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Need A WordPress Consultant

Discussion in 'Hire a Freelancer' started by TheFinal, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. TheFinal

    TheFinal Newbie

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    I am currently in need of somebody with extremely good knowledge of WordPress to help me on some issues for a future project which I need to get around. My queries are pretty much to get professional answers to all of the following:


    1. Say I have 500,000 Uniques/month - Which type of hosting would be most appropriate and host recommendations
    2. I will require an internal messaging system, forum and workspaces for certain user accounts, what are the best options to get these (ie, are there reliable plugins or will I need custom ordered, or would it be best to have a third party workspace?)
    3. For 500,000 Uniques/month as described, would it be advantageous to use a content delivery network?
    4. Need plugins where selected users/admins will be able to add responses to an article when they are submitted, so kind of like adding notes which the person who submitted the article cannot edit, only view and the note must be private to the user who it concerns and everyone who can edit it.
    5. Need a method of WordPress invoicing & payment without having to leave the site and faff about with Paypal. For example, if the article writer has earned $30 and requests payment, he then fills out a quick form and hits "Request Payment" or similar where a note feature should be available to add comments. I then in WordPress will receive this and can simply hit "Pay Now" and it will automatically pay them from my PayPal.
    6. Methods to improve site performance both as a regular visitor and to those logged in.
    7. Integrate AWStats from the hosting account into a panel or private page somewhere that the admin and certain logged in users can access.


    If anyone can help with this, just pop me a quote. I may require help in the future for any other issues that arise so establishing a standard fee would be extremely helpful thanks.
     
  2. Zapdos

    Zapdos Power Member

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    You can save yourself the money and just ask on the forum as there are very knowledgeable people here, or you can pm me. I haven't worked with Wordpress extensively, but know enough to answer a few questions

    1. Assuming thats a realistic number, you're definitely looking at a dedicated with atleast dualcore 2ghz + 4 gigs of ram. At 500k/month you should also be looking at litespeed/nginx/cherokee or another web server technology to replace Apache. Expect pricing to be between $140 and $350.
    Also, an alternative would be cloud based hosting so you can easily scale up and down during peak times (like before something popular is posted that could go viral.) That's more expensive, but you get alot of flexibility.


    2. If you need a forum for users to interact, I would only recommend third party systems. A mod is nice, but that's strictly what it is. A mod. At 500k/month you would need vBulletin/SMF . Much more developed than a mod, better security and better in every way. You could pay for an integration (if they sign up on either, it'll create an account on the other platform.) The internal message system could just be PMs on the forum. The workspace I'm not too sure what you mean by that, but if you can elaborate on that I can help more.


    3. Yes! A very small 30 kilobyte file which could be a single javascript would cost 15 gigs of transfer in a month. If you scale up to a background image, that's atleast 50 gigs. A CDN is practically required for anything over 200k uniques.


    4. Don't know about that one


    5. That could coded fairly easily. I don't know wordpresses specific modification hooks so I can't give a quote on making it, but the actual functionality is very basic and should cost less than $150.


    6.

    • Use a CDN for static content (javascript, images, sprites, videos.) Also use external CDNs so the user would more than likely already have it cached. Google has a CDN for jquery and other jscript libraries and alot of websites use it, so the person would likely not have to download the ~80kb file again. Also try to use CDNs offered by script makers. That's less of a cost for you.
    • Next, make sure gzip is enabled. It will compress the output of the site so it loads faster and uses less bandwith. Its not supported in all browsers (think 9 year old browsers) so if you're targetting the young crowd you'll be fine.
    • Make site element images into a sprite. So if your site uses graphic buttons and has for instance a left, middle and right... Use one image! Space it out by 1 px and then use margin/padding/width/height. That will make 3 requests turn into 1. If you have alot more elements, then you can potentially save hundreds of requests per person! That could also translate into gigabytes worth of saved overhead transfer.
    • Combine on-site javascript! This is similar to the both, it will cut down on requests. Browsers are limited to ~5 active requests per domain and if you have 20 javascript files needing to be loaded that is alot of time waiting. Chunk it up!
    • Put javascript at the bottom of the site. Pages load from top-down, so if you put 200kB worth of javascript at the top, it will have to download all of that before continuing to the load the page. Could easily save half a second by putting it near the bottom.
    • Use AJAX where it might save on entire page reloads. Examples of this would be if stats are updated alot (~10 seconds or less) then use AJAX. It would save an entire page reload which isn't much but still better than.
    • If a file cannot go on a CDN, but is still semi-static and you can choose where it goes, create subdomains. As mentioned above, browsers are limited to ~5 requests per domain. A subdomain acts like a new domain so you could use a subdomain to get 5 more.
    • Monitor the site for slow mysql queries and when possible rewrite them to be faster.
    • Actually remove code you don't need. This could easily increase server load.
    • Use as little .htaccess directives as possible. Lots of speed is sacrificed on this.
    • Do not skimp on a host. Recently I did try to steer someone away from hostwinds for their forum since hostwinds doesn't seem like a professional company for critical sites... The person went with hostwinds, and their site was down for days without response from support. Saving $20 could mean losing thousands.
    • Do not skimp on coders either! The difference between a "I can do this for $10 coder" and a "I can do this for $200 coder" is the knowledge. The $10 likely doesn't speak English very well, and has to use google to even know where to start. Also probably doesn't include support or bug fixes. The $200 coder would fit your needs more often than not.
    • Although not directly performance on speeds or such, but do use GA funnels and A/B testing to try to increase conversions.
    • Tweak your web server and PHP settings and monitor the changes. Sometimes a simple change of memory from 128m to 156m would have massive differences!
    • Also not directly performance related, but consider using an external mailing service. For newsletters I would go with mailchimp. Newsletters would be defined as everyone on the list receives the exact same thing. For general mailing from an application (sign up, new pm notices etc) then I would also go with Amazons SES. Maintaining your own mailer absolute hell and even though its more money you will save alot of time.


    7. That would have to be done by a coder.




    If you have any other questions or concerns, let me know.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  3. TheFinal

    TheFinal Newbie

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    Thanks for the response Zapdos, and yes, it is partially a real number, but we would more consider it to be maximum peak rather than regular numbers to ensure any sudden spikes can be managed easily without hindering too much performance.

    I was looking for some good coders too if you have any recommendations? Primarily for the jobs as listed above, but in the future I will have plenty of work available so support and long-term development aims are a must as you noted- quality shouldn't be sacrificed in an authority site.

    Recommended CDN's? I was looking at MediaTemple's earlier and seemed pretty good if you have experience of them?
     
  4. Zapdos

    Zapdos Power Member

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    Do you already have a domain and X amount of uniques per month? If no, then starting out with a VPS/not very powerful cloud service would be in your best interest. If you go with a VPS, you would eventually transfer off but you could save a few hundred when its feasible to do so. With the cloud service, you won't need to move but just increase your package.


    For good coders, that's sort of a tough one. Here on the BHW forums, the only two I've seen that would potentially have the know-how to get this done would be jazzc ( http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackhat-seo/members/31021-jazzc.html ) and xpwizard ( http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackhat-seo/members/145199-xpwizard.html ). Whether or not they're doing freelance work/available for hire I don't know.
    There is someone I know of on one of the ecommerce forums I use. He charges $25/hr and seems to know what he's doing. If you'd like, I could contact him for you. The forums+pm system are closed unless you pay $150+ so I'd link you but it wouldn't do much help :p
    I would offer my services, but without knowing the hooks it would take a week or two to get accustomed

    One other thing... Integrating wordpress and a forum (vbulletin) would cost $350+ easily unless this works for you:
    http://www.the8thlegion.com/threads/wordpress-as-vbulletin4-homepage.3223/
    http://www.lampwrights.com/showthread.php?t=41



    For CDNs, it depends on what you value more. If you want an easy experience then you could go with maxcdn ( http://www.maxcdn.com/ ). Generally the more expensive of the CDNs but most non-techies can even work with it. If you don't mind a more "technical" interface and working, then there's the Amazon CDN ( http://aws.amazon.com/s3/ ) .
    Depending on what your website is for, it could go either way. Amazon if you need alot of storage (max is ~7x more expensive for storage). If its just a very popular website and you're only using it for javascript and some images, then maxCDN is the way. Max has cheaper bandwith.
    Mediatemple is 2x more expensive than Max for bandwith, and a hair more expensive than amazon. Never used them or saw reviews from non-massive companies, so I wouldn't know if its good or not.
     
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