Tag Archives: Managed WordPress Hosting

Oct 2015: Top Developer Tips on Good WordPress Code

Things change rapidly in the WordPress world. The content in this post is more than a year old and may no longer represent best practices.

Fred Meyer from WP Shout joined us via Skype to give his presentation (also seen at WC Denver) on “What I learned about WordPress development by interviewing 15 13 of the best WordPress developers.”

Top Takeaways

Good WordPress code is not distinguished by difficulty, innovation, or cleverness. The key to good code is clarity. Will someone who looks at your code know what you were trying to do and why? Will you know if you come back to it 6 months later? Can your code serve as a good example for people who are learning to code?

Persistence and curiosity are qualities you need in order to become a good developer. The need to understand why and how code works, it will motivate you to learn. You develop skill through continued practice. You don’t have to be a genius to be a WordPress developer. You just have to keep working at becoming better.

Don’t chase the shiny. Once you have found tools that work for you, you don’t need to try every new one that someone mentions. Just because something is new and popular doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better than what you’re already doing. Before you jump in, make sure there’s going to be an advantage over what you’re already doing.

The Codex is your friend–and so is the code. Almost everything you need to know is in the WordPress Codex, but to really understand how WordPress works, look at the core code.

Additional Notes

Fred created his slides using reveal.js. There is a free plugin called Presenter that makes use of this if you’d like to try it.

Fred is a huge fan of the CSS pre-processor SASS. We had a presentation about CSS pre-processors at the meetup a few years ago. SASS makes writing CSS more like writing PHP. There’s a free cross-platform SASS compiler called Koala if you’re not big on the command line.

Jermaine Holmes won the free copy of Up and Running: A Practical Guide to WordPress Development.

WP Shout has produced handy stickers with tips on some of the most common WordPress conditional tags. Trivia for the day: is_dynamic_sidebar does not check to see whether you are in a sidebar file, but whether there are any widgets activated in any sidebars on the site.

WordPress Hosting Resources

Prior to Fred’s presentation, the group had a discussion about site speed, performance, and hosting. The single biggest factor in your site’s performance is your hosting company. The best caching and performance tools (e.g. memcached, OPcache, APC) have to be installed on the server and are not available with most cheap shared hosting accounts.

Fortunately, there are now many hosting companies that specialize in WordPress.

The first was our sponsor (and host of this site) Pagely, which still has options for small businesses even though they have transitioned primarily into enterprise hosting. Pagely uses Amazon’s servers. They have been fantastic in terms of up-time, support, and security.

There are plenty of other options, however, including the Turbo service from our new sponsor A2 Hosting, Flywheel‘s option to stage a site for free before transferring it to a client, and GoDaddy‘s new inexpensive managed WordPress hosting plans. Each of these different providers offers something unique.

To help you decide, here are some recent comparisons of managed WordPress hosting providers:

May 2014 Meetup Notes: Hosting, Updates, SEO, Authorship, and More

Things change rapidly in the WordPress world. The content in this post is more than a year old and may no longer represent best practices.

Here are some notes from the Q&A session of the May 2014 East Bay WordPress Meetup, and also a few from the presentations on Google Webmaster Tools and the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin.

Go Daddy WordPress Hosting

For years, no one–including Pieter Hartsook–has had a good word to say about Go Daddy when it comes to WordPress hosting. But Go Daddy recently introduced managed WordPress hosting, and it actually works. (Pieter tested it, and unlike Go Daddy’s regular hosting, it’s fast.) What’s more, right now it’s on sale for $1/month.

No one at Go Daddy knows how long the sale will last, so if you’re interested in trying it out, you should probably head over there now. And yes, if by some mischance you have Go Daddy’s ordinary shared hosting, you can switch to this new service. Since you could hardly do worse than the regular shared hosting at Go Daddy (unless you were moving to 1 and 1), you should definitely move any WordPress accounts you have on Go Daddy over to the new Managed WordPress hosting service.

Atahualpa Update Issues

Diana Thompson has a strange issue with WordPress and Atahualpa. She just took over a client project with an outdated version of both WordPress and Atahualpa. She’s duplicated the site locally (same WP version, same theme version, same plugins, same content), but for some reason gets “You do not have permission to access this page” errors when trying to edit posts and pages.

Suggestions included checking to see that the PHP and MySQL versions were the same on both the local and live installations (since it is possible to edit posts and pages in the live install), but, since the local installation is expendable, to just see what happens after upgrading both WordPress and Atahualpa.

Video Embeds Aren’t Working

Lisa Bigeleisen has a client for whom YouTube embeds fail to work, either when using oEmbeds or when copying the embed code. Though the site is still running WordPress 3.6, YouTube oEmbeds have been part of WordPress for several versions now, and ought to work.

The consensus in the group was that something–either a plugin or something in the theme’s functions.php file–was causing a conflict with the native embed function of WordPress. (I have seen this happen before. Sometimes using the shortcode helps, and sometimes it doesn’t.)

Italics Not Working

Anthony Bello has a site where italics are not showing up in posts, even when the <em> tag showed up in the HTML editor. Everyone suspected there was an issue with the CSS, and so Pieter Hartsook’s inspection of the theme’s stylesheet after the meetup proved.

Ultimate Tiny MCE Breaks in 3.9

Bob Hemstock complained that Ultimate TinyMCE, a plugin he relied on, no longer worked in WordPress 3.9. He had especially relied on it for inserting tables.

Pieter Hartsook explained that if you wanted to regain the functionality provided by Ultimate TinyMCE, you should install the WP Edit plugin instead. WP Edit will import your settings from Ultimate TinyMCE.

How to Search Anonymously

If you don’t want to see local search results, or other results that are tailored to what Google knows about you, go to megaproxy.com, click the “try it free” button, and enter “www.google.com” in the URL box.

If you are going to need this service often (e.g. to check SEO for clients), you might want to get a paid account.

Keeping Up with the Changing SEO Landscape

What worked yesterday may not work today. How do you find out what search engine optimization techniques are going to be successful?

How to Ask Google to Re-Index Your Site

We mentioned that doing this was possible with Google Webmaster Tools, but not specifically how. The section of Webmaster Tools that you want is “Fetch as Google,” in the “Crawl” section.

To submit your entire site for indexing, leave the URL box blank. Once the home page has been fetched, click the submit button and check the radio button that says “URL and all linked pages.”

instructions to fetch site as Google

Google Authorship with Yoast SEO

There are instructions in the Webmaster Tools slides about how to use All in One Webmaster to verify Google Authorship, but you can also use WordPress SEO by Yoast to do this. I found a nice tutorial on it this morning.

Feb 2013 Slides: Managed WordPress Hosting

Things change rapidly in the WordPress world. The content in this post is more than a year old and may no longer represent best practices.

True confession: We didn’t make slides in February. This presentation is retroactive, based on the content of the actual meetup.

Thanks so much to WPEngine for joining us to provide the inside scoop on their services–and the pizza!