Easy Japanese Recipes

Blogging Technology Tips – CDN, Thesis, and more

Along with hosting, we would like to share a few additional blogging tech tips.

Content Delivery Network

Once your site is pretty popular and the site contains large image files, to lessen the load on your server, I recommend using a Content Delivery Network (CDN). We’ve used Arcostream and are currently using MaxCDN due to price. Arcostream is $29 dollars per month while MaxCDN is $40 a year for 1 TB of data transfer. CDN hosts files (especially the heavy images) so your server doesn’t get overloaded with requests.

Link to Save 25% with MaxCDN – $29.96 for one year (1 TB worth of data)

Thesis Theme

We’ve been using the Thesis Theme for WordPress for about 2 years now. The benefit of Thesis theme includes easy customization, a tremendous amount of articles available and awesome Forum support. There are a ton of articles out there on Thesis customization.

A word of advice: always back up your custom_function.php file before making changes, otherwise your site will become inaccessible if the code has issues.

Link to the Thesis Theme for WordPress

There are also other themes specifically for food blogs, such as Food Blog and more. We have only used Thesis, so we can’t speak about how well these themes work.

Filezilla

This is a great FREE ftp software. I use it to manage file transfers between my site and my local PC. The ftp tool is very helpful in managing and backing up files. Cool features include the ability to export ftp setting so you don’t have to set up the information over and over again on multiple computers.

Link to Filezilla

Akismet and Captcha

When you run a blog, a ridiculous amount of spam hits your inbox everyday through comments. Akismet is a spam filter so your site doesn’t get spam messages. Sometimes spam messages still get through, so we also use Captcha plugin. Akismet is $5 a month and the Captcha plugin is FREE!

Link to Akismet

Link to Captcha

W3 total Cache/WP Super Cache

They are caching plugins for wordpress site so it runs faster. Both are FREE and there is quite a bit of information out there.

Link to W3 Total Cache

Link to WP Super Cache

Link to Host Gator Support for setting up W3 Total Cache on your site

Link to Host Gator Support for setting up WP Super Cache on your site

Google Analytics

FREE web analytics from Google so you know more about your visitors and what they are looking for on your site. If you use the Thesis theme, it’s very easy to start tracking with Google Analytics. Simply create the account and follow these simple instructions.

Ziplist Plugin for Recipes

Great FREE plugin that puts all your recipe ingredients, instructions and details in rich snippets.

Link to Ziplist plugin.

Sitemap

Just a reminder for SEO purposes: always have a sitemap so Google understands how to crawl your site. Here is more information on Sitemap from Google. There are many FREE sitemap plugins on WordPress.org. We use BWP Google XML Sitmaps.

Link to BWP Google XML Sitmaps

Professional Help

Once you get your site going, you might run into some issues you can’t resolve. In our case, the loading time was the issue and we didn’t know how to resolve it. I was roaming around the Thesis forum and found Matthew who runs diywpblog.com. We were very happy with his service. He clearly communicated what the issues were and what he was going to fix. You can contact him at matthew {at} diywpblog {dot} com.

I will add more information to this page in the future if I can think of other helpful tips.

- Shen

Next: Food Photography.

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11 comments

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  • Kate@Diethood February 14, 2013, 8:24 pm

    Great tips, Shen! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Reply
  • Kimby February 15, 2013, 5:52 am

    I’m going to have to do some homework on this page. :) Again, much appreciated!

    Reply
  • Sissi February 15, 2013, 6:55 am

    What a fantastic post, Shen! I have felt as if it was one huge answer to so many blog-related questions I have been asking myself… I am not familiar with many things you have mentioned or just have a vague idea (for example about the sitemap). Thanks so much for all the useful advice!

    Reply
  • Terris @ Free Eats February 15, 2013, 7:41 am

    I think Shen should open his own DIY blog support service!

    I can still remember when how Nami taught me a few things about the “back-end” of my blog when we were starting out two years ago. I continue to learn from you both. Thank you for the well researched information and clear descriptions. Have a great weekend!

    Reply
  • Charles February 15, 2013, 3:26 pm

    Great tips – I’d love to add a couple of points which I’ve found useful as well, I hope you don’t mind:

    - CloudFlare.com is a great CDN as well, which is free, in case people aren’t able to pay for a dedicated service. It includes a security service (presents a challenge page to known bad IPs (spammers/hackers). Granted it may not be *as* speedy as a paid CDN, but you still get global static content delivery and it’s super easy to set up (no file pulling/pushing – your domain name nameservers are set to CloudFlare’s and they do the rest).

    - To eek out a bit of extra performance, one could consider spriting the images (menus etc) on a site. This will create one file containing all the menu items, and then dynamically render them from the file into the site using CSS. It’s really simple to do – you can get full instructions at SpriteMe.org

    Reply
    • Nami February 18, 2013, 10:05 pm

      Thanks Charles! :)

      Reply
  • Balvinder February 16, 2013, 4:23 pm

    There is so much information on this page which I don’t know about. You are right, when I first made the move from blogger I was not aware of the number of spam comments you receive on an independent blog. Akismet is very good in filtering spam. How does captcha helps? The questions they ask are very simple.

    Reply
    • Nami February 18, 2013, 10:03 pm

      The captcha ask you a question before entering a comment (so a computer cannot generate a comment). It works as double filtering.

      Reply
  • mjskit February 17, 2013, 8:21 pm

    More great information!!! I use the Canvas Theme from WooThemes on WP. I went looking for the custom_function.php file and couldn’t find it. Where is it stored? That’s interesting that you use a ftp for file transfer. I guess my files are small enough because I’ve never had a problem uploading into WP using its software. I do use an ftp for a website I work on at work, because you can’t upload large files (>2Mb) through the front end and therefore, have to use a ftp. Anyhoo – great stuff!! I’m checking out Ziplist now.

    Reply
  • Tim Zekki February 24, 2013, 10:13 am

    Thanks for all this information – I’ve learned a lot just over this weekend – it’s that thing of not knowing what you don’t know!

    Reply