Alan Sawyers hosted 2 video training sessions this week on WordPress. The first aimed at beginners and the second aimed at more advanced users covering things like visual builders.

This beginners session took place on Tuesday 5th May 2020.

Take a look for yourself in the video below.

Underneath the video you will also find a PDF Transcript.

Transcript of Video

I’ve, I’ve met some of you before. I’m going to try and look at you as, as often as I can on this screen. But if I’m looking at this screen, I can’t see.

I’m Alan and most of you will know Peter as well. We both build WordPress websites, so we’re both used to the process that a lot of people aren’t used to, which is the installation and the setup and sort of some of the very basic do’s and don’ts of running your own WordPress website. So this is the first session out of two for this week. This is beginner session. So if you’re already running a WordPress website and you, you know, you’re used to create new pages and posts and that kind of thing, you might not benefit a great deal from this, but feel free to stick around anyway.

As Peter said, if you’ve got any questions during the session, put them into the chat, Peter will monitor them and sort of a rule of my training sessions is whenever you see a purple, purple screen, that’s time for Peter to read the questions out. So not in this case obviously because we haven’t started.

And just a little sort of caveat to start with, you know I’m fond of caveats during training sessions and which is if I could show you how to build a website in an hour, I’d need to build 40 websites in a week to earn a living. So that’s just sort of managing expectation that WordPress is not a simple thing. It’s not something that we can show you, you know, everything about it in an hour. Otherwise we, you know, we’d would have lots to do in a week, wouldn’t we Peter?

Absolutely.

Okay. So we’re going to get started with the very, very basics. What is WordPress? WordPress is a content management system. It was designed to allow you to put your content on the web without the need to actually know how to build a website. So it works in essence by dropping your content and media into the content management system. And the content management system then puts that into a predesigned page template. It was launched in 2003 as a blogging tool and for quite a few years. Actually. It was, it was mainly used by people to, to write blogs. But I think since the, the sort of the explosion of social media was as, as early as MySpace, it was kind of social media replaced the need for a lot of people that blog. If you’ve got a personal blog, people started to take that on to Facebook, to Twitter and that kind of thing. So WordPress sort of evolved into a bigger content management system than it originally was. And it’s now used by around 60 million websites. So it’s quite a big deal.

What WordPress isn’t, it’s not a step by step website builder like Wix or Weebly or the 1&1 IONOS website builder. It’s not rocket science. And you can build a WordPress website without knowing even what PHP stands for and what HTML stands for, SQL. You can do all of these things without being a developer. I’m not a developer and I’m pretty sure Peter would say he’s not a developer, but you can build a website without, without being a developer. And whoever said that by now, we wouldn’t need web web designers was wrong because it’s not, it isn’t the simplest thing in the world.

So why would you use WordPress over a free site builder? I don’t know how many people have got websites that are built on things like Wix and Weebly. For me it’s, it’s always been about the flexibility and the control. There’s an almost endless amount of themes and plugins developed by third parties who, who do that so that you don’t have to so that we don’t have to. And then there’s the very quick and easy ability to add functionality like shopping commerce. You can add booking functionality, calendar functionality. I’m sure most of you have been on the Mint website where there’s a calendar that’s done through a WordPress plugin, pretty quick and easy to install. But one of the biggest things for me about using WordPress over a free website builder is it’s your website and you own it and there’s, there’s going to be some upkeep involved. You can’t, it’s not just a case of you build a website and you leave it running for years and years and nothing will ever come of it. You do need to, to keep it regularly updated, which we’ll come on to.

So for getting started, for those of you who are interested in building your own website, you might already have one, but you’re not happy with it, you want to start again and you want to, at this particular time in, in our lives, you might want to avoid the cost of taking on a developer or a designer.

So the things that you’ll need are your domain name, if you haven’t already got one. You’ll need web hosting, which we’ll come onto in a second cause it’s an important choice. You’ll need WordPress and a theme. You need your logos and images and your content. And that’s also quite important, which we’ll come onto in a second.

So domain and hosting, what I always say is think about your domain and if you haven’t already got one, it sometimes takes a little bit of research to find the right domain because you know, website domain names have been out there for what, I don’t know, 20, 20 years now and a lot of them, a lot of the good ones that you would want to register or already taken. And the mistake I see a lot of people make and is if they, if the search for a web web domain, like the example I’ve given here is wearemint.co.uk, it’s not available. Somebody else has got it. And what a lot of people will do is just go for one of the alternatives. So the ones that are being offered here are wearemint.edu, .net, .org, .biz.

But what I would always recommend you do is look, if somebody has already registered wearemint.co.uk and that’s the domain that you wanted see who they are. Just type that domain into a browser and see who’s using it could be a competitor of yours. In, in this case I did look for this domain actually. And it’s, it’s not being used, it’s just been bought. So think about what your domain name should be if you haven’t already got one.

Hosting, this is always a really good place to start with, with a website because there are so many different hosts out there. They’ll all bamboozle you with so many different offers and different price points. So the things that I would always look for are a web host with auto install capacity capabilities using something called C panel, which is basically a control panel where you set up your email addresses, SSL certificates for security. And one of the things that most hosts but not all of them will have is the ability to auto install software like WordPress.

Look for a host with decent security. There’s something out there called let’s encrypt, which is free, which allows you to install a security padlock on your website. And if that’s included within your hosting you won’t have to go with a third party and you know, buy your certificate and then try and install it on your website, which can become a little bit complicated.

A lot of hosts these days have things like performance boosters, website caching, email hosting. I would always recommend that you, if it’s an option, since a lot of the times it’s not an option, you get email hosting with the hosting package. But if it is an option, I would definitely go for that. And this, cause there’s nothing more frustrating for, for us web designers to see a van in the street with jimmysplumbing.co.uk and then the email addresses jimmysplumbing@gmail.com and it just looks a little bit unprofessional.

And one of the biggest thing for me is good support. And I use a host called SiteGround and their support is absolutely fantastic. They’ve got an online chat, which usually, even in a time when a lot of companies are struggling with their customer service, I’ve got onto their chat and there’s somebody there within a couple of minutes and they’ll usually fix problems for you or give you advice. And this is, it’s, it’s one of the things web hosting is one of the things that will change over the years. And I used to always recommend 1&1, which is now called IONOS. But now if I, if I get a new client that’s hosting with IONOS I kind of think I need to change that hosting cause it, they’re just not very good anymore.

This content is based on a presentation Peter did a while ago for Savvy Solos. And one of the things on there was how much should you spend on hosting? I would say to get a decent host, you’re probably looking at about 10 pounds a month. Would you agree Peter?

Yeah, absolutely.

Yeah and a lot of hosts as well, if you haven’t already got your website domain and your hosting, a lot of the hosts will offer you a sort of a cut price for the first year. SiteGround at the minute. Although it’s 10 pound a month normally, it’s something like 33 pence a month at the minute for the first year. They’re really trying to get people on board during this, this time.

Good. We’ve just got a question from from Rie about, do you, can you recommend a host? I would recommend SiteGround. I can kind of only recommend the host that I use and I’ve used SiteGround for a few years after using 1&1 for a long time.

1&1 was brilliant at one point and they were just, other, other hosts came along and were offering different things and I don’t feel that 1&1 have kind of kept up with that. They might be, they might be changing their ways now that they’ve been taken over. I’ve also used a host called WP engine, which is a WordPress specialist. And most of the, if you’re looking at hosts that are going to charge you around 10 pound a month, look for those things that I just talked about. Security and distance support and how much space you get and all that kind of thing. But definitely I would definitely recommend SiteGround.

Yeah. You’re also not tied to a host are you Alan? You can move hosts, you know, you’re not with them forever if you’re, if you’re not getting the service you want or it’s got too expensive, you can move to different packages. It takes a little bit of work to physically move your website to the server.

Yeah. You can move, you can move a website at any time. It’s what I often find is when, when businesses have had websites developed by agencies or by web designers, by freelancers, they often lose control of the host and they haven’t got logins anymore and they don’t know where the site is hosted and where the domain was registered. And if you’ve got, if you’ve got the domain registered in a different place to where you’ve got the host and you have to then tell the domain provider that the website is hosted somewhere else and it, it can become a little bit complicated. And if you find a decent host like SiteGround, they offer a free free migration service, which is fantastic.

So just moving on to the actual installation of WordPress. Years ago when I first started building WordPress websites, it was only one option, which was to do everything manually, which was downloading WordPress as a zip file, changeing some of the files in there. Setting up a database, which is, it’s a, it’s a faff on but it’s also quite complicated. And then executing the install of the, of the software through a browser. So it was quite complicated. But now there’s a lot of auto install software out there like Plex, Fantasticle and Softaculous which I think is how you pronouce it and that’s the one I use Softaculous, which I’ll show you in a sec.

But if you, if you’ve already got a hosting account and it hasn’t got any kind of auto install software on there, then there is a how to guide on WordPress org website. I haven’t done it for years to be honest. So as I said, choose a host with an auto install option. This is what this looks like. And if we can get screen-share to work later on with a browser, I’ll show you this in action. This is basically what part of what your control panel looks like within the web host. And you’ve got things in there like WordPress migrator, auto update, staging if you want to build a website on a slightly different URL to the live one and then Softaculous there, which will allow you to automatically install WordPress.

So content and design, this is the, one of the big things. It’s it’s very easy just to, to get to get a web host, install WordPress, start building pages. And then you know, you can’t, you kind of get to a point where you realize you needed it to plan. So plan what, what the website is going to entail. Know what pages you need, write the content, source your images, have a logo designed if it’s a new business or new venture. And have all of this plan before you even start to install WordPress. And I’ll give you an example later on why you should, why you should plan.

Quick look at the WordPress dashboard. This is what WordPress will look like when you first installed it. It’s quite simple. Down the, the left hand side there you’ve got you, you can manage your posts media, which are things like images, videos, PDFs, if you, if you have them you manage your pages, manage comments, which most of the time is just a case of deleting spam. Unfortunately.

You can change various things about the appearance and that all comes down to what theme you’ve got on your website, which we’ll go through in a second. You can manage plugins, users, if you want to give access to other people. It’s good practice for everybody to have their own login. As we were talking there before most people came on with Christine, she’s got an issue where somebody somewhere is trying to log into her website and it’s locking out the access.

Another good thing to do regularly is to change your password and have a password that is difficult to guess cause what, what’s likely to be happening is it’s just an automated spam robot that’s trying to log into the site. For what purpose? I don’t know. I don’t know what they, what they expect to find when they get there. What has come with this installation of WordPress, cause I’ve done it through SiteGround is something called loginizer security, which limits the login attempts to five, I think it’s five. And I, I used three of them myself this morning cause I couldn’t remember the password to this new site that I sold. So it’s always a good idea to have that kind of thing installed. And this particular install has a plugin called SG optimizer, which is the site ground optimizer which optimizes the site speed and things like that. So if you’ve got a web host that has this kind of thing it just, it just saves you having to have them to install third party plugins. Which can be a bit of a issue and we’ll go on to later on.

And another quick view of the, the dashboard, this demonstrates the CMS aspect of WordPress. As I said earlier, WordPress is a content management system. So it’s about putting your content into a web template. So here you’ll see this is a blog post. You give it a title, you write the text, you can give it a category here and further down this page you can give it a featured image. And what you’re doing there is you’re creating the content which is going to go into your website. You’re not actually designing a webpage in here. So this is where WordPress is, is managing the content rather than managing the design of the website. And you’ll see on this particular website here, because I’ve got other stuff installed, if you have this a lot more options down here testimonials, portfolio, services, team. All those kinds of things will tend to come with whatever theme you put on your website. So purple screen before going into plugins. Is there any more questions at the minute, Peter?

Yeah.

Yeah. Can we just bring Gemma in. Gemma is just asking a question about what security WordPress offers. I don’t know if Gemma wants to expand on that question a little bit. Are you there Gemma?

Okay.

Sorry. I was just working out where the unmute button was! I was just wondering how do you tell what security is actually already on your site? So like I’ve got a WordPress site, I’m trying to build a site. I’m here and I’m hosting everything through WordPress cause that’s just what I thought I should do when I’ve registered for ages ago. But I don’t know how to check what security there is on it or like when you’re talking about let’s encrypt. I literally have no idea what means.

Well it’s when you first install WordPress, it’s unlikely that that’s going to be very much so if you look at this as an example, everything up to here, will come with a sort of a standard install. This, this is the security plugin organizer that comes with my host, which is, which is SiteGround. So we’ll have a, have a look in here to see what, have a look at your website. Have a look, click on your plugins to see what is already installed did you just say you’re hosting it through WordPress?

Yeah. I just did everything through them whenever I registered cause I didn’t know there was other options that you could physically even do anything different.

Yeah. Well, if, if you have a look at your website on the sort of front end, the public end and see whether you’ve got the padlock for the security, then you’ll know straight away whether it’s a secure site. And if not, I mean I’ve never hosted anything directly on WordPress. I don’t know if you have Peter?

Yeah, no, I tend to go through my own, my own hosting. The other one, I mean the standard out the box WordPress would come with Akismet. Some people use that. I don’t. This sort of anti-spam sort of is quite costly is what I find but it’s there as an option. I tend to go for the free version of Wordfence as a standard for monitoring. Cause I find that quite effective. It gets a bit annoying sometimes. It does generate a lot of emails where people log on from different locations. But I prefer,

I think we’ve lost Peter.
I thought it was mine. I wasn’t sure if it was my internet falling off.

No. yeah. So have a look at what’s included in your, in your host. Right. I think I mean instinctively I think it’s unlikely that there’ll be, there’ll be a lot of security plugins and stuff on on the host if it’s being hosted through WordPress.

And how much security, this might sound really stupid, but you know, the security is, is it to protect people from updating your site because my site is going to be for people just to look at and probably book appointments through. So I wasn’t quite sure what the, what does the security actually protect you from? I know I might sound a bit dim, but

Well, it protects you from the things like what’s happening to Christine where there’s somebody who is trying to hack into the site by guessing your user name and the password. It’s you know, there are systems out there that can try different usernames and different passwords and they’ll have thousands of them a second that they’ll try and eventually they’ll, you know, they’ll, they’ll, I’ve had several websites, not ones that I’ve managed, but with clients who’ve had work websites hacked. So things like that prevent, aims to prevent people from hacking into your website. And things like spam because although you can, you can stop people from hacking into your website you can’t, it’s difficult to stop them from, from leaving spam comments and things like that. So if you’ve got a blog all the time, you’ll get people leaving spam messages and you know, it’s, it’s usually trying to get people to click on sites that are not very trustworthy. And there are a couple of free plugins that you can use to, to prevent that as well.

But there are, is there a kind of a directory or you know, what these plugins are for. I mean, you know, how do we find out about plugins?

Right. Well that leads me up to this, this section on plugins.

So because this is the beginner’s section session, I’m just going to talk about installing sort of the bare essential plugins at the minute. Just to give you an idea of what plugins are so you can sort of understand how they work. Once your website’s up and running, it’s, it’s just, you know, thousands and thousands and thousands of lines of computer code and plugins are additional pieces of code that get added into that. But they’re sort of packaged up nicer and easier to install and you don’t have to, you don’t have to know the code yourself.

There are a lot of free ones out there, but also lots you need to pay for. Some of them will have a free basic option, but there’s a sort of a premium version that you can pay for as well. So this is what the plugin section looks like within WordPress. This is the main page. So most of these plugins on here are things that are used by lots of sites. So the first one you can see there as Akismet, which Peter mentioned is about the spam and they’re all, it’ll give you an explanation of what it does. So it checks your comments and contact form submissions against the global database of spam to protect you from malicious content.

And that is, that’s linked to this one here, which is Jetpack. So again, it’s about adding those, those sort of basic spam and security plugins when you first build a site. So what you, what you can do if you’ve, if you’ve bought a plugin and you know what you’re going to want. Usually if you, if you’ve bought one, you’ve downloaded the free one, it will come as a zip file and you can upload it to here through the upload plugin option.

You can search here. So if you’re looking for contact forms, are you looking for social media widgets? Search within there. And I’ll, in a second I’ll come onto what you should and shouldn’t do with plugins. But it’s literally just a case of clicking install. That will then add the plugin to your website, activate it. Once active, it will show there that it’s active and there’ll be hundreds of thousands of plugins in this directory. So this is what this is where you’ll find a lot of them.

If there, if there’s a free option with an optional premium version, you’ll often find them in here. But if it’s, if it’s a plugin that you have to buy, you probably won’t find it within this directory.

So there’s a few things that I would recommend that you always put onto a website. When you first build it, you’ll probably need a coming soon maintenance plugin, which will allow you to, to have a coming soon page that the public can see. But you can still see the website while you’re building it and it just prevents anybody who knows your business knowing you’re launching a new website soon. They can’t visit it and see you’re in a state that you wouldn’t necessarily like them to see it in.

Anti spam and Jetpack for added security as I said. And if you go, if you’re installing your website, if you’re installing WordPress through an auto installer, you probably get the option to install classic editor. Which is what I’ve shown you so far, there is a new or relatively new version of the WordPress editor, which builds pages via blocks, which is slightly more advanced.

So I’m gonna, I’m gonna mention that on Thursdays session. And then look for something like WordPress Forms, which will allow you to have a contact form on your website, which doesn’t really come as standard. And then if your host doesn’t have its own caching, you will have something like W3 Total Cache. And what that does is it allows you to, to clear saved saved images and saved styles.

Say you’ve changed an image on your homepage, but you’ve gone to the live site and it’s still showing us the old one. You can go into your website and clear the cache, which basically clears any kind of saved information. It’s a little bit like clearing the cache in your browser. And that will refresh the page almost.

Yeah. So a little bit of plugin, best practice, whenever you install a plugin, as I said earlier, it adds more, more code to your website. So the more that you are, the more likely it is that your website’s going to slow down, potentially cause it to crash. And that, I’m not saying that to, to put you off installing plugins because as you, as you’ve seen by some of the screen caps earlier having a lot of plugins can be fine.

Keep plugins active and up to date. And again, I’ll show you that in a second how you update them. But there’s a, there’s an asterix on there. You know, I like my caveats and we’ll come onto that in a second. Delete unused plugins. So what, what a lot of people will tend to do is they’ll, they’ll try a plugin for something and if it doesn’t really do what they want, they might deactivate it and try another one.

And all of those deactivated plugins will potentially going to be code that sat on your, Mmm. On your website. Again, slowing it down, making it slightly unstable. So it’s best practice to any, any plugin that you’re not using and you’ve deactivated it, then delete it, and also check the version, users and reviews. So if you look at this again, you can see the Akismet plugin has been used by five plus million people. It was last updated five days ago and it is compatible with the current version of WordPress that I’m using on this site.

But if you were to see, you were looking for a social media plugin, you found one that you liked the sound of, but you saw that it’s got less than 10 active installations, it was last updated 10 years ago and it’s untested with your version of WordPress. It’s very unlikely that that’s going to do any good to your

website. And what you’ll, you’ll tend to find is somewhere in between that 5 million and ten. So if you’ve got, if you find a plugin that’s got, I dunno, like 20,000 installations and it was last updated six months ago, that’s the point where you kind of think I’m gonna use caution, maybe read some of the reviews, but in terms of best practices, always make or make sure that the plugin is at least compatible with your version of WordPress that you run, which should always be the most up to date.

So the caveats on plugins. Like I said, definitely keep them up to date but always backup your website first. And this is why it’s good. It’s a idea to have a decent host that has backups. Because if you’re, if you’re installing or if you’re updating a plugin, there is a chance that the new, the updated version of the code might be incompatible with something else you’ve got on the site. And it could, it could cause the site to crash.

Update one at a time. So if I’ve got a site that has five updates available, I’ll update one check. The site is still working, update the next one. And if something goes wrong and you’ll, you’ll sometimes see if plugin is causing incompatibility somewhere within your website, you’ll just see lines and lines of code at the top with error messages.

And at that point it’s, it’s best to either have a backup, a backup via your host that you can, you can contact the host to put your website back to how it was 24 hours ago or whatever the last backup was. Or you can, you can pay somebody to maintain them. I think particularly if you’ve got a site that’s transactional, so any commerce site or site where you’re taking bookings for anything or you’ve got a site that’s updated every day, it’s best to just not do this thing yourself. Pay somebody else to do it.

I’ve got people that I pay to update my plugins, especially for transactional websites because if there’s any chance that you could, your website could go down even for a few hours. It could mean loss of revenue. And if you don’t have the knowledge to troubleshoot or you don’t have a decent host that’s going to restore your site to how it was 24 hours ago, then you could end up losing quite a bit.

So this is how the plugins look when they need to be updated. And it’s very tempting when you look at that just to click on the update button. And most of the time if you’ve got an up to date version of WordPress and you’re using a plugin that is well used and it’s got good reviews and it’s regularly updated, the chances are nothing’s going to happen and it’s going to be fine. But it’s best to, to exercise caution when you, when it comes to updating plugins.

So before we go on to using a theme is if Peter is still with is, are there any,

I’ve got a few technical problems. My son decided to start watching BBC iPlayer downstairs. There’s been a few questions in the background, but just one thing to watch out for. It’s that obviously plugins, they get updates, if they come up on the list saying there’s an update ready, but also the other happens as well where plugins are no longer supported that you may have on your website and sometimes they can add vulnerabilities to your website. So it’s also worthwhile watching out for plugins that don’t get updated for a while because it may be no longer supported and you may need to look for an alternative plugin or functionality for your website.

Yeah. And I think it’s just best practice to regularly review the plugins that you’ve got. Cause you might have plugins that you’re, that are still installed that you’re just not using them anymore. Or you might be using them but they’re not adding any value to your site. So it’s best to review them, get rid of them if they’re, if they’re no longer used or as Peter says, if they’re no longer supported.

Yeah. And also make sure before you do anything with your plugins, so adding new plugins or updating always take a back up. That’s good advice. I make sure there’s some kind of backup software on, I use Updraft Plus, but there’s other, there’s alternative ones as well. Do you have a preference for backup I guess?

If I use a plugin it’s Updraft Plus, but I’m usually with SiteGround. As long as I don’t need to have a backup of the site from 10 minutes ago, I’ll just use the auto backup, cause usually with WordPress it’s updated, it’s backed up once a day. So 24 hours for any kind of business information site, 24 hours ago is usually fine. But like I said, if you’ve got, if you’ve got a transactional site and you’re taking eCommerce orders, you know, even an hour it could mean that you lose, you lose some orders.

And Catherine, so basically your core plugin, backup plugin as Alan mentioned there as well make sure you’ve got backup again on your software. Catherine is just asking, where do you find notifications of needing to update WordPress or plugins?

So if you look at this here, okay. Plugins in the side menu there. If there’s an update available for any plugins, it’ll have a little, I think it’s orange circle on there with a number which says how many plugin updates there are available. And that looks like that when you click on all your plugins.

Yeah. So in the top bar there’s an update number, there’s often updates and a number you can’t see on that screen to tell you if there’s updates.

There is, usually up here, but I think it’s best to go at it through the plugins section. What that will do is if you’ve got a message on here on your screen saying there’s 10 plugins available to update it might try and get you to update them all at once, which I’m not sure why it does that cause it’s not best practice. So, as I said earlier, update them one by one and if you’ve got something like WooCommerce running usually when, whenever there’s a WooCommerce updates it’s usually quite big. So that’s probably the point where you should, you should give that to a techie person, which I do.

One last question. Jane Cooper is asking you the question, would my host be doing my backup? What host is it?
Do you want to come in Jane?
Can you hear me?

Yeah, yeah.

Oh, it’s Solid Blue.

Solid Blue. That’s a local company, isn’t it?

Yeah.

Yeah. Ask them. I think if they’re a local, small sort of nimble company they’ve probably got the option to at least.

Yeah, that’s a, is it Nathan? Yeah.

Yeah. But my advice would be if you’re doing any back, any updates yourself, make sure you have control of the backup. So having that backup software, now maybe they’ve installed something on it, maybe they do something at server level. But if you’re doing anything yourself, make sure you’ve got control of the backup that you can restore from.

How, how would I do that though? Cause I, I updated it the other day and I need to update another page and put some more information on. So I was going to be doing that in the next day or two. So

I think, so I think if you’re updating pages, there’s no, there’s no real need to take a backup, I don’t think,

Well with pages, a lot of them had their own revisions, but I’m talking more from a plugin perspective. If you’re up doing updates to plugins, I would always have a site backup first in case it collapses.

Yeah. Oh no. I’m only updating the information on my pages at the moment. But what I did see the other day was the link to the online bookings takes you out off my website to my diary website. And that

has got the ability to sync with like MailChimp zero and Google tag manager. So that’s nothing to do with my website.

If it’s a third party, then I don’t think so. What is it? Are you using, is it something that’s somebody developed for you?

It’s, I use Clinico and they’re Australian based.

Yeah, it’s, it’s unlikely to be anything to do with your website, it’s third party.

Right. Okay. So if I, if I wanted to link Google tag manager into my online bookings, that’s nothing to do with my website. That was just, it. Just that when I looked today, it said put this piece of code on every page of your website. And I just thought, Oh, I’m not doing that. Yeah,

No. Usually what you would do there in that case is whatever, whatever theme you’re using, which we’re going on to you now you would add that code once and it will automatically, people did it on all pages of your website, but if you’re using a third party booking system, then yeah. You couldn’t, you couldn’t put your book in your Google code onto there.

Yeah.
Right. Okay. I’m going to have to get someone to do that for me.

If you want some advice on that, just drop some us a note separately we’ll see what we can do to help for you.

Yeah. I think maybe that’ll be more when we do the Google thing with Nick.

Yeah. It’ll be part of that, hopefully.

Yeah. Okay. Thank you.

No worries. Alright, so I’m just going to quickly go through themes because it’s already quarter to. So what’s pre-installed with WordPress when you first launch it? The answer is not very much.

There’s at the minute there’s these, these two themes, 2019 and 2020. They’re not going to make your site look, look brilliant. But there are others within WordPress. WordPress has some free ones. And then there’s other sites like ThemeForest, Template Monster. Quite a few sites out there that have paid ones. And it can be anything from, yeah, see, usually in dollars. So anything from about 15, $20 all the way down to the other end of the scale where you’d get an agency to build bespoke templates for you, which could cost you thousands. And all I’d say is when, if you, if you are buying a theme, look at the small print in terms of what that comes with.

Cause usually there’ll be limited support. So you might get three months of support included in the price. So you’ve got their support people to help you if you have any problems installing the theme. But after that you’re on your own. Others will allow you to, to renew that support. Sometimes they’ll know, they’ll still include updates with the, with the initial price. Sometimes you’ll have to, you’ll have to pay for the updates. So these are just some of the, the free themes that are built into WordPress. And a little bit like in the plugins you can search, you can look, you can look through a kind of a catalog and then you would, you would just click on install or you can, if you’ve got pages already built within your site you can preview. Then once you’ve a theme, you can click on the customize button and dependent on, on the theme, it will allow you to change various things like color schemes and on, on this one, it’s a very, very basic theme.

So it’s giving you the option to change the header image and it will give you the option to change this text. Here it will at some, at some stage it will give the option to, to change the header from from a text header to put in your logo in here.

And this at the other end of the scale, this is a lot, this is quite a complex theme that I bought on a website. I don’t use the names myself about this just to kind of given us as an example in this training. This cost 25 pound, it comes with lots and lots and lots of prebuilt pages that you can customize. And how much, how much you customize and how much you change is entirely up to you. So for example, all I did last night was I spent 10 minutes, I changed some text, I changed an image, I changed the logo. And you know that if that’s all you’re ever going to want to do, that’s, that’s fine. And but what tends to happen with it if you buy, if you buy a theme it will give you the option to import all of their demo pages and all the images. And all that kind of thing. So it depends. It depends how, how much you want to do on the site and how advanced you, your kind of, your knowledge is. But you can get away with just a very, very basic template built into WordPress.

And another caveat unfortunately, research your theme first. So what can happen, which has happened to me last night, I was trying different themes just to see what they looked like, trying to find some good examples for this training and a little bit like the plugins. If you’re installing multiple themes and you’re not taking them off, you’re not deleting them, then what will happen is the code from those themes will stay on the site. And if one, you know, if one chunk of code isn’t compatible with another chunk of code and there’s a clash, then this kind of thing will happen. And it can be very difficult to get rid of this without deleting. I would probably have to delete a couple of themes and yeah really strip the code back on the site.

This is it’s, it’s almost the WordPress equivalent of the blue screen of death. Wouldn’t you say Peter?

Absolutely, when you get that you do need some help really to get it sorted out. Just a quick question, Gemma’s asking, how do you delete a theme? You were mentioning about deleting themes?

Okay. I’ll probably get that up on a, on a browser in a sec cause I don’t think I’ve got a screenshot of that. If I just quickly go through pages and posts. What’s the difference between a page and a post? A page is sort of the core information on your site. It’s static, it’s undated. It’s things like about us, contact us, gallery, those kinds of things. And posts are dated, categorized, tagged, things like blogs. Technically everything that you do in WordPress is a post, but it’s just how, how they, how the different ways they display on the on the front end.

So pages as an example, this is one of the sites that I run. So when editing and creating pages you’re by and large, you edit in this section here. So the rest of the site is part of the theme part of the page template. And this will, will tend to stay on on the site in the same place on every single page. And you’ve got your menu there that determines what, what shows in this place. And what that looks like in the backend is this.

So you’ve got the ability to change the page name if you want and start typing. You can, you can change the text. So it’s very, very, this is a very, very basic page which displays like that on the front end. And again, this is, this is something I’ll go into in a little bit more detail on Thursday because this uses a page builder within the WordPress editor. So it’s not using this sort of the very basic WordPress editor. It’s using the more modern version of that.

So posts is, as I say, it’s news blog, that kind of thing. So on the front end, you’ve got, you’ve got your blog posts that come up with, with dates on them and on the backend that looks like that this is the, the basic original WordPress editor. So you’ve got your title text here, and then further down the page you’ve got this little featured image and that’s where all of this information is it’s fed from. So that’s about it really, other than I wanted to, to try and share a browser, to just take this, go through a little quick demonstration of how to install WordPress automatically. But if you’re joining the, the session on Thursday, we’re going to be looking at using the page builder themes, branding and how to make the site your own, add additional functionality with plugins.

So we’ve looked at the, the very, very basics of plugins, but we’ll look at other things like contact forms and that kind of thing, which are, they’re not, they’re not basic. They wouldn’t have, I wouldn’t call them essential for any site but most people will want a contact page, a contact form. And then we’ll briefly look at using custom CSS. And as I said, I’m not a developer, so this isn’t really my area of expertise, but there’s various little bits and pieces that you can get away with without needing to call on a developer. And we’ll also quickly look at adding WooCommerce.

Yeah. So Peter, I don’t know if you want to, if there’s a couple more questions while I’m looking for this.

Yeah, one thing just to mention about deleting themes. I mean I delete themes, maybe in FTP, but a lot of people won’t have FTP access, so I do it from there. But when when we delete themes, be careful if you have what’s called a child theme, you need to make sure you don’t delete the main theme. If you’ve got a child theme, some of you may not know what those terms mean. So don’t worry about that. Cause if you don’t, if you do have a child theme is normally labeled Child Theme. If in doubt, just ask and we’ll, we’ll give you some advice on that one. So just be careful what you’re deleting. Is there anybody else got any more questions or do you want to before I move on? I think we’ve answered, there’s been quite a few during the feed and quite a lot of them actually are probably more related to the more advanced sessions. Has anyone got any urgent questions before? Just that quick demo?

Yes, I do. Yeah.

What’s the difference between landing page and having a proper site? Because I find many people just build a landing page that’s very easy and fast. And what’s the advantage of having a

A landing page usually has a very specific purpose. So if you’ve got, so you’ve written an ebook that you’re trying to give away to people or all you want them to do is go to your website and download your ebook, then you will use a landing page. So rather than have them land on the homepage of your website and have to look for the ebook, which could be not a very good user experience. So you would use a landing page, which could be part of your website or you could use something like screen pages where you build just landing pages and that’s all they’re there for.

Also things like registering for events. If you’re, if you’re sharing posts on Facebook and you want people to sign up to an event, it’s best to send them direct to that page. And that’s all the landing page is really. It’s a page that somebody lands on when when you’ve promoted it. So it has a, it has a very specific purpose and it’s usually quite simple.

Okay. So it’s just one thing only, nothing else. It’s like, can’t be two, just one.

Okay. Yeah. You can have two. You can have, if you have a landing page, just to use the ebook example, if you’ve given away free something free, you can have a form on the page which says fill your information in here to download the free ebook. And then that would lead them to a second page, which could say, thank you for downloading the ebook. We’ll send you an email. Or it could say, did you know I have the following available for for 10 pound or whatever. So you’re upselling on the second page. And that happens a lot with people. When you see download my free blueprint, which you’ll see all the time, my free Facebook advertising blueprint, which I see all the time, people advertising that kind of thing.

More often than not, there’s some kind of additional page after that that tries to sell me something. And it’s usually, this is usually 400 pound, but you can have it for five pounds a day. Usually a load of poo, but that’s, yeah, you can have two landing pages and you can also test different landing pages as well. So if you’ve got, if you’re running a campaign, you could do some of your posts with one landing page and within this another, and then what you can work out what, what converts best.

Okay. So I don’t, I do need like the website address and everything for the landing page or not?

If you’ve got website then you can build landing pages within your website, but if you haven’t and you can use a third party, I mean screen pages is the one that comes to mind. I don’t know if you know any, any others, Peter?

No, I don’t normally use a third party within the website, but yeah, it’s a good option.

Yeah.

Okay. Thank you.

Okay. Coming to the end of the session now, did you want to do that quick demo and then we’ll close the session?

Yep. Can you see that? Yeah.

So this is this is C panel. This is a control panel and it doesn’t matter what host you’re with really. If you’ve got C panel or the host offers this kind of control panel, it will pretty much look like this on just about every host of something very similar anyway. And you’ll see there you’ve got things like email accounts, web mail, auto responders and forwarders. All of these things you can set up within your control panel. But the bit we’re looking for today is Softaculous.

So this is, it will install things like Joomla, which I don’t use, none of these I’ve used before, but this is obviously what we’re looking for is WordPress. So I’m going to click on install. It will ask you which version do you want to install. And almost every time you’re going to want to choose the latest version.

And now I’ve registered, I registered this domain just to, to do a test. So what it’s going to ask you is what you want to install WordPress on in terms of a secure site or a non-secure site, it’s always going to be tempting to click HTTPS cause that’s secure. But if you haven’t got a certificate installed on the site that will cause problems.

So what I usually do is install it on a non-secure site and then add the security later. If I can find that within here, I’ll show you how to do that within control panel if it’s available on your host. So I’m going to give the site a name, enable a multisite? Probably not. This is if you want multiple websites from one WordPress install, which are, I’ve never done.

It’s going to automatically assign your username and password. You can change that if you want. I’m just going to copy those so I can keep, make a note with them so I don’t get locked out. And this is what happened last night. I forgot to take a note so I got locked out. And then what you don’t want to do is use, and this has given me, Oh, it’s automatically assigned to me an email address that doesn’t exist. So I’m going to just change that.

Select your language, English. Limit login attempts? This is where you’re starting to install some of those essential plugins before you even install WordPress. So yes, I want to limit login attempts and yes, I want to use the classic editor. This WordPress starter will only come with various hosts. It’s basically, it’s, it’s a step by step guide to how to install WordPress so it’s worth having that on. And if you don’t, and if you’re not entirely sure what you’re doing, advanced options is all about the database. So I would just ignore that and then click on install and wait a couple of minutes. Any questions while this is working Peter?

There’s no, no questions. I think it’s important to say that obviously this might look a bit different depending on the host you’re using but the principles of what you’re demonstrating, they’re the same no matter what sort of one click install you’re using.

Yeah. So if you’ve got this particular installer Softaculous then it looks like this, but those other ones I mentioned earlier on will look different. There we go, it’s already installed, so I’m going to open that. And if you want to use the, the WordPress starter, then you would start. Now what I’m going to do is just exit. There you go. You’ve got, and it’s a brand new install of WordPress to start playing with.

So, as we mentioned earlier, you’ve got plugins here. So you can look for things like contact forms. Contact Form Seven is quite a popular one, 5 million. WP Forms, 3 million. But as I said earlier, the further further down you go into the results, last update is six months ago. Untested with your version of WordPress. Probably best to avoid those. And it’s, you know, it’s literally as simple as clicking on install. Give it a few seconds, activate the plugin, and then it appears in your list of plugins, but it should also appear somewhere. It’s added itself to the menu here. And then I can deactivate that from there and delete and similar with themes as well, which comes under appearance.

So you’ve got your two pre-installed themes, which are very basic, add new popular themes, latest themes. So if you look at, if you look at something that you think would suit your business, if you’re, if you’re a news website if you’re a photographer, there’s a theme there that you could use. So install, activate.

So Peter, have you deleted a theme before?

Yeah, I would go through FTP when I delete. I wasn’t sure of a way you can do it in the CMS.

I don’t think so either because I don’t use themes very often. I’m not that used to deleting them. But yeah, I would, there used to be more than this installed. And there was at one point there was about five themes pre-installed with WordPress. And if you don’t use them, they just take up space on your server and that’s code to the website. So usually what I would do as Peter says there is I would go into the, the FTP of your site and, and delete them there. But again, it comes back to what I said earlier earlier about research and yes, before you install it. So you’re not going through this process of having, having four or five themes. You’ve tried one, you don’t like it and you’ve tried another one. What you see, what you can do with any theme is if you’ve built, if you’ve, you’ve added a couple of pages of content, you can preview the theme.

So if you’ve got, if you’ve added content in one of the pages, then your content will appear here and it, it just gives you an idea of what the theme is going to look like before you choose whether or not to use it. This has got a one star rating from one person, so not very good, according to one.

And that, that really is, is about it for getting started really. I think anything about, anything beyond this point, I would, I would consider advanced.

Yeah. I think we’ve got to go through this quite quickly. The purpose of the session, but the video, the recording of this will be available in a couple of days. So if you want to watch what Alan has been going through in your own pace, you’ll be able to watch it back on the video in about 48 hours. It’ll be up.

Yeah. Well like all these Mint sessions, this was going to be what, four hours in a room. So this was, well, quite a condensed version of what would it be in a four hour training session?

Yeah. I think the, I think the key is for WordPress, a lot of it is, a lot of it is, I wouldn’t wanna use the word intuitive, but you can get a lot of guidance online. It’s fairly easy to follow if you’ve watched the videos and get some advice and guidance. So it’s stuff you could do yourself.

Thing I always say to people is, what’s the best use of your time? Do you want to spend time doing the website or do you want to spend time doing your business? And if there’s more, if you’re focused more on your business, get someone to do it for you. You know, this is my advice, but if you, if you want to have a go, it is doable.

Can I just ask you something? Can you hear me?

Yep.
Has anybody heard of the host Team Marvel?
Is that someone you’re considering using this year? No, it’s somebody that I am using.
Okay.

They built the website for me. They built it free of charge at the time in as a kind of a barter system because I was teaching their dyslexic daughter for free, so I got the website for free and I taught their daughter for free. I’m no longer teaching their daughter. But I don’t know, I’m listening to what you were saying there. I kind of think that I’m being charged 15 pounds a month, but they’re not actually doing very much. And what bothers me is with being kind of a raw beginner when I asked him questions he’s rather irritable and they don’t seem as though they’re that keen to actually support or help. So maybe Peter, I don’t want to take up time here, but is it possible that I can have a chat with you and maybe think about changing to somebody else?

Yeah. Like I said, especially with WordPress websites, it’s very easy to back them up and move them, move them elsewhere. I always say, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. But if you’re not happy with the service or the cost, and maybe it’s time to change.

Well, by what you were saying earlier on the possibly 10 pounds, is that kind of an average amount? Is that right? Well, I’m paying 15 pounds and I’m not really getting much support at all.

Yeah, that’s the, that’s the thing. And then when, when I pay 10 pound a month for a host, like SiteGround, like I said, I’ve got experts at the end of the chat window or phone calls. So yeah, it’s, it’s best to have that. I think it’s one of the drawbacks of using a local company. It’s great to support local companies, but sometimes, you know, you’re getting a service from people who are based in America because they’ve got, they’ve got the resource sat there 24 hours, day and night. Right. And that’s sometimes what you need with the website because it can go down at two o’clock in the morning if that’s when, when your customers are online, you know?

I hardly ever bother them. It’s not that I’m on the phone all the time, but on a few occasions when I do ring them up, I just feel as though I’m an absolute irritation, a nuisance and that makes me feel uncomfortable because it makes not want to contact them when I need to contact them.

With hosting I would say there’s sort of three options. One is you set up your own hosting account cause you can have your own hosting account for your website and that way you’ve got control over that and you can just bring people in to do what you want or you sort of outsource that and give it to someone like Alan or myself and we manage it for you. We put you on our hosting accounts or I have, and I think Alan has, another dedicated server. So I have a dedicated server for my customers. I think Alan has the same for his customers where you’re on a protected environment and they’re the sort of three options I offer now for the customer. So it depends on what you want to do.

But if you’re not, if you’re not, if you don’t want to do it yourself, I would outsource it and let someone else do it. But there’s a difference between hosting and sort of supporting your website as well. Just about cause the hosting fee you’re paying to have your websites sit on a server somewhere. So that’s all from the hosting. But then some, your website is a different element cause that’s, that’s, that’s a different sort of firm or different skill set. Different requirement.

So I don’t want to take up any more of your time but maybe if I give you a ring Peter sometime or arrange to catchup with you.

Yeah, just think about what it is you want and what it is you need and then we can, you can find something that works for you. Okay. Thank you. Any last questions?

Brilliant. In that case I’ll just say big thank you to Alan for putting this together and hosting that. It’s been a great session. Thank you very much, Alan.

You’re welcome.

So if anyone hasn’t booked on Thursday’s advanced session, that feels like you’d like to know more. Feel free to, to join it. It might, it will be a bit more advanced. But you know, you take out of these sessions what is right for you and you just discard the rest. So come along.

I haven’t finalized the content for Thursday, so if you’ve got anything specific, I’ll put it when we come off this call now, I’ll put a post in the members group to see any requests for Thursday and just let me know if there’s things that you want to look at.

Brilliant. Thank you very much. Okay, thanks everyone. Thanks everyone.