Small Changes Can Mean Big Things

By Ian Fernando

If you are reading this from the front page, please look at the above image. Yesterday it was a default image and now it changes on a per post. This means you will not be staring at that boring image saying "What's New." I became bored of that and I wanted to do something with it, rotate 10 images on what is new. I then decided what if that image changes on per post and base on topic if not use the default image.

Well I decided to use the power of WordPress to do such thing. But before we discuss how I did that I want to talk about another adjustment I did. I separated my track backs and real comments from the comment section. So you will notice track backs as full links prior to the real comments.

The reason why I am doing this is because I want to keep the conversation flowing and not be interrupted by links that link to this particular post. I found a great tutorial on this on DailyBlogTips, it was very simple and easy, step by step. I am curious as to why no theme designer do not seperate them. The comment section looks neater and much easier to read, there is no interruption of the conversation that may be happening on the post.

Separating trackbacks from comments is a very simple tweak that will greatly improve the user experience for the people that comment or read comments on your blog. If you keep them together (as I used to until recently…) the readers will see a bunch of links and snippets of code mixed with the real comments, making it difficult to follow the conversation.

Kontera is Killing my Load Time

Another thing I did was remove the Kontera contextual link, there was a big analysis and I would like to thank Wes for giving me the heads up and what was taking up the load time on my blog. Apparently Kontera was taking a lot of my load time, the images were killing it and I have decided to remove it. Not a problem they are running on my other websites.

Adjusted Random Post

I also moved the random post to the top middle column, this is because I want all my post to be seen and read. So I will stick it in front of my readers. There are specific pages and post that may catch someone's attention. They may be interested in the small excerpt or even the title and want to read more. When it was in the left column and all the way at the bottom there were fewer readers and less clicks (clickheat told me so). So having it before all the other categories should help increase the readership and interest of others.

Using Unique Image on a Per Post Basis

So if you read the small excerpt from the front page of my blog you will have notice a unique image instead of the traditional "What's New." From now on you will see the default image or a unique image base on the post or what mood I am in. But the most recent post will have a unique image with it base on the post I am writing. It was quite simple, because I was looking at this:

I wanted to know what this was for, so I decided to do some reading and scouring. This field is useful to add basically anything you want, all you have to do is call that field and it inputs the value within your blog, anywhere you want - depending where you want to call it to. So using my 'not so great skills' I managed to create and call the image on the front page.

The custom section allows you to input any value and calling it by the 'key name'. This is great because I can call certain images, videos, links, etc all I want and uniquely and where ever in my post or context. Let's take a look what I did:

First I input this small code within the php get_header, this will look for the key from the custom field section of your WordPress post:

$feature_image = get_post_meta($post->ID, 'Feature Image', $single = true);

Next put the following code to where you want to call the image. I have mine above the recent post:

<?php // checks image for first post
if($feature_image !== '') { ?>
<?php // image link ?>
<a href="<? echo the_permalink(); ?>">
<?php // image display ?>
<img style="margin:5px 0px 10px 0px" src="<?php echo $feature_image; ?>" width="290" height="177" border="0" /></a>
<?php } // end

// my default image
else { echo '<img src="YOUR DEFAULT IMAGE HERE" />
'; } ?>

This script checks to see if there is a value within the field "Feature Image," if there is one display it, if not display the default. This is very useful since you can call what ever you want! Call a specific image or video base on post.

This means you can create multiple sections for a post:

  • thumbnail
  • alternative text
  • images
  • featured images
  • image for the post
  • video within post
  • hyperlink

Basically anything you want because all this does is call the custom field section and see if there is such a value and if there is then display. So now within the custom field all I have to do is create a key (field) Feature Image and give a value "hyper link to image" and it works. If I do not have anything within teh value field it choses the default if there is any.

Once the key is created, it will be located within the drop down box and you can just add in a value when ever needed. I found it to be quite useful; I was getting bored of that "Whats New" image.

The big advantage about this is that I like how I can create unique pictures above the most recent post. I was getting the banner blindness on the traditional "Whats New" image and I bet my readers and other readers were getting bored of it as well. So to make the website more interactive and lively I went and added and made use of the custom field within WordPress. Don't you love WordPress.

Sorry if I didn't explain it good enough.

Ian Fernando
Involved in the internet space since 2002 and have been through the ups and downs of this online industry. I am a traveling digital nomad, media buyer, online strategist, and many more online titles.

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