New Features in WordPress 4.3

New Features in WordPress 4.3

Last week’s blog post detailed how you can safely upgrade your WordPress core files to WordPress 4.3 – the latest release of the popular content management system. With the new release, comes a whole host of new features. “Under the Hood” There are quite a few technical changes in 4.3 that mainly affect developers. However, as an end user you need to know that there is code-support that has been depreciated in WordPress 4.3. This is very common – think of it like upgrading from one version of Microsoft Office to the next. However in this case it means that some older plugins (and possibly some themes too) may break when you upgrade to WordPress 4.3. Fortunately there is a list of around 400 plugins that are known to break with WordPress 4.3. It’s well worth keeping a list of the plugins you use on your website, and check them against this list to see if they’re 4.3-compliant or not. What if your site is affected? What if you find one of the plugins you use is on the list? Well first of all – don’t upgrade straight away! Investigate what alternatives there are to the plugin. There are almost 40,000 plugins in the WordPress repository – plus many more on premium sites such as WPMU Dev and Codecanyon – so you’re sure to find an alternative plugin that you can use. Make sure and take a copy of your site and then try out the replacement plugin to make sure it does what you need it to do before you put it on your live site!   Favicon...
Updating to WordPress 4.3

Updating to WordPress 4.3

Yesterday WordPress released version 4.3 of the core files – nicknamed “Billie” in honour of the jazz single Billie Holiday. It contains a number of handy features which will be covered in next week’s blog post. But more importantly, version 4.3 changes the way some of the things work “under the hood” of WordPress. Most importantly support for PHP4 is now depreciated, which will lead to a number of plugins failing to work and may harm some WordPress themes as well. It’s always important to keep your website up-to-date when new releases come out. One reason for this is that the WordPress code is open source – meaning it’s free to use, but also readily available to people who want to exploit it. Keeping your website, plug-ins and themes up-to-date and deleting unused code is a good way of helping to keep your website secure and safe and isn’t something to be ignored. How to Update Your Website If you’re faced with an upgrade notification when you log-on to your dashboard it’s important that you don’t just click to upgrade to WordPress 4.3 without doing some preparation work first! Given that this release already has known issues with themes and plugins, don’t take the change of breaking your site. Take a full back-up of your website. This way if something does go wrong, you can roll-back to a version you know works! Create a development space away from your live website. This could be a subdomain or by using MAMP (MacOSX) or WAMP (Windows) on a local machine. Take a copy of your website – this may be different from the back-up – and transfer...
How to Find Free Pictures for your Website – Part 2

How to Find Free Pictures for your Website – Part 2

Last year I published a blog post detailing a list of resources where you can get free pictures to use on your website or for your blog. It is one of the highest viewed posts on my site! So I thought it only fair to update it with even more fantastic resources for free images, graphics and icons that you can use. Here we go with part 2! Pictures: Death to the Stock Photo Deposit Photos (free selection) Graphic burger Gratisography Instastock Jay Mantri Kaboom Pics Life of Pix New Old Stock Pexels Photos by People Startup Stock Photos Stocka Stocksnap SumAll Backgrounds: Background images Fonts: Graphic burger Icons: Business Icons Colourful Icons Flat Icons Graphic burger Line-Style Icons SumAll Illustrations: SumAll Mock-Ups: Galaxy S4 Mock-Ups Graphic burger iMac Mock-Ups iPad Mock-Ups iPad Mini Mock-Ups iPhone 5S Mock-Ups Lenovo Thinkpad Mock-Ups Macbook Air Mock-Ups Macbook Pro Mock-Ups Nexus 5 Mock-Ups Nexus 7 Mock-Ups Vectors: Free Vectors SumAll   If I’ve missed your favourite free picture resource, don’t forget to let me know in the...
How to Hide Columns on the WordPress Admin Screens

How to Hide Columns on the WordPress Admin Screens

When viewing the WordPress posts and pages administration screens on a smaller screen such as a laptop, it can be difficult to read and manage the content due to additional numbers of columns on the screen. This screenshot is from my laptop: As you can see it’s very hard to read the post title and access the administrative tools. What we want to do is hide some of the columns on the page. Fortunately this is very easy to do. On the top right-hand side of the screen there’s a small tab called “Screen Options”. Click on the down arrow to view the options: Here you can choose which columns to hide by unchecking the boxes, and also adjust the number of posts viewed per screen.   This also works on the “Pages” and “Comments” administration screens, as well as other defaults such as the “Projects” administration screen in...
5 Reasons Why Your Business Should be Using Social Media

5 Reasons Why Your Business Should be Using Social Media

Social media is much more than somewhere to share content with friends or for posting pictures of your dinner! Social media is now an essential business tool. Here are 5 reasons why your business should be using social media …   1. Engage with your Clients Being on social media means you can engage directly with your existing clients and target new ones. You can easily promote new services or products and get immediate feedback. However, that feedback may be negative as well as positive, so it’s important to keep on top of your social media profiles. Don’t let a negative comment or post linger without an answer as that can give a bad impression to prospective clients.   2. Target Local Audiences Many social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, enable you to search for content in your local area. Conversely you can target your content to people nearby via the use of location filters or relevant hashtags. This is particularly useful if your business is limited by location and doesn’t offer virtual services or products that can be delivered via post.   3. Building Trust It can be difficult to build trust in a virtual environment. Studies have shown that building trust via email or other non face-to-face platforms can take much longer to establish than interactions that take place in person. However with clever use of social media and the addition of video media through YouTube, Vimeo, or similar video-based platforms, it is easier to build a sense of trust with your intended audience that can increase conversions and click-throughs to your website.  ...
How to Keep your WordPress Website Secure – Part 2

How to Keep your WordPress Website Secure – Part 2

Last week I discussed some ways you can help to keep your WordPress website secure with some simple things you can do during the installation of your site. But what about once your website is up and running? What steps can you take to try and remain one step ahead of the hackers trying to gain unauthorised access to your site?   Limit your Plugins Each plugin you use in the build of your website is a potential security risk. Obviously there are times when using a plugin is necessary. But sometimes there are easy workarounds, which may take a little longer or require a little technical knowledge, but may reduce your plugin use and help keep your website secure. Always try and find out all the information you can about how best to achieve what you want to do, and assess whether a plugin is really necessary or not.   Use It or Lose It It’s easy to install and try out a number of themes and plugins during your build. But always ensure that any inactive plugins and themes are deleted if they’re not required. Keeping inactive plugins may be a security risk, especially if you don’t keep them up to date. The exception to this rule is to always keep one default WordPress theme (currently the theme ‘TwentyFifteen’) alongside your active theme if it’s different. This is important should you ever need to debug your website if something goes wrong. But always ensure you keep this default theme up-to-date even if it’s not in use.   Keep Up-to-Date Your themes, plugins and even the WordPress core...
How to Keep your WordPress Website Secure – Part 1

How to Keep your WordPress Website Secure – Part 1

The WordPress platform is used by around 75 million websites in total around the world. This means that there’s a large pool of support, knowledge and resources available for WordPress users. But on the flip side, it also means that WordPress websites are a tempting target for hackers who can exploit vulnerabilities in the code on a massive scale. You may think that your website is too small or insignificant to attract the attention of hackers. But the truth is that almost any website can – and most likely will – suffer numerous hacking attempts in the course of a normal week. Not only that, but any successful hack of your site can result in a total loss of information that can take a lot of effort to restore, so it’s important that you take as many steps as possible to keep your site safe. In this blog post I cover the steps you can take during the installation of WordPress on your website and your initial development phase to make your website more secure. Next week in Part 2, I cover on-going maintenance you should be doing to protect your site once its live.   Database Security Before you even get to the stage of installing WordPress on your web space, you need to create a SQL database for the installation process. This is the database that will contain all the data elements for your website so it’s important that access to this database is secure. Where possible make sure that your username and database name are complex and not easily guessed. Try and avoid using your own...
10 Resources to Use to Learn WordPress

10 Resources to Use to Learn WordPress

There are many great resources to help you learn WordPress and how to create and manage your new website. Here are my top 10 resources to take a look at. 1. The WordPress Codex (Free) The WordPress Codex is the ultimate user manual to WordPress. It covers everything from getting started with WordPress to in-depth developer documentation. For any questions you may have, the Codex should be your first stop – although it may be too technical for some.     2. WordPress.tv (Free) Another resource from WordPress, WordPress.tv is a repository for videos from WordCamps around the world as well as videos on latest core updates and tutorials.   3. WP Beginner (Free) WP Beginner is a very comprehensive resource covering tips and tricks, beginner’s guide, plugin reviews and more. They also have an excellent YouTube channel with an excellent range of videos for more visual learners.     4. Lynda.com (Paid, with free trial) Lynda.com is a video-tutorial site that covers a wide range of topics including WordPress. There’s a 10 day free trial then membership is paid-for, but you can tailor what you want to learn depending on your initial level of knowledge.     5. Udemy (Free / Paid) Similar to Lynda.com, Udemy is a video-tutorial site covering a wide range of topics. Some of the tutorials are free while others are paid for.   6. WP101 (Free / Paid) WP101 is a series of custom-designed, WordPress-specific videos covering everything from the basic introduction to WordPress to ongoing maintenance and an in-depth series covering the Yoast SEO plugin. Some videos are free but most are...

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