Standardizing WordPress Theme UpdatesMay 12th, 2018

I am a big believer in WordPress and use it for 95%+ of my client websites. They are constantly upgrading the CMS and at this point I wouldn’t consider using any other software. But, as with most things in life there are some things I’d like to see improved. My number one pet peeve is the random nature of theme updates. Now what do I mean by this? When you log into your WordPress, some themes give you a notice that there’s an update. The problem is that there are different ways of upgrading themes.

Here are a few:

  1. Some themes have an automatic update which you can simply click on and will install the latest and greatest theme files
  2. Other themes you need to FTP the new theme folder and overwrite the old theme folder.
  3. Then there are some themes, which tell you to actually delete your old theme folder and upload the new theme folder.

The scary thing is there isn’t always good documentation on how to upgrade themes. Some vendors do a much better job than others. Some of the premium themes make it very easy, and not only offer an automatic update you can just click on, but they also have a mechanism for patching along the way.

Here’s where I think:
WordPress can improve. I think there needs to be a uniform method of updating themes. I think there needs to be away that people can have a one click update, AND also have a mechanism to revert back in case the theme update corrupts the website.

I also feel that WordPress should try and require theme vendors to have a minimum standard of documentation for updating themes. Besides dealing with the three methods, some themes also have strange quirks.

Here’s an example:
A theme I really like a lot has a one click theme update as I mentioned above in method number one. But as I found out the other day the entire header region disappears after making a team update. The logo, menu, and entire top of the site literally disappears.

Why?
Well, they have a header builder and when you upgraded the theme you lose your settings. Now, I reverted back and figured out there is a way to save your header settings. I then updated the theme and then could use those old settings. While this was simple enough, it was not very clear and an inexperienced website owner or developer would not have known what to do, other then perhaps open a service ticket with the theme vendor.

In Closing:
WordPress is the number one CMS in the world. But as with any open-source software, there is a random nature in the way some people develop their plug-ins and themes. I think that it is in WordPress’ best interest to have some standards which themes and plug-ins have to follow. This will make the user experience much better. And after all, WordPress owes its success to providing the world’s most user friendly content management system.


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WordPress: Because you can do it yourself does not mean you shouldApril 9th, 2018

One of the main thing people want from a WordPress website  is the ability to do things themselves. A noble goal, yes. But does it always make sense? No, not in practice.

Case in point: To manage a WordPress website requires:

Keeping WordPress versions, plugins, themes up to date.

Seems simple enough, many updates are as simple as a single click. Well, anyone who has made updates knows, there are times an updated plugin can totally break your website. You see, many times plugin vendors aren’t ready for a new version of WordPress, so you need to be careful. Most important, know how to revert your site back to pre-updated state. Otherwise, your site maybe down for a long period of time.

Content updates

Content is king, always has been always will be. Content is the main thing business owners should concentrate on. Whether it’s writing a weekly blog or putting up news, this is where you should be focused. While WordPress allows you to add your own posts, you may be better off sending them along to an experienced web developer who can not only put up the blog posts, but take advantage of some of the search engine optimization techniques to help you succeed in having better rankings. This of course is something everyone wants. Of course, for the do it yourself-ers, you can make all the small text changes, for instance a change to an employee bio or an update to your about or services page.

Security

This of course is related to number 1, but much more than that. you have to be up on the latest vulnerabilities and tweak your settings to stay safe. You also need to be taking regular backups and have the ability to restore your site should trouble come your way.

This is one of the most important things facing website owners in 2018. You hear every day about hackers and information being stolen, etc. You need to be able to respond quickly when your site gets hacked. The best thing you can do is to have a plan on how you can get your site back up and running if and when it is hacked. For this reason, managing your own website security is a risk you can’t afford to take.

WordPress - Done Right by RooSitesIn Closing: WordPress is the most user-friendly content management system on the planet. That is why over a third of new websites use the platform. You should use this for your business, as it fulfills the needs of most companies. But, other than doing some simple tasks, blogging & perhaps a text edit here and there you should leave the management in the hands of a professional website management company. And be sure to use a company that specializes in WordPress sites. As the software has its own share of issues and ways of doing things, you need to see it on a daily basis in order to keep up with all the changes coming your way.


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