What Do You Need To Know To Run A WordPress Website?

What Do You Need To Know To Run A WordPress Website?

What Do You Need To Know To Run A WordPress Website?

So you’ve found a host, downloaded and installed WordPress, and are ready to fire up your new website.

Now what?

Before you go beyond, or even get to this point, let’s talk about the other things you may need to know to run your own self-hosted WordPress website.

What is “self-hosted?”

There are essentially two types of WordPress websites; .org and .com

WordPress.com is a hosting environment that excels in hosting small, personal blogs and websites.

  • It’s FREE for a very limited version
  • Has other plans that can cost beyond basic hosting plans for the .com version
  • The free plan essentially runs updates and backups for no extra charge.
  • Ads are placed on the free websites and you don’t get the benefit. AND you can’t run your own ads
  • Custom themes aren’t allowed
  • Free sites have a wordpress.com domain name (something_something.wordpress.com)

So if you want more flexibility, you have to use a downloaded version from WordPress.org. But you’ll also need a host, some time to set everything up, and a bit of expertise in a WordPress environment.

We will talk about three categories of knowledge you will need to set up and run a WordPress website; server, programming/languages, and “other.”

Server

To set up a hosted version of WordPress you need a place for it to live… a server host. You’ll also need a domain name pointing at that server, but for now we’re assuming you’ve gotten that far. We’ll talk about domain names at a later date. Some server terms you’ll need to be fluent in are:

  • cPanel : a graphical interface on WordPress hosts that provide a place to edit email addresses, domains, files, databases and much more. If you host a WordPress site you could spend a lot of time in your cPanel.
  • WHM : another graphical interface, but this time it’s at the server level. It manages server resources, cPanel accounts, SSLs, and a TON more tweak settings.
  • FTP : FTP is a program on your computer (I’ve used Filezilla for years) that gives you quick access to the sites file structure so it’s easy to upload files & images, and manage files on the server. Much easier than logging into the cPanel and using the File Mangaer.
  • MySQL : Your database on most WordPress sites. Life’s a lot easier if you know how to navigate and manage your databases without relying on plugins to optimize your data.

Programming/Languages

This is where the fight starts. Like all websites WordPress is built on several programming languages and other code. Programmers, like all professional positions, can get a little “catty” about what’s programming and what isn’t. HTML is largely considers to be NOT programming, but I disagree.

  • HTML : DING – DING – DING! Found on the internet, so it must be true, the definition of programming is “Programming is a way to “instruct the computer to perform various tasks.” HTML fits that… loosely. But learning some basic HTML won’t hurt your chances of working on your site.
  • CSS : Font types, colors, image placement, responsive pages, content visibility – all of this is done by CSS. If you were to ask me what is important to learn to be good at WordPress, CSS would be it.
  • PHP : The core of WordPress is all built on PHP. It’s an open source, versatile language that runs a HUGE portion of the internet once ASP and ASPX became bogged down and bloated. It helps to know a little PHP.
  • JavaScript : The little secret of WordPress. You can make a lot of cool things happen with JS, but if you don’t know what you’re doing it can break a lot of things. I am fluent enough to know how to decode and edit JS, but it’s on my list of things I need to get better at.

The “Other” Category

There are a lot of other things that can help you manage your WordPress site. The items detailed below aren’t critical to a site working, but they can help optimize a site.

  • Image Optimization : The first thing I look at when someone complains about a slow site is the images. Using a 4000×2000 image when a 2000×1000 will work can decrease load times by several seconds… PER IMAGE! Tools like GIMP, Photoshop and Canva are essential.
  • CDN : data networks are another way to speed up a site by sending media to a site from a dedicated server that caches the info being requested by visitors. They are not free, but really help. BeBizzy uses Stackpath.
  • DNS : You may have to edit your DNS to manage your email, FTP traffic, subdirectories and more.
  • Email : Speaking of email, I can’t stress enough that it’s my recommendation to get your email OFF your server. Paid hosting at Google Workspace, Office365 or others works better and will keep your non-website troubleshooting down to a minimum.
  • SSL : Security certificates are a metric used by Google and other search engines to rank sites. They also ensure your site info is encrypted to visitors. Get one, whether it’s supplied by the host, or you have to purchase.

This Sounds Like A Sales Pitch

It is.

If you have the time and the expertise to run, manage, update, backup and troubleshoot your website, by all means, do it! You can save some money and put skills you already possess to use.

But, if the $3-500 annually you would spend on hosting, plus the development costs of the site is worth it in your mind to only have to report a problem and not to fix it, hire a professional.

People hire others to lay carpet, mow lawns, build decks and other aspects of life all the time. Don’t let building a website keep you from doing what you have to do in order to grow your business.

SHAMELESS PLUG – Contact BeBizzy Consulting if you are ready to get a WordPress site built and hosted!

Thanks for listening to this episode of the WP Wednesday Podcast

Do you have questions, experiences related to today’s topic? Head over to @Bebizzy on Twitter and send them there. 

Don’t forget to check out SEM Rush for all your SEO needs. Visit bebizzy.com/semrush.

And remember to subscribe to the WP Wednesday Podcast for more great tips on managing your WordPress website.

Then, click in your podcast player to subscribe and leave us a review. Then you can sit back, relax, and leave the technical stuff to us.

How To Use a Robots.txt File

How To Use a Robots.txt File

Exactly what is a robots.txt and what does it do?

The official Google definition of robots.txt is : “A robots.txt file tells search engine crawlers which pages or files the crawler can or can’t request from your site. This is used mainly to avoid overloading your site with requests; it is not a mechanism for keeping a web page out of Google.

How To Use a Robots.txt File

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

How To Use a Robots.txt file on your webiste

What is a Robots.txt file?

    • Basically, it’s just a file on the root of your website that tells search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) what pages and files to index, and what to ignore.
    • If properly coded, a robots.txt file will prevent images, videos, audio files, and even script and style files from being indexed. 
    • HTML and other website page filetypes can be excluded as traffic management. If you actually want to block a page from search results either password protect them, require authentication, or use a noindex directive on the page itself.
    • If you use a hosting service or pagebuilder you might not have a way to provide a robots.txt file. Many will have a way to discourage search engines from indexing the site.

What Are some Examples of Robots.txt Use?

    • The syntax for a robots.txt file is 
      • User-agent : Google, Bing, * (wildcard)
      • Instruction : Disallow, Crawl-delay, Sitemap
      • Rules are case sensitive, so be careful
      • The default setting is that any search engine can index the entire website, so robots.txt provides some directions to enhance or change that.
    • Any number of “Groups” can be created. 
      • Groups is an easy way to separate multiple engine instructions 
        • Group 1 – Google not allowed so index a certain directory
        • Group 2 – All other engines allows to search entire site
    • For example, this syntax would block all search engines from all content (notice the addition after Disallow)
      • User-agent: * Disallow: /
    • And this syntax would ALLOW all search engines to index all content 
      • User-agent: * Disallow:
    • Block a specific search engine from a specific page
      • User-agent: Bingbot Disallow: /example-subfolder/blocked-page.html

What is Crawl Budget?

    • Many tools and resources will mention the “crawl budget” of a website. Basically it’s a number known only to the search engine on how many pages, images, and other files the engine will index, or how long an engine will stay on a site. 
    • If you think pages aren’t being fully indexed, it may be a good idea to identify the page you absolutely need to have indexed and set them to allow (Disallow:). That way the search engines will look at them first.

Why would I use crawl-delay?

    • A directive command that can be used is crawl-delay, then a second command. 
    • Crawl delays will slow down a search engine like Bing, which tends to be a little quick to start. This can increase accuracy while decreasing the load on the site and bandwidth. 
    • Heads up, Google does not use the crawl-delay directive.
    • (crawl-delay: 10)

 

Common Robots.txt Rules

https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/robots/create-robots-txt

Rule
Disallow crawling of the entire website. Keep in mind that in some situations URLs from the website may still be indexed, even if they haven’t been crawled.This does not match the various AdsBot crawlers, which must be named explicitly.

User-agent: *

Disallow: /

Disallow crawling of a directory and its contents by following the directory name with a forward slash. Remember that you shouldn’t use robots.txt to block access to private content: use proper authentication instead. URLs disallowed by the robots.txt file might still be indexed without being crawled, and the robots.txt file can be viewed by anyone, potentially disclosing the location of your private content.

User-agent: *

Disallow: /calendar/

Disallow: /junk/

Allow access to a single crawler

User-agent: Googlebot-news

Allow: /

User-agent: *

Disallow: /

Allow access to all but a single crawler

User-agent: Unnecessarybot

Disallow: /

User-agent: *

Allow: /

Disallow crawling of a single web page by listing the page after the slash:

User-agent: *

Disallow: /private_file.html

Block a specific image from Google Images:

User-agent: Googlebot-Image

Disallow: /images/dogs.jpg

Block all images on your site from Google Images:

User-agent: Googlebot-Image

Disallow: /

Disallow crawling of files of a specific file type (for example, .gif):

User-agent: Googlebot

Disallow: /*.gif$

Disallow crawling of an entire site, but show AdSense ads on those pages, and disallow all web crawlers other than Mediapartners-Google. This implementation hides your pages from search results, but the Mediapartners-Google web crawler can still analyze them to decide what ads to show visitors to your site.

User-agent: *

Disallow: /

User-agent: Mediapartners-Google

Allow: /

To match URLs that end with a specific string, use $. For instance, the sample code blocks any URLs that end with .xls:

User-agent: Googlebot

Disallow: /*.xls$

 

 

Viewing of mobile websites has increased from over 30% in 2015 to now over 50%, and there’s no sign of slowing down. Even if your customers are thought to be mainly on desktop and laptop computers, mobile indexing will force you to get your website designed for mobile use starting in March 2021. 

If you need help getting this process done, especially in a WordPress environment, please contact BeBizzy Consulting at bebizzy.com and let’s get your site ready for mobile use.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the WP Wednesday Podcast

Do you have questions, experiences related to today’s topic? Head over to @Bebizzy on Twitter and send them there. 

Don’t forget to check out SEM Rush for all your SEO needs. Visit bebizzy.com/semrush.

And remember to subscribe to the WP Wednesday Podcast for more great tips on managing your WordPress website.

Then, click in your podcast player to subscribe and leave us a review. Then you can sit back, relax, and leave the technical stuff to us.

WordPress News

  • WordPress 5.7 Released March 9, 2021
    • Reusable Blocks
    • Easier font-size adjustments
    • Drag and drop from the inserter right into your page or post
    • Switch from HTTP to HTTPS in one click. No database edits
    • Lazy loading of iFrames

https://wordpress.org/news/2021/03/esperanza/

How To Use a Robots.txt File

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Should I Use Hero Images?

Should I Use Hero Images?

What Is A Hero Image?

Wikipedia defines hero image as “a large web banner image, prominently placed on a web page, generally in the front and center.”

It usually dominates a home page, and can be linked by the visitor to the company or organization’s image. Because of that, if you’re going to use a hero image, hero slider, or even a hero video, it’s important to select the right one, or “ones” if using a slider, so you are displaying the right image.

Should I Use A Hero Image?

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Why you SHOULD use a hero image

  • It captures an image the website should project. A corporate website will show happy workers, insurance companies will show patients or people getting help from doctors, sports teams will show fans and the team in celebration, a WordPress agency like BeBizzy will show computers, websites… things like that. These visuals are meant to draw out desired emotions from the visitors.
  • I’ve also heard it described as an opportunity to display the unique value proposition of the company. This is marketing jargon for how you plan on solving the customer’s problem.
  • Hero visuals can also simply be a visual tool that adds some color to an otherwise boring or stale topic. No one like to read about car insurance, but drawing visitors in with compelling photos will make the read easier.

Why you SHOULD NOT use a hero image

  • They take up valuable space on a website. Hero visuals are usually full width, and can be also run to the top of the website “fold.” So if your visitors aren’t drawn down the page everything below the hero can be lost.
  • Given that the hero will be viewed in so many screen resolutions and positions, hero images can be cropped or bleed over the borders of these displays, possibly missing the desired best looks, call to action copy, or even a button or link.
  • Large images, and especially videos, can take a long time to load so it can cause the page to look odd during loading, or even to jump as some elements are loaded. But even worse is when a low resolution image is tried to be used a full-width hero image and it causes pixelization, stretching, and other visual issues.

How to properly use hero images.

If you are going to use hero images, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t, there needs to be some thought put into how to properly use them.

  • Make sure the resolution is high enough to be visually appealing. Most image programs like Use JPG instead of PNG and other bulky formats. Photoshop, GIMP and others have a compression feature that can help tighten up the file size without losing too much sharpness so experiment with compression to see the breaking point. The same can be done with most video and slider formats if you have access to some tools.
  • Take a look at how the hero will display in mobile or portrait format. Adjustments can usually be made on how the image is displayed with an aimpoint (center, bottom left, etc) that will ensure the most desired portion of the image is show on different devices. In some cases it may also be decided to remove the hero image on mobile just do to load times, position of the CTA, and maybe even straight up visual appeal.
  • If a text overlay is displayed check to see it can easily be read. Sometimes an overlay filter an help by lightening/darkening, colorizing, or even using some advanced filters like polarization will help the text “pop.” Be sure to use an easy to read font that conveys the emotion you want the visitors to feel. Impact font shouldn’t be used on a yoga website.
  • Motion is good if you can execute this properly. Some sliders have a built-in “Ken Burns Effect” that pulls a photo away from the user. Others have moving dots, spider webs, or lights to keep a visitor engaged.
  • Compress and size the visual as much as possible while still keeping it’s appeal. A typical 16:9 laptop and monitor will be roughly 2000 pixels wide, so plan accordingly with your image and video.
  • And finally, strategize if you can get your message and CTA across to your visitor WITHOUT it. Just because 9 out of 10 sites in your vertical has a hero, does YOUR SITE need it? Will a big red “BUY NOW” button work better? Can you easily A/B test with and without to see what converts better? You know who DOESN’T have a large hero image? Google, Facebook, Amazon, CNN, State Farm Insurance, ESPN and many more leaders in many verticals.

Hero images are a great way to brand your site and your business with a look and feel you want to embrace. But it can cause long load times, difficulty in responsive modes like tablets and phones, and if the wrong image is selected, not what you want your customers to know you buy.

Choose wisely, get rid of them if it’s not helping, and if you choose ultimately to use them, follow the rules mentioned earlier.

Do you have questions, experiences or questions related to this topic? Head over to @Bebizzy on Twitter and send them there. I’m not a huge DM user, so just mention me in your comment. Then click in your podcast player to subscribe and leave us a review. Then you can sit back, relax, and leave the technical stuff to us.

Should I Use A Hero Image?

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

WordPress News

  • Google is going to be moving to Mobile Indexing in March 2021. This has been rumored/threatened for years, and it’s finally going to happen. So get your sites ready quickly, it’s coming and it will also be a podcast here soon, so stay tuned.
  • WordPress 5.6.1 is out. I’ve installed it on several sites with no issues, but run your backups and update.
  • And finally, WhiteHouse.gov is back on WordPress! And if sounds like the government is recruiting in the source code. Line 9 of the code reveals “If you’re reading this, we need your help building back better. https://usds.gov/apply ” Happy job hunting, WordPress users.
Does Google Value Hidden Content Less?

Does Google Value Hidden Content Less?

Hidden Website Content

A fairly common way to display large chunks of content on a website is to use tabs, accordions and toggles. All of these “hide” content until they are clicked or otherwise activated, revealing the content underneath.

So how does Google index this content, or even DOES it index this content?

Does Google Value Hidden Content Less?

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Why Would You Hide Content on a Website?

  • Too much content
  • Want a call to action from the visitor/reader
  • Not something everyone who visits the page needs to see

Does Google Read It If It’s Hidden?

One side says that if you have hidden content, Google doesn’t care and it indexes it just like “normal” content. The other side says if it’s not visible, Google will NOT index it, thereby not including it in searchable content.

I am in the camp of it WILL be indexed and searchable. It’s HTML, code, content on the page, so Google will index it. Search engines read popups, meta data, alt tags, etc, so why not content that is technically on the page?

Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts is a former Google employee as part of the search quality team on search engine optimization issues and also the former head of the web spam team at Google. Her’e’s what he has to say about hidden content.

The main point of Matt’s video is make sure the content being hidden is meaningful or relevant to the page’s main content. Otherwise it could be taken as keyword stuffing.

John Mueller

John Mueller is the host of Google Webmaster Central and a Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google. He backs up what Matt said earlier.

These two experts back up my contention that hidden content on the page will be indexed as long as it’s good content… just like everything else on a web page.

Tabs, toggles and other forms of displaying layered content is common now, so everyone knows how to use them. Use these tools wisely and you won’t have any trouble getting found on the search engines.

Does Google Value Hidden Content Less?

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Tech Changes in 2020

Tech Changes in 2020

2020 Forced Lots of Technical Changes

2020 was weird. There. I said it. 

The past nine to twelve months has change the way many of you work and live. Commutes, water coolers and being interrupted by a co-worker walking around have been replaced by video meetings, garbage trucks backing up and kids needing help with their schoolwork. 

Luckily I’ve been insulated from much of this, but I feel the pain. And I also had to change due to some technical issues. So as we wind down 2020 I wanted to share some of the technical changes I’ve made as we run towards 2021. 

Technical Changes at BeBizzy Consulting in 2020

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Hardware

  • Samsung Galaxy Chromebook – replaced a dead old Samsung Chromebook and an ancient Samsung tablet with a shiny new, Intel-powered, Ferrari-red Chromebook to handle tasks outside the office.
  • Samsung Galaxy Book Flex – replaced a four-year-old desktop computer and a severely hard drive space challenged Microsoft Surface Book with a crazy-fast and powerful Samsung laptop.
  • Increased Bandwidth for Cable Connection – 300Mbps to better manage everything I do : file upload/downloads, video conferencing, VoIP phone calls,

Software

  • 17Hats – I’ve finally jumped to the powerful 17Hats business management system.
  • Microsoft Office – I’ve danced around using various apps instead of MS Office for years, but I came back.
  • Brackets – For many years I’ve used Dreamweaver to edit PHP, HTML, CSS and other files. But I didn’t want to pay for Adobe Cloud, and the old version I’ve been using was probably a decade old, so it was time to update. Brackets is a modern interface and intuitive program to edit these code files.
  • Notion – Want an amazing way to manage meeting notes, easy database tasks, projects, files, time tracking, and much, much more? Notion does this across virtually any device and platform.
  • GIMP – Like Brackets, I started using G.I.M.P because I was tired of paying for an Adobe Cloud Photoshop account. It’s the right price, FREE, and does nearly anything you had to do with PS.
  • Google Meet – Everyone is using a video conferincing app in 2020

Website Apps

  • WP Rocket – I’m a DIVI theme user, and unfortunately that means I had to sacrifice a bit of site speed for ease-of-development and functionality. WP-Rocket recovered that speed easily.
  • Google Drive Backup Space – Earlier in 2020 I ran into a server space issue that was the result of years of backups, unused files and dead sites. So I moved my UpdraftPlus backups to Amazon S3. I quickly encountered unplanned costs for bandwidth and space so I started looking for a better alternative. Google Drive was an easy to use, powerful alternative for $100 a year.
  • Dedicated File/Web Server – I started using Sync as a Dropbox alternative a year or so ago. It’s been great, but to have a complete backup of my Sync storage took up 1.5TB of hard drive space. So, I took my old desktop computer and turned it into a file server including my Sync backup. Accessible from anywhere inside my network, I can get to files without working on something direct inside the online Sync network.The goal is also to get this box set up as a development area for website in early 2021 to eliminate developing on my production server with password-protected sites.

Planned Changes for 2021

  • Moving my desk/office back into the BeBizzy Dungeon – We are shrinking down and going back into our cell where it all began. The windowless, soundless, 12×12′ office off the utility room I lovingly refer to as the BeBizzy Dungeon.
  • Video Podcasts – Going to launch the WP Wednesday Podcast on a YouTube channel. Stay tuned!
  • Two more planned podcasts – we are tentatively planning to launch two more podcasts in 2021. One featuring interviews on a variety of subjects, and one dealing with outdoors. Keep listening!

Today’s News Links

  • WP Rocket  3.8.1
    • Update to 3.8.1 removed the option “Remove jQuery Migrate” option that was causing an issue with many WordPress 5.6 websites.

Technical Changes at BeBizzy Consulting in 2020

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Fonts In WordPress

Fonts In WordPress

Using Fonts in WordPress

Most websites have images. Some have videos. Others have database connections, feeds from other sites, shopping carts, and others item.

But it’s fair to say that EVERY websites has fonts. From the classic Times New Roman, to newly launched fonts like Shapiro, fonts are text stylings used to display written text on sites.

There are many ways to edit font types but today we’re going to talk about how you can add or change the fonts on your site.

Fonts in WordPress

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Fonts in WordPress are a great way to stylize your website. Changing the font can make a site look very corporate or newsy, or fun and light. Therefore fonts can make a site hard to read or amateurish, so choose wisely.

Most sites use primarily two fonts, one for headings, and one for body text. There are often other fonts used for beneath images, advertisements, and other special cases, but two is the base number needed.

Need some suggestions on font pairings for your site? Check out Font Pair to see fonts paired together and how they will look in WordPress.

Finding Fonts

There are hundreds of fonts in WordPress available online for free or at a very low cost.

Make Your Own Font!

A site called Font Squirrel will take a font you own, upload it to the application, and edit to your needs. Add tails to letters, increase the boldness,

Use the Fonts in WordPress

Once you’ve decided on which fonts will work on your site, it’s time to implement them. There are many ways including CSS, themes and plugins.

  • Themes Some themes already have a customizer in their options to set default heading and paragraph fonts. This makes selecting and changing them extremely easy, as you only have to edit in one place and it should universally change the pages.Of course if any changes were made inside a page they may still hold the values. I use the DIVI theme and changing fonts sitewide is very simple, and using a visual builder it’s quick to see a change in both font style and size will affect the site.
  • Plugins Like setting a font in WordPress in the theme customizer, plugins offer an easy way to change fonts sitewide. Most will interface directly with Google Fonts and other depositories to bring in the fonts and other styles.
  • CSS The most powerful, the fasted loading time, and maybe the most difficult way to adjust your fonts is through CSS. CSS is some instructions on how your WordPress and other site display text, images, page width, navigation and many other options on the site.

To set the fonts and other properties in CSS you will need the following
1- Downloaded font files, or in some cases have code from a depository (like Google Fonts) which can provide an “@import” instruction to pull the files needed in your CSS page/site.
2 – Access to edit the WordPress files to bring in the fonts through CSS. Sometimes this will be a custom CSS file. Other times it will be a specific file in the WP theme. Find out where to change on your page.
3- Sometimes changes to fonts can be made in the header.php file. Place the font import in the <HEAD></HEAD> portion of the HTML.
4- If you host the font files locally, the “@font-face” CSS command can be used.

See more ways and even get specific CSS and HTML code to add fonts in WordPress by visiting this article on WebsiteSetup.org


WORDPRESS NEWS FOR EPISODE 120

  • WP Beginner – How to Change MX Records For Your WordPress Site

MX Records are where your email is directed. Often times it is the same server as the web host, but more advanced sites use an ARecord host (website), and MX Record host (mail) at different locations. This article gives some great instructions on why, and how, you would change the server records.

bit.ly/33gzObT

  • WP Lift – How to Optimize Cumulative Layout Shift on WordPress

This one might be slightly advanced. If you’ve been using page scoring sites like GTMetrix or Page Insights lately, you’ve probably noticed one of the big items listed as a negative is Cumulative Layout Shift.

It’s when the code is loading and the site layout flashes as images, videos and other content fall into place on the site. It can be distracting, but there are ways around it. If the site loads quickly it may not be an issue, but if you’re concerned about this the page gives some great ideas on how to minimize the shift.

bit.ly/372ixV3

UPDATE : You can use legacy reporting from GTMetrix ( https://gtmetrix.com/blog/how-to-test-with-legacy-gtmetrix-reports/ )F

  • Search Engine Journal – WordPress 5.6 Guidance on PHP 8 Compatibility

The most recent version of PHP (7.4) doesn’t reach it’s projected EOL (end of life) until Dec 2022, so if you’re running near the most recent version everything should be fine… for now. But if you like to live on the technical edge, PHP 8 is starting to roll out and WordPress 5.6 will be compatible in beta form, meaning running it on a production website is risky at best.

There are bound to be issues with the core, and almost certainly will be with themes, plugins and even custom code. So implement at your own risk.

bit.ly/360IFQC

 

Fonts in WordPress

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Sending Emails from WordPress Sites

Sending Emails from WordPress Sites

Sending Emails from WordPress Sites

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Why doesn’t WordPress send emails without any configuration?

  • The easy answer is, it does… sometimes.
  • Some hosts and website work without any editing to the WordPress install or even the plugins to send emails from forms. It’ uses the PHP Mail function.
  • But some hosts don’t have that running or it is very ineffecting in sending email, so a plugin needs to be installed to send those emails

What is SMTP?

  • The default method of sending any emails is SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol).
  • It’s a way to send email from your website to your visitors through your email provider.
    • If you don’t have a dedicated domain email provider, you an also use Gmail, Outlook and other free email providers with a little configuration.
  • The basic information to send email through SMTP is
    • The server address : will be something like smtp.gmail.com

    • The username. Often it will be the full email address to send FROM : ie – something@gmail.com

    • The password for the account

    • The protocol to use and it’s accompanying port

      • 25 – basic, unencrypted SMTP port. This sends email from the site/app directly to the email server with no protection. It’s often restricted by many email servers and ISPs.
      • 465 : Another port that was used up until recently, but it’s not recommended any longer. It uses SSL ports but is actually now used for other types of internet traffic, and can be blocked or filtered by many ISPs and email providers.
      • 587 : The recommended port to send SMTP traffic. It uses TLS encryption which will ensure the email is submitted security.

      What plugins can be used to send emails from WordPress

      • Easy WP SMTP Plugin – my default SMTP plugin. Easy to confiure, it’s free, and comes with many preconfigured hosts like Gmail, Yahoo! and Outlook. Sends a test email to any email you wish to make sure everything work.
      • Mail SMTP Gateway Plugin – Another great SMTP plugin. This one has many options and can be tough for inexpreienced users to configure the eadvanced options.
      • WP Email SMTP Plugin – Another free plugins that has all the usual options. Some of the most popular included settings are from email, from name, mailer, return path, host, port, authentication, encryption, username and password.

What are your experiences or questions about sending emails from your website? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Sending Emails from WordPress Sites

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Protecting Your WordPress Sites With Good Passwords

Protecting Your WordPress Sites With Good Passwords

WordPress Admin Security

The most obvious security issue with WordPress is your administrator account logon information. By locking that down you can protect your website content and install information. 

But there are other security measures you should implement if you really want your site to be secure. We’ll talk about those on this episode 113 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast.

Protecting Your WordPress Sites With Good Passwords

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Your WordPress Admin Account

There are several ways for a hacker to gain control of your website or server. I’m going to start with the most obvious, then give you some tips on protecting the rest of your site and social engineering opportunities

  • Admin Accounts

    • Admin Passwords – choose a good password. I assigned a tough, 16-characters admin password today which was promptly changed by the user to a weak password. The client didn’t want increased security on allowing weak passwords, so now an admin has an easy password, which would allow total access to the site and the data.
    • Delete unused accounts – I recently killed a few accounts on a site that haven’t technically been active in over five years. However, if that person had really wanted to cause an issue, it would have taken no time to change that password, log in to the site and start causing all kinds of damage. And technically, it wouldn’t have to be the person who “owned” that account, it could be hacked by virtually anyone, especially if they had email access (see below)

Other Website Security Concerns

So once you have a handle on the admin accounts in WordPress, now it’s time to take a quick audit of the other weak links

  • Your email password – This is 100% the most important password you will even use. Almost every password recovery, confirmation, and communication from other systems come through your email. If someone gets your email password, they can get almost anything else including your bank, your credit cards, your mobile phone records, Office accounts, business files… everything.

    Make your email password as secure as humanly possible, set up two-factor authentication (2FA) where possible, and guard this password with your life.

  • Password Managers – Now that I’ve made it clear your email is THE weakest link, a good password manager like LastPass is essential is managing strong, unique passwords for all of your pages. And most modern browsers allow easy use to auto-fill or provide easy copy/paste of passwords into your web apps and pages.
  • Server login – Having access to a WordPress site is good, but getting direct access to a server WHM or Cpanel is even better. You could point the site at a different location, change up some of the settings, or even just delete everything. Lock that down with a good password.
  • Registrar – Hijacking domain name isn’t new, but it is relatively easy with access to the registrar. From here DNS records can be changed, contact emails can be changed, and domains can even be cancelled/deleted. Turn on 2FA and set a good password.
  • Other technical sources for the site – Make sure logins to your CDN, WooCommerce account, plugin sources and more are all protected with great passwords and 2FA.

Passwords will usually scrub off the casual hacker, but to ensure your site’s security to those with a little more skill you may have to take some additional measures. Set good passwords, utilize 2FA when possible, and change the passwords on a regular basis. 

Update on WordPress 5.4 which was released on March 31, 2020. Some issues emerging on the editor going full screen, and favicons disappearing or affecting load time. So at this time I would advise you not to update until an incremental update is released to address some of these concerns.

Have horror stories or tips on securing your WordPress or other website? Send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Protecting Your WordPress Sites With Good Passwords

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Adding Notifications to Your WordPress Site

Adding Notifications to Your WordPress Site

Adding Notifications 

Sometimes you need to get specific information out to your customers like operation times, newsletter signups, new product lines, or even business sale or closing messages.

There are many ways to do this, and also many things to consider when you’ve decided to move forward. On today’s Episode 111 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast we talk about Adding Notifications to your WordPress Website.

Adding Notifications to Your WordPress Site

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

What To Consider Before Adding A Notification

On the surface, adding a notification to a website sounds simple. I need to tell people something, add a popup…

But given there’s so many ways to do this, and so many options, it’s important to consider a few things before you move forward.

  • How often should I present the message – most of these options have ways to limiting how often a user sees the message. The most popular are once per user session, once per day, once per week, or simply… once. How often would be managed by what the message is, the importance of the message, and the duration.
  • Should I open on all pages, or limit viewing – Does your message need to be seen by every visitor to the page, or it important only to blog viewers, or contact us visitors?
  • How intrusive should it be – Will a standard popup get the job done, or can you just have a footer notification. Or is it so important that it needs to be full-page?
  • Require User Interaction – Does the visitor need to interact with it with a Call-To-Action (CTA), or will a simple accept or close button work?
  • How long should you leave it up – In the case of the COVID outbreak, the office closures will be mostly dictated by the government, but if it’s seasonal hours, or specific instructions, make sure you have someone who knows to remove it.

Ways to Display Notifications

There are many ways to display notifications to website visitors. The most popular include : 

  • Notification Bars – These are usually stuck to the footer of a website and will stay there until acknowledged with a click to close. Uses include notification of privacy policy, a change in store/office hours, and moderately important messages. One of the more popular plugins is WPFront Notification Bar
  • Popups – You’ve seen popups for years. They are on almost every website you visit trying to get you to subscribe to newsletter, acknowledge privacy policies, and in the case of COVID-19 showing hours or other information. Use this method carefully when you determine how often it needs to be displayed, how large it is displayed, and what information is requested. There are hundreds of popup builder plugins available, find the one that fits your needs.
  • Edit Your WordPress page – If you want something a bit more permanent or embedded in your website you can just add it on your home age in a row or module. This takes a bit more work, but can be a little bit less intrusive to visitors but still be seen. 

Adding a notification to your website can be as easy as just saying you want one and picking a way to do it. But, by putting a little thought into it before you implement you can find a better, more effective way of projecting your message. 

What are your favorite ways of displaying notifications to website visitors? Send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Adding Notifications to Your WordPress Site

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Getting Inspiration For Your Website Redesign

Getting Inspiration For Your Website Redesign

Where Do You Start On A Redesign

One of the critical parts of website research is what you do, and maybe more importantly, what you do NOT like on how a website looks and works. Often clients refer to competitors when they point out these likes and dislikes, which is OK, but can force these clients into a corner.

But I would encourage you to look outside your competitors, and even your business classification for inspiration. Find a look that is user friendly, modern and gets your business and culture across to your clients.

Getting Inspiration For Your Website Redesign

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Sites To Inspire

Apart from just surfing the web looking for inspiration there are places dedicated to inspire design. Here we’re going to list five sites that can provide some layouts, functions and tones for your potential redesign.

Again, it’s important to look past the content and to see the design, the layout and even some of the plugins that can be implemented into your site when it’s time to discuss a redesign or initial launch. This can save DOZENS of hours of redesigning and tweaking layouts in the long run. Don’t forget to look at and discuss fonts, heading and text sizes, colors, image sizes, social media feeds, calendars and anything else you think you need.

#WPWednesday – WordPress 5.4 

WordPress 5.4 scheduled for launch 3/31/2020 with several “block editor” improvements. Not sure an update during these turbulent times is a good idea, but the updates include :  

  • Several “block editor” improvements
  • Social Icons block – allows easy insertion of social media profiles (FB, TW, IG)
  • Buttons block – allow adding more than one button per line
  • Better background color options for blocks
  • Drag & drop an image to the Featured Image section. Great for social sharing and blog images.
  • Select text in a block and change its color instead of changing the entire block
  • Fixed mobile toolbar on mobile

As always, run backups and take other precautions before you run the update. Good luck!

What are your favorite ways to be inspired on a website redesign? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Getting Inspiration For Your Website Redesign

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast