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How do I Force Facebook To Use A Thumbnail From My Website?

How to force Facebook to display the image you want when sharing your website on Facebook. Part I in our mini-series

WordPress 3.9.2 Security Release

WordPress have released a security update to their popular Blogging and Content Management System (CMS) and are encouraging all users to update their sites immediately.

This release fixes a possible denial of service issue in PHP’s XML processing, reported by Nir Goldshlager of the Salesforce.com Product Security Team.

WordPress 3.9.2 also contains other security changes:

  • Fixes a possible but unlikely code execution when processing widgets (WordPress is not affected by default), discovered by Alex Concha of the WordPress security team.
  • Prevents information disclosure via XML entity attacks in the external GetID3 library, reported by Ivan Novikov of ONSec.
  • Adds protections against brute attacks against CSRF tokens, reported by David Tomaschik of the Google Security Team.
  • Contains some additional security hardening, like preventing cross-site scripting that could be triggered only by administrators.

Wordpress Logo

 

All our our customers websites running WordPress have been automatically updated as part of our managed WordPress Hosting so they don’t need to do anything. Customers with other hosts should either login to their Dashboard or check with their Hosting company to see what action they need to take.

 

The full announcement can be found here: WordPress 3.9.2 Security Release

Author Photos in Google Search no longer appearing

Author Photos have been removed from Google Search Results

Back in September 2013 we wrote a post on how to get your Google+ photo displaying alongside your search results using Google Authorship. It detailed how to link your WordPress Blog to your Google+ profile so that information from your profile and your Author Photo (Google Profile Photograph) showed alongside your search result.

So why did Google decide to remove the Author Photo from search results?

Google have now decided to remove the Author Photo from search results. In a post on Google+, John Mueller describes how Google have been working to clean up the visual design of their search results.

We’ve been doing lots of work to clean up the visual design of our search results, in particular creating a better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices. As a part of this, we’re simplifying the way authorship is shown in mobile and desktop search results, removing the profile photo and circle count.

So how are author photos changing?

The announcement means that the author photo in most Google search results will no longer display. Up until now, if you verified your authorship through Google+ and Google chose to display it, you may or may not have seen your author photo display to the left of Google search results along with your Circle Count. It was always a little hit and miss and sometimes it would show your image, other times it wouldn’t.

In the future, Google only plans to display the Author Name in the search snippet. Goodbye author photo and Circle Count.

Here’s a screenshot showing how the search results looked before and after the author photo and Circle Count have been removed.

Author Photos have been removed from Google search results

What isn’t changing?

Authorship is still here
Nothing is changing and Authorship is still well worth setting up on your Blog.
See our detailed guide on How to set up Google Authorship on your WordPress website

Authors names still appear in search results
The authors name remains as a click through link to their Google+ profile page

Rankings don’t change
Authorship didn’t have any bearing on your search rankings, just how the listing looked. Your rankings will remain the same

Rules for verifying authorship are still the same
Nothings changing in the way you set up or verify your website & Google+ authorship.

 

Is Google Authorship still worth doing?

Yes!

We imagine that for many, having your author photo displayed alongside your listing was the be all and end all of Google Authorship and now that your author photo has been removed, the number of sites verifying Google Authorship will drop.

Even with the photos removed we still think that it is worth while going to the trouble of setting up authorship as you still get a click through link to your Google+ profile and who doesn’t want to see their name show up alongside your search listing?

And who knows what Google might have in store for us in the future. Maybe author photos might make an appearance again or authorship may play a bigger part in listings so we still advise all of our customers to spend the time and get Google Authorship set up.

But the Author Photos are still there!

Hold on one minute…

It seems that Google has only removed the Author photo from external sites listings. 

The decision by Google to remove authorship images applies only to external sites, like yours and mine. Google+ posts are still showing the author photo for logged in users.

This news is huge and Google+ has all of a sudden become very very important to SEO. But before you rush over to your Google+ account and start posting there are few caveats. Firstly you have to be logged in to Google and viewing personalised results. But hey, this applies to anyone who has a Google account and logs in. So that’s anyone who uses Webmaster Tools, Google Docs, Google Calendar etc etc. But, and here’s the downside to this. These authorship results displaying an author photo are based on your personal Google+ network so only posts related to your search query by people in your Google+ network will display the author photo in the search results.

Even with these limitations this is still huge and shows how much importance Google+ plays. So, if you haven’t got a Google+ page and don’t post to it regularly… What are you waiting for?

How to add an extra CSS file to your Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework.

We use and love the Genesis Framework by Studiopress and their varied and versatile  themes play a big part in our business. But we don’t just grab a theme, paste content into it and invoice the customer. Each site uses bespoke styling using css and Genesis functions in the functions.php file.

Adding an extra css file to Genesis Framework child theme

Normally we just roll these in to the existing files but it’s always a worry that when the theme developer updates their theme. Our updates will be over-written.

This is where this very handy tip by Chris Cree comes in use. Instead of adding your custom css edits or new classes to the existing stlye.css file, either mixed in with the original code or if you’re organised, at the bottom of the file. Use this PHP function to load an extra css file and place your code there.

You can grab the code from this post or on our Gist on GitHub

[php]
add_action( ‘wp_enqueue_scripts’, ‘wsm_custom_stylesheet’ );
function wsm_custom_stylesheet() {
wp_enqueue_style( ‘custom-style’, get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . ‘/custom.css’ );
}
[/php]

Ok, so what are the downsides?

Some WordPress and website developers argue that adding additional server calls is detrimental to performance and you should try to minimise them by amalgamating  code but personally we feel that with all the otehr overheads of Wordpess and plugins. Loading an extra css file will be negligible.