Created with Sketch.
61 minutes | 6 hours ago
226 – ‘I’ is for Images
‘A-Z of WordPress’ with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley’ Hello, This is another A-Z of WordPress where we attempt to cover all the major aspects to building and maintaining sites with WP. Today is I for…IMAGES (we could include ICONS too) Preamble Nathan’s business is called Picture and Word so this topic will be attempting half of the web! We were saying the WordPress Media Library is not the easiest thing in the world to work with: It has some built in compression that reduces the quality of image by 10%. I was many years in to WP before I knew this.You have to add you own alt tags, titles and description by default.As mentioned on our last chat it has some server dependencies (ImagicK).You have a limited choice of thumbnail options and need to register a new image size with code (often put in your theme’s functions php), which is not all that user friendly.There is not a default way to clear old thumbnails should mistakenly start with the default.Images are attachment with the own pages that need to be dealt with for SEO.Awful WordPress image editing compared to other 3rd party software (Canva, Pixteller, Stencil etc.).You need a plugin to add SVGs.A default WordPress install puts images in to Month and Year folders. On the other hand there has been some nice additions: Native lazy loading.Img srcset (so in theory WP serves the smallest image appropriate to the browser size).Jetpack gives a free image CDN (David’s had issues years back clearing it). Tools Media cleanerImage compression:ShortPixelWP SmushImagify, compress jpeg & png imagesCDNsCloudFlareJetpackMaxCDNBunny CDNHappy Files Debatable Points Best Formats: jpeg, gif, pngs, webp, svgWhat is a good source of Free an Premium imagesUnsplashDepositphotosPexelsLibrestockWhat about icons (Font Awesome is a form of type, but can convert to SVGs)?Is a CDN a good idea?How you set up crops and dimensions when building in the browser with client changing their mind?How to you stop clients loading huge images?Why does CSS does not have background image source set yet? Conclusions: Images are good – use them! Seriously, the web would be so boring without images. This is a link to the post that David created to automate the creation of alt tags, description etc. when you uplaod an image to your WordPress media library: https://davidwaumsley.com/working-smarter-with-wp-images/
94 minutes | 2 days ago
This Week in WordPress #159
“XML files are fun” This week’s WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 12th April 2021 With Nathan Wrigley, Paul Lacey (wp_paullacey), Michelle Frechette (@michelleames) and Tim Nash (@tnash). You can find the Newsletter here which has all the links mentioned in this episode:https://news.wpbuilds.com/issues/159/ We focus on the following stories: WordPress 5.7.1 Security and Maintenance Release Full Site Editing Go/No Go | April 14, 2021 Full Site Editing Is Partly a ‘Go’ for WordPress 5.8andProposal: Treat FLoC as a security concern Wix and Their Dirty TricksandDear Matt Mullenweg: Another Open Letter from Wix’s CEO, Avishai Abrahami FSE Outreach Round #5: Venturing out a Query Quest HeroPress Adopts Hallway Chats Michelle Frechette on Diversity and Inclusion of Underrepresented Groups in Tech Zerodium Temporarily Triples Payout to $300K for WordPress Exploits
59 minutes | 7 days ago
225 – Send amazing curated newsletters with Curated
Interview with Ashley Guttuso and Nathan Wrigley Today we learn about a SaaS platform called Curated and how it can save you a lot of time creating a newsletter. If you’ve followed the WP Builds podcast for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m often mentioning the fact that we have a newsletter. I usually do this in the podcast audio, right at the start. Having a newsletter is one of the best ways that you can communicate with an audience. In fact, I’d go as far as to say, that it’s the best. There’s no third-party platform involved. You are communicating with people who have signed up, and therefore really want to get your content. They can opt out when they like, they can ignore it if they like just be clicking delete in their email client. Plus, they can share it with their friends outside of any wall that Facebook, Twitter (et al.) might create as barriers. I like newsletters, as you might have guessed. What I don’t like is how time consuming they are to create! The WP Builds newsletter comes in two forms: the newsletter on a Thursday created for the WP Builds podcastthe This Week in WordPress (TWiW) newsletter which comes out on a Tuesday to show what we talked about the previous day The former of those is a traditional newsletter. It goes with a WordPress post and is pretty easy to create. However, the ‘This Week in WordPress’ (TWiW) newsletter is different; it’s a curated newsletter. ‘What does curated mean?’ I hear you say. Good that you asked! A curated newsletter is one in which the content is not really your own. You find content created by other people and you collect it up and deliver it. You are taking the time to make a little digest of something and then sending it out to people who are interested. In our case, the subject matter is clearly going to be WordPress. So, I go out each week and I read a whole load of WordPress news pieces and other articles. I decide which ones I like… and then the problems start. Now that I’ve got about 15-20 articles that I think are worthy of being in the newsletter, I now have to create it. So that means that I have to find the titles, URLs and so on for all those pieces of content. Well, that’s pretty easy, but do that 156 weeks in a row, as I have, and it adds up to a boatload of time. It really does. Open article, read it, decide if it’s worth curating into the newsletter, somehow file that away for the dedicated newsletter creation session later in the week. When that session arrives, reopen all the links that you’ve stored (in Google Drive, Evernote, Pocket, and a bunch of other places), copy the titles, paste them in the newsletter, copy the URL, paste it into the newsletter. You get the idea. It-takes-ages! So when I heard that there was a Saas service I could use to make life more simple, you can imagine that I jumped on it. Enter Curated. Curated makes life so much simpler. You sign up for their service. Create categories for your newsletter, style it with your logo and brand colours, and it’s ready to go. But here’s the magic! Curated have a Chrome extension (perhaps other browsers too, I don’t recall) which you can use to make all the boring tasks I mentioned earlier go away. So I’m browsing the web and I find something worthy. I click on the Curated Chrome extension; up comes a pop-up which automatically brings across the page title, URL and any text from that page which I had highlighted before clicking the button. All I need to do is to decide which of the categories I want to give it and click ‘save’. It all goes into a ‘pending’ feed for my next edition. When I’m ready to publish the next newsletter, I just head over to the Curated website and decide which of the articles I’d saved should go in the next edition. Honestly, this saves me hours each week. I’m not fibbing. It really does. Curated will take on the burden of deliverability too. Just like MailChimp, Active Campaign and others, then make sure that the list is kept up to date. People can subscribe from the newsletter page and unsubscribe from the emails to. There’s a few little extras thrown in too, such as: the ability to publish on an automatic scheduleyou sell advertising slots in the newsletter and deploy them as wellthere’s some basic reporting in terms of open rates, etc. I’m very happy with Curated and how it’s saved me a lot of time each week. So, if you’re in the market for a newsletter solution, check out Curated. Don’t forget to post a comment below, or head over to the WP Builds Facebook group, or let us know how you feel on Twitter. Oh, and sign up in the box in this post to get the newsletter I’ve been droning on about! Mentioned in this podcast: Curated
85 minutes | 9 days ago
This Week in WordPress #158
“Wixing your metaphors” This week’s WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 5th April 2021 With Nathan Wrigley, Paul Lacey (@wp_paullacey), Anne McCarthy and Joe Casabona (@jcasabona). You can find the Newsletter here which has all the links mentioned in this episode:https://news.wpbuilds.com/issues/158/ We focus on the following stories: This episode of This Week in WordPress is dedicated to the memory of Puneet Sahalot who sadly passed this week… Wix’s Negative Advertising Campaign Falls Flat with WordPress Developers and Professionals Full Site Editing Scope for WP5.8 Kadence WP is Joining the iThemes Family! E194: The Inside Story Of Selling StudioPress To WP Engine With Brian Gardner Display Dynamic Content Using Kadence Blocks The Page Builder Summit is returning in May 2021! AB Split Test v1.1.0 Product Tour The Best Marketing Tools for Your WordPress Website
61 minutes | 14 days ago
224 – ‘H’ is for Health
‘A-Z of WordPress’ with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley This is another A-Z of WordPress where we attempt to cover all the major aspects of building and maintaining sites with WordPress. Today is H for… Health. Not your health, although that’s important. This is about your WordPress websites, and how healthy they are. Preamble This is quite a large topic, especially for anyone who runs client care/maintenance plans and carries out health monitoring. WordPress first introduced a basic site health check feature back in version 5.1 which has a bunch of mostly performance and security checks. For example, is your site: Running on a server with the recommended PHP versionThe recommended MySQL databaseAre themes and plugins up to date and active But site health goes beyond this. What about… Monitoring DDoS attacksMonitoring dynamic functionalityMonitoring visual layouts and styleUptime monitoringDomain expirationBackupsSEO / Google Search Console / broken links and 404sSupport – how do you find out what you need? (Google – Core Web Vitals)Accessibility There’s so much here, and we’ve likely left a bunch out as well. Tools This is not an exhaustive list, but here’s some tools that we’ve come across and / or used: Updating Main WPManageWPInfiniteWPMalCare / BlogVault Uptime monitoring Better UptimeUptime Robot Visual monitoring HexometerHexowatchGhost inspector Email deliverability / transactional email services MailGunSend in BlueMailpoetAmazon SESMX Route Website crawler Screaming Frog SEO Spider Website CrawlerLink Assistant Debatable Points Do you or your clients find much use in the new Site Health feature of WordPress? Having clients seeing health check results might be useful, but it’s not helpful when it flags unimportant things like not having ‘imagick’ active on the server. Plugin updates and cached pages used to be an issue; throwing out visual designs with page builders. This seems to be less of an issue nowadays. Emails not sending from the servers can be a genuine worry. Best to use an SMTP service (see above). Auto updates – should you do it? This seems like such a good idea on the surface, but if you’re not around when the updates occur, there might be problems that you simply don’t detect, and which make your customers unhappy! Monitoring client activity / logins. We really should do this, but I’m betting that most of us don’t! Conclusions: WordPress health monitoring has really become David’s business. He simply does not need to upsell a care plan; he just explains that the client wants the platform that powers 40% of the web, they need it to get on board as all of the above is essential. He sells the plan before the site. Next Nathan & David discussion… ‘I’ is for images, which will be out two weeks after this one! If you don’t know how we’re publishing episodes these days… we’re doing one week interview and the following week a discussion with Nathan & David. You can find the podcast archives here. If you enjoyed this episode or, for that matter, if you hated it, please let us know in the comments below, or go to the WP Builds Facebook Group and join over 2,800 very nice WordPressers in the conversation over there!
62 minutes | 21 days ago
223 – How we built the WP Buffs business
Interview with Joe Howard and Nathan Wrigley So today on the WP Builds Weekly WordPress Podcast, we have Joe Howard from WP Buffs. WP Buffs is a growing WordPress website management and support service business. They take care of all the sites that you’d rather have someone else manage. You know doubt heard of this kind of business model in the past. You might even be a customer of theirs, or perhaps one of their competitors. And that’s kind of the point of the podcast today. Five years ago, Joe Howard, the guest of the podcast today and the founder of WP Buffs, saw that managing other people’s WordPress websites was an area of growth. More WordPress websites were being created, and many agencies wanted to hand the burden of keeping them updated, backed up and safe, to other people. Thing is, other people saw this opportunity too. Competition in this space is fierce. I’m sure that you can think of a bunch of different companies who are in this space, and many of them have been around longer than WP Buffs. So that causes a problem. How do you get your business noticed in a market that already has some substantial players? Joe’s answer: content. You go out there and do the hard work of finding out what it is that people are searching for. You then create content tailored to those searches. What you don’t do is create a whole ton of content that you think / assume people are interested in; perhaps they will be, but most likely you’ll get a greater return on your time if you do the research up front. So Joe and his team were finding the questions that most people had around the WordPress space. What things were repeatedly being asked? What questions were people frequently needing answers to? Once you know what people are struggling with, you can create content which answers those questions, and you’ve got yourself a pretty reliable stream of traffic. Now, this might not be the content that you’d personally choose to write (although it may be), but the important distinction here is that it’s not about what you want to write about. It’s about growing the business, and so writing content that the market tells you is needed. It might also be that this strategy does not pay off overnight – in fact I’d be really shocked if it did. You need to be in this for the long haul. You need to write content which is good enough to rank on Google, but you also have to play the SEO game and write often. Make the search engines see you as the go-to place for all things WordPress. In Joe’s case it’s worked. He was able to get the traffic that he desired and then make the WP Buffs upsell to the people visiting the helpful content that they’d created. Many people come, and some will be persuaded by your offer, not all, but some. And that’s key… the more content you create, the more authority you have. The more authority you have, the more people who will come to your website. The more people who come to your website, the more upsells you can show. The more upsells you can show, the greater the chance that you’ll convert some of them to your service. It’s a self fulfilling cycle, but it requires the tenacity to keep going and realise that each piece of hard-written content is another brick in the wall; a brick that is shoring up your business. So find out on the WP Builds podcast today how in five years Joe has made this strategy work for him. From side gig, to thriving company with dozens of employees. You’ll also hear about the fact that the WP Buffs content strategy has changed over time. Blog posts are one things, but there’s more to content than writing. WP Buffs now does podcasts, videos, and virtual events. It’s an interesting chat about how hard work can pay off even in a field that seems like it might already be full up! The audio was recorded on a day in which Joe was at home with his family, and we get little glimpses of that in the background! If you have anything to add them please comment below, or go to the WP Builds Facebook Group and comment over there – look out for the thread for episode #223. Mentioned in this podcast: WP Buffs Virtual Summit WP Buffs Podcast
89 minutes | 23 days ago
This Week in WordPress #156
“It’s all going wrong!” This week’s WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 22nd March 2021 With Nathan Wrigley, Paul Lacey (@wp_paullacey), Sabrina Zeidan (@sabrina_zeidan), and Maja Loncar (@Maja20072230). You can find the Newsletter here which has all the links mentioned in this episode:https://news.wpbuilds.com/issues/156/ We focus on the following stories: WordCamp Europe 2021 & EXPAND 2021 Event WP Tavern Podcast Launches Extendify Acquires Editor Plus, Introduces Commercial Templates in Its Plan To Improve Block Editing The Future of Caldera Forms 10up Creates Classic Post Migration Route With Its Convert to Blocks WordPress Plugin Are Google’s Core Web Vitals Metrics Unreasonable?
65 minutes | a month ago
222 – ‘G’ is for Gutenberg
‘A-Z of WordPress’ with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley This is part of our A-Z of WordPress series (where we attempt to cover all the major aspects of building and maintaining sites with WordPress). Today it’s the letter G is for… Gutenberg (Goootenberg!) To celebrate this Nathan has forced me to use a reusable (Gutenberg) block for the show notes! I can report that it went well!!!! (Nathan wrote this regardless of how David coped!).Yep… I’m thinking of a complete swap. Gutenberg for show notes and Google docs for client websites. Preamble So for those of you have been busy (blissfully unaware) for the last 2-3 years. According to the repo entry for the plugin: “Gutenberg” is a codename for a whole new paradigm in WordPress site building and publishing, that aims to revolutionize the entire publishing experience as much as Gutenberg did the printed word. Right now, the project is in the first phase of a four-phase process that will touch every piece of WordPress — Editing, Customization, Collaboration, and Multilingual — and is focused on a new editing experience, the block editor. Do you buy this? The language is kind of funny here. What do you think entire publishing experience means?Is it what WordPress.com needed to compete with Squarespace, Wix and Shopify for a page builder type UI (not a bad thing in itself)?We all aim to revolutionise, but often it’s one/two people accidentally stumbling on something. This is building by committee. Procedure and revolution seem at odds.Would WordPress die without innovation in the core? Will lack of stability kill it and all its children?The controversial manner of Gutenberg’s release. Not keeping it as a plugin was a little unusual, and ratings and popularity of the Classic Editor and the possibility that most people are using Page Builders.Miss-sold? Something to help Page Builders became something to kill them quickly. Where it is and what’s coming? Block EditorFull Site EditingDeveloper support (after the initial gold rush)What happens to themes (many have just added header and footer editors)?Multilingual seems like an interesting idea How to deal with Gutenberg? When do you jump in? Now, or when it’s all finished in 8-9 years? There are, at the time of writing roughly 700 bugs reported.What about clients? Can they cope with the changes?Are Page Builders at risk?What are the benefits of moving to Gutenberg now?The challenge will be keeping everyone onboard – the less it does the better the chance. Conclusions: David: I would love it if all the things I expect in a Page Builder were natively in WordPress. It would bring everyone together. Today it is not even close to what I think my clients could handle, and for me I can’t see what the endgame is to even know if one day I should use it. I am grateful to all who give their time to this. It is good to have another blog post editing option.If it’s (what WordPress already calls it) a site builder, I think it is lacking and will not alone meet the needs of 2/3rd of WordPress users, but could cause issues for those who serve the rest. I can’t think of revolutionary innovations that have come from corporate committee situations. My time in the civil service tells me they can’t innovate, but the are good at stability. In WordPress, I feel stability has gone. I don’t know what we get. The only thing is it is all open source Nathan: I think that the new Block Editor is far superior to the Classic Editor that we once had. I mainly use if for writing, and for that, I honestly think that it’s the best writing UI I’ve ever used, although I confess that I’ve not used all that many! The ability to move text around is just so very helpful, and ideas that you know are in the wrong place can be moved in a few clicks. I think that it’s all about expectations and the fact that it’s been sold (intentionally or otherwise) as a possible Page Builder. Anyone can see that the third party Page Builders are better in almost all respects. They had a chance to finesse their products over many years, however they also came to market ready to go, which Gutenberg is not. Automattic have some incredible goals for the project, and it’s being realised piece by piece. The problem that I foresee is that people want it to do all that it’s intended to do yesterday, which it won’t and they’re teaching their clients how to use third party Page Builder interfaces; and that’s going to be a really big hurdle to overcome, getting all those people to learn something new even though their current tools is working just fine!
77 minutes | a month ago
This Week in WordPress #155
“Where’s Paul Lacey?” This week’s WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 15th March 2021 With Nathan Wrigley, Ronald Gijsel, Christina Hawkins (@globalspex) and Iain Poulson. You can find the Newsletter here which has all the links mentioned in this episode:https://news.wpbuilds.com/issues/155/ We focus on the following stories: High level feedback from the FSE Program (March 2021) Gutenberg 10.2 Adds Spacers To Navigation Lists, Lets Users Categorize Template Parts, and Introduces Scoped Patterns Why we are moving beyond WordPress WordPress Sucks! Empowered To Make A Change Introducing Form Submissions, PayPal Button Widgets, and Feature Improvements Elementor Patches XSS Vulnerabilities Affecting 7 Million WordPress Sites Ex-Google Employees Build New Search Engine Down The Road From Google
47 minutes | a month ago
221 – Stream Live with WordPress and WP Livestream
Interview with Nathan Parikh and Nathan Wrigley Deal Alert: 15% off WP Livestream with code “VIP”. So it might have passed you by, but now we can (and apparently do) all create our own T.V. channels! Services like YouTube, Facebook, Twitch and Vimeo make this process pretty much painless, but pretty much painless is not completely painless; and that’s the subject of the podcast today. A WordPress plugin called WP Livestream which makes this as simple as possible. If you go back just a few years, the very idea that this would bo something that you could do would’ve seemed crazy, but here we are, and it’s an amazing reality we live in! You might think that it’s really not that hard to go live, and you’d be right about that. Platforms like Facebook and YouTube have made it possible to do that with an account and the click of a button, but that’s not really what we’re talking about here. WP Livestream offers you the ability to do something much more useful and without the hassle of trying to write the code yourself. The WP Livestream plugin enables you to embed the feed for your YouTube channel, not an individual livestream. This can be really useful. Take for example the WP Builds LIVE Page. It is a page that I want to be available all the time so that whenever I click the ‘go live’ button in Streamyard (the SaaS app that I use to create the shows), the live is on that page right away. This has obvious benefits: I don’t have to copy / paste the embed code everytime I hit ‘go live’I can tell everyone this URL and they can bookmark for easy access, no trying to track the stream down on YouTube (et al.)You don’t have to be logged into some other platform to see the streamIt’s all on my own domain and I can surround that livestream with whatever content I would like people to see You see, it’s much better to do it this way, or at least that’s what I think! On the podcast Nathan and I (also Nathan!) chat about how he came to develop the plugin. It was, as is so often true, a case of scratching his own itch. He needed a place where the members of his church could reliably go during the Covid lockdown to see church services. No need to sign up anywhere, just go to the church website and watch the content every time it goes live. We talk about what options are available, such as the destinations that you can choose. At the time of writing they are: YouTubeFacebookTwitchVimeo It’s pretty much a set-it-and-forget-it type of plugin. No more copy codes every single time you go live. The amount of times that I’ve forgotten to paste the embed onto the WP Builds website with seconds to spare. This is literally a lifesaver. If you forget to update the embed code, there is no livestream at all. WP Livestream removes this point of failure as it’s always polling whichever service you use; as soon as you go live, WP Livestream works that out and updates itself with the correct embed code and that’s it. You don’t need to worry about it, it just happens. There’s a little bit more to the plugin too. WP Livestream also has the ability to display a pop-up banner on your entire site to say that you’re currently live. This does not show, for obvious reasons, on the live page itself, but it a great way to get your website visitors to notice your stream and hop on. Although this is not yet live, Nathan is also working on a feature that would be really great to have… comments. The idea here is that comments would come into Facebook, YouTube and wherever else it’s being posted to and those comments would appear on your website too. You could reply there instead of having to have multiple tabs open in your browser, constantly checking to see if new comments were rolling in. Nice! Another roadmap feature is the ability to style the livestream player some more. Currently is quite plain, but hopefully in the future, this will make it possible to have a player that matches your branding more. So go check out the WP Livestream plugin and get yourself 15% off with the code “VIP”. As always, leave some comments on the WP Builds website, or in the thread for this podcast episode (#221) in the WP Builds Facebook Group, and remember to come back every Monday at 2pm UK time when we go LIVE for our ‘This Week in WordPress‘ show. Mentioned in this podcast: Deal Alert: 15% off WP Livestream with code “VIP”.
82 minutes | a month ago
This Week in WordPress #154
“Full steam ahead with Full Site Editing” This week’s WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing Monday 8th March 2021 With Nathan Wrigley, Paul Lacey (@wp_paullacey), Anne McCarthy and Joe Casabona (@jcasabona). You can find the Newsletter here which has all the links mentioned in this episode:https://news.wpbuilds.com/issues/154/ We focus on the following stories: What’s new in 5.7 (Joe did a great video)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62bGNnpOVhMand there’s this article from iThemes with 21 nice new features to nerd out on!https://ithemes.com/wordpress-5-7-top-21-features-improvements/ First Look – Full Site Editing, a course by Carrie Dilshttps://www.linkedin.com/learning/first-look-wordpress-full-site-editing New Full Site Editing Testing Challenge: Create a Custom 404 Pagehttps://wptavern.com/new-full-site-editing-testing-challenge-create-a-custom-404-page also:https://make.wordpress.org/test/2021/03/12/fse-program-build-a-homepage-testing-summary/ and:https://make.wordpress.org/test/tag/fse-answers/even more:https://make.wordpress.org/test/2021/03/09/fse-program-testing-call-3-create-a-fun-custom-404-page/ 3 Reasons to Use an Activity Log on Your Websitehttps://blogvault.net/3-reasons-to-use-an-activity-log-on-your-website/ OVH Data Center Fire Darkens Popular Sites Worldwidehttps://www.searchenginejournal.com/ovh-data-center-fire-darkens-thousands-of-sites-worldwide/398485/#close Tips on how to reduce the carbon emissions of your WordPress websitehttps://www.meetup.com/en-AU/wp-admin/events/276720147/ Might be worth pointing to this as well:https://blog.jacklenox.com/2018/06/04/delivering-wordpress-in-7kb/
56 minutes | a month ago
220 – ‘F’ is for forms
‘A-Z of WordPress’ with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley It’s another of chats in the series called the A-Z of WordPress where we attempt to cover all the major aspects to building and maintaining sites with WP. Today is F for… Forms Preamble We expect most sites to have a contact form. Something that does not require the visitor to launch an email client, although I wonder how old that thinking is now. In fact it’s a form plugin has the most active install on the WordPress repository (it only counts up to 5 million, but the order changes on the “Popular Plugins” section). But they are used for much more: Taking payments Subscribing to email list Adding content to sitesAdding usersSending and receiving filesSending support question (do we include chat bots in this discussion) They also come with a bunch of responsibilities: AccessibilitySecurityDeliverability Data protection Personal stories/history David: I’ve used Gravity Forms for eight years. Rarely doing anything complex with it, but it has never let me down so I have stuck with it. I do go back to the early days of WordPress so remember what I think was the first form plugin – Cforms? I think I set up Contact Form 7 on an early site and had a brief time with Ninja Forms before settling on Gravity Forms. I even remember setting up something for an early HTML site, but I had no clue what I was doing! I liked Formidable Forms (focussed more on the developer stuff and things like ACF integration) when it came out, but had no need for it. Recently I tried out Fluent Forms as the Pro version had a working integration with subscription to Moosend. Gravity Froms has nothing and and Moosend’s own version seemed broken (although I’m pursuing this so that may not be the case when this episode is published). Nathan: I came to WordPress long after the competition in the WordPress form market had already taken off. Trusted friends told me at the time that the best solution all round was Gravity Forms, and so that’s the one that I chose. I often looked at other solutions, but never made the jump, because there was just too much legacy in the sites that I had built, and the idea of going back and replacing all the forms was not something that I had the time for. This is interesting as it shows that (in my case) it shows that inertia means that I was willing to pay for Gravity Forms year after year, even though I could see that the competition was overtaking them in terms of the UI for building forms. Recently, I bought Fluent Forms and this is now my plugin of choice. I still have the Gravity Forms license, but as time goes by I’m using it less and less, although I’m really interested in the beta versions that they’ve been building. I think that they have realised that the competition are beginning to take their market share, and so they’re doing something to fix that. Points to note… Are WordPress forms a bit poor when it comes to usability? Up to ten years ago I used to read lots of CSS techniques that would guide and reward the user as they filled in forms and you see little of that in WordPress form plugins. I’m talking about the nice green tick box if the format and data was correctly filled out.Deliverability SMPT plugins / transactional email services are often required. Things like Mailgun, Amazon SES etc. What do we expect from form plugins in terms of addons, ease of styling, interaction with other mail services? Is it too easy to forget the forms are quite a security weakness on our sites? Do we even need a WordPress plugin? Google Forms etc and those included in Page Builders – are they enough for most needs? Plugin competition There’s a load of competition in the WordPress forms space. In fact I’d say that it’s likely the most competitive area to be in. I can’t think of any other area in which there are so many fully featured plugins in the market. Which, I suppose, is because literally all sites have a form somewhere on them? Gravity forms Has the advantage of being overlooked by a large ecosystem so it is stable and secure and there’s plenty of addons for it (although many are the same cost again). It also can’t easily change over night for the same reasons. So it seems outdated in this era of easy Page Builders for things like styling, although the recent beta versions are making giant leaps to catch up in this area. For David this not an issue. He’d rather have a CSS challenge and stability and he can probably justify the cost for the addons. He likes that forms is all they do and the same three people are at the helm over a decade on. Ninja Forms Gives you a lot for free, but you can buy the addons individually as well as in a package. As a company they tried be a little different, so it does not surprise me they bought Caldera Forms (who were similar about trying to be different). They would be the first to say they did not go at it with a plan and the company is also in the coffee business.Not the same attention to detail with security with them. But even though they did a great product like Ninja Demos, it was never quite finished it and abandoned it which does raise some questions. WP Forms Awesome Motive! Aimed at the beginner market to make building froms easier. They bought Pirate Forms and closed it. As with most of their stuff you know they hire good developers but the person behind it is a growth hacker. They also they have Formidable Forms under one of their schemes. Formidable Forms Seemed a passion project, but I think the business side of things ground them down. Chris Lema was critical of them being a Gravity Forms copy but took them under his wing. Fluent Forms The new kid on the block. Seems to do a bit of everything above. Easy to use. Everything there. Nathan has adopted this as his forms plugin of choice for now and has seen regular updates in the past year, adding in features and updates that their community have requested. Other mentions ForminatorCalderaSimple Basic Contact FormContact Form (Classic Editor) from JetpackweFormsEverest FormsHappy Forms – on Appsumo after removing stuff from the free version and getting criticised for it. It was incredibly nice to use, but limited and not growing much – missing key things.WS Forms – highly rated a few years back (Chris Lema, Kori Ashton even Elliot Condon) only 200+ installed on the repository. It seems to do everything, but you’ve got to have growth to stay in the game? Conclusions: So much competition. We’re so lucky to have so much choice. I recommend playing with one, test out their support and stick with the one that offers you the features that you want and the roadmap that you need.
91 minutes | a month ago
This Week in WordPress #153
“There’s always hope!” This week’s WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing Monday 1st March 2021 With Nathan Wrigley, Paul Lacey (@wp_paullacey), Birgit Pauli-Haack (@bph) and Spencer Forman. You can find the Newsletter here which has all the links mentioned in this episode:https://news.wpbuilds.com/issues/153/ We focus on the following stories: Elementor Raises Eyebrows with Google Ads Targeting Full-Site Editing Editor Plus 2.6 Adds Block Pattern and Template Library Create Alexa Skills right inside of WordPress with Shoutworks – WP Builds Weekly WordPress Podcast #219 Bitcoin consumes ‘more electricity than Argentina’ Doing business in WordPress: missed opportunities When It’s (Not?) Burnout WordPress Community vs WordPress Economy
59 minutes | 2 months ago
219 – Create Alexa Skills right inside of WordPress with Shoutworks
Interview with Christian Petroske and Nathan Wrigley So the podcast today might catch you a little off guard! It’s not something that I’ve ever played with before. Today we’re talking about Shoutworks, which is a WordPress plugin that lets you boost your voice SEO by creating an Amazon Alexa skill in one click right from inside WordPress. Wait… What! Is this even a thing? Why would I ever want to do that? These are the kind of questions that I had in my mind before I spoke to Christian Petroske about the plugin. I just could not get my head around why I would even want to think about voice search. I thought that Google took care of all that without any need for me to do anything! Turns out there’s more to this than I’d imagined. A lot more! We spent quite a lot of time at the beginning of the podcast talking about Amazon Alexa, Siri, Google home (et al.); what these devices are capable of and how they’re getting better and better, and more popular. I think that it’s a safe bet to say that many of us have these types of devices in our home and that trend is set to continue. I’m carrying out some pretty basic searches on my devices, but I can certainly see the utility of them and the fact that you can access them all the time without having to disengage with what you’re currently doing. We talk about what can these IoT devices can actually do; what they’re perfect for and how people are starting to use them. We talk about whether there’s a need for WordPress people to think about this kind of technology as an extension of a website, or is it enough just to be thinking about desktop and mobile displays. How are people using IoT devices nowadays? It might be that you’re a real early adopter of this kind of technology and push them to their limits, but it might be (like me) that you just ask them some pretty basic stuff and don’t really know the power that they can bring to bear. Are they just for asking what day of the week it is, or can them perform complex and actually useful functions in our lives. We also talk about the remarkable rise in adoption rates and the fact that these devices are being bought up almost as fast as the manufacturers can get them off the production lines. You know how mobile took over a few years back? Well, this could be a similar inflection point, but you have to try to understand how it’s similar to, and different from, the screen-based devices that we all use today. Then we get into the actual WordPress plug-in and how it can be used. What are the six different variations that the plugin actually enables you to do? And it turns out that it’s perfect for things like podcasting and notifications! Great news for me! Christian speaks about some of the innovative ways that his current customer base have started to use the plugin – it’s all very inspirational. Although it’s very brief, we do touch on some of the security concerns that you might have with this kind of technology. Honestly, this is a really interesting episode, and like nothing that we’ve ever covered before. So give it a listen and then post a comment below, or in the WP Builds Facebook Group. Mentioned in this podcast: Shoutworks
81 minutes | 2 months ago
This Week in WordPress #152
“Who should be on that page?” This week’s WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing Monday 22nd February 2020 With Nathan Wrigley, Paul Lacey (@wp_paullacey), Bernhard Gronau(@quasel) and Tim Nash (@tnash). You can find the Newsletter here which has all the links mentioned in this episode:https://news.wpbuilds.com/issues/152/ We focus on the following stories: WordPress 5.7 Release Candidate WordPress 5.7 Lets Administrators Send Password Reset Links Introducing script attributes related functions in WordPress 5.7 Bluehost Misuses WordPress Trademark, Reigniting Controversy Over Recommended Hosts Page WordPress search trends for 2020: amazing for WooCommerce, good for plugins, bad for themes Last Week in WooCommerce: WooCommerce Growth FSE Outreach Round #2: Building a Custom Homepage With Gutenberg’s Site Editor GP Premium 2.0 – Introducing the GP Theme Builder! Oxygen 3.7 Now Available
52 minutes | 2 months ago
218 – ‘E’ is for eCommerce
‘A-Z of WordPress’ with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley It’s another of our chats in the series called the ‘A-Z of WordPress’, where we attempt to cover all the major aspects to building and maintaining sites with WP. Today is ‘E’ for… Ecommerce Preamble Ecommerce takes different forms in the WordPress space: WooCommerceEasy Digital DownloadsStripe Add-Ons and PayPal integration with forms, such as Gravity Forms and Fluent FormsSpecific plugins and themes aimed at one kind of industry or service (LMS/memberships, event or appointment bookings for example)3rd Party – Big Commerce (via BB), Shopify (via WP Shopify) Personal Stories David: I owe much to WordPress Ecommerce. If I had not run a WordPress shop for five years, I don’t think I would have had the experience with WordPress to build client sites. I don’t think I would have been able to have set up a part-time business that gave me the confidence to leave my primary job. I don’t think most clients know what they are taking on when they first think about taking money online. They’ve likely not thought about email communication, refunds, data protection, accountancy, processing. They mostly just thought about money coming in (as we did)! Nathan: I am literally terrified of Ecommerce and all the hassles that it brings, which is why I simply don’t touch such sites any more. I know that the burden is easier in WordPress, but it’s just not something that I wish to be involved with these days. It’s curious that I have this level of anxiety about Ecommerce, but there you go. I’ll happily let others have that slice of the pie! Points worth noting There are other open source ecommerce platforms (Magento and Open Cart) but none appear as easy as WordPress if you need something set up quickly and easily. In fact, platforms like Magento are a career all by themselves. With open source software you can do things like change the checkout experience and change the entire shopping process. This might not be possible or incredibly expensive elsewhere when using non open source platforms. You can keep all your accounts on one platform with WordPress too, but this ends up with a heavy database, but at least you’ve got all your eggs in one basket. WordPress pricing has been erratic over the years. WooCommerce dropped the 50% discount and the bulk paying discounts. Easy Digital Downloads increased their prices on all extensions by 50-250% as an early Christmas present in 2016! However, GPL gives us freedoms over budgets which proprietary systems will not. You don’t have to pay for support and updates. You just need to keep it maintained and well oiled. There’s lots of responsibility with self hosted ecommerce. There’s the hosting itself, security, GDPR. The list goes on and on and you need to understand what you’re getting yourself into and make the time to keep up to date with any changes in legislation which might affect your website. WordPress solutions are not created equally. What kind of knowledge do WordPress developers have before the setup? Most are fairly small companies. No consistency of quality in our industry and one site could be built ‘perfectly’ whilst another is just hanging on for dear life, just waiting to break on the next update. But maybe those who feel safer with the likes of Shopify, Wix and Squarespace may like the GoDaddy deal with WooCommerce? WordPress does not seem like the best fit for all industries. Hotel or multi room booking systems seem to be lacking. Appointment booking is also a little hard to navigate. That’s not to say that it cannot be done, more that it’s not as mature as a regular shop selling shoes or other widgets. Ecommerce related Plugins which offer simple payment options: WP Simple Pay Accept Stripe Payments Gravity Forms / Ninja Forms / WP Forms / Fluent Forms There’s a bunch of Stripe and Paypal addons for many other plugins – too many to mention them all here. Extensions to build on top of other Ecommerce options: Yith There’s also many themes specifically built for WooCommerce: Astra, GeneratePress, The Page Builder Framework, and most of the newer multipurpose themes have integrations with WooCommerce so that you don’t have to do much (if any) heavy lifting to get a decent shop off the ground. Most of the modern themes, such as Blocksy, Kadence, Neve are supporting WooCommerce in their free versions (carts in the headers, easy ways to turn on and off WooCommerce features and rearrange things in the shop, archive and product pages, they even add in nice content such as security reassurances which are not in WooCommerce). Flatsome has over 150K downloads! Conclusions: WordPress has you well covered if you start with a regular generic site and later decide to take money online.If you wanted a shop from the start or want to take money in a particular industry it is less clear if WordPress is the best solution. But you cannot argue that WordPress and Ecommerce are thriving and a healthy place to be right now.
87 minutes | 2 months ago
This Week in WordPress #151
“We need more plumbers” This week’s WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 15th February 2020 With Nathan Wrigley, Paul Lacey (@wp_paullacey), Sabrina Zeidan(@sabrina_zeidan) and Kyle Van Deusen (@kylevandeusen). You can find the Newsletter here which has all the links mentioned in this episode:https://news.wpbuilds.com/issues/151/ We focus on the following stories: Gutenberg Plugin Marks 100th Release with 10.0 WordPress Contributors Discuss Scaling Back Releases: “4 Major Releases Is Not a Viable Plan in 2021” Google launches Material Design for WordPress pluginKyle Van Deusen made some notes for us in this Google Doc. Thanks Kyle. Introducing Elementor Pro 3.1: Custom Code, Performance Improvements, and More! How to speed up WordPress site: 5 popular recommendations that don’t work Prestoplayer launches – Andre Gagnon and Adam Preiser team up Get your WordPress tasks in order with DocketWP – WP Builds Weekly WordPress Podcast #217 One Million Sites Affected: Four Severe Vulnerabilities Patched in Ninja Forms WordPress.org Removes Fake Reviews for AccessiBe Plugin
41 minutes | 2 months ago
217 – Get your WordPress tasks in order with DocketWP
Interview with Andre Gagnon, Kyle Van Deusen and Nathan Wrigley Today we’re talking about the DocketWP WordPress plugin with Andre Gagnon and Kyle Van Deusen, the project founders. So, what does it do and why might you want it? It’s a plugin that provides you with an easy to access to-do list right inside of your WordPress dashboard. Now this may not immediately seem like the most likely place for a to-do list. After all, I’m pretty sure that you’ve already explored a bunch of phone apps as well as desktop based solutions too. You may even have settled on the ‘perfect’ app that meets your every need. But have you thought about the context of where the to-do list is? Have you thought that the place where it’s situated might offer some distinct advantages? Unless you’ve used DocketWP, I’d suggest that the answer to the previous two questions is no, well, I’m about to explain why you might want to. So if you’re anything like me (and let’s be honest, you are, because you’re listening to a podcast all about WordPress) then you’ll spend a good deal of time inside of the WordPress admin area. This could be the admin area of your own site(s), or perhaps the sites of many clients. If you’re not using DocketWP then your current to-do workflow means shifting between multiple apps, which is fine, but wouldn’t it be better if you had all the tasks right where you need them – inside the admin area? Now, I’m going to grant you that DocketWP is not intended for the ‘get some milk’, ‘call the plumber’, and ‘walk the dog’ types of tasks. The tasks that you’re going to drop into DocketWP are going to work related. You’re going to drop tasks in there which you know are needed for this particular website. Unexpected bonus, you get to decouple your personal task lists from the WordPress / work related tasks, which is actually nice when you want to separate work and your regular life. I don’t know if this is something you’ve noticed, but my current to-do solution is a mess of personal and work related tasks and so at the weekend I always end up looking at work tasks, so never quite switch off. DocketWP offers you a nice line of insulation. So in the podcast Andre and Kyle get into how this is different from a SaaS solution. How you interact with it in your WordPress admin area; the fact that it’s always available in the WordPress admin bar with a single click. Now, I mentioned earlier about the fact that DocketWP is great at separating your work and personal tasks. Well, we’re not here to talk about the personal stuff, so let’s dive into the work related stuff. Why would you want a task list in your WordPress admin? Here’s why… after you’ve built a bunch of sites, you settle into a pattern. You do things in a certain way. This theme gets installed, and these plugins and license keys get added in. Simple so far? But what about the multitude of little tasks that you carry on most websites, the little things that you sometimes forget! DocketWP allows you to save a bunch of task lists and save them in their cloud, so that the next time to start a new project, you just hit a button and the things that you need to do are right there, ready for you to action. Nice. So the cloud based storage of the lists opens up a world of possibilities. Now you can share tasks with your team. So you’ve hired an intern and they need to be walked through the process of installing your boilerplate WordPress website… not anymore, just give them access to DocketWP and they’re away to the races. Not that we’ve mentioned sharing, this brings up the fact that your entire team can collaborate on tasks lists so that you’re all on the same page all of the time. Are you starting to get it now? Okay, if that’s not enough, there’s one more really powerful feature that I want to mention. DocketWP enables you to download task lists from other experts so that you’ve got a head start on working through tasks that you’re not all that familiar with. So, here’s the list of task templates as of the time of writing… The Website Launch ChecklistMaintenance ChecklistThe Blog Post ChecklistWebsite Maintenance ChecklistWebsite “Pre” Care Plan EvaluationSEO Any Web PageOnboarding an Outsourced PartnerThe Perfect Thank You PageWebsite Audit ChecklistWordPress Performance Some of these were created by the DocketWP team, but some were written by trusted third-parties who really know their stuff and who can give you a leg up in unfamiliar situations. So, here’s a summary of what were dicusss: What does it do?What do you need this?How is it superior to a to-do SaaS apps like ToDoist?Where does it appear on your WordPress site? Can it be moved around to make it less invasive? Shrink / attach to the side etc.?How does the team aspect of the plugin work? Can we delegate tasks to others etc.?Does the data sync in real time back to DocketWP servers as a backup in case of a crash, or is it in the WordPress database?Pre built lists from your repo. – what are they?Can we add our own lists to that repo. if we think that we’ve got a useful list?What’s the ‘Education Centre’ about?Pricing – Single / Team plans?Support – how does that work?Roadmap – what’s on it? So checkout the podcast today to get the lowdown on this new and interesting WordPress plugin from DocketWP. As always, if you’ve got any comments, post them on the WP Builds website, or over at the WP Builds Facebook Group. Mentioned in this podcast: DocketWP
86 minutes | 2 months ago
This Week in WordPress #150
“Prices only go up, they never go down” This week’s WordPress news – Covering The Week Commencing 8th 2020 With Nathan Wrigley, Paul Lacey (), Christina Hawkins (@globalspex) and Berhard Gronau (@quasel). You can find the Newsletter here which has all the links mentioned in this episode:https://news.wpbuilds.com/issues/150/ We focus on the following stories: WordPress Passes 40% Market Share of Alexa Top 10 Million Websites GoDaddy Launches the Hub, a New Site, Project, and Client Management Experience for Web Professionals Announcing Elementor Pro New Pricing Model and PlansandElementor to Roll Out Significant Pricing Hike for New Customers WP Feedback Rebrands To Atarim, Moves To a Full SaaS Model Full-Site-Editing: MVP and Ultimate Resource List How to Turn Beaver Builder into the Ultimate WooCommerce Page Builder Why WP Rocket Chose Gutenberg and How Performance Improved The Power of Pods 2.8 and Pods Pro Why Offboarding Web Design Clients Is As Important As Onboarding
52 minutes | 2 months ago
216 – ‘D’ is for Database
‘A-Z of WordPress’ with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley It’s the 4th in our series of chats called ‘the A-Z of WordPress’ where we attempt to cover all the major aspects of building and maintaining sites with WordPress. Today, we are really going set pulses racing with the letter ‘D’ for Database! Use these show notes to follow along with the podcast audio. Preamble The word alone sounds incredibly dull, and for years I pretended it did not exist. Even now I do anything to avoid directly interacting with it. Are they running too many unnecessary and inefficient queries? Do they clean themselves up after deletion? Do I want a WordPress solution that may affect performance when there are 3rd party plugins adding to the database. One good things to come out of GDPR is that a lot of plugin have to provide way to automatically clear up data. Other points There’s been a move recently for plugins to create their own table and not have all in options. Such as… https://yoast.com/yoast-seo-14-0/If you use a tool like MainWP or ManageWP, are you even aware that the database structure might have been altered? The feedback for this usually comes as a popup in the WordPress UI.What about stored encrypted passwords? How safe is the data that’s being held in the database? Are you keeping data that you don’t need which could be a potential liability if the database is compromised? See… https://stackoverflow.com/questions/31343155/how-to-decode-encrypted-wordpress-admin-password).Do you change the wp prefix for security? Is there even any point to doing this?How many are too many queries? Two is worse than one and three is worse than two (I could go on!), but what’s the upper limit that you should aim for?“The number of queries (for example, “27Q”) will give you an idea of whether you are having MySQL problems. The number of queries should ideally be under 50. You may start to see slowdowns if the number is above 75. If it is above 150, you have an issue with your theme and/or plugins on that specific page which should be addressed.” – source here.WordPress runs about 23 to start with!Recently I contacted ShortPixel about adding 70+ backend queries and 50+ front end ones. Apparently, this is not an issue, as it’s restricted to certain users only when logged in. The actual speed is barely affected.The cylindrical icon you get for databases is so far removed from what it really is!!!Is having your database hosted elsewhere a better set up than having all-the-things in one place? What are WordPress’ requirements ? MySQL version 5.6 or greater OR MariaDB version 10.1 or greater. Maria being faster, but newer and less used so certainty of support is perhaps a question. https://www.guru99.com/mariadb-vs-mysql For no good reason at all, here’s a list of the standard WordPress tables: wp_commentmetawp_commentswp_linkswp_optionswp_postmetawp_postswp_termswp_term_relationshipswp_term_taxonomywp_usermetawp_users Would the ideal be that you could move easily from one to the other (I think Cloudways allows one click transfers?). I have moved sites from MariaDB to MySQL with no real issues – only a couple of disconnected images. Tools to help with database management: Tried: WP phpMyAdmin Advanced Database Cleaner MainWP Maintenance extension WP Rocket (also does a clean up) WP Reset https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-dbmanager https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-optimize https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-sweep https://wordpress.org/plugins/better-search-replace Never tried: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-clean-up-optimizer https://codecanyon.net/item/wp-cleaner-pro/21459036https://codecanyon.net/item/smart-cleanup-tools/3714047 When building sites: https://wordpress.org/plugins/query-monitor (helps find duplicates and slow queries) https://wordpress.org/plugins/usagedd (simple, shows speed/number of queries when in a Page Builder editor) Conclusions: It’s likely that you now know less about databases than you did before you came to this page. That’s a measure our understanding of databases. They’re weird things and, honestly, most of it is Voodoo. Unless you know what you’re doing, stay away – there be monsters! Let’s hope that when we get to the next letter… ‘E’, we know a little more. Hope is a good thing, if not always well placed!
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2021