A Back up plug in for word press that came in my mailbox.

How To Easily Clone Your WordPress Site

This is a plug in one can try free for seven days.

Here’s the info about the plug in


It sells for $47.

What do you all think of it? Maybe we can take a look at this week’s meeting.

Submitted by: Anne-Marie Huurre
Format: I think this topic would be great for everyone

Meetup Recap 8/20/2014

Thanks again to everyone who came out to our Developers meetup on Thursday night. Despite the absence of Ben and Andy for this one, we managed to cover a couple of interesting topics that I hope you found helpful.

Google Analytics and filtering out Spammy Results.

When reading reports in Google Analytics you’ll probably notice that you’re getting a lot of traffic from websites like:

and a whole lot more that you’ve never heard of.

Check out this screenshot of some of the traffic that is being reported on a website of a local commercial design firm

Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 01.13 AM

At quick glance you might say, 1091 sessions isn’t that bad for local commercial design firm, unfortunately all of this referral traffic (including the 633 sessions from floating-share-buttons.com) are spoofed results created by robots who are simply submitting information packets to google’s servers using your analytics ID.

Why the hell would they do that?!

I’ve found that there are different motivations for each spammer. Some of them do it to generate leads, some to drive affiliate traffic, and others to earn ad revenue by increasing traffic. Not clear on how they generate traffic? Well if you are looking at your report and see that floating-share-buttons.com is forwarding such a large amount of traffic to your site, do you think you might be motivated to visit the site and see who they are and how your business is being represented on their site? Of course you would (or at least you would have before this awesome blog post).

Ok so again, most of these are not real visits; they are simply using your analytics code to submit packages to google. A good tell-tale sign of this is incomplete or (not set) fields that show up in your report. Here’s an example.

If you set the secondary dimension on your referral report to display the Hostname

Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 01.35 AM

You’ll see that for most of the referrers the Hostname is not set.

Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 01.39 AM

This is actually good news for us, because we can use these shortcuts to filter out the junk and get our reports showing us realistic results. So let’s do that and get rid of these things.

There are two parts to this: First we will build in filters to prevent these results from showing up in our future reports, however they do not work retroactively so I’ll need to show you a strategy to allow you to strip the junk out of any reports you look at prior to us making this change.

Step 1: Let’s build a couple of filters.

In Google Analytics go to your admin section and select filters.

Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 01.48 AM

Click on the Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 01.49 AM button and enter the following information

Filter Name:  Exclude common spam

Filter Type: Custom

In the Exclude section

Filter Field: Campaign source

Filter Pattern:  (Copy and paste the following) **Last updated 8/22/15**


Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 02.01 AM

Next we can see how this would effect our current results by clicking the “Verify this filter” link under the Filter Verification section

Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 02.03 AM

You should see something like this, showing you that if the filter was running today, it would have eliminated these referrers from the report.

Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 02.05 AM

That’s it for this one. Click save and check back here periodically for updates to the filter.

Next we’ll build a filter that only allows results that include our Hostname. This will eliminate a majority of the ghost referrals.

Once again create a new filter and fill it out as follows:

Filter Name:  Only include hostname
Filter Type: Custom
*Go down and choose the “Include” radio button
Filter Field:
Filter Pattern: Insert your website here for this example it will be: www\.zdesigninc\.com|zdesigninc\.com
**Notice that these filters must be written as regular expressions, which means that you have to escape special characters like the ‘.’ to do this you simply place a backslash in front of it. In this example I’m including two versions of the domain. I can add as many as I’d like as long as I separate them with a pipe character (|). 

Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 02.18 AM

Once again verify the filter and you should see something like this:

Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 02.19 AM

WHOA!!! That’s more like it. Look at all that garbage that will no longer be skewing our results. Make sure you save the filter and from this point on, your analytics reports will be much cleaner and you will have actionable data that provides real insights into your business’ web traffic.

Step 2: Advanced filtering on existing reports

Remember the new filters won’t effect our existing and historical reports, they will only be in effect on all reports going forward. Does this mean that you are out of luck when looking at past reports? Of course not! You’ll only need to apply some real time advanced filters that are similar to those that we just created. Let’s do that.

First make sure that you add a secondary dimension of Hostname (just like we did earlier) on the report you want to view

Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 01.35 AM Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 01.39 AM


Next click on the advanced link on the upper right header (just below the graph).

Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 02.30 AM


Now we can add some filters. Let’s start with Hostname since it will have the greatest impact.

Make sure that include is selected and in the Add Dimension box type Hostname.

Select “Containing” from the dropdown list (it should be the default) and then type your domain name into the box. (This should be in a normal format… do not escape any characters and only add 1 domain per query.

Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 02.37 AM

If you hit apply here you’ll see that a large number of bad results have now been filtered out of the report, but you’ll likely have some stuff that still needs to be removed. Unfortunately I am unaware of an easy way to do this without doing them individually. (If you know a better way, please share)

In my example I still have referrers like: success-seo.com, buttons-for-website.com, etc that I don’t want to see. Here’s how to get rid of them. I’ll demonstrate success-seo which seems to be the biggest culprit at the moment

Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 02.45 AM

Go back up and click on the “edit” link that has replaced the “advanced” link in the top right header just beneath the graph. Your query should appear again, ready for more conditions.

Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 02.48 AM

Now click the “Add a dimension or metric” button. Then in the search box type “Source” and click the dimension to add it to the query.

In the text box next to containing start typing the name of the source you want to remove and when it pops up in the results select it to add it to the query. In my example I started typing ” success” and success-seo.com came up so I added it. Next click EXCLUDE from the drop down on the left side.

Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 02.55 AM

Now if you click apply you should see the result has been filtered out.

Screen Shot 08-22-15 at 02.56 AM

VOILA!!!!! Simply do this for each of the results that you don’t want to see and you’ll have a report that more accurately represents the traffic you’re getting and where it is actually coming from. The good news is that with the filters we set earlier, you won’t have to do this on your reports going forward.

Again I hope this was helpful. We also discussed different ways of adding the analytics script to your wordpress site, but this post was a little lengthy so I’ll summarize what we discussed on that topic in another post. As always if you have any questions or feedback, please leave them in the comments or reach out to me directly. You can find my contact info at about.me/ronbrennan I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Meetup Recap: 8/6/2015

Common Plugins

We got a new question submitted via the website courtesy of Ann-Marie. Her question was:

I know that Jetpack is one of the first plugins a site should have. It was mentioned at the last meeting that Jet Pack may conflict with other plug ins

Could someone speak as to what are the NECESSARY plug ins we should be using? Thanks.

A great question, and one that many people have. With the options we have with WordPress and plugins, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by how many choices are out there. The group had a discussion about this question. First, I recommended we not use the word “necessary”, as every WordPress site is different, and even the most common plugins won’t be needed or used on some folks sites.

So with that out of the way, we discussed some of the more common and useful plugins for the vast majority of WP sites.

  • Security Plugins – If comfortable enough, find one and stick with it. (iThemes Security, Sucuri, etc…)
  • SEO Plugins – Yoast SEO and All-in-One SEO are the most common. Most prefer Yoast SEO.
  • Backup Plugins – A good safeguard to help you sleep at night, don’t lose all your site’s data. We will be going into more detail about ways to backup and demonstrating them at September’s Meetup (9/3/2015).

Jetpack is a mixed bag in my opinion, as well as others. Some great functionality is included, and some that is very niche and likely not to suit your sites. It can be daunting to disable multiple functions of the plugin at once, but that would be my suggestion if using Jetpack. One positive is that with the amount of installations using it, and the group building it, it is updated often and very well written. So in conclusion for this question, don’t overwhelm yourself worrying about installing all the right plugins. Only install what you find useful, and are comfortable with.

If you’d like to submit a question or topic to discuss at our meetings, simply fill out our Meetup Suggestions form.

WordPress and Robots.txt

We discussed what a robots.txt file is, which is a very simple text file uploaded to your site that Google and other Search Engines will use to know what sections of your site to visit and not visit.

The reason for this discussion is that hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of WordPress site owners received messages from Google from Webmaster Tools that stated “Googlebot cannot access CSS and JS files“. This is because many WordPress sites have disallowed search engines from indexing the /wp-admin/ and /wp-includes/ folders. There is a really simple fix, that should take care of all of that for you, and quite a few ways to do it. The easiest is to simply edit your robots.txt in your root directory of your public folder (same folder level as your wp-config.php file). Below is the code you’ll want to add.

User-agent: *
Allow: /wp-admin/
Allow: /wp-includes/

This may be a bit overkill for what we need, but it will almost always guarantee that the problem is fixed. You can always look and see if you have additional rules in your robots.txt file. What if you don’t have a robots.txt, or aren’t sure how to use something like FTP to add one? You can use a plugin that allows editing of the file. Yoast SEO is a great one to do that, and many have it installed already.

Once you think you’re all set there, you can use Google Webmaster Tools to go in and check to make sure your changes fixed the issue. Simply use the Fetch as Google feature. You want to leave the url blank to test the homepage, then click on the “Fetch and Render” button. In under a minute it should be done, and clicking will allow you to see the results. If you are blocking elements on your own site, it’s best to fix them, and Fetch & Render again. Most sites will show a small list of resources that don’t load. If the urls shown aren’t on your site specifically, you’re good to go. If you see any with your sites URL in that list of resources that Googlebot cannot access, you’ll want to try to figure out why, and fix them.

Displaying Custom Ads and Banners

Connie had a question on how to add and rotate new advertisements that she sells directly for her website. We installed the Kento Ads Rotator plugin. This was simply the first result in the plugins search on WordPress.org that was recently updated. There are many options out there, including paid plugins that help by adding support for questions and concerns. Most of the plugins dealing with Ads, will have either shortcodes or widgets (often a combination of both) that let you decide where to put your ads, and group them into locations as well.

The Read More Tag

First-timer Eric had a question on how to use the Read More tag. The Read More tag is a great tool to use to show users a certain amount of a post or page when it is in page with other posts or pages (for example; your category pages, or archive, or the most recent blog entries). What makes it great is you can choose exactly where you want this tag to stop the text, and insert a “Continue Reading” (or similar) link to take users to the entire post or page. Using it is quite simple once you know where to look. Simply put your cursor on the spot you want to insert the Read More tag, and then click on the Icon (pictured below).

Meetup Recap: 7/16/2015

Let me start off by thanking you for bearing with me tonight in the absence of Ben and Andy. Hopefully you were able to take something helpful out of our discussions. For your reference, here are a couple of the things that we talked about along with some of the resources.

Changing the table prefix in wp-config.php

The question was posed as to how to change the table prefix from the default ‘wp_’ (after installation) and why it’s recommended?

First we showed an example of what the prefix actually does, which is to change the default name of the tables that WordPress uses to store data for our website. There are 11 tables that are created when WordPress is installed; they are named wp_posts, wp_meta, wp_users, etc. We can change this by simply changing the table prefix property located in the wp-config.php file. A common practice is to append a random string onto the end of the default ‘wp_’. For example: ‘wp_rsxjs5_’ (Note: Don’t forget to add the trailing underscore after the random string.) When this is done WordPress will go through the installation process and create the tables: wp_rsxjs5_posts, wp_rsxjs5_meta, wp_rsxjs5_users, etc. (Note Squared???: rsxjs5 is only an example. Come up with your own random string!)

So why is this important?

The popularity of WordPress as a platform opens it up to a lot of attention from hackers who attempt to exploit flawed security. Although security is generally pretty good with WordPress, security flaws are occasionally identified within various plugins and themes. When this happens it may be possible for bots to attempt SQL injection into your database. This means that they can insert an admin user into the users table and then login and have their way with your site; including locking you out of your own site (Diabolical!). Adding the prefix can make this more difficult and less likely to happen.

What if I didn’t change the table prefix when I installed WordPress, can I change it?

The answer is yes, there are a number of ways that this can be accomplished. As we demonstrated in the Meetup, simply changing the name of the prefix in the wp-config file won’t accomplish that goal. Doing this will actually trigger a new install of WordPress and add the tables to your database, which will make the process much more difficult (DON’T DO THAT!).

One way that you can change the table names is by using a database management tool like PHPMyAdmin. This option would require you to go into the database and explicitly change the name of tables by adding the prefix. You would then be able to go into your wp-config file and change the prefix to have your site work. Obviously this requires a certain level of skill and comfort with manipulating the database, which brings me to the much easier (and safer) second recommendation. You can install the iThemes Security plugin (formerly Better-WP-Security) and let it do the dirty work for you. With millions of downloads and more than 600,000 active installs, this free plugin is one of the most popular in the WordPress repository. The plugin will evaluate your site and identify this and other security vulnerabilities. It will then help you make the changes necessary to make your site more secure and help you sleep better at night. You can get the plugin here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/better-wp-security/

I hope this helps. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly about.me/ronbrennan

Other resources that we discussed were:

Cloud9: https://c9.io/

Database Search and Replace Tool: https://interconnectit.com/products/search-and-replace-for-wordpress-databases/


6-4 meetup notes

Targeting April/May 2016 for next #WCBUF

Pat wants to learn how to customize her WP Blog. We showed her how to make a sticky post.

Ivory wants to back up his site. We tried the duplicator plugin, but it failed because he has huge mp3 files on his site, and his hosting provider doesn’t give him the resources. Wp-clone didn’t work either.  We showed him how to use soundcloud to host the audio files to save space.

We looked at email signup plugins like https://wordpress.org/plugins/mail-subscribe-list/ and maintenance mode plugins like https://wordpress.org/plugins/minimal-coming-soon-maintenance-mode/

Ivory would like a list of “essential plugins” for your WP site. Thoughts? Post in comments below.