Housekeeping: Site Improvements

With some extra time at New Year’s, I took the chance to make some site overhauls and improvements, the last of which were finished last night.

The biggest update was the removal of a plugin that was putting a heavy load on the database server. Though it is unlikely that non-commenting users noticed this due to my use of the Super Cache plugin, it was causing the database to take longer to load articles and even was putting a strain on my host.

Unfortunately the plugin in question was the one I used to improve the search functionality so, for the moment, I am back to the default WordPress search engine. I will probably wind up replacing the site search engine with Google in the coming days as it is what I use to search my own site.

I am loathe to do that for many reasons, but the default WordPress search engine simply does not work effectively.

Comments Changes

Commenters may have noticed that I disabled the reCATPCHA plugin last night. The reason isn’t to stop using it, but to give Defensio a real test.

Earlier, during the trackback spam attack, the staff there asked me to give the service a shake once things settled down for them. Since they haven’t had any issues in a while and recently released an update on their plugin, I decided to give it a try and have disabled reCAPTCHA to see how it works.

I’ll provide updates on that as I have a better idea of the effectiveness.

Other Updates

I updated several other plugins, most of them behind the scenes but two to watch out far are the contact form, which a few people said was not working, and the comment edit feature of the site. Both plugins, Comment Form 7 and WP Ajax Edit Comments had updates and they have been installed.

Please let me know if you have any problems with them.

Twitter Changes

After the recent Twitter outage I switched my sidebar widget to Jaiku. However, I’ve switched it back to Twitter after realizing I have absolutely no friends on Jaiku and a growing presence on Twitter.

If anyone wants to follow me on Twitter, my username there is PlagiarismToday.

Theme Changes

Finally, though I haven’t made any changes yet, I am strongly considering making some changes to the look and feel of this site. Namely, I’m wanting to create a new theme so that I can better highlight important content including the “Stopping Internet Plagiarism” series, popular articles and other key pieces.

The current theme really doesn’t give me much chance to do that and I’m looking for any advice. I’m checking out the usual theme resources but have not seem much to work with and I’ve sent out a few feelers to theme developers.

I’d be very interested to hear what your thoughts on this are and what you would like to see from any new theme that is used. I certainly don’t want to change things too much, but some rearrangement is in order.

Thank you in advance for your input!

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