Reminder to Self – clear:both breaking a css layout?

September 27th, 2011

Had to fix up a site recently and it was using two floating columns that broke when clear:both was used in the main column. There are better ways to do a two column layout – but just in case … reminder to self …

http://www.danstorm.com/dan-storm-article-css-5.html

1. Float container.
2. Use “overflow: auto” on the container.
3. Use “after”.

Upgraded!

June 1st, 2010

Have been meaning to try a few new WordPress Plugins and Themes and decided to use this blog for testing. So, I have finally upgraded this blog. Don’t be alarmed if you see some tweaks and changes. Will probably blog on what I find.

Quick Note on Quick Page Loads

April 11th, 2010

So you (or your visitors) (or the big Google) want your pages to load fast …

Yahoo! YSlow
Google Page Speed
PageTest

WordPress Performance: Time Consuming MySQL Queries and Caching

January 24th, 2010

I have been looking at a client’s WordPress install the last few days. They have a large number of posts and page load times in general have been increasing. I installed some query logging based on the code in this article …
Rails-Like SQL Query Logging in WordPress

Checking over the logs it became obvious that queries using SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS are a problem. Digging through code it appears that where a limit on results is used it uses this query modifier to allow simpler coding of paging. The problem is that since the main query to grab blog posts on the blog home page or any archive page uses this, on a large blog this becomes quite inefficient.

For now I have tweaked MySQL so that the MySQL Query Cache is now larger. These articles were useful:
MySQL Query Cache (at MySQL Performance Blog)
Turn on MySQL query cache to speed up query performance?

Looking at the log after this change query times have dropped dramatically (from over 0.5 seconds and up to milliseconds). This has immediately improved performance of the blog and overall load on the server.

I am currently looking at some WP Caching API and plugins to further improve performance.

If you are looking for some more ways to speed up WordPress check out this article as a starting point:
4+1 Ways To Speed Up WordPress With Caching

And … for myself – just so I remember:
Install Memcache onto cPanel running CentOS

Reducing Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates

September 30th, 2009

I have been posting a few bits and pieces about best practice building online stores recently, partly because I have built a huge number of stores the last few years.

I have always been a keen follower of marketingexperiments.com. They recently blogged on things to test to help reduce shopping cart abandonment rate:
What else can I test … to reduce shopping cart abandonment rate?
Here are some suggestions from the article (of course test) …

  1. Offer alternative payment methods.
  2. State your shipping prices or rules upfront.
  3. Offer exclusive products online.
  4. Put your nav bar to work for your cart.
  5. Promote your promo codes.
  6. Plug in a progress bar.
  7. Brand your checkout process

Definitely read the article. There is more detail there. In fact their whole site as a whole is worth a look!

Quick Tip: Finding cPanel Logs

September 20th, 2009

Need to find those FTP logs? Quick overview of the various log files typically available on a web server (with particular reference to cPanel) …

cPanel Logs – A detailed view

Improving an Ecommerce Product Page

September 15th, 2009

Via GrokDotCom: How to Improve a Product Page

Ralph Wilson interviews Bryan Eisenberg on Product Pages. Using examples from Lands’ End and Amazon.com Bryan provides some very practical tips.

Worth a watch if you are involved with operating or building ecommerce sites.

Presentation on Performance and Scalability

August 31st, 2009

This is more a note to myself to read this …

Real World Web: Performance & Scalability:

Google Bug When Searching Using “Specific date range”

August 20th, 2009

Just came across this bug when using Google’s “Specific date range” search option …

Showing a Google Bug in<br />
their Date Search

Google allows a number of ways to filter via their “Show Options” link above the standard search results. Clicking “Show Options” opens a column on the left with more options including the ability to specify a date range. Notice their suggested date format (dd/m/yyyy) and the date format I am using in my example search following the suggested same date/month order. Oops!

Google is localising the suggested date format but not handling the localised input.

On the right you can see using m/dd/yy it works fine.

(And no – no different if I use yyyy instead of yy).

Questions to Answer For Customers When You Build an Online Store

June 23rd, 2009

It has been a while since I last posted. I have been building a few online stores lately and came across this article via osCommerce Watch (Questions to Answer for the Online Shopper) that I thought was worth sharing for anyone who owns or builds online stores:

The Shopping Cart: How to Answer the 5 Unanswered Customer Questions

Besides questions related to shipping costs they identify five questions that are commonly in the minds of online shoppers …

  1. Do you offer alternate forms of payment (aside from credit card)?
  2. Are you safe and secure?
  3. Why are you asking for this information?
  4. Do I have to set up an account to buy?
  5. Do I get to review my order before we transact?

A good list and definitely worth reading the discussion in the comments too.