Forum for WordPress

29 January 2009

I am currently working with a client who has a website built on the  WordPress CMS platform.

This is the first site I've worked with using WordPress, and the client is asking if there's a forum option.

I had a look at the WordPress plugins and saw one forum, but it looked to me like there were adverts on the forum which, being a business website, isn't ideal.

Are there any other forums that can be used with WordPress?

So far I've found Simple Press

Has anyone used this before? Is it easy to use? Or does anyone know of any other WordPress forum plugins?

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Blocking index.php using robots.txt

28 January 2009

All websites should have a robots.txt file which either allows or disallows access to Google to certain pages or directories of your website.

If you don't block Google from any of your pages you should still have a robots.txt file, but simply tell Google to allow entry to everything.

The robots.txt file is often used to stop Google from crawling duplicate content, which Google often sees as cheating and may penalise some websites for this.

What I'm wondering is - what happens if we disallow Google from indexing index.php?

Although in my case the complete Content Mangement System runs off index.php alone, I don't actually have any links going to index.php and so disallowing it in my eyes would be ok.

However, I have recently had a problem of a website being 3rd in Google one day, and then not even indexed by Google the next day. Please read this report at

Even if disallowing access to index.php in the robots.txt file, I still don't think it would be as drastic as removing the whole site from Google's index.

This is something I will need to look into further and may need to play with the robots.txt file until th site is once again listed in Google.

If anyone knows any reason why this may have happened, please do contact me ASAP.

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Peter Nichol website launch

26 January 2009 is our latest website to go live.

It was made for our very own Peter Nichol and is a website based just for him where we are testing how long it takes Google to crawl a website, and hopefully get us to the top.

The website has 3 pages, home, blog and contact and was primarily made to let our creativity run wild and make an image heavy design.

We do note that the content doesn't start until beneath the page fold (you have to scroll to see content) but we were really just trying to make something a bit different.

Visit the website at and please let us know what you think. Or read more at

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Pingback for Blogs

23 January 2009

A pingback is a way of notifying the author of a document who else on the Internet is linking to it.

A link to the document will be followed, request a ping from the originating source of the document and then depending on the response from the source depends on whether the pingback can be followed.

Both websites must have the pingback enabled in order for it to work, but once enabled it is a great way to get lots of links back to your website very quickly.

Trackbacks are a lot like pingbacks, except they will go through a specific URL in order to register as a trackback.

Both examples can be found very often when people refer to your blog entries.

Currently I am working on a pingback method in order to help search engine visibility through lots of links back to my website.

Once I have it tested and working I shall be opening this up to all my blogging scripts in the aim to help clients who are also blogging.

If anyone knows of a good tutorial or a good and simple test area please do let me know.

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Exploring Google

20 January 2009

Everyone knows that Google is a search engine… But did you know what other great tools Google offers?

Over the last week I signed up to 15 of Google’s free tools, and thought I’d share the experience with you…

The first thing I signed up to with Google was about 6 months ago and this was Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a fantastic piece of website analytic software. It will report back to you how many visitors your website has had, how they found your website, what pages they visited on the website, how long they spent on the website and what page they were on when they left the website.

About 3 months ago I heard of Google Webmaster Tools, and so I also signed up to this. Again, a fantastic piece of software! Find out if your website has any broken links, how many pages of your website are in Google’s index, submit sitemaps to ensure Google crawls every page, find out how many Google users have subscribed to your RSS feeds, find out where all your external links are coming from and get feedback on any potential problems with meta data for the web pages.

I’m not finished yet… It was only last week I decided to explore more…

Firstly Google Reader I am finding extremely useful on a day-to-day basis to keep all my RSS feed subscriptions in one place. Also it creates a shared profile page for me so that I can share my favourite feed posts with the rest of the web.

Next I tried Google Alerts. Now this although very powerful and I’m sure useful to those who are in the news a lot as, again, you will get a lot of back link feedback – however we’re not in the news all the time, and so this I found a little bit useless for me at the moment.

You Tube is my next addition to the list. “But You Tube isn’t Google”, I hear you cry! Well now Google Videos is a part of You Tube and you can login to You Tube using your Google account.

Has anyone heard of Google’s social networking website yet? I hadn’t! But when I saw it as a Google product I thought I’d have a look and see what it was all about. If I’m honest it’s nothing new and holds no real value, why not just merge with Facebook as they’ve already got an amazing platform that will be hard to beat!

Make a website for free with Google Sites. “Why point customers in another direction?” I hear you all scream at me! Well to be honest I found the Google Sites a bit “simple” looking and not versatile enough, and so if everyone did go here there would be a million websites all looking the same, just with different content – and, let’s be honest, that’s just boring!

Picasa is Google’s picture upload product – and again I found this a bit pointless, as if you have a Facebook profile you could do everything you wanted there! Only difference being that you can change the size of the thumbnails and can also order prints on Picasa, and I’m sure Facebook will implement something like this soon anyway!

Lastly, my latest addition from Google’s products is Blogger. I found this very easy to use, and I quite liked the simplicity of the colours and fonts and the functionality to add Google gadgets to your blog pages – however it doesn’t have the functionality as some other blogs – for instance pinging the blog to lots of other blog sites to try and get your blog noticed.

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