10 Reasons you should use WordPress for YOUR website.

In case you haven’t noticed, I simply love using WordPress for clients web sites. The reasons why are numerous. In case you’re still not sure, here are my top ten reasons why you should, too.

  1. It’s very search engine friendly. This is the number one reason you should be using it. Search engines love to crawl clean, well structured content. WordPress makes that easy.
  2. It’s easy to manage. Other than the initial learning curve, adding and changing content does not require an understanding of html. It doesn’t hurt either, if you have html skills you can do even more with a great content framework.
  3. The plug-ins. There are thousands of useful tools to make a great platform even better. From customized login screens to double opt-in email list managers, WordPress has it all.
  4. Themes, themes and more themes. Whatever your taste if you do not have design skills, you are almost certain to find a template design that suits your tastes and needs. From there you can add your custom logo and if your really good with design, modify the theme to suit your own tastes.
  5. It’s a complete and robust CMS (content management system) You decide what information you want on what pages and place them accordingly on your site. You have complete control over your message.
  6. Everyone else and their mother is using it. It’s one of those things that if you wait to see what happens, you will be left in the dust.
  7. It’s robust enough with the right plug-ins and configuration to run some of the top read websites on the net. I do believe TechCrunch and Mashable both run on WordPress MU(multi-user)
  8. You can have a site up and running in minutes, you can move to a totally new domain and never have to worry about breaking links. Just 2 lines of database code set-up the entire sites link structure.
  9. It does not take a degree in computer science to use, and if you do happen to have a degree in computer science you can make it that much more cool.
  10. Because I say so. Since I tend to know what the heck I am talking about, you should trust in this fact and succumb to the geekness.

That pretty much sums it up. If you need further convincing, read this article again.  Maybe you just have too much money on your hands and can afford a $25K custom site that does what WordPress already does out of the box. In that case more power to you, you’re gonna need it.

#4sqday Tampa

What a novel concept concocted by my friend @NateBW over at Bright Eyes Vision Care. That’s right a person I know, came up with the whole foursquare day idea. April 16th is now officially known as foursquare day. 4/16 is 4squared = 16 Get it? Yeah OK just checking 🙂

Got Cake?What an awesome event this was, it really brings home the impact social media has on local businesses. Tweetup’s are pretty informal and probably a lot less organized or centered around businesses than a 4sq swarm type event. We unlocked the Swarm badge (50+ checkins at one location) in like 30 minutes. While Tampa did not make the Goal of 250 check ins for a Super Swarm badge, something tells me we are not far from achieving that milestone.

Afterall foursquare is still young. Most people have heard of twitter and facebook. If you mention foursquare, people probably think you are talking about that game you played in grade school. Remember that? four kids, four squares in a 2×2 grid, one ball…the ensuing chaos!

This version of foursquare is much, much better. This version is a game of sorts, with people ‘checking’ in to places they frequently visit. Earning badges and completing to do’s. Competing for mayor titles, and generating user supplied content about the places they frequent.

Businesses are in love with the cost effective ways of promoting their offerings through an online presence. Take for example the Hyatt Regency in Downtown. Not only did they host the Tampa 4sqday event, they offer a huge discount of %50 off purchases made by the mayor of their location. You get to be mayor of an establishment by checking in there more than anyone else over a 60 day period.

Watch this service blossom as adoption rates by local businesses soar. What possibilities could foursquare unlock for your business? Does you business have any tips? Have you claimed your business and made a special offer available to foursquare users?

You should act now, before your competition does. This is one great tool for business. Geek out!

WordPress SSH via PHP on Media Temple

Warning…this is a mildly complex server administration task. I assume no responsibility if you toast someone’s website.

If you have root access to a VPS or dedicated box then proceed with caution.

What this tutorial will do is allow updating of the WP core, plug-ins, and themes via SSH through PHP.When this is installed correctly a third option will appear in your update options section. (FTP, SFTP, and OMGSTFU SSH2!) SSH2 is a secure channel client that requires about half of the processing requirements of the standard WP FTP routine. Did I mention it was fast? Yeah like real fast, like a graduating classes virginity on prom night fast.

Fair Warning there are a few things that need to be in place before you can actually use this tutorial. The first thing to do is make sure you have SSH2 installed. It’s a fairly simple install with pecl. If it’s not installed or you’re not sure, run this command or have your hosting company do this for you.

su

#:[enter root user password]

pecl install -f ssh2

note: If your distro’s installed version of SSh2 is beta,  as mine was on Media Temple, run this command instead

pecl install channel://pecl.php.net/ssh2-0.11.0

The next step is to include the dynamically loaded extension. Search for php.ini on Media Temple Cent 5 it is /etc/php.ini. Inside that file locate the dynamic extensions area. Should be blank, add this line….

extension=ssh2.so

This will force php to load the SSH2 library for Secure communications. At this point you should restart the web server apache.

/etc/init.d/httpd restart.

Once you restart apache, login to your blog, try to install a plug-in or theme. You should see a third option to update via SSH2. This will tell you if its installed correctly or not.  Almost Done! To really make it sing continue a little bit more.

To use SSH2 you need to generate a set of rsa keys. This is great so you will never have to enter that password again, or worry about your credentials being sent over the wire in clear text.

Login to your home directory as normal user. You do not want to run the next few steps as root. Run this command.

ssh-keygen

This will prompt you for a file location to create a key pair. It should default to something like /var/www/vhosts/mydomain.com/.ssh/id_rsa or /var/www/html on RH or Cent. /home/html/.ssh/id_rsa for Debian/Ubuntu. Go ahead and press enter, you should be prompted to enter a password. Do not enter any passwords, hit enter twice. Some folks have noted that password protected keys cause problems with SSH via PHP.

After creating the keys there are couple of final steps in SSH terminal. This sets up the key pair for WordPress to use while accessing your server via SSH.

cd .ssh
cp id_rsa.pub authorized_keys
cd ~/
chmod 755 .ssh
chmod 644 .ssh/*

The last step is to add the credentials and path locations to your wp-config.php file that automates the update/install process for you. Here is an excerpt from my config. Be absolute in your paths to files. Note the ‘FS_METHOD’ is ‘direct’ compared to ftpext, SSH, or ftpssl. This works for me and updating, installing, deleting plug ins really zings!!!

//* Added for Auto FTP updating
define(‘FS_METHOD’, ‘direct’);
define(‘FTP_BASE’, ‘/var/www/vhosts/michaelquale.com/httpdocs/’);
define(‘FTP_CONTENT_DIR’, ‘/var/www/vhosts/michaelquale.com/httpdocs/wp-content/’);
define(‘FTP_PLUGIN_DIR ‘, ‘/var/www/vhosts/michaelquale.com/httpdocs/wp-content/plugins/’);
define(‘FTP_PUBKEY’, ‘/var/www/vhosts/michaelquale.com/.ssh/id_rsa.pub’);
define(‘FTP_PRIKEY’, ‘/var/www/vhosts/michaelquale.com/.ssh/id_rsa’);
define(‘FTP_USER’, ‘mqadmin’);
define(‘FTP_PASS’, ‘————‘);
define(‘FTP_HOST’, ‘michaelquale.com’);
define(‘FTP_SSL’, false);

If your getting connection errors it’s possible that apache does not have write permission on the files. Easily fixed by navigating to the wp-content folder and entering a few commands.

chown myuseraccount:apache /upgrades -R
chown myuseraccount:apache /themes -R
chown myuseraccount:apache /plugins -R

chmod 775 upgrades/ -R
chmod 775 uploads/ -R
chmod 775 themes/ -R
chmod 775 plugins/ -R

This step dramatically improved the performance of installs, updates, and deletes. Hope this helps you!