Informal WordPress Q&A Gathering

Announcement:

Austin WordCamp -  tentatively to happen on a Saturday during the last two weeks in May. We are currently seeking a venue for 300 people that would allow us to split into two tracks, would be low-cost, have internet access and would allow us to cater our own food. If you have any good leads, please contact Sandi at sbatik@pleiadesservices.com.

 


 

Tonight we’re taking questions from the group.

 

What’s a good theme to start with?

Each major release of WordPress comes with a default theme that has the most up-to-date code. Right now the default theme is Twenty-Eleven, and it’s a great place to start and get used to the way WordPress works.

 

How do you create a child theme?

When you want to make changes to the way a theme works, it’s a good idea to make a child theme first.

Create a new theme folder and add a .css file with the following at the top:

/*
Theme Name: Twenty Ten Child
Template: twentyeleven
*/
@import url("../twentyeleven/style.css");

(Visit my page that explains step-by-step on how to create a child theme for Twenty Ten)

 

Drupal vs WordPress

Drupal is more powerful but you really need to be willing to go into code. WordPress is easier to get started with and requires less technical skill to be successful.

As one person put it, Drupal is like a cascading brick wall, but if you can get through the hurdles it can be really powerful.

 

What’s a good slideshow?

When you’re looking for a slider or any other plugin, you may find that the WordPress plugin repository is a good place to start, though it is also sometimes hard to find what you’re looking for.

 

Social Media buttons

 

Video questions

Any good video carousels?

If you have video on your homepage, does it hurt your rankings with Google?

Probably not unless it impacts the load time significantly.

How do you generate thumbnails for videos rather than photos?

 

How do you modify more of your theme beyond the basic options using CSS & PHP?

When you’re in the admin panel, under Appearance you can go into the Editor and access the PHP and CSS files. The files also can be accessed via FTP: public_html > wp-content > themes > the theme you want modify.

 

Backing up your theme and your site

WordPress creates your site dynamically. You have your theme files (the appearance) as well as a database (all of your content).

To backup your appearance, you can download the wp-content or theme folder to your desktop. There are also some plugins that will allow you to backup your site and your database.

WordPress offers information on backing up your site.

There is also a nice plugin called BackUpWordPress that backs up both your theme files and your database.

 

How do you make your site more secure from bots randomly seeking out your site and trying to find vulnerabilities?

You may find Nick’s posts on WordPress security useful.

 

Why is my site not loading right?

Load order is important. If unstyled content loads before your stylesheet, it will display improperly. You may also want to play with where  javascript loads.

 

What is Firebug?

Firebug is an add-on for Firefox that allows you to view and play with the HTML and CSS code. Have fun with it!

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Moving your WordPress site from one server to another

We had a great meetup tonight! The livestream lost connection briefly towards the end of the presentation, but we restarted it and recorded both pieces. The topic was how to move a WordPress site from host to host. For example, you’re developing a new site on your laptop using MAMP, WAMP, XAMP, etc. The steps we went through tonight were that exact scenario. Bill Erickson, who wrote an outstanding blog post on moving a WordPress site, had several tips and caveats for different scenarios: you’re developing a theme for a client’s existing site. You’re building a whole new version of a live site, etc. Nick Batik brought in some more considerations as well.

The first part of the presentation is below:

The second portion is next:

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