WordPress comments and social login plugins

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WordPress comments and social login plugins

Don’t you think that it’s a bit weird these days to not have installed on your blog/website a commenting system?

It is to me and and i don’t leave a comment when i visit a website without a commenting system.
Why? Because i hate filling in forms and most of you hate that too.

It’s a lot easier and faster to leave a comment when you have one of the apps/plugins like the ones i listed below because all it takes to login is a button and you’re good to leave a comment, to interact, whether you login with Twiter, Facebook or other social media website. 
A social commenting system is a lot friendlier and it’s a must these days. But, it’s up to you to ease up the form filling on your visitors or not.

Should you decide to join the friendly crowd, here are 3 comment system plugins for WordPress (also available on other platforms) that you can choose from:

 

LoginRadius

With LoginRadius, your users can log in with their existing IDs such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, etc. and also share your content in their social networks. This will also remove all the hassle of registration and the chore of remembering another set of username and password.

I haven’t tried yet this plugin – even though i installed it – but i think it’s quite useful.
Besides being able to login into your WordPress with it, you can also use it as a commenting system.

Download LoginRadius from WordPress or visit LoginRadius for more info and sign up.

 

Livefyre Realtime Comments

Livefyre Comments 3 replaces your default comments with real-time conversations. Our social integration features make it easy to capture all the conversations going on about your posts across Twitter and Facebook, and pull your friends into the conversation.

I tried this plugin. It’s very easy to configure and it loads on pages and posts very fast. It’s simple and clean and i love that about it but the feature i like most is that you can add in your comment the “@”name of your friend and list them in the conversation.
It’s the only one so far that has this lovely feature.

Downlowd LiveFyre from WordPress of visit LiveFire.com

 

Disqus Comment System

Beautiful, real-time, engaging discussions for your website. With a few quick steps, you can turn your old comment system into a new way to engage your visitors. From small blogs to massive websites, Disqus is the easiest way to build active communities.

I prefer this plugin more than the other two and it’s not because it is more special, but because i used it for some years and i got used to it.

 

Download Disqus from WordPress of visit Disqus.com

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WordPress Broken Link Checker – a must-have plugin

Broken Link Checker is a simple  WordPress plugin to check broken links on your pages, posts, comments and missing images.
You will be getting a report via e-mail and a full report on your dashboard with all your links, split by status and the option to bulk edit/check/fix/unlink  them.

As you see in the screenshot below, the report is quite clear and the cleaning up process couldn’t be easier.
broken links bulk edit

The settings are straight forward . Check what you need to and save your settings, then let the Link Checker do its work.
broken link settings

Features:

  • Monitors links in your posts, pages, comments, the blogroll, and custom fields (optional).
  • Detects links that don’t work, missing images and redirects.
  • Notifies you either via the Dashboard or by email.
  • Makes broken links display differently in posts (optional).
  • Prevents search engines from following broken links (optional).
  • You can search and filter links by URL, anchor text and so on.
  • Links can be edited directly from the plugin’s page, without manually updating each post.
  • Highly configurable.

The ability to choose which links should be checked is a big plus.

broken link setting page

As you can see, this plugin is a must-have utility and can help you improve your relation with Google and also have your blog clean and dead-link-free.
Download it from WordPress or from the developer’s website.

 

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Simple E.U. Cookie Policy Widget code

cookie policy scriptsIf you live in Europe and you have to abide the E.U. cookie law, then you need a code or a plugin to give your visitors the option to accept or reject cookies or you’re up for a fine.

I already wrote an article on this – EU Cookie law plugins and codes – but after working on my website’s speed and adding some plugins to deffer JavaScript – which  i will explain in a bit – i realized that my code kept disappearing or getting blocked, so i decided to look for something simpler instead: Simple E.U. Cookie Policy Widget code.
And then I found a great script offered free at HeartInternet.co.uk.
Thank you so much, guys!

Minifying?

Minifying is the process of removing all unnecessary characters from source code, without changing its functionality. These unnecessary characters usually include white space characters, new line characters, comments, and sometimes block delimiters, which are used to add readability to the code but are not required for it to execute.….[Wikipedia]

Using minifying plugins on WordPress has its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantage: it makes your website load faster by combining and compressing.js and .css files.
Disadvantages: it can block some script such as pop-ups or bars.

In my case, my WP-Minify plugin helped a lot, but it blocked the plugin i used to allow the visitor to accept or reject cookies.
The added files to not be processed didn’t work but it does work with this scrip below because by adding the two .js links to the “JavaScript files to exclude from minify” rule nothing gets blocked.

This script is dead easy to use. Just copy and paste it into the footer of your wordpress theme, just before </body> and change the last link in the code with your own Policy link and click save. That’s all. No more plugins and loads on the server.

If you use WP-Minify, just add the two .js links to the exclusion rule like in the shot above and you are set.

Dark version

<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”http://www.heartinternet.co.uk/eu-cookie/main.css”/>
<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://www.heartinternet.co.uk/eu-cookie/support-opt-in.js”></script>
<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://www.heartinternet.co.uk/eu-cookie/require-opt-in.js” read_more=”http://www.your-site.com/privacy-policy”></script>

Light version

<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”http://www.heartinternet.co.uk/eu-cookie/main.css”/>
<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”http://www.heartinternet.co.uk/eu-cookie/white.css”/>
<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://www.heartinternet.co.uk/eu-cookie/support-opt-in.js”></script>
<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://www.heartinternet.co.uk/eu-cookie/require-opt-in.js” read_more=”http://www.your-site.com/privacy-policy”></script>

The rest of the settings can be found on the HeartInternet.co.uk.

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Analyze and optimize WordPress loading time

[note color=”#fad540″]This post will show you how to analyze and optimize WordPress, defer parsing of JavaScript, minify css and minify javascript, and more important, how to speed up wordpress[/note]

Having a fast loading website is a must these days. It’s a part of the user’s experience that has to be continuously improved. People don’t want to wait anymore for your pages to load and if they don’t load fast, they won’t stay. It’s that simple.
This blog, which runs on WordPress,  was loading slow for quite a while and when i first ran the tests, i was amazed by the low score i got.
Thankfully, the services below don’t only show the faults, but also suggestions on how they can be fixed.
This way, i could see which plugins are slowing my blog down, which scripts and css files i have to compress and got the chance to work a bit on it so i am going to write down a few pointers in case you’ve got a slow loading website.
The links listed below will help you analyze your pages and point right away what needs to be improved.
And if you don’t know what to do about certain settings, don’t need to worry. All the links i provide you with for the scan will provide you with extra info and help.

So, here we go.

  • Analyze the loading speed and get the suggestions

 

analyze and optimize WordPress

 

 

GTmetrix
PingDom Tools
Google’s Page Speed
Yahoo’s ySlow
Web Page Test

 

  •  Compress, minify and cache

For this, i recommend the WordPress plugin “W3 Total Cache“. It’s the best but be careful; don’t get excited and check everything, or you’ll end up with a css’less website. It can get messy.
Just follow their instructions and you should be fine.

  • Defer parsing of JavaScript

This is the part i had troubles with but then i found a code somewhere on a forum and used it. It worked.
The code Google provides didn’t work for me.

So to fix that, add this code to your footer right before the end of the body tag “</body>” and of course, replace my link in the code with yours.

[pullquote align=”none”]<script defer=”defer” type=”text/javascript”>
    window.onload=function(){
        var mycode;
        mycode=document.createElement(“script”);
        mycode.type=”text/javascript”;
        mycode.src=”http://www.carolsvault.com/”;
        document.getElementsByTagName(“head”)[0].appendChild(mycode);
    }
</script>

[/pullquote]

  • Optimize images

One thing i noticed on the results i had was that my images were not optimized. For a moment there i thought that i might have to manually optimize hundreds of images, but i found a tool that does that in bulk.

WP Smush.it is an WordPress plugin that lets you optimize your images to reduce bandwidth and loading time of your pages.

These are just a few steps that you can take to greatly improve the loading speed on your pages and my recommendation is: don’t overreact with the settings and changes.
If you give up too much to performance, you will lose quality.

That’s my latest report and although i want to score as high as possible, i think i will take the A offered by ySlow and see what improvements i can do later on.
analyze and optimize WordPress, defer parsing of JavaScript, minify css and minify javascript

That’s it for now. Enjoy pimping your website and if you need any help, just check the links provided or drop a line in the comments box if you have any other suggestions.

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EU Cookie law plugins and codes

cookie lawWith the new European cookie law already enforced this month in the UK (see Cookie law UK guidelines)  and expected to be enforced all around Europe, website owners –  especially those owning a business – are now forced to add a code to their websites asking user’s permission to install cookies in their computers.
Before i get   and codes, let’s have a look at the cookies and the law.

The EU COOKIE LAW
It’s a complicated law, poorly written and not easy to understand but once a law is in effect one can either follow it or simply ignore it.
To follow a law, you first must understand it. So here’s a bit of an explanation about the cookies and the cookie law:

I have no doubt that many people know what cookies are, but there those who don’t, so i will explain this short.

The Web COOKIES
Cookies are small text files that websites store in your computer to remember your  data , such as preferences, or login details so when you browse the same website again, your details will be remembered unless you chose to delete them.
These cookies are good cookies.

There are bad cookies as well, and i am just going to paste this line from Wikipedia.org: ...tracking cookies and especially third-party tracking cookies are commonly used as way to compile long-term records of individuals’ browsing histories — a major privacy concern that has prompted European and US law makers to take action. Read more about cookies here at Wikipedia.org – HTTP cookie.

The law again….The Eu cookie law is mostly about the 3rd-party cookies which are a major privacy concern.

If I understand it good, and i am pretty sure I do, the law will be a pain in the back for advertisers and for software tracking companies but in the end, it is a website owner’s responsibility to protect user’s privacy from tracking cookies so if they do not give the option to opt-in or out, they will  be fined.

Website owners will now have two options: Ask for permission or stop using cookies.
I am unsure about the effect that this whole permission will have on the users. There are speculations that most people will be annoyed.
eConsultancy.com has some information on the impact on the users and examples of known websites using the permission code.

If this is a bad or a good law, it’s up for each person to decide but personally i think it is quite alright for the users to have the right to choose if they want their behavior to be tracked or not.

And with that i am closing this section and move on to the WordPress plugins for the European cookie law and the codes that website owners can use to ask permission to install their cookies and for what purpose.

WordPress plugins for the European cookie law
At the moment there are only 3 available and all 3 are great.

1) EU Cookie Law/EU Cookie Directive Compliance Plugin
This CookieCert plugin makes your WordPress site compliant with the EU Cookie Directive in an instant. Once installed it will ask users for consent to allow your site to create cookies.

2) Cookie Law Info

This plugin adds a subtle, non-disruptive banner to your website header to highlight your compliance status regarding the new EU Cookie Law. Note that it is not currently technically possible to completely block all cookies on your WordPress website without first updating all plugins that use cookies in some way. That is beyond the scope of any single plugin.

3) WP DoNotTrack

WP DoNotTrack stops plugins and themes from adding javascript-initiated 3rd party tracking code and cookies to your blog to protect both your visitor’s privacy, your own security (in the admin-pages) and offering performance gains (limiting requests executed in the browser to render your pages).

Cookie consent codes for website and other CMS software
The only one i could find – and does not ask money for it or gives half codes – is Cookie Consent from Silktide.com . There you can find a lot more information on the cookie law as well as a link to a page where you can test your website’s compliance with the cookie law for free.

I’ve read their opinions about this law and our views are quite different, but i chose to have a user’s view on this law instead of a website owner. And yes, i don’t publish ads or track my visitor which makes things a lot easier for me, but a visitor to our websites should have a choice no matter how bad you want to make those money or how much you want to learn from the analytycs about your users.

Maybe this law will become more clear later on and will be better written, with better guidelines, but until then it is what it is and if you have to comply just do it, for the sake of those who care for their privacy.

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