Blog Updates 08.16

blog updates

Just realized a couple of days ago that the last blog update I posted was published over a year ago. I know I haven’t published any updates in the past few months but it doesn’t mean that I completely neglect the blog. I make sure that I keep WordPress and all the plugins I use up-to-date.

Below are some of the changes, mainly the WordPress plugins that I’ve recently installed and/or uninstalled as well as some minor fixes/tweaks to the site.

Uninstalled Plugins

  • Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress – this plugin automatically adds share bar to your post or pages. It supports Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Digg, StumbleUpon, VKontakte, Tumblr, Reddit, Print, E-mail.
  • Tynt Insight for WordPress – this plugin helps you learn what’s being copied off your website and how you can leverage this behavior to get more traffic.

In the constant effort to make this blog load faster, I’ve decided to disable some plugins and one of those is the Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress. The plugin itself is very good and didn’t cause any issues or problems but it did add some load to the page load times. I decided to just rely on the built-in social sharing buttons of my WordPress theme.

Another plugin I uninstalled is the Tynt Insight for WordPress. This is another useful plugin especially if you have a lot of activity on your site but since my blog doesn’t have as much interaction and traffic like it used to have before, I felt that this plugin wasn’t that practical at this moment.

Installed Plugins

  • Float to Top Button – This plugin automatically adds a sticky ‘Go to Top’ button to posts and pages.
  • Wapuuvatar – Uses Wapuus from the Wapuu archive as your site avatars.
  • WP Asset Cleanup – this plugin makes your website load faster by preventing specific scripts (.JS) & styles (.CSS) from loading on pages/posts and home page.
  • WP Retina 2x – This plugin creates the image files required by the High-DPI devices and it displays them to your visitors accordingly.

One of the things I learned from Tom Auger’s talk about “Crafting Brilliant WordPress User Experiences“ at WordCamp Toronto 2016 was the importance of accessibility. While browsing through this blog, I realized that the “Back to Top” link wasn’t user friendly for the fact that it was located at the footer. When a page or post was very long, then the user will have to scroll all the way to have access to it. To fix this, I went about and looked for a scroll to top plugin and came across the Float to Top Button WordPress plugin by CAGE Web Design. You can see it in action on any page or post here on JaypeeOnline. Just scroll down a few notches down and it will automatically pop-up in the lower right corner of your screen.

I also installed the Wapuuvatar plugin by Lee Willis which replaces the default gravatar with a random Wapuu. Check out my Wapuuvatar review to learn more about this plugin or to find out what a Wapuu is.

Another plugin I installed to help boost the site’s page load time and make it load faster is the WP Asset Cleanup plugin by Gabe Livan. What this plugin does is that it prevents unnecessary scripts and stylesheets from loading on specific pages, posts, or the home page. For example, I use the Crayon Syntax Highlighter plugin to embed various codes (programming language & expressions) into my posts. By default, the plugin loads all its assets into every page of my blog instead of only loading it where I need it. Because of that, it adds unnecessary load on other areas of the site.

Last but not least, I also added the WP Retina 2X plugin by Jordy Meow. While checking my logs, I came across several error messages similar to the one below:

"[email protected]" *@2x.jpg *@2x.gif, *@2x.png

I discovered that this error happened whenever a device with Retina Display (devices and monitors that have a resolution or pixel density of about 300+ pixels per inch) try to access my blog and the images available were not compatible with it. After looking it up, I came across the WP Retina 2X plugin which is designed to address this specific issue.

A few days ago, I also updated the Hot Topix theme to version 3.01 which was released last August 7, 2016. This update includes the following fixes:

  • Increases speed and efficiency of theme by removing Tag arrays in Theme Options and Widgets by adding input fields
  • Fixes bug with social sharing function
  • Updates Theia Post Slider to latest version (1.10.4)

Another tweak that I did to the theme was to edit the Policy link on my footer and changed it to “Cookies & Privacy” as compliance to the EU Cookie Law. I also added the same link to the navigation menu found on the top of the header so it will be more visible to all users/visitors.

We hope that all these changes and upgrades have or will create a better user experience for all our visitors and readers. Again, this is an on-going process and we will continue to find ways to improve and make JaypeeOnline better.

If you have any comments, feedback, or suggestions to make this blog better, please don’t hesitate to share it via the comments section below or via the contact page. Thank you and have a nice day!

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