Keep WordPress Happy: Essential Tips – February 2017

Website Superhero - Keep WordPress Happy Essential Tips - February 2017

Welcome to the second ever Keep WordPress Happy: Essential Tips monthly column! (See the January column here.)

During every month in 2017 I am covering any big WordPress-related news, new favorite tools, and of course maintenance tips & reminders to keep your website healthy and working at full steam for your business.

What does that mean for you? No more guesswork around keeping your 24/7 salesperson up and running smoothly.

You get to focus on what you’re really good at, what makes you money: building and growing your business!

So let’s dive into it, superhero!

Keep WordPress Happy: Essential Tips – February 2017

What’s up in the WordPress world?

  • Want to learn more about WordPress / web design & development / programming / freelancing / entrepreneurship? Attend a conference this year! I’m pumped about WordCamp Miami coming on March 24-26 (one of the biggest WordCamps, where I’ll be hanging with my good friend Erin Flynn, among other awesome fellow WordPress developers!).

    Go to make friends! Go to LEARN & EXPAND. And WordCamps never cost more than $35 for 3 days of workshops, food, and killer swag — you cannot lose :) Go to http://central.wordcamp.org/ to find a WordCamp near you!

    Not sold about going to a conference yet? Here’s a post I wrote a year ago on creativity after attending my first tech conference (WordCamp Miami!) on how deeply it inspired me — and thus my business!

  • If you haven’t upgraded to WordPress 4.7.2 yet, do it nowww — that version of WordPress was released to fix four critical security issues. The newest version will help protect you from hackers. So be sure get on that so you don’t join the list of hundreds of thousands of websites defaced through these security leaks!
  • And psst… Remember how in last month’s Keep WordPress Happy post I talked about SSL and how Google is now favoring those websites when it comes to search engine rankings? Geeky news: Turns out more than 50% of web traffic is now using SSL a.k.a. is encrypted with HTTPS! With hosting providers like Siteground and Flywheel now offering SSL for free and Google giving a thumbs up to websites that use it, it’s no surprise it’s become the new norm.

New favorite WordPress tools

1) Foo Gallery 

Need to get a gallery in place and don’t know what to use? I was recently recommended Foo Gallery. The basic version is free and then you can add on paid extensions for video (if you want to show your videos in a grid gallery, for instance) and other more advanced options, but it’s free for images and pretty versatile! Check out Foo Gallery here (it’s already got 70,000 users!).

2) Essential Grid

Another one I’ve been playing with thanks to a new techie friend who let me play with her copy is Essential Grid. I’d been hearing about it for years and I will tell you that it has a hefty learning curve, but you can easily find free video tutorials on YouTube if you wanna get into it!

It’s also quite flexible and lets you do a lot. Here’s the Essential Grid plugin (no free version available). It’s got over 23,000 downloads!

Now, both of these are for galleries. If you’re thinking about a slideshow… read this post about why you shouldn’t have a slideshow!

Your Monthly WordPress Maintenance

Whether you only have 5 minutes to give your website a checkup or can spare a full 30 minutes for your monthly maintenance (recommended to keep WordPress happy!), I’ve got your back!

Here’s what you need to do this month:

  • If you’re not on a secure, managed server that handles your security (like Flywheel or WP Enging) then make sure you’re using a security plugin like Wordfence and once a month quickly run your site through a security filter like Sucuri’s: http://sitecheck.sucuri.net/
  • Check for broken links automatically – use this baby to make it a snap: Broken Link Checker
  • Make sure your backups are running smoothly so you have a Plan B if disaster strikes (I like Backup Buddy). Ideally, take the time to restore one every month and make sure everything you need is there in case you ever do need to bring your website back to life via one of ’em backups.
  • Haven’t gotten a message through your contact form in the past few weeks? Test it!
  • Haven’t gotten a new subscriber in a little while? Test your opt-in forms! Make sure your email list isn’t dead in the water.
Wanna get serious about keeping your website healthy and working for your biz 24/7?
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