Who Knows WordPress

Written: February 25, 2014

WordPress as a Content Management System

WordPress is my favorite content management system for developing web sites and I discovered it in 2008 after a friend from the American Marketing Association recommended it to me. Prior to that I had written my own content management system and installed it at a handful of businesses. Once I saw how WordPress had separated content from the look of a site, and how I could customize and extend the looks or features to do anything, then it really convinced me that this CMS was the one to specialize in.

Today when you hear that someone “knows WordPress”, you really should stop and think for a minute, because there are no regulatory bodies or associations out there to say that you are “WordPress certified”. That prompted me to think about a list of questions to ask your WordPress expert, just to find out how much they really know about WordPress:

  1. Can you install WordPress manually by uploading files, creating a MySQL database, and running the install script? Not all web hosts have a single-click install feature.
  2. Have you migrated a WordPress site from one domain to another domain?
  3. Do you know how to backup a WordPress site?
  4. Is my web hosting company using the right version of PHP and MySQL for WordPress?
  5. Can you manually upgrade to a newer version of WordPress when the automatic upgrade isn’t working?
  6. Can you setup an SEO-friendly permalink structure to help search engines find content on your pages?
  7. Do you know how to setup the Home page to be a static page, not filled with blog posts?
  8. Do you know how to harden WordPress to make it more secure from attacks?
  9. How would you restore an infected WordPress site?
  10. How do you make a slow WordPress site faster?
  11. My WordPress theme has Javascript and HTML errors, can you fix those?
  12. How may WordPress sites have you built?
  13. Can you create a custom theme from scratch, or do you only know how to install someone else’s theme?
  14. Can you create a custom plugin from scratch, or do you only know how to install a plugin?
  15. What is your experience in creating a child theme?
  16. Are you a WordPress theme designer, or a WordPress plugin developer? Design and development are very different skill sets.
  17. Are you active in the WordPress discussion Forums?
  18. Can you customize my theme using CSS, HTML, PHP, Javascript and jQuery?
  19. Have you used Custom Post Types before, and why did you have to?
  20. Do you provide a Web User Guide to explain how I can update my own WordPress site?
  21. Are you involved with the WordPress community, like on Meetup or at WordCamps?
  22. What are your favorite plugins and themes, and why?
  23. Have you migrated any web sites from Joomla or Blogger into WordPress?
  24. When you upgrade a plugin and it breaks WordPress, how do you fix it?
  25. Have you built an e-commerce site for WordPress and how complex was it?
  26. What is AJAX and how is it used in WordPress? Have you programmed with AJAX?
  27. Have you developed responsive themes for use in WordPress, so that I can view it on my desktop, tablet or mobile device?
  28. What is the difference between a Page and a Post in WordPress?
  29. Can I see your portfolio of WordPress projects?
  30. May I contact your WordPress references?
  31. Is my theme SEO friendly?
  32. Can you add a new sidebar to my theme?

The vast majority of people that use WordPress are content to update pages or posts, and on occasion click the Update link when there are new versions for their plugin, theme or WordPress. Using WordPress and developing or designing for WordPress are very different tasks, so ask a few questions of your WordPress expert to see if they are a good fit for your next web project.


Migrating from Joomla to WordPress

Written: February 20, 2014

A few weeks back author Roland Smith referred another author Peg Kehret to me for a web site remodel project. I spoke to Peg by phone and discovered what she wanted to be done:

  1. Her present site was built with Joomla and it was hard to make updates to her web site.
  2. She had an older WordPress blog.
  3. She wanted to keep her blogs from Joomla, and page content.

I recommended that we continue using WordPress, because it is the number one Content Management System (CMS) in the world, is Open Source, has been around for 10 years, and is easy to use and learn. With that in place, I set about to migrate all of that Joomla blog info into WordPress, and in a few minutes I located a free plugin to do all of that work for me.


That plugin allowed me to import hundreds of Joomla blogs into WordPress, very nice. Next, I looked for a responsive theme that would work well on the desktop, tablet and mobile devices. I found a theme called Expound and added a custom logo.

The logo in the Header area is a real bookshelf that showcases all of Peg’s work so far.

I knew that we wanted each page to have one, two or three columns, so I found a handy plugin that supported multiple columns. Now her new Home page uses three columns.

Two of her pages make use of photo galleries, so I used the handy JetPack plugin to add this visual feature.

On the Contact page I needed a form, so my favored plugin called Contact Form 7 was used.

I created a 25 page Web User Guide so that Peg would understand how to update her own web site, then we followed up by phone yesterday to review each page of the Web User Guide while I remotely controlled her desktop using TeamViewer. Now Peg is more comfortable with keeping her own web site updated.


New Facebook App called Paper

Written: February 9, 2014

Last week I read glowing news about this new App from Facebook called Paper that was somehow supposed to change my life for the better. Time newspaper called Paper, “The Future of Facebook”. Here’s what Paper looks like on an iPhone:

So Paper has a vertical orientation and lets you scroll through Facebook news in the bottom half by swiping left or right. On the top are major news categories that you can scroll through, which then changes the articles that show in the bottom half. Facebook has pre-defined news categories for you to choose from, however you cannot add your own personal categories which is a huge limitation for me.

Being curious, I downloaded the app to my iPad3 and was instantly shocked that this app only works in the vertical orientation, not at all in the landscape orientation which I use my iPad for 100% of the time. So Paper is worthless to me on the iPad, end of story, epic design fail for Facebook:

Paper by Facebook


It’s really difficult for me to imagine an App being released in 2014 by a major technology company that is limited to vertical orientation only.

A Trademark lawsuit has already been filed by FiftyThree against Facebook for using the name “Paper”. Not only did Facebook fail on the app orientation, they lacked enough creativity in naming the crippled app.


50GB of Free Cloud Storage, Sweet

Written: February 6, 2014

My social media and real friend Kevin Ferrasci O’Malley sent me an email this morning about this cloud storage company called Box, so I gave it a try on my iPad by downloading their special free App. Sure enough, I now have a new account all setup with 50GB of free cloud storage.


The concept reminds me of what I already use for cloud storage with:

Here’s the promotional link to get your 50GB of free cloud storage for iPad or iPhone devices.

Long live free cloud storage.

I think that companies like Box will make money when we all get hooked on the storage concept, and then go over our 50GB limit and start to pay a monthly fee. So far, I’m quite happy with my multiple free storage accounts.


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