Blog Fudzing 2: About Stats, Backups, Themes and Theme Switcher


The inside of a switch

Some progress, some thoughts and some experiences with WordPress to share with you:

XAMMP
XAMMP is an open source program under which you can run a PHP mysql server on your own computer and test WordPress (and other web applications that generate dynamic web pages).

Stats
I have been tracking my stats in two ways: All over I use a paid for stats program. Not only for this blog, but for all sites I manage. It is versatile and useful.
For this Blog I used a dedicated WordPress stats plug in, until my service provider banned me, because the plug in caused a hung mysql process….

In addition the plug in caused an enormous overhead in this blog’s mysql database.

In May, 2008, I installed Woopra. With Woopra the necessity for the old stats plug in slowly, but gradually faded out.

Backups
Earlier, when I tried to emulate a disaster by backing up the database and loading it in a WordPress version running under XAMPP on my local computer, I had the problem that in XAMPP the maximum size of a mysql database is 16 MB. With the dedicated stats plug in I easily had 250 MB in the database and I couldn’t find a proper way around this. For a long period I luckily could rely upon the safety and stability of my internet provider. With over 450 posts now, that can be a bit of too much trust…Now I have decided to rely only on my Woopra stats and overall stats program and discontinue the use of the dedicated stats plug in.

If you backup a Blog operating under WordPress, you not only have to back up your database, but also your uploaded media files and your pages (assuming you have created pages).

The DB Backup plug in for WordPress does only the DB part and not the rest.

However, with the current version of WordPress, version 2.6.2, it is reasonably easy to export all posts of a blog and all uploaded media content (in my case thus far only photos) as an XML file via the WordPress Dashboard. Same file can be easily imported into another blog.

This is also a better option for me than simply downloading the WordPress database via the PHP mysql interface, because then all links are links to the site and not links to my local hard disk.

The only problem I encountered with exporting posts via creation of an XML file is that not all pages, not all links and not all categories are exported properly, or imported properly into the version of this Blog that I have created under XAMPP. However my main goal of putting all posts and uploaded media in a “safe” place could be reached now. For one reason or another I seem not be able to detect the media directory on the server of my internet provider….

Themes and Theme Switcher
Now I am able to fulfill an old wish: To have a theme switcher installed to play around with themes and to enable readers to choose their own favorite theme.

Recently I started to test out various new plug ins and WordPress theme templates and adjusting them to my wishes.

I have some specific wishes for themes:

  1. I want a two column lay out with the sidebar on my right side. With the sidebar on my left side I (and my readers) would always have to cross the reading field of the posts.
  2. I believe a two column layout is simpler to look at, simpler to maintain and nice for the eye.
  3. The posts must be readable. So the size of the characters must be sufficient. In addition there must be a reasonable distinguishable difference in color between character and character background. Therefore I hate themes, although trendy, with dark background colors. Moreover the difference in size of characters of headings and main text must be proportionate.
  4. Websites have to be easily navigable. I want to be able to browse posts from a certain period and posts of certain categories. I like to see how many posts there are per period and per category.

Why change a good theme?

I believe the Misty theme does and did a good job in this respect. It actually still is my favorite.

However, as an avid photographer I would like to have a bit more space in the posts to show photos.

In reviewing many themes I have now come up to 8 or 9 themes I like.

Next to now the latest version of the Misty theme (3.6.2) I have now up and running the WordPress Default theme, the Intense theme and the Newspaper theme. I still have to ad some widgets to the last two mentioned.

I noticed that the newest Misty theme doesn’t have the problem anymore that when you look at a page cached in the Google search engine, you only see the header and not the body of the post. This is especially important if people are searching photo’s. Without the body of the post You’ll have no clue as to what the post is about and you’re clicking away. I tend to believe I get now more traffic from Google searches now.

More to follow soon, but in the meantime you can look for yourself and switch theme via the side bar.

Whether you like it or don’t like it, please give me some feedback.

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