site.

Some useful questions to ask an SEO include:

* Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
* Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
* Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
* What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe? How do you measure your success?
* What’s your experience in my industry?
* What’s your experience in my country/city?
* What’s your experience developing international sites?
* What are your most important SEO techniques?
* How long have you been in business?
* How can I expect to communicate with you? Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them?

While SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate our guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site’s presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index. Here are some things to consider:

* Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue.

Amazingly, we get these spam emails too:

“Dear google.com,
I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories…”

Reserve the same skepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for “burn fat at night” diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators.
* No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.

Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.
* Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do.

Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or “throwaway” domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google’s index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it’s best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to “help” you. If an SEO has FTP access to your server, they should be willing to explain all the changes they are making to your site.
* You should never have to link to an SEO.

Avoid SEOs that talk about the power of “free-for-all” links, link popularity schemes, or submitting your site to thousands of search engines. These are typically useless exercises that don’t affect your ranking in the results of the major search engines — at least, not in a way you would likely consider to be positive.
* Choose wisely.

While you consider whether to go with an SEO, you may want to do some research on the industry. Google is one way to do that, of course. You might also seek out a few of the cautionary tales that have appeared in the press, including this article on one particularly aggressive SEO: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2002002970_nwbizbriefs12.html. While Google doesn’t comment on specific companies, we’ve encountered firms calling themselves SEOs who follow practices that are clearly beyond the pale of accepted business behavior. Be careful.
* Be sure to understand where the money goes.

While Google never sells better ranking in our search results, several other search engines combine pay-per-click or pay-for-inclusion results with their regular web search results. Some SEOs will promise to rank you highly in search engines, but place you in the advertising section rather than in the search results. A few SEOs will even change their bid prices in real time to create the illusion that they “control” other search engines and can place themselves in the slot of their choice. This scam doesn’t work with Google because our advertising is clearly labeled and separated from our search results, but be sure to ask any SEO you’re considering which fees go toward permanent inclusion and which apply toward temporary advertising.
* What are the most common abuses a website owner is likely to encounter?

One common scam is the creation of “shadow” domains that funnel users to a site by using deceptive redirects. These shadow domains often will be owned by the SEO who claims to be working on a client’s behalf. However, if the relationship sours, the SEO may point the domain to a different site, or even to a competitor’s domain. If that happens, the client has paid to develop a competing site owned entirely by the SEO.

Another illicit practice is to place “doorway” pages loaded with keywords on the client’s site somewhere. The SEO promises this will make the page more relevant for more queries. This is inherently false since individual pages are rarely relevant for a wide range of keywords. More insidious, however, is that these doorway pages often contain hidden links to the SEO’s other clients as well. Such doorway pages drain away the link popularity of a site and route it to the SEO and its other clients, which may include sites with unsavory or illegal content.
* What are some other things to look out for?

There are a few warning signs that you may be dealing with a rogue SEO. It’s far from a comprehensive list, so if you have any doubts, you should trust your instincts. By all means, feel free to walk away if the SEO:
o owns shadow domains
o puts links to their other clients on doorway pages
o offers to sell keywords in the address bar
o doesn’t distinguish between actual search results and ads that appear on search results pages
o guarantees ranking, but only on obscure, long keyword phrases you would get anyway
o operates with multiple aliases or falsified WHOIS info
o gets traffic from “fake” search engines, spyware, or scumware
o has had domains removed from Google’s index or is not itself listed in Google

If you feel that you were deceived by an SEO in some way, you may want to report it.

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To file a complaint, visit: http://www.ftc.gov/ and click on “File a Complaint Online,” call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to:

Federal Trade Commission
CRC-240
Washington, D.C. 20580

If your complaint is against a company in a country other than the United States, please file it at http://www.econsumer.gov/.