Priming Your WordPress Canvas – Essentials for a Solid Foundation


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So you’re ready to create your very own WordPress masterpiece, but a little confused about the initial the setup process (before you paint your theme and content on the canvas). No worries. We’ll sort out a how to implement the steps and prioritize and elements/plugins you need. This is a technical talk that focuses on the not so obvious external elements that should be connected to your little WP ecosystem. You will walk away a workflow set-up tool kit and the confidence that your site will poised for future growth. Also, your OCD will rejoice.

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Priming Your WordPress Canvas – Essentials for a Solid Foundation

  1. 1. Priming your WordPress Canvas Elida Arrizza WordCamp Montreal 2013 Essentials for a Solid Foundation
  2. 2. Note: The “why” for each topic is not on slides.
  3. 3. who is this for? “Why didn’t anyone tell me that before?!? Now I have to deal with this ******* problem.” “I’m really glad I did that a long time ago. Although, I never mastered it – or realized how important it is.”
  4. 4. why? Vermeer | The MilkmaidDavinci | Last supper | 1970ies Poorly prepared ground can hinder longevity of a great masterpiece. Meticulous concern for canvas preparing techniques for longevity and optimal surface for crafting artwork. vs.
  5. 5. why? night_2012_Spain.jpg vs.
  6. 6. Avoiding Common Pitfalls Workflow Structure Example PART A PART B
  7. 7. Avoiding Common Pitfalls PART A
  9. 9. HOSTING CHOICE1 Pick Your Foundation • Cost • Features • Customer service • Technical support • Value of ‘goods’ • Ease of use • Guarantee General blah blah blah YOU ARE HERE Detached house PRIVATE SERVER Condo/ semi detached VIRTUAL PRIVATE SERVER (VPS) Apartment SHARED HOSTING TIP: Set your Domain to auto-renew. Don’t unintentionally let it expire. Keep account info up to date.
  10. 10. HOSTING CHOICE1 Other Considerations Optimized server for your WordPress site? PLATFORM Linux/Apache (not Windows IIS) Committed to keep up to date with WP? RELIABILITY UPTIME LIVE servers status? Do they communicate planned maintenance/downtime? Most online reviews are marketing traps. PERFORMANCE Are they afraid to reveal the hardware they use? SCALABILITY If you need “more” in the future, do they offer options/packages for growth? SERVER LOCATION Can you choose location close to your visitors? (speed)
  11. 11. HOSTING CHOICE1 Good sign server is optimised for WordPress
  12. 12. WEBMASTER STUFF2 Create a Dedicated Google Account GOOGLE SERVICES 3RD PARTY EXAMPLES TIP: If desired name is taken, try website domain. • (for Automattic plugins) • Plugin accounts (e.g. WPML) • Purchased themes accounts • Google Services • Gmail • Analytics • Webmaster tools • Places • Google+
  13. 13. Hosting/FTP access Domain registration WordPress users Google services Plugin accounts mySQL database etc. usernames/passwords, email associated with account and login links for: companyPW-20110421.txt WEBMASTER STUFF2 Create “Access sheet” Text File TIP: Google Docs may NOT be the best tool for this.
  14. 14. Webmaster Tools Account WEBMASTER STUFF2 Lots of benefits • Visibility • Link and query traffic reports • Detailed page reports • Crawls and index info • Sitemaps stuff • Diagnose problems • Tell google how to look at your site • Google will let you know if they are having problems accessing your site (e.g. malware). Create account and “verify” it to your WP site Dear Google, Please take me seriously. Sincerely,
  15. 15. XML Sitemaps WEBMASTER STUFF2 Create and verify XML Sitemap file to your WP site Helps search engines crawl your site. No promises made, but improves site visibility. A text file that lives in the root folder of your website: Lazy way: Verify using a plugin like “Google-sitemap-generator” With time your site may be rewarded with mini sitemap
  16. 16. Google Analytics Account Open an account at WEBMASTER STUFF2 Hook up Google Analytics with your WP site Lazy way: use a plugin like “Google-analytics-for-WordPress” or”Google-Analyticator” Just connect it NOW. Otherwise you will lose the opportunity to capture the data. You can learn more later.
  17. 17. “A Globally Recognized Avatar“ Not a plugin and not essential, but a standard thing to do. Create WordPress.COM Account WEBMASTER STUFF2 (not .org) Then hook-up Automattic plugins. jetpack plugin Activate “Stats” If you want daily overview stats Many other Jetpack goodies akismet plugin Comment Spam filter if you have comments enabled. Get an API key through Akismet. com then apply to plugin settings This username and password is needed to access Jetpack, Akismet and Gravatar.
  18. 18. CONTENT DATABASE Option 1: The Manual Way Google this: “How to download WordPress mySQL database with PHPmyadmin” BACKUPS3 Via FTP + PHP Admin Remote hosting FTP website website root/wp-config.php website root/wp-content Download to Local Computer 3 kb 1 to ~ 10mb Download to Local Computer SQL ! WARNING: Advanced procedure
  19. 19. WP-DB Manager Cron jobs (advanced) Hosting add-on service BACKUPS3 WordPress backup to Dropbox Option 2: Use Plugin or Service FREE PAID OR Ensure BOTH content + database are covered
  20. 20. Speed Checking Pingdom YSlow browser extension by Yahoo 3 NEED FOR SPEED If you find your webpage load is dial-up-ish... The report will give you hints to “optimize” TIP: It could also be your internet connection. Test it at
  21. 21. Caching Plugins 4 NEED FOR SPEED vs.WITHOUT WITH CACHING Can help serve pages faster and reduce server load Plugin Examples: W3 Total Cache, Super cache, Quick cache, etc
  22. 22. Database Love 4 NEED FOR SPEED Install a DB optimization plugin and schedule Take out the trash • Page and Post Revision • Empty/unneeded tables • Comment Spam • Trashed items • Post Meta orphans What gets purged? Ensure your Database gets backup before doing this. Plugin suggestions: Yoast Optimize DB, “Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions”, “WP CleanFix”
  23. 23. Flush unneeded revisions 4 NEED FOR SPEED Database Love Deleting number of “saved revisions” can significantly lighten the DB. You can schedule to Revision deletion (and qty) in many Database optimization plugins. Many revisions in the database can make it heavy and sluggish. Toss the revisions!Enable Revision visibility here
  24. 24. WP dashboardCategories WP dashboardPostEdit WP dashboardTags 3 WP SETTINGS Basic Taxonomy Categories + tags Manage and create Apply to a post Remember, Pages do not support Categories and Tags (only Posts).
  25. 25. 3 WP SETTINGS Basic Taxonomy Categories + tags Remember, Pages do not support Categories and Tags (only Posts). TAGS One-off instances specific CATEGORIES Reusable more general Example: Watcheat Food Recipes Living HOW MANY TO USE? 1 category is better nothing. 2 to 10 total per post is a good base.
  26. 26. WP dashboardSettingsPermalinks 3 WP SETTINGS Permalinks Change default OOOoogly URL Default Prettier URL, Also good for SEO When you become more advanced
  27. 27. Don’t use “admin” as username 6 SECURITY BASICS WordPress Admin User Defaults Don’t use default username (admin) and weak password Choose a custom username in the one-click-install, because Usernames cannot be changed later. Passwords can be changed Ensure that it is strong! WP dashboardUsers Hosting dashboard one click install
  28. 28. 6 SECURITY BASICS Hosting Account Change the password at LEAST once per year Make it a strong password Hosting dashboard account password
  29. 29. 6 SECURITY BASICS Flawed or outdated Themes+Plugins Unistall inactive T+Ps Unused T+Ps mean more time+storage to backup. So keep your WordPress clean and un-install them. Use trusted T+Ps Themes that releases updates once in a while offer better se- curity. “Premium themes” generally offer updates. ! BEWARE: Free themes, low quality themes and outdated themes leave your site more vunerable to being hacked.
  30. 30. 6 SECURITY BASICS Core updates Wait a few days to a month after update release TIP: Wait for your important plugins to offer an update for the latest release before updating core.
  31. 31. 1 4 2 5 3 6 HOSTING CHOICE NEED FOR SPEED WEBMASTER STUFF WP SETTINGS BACKUPS SECURITY BASICS Informed decision based on needs and priorities Speed checking Caching Database optimization Set permalinks Establish basic taxonomy WP user/PW Hosting PW Flawed themes and plugins Updates Create Google Account Create Access sheet Create wordpress.COM account Analytics Webmaster tools + XML Sitemap Understand Content + Database Manual Backup Plugin or paid service “Future ready” checklist
  32. 32. OMG
  33. 33. Workflow Structure PART B
  34. 34. MMs OCD scale Where are you?
  35. 35. #puppyfail
  36. 36. Admin Webmaster Stuff Brand Assets Facebook Print Backups Newsletter Content Development Example Structure Define your own in advance, and adapt as you go. OCD/WP Friendly Working Folders Non-WP “containers” in a WP ecosystem
  37. 37. AssetsContent BackupsDevelopment Webmaster Stuff Admin Design Brief Strategy Plan/ Marketing Plan Audits Timeline Content calendar (xls) Post Visuals Copydecks etc. Moodboards Mockups Wireframes Content Staging Logos Fonts Page Content Photos Avatars Favicons Brand Guide Analytic Reports Webmaster Access Sheet Webmaster Tools Stuff SEO docs Original Site wp-content Database Keeping working files organized
  38. 38. Analysis and Planning Design and Development Maintenance Design Brief Strategy Audits Timeline Mood Boards Wireframes Content Staging New Content Updates Upgrades Monitoring Phases 1 2 3
  39. 39. Questions? BACKGROUNDS by FONTS by Type Together, Bree and Bree serif Thanks for listening!
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