This post is part of a guest blogging series I’m doing over at The Odd Dad Out and was originally published on November 10, 2010.
Over the first two parts of this series we’ve talked about a wide range of things that hopefully have helped with any questions you may have had. In today’s third part I’ve got a few final thoughts about some things I do with the sites that I manage.
Build a lab
One of my favorite things to do is create a “lab” for myself with each site I build. All I do is install another copy of WordPress to a “/lab” subdirectory of the domain through my host. This gives me the ability to try new things, test out code and work on design changes without affecting my production blog.
If I had a dollar for every time I crashed my site editing the custom function php file in Thesis I could probably get out from under the albatross of a house in which we live.
Building your own lab may sound unnecessary, but when you grow bored with the design of your site as often as I do it makes some sense. It has been a great way to learn without doing any permanent damage.
You can export your content to an XML file and import it into your “lab” environment to help you figure everything out. If you do this, however, you should also set your privacy settings under “Setting” to exclude this blog from being found by the search engines. It wouldn’t be much fun if Google knocked you for duplicate content just because you built yourself a digital sandbox.
This post series could go on for weeks if I started talking about the different services and plugins I use, so I’m going to cut it down to just one.
Social networking is all about the conversation and my favorite add on to my sites is Disqus. You may have had, or may know someone that had, a bad experience with Disqus, but it has always worked just fine for me on my sites. The only time I’ve integrated it into a Blogger blog the process wasn’t terribly smooth, but it did work.
What I like about Disqus is that with a little extra effort at set up your blog guests can choose to login using a number of social networking sites, or not at all. I also like the moderation panel and the way it looks on the site as compared with the basic threaded commenting system that is the default with WordPress.
They have recently improved their mobile site design to make it easier for people using smartphones and other devices leave comments on blogs that use Disqus. And, lastly, they will soon be releasing iPhone and Android apps to give moderators better on the go control.
If there any follow up topics (especially those pertaining to WordPress, plugins or premium themes) that you’d like me to cover, drop us a comment and I’ll write about them in a future article.