A fresh start for MennoSites

For the last two years this website has been sorely neglected. That will hopefully be changing over the next few months. In the spring of 2012 I returned to school and my WordPress consulting and other ventures took a back seat to studying. This summer I rejoined the work force after taking a job as a software developer working for a company here in Saskatoon. Now that I’ve settled into the new job I’m hoping to once again dust of this website and start posting original, informative content related to WordPress, the Genesis Framework, and anything else that I find interesting or useful. I’ve taken some content off the site and will be removing more as I update the information and try to refocus the blog on WordPress and the web. Please stay tuned over the next few months as I get everything up and running again!

New website for Mennonite Trust Ltd.

We recently launched a brand new website for Mennonite Trust Ltd.

Since 1917 Mennonite Trust Ltd. has been in the business of providing financial and estate services from a Christian perspective. Formed as a joint partnership between Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches and the Fellowship of Evangelical Bible Churches, Mennonite Trust Ltd. is a truly Christian business with a genuine Christian perspective.

Mennonite Trust Ltd. has offices in Waldheim, Saskatoon, and Swift Current.
You can visit their new site here!

Help limit WordPress comment spam with your .htaccess file

Many spambots will visit wp-comments-post.php directly to comment on your WordPress site instead of actually going through a post. You can combat this type of spam by modify the .htaccess file of your WordPress site with the following code:

Example:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_METHOD} POST
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} .wp-comments-post.php*
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !.*mydomain.* [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^$
RewriteRule (.*) ^http://%{REMOTE_ADDR}/$ [R=301,L]

Note: You will need to replace mydomain with your domain name with no prefix.

Example:

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !.*mennosites.ca.* [OR]

How to include WordPress shortcodes outside of the Loop or in a Template

Shortcodes are a great way to quickly add many different types of functions within pages or posts on your WordPress site. Many plugins and WordPress itself include shortcodes to access their functionality. You can also create your own shortcodes by writing your own plugins or adding to your themes functions.php. Now there are occasions when it is handy to include shortcodes in WordPress page/post templates or within WordPress theme files. You can quickly add a shortcode into any php file with the following code:

echo do_shortcode("[shortcode]");

World Backup Day

For those of you who don’t know, today March 31st is World Backup Day. In our increasingly digitized world, keeping your data safe and secure both professionally and personally becomes increasingly important!

Today I received an email from Host Gator with the following stats:

  • All hard drives will crash during their lifetime
  • More than 1 in 10 laptops will be stolen in their lifetime
  • A laptop is stolen every 53 seconds
  • Every year 46% of computer users lose their music, photos, and documents
  • 50% of all hard drives will crash within 5 years
  • 89.1% of PC users don’t perform regular backups
  • A recent study from Gartner, Inc., found that 90 percent of companies that experience data loss go out of business within two years.
  • 70 percent of companies go out of business after a major data loss

If you are not regularly backing up your files please take the time to find and setup a backup solution. You can read a number of articles on how to backup your computer at WorldBackupDay.com.

Personally I use a mixture of Rsync and Rsnapshot to backup both my personal and business data. I love the amount of control I have over the backup process, and the fact that none of my data is stored in a proprietary format that locks me into one company or program.

If you aren’t backing up your website MennoSites.ca can help you setup an automatic, easy to use solution.

Modify WordPress AutoSave interval

WordPress automatically saves revisions to your posts and pages every 60 seconds. You are able to modify decrease the time interval if you’d like to reduce the chance of losing changes or increase it to cut down on the load to your database.

You can change the autosave frequency by adding the one of the following lines to the site’s wp-config.php file.

Examples:

/* Set AutoSave to 30 Seconds */
define ('AUTOSAVE_INTERVAL', 30); 
/* Set AutoSave to 5 Minutes */
define ('AUTOSAVE_INTERVAL', 300); 

GossenInsurance.ca is now BlocksAgencies.ca

Recently we launched a new website for Gossen Insurance. As of April 1st they have been bought by Block’s Agencies and will be operating under that name, along with two other agencies in Borden and Langham. We’ve re-branded the new Gossen Insurance website for Block’s Agencies, and added the two other locations that Block’s Agencies owns to the website as well. The website is now available through both blocksagencies.ca and blocksagencies.ca. This makes sure that any links to the old website, either sent out by email, printed on promotional material, or on Facebook will continue to work and will take the you to the right page. If you’d like to see how we set this up to make sure we didn’t confuse any visitors you can ready about it in our blog here.

Redirecting your website to a new domain

Have you ever needed to move your website to a new domain? This can be a tricky thing to do without breaking all the links to your website that exist in emails, print media, Facebook, or anywhere else on the internet. It is possible to redirect all incoming links with a piece of .htaccess code that will keep all your old links working.

.htaccess Code


RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /

# New code to redirect from olddomain.com to newdomain.com
# Permanent redirect for caching purposes, also include the query string
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^olddomain.com
RewriteRule (.*) http://newdomain.com/$1 [R=permanent,QSA,L]

# New code to redirect from www.olddomain.com to www.newdomain.com
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.olddomain.com
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.newdomain.com/$1 [R=permanent,QSA,L]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
              

Note:
Replace olddomain.com with your old domain name, and newdomain.com with your new domain name. This will redirect all links that go to your old domain to your new domain.

Link Examples
http://blocksagencies.ca/insurance-tips/faq/
Takes you too
http://blocksagencies.ca/insurance-tips/faq/

http://blocksagencies.ca/contact-us/
Takes you too
http://blocksagencies.ca/contact-us/