WordPress + IIS 7.5 + .NET in root

IIS 7.5 WordPress in root

This is just a really quick post to hopefully help others looking to get WordPress working on a Windows based server with a specific need… you want to run WordPress in the root of an existing site that is already running a site or several virtual sites in there already.

Or put another way – you want WordPress to run alongside existing web site content and / or site(s) on Windows Server 2008 under one domain name. For example:

  1. www.mysite.com (.aspx) + Your-New-WordPress-Site(s) running as www.mysite.com/something
    1. /virtualsite (.asp)
    2. /virtualsite2 (.aspx)
IIS 7.5 WordPress in root
IIS 7.5 + WordPress + Existing site(s)

I haven’t got time to go over how to install WordPress on a Windows server (happy to do this in comments if people want help), so cutting to the chase:

  • You have all the standard WordPress files in the root and some other file type as the default document e.g. default.aspx or index.html
  • You need to get WordPress playing alongside these other sites and default documents
  • You have URL Rewrite Module 2.0 installed and working already for your other .asp, .aspx or .html content

You need to edit your web.config file so you place something like the following as the first rule:

<rewrite>
    <rules>
        <rule name="Main Rule" stopProcessing="true">
            <match url="^(MainBlogCategory|tag|page|author|feed|OtherCategories)(.*)$" ignoreCase="false" />
            <action type="Rewrite" url="index.php" />
        </rule>
       Your Existing rules continue below...

If the above makes no sense or you want more help shout below.

Thanks

The Best E-Commerce Plugin for WordPress?

WordPress Shoping Cart

It’s a tough question. It’s a tough proposition – you’ve got a client on the phone, they want to start uploading products yesterday, you know you’re onto a winner with WordPress as their CMS but which of the myriad e-commerce plugins do you choose?

Well let me take you on a little journey…

What E-Commerce Plugins Are Out There?

Loads, frankly. More than I have time to write about here today. So, in alphabetical order no less, here are 6 contenders and a little bit about each of them:

WordPress Shoping Cart
An example Shopping Cart

eShop (available here)
Once installed will give you shopping cart functionality to any Page in WordPress, lots of payment options and allows product options.

Quick Shop (available here)
Adds a nice sidebar cart widget and a button to TinyMCE to add products to posts/pages. Simple, minimal & PayPal compatible.

Shopp (available here)
Once you’ve flicked the switch you’ll have access to more features than I’m able to list in this tiny intro. Shopp offers a great deal of customisation to practically every aspect of the shopping experience but you’ll pay for the privilege with prices starting from $55.

WP e-Commerce (available here)
A seriously popular shop plugin, WP e-Commerce claims to be the ‘best’ out there and in terms of bells and whistles this is certainly hard to argue with. Some of the additional features of this plugin are premium, so you’ll have to reach into your pocket before you can see them on your website.

WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart (available here)
Comes with a cart which can be added to by clicking an “Add to Cart” PayPal button on posts and pages. You can add options to products but primarily it adds the “Add to Cart” button.

YAK for WordPress (available here)
Another no frills, really simple plugin which allows you to associates products with posts or pages as well as offering  categorisation and of course various payment methods.

And the Best E-Commerce Plugin Is…

Ah, I knew you were going to ask that.  I’m going to have to put my cards on the table and say that when it came to the crunch I didn’t have time to investigate all of them.  Who does when you’ve got a deadline to meet? So instead I weighed up the pros and cons of these plugins from their respective write-ups and finally narrowed the choice down to 2 finalists.

WP e-Commerce and Shopp

Unfortunately, in every battle there is a winner and a loser.  WP e-Commerce looked really good.  I even installed it and it functioned really well but the problem was that there seemed to be too many premium upgrades relating to the core functionality my client had asked for.  And so, regrettably, and even though it was a truly exceptional plugin, I dismissed WP e-Commerce and move on to the winner of this imaginary bout:

Shopp

Yes, it’s a premium plugin but what appealed to me was that it had everything I needed, everything that myself and my client considered to be at the core of a great online store and everything would work straight out of the box.

To my utter amazement that was exactly what happened and I instantly had the framework for an e-commerce website live and ready to go.

Since then I have become something of a convert to the Shopp plugin. It’s easy to set up, easy to administer, the documentation on the website is not just comprehensive but it actually make sense and it useful…  Of course all of that is good but there is icing on this particular cake in the form of theme templates which allow you to customise the look and functionality of 99% of the customer facing aspects of the shop.

And that last 1%?

Just write your own code, drop it in your own templates and you’ll have that covered too.

What can you do with it?

A WordPress E-commerce site
A Shopp Category Listing

The last website I built with this plugin was for Coco Joy Boutique who sell handmade jewellery, bridal accessories and monsters (yes, monsters) and this serves as quite a nice little showcase for what is possible using Shopp. With it I have used some of the core functionality that you would usually expect to see like categories, carts, products, images, etc.  but the custom design used on the site I think would have challenged some of the lesser plugins.

With Shopp it was just a case of getting in there, digging in and coding up a solution.

And finally…

So that was my experience of falling for an e-commerce plugin but what’s yours? Was I wrong? Do my affections belong elsewhere? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the shop plugins mentioned here (or any others for that matter) in the comments area below:

When not working with The Blog House, Adam’s alter ego beckons as he dons cape and mask as one of the Superhighwaymen.

Google Instant Search and SEO

Google Instant Search SEO

So Google have just announced the launch of their instant search feature but what does it mean for Search Engine Optimisation or SEO?

First up what is Google Instant Search?

Well Instant Search really needs to be seen to be believed and if you are in the USA or are signed into Google and in the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Russia AND using Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or IE 8 you will be able to do so anytime from now.

For those who can’t see Instant Search yet, think of Instant Search as all the clever Google Ajax technologies and Ad Words stats etc being combined into a master tool speeding up users queries on average by 2 – 5 seconds per query. Google basically shows you your search results LIVE whilst you type each character so naturally being interested in SEO for both our own projects and client’s what does this mean for SEO as we know it?

Google Instant Search and our thoughts regarding SEO

  • First page results are going to be even more important for getting users using Google Instant Search to your web site.
  • Second page results are going to be for people who really know what they are looking for.
  • With the above in mind, getting in the top 3 or even 2 results is going to be even more important especially for highly competitive keyword terms which will have more sponsored ads at the top of the listings pushing the natural results down the page.
  • You will need to start paying a lot more attention to the Google suggest results in order to see which keywords are more valuable – number of searches via Adwords tools etc is simply not going to be enough to ensure you know what Google thinks it knows about the end user’s queries.
  • Are we going to start to see SEO people targeting 1 and 2 letter combinations to get in the top 3 results for popular queries and if so will Google spot these and remove them?
  • Google’s results look A LOT different on lower resolution screens like netbooks making the top 2 results the most important for these users.
  • How is this going to affect mobile searches when it is rolled out in the coming months?

Google Instant Search SEOWhat can you do now?

  • We would advise going and using Google Instant search using the current search terms that bring you the most traffic now.
  • Check if your site shows up in the top 3 results for the keywords important for you
  • Start thinking about how you can target some of the important keywords that are now showing up around the important keywords your site use and get in touch if you need professional help and advice.

Is SEO as we know it dead?

No and not by a long way but we can see top 3 results becoming even more valued with the roll out of Google Instant Search over the coming months.

What do you think?

Let us know your thoughts on Instant Search below…

UPDATE: Check out this great summary of the work that has gone into the new Google Instant Search

How to Customize Twenty Ten

Twenty Ten WordPress Theme

Twenty Ten is the new default theme for WordPress 3.0 and makes great use of all the new features this new major release brings so it seems to make sense to start with this as a base for your next WordPress based project’s theme yeah?

Well before you start jumping in and hacking the code you need to realise Twenty Ten is in fact a Parent Theme and you can make ALL your required CSS / Function and Template modifications in a subdirectory so when the main Twenty Theme is updated all those tweaks and hacks won’t be lost for ever – cool ay?

Of course WordPress do a great job of explaining how to start working with Child Themes using Twenty Ten as the base here but we thought we would summarise our take on this for those who need the bare minimum to get started: Got your favourite PHP / CSS editor ready? Great let’s begin…

How to set up your directory should be set up

The most important aspect of getting your new child theme working is making sure you have the required files in the correct place like this:

  • web root
    • wp-content
      • themes (directory where all your themes are)
        • twentyten (directory where the Twenty Ten Theme is)
        • your-new-twentyten-child (directory of your new child theme – you can call this anything!)
          • style.css (the only 100% required file in a child theme which must be named style.css)
          • functions.php – this is optional but is the place to add new functions to your theme. It is loaded in addition to the parent’s functions.php and right before the parent’s file.
          • header.php, index.php etc – Again you don’t need these but the best thing to do is make a copy of the original Twenty Ten Theme files you want to modify and store them here. Then edit these copies to remove things that you cannot do via the nice new options within the WordPress Admin area and be safe in the knowledge you can always just delete your copies to get back to the Twenty Ten Originals

What needs to be in the child style.css file as a bare minimum

The following is the standard

/*
Theme Name:     My Twenty Ten Child
Theme URI:      http: //thebloghouse.com
Description:    My child theme for the Twenty Ten theme
Author:                Andy
Author URI:     http: //thebloghouse.com
Template:       twentyten
Version:        0.1.0
*/

@import url("../twentyten/style.css");

/* The following CSS is our example - you do not need to change your site's title link colour */

#site-title a {
    color: #009900;
}

Seems easy enough yeah?

Only thing you need to watch out for is if you want to say change the way Twenty Ten deals with certain CSS values you need to make sure you copy the full original CSS into your style CSS and change each value. By this we mean say you want to change the nice new Twenty Ten footer. You would find the following in the original style.css and copy this to your style.css file:

#colophon {
 border-top: 2pt solid #000;
 }

However simply removing the border-top: 2pt solid #000; part will NOT remove the border – you would need to have the following none value to override the original style.css:

#colophon {
 border-top: none;
 }

Obviously this is a very quick and simplistic look at the great work that everyone who has worked on and contributed to WordPress 3.0 and the Twenty Ten theme but if you are struggling with the basics hopefully the info above might help.

If not I would suggest reading the documentation again here, check out the 1 hour + video below by Steve Bruner and his WordPress 3.0 Customization Techniques or feel free to post a question in the comments below.