Notes From the WordPress Support Group

Anca leads the WordPress support group. Photo by Michael Enslow (@menslow).

Every week, the WordPress Support Group covers topics of interest to the people in the room – who are generally WordPress users, novices, developers, and others.  We mix up the skills and interests and generally create interesting discussion that leaves everyone with a new nugget of information.

This week, we had a couple of areas of discussion.  Randall has been working on a storefront site built with Jigoshop, and is interested in customizing it.   We looked around at the code and discovered that Jigoshop has a nice built-in customization framework.  You can build new template pages for Products, Product Categories, and more.    Jigoshop is quickly replacing Cart66 as the goto plugin of choice for simple storefronts using WordPress.

The other main discussion point was Search Engine Optimization (SEO).   Randall was also using the HeadSpace plugin to configure his site, and we dived into the various settings for SEO, editor customization, and more.  Do you use this plugin?  What makes it better than, say, Yoast’s SEO Plugin?

One thing to note is that out of the box, HeadSpace does not allow you to add the SEO metadata to custom post types, but a small tweak to your theme will enable this.  Perhaps I’ll blog about that later.

Speaking of Yoast’s WordPress SEO, we also looked at this plugin on a couple of sites, including Tech Liminal.  Every so often, I like to search for my keywords, and see what turns up for my site in Google.  It turns out that the transition to our new theme blew away some of the customizations we made to SEO, so it was a good opportunity to look at what makes this SEO plugin so helpful to bloggers and site operators.

Along with the typical title and meta description fields, you can use the analysis tools to get specific ideas for improvement on your SEO (like making sure that you’re using the keywords you need in your post).

Along with improving keywords in one’s site, getting links to your blog is critical for improving search result placement. Sood, the publisher of new Oakland blog site GoBanter, wanted to find out how to improve his ranking among Oakland blogs.  Oaklanders who blog can get listed on OaklandLocal’s Blog Directory for a little link-love.

We also covered making WordPress menus, looking for themes that might work for a tech business like IBM.com, and some specific CSS tricks for Pieter, who’s constantly making Weaver do awesome things.

Thanks to Michael Enslow and Pieter Hartsook for supporting the support group, and always bringing knowledge to the crew with a cheerful attitude.

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