Tips for Small Business Owners Getting Started with WordPress

A couple months ago, I was asked to contribute to an article for business owners on getting started with WordPress. The article was just published and I made slot #4 (I don’t think there’s anything special about that, btw ). There was some great advice in the article, especially #1:

Don’t be afraid to get it wrong the first time…

So true!

However, since only a little bit of what I contributed was shared in the article, I wanted to post the rest here.

Just in case any business owners are wondering about getting started with WordPress, please know:

You’re not alone in this. 

There’s a lot of help available.

Don’t be afraid to seek help if you don’t understand something.

It’s all going to be ok.

Here’s the rest of what I recommend when getting started with WordPress.

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How to Update WordPress (Single install and Multisite)

Many people ask me how to update WordPress. Updates on WordPress can be scary if you’ve never done them before. However, there are plenty of reasons to update:

  • Security updates are huge!
  • Any bug fixes that will make your site run better
  • Staying up with web standards
  • Taking out the trash!

In this video, I guide you through updating your WordPress site. Make sure you’ve backed up before you do anything and you’ll probably be just fine! This video takes you through the major steps of updating, in the order I prefer:

–Plugins
–Framework
–WordPress
–Network

Any questions, let me know!

Nate


 

Transcription

Hey folks!

Ok, so I wanted to take this opportunity really quick. There’s a website that I’m managing here and I get a lot of questions about updating people’s WordPress site and how to do that, so I wanted to show you really quickly, uh, how to do that fairly quickly and with not a lot of issues.

So, anyway, if you’re running a backup plugin, this particular website has BackWPup because it’s a multisite, and you can run that really quickly and it will back up your site, so just in case weird things happen when you update, um, that, you know, that is something you can roll back to, so anyway, um, yeah, so once you get a back up done, then you can start updating things. You’ll see here that WordPress, uh, is now available.

This 4.2.4 is available, uh, update now, and then also this, uh, website is built on the Genesis framework, and Genesis actually has an update out, so please update now. So, anyway, uh, you’ll also see here that there are eight other updates available. So, basically the order of operations on this is to first update plugins and then update themes.

So, uh, the reason that I do that is if, uh, plugins get updated and, uh, they break something, they’re a little bit more modular and you can, uh, fix that a little bit easier than just updating theme, but you know this is just kind of, again, I think, my preference, and, you know, maybe there’s a better way to do that, but uh, this is how I do it.

So, anyway, uh, basically I’m just gonna go ahead and open this in a new tab and just so I can leave those open. And it will…okay, so once this, uh, loads up you can scroll down and one of the awesome things that is now available in WordPress is is this “compatibility with,” right?

So, um, shows your current, you know, setup and  then also the uh, the upgrade, so we know that we’re going to be upgrading to 4.2.4 and so you have the current option that you’re running and also the new version, right? So, uh,  the new version is fairly new, and so these will come up as unknown.

Uh, nowadays it’s a lot safer, you can typically go ahead and update and if something, uh, cracks, then it’s pretty easy to fix, so, anyway, um but, what I also look for is an indication of the updates for the current version that I’m running on my website, right? So, I know that this all, all of these are one hundred percent compatible, right, so I’ll just go ahead and select all and then update plugins. And this could take a little while and it’ll go to a new screen but once it’s done it’ll come up and say everything’s been update.

Okay, so we can see that everything has been updated here and looks good and we can also you know typically at this point I like to go to the front of the site and check it out. I’ll let you go ahead and do that but, you know, basically just visit the site and check it out. The main reason that you want to visit the site and check it out is just to make sure that everything is fine and running well and not wonky or anything.

So, okay so let’s just say I’ve gone ahead and done that. You’ll see there’s still two updates, uh, remaining and you can click back on that and you’ll see that the theme updates, so Genesis, even though it’s a framework it’s still classified as a theme, so yeah I’ll go ahead and update that. And it basically goes through the same thing that the plugins does, and so everything has been updated successfully.

Again, at this point you can go back and check out your site and make sure that everything looks good. And uh, but I’ll go ahead and click on this last, final update. Okay, so the last thing to update is the, version of WordPress here, right? So, you can download it and manually update it, but you don’t need to really worry about that if you’re in the back-end here. Uh, so basically you just click “Update Now” and it will begin the update.

Okay, so um, yeah, uh if you’ve gotten through everything and everything has updated successfully, you should get a welcome to the new version of WordPress that you’re running. There’s just a bunch of information you can view about the new version so, uh, again this one is, this particular site is running multi-site so I’ll probably be needing to do some upgrades to the network here, and I’ll check that out, uh, here in the next page, but if you aren’t running a multi-site, you’re pretty much done here and, um, I would actually go ahead and suggest making another backup at this point so that you have a fresh backup of your new installs, so if anything were to happen from this point forward, you don’t need to worry about, um, yeah repudiating everything, so I hope that’s helpful, again if you’re running a multi-site network, stick around.

If you’re not, feel free to leave. So, anyway, I’ll go ahead and click on this “Upgrade Network” and yeah, basically all I need to do is upgrade the database here, so I’ll click on “Upgrade Network” and it shows that the network has been completely upgraded and basically this is just kind of a one-click you can just upgrade the whole network, so I’ve just got two sites on this multi-site network and everything, so yeah, everything’s all done. And again at this point you would want to check and make sure that your site’s running well and also if you’ve done this, maybe do another back-up as well so you have a fresh back-up. So, that’s all.

I hope that’s helpful. Talk to you later.

 

Editing Images in WordPress

Editing images in WordPress can be frustrating. The editor is not as intuitive as other elements inside WordPress. That’s ok, and this is why I made the video.

Any questions, let me know!

Nate


Transcription

Hey folks!

So I just wanted to quick put up a little tutorial video on how to edit images in WordPress, so um yeah, basically we’ve gotten this, we’ve got this image here and I just wanna crop it, so uh there’s a few different options for editing images in WordPress, but yeah just this can be a little unintuitive sometimes and this is uh a complaint I get from some clients so I thought I’d just put together this little video here so, you’ve selected the, the image you wanna edit and so, you know, you typically see this with the url and the title there and stuff like that, so down here on the bottom left is this “Edit Image” button.

So, you just click that and bring it over here. So, this particular image, you know, we want it, well, you can see that you can move the image uh, counterclockwise, clockwise, whatever.

Flip it, rotate it, that kind of thing so, but the big thing that you’re probably gonna wanna do just in WordPress is crop, so uh you’re actually this is the symbol up here for cropping and it’s grayed out right now and basically what you just need to do is uh, get on click and drag on this image to the area you want to crop here.

So I actually want these images to be twelve hundred by eight hundred.

So, uh, I’ve got those dimensions there and yeah, you can see that these are actually twelve hundred by nine hundred and that just gives a little too much height to these images.

Um, so yeah, once I get that selected like, that I can click, you can see now the crop button is no longer grayed out if you hover over it, so you just click on that and it’ll crop out the selection here and then you click on save.

And once it’s done saving, you can come back and see that it added an extra pixel but that’s okay, uh, that’ll be alright for me here, so uh, so just a way to quickly crop images and edit them inside WordPress if you need to, um again you can do those flips and twists and stuff like that, uh, as well so that’s all for now.

Hope that was helpful

Day 21: Self Education: WordPress Tutorials and Where to Get Good Help

“Take time to improve your knowledge and skills so that you can put a premium on yourself. You don’t have to be content in being simply a good doer if you can also become a great teacher.”
― Jan Mckingley Hilado, Rich Real Radical: 40 Lessons from a Magna Cum Laude and a College Drop Out

We’ve come to the last day! Congrats!

You will always have questions that you need answered about your website and WordPress. I want to make sure you have a handful or resources to continue your education.

Reason

Knowing the places to get good, solid information will save you time hunting around for answers that might not be what you want to find. These have been some of the most helpful resources for me in my development on WordPress.

Recipe

Check out this video walk through of three very helpful websites:

Resource

Here are the links to the websites mentioned, plus a few others:

 

What’s Your Feedback?

Please let me know what you thought of this plan. Did it help move you forward to WordPress proficiency? What questions do you still have? What is missing? What was really helpful? Let me know in the discussion or contact me directly at nate@finchproservices.com

Thank you and enjoy the journey!

–Nate

Day 20: Self Education: The Staging Site (try it on your computer first!)

As you get more familiar with WordPress, you will want to try and push the limits and see what you can do, both in terms of design and development. It’s easy to want to try new things on your site or even a client’s site, live and online.

Reason

However, you NEVER want to experiment on a live site! If it breaks and you can’t repair your site right away, you will lose valuable time, traffic, and even money while your website is down.

Recipe

Watch today’s video to find out how you can set up a development site on your computer:

Resource

Desktop Server is the program I used in this video, and they have several tutorials and “how tos” available on their website. The version I was running is the free version, however if you want more functionality, including interaction with a live website, you can get the premium version here.

Do you have any fears about working with live sites?

Day 19: Self Education: The WordPress Community, Who to Watch, Know and Follow

It should be pretty apparent by now: WordPress has an amazing community of people, developers and businesses all contributing to make the community and core of WordPress better and better.

Reason

There will be several people that you will want to follow and head the advice of. You might even want to hire them!

Recipe

Check out this video of five of my favorite people to follow in the WordPress community (as of Dec. 12th, 2013… I’m always meeting and learning about new folks!):

Resource

Besides all the people mentioned in the video, WordCamps are a fantastic way to get to know people in the community. Find out if there’s a WordCamp near you using this link.

Who are you following already? What people have been helpful for you thus far in your WordPress journey?