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?

Day 18: Self Education: An Introduction to WordPress Frameworks

When starting on a new project, whether it is sewing a new dress together, building a cabinet, or baking cookies, there is always a preset pattern or even design that you use. You might change the fabic of the dress, or add dark chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate chips. However, the basic structure of the project remains the same: systematic and repeatable.

Reason

WordPress has available several “frameworks” to help speed up the development process of websites, make those websites familiar and secure, and provide more all around stability than designing a website from the ground up.

Recipe

Watch this quick introduction to a few well-known frameworks:

Resource

Here are the links for the frameworks discussed:

Even if you’re not using a framework, many of these sites have tutorials and code-snippets which are very helpful in customizing and continuing your own WordPress education. Here’s another great resource on the difference between templates and frameworks.

Do you see a need or use for frameworks? Have you heard of these? What others have you heard of?

Day 17: Self Education: The WordPress Codex

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.”
― Isaac Asimov

It is hard to imagine sitting down and reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, much less the whole of Wikipedia. However, we make reference to these resources and others when we have questions about historical happenings, are curious about the way things work, or get curious about a random subject.

Reason

The WordPress Codex is the collected body of work of the WordPress community. The Codex is constantly being reviewed and revised. It is a great place to start when you have questions about using WordPress.

Recipe

Watch this video on using the Codex:

What are some questions that you have about your website that you would like to have answered by the Codex? Search for the answer in the Codex.

Resource

Here is a link to the Codex. Browse around the different topics and see what you can find out more about.

What questions do you have of the Codex and WordPress Community thus far?

Day 16: Functionality: Security Configuration

Backing up your website is a great, proactive way to make sure that your website and content will always be available in the case of some kind of hacker or malicious attack. However, it is also just as important to prevent those attacks from happening in the first place.

Reason

There are several default settings in your WordPress site install that, if not taken care of, can cause serious breaches to your website’s security. A plugin like BetterWPSecurity will help mitigate many of those risks.

Recipe

Watch this video on security:

Configure your website using the simple checklist provided by BetterWPSecurity.

Resource

Here’s the link for Better WP Security in the WordPress Repository.

In the middle part of 2013, there was a brute force attack on WordPress websites because of people’s tendency to leave default settings intact. These default settings include “admin” as the primary username, not deleting the Sample Page or “Hello World” post, and not updating plugins or old themes. One of the best things you can do to educate yourself about security risks is to read up on what has happened in the past, and how to avoid that in the future. This article does a great job explaining what happened in the most recent brute force attack on WordPress sites.

Here’s another helpful article from WordPress on Brute Force attacks.

Does this kind of thing scare you? Are you worried about your website? I think with this tutorial and installed backup, you are probably in some of the best shape possible for defending against attacks.

Day 15: Functionality: Backup Configuration

Imagine waking up and finding that you website has been hacked, compromised, or your domain has expired and your website is down. Or, imagine that you’ve been messing with some PHP code and didn’t enter the code just right and now your website is broken!

Reason

There are several ways to break or crash a website. Backing up your website’s database is the easiest way to ensure that your website will be safe from all sorts of contingencies that could arise and damage your site.

Recipe

Follow the steps in this video to properly configure your backup:

Make sure that you have installed and activated BackWPUp. It is free and a great way to ensure that your website is properly backed up.

Resource

Here’s a direct link to BackWPUp on the WordPress Repository.

Backup Buddy is probably the most popular backup service on the market (unless you are using managed hosting, of course). It is a paid premium product, but it is easy to use, comes with support, and ensures that your website is safe and sound. Check it out here.