This Site Was Long Overdue For A Redesign

It has been years since I last updated the template on this personal blog.  For the last three weeks I’ve been pretty hardcore in the backend of WordPress launching the new redesign on the nuCloud website.  For some reason it just felt right to redesign this site.  I’m sure that I’ll have additional tweaks that I’ll want to make but for now I really like this WordPress Theme from Elegant Themes.

Three years ago I knew the ins and outs of WordPress.  Over the last three years while I was becoming a master of the HubSpot CMS I’d put WordPress to the side.  WordPress Themes and Plugins are the true power of the system and both have come a long way over my absence.  If you are looking for themes I’d highly recommend Elegant Themes and Theme Forest for incredible templates that won’t break the bank.  It’s true that you get what you pay for and you can’t put a price on an excellent site design.

There are lots of great WordPress Plugins and it’s been years since I last recommend some so let me throw out a list with standards.

  • Akismet – It comes standard, but nobody wants blog spam.
  • All in One SEO Pack – WordPress has come a long way with SEO and many themes have SEO functionality built in but I still find myself relying on this plugin after over four years of use.
  • Better WordPress Minify – I’m a big fan of optimizing for speed and minifying your site is an often overlooked way to do this.  It compresses your javascript and css files if you aren’t familiar with the concept.
  • Better WP Security – Excellent security plugin written by my friend Chris Wiegman.  I know for a FACT this plugin has prevented my site from getting hacked in the past.
  • Google XML Sitemaps – Standard that will help you drive more organic traffic.  A nobrainer.
  • Redirection – I’m surprised WordPress has not built in a way to handle 301 redirects but this is a great plugin to make it extremely easy without going into your .htaccess file all the time.
  • SEO Friendly Images – Adds alt text and title attributes to your images that you forget or don’t do it to.  It’s the right way to have correct markup and good for search engines.  You might as well install this plugin and make sure that your code is clean as it can be.
  • ShareThis – My favorite of the Social Sharing plugins.  I do wish that it wasn’t so heavy on the loading of pages though.
  • Ultimate TinyMCE – I’ve used TinyMCE Advanced for years but have just moved over to this plug that unlocks more advanced functionally in the TinyMCE text editor.  You can’t go wrong with either plugin.
  • WordPress Database Backup – Install this sucker and schedule it to backup and email your WordPress database on a weekly basis.  Not backing up your site is just stupid.
  • WP-Optimize – Not as necessary if you have Database Backup installed because you can optimize your database from that plugin but this plugin does make it extremely easy to blog away all the versions of articles which can load up your database.
  • WP Smush.it – Another plugin about optimization.  Reduces image size leveraging Yahoo!’s Smush.it technology.
  • WP Super Cache – W3 Total Cache has been getting a lot of love on the cache scene but unless you have special hardware and are truly an advanced user Super Cache should work just fine for you.  Once again it’s a speed thing.
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – Internal linking is huge and this is my favorite “related links” plugin for a blog.

What plugins do you like?

What do you think of the new template?

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