This post is about a wp-admin redirect problem that I encountered today. I’m writing about it as I found it difficult to source the solution (there appeared to be many). Here is the background:
I have 2 WordPress sites that were accessible to the public today. When I tried to go to the wp-admin page I was sent to an error 404 page on both sites. I had not updated any themes or plugins in the past few days and had never had this issue before.
Solutions that didn’t work:
- I cleared my browser cache and cookies (and tried it in a different browser)
- I removed my plugins
- I removed my active theme
- I deleted (and then restored) my .htaccess file
- I replaced the wp-admin folder with the latest version (even though it was up to date)
- I replaced the wp-includes folder with the latest version
None of the above worked, although they were reasonably touted as solutions. And I was getting on the right track. Here is what did work:
- I made a copy of all my top level-files
- Then I deleted all of those files e.g. wp-config-sample that were duplicated in the new installation
- I uploaded the latest versions of each file
TA DAAAAA! It worked.
Wp-admin redirect problem resolved
I was able to log in again after. It was never possible to establish precisely what was causing the issue from the forums that I read. I was very happy to resolve it eventually. It is a long time since I had a difficulty with WordPress and it is reassuring to be able to solve it with just a little sweat.
Duolingo has been around for a while and it is a testament to just how good it is that it is still so successful. It uses gamification to help users persist at learning a language long after the initial excitement disappears. It blends this with a beautiful and intuitive interface to make it easy to see your progress and to continue returning to it day after day.
You start by picking a language and then you start on your skills tree. You need to get 17 of twenty exercises correct to pass a set; pass the one to ten sets in each skill and it turns golden. You can then move to the next row of skills and pick any of them but you need to complete everything on a row to move on.
The exercises are a mixture of types which never become repetitive.
The neat part of Duolingo
A web content matrix can be an immensely useful in tracking your content. Before you create one, you need to decide what information you are going to record on it. Having too much information will make the document unwieldy and time-consuming, perhaps leading to its abandonment. Having too little information can lead to the excel content matrix not fulfilling its potential.
So how do you know what to include?
Creating a web content matrix
You need to make some decisions before you start.
- How long is the website going to exist for? A typical website may last 3 years before being rebuilt.
- What information will be useful for you to have in that time period before the website gets rebuilt? Some information will change regularly and some will be static (such as URLS). Having these all in one place can save you a lot of time.
- Who is going to use it? If this is just for one person (yourself) then you can be quite flexible (e.g. “I know that information is a little old but I don’t need to spend time updating it right now”). If it will be used by multiple people then it needs to be clear what is on it and how accurate it is.
Having a lot of information (such as photo URLs used) that change a lot make the content matrix very difficult to maintain, and you may be better off leaving them out.
The Cycle Ireland Content Matrix
I have 100 routes on the cycleireland.ie site, with 200+ pages, so I wanted all of the information that I would regularly refer to in one place. I used the following columns in my content matrix:
- Route ID
- Short name (used on the app)
- Main image
- Video URL
- GPX filename
- Long name (used on the site)
- Directions page URL
- Type (linear or loop)
- Status (on the free or paid app)
- Central co-ordinate (used by the app)
- Number of photos in gallery
- Word count
- Start town
- Finish town
- Published date
This matrix gave an an overview of the site in a number of important ways. A couple of columns – number of photos and word count – were not updated when changed but still gave a rough overview. If I needed accurate figures for these I could update them at any time. Others, such as rating, occasionally changed and the matrix was updated in tandem. The most important thing is that I understood what was accurate and what was estimated, which is easy to show in a spreadsheet, however you choose to do it.
What about large sites?
This web content matrix was for a small site. If you have a much larger one you need to decide for yourself what is important and how deep to go. Nobody else can make that decision for you. It is a good idea as you are starting off to quickly create a simple matrix and then add to it as you find yourself requiring information.
In this way you don’t need to make a huge blind commitment that you may later regret.
Too often a website is designed by marketing/business development people and only then is handed over to a content manager around the time of the launch. The content manager is then left to develop content processes to fit around the site that has been designed, compounding any errors made in the site design.
Building a site for web content
When discussing what a Web Content Strategist does, it is very easy to get bogged down on all of the different requirements of a role that spans so many disciplines. It is a very useful exercise to reduce it to its most important elements. In the excellent The Web Content Strategist’s Bible, Richard Sheffield outlines 4 key qualities for a content manager which have nothing to do with technical requirements. He contends that the individual must be:
- A decent writer and editor
- Someone who understands how to plan and implement a project
- Someone who really wants to do this kind of work
- Someone who understands the bare basics of how the web works technically
And that’s it. Everything else is ‘gravy’.
Different jobs will have different emphases and technical requirements. I would fully agree with the above. Of course I can think of half a dozen other attributes to add to the list but that is self-defeating.
I have been working on a retail site and the issue of how to label the Buy button cam e up. Different possibilities have different connotations:
- Buy – blunt
- Add to cart – impersonal
- Purchase – too formal
- Buy now – too bossy
To complicate matters the site is not traditional in that it sells high-ticket items that people are unlikely to buy more than one of. That makes the concept of a virtual shopping basket less appropriate than it might be on other sites.
I wanted to check out the labelling that big retailers use to get a pointer on this.
- Wiggle – add to basket
- Asos – add to bag
- Amazon – add to basket
- Fashionphile – add to bag
- Chain reaction Cycles – add to basket
- Yoogis closet – add to shopping bag
- Harvey Norman – add to cart
- Pixmania – add to basket
We have 4 “Add to basket”, 2 “Add to bag”, 1 “Ad to cart” and 1 “Add to shopping bag”.
I want my terminology to be consistent with what people are use to, so I will use the phrase “Add to…” on the button. But add to what? I don’t want to use “bag,” as handbags are what the site primarily sells. If they were one of twenty product types it would be ok, but they are the primary one. So that’s out. That leaves “basket”or “cart”.
I think “basket” is the less harsh and more modern of the two, so that’s the one to go for. We can test it at a later point if we don’t like the conversion rates.
Your homepage web content is most likely the most important web content on your site. Naturally it is the part of the site that you should spend the most time on. A good exercise is to determine the calls of action that you most want to direct users to, such as:
- buy a product
- contact you with questions/complains
- sign up to a mailing list
- follow you on facebook/twitter/pinterest
- read your content
Once you have written them down, put them in the order of most to least important. Now take the first one. That is what should be the first thing on your homepage. All the others must fit around it, whether in navigation bars, sidebars, headers, footers or in a different part of the main content area.
Too often homepages look like a junkyard, with every possible action to be found there, and complete confusion as to where you intended journey through the site is meant to be.
Look at your homepage and see if you can simplify it. Make the most important thing that visitors can do clear to both them and to you. Other things should be findable and placed where people would expect them to be.
You may end up with something very different and very fresh.
A lack of knowledge or skill in proofing will kill the credibility of your website faster than almost anything else. Everybody has different levels of proficiency but it is important to be self-aware and to understand your own.
They are two separate issues. Your knowledge of grammar is important in the writing stage. If you don’t have the basics nailed down you are seriously limiting your potential as a web content writer or strategist – it is a key business skill. There are plenty of books available on the topic, such as Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss.
If you are weak in this area you should set aside some time regularly to improve your skills.
This is a pretty good way to save spave on your site when you have only one set of contact details. It is particularly useful when you have a long homepage. Your contact details should be on your footer without your visitor having to click in to another page, but if you have a lot of blogposts on your homepage you don’t want them to have to scroll all the way down to view them.
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Paul Kimmage interview with Floyd Landis on NY Velocity.
In 2010 the journalist Paul Kimmage interviewed the former pro cyclist Floyd Landis for a newspaper article. Landis won the 2006 Tour de France before having his title stripped for a doping offence. Coming from a Mennonite background and having been almost completely ostracised from the sport, Landis is an unusual character in comparison to most cyclists.
Kimmage read through the transcript of his 7 hour conversation with Landis and decided there was more to it than he could cover in a single newspaper article. A couple of months later the full, 31,000 word transcript was published on nyvelocity.com, an act which would not have been plausible offline.
The interview quickly gained attention and led directly to multiple lawsuits which divided and galvanised cycling fans. The topic of doping is discussed at length in the interview and revelations would dominate the sport since.
Only online could you publish such a document and see it spread so quickly. It was an inspired and brave decision to do so and shows how not all content decisions can be made by referring to guidelines or usual practice.
Don’t be afraid to take risks with your own content and to test what happens when you do something unexpected.