Speaking at WordCamp Manchester 2014

Hi everybody,

I’m back from a non-self-imposed blogging hiatus (yeah, been busy) to announce that I am speaking this years WordCamp Manchester, at MMU Business School, on 28th of June.

My talk is entitled “How To Get Your First Child Theme Off The Ground”, and it is aimed at new developers wanting to learn what child theming is, how to put together a child theme together, and – most importantly – why you should be using a child theme for your next project.

I am incredibly excited to speak at this conference, as it was one of my goals for the year. I’m looking forward as well to interact with the WordPress community more, which for the last year has been a constant source of learning for me. This is the first time I’ll be speaking at a WordCamp, after I spoke at MWUG earlier this year (view the slides & notes here)

Talk is still in the early stages of planning, so if you want me to cover anything, please drop a comment or an email.

If you fancy attending, at the time of writing, tickets are available on the WordCamp Manchester site. Be warned though, they will sell out. That isn’t some marketing speak to drive ticket sales – they have already sold out once before, and – with only 3 left – I’d put the house on them selling out again.

They are also looking for sponsors. Sponsoring is cost effective and could be a good source of exposure for your company. Find out how to sponsor here.

Finally, if you’re coming, I encourage you to attend the Contributor Day the next day. It has been the best thing I’ve done professionally this year, and you can really contribute to the growth of a fantastic piece of software. Tickets for that are free.

The SEO Benefit of Contributing to Open Source – A Case Study

A rarity for me, an SEO post.

I’m going to share a method I got 200 okay backlinks in a period of around 24 hours (or rather 24 hours preparation).

As you all know (and am singing about it again, because I’m so proud of it), I contributed to the WordPress 3.9 release of WordPress. A huge honour which came with a few links of kudos and the like, however I was curious – what was the SEO benefit of me contributing to WordPress?

SEO is still pretty much a links game, and it can help your site by getting a legitimate amount of links. So the first port of call was checking how many sites link to my WordPress.org profile. WordPress – in their release post – links to all contributors’ WordPress.org Profile, so I thought that’d be a good place to start. I fired up Majestic SEO and checked the recently discovered backlinks. I found this:-

131! Sure, there were a few spam and scraper sites, but overall there were some gooduns. Now what about one of my properties? Well I checked out the Winwar Media site (which is linked to on the profile), and found this.


The spike was the day after, but it practically correlates. It is slightly bigger due to the fact that the next day I also published my WordPress 3.9 Feature Guide on the FireCask blog (which links to my site in the footer). But overall, there was an increase in backlinks.

So SEO Agencies, on your developer’s downtime, why not encourage them to contribute to Open Source projects? It could really help grow your profile. If not the backlinks from legitimate sources, but can also provide you with case studies for your blog, and even leads.

In terms of contributing to WordPress, getting links has been the least rewarding thing about it. However I understand that people aren’t necessarily as community focused as me, and may need some pushing to get going. I also know that there are hundreds of Open Source Projects that are crying out for talented developers to contribute.

It’s not a guaranteed result, of course. My code could’ve been cut from the release (it was an edge case, my fix), but what is? PR Pitches don’t get picked up, outreach emails get ignored and internal sites get abandoned. I truly believe that this is quite a legitimate form of building authority for you.

But, best of all, you’re making the internet a better place.

A WordPress Site Reports “This Request Is Not Valid Error” in Microsoft Word? Try This….

Recently I’ve been working on a site that required me to put the entire developmental site behind a maintenance mode site. Our maintenance mode plugin of choice is WP Maintenance Mode, as it allows me to control both the front end, styling it beautifully, whilst still continuing the development of the site.

However, when reporting on the development, we were hitting an issue with the site, in that links to the site were causing errors when being clicked on in Microsoft Word. This was the error we received:-


After investigation, the error is due to the Maintenance Mode plugin returning a “503: Service Unavailable” error. Whilst the site appears up to users, the header returns tell software that the site isn’t up, causing errors.

Thankfully, there’s an easy fix. Within your theme’s function file (or better yet in your own plugin), put in the following code:-

add_filter('wp_maintenance_mode_status_code', 'rhyswynne_return_200',10,3);
function rhyswynne_return_200() {
return 200;

view raw


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This returns a “200: OK” header, which means links can be clicked on in Word.

Hope that helps anybody! If you have any questions, or any way to improve the code, please let me know in the comments.

He’s Hardcore (Contributor)

So yes, I know I’ve been terrible at posting here. Been incredibly busy (good busy!) over the last month or so. I’ve a few ideas for a post, but I thought I’d give a quick post on something that I’m excited to announce.

Last night, WordPress 3.9 dropped. A fairly large update to WordPress with a bunch of new features. You can read about these features in a post I wrote for the FireCask blog. But the cool thing for me? I’m in the credits.

wordpress three point nine

This is the first time I contributed to WordPress, so I’m delighted to have made it in the credits, even if it lead to a massive refresh of my WordPress Profile Page (I should link to it in the header). So yes, massively chuffed. Hope it continues!

So yes,  my code is helping run 20% of the internet. Scary, but chuffed.

A massive thank you to WP Contributor Day for getting me started on Contributing to WordPress (you can read about my day contributing here). If you want to contribute to WordPress, connect with the community, and have a lot of pizza and beer doing so, I suggest attending one.


WP Flipclock Released!

So today I’m delighted to announce the release of WP Flipclock!

This plugin is quite simple, as it adds a flipping clock to your site. So for example. Upto now you have been reading this post for this long:-

There are options where you can set it to be a count up/down clock, and from a specific date. You can also specify if you count down from days, minutes or hours.

It’s very simple, and needed it for a theme I was making, so thought I’d release the plugin out to the open as well!

Read the launch notes for how to implement it into your site, and if you like the plugin, give us a good review on WordPress.org. If you don’t and can think of another feature, check out the project on Github.

This plugin uses the Flipclock.js library from ObjectiveHTML.