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Lesson 6 – Part 12 – Question and Answer

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Okay, so that is pretty much my presentation here for the day. I think I’m going to open it up to questions now.

What is an RSS Feed?

First question was Ray. She was wondering what is an RSS feed? Is it important and why? An RSS feed is essentially a way for certain geeks to be told when you’ve got a new post.

The reason why it shows up everywhere is because the geeks that it was created for bloggers and it’s an easy way for a blogger to keep track of all of his favorite blogs or blog aficionado to keep track of all of his favorite blogs and so it will tell your feed reader that you’ve got a new blog post.

I feel like it’s essentially a useless exercise. I have an RSS feed on my site. Well, I have 30,000 visits a month on my site and while the RSS feed is everywhere on it, I have 4 people who have subscribed to my RSS feed. It’s been there for 4 and a half years. It’s not worth the time it takes to put it there and it’s essentially a useless appendage so I don’t think it’s valuable at all but it’s my own opinion.

Using Yoast SEO

Let’s see, “Can I show integration with Yoast SEO?” Yes, and then I’m going to talk about the query box, yes Wendy. There’s nothing to do with integration with SEO, all you have to do is install it. So plugins, add new, WordPress SEO, it’s actually the name of the plugin. Yoast, just install it which I’m not going to activate it yet so that you can see what you see first.

We’ll come over to our pages and let’s go to all pages and let’s open up a page. Let’s open up the “Anyone Can Learn to Create Their Own Small Business Website”. Now let’s choose some content in it. Okay, we’ll just use this one. WordPress comes with this title tag, meta description, meta keywords, meta robots, the ability for you to add a canonical override if you don’t like the way the canonical thing is configured so you can do all that with these.

Now once we activate that plugin, shoot that’s not what I want to do let’s go back there. Let’s activate that plugin and let’s reload it. Okay, now in Yoast SEO we have this WordPress SEO by Yoast thing down here. We can come up to our screen options and just deactivate title tag so all the rest of them were already deactivated. So now you’ve got your SEO title, you’ve got keywords, you’ve got meta description.

We didn’t set any focus for keywords of focus so there’s no analysis to be done. We can setup all these advanced things this way and if you want to put some specific description here for Facebook. Add a Facebook image, add a Google+ description, you can do all that stuff here so there’s really no issues associated with setting this up.

Difference Between a Query Box and a Feature Box

Wendy asked me about a query box, okay. Wendy, a query box is a secondary loop in WordPress and it’s essentially a query of the database saying display some number of posts that meet this specific criteria. So in that case, there’s no relationship between the query box and the feature box. A feature box is a idea, it’s a place on a template that stuff gets displayed in. It’s no more or no less than that.

We refer to a feature box as something that sits on your front page that features some kind of content whether it’s a slider or it’s featured posts or it’s a featured page or whatever it is, it’s just some featured content and feature box in that case, is really a generic term similar to a hero box. It doesn’t really mean anything in itself except that it’s a place on a template where stuff is displayed.

Now a query box is a specific kind of function and the specific kind of function is that you can configure a query so that it shows something specific so let’s take one example. Now, this is not a beginner thing. Right now the feature box is setup as a widget area so you would just drop a widget into the feature box but if you were an intermediate user and you were going to work inside of the skin editor then you could come over here to the skin editor.

Click to edit, front page, open up the feature box, drag the feature box widget area out of it, go get that query box and drag the query box into it. Then we could decide what we wanted to show up there so we’ll drag the author out and the edit out. So we got the featured image, the excerpt and the headline and if all this looks like Greek to you then you really need to start someplace else. This is not the place to start.

You want to start by looking at the videos on how to use the skin editor and all that kind of stuff but if you’ve seen that stuff then we’ll use the full size image, we’re not going to link it to the post, we’re going to use left with text wrap. Then our headline is going to be an h2, we’ll link it to the page. Our excerpt, we’ll add a Read More link to and it can be that. We’ll save the template and then we need to come back over to the skin content and set the query box so that it features a page.

Right now it’s set to feature a post but we’ll feature a page, we’ll select the page, let’s say the East Side Craftsman Home, we’ll save our options and now you had a query box inside of a feature box. There it is, this is a query box in feature box.

The feature box has got the queried content and the query box is showing the large image from this page, it’s showing the title of that page, it’s showing the excerpt from the page and a link to Read More and when I link off to it and then it’s taking me to that page. So that is a query box in a feature box.

Query box is something that actually does something. It in this case, selected a very specific page to display and chose what to display of that page and the feature box is just a place we put it.

How to Setup Akismet?

Ray asked, “How do you setup Akismet?” Well I do have videos on setting up Akismet, it’s very simple and straightforward and really has nothing to do with Thesis, it’s exclusive to WordPress. If you go to the Start Building Your Website Here course or you can just search for Akismet also on the site. In fact, you can use my latest little narrowing down thing, let’s use the latest version of Akismet and here it is Lesson 13 Part 1 – Using the Akismet Anti-spam Plugin. It really doesn’t matter which one you use because setting up Akismet is setting up Akismet.

Setting Up Google XML Sitemaps

Ray asks, “Is there any easy way to submit a sitemap with Thesis?” No, Thesis doesn’t have anything to do with setting up sitemaps. Again, in that same course Start Building Your Website Here Lesson 13 – Integrating Your Site with Google includes a seminar on how to use a Google XML sitemaps. Just submit your site to both configure and setup your sitemap so it’s not a Thesis function it’s a WordPress function.

Adding HTML to a Page Using WordPress

“How would I create a new page and add HTML to it? Would I do that in WordPress or Thesis?” Yes, Edward you do that in WordPress. That is a WordPress function, creating a page is a WordPress function, adding content to it is a WordPress function, adding HTML to the page is a WordPress function. You just do that in the WordPress editor.

If that’s not perfectly clear to you, you might want to take a look at the seminar Introduction to HTML. Presuming that you’re talking about in the context of Thesis now, go to the Thesis Theme 2 seminars and look at my Introduction to HTML for WordPress and Thesis 2.1 Users. It shows you everything about that. Okay, any other questions? I think I’ve answered all the ones that have been asked so far.

Best Way to Sandbox a Website for Design

“What’s the best way to sandbox a website in design?” The best way to sandbox a website for design is just to create a sandbox domain and clone the site to your sandbox domain. Doing right now, I’ve got a sandbox domain, sandbox.byobwebsite.com you can even log in to it because that part of it is working.

Now obviously I’m fooling around with it so it doesn’t look all that terrific at the moment but this is my sandbox site and this is where I test things before I bring them live on to BYOBWebsite to make sure that it’s all working. So just create a subdomain, call it Sandbox if you wish, create a subdomain, clone the site to that subdomain and then do your work in that sandbox.

If you’re unclear about what I mean by clone your site then again, come over here to Seminars and under Plugin Seminars I have a seminar on using BackupBuddy. Backup, restore, Clone & Migrate with BackupBuddy. The interface is a little bit different today than it was when I did this and I will do another one of these relatively soon but the process is still exactly the same. Okay, anybody else?

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