technology, tips, wordpress

The Perils of Using a Free WordPress Theme

Take a look at what happened to this blog’s hit counts after switching (briefly) to a new and free WordPress theme downloaded from the official WordPress website.

Before I used my own variation of the freely available sandbox theme. I switched after updating the template andlosing some of my work on it. Now I’ve gone back with though I haven’t put any real effort into making the site look “good.”

Since replacing the theme, my site’s stats have returned to normal. I won’t name the theme that killed my blog’s stats for about a week, because that’s mean, but it should serve as a warning. By itself the sandbox theme is fairly SEO friendly, but with with a little tinkering you can get something that knocks the mittens off kittens. Sandbox is the exception though, not the rule. Many of the themes available out there a garbage. It is better to make your own or pay someone with brains to do it for you.

Remember, free is sometimes good, but not always.

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code, tips

Hiding PHPSESSID

I’ve built GlitterPony Magazine’s website so that it is dynamic. All I need to do is put the poems into the database fill in a field or two and I’ve got a functioning website. Of course the site is written in strict xhtml so that I can have a new look to each issue simply through modifying the CSS.

This saves me a lot of time since I can focus on the design aspects and ignore most of the tedious stuff. In fact I’m completely satisfied with this solution, I’ve even written the rewrite rules so that our URL’s all look pretty and are SEO’ed (Search Engine Optimized). The thing I am not satisfied with is that under certain circumstances a vistor would get a url that has something like ?PHPSESSID=5ab080e5cff5dc130f9bec234b stuck to the end of it. Boy is that ugly. It also hurts our ranking in search engines. But there is a fix and it is very simple.

All you need to do is add php_flag session.use_trans_sid off to the .htaccess file and bang! You got clean urls. Of course if you’d like you can add ini_set('session.use_trans_sid', false); to your php files, but why add that to all your files when you can add one line to your .htaccess file?

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