How does WordPress work? (Techiemuse)

Kary Boan-Dunham at Techiemuse has created a marvelous infographic to explain, at a high level, what WordPress is and how it works. If you’re curious and want a non-dangerous look under the hood, check it out.

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Choosing a WordPress Theme

Post for my author friends about WordPress themes over at my indie publishing website. Applies to anyone looking for a good WordPress theme.

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Why You Don’t Need to Back Up WordPress

Unless you update your WordPress site multiple times an hour and share it with multiple users, I suggest that you not bother with automated backup tools or plugins.

WordPress is powerfully redundant. Everything you do is written to its database in almost real time. Every few minutes, whether you save or not.

burning-barn

Your hosting company, by the way, runs a backup every night. If not, find another hosting company. If so, they have your database as it existed last night when you went to bed. Not, of course, that you need their backup, because everything you’ve done up till, say, 12 minutes ago, is already in the database. So unless you go in and wipe things out intentionally, more on that later, you’re not going to lose anything.

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Keep Your WordPress Themed Website Updated

WordPress updatesPeriodically developers may release security patches or extra functionality and your WordPress themed website will need to be updated. It’s important to keep it updated to avoid being hacked because you have outdated software. WordPress has an automatic update feature for minor releases in order to promote better security and streamline the process. These affect only core WordPress files and not your theme or plugins. Those need to be updated manually.

Your website administrator will be notified via email when your site is updated. If for some reason an automatic update can’t happen, your administrator will be notified as well. We recommend you always backup your site before doing any updates.

To update manually, go to your WordPress Dashboard. In the left-hand side bar, click on Updates. You’ll be taken to a page showing what updates need to be made, if any. Just click Update Now and WordPress will download the necessary fiels, validate them, and automatically update. From this page you can update themes and plugins also.

After you’ve completed updates, check your site again to make sure it’s working as you expect.

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Using WordPress Plugins

Using WordPress plugins

There are thousands of plugins available for your WordPress site. A plugin can expand the functionality of your website. You can find plugins at the official WordPress Plugin Directory.

Once you’ve added a plugin to your site, you’ll need to activate it. There may be settings you’ll need to configure as well. Periodically plugins may be updated and you’ll need to update them at your site as well. It’s always possible an update to a plugin may change the way your site works so it’s a good idea to backup your site before updating a plugin. Once you’ve updated the plugin check that it and your site work as you expected.

If you’re no longer using a plugin and have deactivated it, you should delete it.

Some of the plugins we use and recommend are:

  • Jetpack is full of useful features
  • Akismet checks for spam comments
  • Greg’s High Performance SEO
  • WP-Optimize allows you to extensively clean up your WordPress database and optimize it without doing manual queries
  • Broken link checker finds broken links and missing images and notifies you if any are found
  • WPaudio MP3 Player allows you to play mp3s and podcasts in posts with the simplest, cleanest, easiest mp3 player.

What are your favorite plugins?

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Your Blog Doesn’t Need to Be a Blog

Your blog doesn't have to be a blogWebsites often have a blog where someone regularly posts new articles. Perhaps you don’t feel you need a blog. However, you may still be able to incorporate the blog concept into your website.

Some ideas for your blog page could be:

  • Share the latest news
  • Post company updates
  • Let customers know about new products
  • Advertise your latest sale

Remember, search engines like Google like to see fresh content on websites. Using the blog functionality to post regular updates, news, sales, etc. is a great way to keep your website fresh for SEO.

What other ideas can you think of to use the blog functionality for?

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When Should Links Open in a New Window?

windowsRarely.

Yes, it’s common practice to have links that leave your site open in a new window. The rationale is that it’s easier for folks to come back and finish what they were reading on your site once they finish elsewhere.

This is wrong for a number of reasons, thrashed out a decade ago by a dozen of the world’s leading experts in User Interface Engineering, the science of, essentially, how to present stuff on the web. Though all our tools have grown and changed in the past decade, human psychology has not. (When there’s a serious upgrade to the human mind, you’ll know without me telling you.)

Here’s why it’s bad form to force links to open in a new window:

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Never Let the Mechanic Keep Your Keys

they're your keys!You would never give your only set of car keys to your mechanic, and then assume they’d be available any time you want to drive your car.

Why would you allow your web person to be the only one with full access to your web tools?

It’s great to have someone doing the geekery for you. Sue even takes phone calls from clients, transcribes them, then posts them on their blog as part of our monthly maintenance package.

But every single client has access, not just to the admin tools in WordPress, but their hosting account as well.

What Not to Do

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Static Home Page Instead of Blog – WordPress Video Tutorial Transcription

static home page instead of a blogFollowing is the transcription for the “Static Home Page Instead of Blog” video tutorial.

Let’s make a static home page instead of the blog home page. First we’ll go to Pages, and Add New, and we’ll just call this My New Home Page. “It is all staticy.” That’s not how you spell “staticy” but I don’t care.

So we’ll publish this and of course later that page title will become a problem in menus and things. We’ll deal with that another time. We’ll also create a blank page called blog. Again title doesn’t matter in this case but we’ve got to have a blank page, don’t put anything in it.

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Using Multiple Addresses in One Gmail Account – WordPress Video Tutorial Transcription

emailFollowing is the transcription for the “Using Multiple Addresses in One Gmail Account” video tutorial.

Your Gmail mail is different but I’m going to Mail Settings, Accounts, and then down here, Add Another Email Address You Own.

Farther below is stuff about check mail using POP, things like that. We don’t want to go there. No, no, no.

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