Category Archives: WordPress Tips

Creating a Link to Custom View of Custom Google Map

So there is a pretty good amount of information out there about how to customize your view on regular Google Maps. However, several of the API methods do not work when trying to view your own custom map. I am not sure why this is, but it is annoying. After some research and some experimentation I found a small set of variables that the API does accept and work as of writing this article. Hopefully this will be helpful for you as I write many things in here simply as references for my own use when working on my many websites.

This works on your own custom maps you create with Google Maps. The idea is to have one custom map that shows many things. In may case a map of Colorado camping locations.  I write reviews of these campgrounds and want to include a link to my map. But that link needs to zoom into the campground and to center it in the screen.

Camp Out Colorado Campsite Map Normal View

To accomplish this we simply build a url with the proper parameters so that when the user is redirected to the map it also zooms in and centers on the specific campsite.

What We Need to Create a Custom View of Custom Google Map

Custom Map ID

This is found in the URL of the base custom map.

Camp Out Colorado Campground Map:

What we are looking for is mid. Grab everything that is after the “=” and before the “&” if it is there.

Longitude and Latitude

This can easily be found by opening a normal Google Map and select “What’s here?” This will give you a small infobox with what is there along with the exact longitude and latitude. Copy that.

In my case it is: 39.34385,-106.61257

Zoom Level

This is up to you. I like a zoom of 10-14 depending on how close in you want your map to zoom. I have a lot of campsites on the map and many are relatively close to each other. So I zoom in close to really make sure they know which one it is.

Create Link to Custom View of Custom Google Map

Start with the map viewer;


Then add your map id;

  • mid=1NOd9T5rPujjSZ1h7bQ0CX_x-jEE

Then add your zoom index, make sure to begin separating parameters with “&”.

  • z=14

Lastly add in your longitude and latitude together in one parameter.

  • ll=39.34385%2C-106.61257

So the final URL looks like;

There are other things that can be done but I will not go into those now. This should help to be able to simply create a custom map link that will zoom into the required spot.

Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions to make this easier or better.

Now, to figure out how to embed a zoomed in custom map into a page.


WordPress Cron Can Kill a Website

I have run into this several times now so I thought I would write a quick article on it. It seems that WordPress’s cron really mess up a website.  Too many cron events will slow down your website. It can even cause timeout errors and out of memory issues.

What is cron?

Cron is basically a system to run programs in the background operation of your website. For a detailed explanation find out more here: Cron Info.

WordPress cron runs every time someone goes to your website. This is great as many plugin creators design software to do all kinds of fun and interesting things with your website. The downside is that these cron tasks can add up if not properly cleaned up. The average WordPress blog creator may not even know this exists. Worse, it can get full of all kinds of useless or out of data cron jobs.

The trouble is all these cron jobs are still queried, and possibly run, every time someone goes to your website. Over time this will certainly slow down your site. Especially if you experiment with many different plugins as many of them will leave residual cron tasks when they are uninstalled.

Check the WordPress Cron

First check your the WordPress cron and see if there is an unreasonable amount of cron jobs.

What’s unreasonable? That can vary greatly but I would say over 50 and you probably have too many. On my latest website with issues there were almost 20,000! Hard to say where they came from, but they needed to be cleared out!

First and foremost always backup your database when doing anything in it.

I prefer to go directly into the database with phpMyAdmin. Run the following SQL query.

This will retrieve the record of your cron jobs. In the option value field you will see something like this.

The only thing you really need to worry about is the very beginning of this entry. It will tell you how many cron jobs are present. In this case, there are 20.

In my case it looked like this.

19722! Yikes. This was pretty much crashing the website. Good news though. It is really easy to fix. Simply delete the cron entry and because of the magic and quality of WordPress the cron will be rebuilt the next time someone goes to your website. Easy as that!

Now you may need to go though and check your plugins, anything that schedules tasks, and verify that they are still scheduled and working. In most cases they will be. If not, set up the task again. These are things like calendars, auto backups, auto posts etc. All of these are done through cron jobs.

There is also a pretty cool plugin you can use to look at your cron jobs in a more UI friendly way.

Hopefully this helps you clean up and speed up your WordPress site!

Avoid Google SERP Penalty Make Sure Website is Mobile Friendly

Google is rolling out some changes this week that are going to penalize websites that are not mobile ready. It’s rare that they warn about upcoming changes so I think it is safe to assume that if your website is not mobile ready, according to Google, that you may experience a sharp decline in Google listing.

To check your website use the following tool:

Even if you think your site is mobile friendly use the above tool. I was using some older themes and had customized them so that they appeared mobile friendly. Such as scaling for smaller devices, but the Google Mobile Friendly tool still saw them as not ready. It’s important that that tool shows that your website is mobile friendly. The best thing to do is to change your website theme to something that is advertised as 100% mobile friendly. Once you change, test it immediately to be sure that it is. Some say they are responsive when in reality they are still failing Googles Mobile Friendly test. Once you find one that you like then go about fine tuning it into what you would like your website to look like.

It’s hard to recommend a specific one, because each website has its own needs. So the best thing to do is search for “Responsive” web themes.

Here are a few I am testing out on a couple different websites. I run websites that are cookie cutter pages to fully customized.

  • Twenty Fourteen – WordPress Basic Theme
  • Customizr – Free version has some customization, premium has more.
  • evolve-  Free version has lots customization, premium has more.

Here is the alert sent out by Google.

Is your site mobile-friendly?
Starting April 21, Google Search will be expanding its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. Double-check and your other sites are ready for this change by testing pages of your site with the Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
Take Mobile-Friendly Test

This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in Google Search results. Users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results optimized for their devices.

By being mobile-friendly, you’ll benefit too by growing your audience and revenue across all screens.

Responsive Display
My site’s already mobile optimized: do I need to take action?
Even if you already have a mobile-optimized site, it’s worth taking some time to double-check your site’s pages using the Mobile-Friendly Test tool. Also, check out the AdSense Multiscreen Implementation Guide, which covers AdSense implementation best practices to improve monetization on mobile.

Mobile Usability Report
My site isn’t mobile-friendly: how do I get started?
The guide to mobile-friendly sites can help you get started, while you get a full list of mobile usability issues across your sites by logging in to your Webmaster Tools account and using the Mobile Usability Report. You can also check out the AdSense Multi-Screen Starter Guide and post questions to Webmaster Central Forums to get support.

Mobile is critical to your business and will continue to be so. Make sure visitors can have a good experience on your site when they’re visiting from their mobile devices.

See you online,
The Google AdSense Team

Good luck getting your websites upgraded to be Mobile Friendly!

Manually Change WordPress Theme to Default in Database

Here is how to manually change the WordPress theme to a default (Twenty Fifteen) in database. Do not use this method if you are not familiar with manually editing your WordPress Database in phpMyAdmin.

The three option_name rows in the database that need to be changed. These are what control which theme is currently active on your WordPress website.

  • template – the “Theme Name” as defined in style.css
  • stylesheet – the actual name of your theme folder
  • current_theme -the actual name of your theme folder


This tutorial on how to manually change WordPress theme to default assumes that the prefix of your database is wp_. If it isn’t, make sure to change the code presented below to match.

SQL to Find WordPress Theme Settings

First, run this to see what the current theme is set in your WordPress website.

Copy this information to somewhere safe. This is so you can quickly revert or change it later if you would like to.

SQL to Change Theme to Default in WordPress

Make sure that you have the default theme for WordPress loaded into /wp-content/themes/. For this example I am using the Twenty Fifteen WordPress default theme.

This works with ANY theme. Just make sure the theme files are loaded into your website.

Run the following code. Change ‘twentyfifteen’ to whatever WordPress theme you are using if not Twenty Fifteen.

Problems Changing WordPress Theme Default Manually

The most common problems are:

  • Typo in SQL
  • Missing Theme Files
  • Cached Page – Purge or Disable Cache

Please let me know if I missed anything or if you have additional tips.

This is a really handy fast trick to use to fix a WordPress website that you cannot access normally. Manually changing WordPress theme to default in the database is a fast and great way to test out and debug your website.

Combine WordPress and phpBB with WP-United

Update 8/1/2014:

Good news! It appears this plugin has been picked back up. This is great as it is really the only thing out there that brings phpbb and wordpress together. I have installed it and am using it on and it is working well. I am not using the more advanced features, just the shared login. But so far so good!


After some investigation it appears the plugin author for this has not been active in either the WordPress or phpBB communities since March 11, 2013. It does not appear this is supported anymore. It is probably a bad idea to use it now.


If you are looking for a way to integrate phpBB with WordPress it seems that WP-United : phpBB WordPress Integration is the way to go. I have only started working with it but it seems to work quite well to bring phpBB into WordPress. It is great to be able to have such a robust forum inside of WordPress.  I will post more when I have a better feeling for it.

For now I am going to post a few of the support files that are needed for it since their website seems to be temporarily down.

You will need to have AutoMOD installed in your phpBB board. That can be found here:

Then you will need the mod by WP-United. This can be downloaded:

Just upload that file in AutoMOD in the ACP of phpBB and you should then be able to connect and manage your users.

Remove Date from WordPress Permalink URLs for SEO with htaccess

When using WordPress for your website it will default to the standard URL format showing the page number. However, many of us have changed or initially set up our WordPress blogs using the dates in the URL’s such as Initially you might think that the date in the URL may be helpful for visitors to your website to help them know when an article was initially written. It may be helpful, but has been shown to actually hurt your website. Visitors might not have confidence in an older article, even if it is a great article and valid the day they visit it. Most importantly though, it clutters up your URL and ultimately will hinder your search engine rankings.

WordPress permalink setting allows bloggers to customize the structure of a URL. Doing so correctly will help your WordPress website to be search engine optimized, improve the aesthetics, usability, and forward-compatibility of navigation and links. Within WordPress’s Permalinks setting, WordPress presents a few common permalinks structure, of which at least two are date-based.

The data-based permalinks have the following URL structure:


The date in URL unnecessary adds to the length of URL, can dissuade visitors, and hurt SEO. The best SEO practice is to strike off and remove the /yyyy/mm/dd or /yyyy/mm from the URL structure of the WordPress permalinks.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to change the permalinks structure of your WordPress websites URLs with proper redirect in the .htaccess file. This will help your WordPress website to avoid 404 page not found errors and minimize the loss of traffic due to incoming out of date URL’s any links to your website. This will help your navigation, make your site more user friendly, improve your SERPs, and Google’s PageRank.

The URL’s of your WordPress premalinks will end up in this format: This should be the format that most WordPress websites or any other website should strive for. It is clear and concise and will help users and search engines better understand and use your website.

  1. First change the permalinks configuration in your Worpress. Go to the WordPress Dashboard of your website and navigate to Settings -> Permalinks.
  2. Select Post name in WordPress Permalink Settings..
  3. Select Save Changes in WordPress Permalink Settings.
  4. FTP or SSH into the web server which hosts the WordPress installation, and go to the directory where the .htaccess file is located for the site. This should be in the WordPress website root directory.
  5. Create a copy of the .htaccess file. Sample: .htaccess_backup
  6. Edit the .htaccess file directly. OR Download the .htaccess file and edit it locally. Then upload it when you are done.
  7. Edit the .htaccess with editor such as notepad, Wordpad, or any other text file editor.
  8. Add one of the two code blocks below depending on your old URL structure above the WordPress code in your .htaccess file.

For existing permalinks with /%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname%/:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^([0-9]+)/([0-9]+)/([0-9]+)/(.*)$ /$4 [R=301,NC,L]

For existing permalinks with /%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^([0-9]+)/([0-9]+)/(.*)$ /$3 [R=301,NC,L]

  1. Save the WordPress .htaccess file.
  2. Immediately test your WordPress website. Any error in the code can easily shut down your site with server errors. Access your WordPress website to be sure it is still functional. If it is not. Replace the edited .htaccess file with your backup or change the file back to how it was. Then try to enter the code again.
  3. With your WordPress website working enter a few links with the old URL structure to test that the redirection is working properly.

You may want to utilize MySQL replace function to replace the links with old permalink structure in posts, pages and comments to new URLs directly in database, much like what is been done when moving WordPress to new domain or location. Useful when you have thousands of articles which make manual changing impossible.

You can easily track problem URL’s with Google Webmaster Tools. This is an invaluable to keep track of the health of your site and to discover and correct issues that may be hurting your SEO and Google rankings.

WordPress Update Services List 200+ Ping Services

If you have a WordPress blog and website, you need to be able to have people find it on the internet. There are a million different things you can do to drive traffic to your web site but few are as easy as making sure that the blog servivces out on the internet are aware of your blog. Not only do these blog services need to know your blog exists, they also need to know when and what you publish on your website. One of the first steps to accomplishing this is to make sure that your WordPress settings are set up so that your WpordPress blog will announce new content. WordPress has a setting that you can just add the URL’s of these updating services and WordPress will handle the rest. Some hosts may not support pinging your blog. If this is the case, get another web hosting provider. I recommend FatCow > Host your Web site with FatCow!.

How To Use the WordPress Update Services List

  1. Go to the Admin panel in your WordPress website.
  2. Open Settings in the WordPress Admin menu.
  3. Select Writing in the WordPress Admin menu.
  4. Go down to the bottom of the WordPress writing settings page and you will see a section titled Update Services.
  5. Copy the WordPress Update Service List below. (Control+C)
  6. Paste the WordPress Update Service List into the box for the Update Services. (Control+V) Make sure there is one URL per line or the WordPress Update Service will not work correctly.
  7. Make sure to save your save your settings in WordPress.

It’s as easy as that to update your WordPress Update Services. Now, whenever you post something new on your WordPress website all of these services will be pinged with the changes to your website. This can increase your website traffic quite a bit in some cases.

Here is a WordPress Update Services List I have compiled from about a dozen “comprehensive” lists that all were missing some update services or another.

WordPress Update Services List


If there are any services you know about that are not on this list please post them below and I will get them added ASAP.

Good luck blogging with WordPress!