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WP tips

my first post

here we are – wordpress rocks \m/

list of tips

first point

secondly

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WP tips

WordPress After This Course

For most of you this course was the first time that you have used WordPress to build a website, but I hope that it won’t be the last.

Although for this unit we have used WordPress to create a very specific type of site, the skills that you have learnt to do that can be used to create and manage websites for any purpose, without having to write any code. Over a third of all websites currently on the internet were built using WordPress, including many belonging to businesses, charities and other organisations.

Please try to remember at least some of the information you have learnt by doing this unit, as you may find yourself responsible for running a WordPress website in the future.

Top Tips For WordPress

  • Make sure that you update your site regularly, including your themes and plugins. This will keep your website secure.
  • Don’t get carried away with themes. It is very easy to spend money buying complicated WordPress themes that slow down your website and don’t add any value.
  • If you want to add extra functionality to your website, you can add plugins e.g. to add an online shop or contact form, but as with themes, be careful which plugins you choose.
  • There are WordPress events known as WordCamps which are held all over the world that share information and knowledge about WordPress.

I hope that you have enjoyed the unit and wish you all good luck for the future.

Claire

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WP tips

editor view modes

The latest WordPress update sets the editor in fullscreen mode by default, hiding access to the usually visible admin panel. To get this back, you will have to exit fullscreen mode, see the options, in top right corner of your window.

changing view mode

  1. Top toolbar
    move block editor to top
  2. Spotlight mode
    fade out other blocks
  3. Fullscreen mode
    as set by default since v5.4 update
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WP tips

cookies & GDPR

Websites should always present good original content which respects copyright of authors and creators as well as site visitors and their privacy. By law, every website is required to be transparent about data handling (via a privacy policy) and state clearly which settings are in place as well as asking for explicit consent to set cookies.

applicable UK laws

Automattic (the people behind WordPress) have now included recommendations and suggestions for a privacy policy page. This will be a good start for you :)

Cookie Notice setup

how-to summary

  1. write / edit privacy policy page and publish
  2. install and activate plugin: Cookie Notice
  3. edit all settings as fitting, including all text
  4. check cookie setup on website
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WP tips

referencing with footnotes

When writing your content, always keep your readers in mind ~ these are the people you write for, your target group and it is up to you to make your text clear and easy to understand. Your subject might involve a certain terminology, or subject-specific jargon [1] or abbreviations, for example. Consider whether certain phrases would benefit from explanations, and offer additional information as fitting context.

Footnotes

Adding footnotes to your articles could be one way to offer explanations. In print, footnotes will appear at the very bottom of the page. Online, this remains the same – with the added advatange of being able to link the footnote to its text and vice versa.

Footnotes can be used for various purposes – to explain phrases, to offer links to official websites, to reference quotes, to give credit for images or other media, … etc … the list goes on.

Footnotes Made Easy plugin

how-to summary

  1. install and activate plugin: Footnotes made easy
  2. check setting for how to begin/end footnote
  3. add footnote by adding content inside double parenthesis (as per default setting) immediate after the term

Example:

WordPress is a very popular CMS [2], currently being used for about 30% of all sites online.

in editor:

  1. specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity[]
  2. content management system[]
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WP tips

adding ALT text

admin screenshot of uploaded image

Images of any kind, be that illustrations, graphics or photographs, are effective additions to your content. To follow good practices for both accessibility and SEO – each image has to include the alt/alternative text. This is a short description of the image content — this will be shown on the page should the image fail to load, be read out by screenreaders and other assistive software as well as being accessed by search engines.

screenshots of adding alt text

You can check on your images’ text settings by going to the media library and clicking on the image. This will bring up the details of the file and you can update the text alternative at any time.

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WP tips

plugins

Plugins can be a very good addition to your site if set up for the right reasons. However, before you go on a virtual ‘shopping spree’ – bear in mind that they will add weight to your page load and can slow down your site substantially.

The nature of open source means that plugins vary in quality and relevance, some will outdate – others remain solid and strong through active developments and regular updates. Do take a little time to read up on the details, check on the reviews and last update date. Check out the info for Akismet — many active installs, plenty of good reviews, very recent update and a great star rating.

reminder: word of caution!

  • AVOID plugins which deal with performance or caching
    While some are quite good, there are too many which are very intrusive to your server and theme. You could end up with troubles you do not know how to solve.
  • AVOID overload
    as with themes, do experiment and try out possible options – once you know that you will not be using a particular plugin, do deactivate as well as delete it. This will keep the load light and is a preventive measure against clashes.

The following list is by no means exhaustive – it includes plugins which are both safe and useful. I will update this over time.

Please note: I am not recommending that you install this entire list. You should review the options and included functions and consider your site specifically to decide which might be useful.

security

gutenberg addons

SVG

tools

forms

sliders / galleries

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WP tips

WordPress Themes – What To Avoid

When you create a new website, naturally you want it to look good. Unfortunately it can be easy to get so excited about how great your website looks, that you prioritise looking good over everything else.

In our first lecture, Prisca talked about the priorities for a successful website

  1. Good content
  2. Clear content structure
  3. Site performance (e.g. loading speed)
  4. Design for type, colour, layout & interaction

Think about the priorities above and remember the importance of asking the right questions

  • What matters most to your users?
  • Which content structure will fit your target group?
  • What are they likely to expect to find on your website?
  • How can you ensure a positive user experience?

Tips

  • Only get themes from reputable sources. Themes and plugins could potentially contain unmaintained or dangerous code, so please be careful when choosing. Themes from the WordPress theme directory have usually had some basic checks to ensure that they don’t contain harmful code, which is much safer than downloading a theme that is no longer maintained, by an unknown developer.
  • Avoid themes which include lots of features including pop ups, sections that slide in and out and lots of additional styling. The code that generates all that activity will make your website take longer to load, which will affect the performance of your website.
  • Don’t spend lots of money on premium themes. Themes can be expensive and many charge for additional features that you don’t need for this assignment.
  • Choose a theme to suit your content, don’t pick the theme and then try to create content that works. This is why it’s a good idea to add some content to your website before finalising which theme to use. The content and structure is more important than the theme you choose.
  • Try to avoid themes that require adding lots of additional plugins. Plugins should only be used when necessary, if a theme needs you to install several plugins then it is probably not a good idea for this project.
  • Don’t forget that lots of themes can be changed by using the options in the Customise menu (accessed by logging into your website, selecting Appearance from the black menu on the left hand side and choosing Customise.

One of the best things about WordPress is that you can make your website look completely different just by changing the theme. There are thousands of different WordPress themes to choose from, but please try not to get carried away with looking good or extra features that you don’t really need. This unit is about creating a successful website, not creating a good looking website.

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WP tips

safe & sound

To keep our sites safe, keep track of changes and edits to both content as well as site settings, let’s install Updraft – a plugin which will allow us to keep backups easily.

updraft logo

The Updraft plugin comes as free version with a premium paid plan, the free version will be sufficient for our websites at this point.

To install

  1. log into your site’s admin – go to ‘plugins’
  2. click ‘add new’ & search for ‘updraft’
  3. install & activate
  4. configure settings
  5. done :)