WordPress 3.0.2 Update Works So Far

Noticed that WordPress released a new update. WordPress 3.0.2 worked without any problems so far on my websites. The WordPress automatic upgrade process when smoothly.

It also appears that there are currently no issues with any of my favorite WordPress themes.

If you hear of any problems with the latest WordPress 3 update, let me know. Otherwise, it looks like smooth sailing for now.

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Google Wonder-Wheel Missing

What happened to WonderWheel on Google search?

For those of you webmasters and bloggers who like using Google’s WonderWheel tool, there was an unexpected surprise that came with the new Google Instant search rollout. It seems that Google thinks that the functionality of Wonder Wheel is handled by the ever changing search results and suggestions that appear on Google.com when you search using Google Instant search functionality. Unfortunately, that is hardly the case.

google-wonder-wheel-missing The Google WonderWheel tool was a great way to not only find useful and relevant information on the web, but also for web developers and professional writers looking for ways to make money writing online to figure out how OTHER PEOPLE might search for the information being written. For example, if I were writing an article about how to make homemade snowshoes, I might search for something like “homemade snowshoes,” but maybe that is not how most people would search for the same topic. Maybe most people would actually search for something like “handmade snowshoes” or “make your own snowshoes” or maybe even “building snowshoes.” Any of those searches could be made by someone looking for the same information.

Unfortunately, despite all of its success and acclaim, the Google search engine is really nothing more than a text pattern matcher combined with a link counter. If your text does not match what is being searched for, your article will not show up in those searches, no matter how great your content might be.

Again, using the example above, if I titled my article Homemade Snowshoes Made Simple with my H1 tag and used a title tag of Snowshoes Homemade, the article would never show up in any Google searches for “handmade snowshoes,” unless there were virtually no other webpages on the entire Internet about making your own snowshoes.

In other words, as a writer looking to earn money writing online, it is critical that your articles contain the phrases used by searches in order to generate high-ranking web content that drives search engine traffic to your webpages. In fact, it is so important, that as a professional writer, I frequently use misspellings, incorrect grammar, or redundant phrases, deliberately in order to be sure that what others type into Google will match something in my well-written web content. Then, I try elsewhere to apologize and point out that it was done intentionally so that potential freelance writing clients who are trying to judge my work know that it is not just sloppy writing, but rather that Google makes you write poorly in order to succeed.

The Google WonderWheel tool helped with this problem by allowing a web searcher to type in a search, and then by clicking on Wonder Wheel in the sidebar under More Tools, see a graphical tree of other related search queries. The new Google Instant search feature does that part just fine. What is missing is that with Google Wonder Wheel you could click on the bubble with the related search term and get a new Wonder-Wheel that showed a tree of search queries related to the clicked keywords. In this way, I could have entered “homemade snowshoes,” saw that “handmade snowshoes” was a possible related search keyphrase and then clicked on it to see what search phrases might be related to handmade snowshoes as well.

(Did you see that? I used three different ways of writing wonderwheel so that people who search with a space or hyphen can still find this article online by searching.”)

Turn Google WonderWheel Back On

Fortunately, it is possible to turn Google WonderWheel back on. To re-enable Wonder Wheel, you have to go into Google search settings and turn off Instant Search. Doing that takes you back to the old search interface, which includes the Wonder-Wheel tool.

Unfortunately, since Instant Search looks like the future of Google Search, there is no telling how long this functionality might be left on. Hopefully, Google decides that there is certainly no harm in keeping the WonderWheel tool in the sidebar even if Instant Search is enabled. After all, users who find that the new Instant search feature meets their needs will simply not click on WonderWheel, while those of us who depend on the tool to help correct some of Google Search’s inadequacies can continue to use it.

I wonder if there is an online petition somewhere?

Do you use Google WonderWheel? How have you reacted to WonderWheel being removed from Google due to Instant Search?

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WordPress Upgrade 3.0.1 Works Fine

I am not the end authority by any means, but I do run about a dozen blogs across about a half-dozen hosts and I upgraded all of the WordPress blogs to WordPress 3.0.1 via the automatic update function available on all WordPress dashboards with no trouble. So, I’m going to give this upgrade my OK.

Of course, always have a backup of your WordPress database and posts before attempting any upgrade just in case your situation differs from mine!

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W3 Total Cache Upgrade Issue

w3-total-cache-configuration I’ve been using the W3 Total Cache plug-in for WordPress ever since it was recommended by Joost who seems to be one of the few original thinkers in the WordPress developer community. When he posts something, it usually turns out to be dead-on accurate, if for no other reason than he usually writes about his reasoning and what led him to his conclusions. It is an extra step that ensures you really know what you are talking about because then you can’t just blame a different opinion if someone comes in and points out that you are wrong based on something in your reasoning being faulty or disprovable. So, when says that WordPress publishers should be using W3 Total Cache, I listen.

However, a recent upgrade to the W3 Total Cache led to a minor annoyance. While the caching functionality is still flawless and the features in the caching WordPress 3.0 add-on are the best out there, one chance to the interface was made that bugs me.

W3TC used to be like most other WordPress plug-ins. Configuring the cache plug was done from the Settings menu on the sidebar, or by going into the Plug-ins screen and choosing settings from the options on the plugin itself. The new version adds its own special menu to the standard WordPress menu bar. Worse, it is labeled “Performance” instead of W3 Cache or something similar.

This bothers me for two reasons. One, the standard interface for WordPress is that plugins are managed via Settings, or in some cases, Tools, or within the Plugins area itself. The other menus are reserved for core WordPress functions and specifically categorized sub-functions like Themes which are supposed to be listed under Appearance. Two, labeling it as “Performance” strikes me as disingenuous even if that is not the intention. It is almost like the developer wants it to seem as if the functions provided by W3TC are core to the WordPress system when they are not. It will also increase confusion among those of us who make money writing online for a lot of our own websites, WordPress and otherwise.

w3-total-cache-config

I don’t reconfigure my WordPress sites every day. I do a lot of posting via Windows Live Writer or QuickPress or even ScribeFire, which means that days or even a week or two can go by without me seeing the Administrator screen in WordPress. When I do go into WordPress admin and I want to tweak my W3 Total Cache Minify settings, for example, I will no doubt click Settings and upon not finding it there try Tools or the Plugin screens. Even if I did happen to notice the cache settings menu (I work fast and I know what it supposed to be on each screen, so I have screen blindness to things that I am not looking for deliberately), it is likely that I wouldn’t know to use it right away because it is generically labeled Performance and what I am trying to find is W3 Total Cache not some WordPress performance settings.

This is not an indictment of W3 Total Cache, nor a reason to not use it or switch to another WordPress caching plug-in, but it does strike me as a move in the wrong direction for both the WordPress interface in general, and the development of this particular WordPress 3.0 plugin.

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