ClickBump 6.5 Preview

Its in Your Hands! Version 6.4 is finally out and its time to begin discussing the features you are looking for in 6.5

Rating: 5 (out of 5)
In this article
  1. Introduction
  2. Usability vs Functionality
  3. 99/100 Google PageSpeed!
  4. Gravatar Caching!
  5. Optimize Images First!
  6. Rich Snippets Boost CTR
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Version 6.4 has just shipped and I’m hard at work on the next major release of ClickBump theme: Version 6.5

I’m planning on this being a major milestone release, building on much of the functionality that has been introduced since version 6

For example: I’m currently running an early version of 6.5 beta on this site and I can tell you as the #1 user of my own software, I’m pretty psyched to discuss some of the new features. In particular, those features which have contributed to my increased pagespeed scores and better search indexing with rich snippets.

The core code has reached a maturity level where I’m spending more time on polish and features that really boost productivity and performance.

That’s what has driven the effort to move more and more functionality away from theme options and into the widget manager and other common wordpress workspaces. The ability to drag and drop functional components anywhere you want is highly efficient and rewarding – its actually fun!

Enhanced Functionality that Respects Usability.

With any software, there is always a balance between usability and feature rich functionality. The challenge is to add more functionality without compromising usability. ClickBump is no different in facing these challenges. Especially with a growing user base that has come to expect and demand a rich feature set.

In order to accomplish this, in version 6 I began transitioning major functionality (custom menus, custom categories, category index, video box and authorship box) away from the theme options panel and into the common WordPress workspace areas, especially the post editor, widgets manager and menus manager.

With the recent additions of the custom menus, custom categories, video box and author box widgets, you can now layout your entire site with widgets.

Tip: By default the WordPress menus manager does not display your “Posts” palette. This makes it impossible to add posts to a custom menu. To fix this, click “Screen Options” near the top right side of the menus manager. Then, place a check next to “Posts” in order to add that palette to your workspace. 

Another example is the new widget visibility URL filter that’s been added to the widget visibility panel. This feature alone, for the first time, opens up the possibility to target specific pages/posts or sections with specific widgets based on context.

Have you ever seen a 99/100 Google PageSpeed Score? I haven’t, until now.

Version 6.5′s core mission will be about speed and productivity. After installing 6.5 beta on the Canvas demo site, it gets an unheard of 99/100 on google pagespeed.

I’ve included a screenshot of the score below just for kicks. To check your sites in Google’s pagespeed testing tool, head over to the app and enter your site’s URL and click the “Analyze” button. The pagespeed app will run a check on your page, from top to bottom, just like the search engine reads it. It will then report back on exactly what you’ve done right and what you can do to improve your score. ClickBump owners should get minimum scores of 85 or better without really trying. However, to get into the high 90′s consistently, you’ll need to observe and practice the essential tips outlined in this article: increase google pagespeed score.

pagespeed99-550

99 out of 100. Could this be the world’s fastest website?

Gravatar Caching: The Most Important Feature You’ve Never Heard Of.

As you site becomes popular it inevitably attracts more comments on articles and blog posts. Once that happens, a seemingly benign and (sometimes) attractive guest begins to consume more resources: the gravatar. You may not be aware of all that goes on behind the scenes before that little author pic gets displayed neatly next to each comment. Gravatars are subject to latency (your page slows down) and the gravatar server’s ability to keep up with its 8.6 billion requests per day (and Google pagespeed’s nags should convince you of that)

Now, I’m not suggesting that you disable gravatars. Actually, they are a vital part of your site and help inject personality and a sense of community. Gravatars are good. What I am suggesting, is that I’ve got your back on this.

Version 6.5 beta currently includes a new gravatar cache folder that should dramatically speed up pages that have comments. With it, your page’s gravatars are downloaded once and cached on the local site for future visits. I’ve boosted my pagespeed scores by 5-10 points on this feature alone and its eliminated all those pagespeed issues related to gravatars – all of them!

This feature is currently installed and running on clickbump.com. This very blog post is taking advantage of it. If you view source of the comments area below, you can see that all the gravatar images are local and not dependent on the gravatar.com servers.

Surprise: the most dramatic speed increases come from image optimization.

With ClickBump Theme, since every bit and byte in the core theme has been ruthlessly optimized for speed, you will notice that the things that have the most impact on your site speed will be outside of the theme itself. In particular, plugin components, extra scripts and images (especially gravatar images which are loaded from an external server that you have no control over) are by far the most impactful elements on page speed.

To help with that, in addition to the unique, first of its kind gravatar cache engine that will ship with version 6.5, it also includes a new optimized sprite.png (the master image that holds all the little icons used throughout the site).

sprite-example

You can see a portion of the sprite.png file above. ClickBump theme has utilized this sprite image technique since version 4 and its been even more optimized for version 6.5. As google pagespeed suggests, we’ve taken all of the shared image icons that are used across the site and we’ve compacted them into a single highly optimized sprite.png image. This boosts page speed dramatically since each image does not have to be downloaded separately.

With version 6.5 beta, I’ve managed to compact the file size of the main sprite.png image down to a super skinny 13KB with very little degradation of quality.

Users will be able to opt to use either the higher res version or the new optimized version. The only tradeoff is that the optimized version does not have the nice (but subtle) drop shadow effect on the social media icons.

If you have not already implemented my .htaccess edits, you should do it now. You will immediately notice an increase in page responsiveness and your Google pagespeed scores should improve by 5-15 points at a minimum. Once you’ve done that, image optimization is key.

I run all my featured images and post images through two free online image optimizers. I do this to see which one yields the best size/quality optimization. I find that the Yahoo smush.it engine usually performs best, but I also use the PunyPNG tool. Begin using these tools for all of your post images and you can shave precious time off page loads, especially mobile, and boost your Google PageSpeed time at the same time.

smush-it

MicroFormats like Open Graph, Schema.org and Rich Snippets will be key in 2013 and beyond.

If you are running ClickBump 5 or better, you already have Open Graph support via the “ClickBump > Social” options palette. In version 6.5, I will be adding schema.org markup to the beta before it hits full release status and you will have the opportunity to leverage all these new features as you build out sites. The schema.org markup gives us rich snippets in search results which can significantly boost CTR.

I’m looking forward to hearing your suggestions for features that you want to see in 6.5 – Please drop your comments and feedback in the box below and let’s chat about it.

37 Responses to “ClickBump 6.5 Preview”

  1. David says:

    Scott,

    When do you plan on setting 6.5 live ?
    I am building a new site and wanted to build it on 6.5 : )

    David

    • Hi David, 6.5 is currently in limited beta release. I’m currently working on the shortcodes gallery. Its going to be pretty sweet. You should no longer need Optimize Press if you use that software. Lots of pre-packaged objects like stylized bullet lists, shadow dividers, content boxes, etc…

      The beta should be available by the end of this week for all ClickBump owners.

  2. Dan says:

    1) a social slider like richtigflirtenlernen.de

    2) new user role: someone who can add and post news, but not touch other articles

    3) a table functionality like the plugin tablepress

    Thx, Dan

  3. William says:

    Hi Scott, per the forum post; my request to have the image header on the mobile version of the site link back to the home page. Thanks!

  4. Jesse says:

    I mentioned this on the Clickbump forum, and per Scott’s request I’m bringing it here.

    Here’s the issue: When ads are activated on posts, the ads justify the featured images to the right in most placement options. The only exception is ad placement #3 where the ad is aligned right, which then puts the image to the left of the post where I want it.

    According to Scott when the main ad is aligned left, the featured image is automatically placed to the right in order to avoid potential TOS issues with having images too close to (or slightly overlapping) ads. That’s by design.

    I understand and agree this is a good thing for the most part, but I would still like to have more control on where the image is placed.

    Therefore, my feature request is this:

    #1. I would like to see the option that would allow the featured image to be aligned wherever I want it to be, regardless of whether the ad is aligned left, right, or center.

    #2 Secondly, I would like to see options to select different ad sizes for the main ad block in the post instead of the default 336×280 or whatever it is. For example, I have found that a 728×90 banner size ad placed in the content works well for some pages.

    Thanks for considering my requests and suggestions

  5. Donovan says:

    Hi Scott,

    Just an idea for the next release of ClickBump.

    I am not good at color schemes. What if you provide color schemes packs for the templates and sell for extra? For example, one could simply import from the selection of color schemes in the pack to alter the appearance of the template instead of fiddling around with changing the colors. One could easily change from a blue color scheme to a red color scheme etc.

    Hope you can give consideration to this.

    • Hi Donovan, this is a very interesting idea. The infrastructure to make it a reality is already in place. For example, each skin package has a configuration text file (template.ini) which contains its default color scheme values (color1, color2, color3, color4, and the background color).

      In theory, I could provide multiple template.ini files for you to download and install in order to change the default color schemes. I’ll keep this in mind. I think there are some interesting possibilities.

  6. Jesse says:

    Hi Scott, I’m bringing this over from the forum and PM I sent you earlier. Feature request: I would like to see the “read more –> ” added at the end of the summaries for related articles etc. placed at the bottom of home page and category pages. Right now, the text just stops, with no ellipsis (…) or “read more” or any other indicator.

    Also, is there a way to turn off the date, category, and author for posts? I would like my post to look more like a regular article and not just a blog post.

    • Hi Jesse, I’m hoping to get this (the “read more” links) into the beta release before it reaches final release status. Let’s keep this open.

      To remove the author information from the post, you can use this custom css:

      address{display:none}

  7. mark duckett says:

    Scott, I want to give you a shout out that whenever I have a problem with the engine or template you get it fixed asap. I just want to let people know about your customer service.
    I am using the squeeze page template for my chefjoly.com site. The main reason I use it because your bullet points that I use for the recipe ingredients makes the ingredient texts look like they are sitting on a white recipe plate. I would like to use a wider site theme but I don’t want to lose the bullet point look with the squeeze theme. Is it possible to make this a viewable option when making posts? If that does not make sense please contact me.

    In fact think about creating a site that is just for recipes. This site will also be connected to a kindle book and a self publishing book on print through outskirts press. I feel we need to use all of the options, print, ebook, video, membership etc….
    Good to hear about the comparison to thesis. I have “professional” webdesigners can make my site look better. Since I am just a novice webdesigner, I get really tired of convincing them that I have the best of the best with the clickbump engine. It is not just about looks. It is how the engine performs with the shell.

    • Hi Mark, are you referring to the ability to use decorative bullets and salespage like headlines on a single post (regardless of which skin you are using)?

      IE, a “salespage” skin within any skin?

  8. Dan says:

    inbuilt shortcoder for individual scripts to put whereever we put the shortcode

    good ie. for affiliate offers

    Best

    Dan

  9. Greg says:

    I’m new to clickbump and I am about to pull the trigger and purchase.

    Just have one easy yes or no question.

    Can Clickbump create silo structured websites?

    Thanks!

    • The theme is definitely capable of a silo structure. Obviously the theme itself can’t “create” per say, but it can support it.

      There is much debate about what exactly constitutes a “silo”. However, when I created ClickBump theme, I was taking Lisa Parmley’s “Inline SEO” course which is all about created silo’d content (Lisa calls it “Themed Content”).

      So, I built the theme from the ground up to support those concepts, from beginning to end. So, you create a series of categories (one level only) to segment your site into different areas of focus (again, Lisa refers to these as “Themes”).

      Once you have the categories created, all of your content goes into one of those categories.

      Hope that helps! Welcome aboard.

      • Taylor Banks says:

        Regarding “silos”:

        Greg Morrison (of OMG Machines fame) did a great “over-the-shoulder” walkthrough of setting up silos using two WordPress plugins, Exclude Page and Widget Context.

        After re-watching his OTS demo, it occurred to me that this functionality can EASILY be replicated (and with less effort) using the Custom Menu widget and ClickBump’s “Widget Visibility” options.

        For those unfamiliar with the process, in short:
        - Create a new menu (Appearance > Menus) for each category or “silo” on the site and add only the relevant pages or posts from that category to the custom menu
        - Add a Custom Menu widget to your sidebar for each category, and for Widget Visibility set “Show on…” to be only the slug for the corresponding category page

        Now you’ll have a context-sensitive menu of posts that will show up on each category page, linking only to relevant and related posts for that category (thus, a “silo). As long as you ensure that your top-menu only links to categories (and not directly to pages), you’ll have top-down silos for each category you create.

        Of course, there are other ways to accomplish this, but this way gives one complete control over which posts you link to on a “per-silo” basis. :)

  10. Dan says:

    Hi Scott,

    very nice! Here are some suggestions:
    1. Auto Updater for your products!!! This is a problem if you run several sites!
    2. Sales Letter design like OptimizePress
    3. Pricing Table feature, left to right or with text top to bottom (think restaurant) with nice design elements for the pricing
    4. easier slider, ie arrastheme just takes the featured images…very nice…I know some will want to have more power over it, so why not offer both

    Thats it for now…

    Best

    Dan

  11. Van says:

    Hi Scott,

    No idea what impact these might have on page speed (or if you’ve added them and I missed it!), but 2 things that would be handy for me:

    1. A few more page-layout choices within the skin. For example, a portfolio or product-page layout that you can insert images and text into. (Just on some pages on the site, not all.)

    2. An easier way to get the blog page set up. (Did this months ago so might be easier now, but found the process a little convoluted back then.)

    Otherwise, thanks for all your hard work and support! Great to see all the continual improvements.

    • Thanks Van, I’m working on a way to assign any installed skin as the template for a page or post. That should allow you some additional flexibility to have a single post thats in a completely different (or slightly different) look than the overall site.

      For example, you could have a salespage within your site running the “Squeeze Pack” skin or the “Salespage” skin and the rest of the site would be in the main template skin.

      For #2, I feel your pain and the latest update of JumpStart Pro now includes that. It automatically installs the blog for you and sets it up with a couple of sample blog posts. If you have JSPro, just grab the upgraded copy from your dashboard and the next site you build with it, you’ll see the new bits.

      Hope that helps! Keep the suggestions coming.

  12. Mike says:

    Scott, will you release a video or written explanation of how to use the schema.org and open graph elements, not just how to turn them on or off in Clickbump but how to set them up and make the most of them?

    Or if this is already something you’ve done will you link me to it?

    One thing I would like to see is a page of explanations about the various features or roll-overs or pop-ups that would explain when for example trying to determine whether or not to turn a feature on or off, particularly re SEO type stuff. That is, instead of having to go look for a youtube or article you’ve written about that element or feature, if it were a page we could access right from the page where that feature or element is turned on or off.

    Do you get what I am saying?

    I just find it difficult sometimes to figure out what a checkbox does and/or why I should check it or uncheck it.

    • Hi Mike, great questions. When I get schema markup in the 6.5 beta (once its released in a few weeks), I will follow up with a video to walk everyone through how it works.

      About in context help, I do need to enhance that feature BUT I do have a help link inside each section of the theme options panel. These are currently linked to specific forum sections. I’d like to eventually link them to specific help video channels on youtube.

      Here’s a screenshot of the area I’m referring to. There’s one of these inside each options tab:


      Thanks for the suggestions.

  13. Ikedi says:

    Firstly, great theme, better than thesis, I have both, wish I bought yours first.

    I’m going to suggest some things now (lol). I they are already available, would be appreciated if you could direct me to a tutorial..? Any way her goes…

    *I would like to be able to change the colour of the side bars

    * I would like a code I can use to insert the date in the side bar or just the home page, not a calender. (I know I can remove the date, but couldn’t find where I could insert it in the way I mentioned)

    I think that’s all the “I’s” I can muster up for now… No pun intended…

    Thanks again Scott…

    • If you can show me an example on what you are looking for in a date insert, I’ll check it out.

      Sidebar colors are a bit tricky (at least for the whole sidebar area, top to bottom).

      Some skins already have an option to have background colors within individual widgets. But it sounds like you are looking for the entire sidebar background, correct?

      The state of CSS at this point, the way we have to use floats to mimic table layouts, is a bit challenging in terms of fixed width heights, which is essentially what you would need to reliably color the entire sidebar background and still allow custom sidebar widths.

      Hope that helps. Looking forward to any examples you have.

  14. Sunshine says:

    A Call to action button that included the most basic graphics found on popular sales pages ex. check marks, payment buttons, discount circles graphics, etc. type of option already loaded into the theme would be nice.

    • I like your suggestion Sunshine. The only reservation I would have is that the additional CSS that I’d have to add may never be used and would have to be present in the event the user decided to use the shortcodes.

      I’m not ruling it out, and I could probably figure out a way to implement only the specific CSS that your buttons called for.

      Another option that may help is that I’m working on a means of assigning any page or post to any template skin you have in your site. This would allow you to designate a single post to run in, say, salespage or squeeze pack, and your main site would run in something different.

      Does that sound like something you could use?

  15. Scott, I am using a system that simplifies the silo process and I am doing it with clickbump and jumpstart pro. If I don’t have t sit on santa’s lap to get it I think it would be useful to add categories as an optional folder in Jumpstart. Could even work as sub folders in posts and pages. I put a folder in posts called Dog Training Equipment and in that folder I put the articles that belong to the dog training equipment category. What do you think?

    Not exactly an improvement to the clickbump engine but certainly the family.

    • That’s a very good suggestion Jeff.

      Automated category creation is definitely the one missing component that I’ve thought lots about. I’d be interested in hearing what others think, but it would be a welcome addition to JSPro in my opinion.

  16. Warren Barnes says:

    WOW!

    You continue to hit home runs with all of your products, Scott. It’s absolutely amazing how far you’ve brought your Clickbump products along over the past few years.

    Couldn’t be happier to see how successful you and your product line has become.

    One thing I’d love to see in the future – if it’s even possible – would be to have the ability to have custom side bars. I participate in the eBay Partner Network and utilize the phpBay Pro plug in. I’d love to have the ability to feature specific items in the sidebar that relate directly to each post.

    Thanks for any consideration on this wish list item, and again, congratulations on 6.4 and your continued success!

    Warren

    • Hi Warren, actually custom sidebars are closer than you think. In version 6.4 I added a new input field at the bottom of each widget. To isolate the widget to a specific post or page, just enter the post/page url slug into the field like so:

      *my-ebay-post*

      Just remember to surround the it with asterisks. And then click the “Show on” checkbox. Conversely, if you want a widget to show on all pages EXCEPT this page/post, you can click the “Hide on” checkbox.

      You can enter multiple post slugs, one per line in the same manner to target additional pages or entire sections.

      Make sense?

  17. Quinn Jordan says:

    Thanks for this Scott. I’m a huge fan of ClickBump and tell everyone I know about your incredible support. I’m still digesting the new stuff in 6.4, but the one thing I’m looking forward to in 6.5 is schema markup. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks Quinn, I appreciate the kind words. I’m working hard on getting schema right. Most importantly, I need to make it brain dead simple.

      The few plugins I’ve seen are a bit too much. I want a more seamless experience than what’s out there currently.

  18. I’ve started this thread in order to take feature requests for version 6.5

    Please feel free to add your input here for discussion.

    ~ s

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