Tips and Tricks on Using WordPress

The more WordPress develops and grows the less I understand why anyone would want to build websites ‘by hand’ any more!

It’s an amazingly flexible and powerful platform, that can be used for any type of website.

This series of articles offers different tips and tricks on using WordPress and answers some of the more common questions I hear.

Click the headline to read the full article and if you need me to clarify anything leave a comment. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

HTTPS indicator in the address bar

All websites I build have been set up on HTTPS, by default, for some years now. HTTPS is an absolute necessity if you’re running a shop on your site but, even without a shop, you will benefit from greater security, better performance and higher search engine rankings – Google has been giving better rankings to… Read more

WordPress 5.0 Screnshot

WordPress 5.0, along with the Gutenberg editor (now officially called the Block Editor), was released in early December 2018. The block editor on its own represents a major change for WordPress (it’s the first change to the editor for 10 years, and it’s a big one) but its implications are much wider: The block editor… Read more

If you’ve been running a website for any length of time you’ve probably had occasion to become dissatisfied with your hosting provider and thought about moving to another. That’s happened to me 3 times in the past 10 years. In the first case it was because the hosting provider I used did not support SFTP… Read more

I saw an interesting question today while browsing the queries for which this site has been returned in the search results: What is the difference between WordPress pages, WordPress posts and WordPress categories? Being able to use these three elements in the way they are intended can make a big difference to how your site… Read more

Things to consider when changing your theme

The short answer is ‘Yes, it can do’, but not necessarily always for the worse. It could improve your SEO or it could make it worse, and the effect it has depends on a few things:How you set up your META tags (SEO title, SEO description, index/noindex tags, etc)How good the coding of the new… Read more

With the ever increasing emphasis on quality-of-content in the search engines’ algorithms, making sure you update or clear out articles which are either out of date or of little value is important. So I spent a lot of time recently reviewing and either updating or trashing old articles on this site. I wrote back here… Read more

I often see questions asking how to convert an HTML website to WordPress and, back here, I covered some of the things you need to think about before doing so. Anyway, I recently converted an old HTML site to WordPress so I figured I’d set out the step-by-step process – so here it is: Overview… Read more

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen threads asking which are the best WordPress plugins. The responses inevitably list lots of them, covering the widest range of functionality you can imagine. One of the benefits of using WordPress is the range of plugins that extend its functionality into pretty much any area… Read more

Websites are being hacked more often every day. Not only do you owe it to yourself to take every precaution you can to keep the hackers out, you owe it to your customers, friends and everyone who visits your sites. It’s your responsibility to the web as a whole, not just protection for yourself. I’ve… Read more

My Google Analytics keywords report is telling me that one of the more searched for items on this site is ‘how to set up W3-Total-Cache’ – so here goes. Before starting, though, a word of caution: server configurations vary between hosting providers, so your first step should be to ask your hosting provider for their… Read more

As I mentioned back here the Thesis theme applies a date stamp to CSS files when they’re updated. It does (did) this in order to ensure the latest version of your site is always displaid to visitors. Unfortunately that process confused the life out of the W3-Total-Cache plugin (because it had the effect of creating… Read more

One of the WordPress plugins I use and really like is WP-DBManager. For some reason, though, when you activate it for the first time you will see a red warning across the top of all your WordPress admin screens that tells you your backup folder might be visible to the public. This can be a… Read more

I read a post on the Warrior Forum the other day bemoaning what the poster saw as the design limitations of WordPress. While WordPress, which is a Content Management System, does have some functional limitations, it does not have any design limitations. The reason is simple: WordPress itself doesn’t touch the design aspect of the… Read more

The old chestnut that WordPress ‘creates duplicate content issues’ keeps coming up. Someone even wrote it to me in an email recently. Let’s be clear: WordPress does not create duplicate content problems. What WordPress does is allow the same content, on the same site, to be accessed via a number of different URLs (or permalinks)… Read more

I had to buy a couple of things for the flat today and I went to the only place I know that had what I needed at the right price and the right quality: Ikea. But it was a trade off: price and quality vs convenience and experience, because Ikea stores frustrate the life out… Read more

Every WordPress upgrade brings howls of anguish on Twitter and other forums as installations that were working perfectly well prior to the upgrade suddenly crash. Some people ignore WordPress upgrades in order to avoid the problems – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. But that’s not smart because many of the upgrades are designed… Read more

I moved this site from the /blog folder to the root folder recently. The main reason was to tidy up this domain and, in the process, improve its focus. That, I hope, will improve the effectiveness of its SEO. I’ve had this domain for 5 years and during that time I’ve had different folders and… Read more

Here’s a question I saw today: how do I move my WordPress site to a new server? This can be a fiddly exercise with a number of steps to go through, and you should avoid it if you possibly can. However, on the basis that you can’t avoid it, here’s the answer. Note that the… Read more

I’ve seen quite a lot of questions recently asking how to change the appearance of a WordPress site. Update: 20th November, 2018: The steps outlined below for editing your theme’s stylesheet are correct, but some time ago WordPress introduced a ‘Customise’ link under the ‘Appearance’ menu item. Clicking that link will take you to a… Read more

Interesting question on Twitter today: “Can someone clue me in to backing up my files on WordPress” As the hackers get better and more numerous, it only makes sense to have full backups of your WordPress sites. Once your site has been compromised it will quickly be removed from the search engines’ indices and your… Read more

Update: If you’re looking for the step-by-step process for migrating an HTML site to WordPress you can find it here. Original article starts here: Just recently I’ve seen a few questions in a couple of the forums asking about moving an existing HTML static website to WordPress. As big a fan as I am of… Read more

This is a hectic time for me because I was at the Macau GP last weekend (Formula 3 and World Touring Car Championship series) and I’m going to Kuala Lumpur this weekend for the final of the HK Classic Car Series, so a couple of short posts this week! For a while now I’ve built… Read more

When Thesis 1.7 was released I reviewed it and bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t make use of its SEO features and drop the All-in-One-SEO plugin. The reason was because removing the All-in-One results in all the META tags on all the articles on the blog being removed as well. That would mean I’d have… Read more

I wrote a post recently on how to insert an Opt-in form on a WordPress blog with no sidebars. It’s attracted a lot of views from people searching how to create an opt-in form on WordPress, so I figured a description of how to insert one in a blog that does have sidebars might be… Read more

WordPress 3.0 was released towards the end of last week and brought with it some major changes. The biggest is the integration of WordPress and WordPress Multi-User (MU) – previously two separate packages. Some others were: A new Navigation system, allowing you to add Categories or other special links to your navigation bar (the same… Read more

I took myself off on holiday recently and decided use WordPress’ scheduled publishing feature to keep the content flowing on this site while I was lying on the beach. I simply wrote some articles before I left and scheduled them to be published every other day while I was away. It’s such a useful feature… Read more

Post images – those thumbnail-sized images that I use at the start of each article – can help strengthen the impact of your message, as well as providing some visual appeal. But how to add them? I saw a question recently where someone asked the forum what plugins were available to help manage post images… Read more