Understanding Feature Images

“A featured image represent the contents, mood, or theme of a post or page.  Posts and pages can have a single featured image, which many themes and tools can use to enhance the presentation of your site.”
WordPress.com

The feature image you choose for your article might just be the one thing that entices your visitor to click, read and find out more about what you have to say, your products or services, so choose carefully.

The official definition is actually pretty good. Your feature image should be representative of your content, tell a story if possible, or at least catch the viewers attention within the context of your content.

I always invite you to find out more about feature images by checking out the official wordpress documentation online!

Official WordPress Help

 

The Power of the Publishing Panel

The power of the publishing panel inside the wordpress content management system is often an overlooked gem of your brand’s or businesses workflow.  I this unobtrusive little space you’ll find tools to save your work as a draft, something I encourage you to do often, as well as access the revisions of those saves.

The real publication power comes into play once you hit the scheduling options.  Being able to schedule my posts has been a valuable ability over the years because the moments I spend writing aren’t always the best moments to publish that material, let’s say it’s really late at night.

I want that post to go up on my website and get distributed to social networks like facebook and twitter at a time when I know they’re most likely to be seen.  I always end up scheduling the post, even if it’s just for the next day.

[box type=”info”]

Just Save As Draft

Use The Publish Button Carefully! If you’ve got social sharing options configured like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or LinkedIn, the post will be broadcast to all your social channels.

It’s best to just save your post as a draft until you’ve got it perfect for publication. [/box]

Adding Beautiful Photo Galleries

Going beyond inserting a single image into the articles you publish on your website, you can also insert beautiful photo galleries and arrange those in a variety of ways.

You can even no so far as to display all your images as circles.  It only takes a few clicks and you’re not stuck with the results either. As I demonstrate in the video, once you create a gallery you can easily change the format to make your article just perfect.

The official documentation has some great examples and screenshots of the different gallery types!  I encourage you to check it out here!

 

 

How To Login To Your WordPress Site

Yes, it’s a basic and crucial step and I try to not belabor the point.

but if you’ve lost the link or this is the first time you’re wanting to do some wordpress training, this tutorial is all about logging in but I do share a cool tip with you about the WordPress administrator dashboard to make it all with the trip.

The login link should be:

ex. “yoursite.com/wp-login”.  

But here’s a nother tip.  After I login and click the “remember me” button.  I often just type in the word “dashboard” after my site name.

ex. “yoursite.com/dashboard”

Yea… it’ll do that.

 

Top 5 WP Plugins Webmasters Should Be Using

This was originally intended to be a top ten list, however, Looking at my own sites I realized that I didn’t even run 10 plugins or extensions on a website.   I didn’t realize that until I went to write the article.  I was shocked at first because I used to install tons of extensions with gadgets clients would never use, I probably never did either.  Now, I look at client needs and server capabilities so I only install the necessary functionality.  I like to keep it simple so that problems & conflicts are few, rare and much easier to handle if they even arise.  This is my simple list of quality extensions I consider to be core components to most site builds.

A Little Cash Goes A Long Way In The Software World

I like to use licensed software.  The advantage you gain from using licenced commercial extensions on your business site are many.  I only use what I consider to be the best extensions for my clients & using the best extensions from some of the largest companies helps give me and my clients security and confidence.  The bottom line is, I feel like I have a whole team of programmers dedicated to making sure individual aspects of my website are being coded and cared for with greater precision than I could achieve alone.

These companies are dedicated to specific extensions, focused.   These businesses who create extension, software publishers, blow my mind with the sweet integrations and functionality they dream up.  The flexibility they give you in how new features are implemented is surreal and you can be sure it’s well coded.  For the most part I’ve found that professional software companies who build the best extensions for the largest content management systems dream up things far craftier than I’d have imagined or actually sat down to elegantly code myself.  They look great on both the back-end as well as the front-end.

In many cases, if you’re running a small business, the single site license for common and powerful extensions are reasonably priced but in most cases, free version of software are simple and elegant short term solutions to the functionality you need to get business done.  Personally, I love all the bells and whistles of the paid version for most extensions.  I have this thing about being sure my clients have a Ferrari.

Not a Guide To Grill Your Webmaster

There’s a saying we have in the web development industry.  These are basically simple suggestions on how to make your website better.

“Code is Poetry”

If you have a webmaster and you’re happy with his results you probably have a webmaster that is already implementing most or all of these pieces of functionality in one way or another.  I just want to list some of the most elegant solutions I’ve found to perform otherwise complex integrations that are common to most websites.  All content managment systems have different ways of handling the things I list.  All content managment systems have their own sets of leading extension publishers, both paid and free.

Here we go…

Back That $%&T UP… with Back WP Up!

Back WP Up WordPress Back-up Plugin

I’ve use more than one WordPress Backup Plugin and I feel like BackWPUP has been the most reliable free back-up solution.  My favorite integration is through Dropbox.  Using the dropbox upload integration feature of this plugin allows me to upload a backup of my clients websites to a shared folder within dropbox giving clients the added security of seeing those backups in the folder and having access to them.   It’s a trust issue.

Track That $%&T UP… with Google Analytics for WordPress!

Simple Google Analytics Tracking Integration for WordPress

Forgive me, I can’t help myself.  I once heard a google analytics advocate declare that neglecting to use goals in Google Analytics Tracking is a crime against humanity.   Google Analytics For WordPress is another extension by Yoast that I trust.  The thing I like most about this is that it allows me to use custom variables to filter out myself, as an account administrator and any other logged-in users so I can be certain the data I’m looking at is representative of actual site traffic as opposed to traffic by the people working on and obsessing over the website.  This gives me a much more accurate representation of where I stand with a site.

Organically Toast The Competition with Yoast

Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress

You can find out all about Yoast at the Yoast Website.  They publish two extensions on this list, both geared towards analytics and tracking.  They’re a company I trust, their plugins have never caused me headaches and perform common but vitally important features like Counting Your Page Title Character length so you can be sure your snippets are appearing the way you think they are in the organic search engine results.

Wooing Your Customers or Clients

Free E-Commerce Integrations for Your Website

C’mon!  We all have something to sell.  Whether it’s your time, a handcrafted product or anything really.  let me back up, if you don’t already know, WooCommerce is a free e-commerce extension for the WordPress Content Management System.  WooCommerce can quickly and easily allow you to start selling items online for free and offers relatively easy payment gateway setup through paypal making getting up and running a snap.  I can tell you first hand, if you build a beautiful online marketplace for your products, you will get sales online.

WooCommerce also offers a host of other extension that make the power of the free version even more robust. To name a few, there is the new Bookings extension, as well as publishers that provide their own extensions like Event Ticket Sales using WooCommerce.

Blast-Off with Tons of Sweet Integrations

Jetpack WordPress Extentions

I think most novice webmasters have at least two extensions that could be replaced by Jetpack.  You can’t ignore Jetpack anymore.  I didn’t install it myself for awhile but now I can’t even begin to unravel the laundry list of extensions it offers.  It’s grown to say the least.  I can tell you that it’s has captivated me with all the extra sidebar widgets, out of the box Facebook Like Widget, Twitter Widget and more.  It just saves time.  Open your mind to Jetpack.  Don’t browse this list and think “I’ve already got that“.  Because you might be able to get rid of 5 plugins you don’t need and just use this 1 plugin (that’s maintained by the same people who maintain the actual content management system).

You’ll need to visit Jetpack to find out everything but here is the shortlist of functionality I use most.

  • Publicize will Automatically Publish To
    • Facebook
    • Linkedin
    • Tumblr
    • Path
    • Twitter
    • Google+
  • Tiled Photo Galleries That Are Beautiful and Awesome
  • Related Posts at the Bottom of Each Post
  • Google Webmaster Tools Site Verification
  • Extra Sidebar Widgets
  • Sidebar Widget Visibility
  • Sharing Buttons On Posts & Pages

In Conclusion

This list of basic extensions to the already free wordpress content management system may not seem, at first glance, like they’ll change your life.  But imagine creating an ecommerce website, socially integrated, search engine optimized backed-up and secure.    That is what this simple package will do.  It does take time, effort and dedication but this shortlist of extensions will make you cash in the long run and give you more personal freedom.