All of the videos for the online sessions are now in WordPress Toronto | YouTube.
This post recaps the exchanges and tips from Let’s Fix Your WordPress Site, 2021-02-16 | WPTO Meetup. This was our 11th online session using Zoom.
These notes are in 2 parts. The first is notes taken during the session and then cleaned up and supplemented and a summary and list of links compiled. The notes cover most of the discussion and make the video more useful. The second part of this post is the chat transcript with light editing of the URLs where necessary.
The requests for help were made in the event page’s comments and in Zoom’s chat messages are included in the first part of the notes and discussed more or less in chronological order.
The session started at 6:30 PM, ended at 8:30 PM.
The next session is Let’s Fix Your WordPress Site, 2021-03-16 | WPTO Meetup.
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Sherine Clarke (6:35)
I would like to revamp my existing website and use a theme from Thrive Theme. What is the process to set up a “STAGING” site? How do I save the copy/information from the old site? Sherine Clarke.
Alex Sirota, Robin Macrae: A staging site is an excellent way to develop a site or a new version of a site. Staging involves making a copy of a site and then use it just as if it were the real WP installation. A host may provide a staging capability that is automated. It can be a sub-domain you select or have an arbitrary sub-domain name assigned by the host (e.g., SiteGround). There are plugins that can create staging sites which typically need a service to work and therefore are a premium/paid service.
The key feature of staging is pushing changes in the staging site to the real site (also referred to as moving, applying or pushing the changes). How this is done is important. In the case of host provided staging, this moving the changes from staging to production is automated. Alternatively, you can do it manually. ManageWP is a plugin and staging is a premium feature. Use the backup > clone tool and chose a destination. Alex installs WP and then clones it when he needs a new staging site. You can then clone the staging site to the production site.
Dan Stramer prefers to use the host provided staging capability.
To summarize, use the host provided service to clone your site as a staging site. You can delete it with another click.
In regard to the question about commenting, you can turn off commenting for all posts in one setting and then disable the Akismet plugin as it isn’t required any longer. You can also disable or turn off comments on a post by post basis.
My questions have also been submitted via RSVP, but here’s a hint: I can’t log in to my site + I need help building links between pages in Gutenberg Block Editor. Susan O’Solutions.
I solved the login problem.
(1905) Tags, permalinks and links. Susan is using the block editor.
She chose the open link in new tab option. Sandy advised against opening a link in a new tab. Robin emphasized that the user can open a new tab or window and you shouldn’t usurp that without a good reason. In short, don’t use “new tab” or “new window” on a link without a good reason.
The problem was that the link share had chosen was not a valid link for reasons we didn’t investigate. She used the search function in the link creation tool and found the correct page.
Sandy recommended that the post or page titles be related to the part of the URL that is the filename (aka the “slug”). In that way, you reassure the visitor that they’ve arrived where they intended.
(We didn’t address her question regarding permalinks. See Settings Permalinks Screen | WordPress.org and Permalink Settings | Make WordPress Support.)
(If you aren’t linking one post or page in your site to another or others, you’ll find How to succeed with internal link building using WordPress | Phillip Stemann a useful guide.)
Genie Lamp Productions (6:50)
I am looking for recommendations for a good testimonial plugin that I can use on my Elementor wordpress site. I would like it to allow reviews to update themselves automatically from my Google and Facebook reviews. Here is my site Genie Lamp Studios. I am also looking for a good hosting company to host my website. Any recommendations are appreciated.
What do you recommend to automatically embed testimonials from Google and other sites. Dan recommends the pro version of https://ljapps.com/wp-review-slider-pro/ (the free one is limited to the most recent 5). The are various formatting options.
Hosting recommendation? Flywheel is expensive.
Dan said that he thought $15-30 for Flywheel or another managed hosting provider isn’t expensive. WP Engine is another that’s more expensive but excellent. Peace of mind is the goal. Cheap can become very expensive especially when (it prevents you from getting things done). SiteGround is another popular and well-regarded host. (See the chat postings for additional hosts recommended by others.)
Rubina Gogna (7:20)
What is the best way to increase website loading speed, boost SEO, is there a free way to accept payments and lastly how can we edit our page to include direct links or read more buttons on the front end?
(Alex selected one question, the more button one.)
How can we edit our page to include direct links or read more buttons on the front end? I don’t like long paragraphs so how can I use Read more?
There isn’t a more page to which she can link (i.e., she misunderstood what the “more” feature is; see More Block – Support — WordPress.com and More Block – Page 2 – Support — WordPress.com depending on which editor you’re using).
Rubina wants to use the more button to reveal more rows of text, a function for which the more button isn’t designed (as noted above). Moreover, as Sandy pointed out, if you only reveal a few rows, then the user is mislead thinking they’ll get a lot more.
Sandy also recommended that the lengths of each of the three tiles be about the same length. Use summary details (see Details Summary Block – WordPress plugin | WordPress.org).
The break for Read More is set by a post author.
What about adding a scroll bar for the longer content?
She wants the more buttons to be aligned vertically in each tile. One way would be to create another row with 3 columns and move the buttons in them. Dan asked what happens to the mobile version—will the more box follow the tile above it?
Jane MacNamera (7:35)
Customizr theme. Images are being cropped and I don’t want them cropped. How do I set the width of the slider?
Dan: WP processes images when uploaded to the Media Library. We need to find an option to over-ride the cropping that WP is doing to these images. Does the theme have a settings page for this?
Check the setting for images uploaded to the Media Library. Settings > Media Settings sets the default max width and height sizes for WP to use.
The Customizr theme’s slider also sets images sizes when they’re added to the slider settings. They’re now set at 1174 x 500.
The images need to be resized in an image editor to the sizes required by the theme slider and thereby prevent cropping and preserve the images’ aspect ratios.
I am a playwright and want to put my plays on the internet.
If I create a horizontal navigation bar, can I have some of the columns using a top-down approach for some columns “First In First Out” FIFO and some columns using a “Last In – First Our” LIFO approach as with a typical blog comment.
In a menubar, can I use columns and include a dropdown menu?
Alex: you set the menu items order manually. )Glenn is planning his site and this Meetup isn’t the place to do that for you.)
Do all themes need/use a child theme if created? My theme doesn’t want to work with a child theme.
Alex: Try to create one and see if it works. The parent doesn’t need to know or do anything with the child theme. Use a plugin (e.g., Child Theme Configurator | WordPress.org).
Robin: The parent can’t conflict with the child because it doesn’t interact with it. The child inherits the stylesheet and functions of the parent and, until you modify the child theme by, for example, adding styles to its stylesheet, the child is in effect a copy the parent in its styles and functions.
smoke, look for JS animation, snow, rain, clouds, etc. for whole page or post as a transparent layer.
Boris: It’s Snowing! Add Falling Snowflakes Animation on Your Site.
Sandy: Amphibian Abstracts: CSS3 Smoke Animation Effect.
Robin: CodePen‘s The CodePen Spark often has useful CSS animations you can use.
Deena M (8:10)
Can you add music in the background?
Alex demonstrates adding music to a web page by doing a search for “add music in background to web page WordPress” and found Add Background Music to WordPress | Better Host Review.
Sandy: There’s an issue in that some people won’t be able to have music in the background or already have music playing so it has to be a user’s choice.
Maitrik Shah (8:15)
Hey I would like to add private messaging to my website, any insight on how to do this? There’s already users and the plugin I use had a chat feature however it doesn’t work very well. Any ideas?
Alex: Use the Facebook chat plugin, The Official Facebook Chat Plugin | WP.org.
Alex: Search the plugin repo for the chat tag: Search Results for “chat” | WordPress.org.
Dan: have you tried BuddyPress so that chat is within the community? It’s WP, easily Customizer lots of plugins.
I put a Paypal function and it is supposed to coordinate with a calendar feature which I had to get separately. There is a license agreement that has to be used. I tried opening it and cannot figure out how to open it and have never been able to use it. I need to get this to function. No idea what to do.
She didn’t know how to install a plugin and this one is a download because it isn’t in the repo. To add the plugin, go to the download folder used, select the zip file and then use the plugin install button.
The highly recommended Lynda.com tutorials and other resources are free if you have a library card. Use Lynda.com | Toronto Public Library.
The chat transcript
- 18:37:18 From dav1d: My questions, if there’s time, are about child themes.
- 18:42:35 From Boris: @Sherine You are hosted at SITEGROUND, correct? You can do it manually or use plugin. I can help with it if you like
- 18:48:06 From tammy gilden: This is pretty new for me. I actually have no idea what you are talking about. I am guessing that staging is about making something a trial of design?
- 18:48:40 From Jennifer Arnott: @Tammy yes
- 18:49:04 From tammy gilden: Why would someone stage
- 18:49:34 From WordPress Toronto Organizer: @tammy to make changes to a site without modifying the public, production website that everyone uses.
- 18:49:34 From Maitrik Shah: It allows you to make changes to your website or test new features without implementing them on the real/live website
- 18:49:48 From tammy gilden: Thank you
- 18:49:56 From Maitrik Shah: super helpful when you want something now 🙂
- 18:50:18 From Maitrik Shah: new*
- 18:51:47 From tammy gilden: I do have a question about my site. It isn’t related to this at all.
- 18:52:08 From WordPress Toronto Organizer: @tammy post it on https://www.meetup.com/WPToronto/events/275208118/
- 18:52:12 From WordPress Toronto Organizer: we will address it then
- 18:54:57 From tammy gilden: I clicked on it but do not see where to add a comment. I just see comments
- 18:55:07 From Maitrik Shah: Tried to post a comment but it says “something went wrong” 🙁
- 18:56:14 From Jacques Surveyer: Site Ground staging service is solid
- 18:56:29 From WordPress Toronto Organizer: You need to be logged in to meetup.com/wptoronto
- 18:56:45 From WordPress Toronto Organizer: https://www.meetup.com/WPToronto/events/275208118/
- 18:57:30 From tammy gilden: I do believe I am logged in but don’t see the option
- 18:58:02 From Sherri Telenko: Does someone know an easy way to find broken links on your WP blog?
- 19:00:45 From Boris: @dan what was that plugin again?
- 19:00:57 From Dan Stramer: Wp-review-slider pro
- 19:01:26 From tammy gilden: Ive been using host gator
- 19:02:45 From Boris: SITEGROUND is good I use VPS CLoud
- 19:02:58 From Ruby: I use Hostgator
- 19:03:26 From Boris: CLOUDWAYS is getting great reviews for their cloudn VPS choices
- 19:04:48 From Glenn: I am a playwright and want to put my plays on the internet. If I create a horizontal navigation bar can I have some of the columns using a top-down approach for some columns “First In First Out” FIFO and some columns using a “Last In – First Our” LIFO approach as with a trypical blog comment.
- 19:07:30 From Sherine Clarke: Thank you so much for your input! See you next time!!
- 19:13:04 From Jacques Surveyer: Boris – Cloudways has serious competition from runcloud – particulary if you buy into Webdock or SSDNodes servers.
- 19:15:00 From Boris: @Jacques Is RUNCLOUD managed?
- 19:20:31 From Jacques Surveyer: Glenn you may want to look at Popup Builder plugin that allows you to create horizonatl slidein menus or vertical ones. Also the Elementor Pro’s Popup Builder also has some of these capabilities
- 19:28:53 From Jacques Surveyer: Boris – runcloud.io , like Cloudays,has a powerful control panel service for many different cloud servers
- 19:31:53 From Jacques Surveyer: Boris runcloud.io, like Cloudways provides powerful control panel for many cloud servers – just at significantly lower costs
- 19:40:25 From Green Genie: Hi, has anyone ever seen any type of smoke element or plugin that produces smoke or fog for wordpress elementor? Maybe as a widget or slider or something that animates with text or pictures?
- 19:52:27 From Deena M: Can you add music in the background?
- 19:52:28 From tammy gilden: I did post my question on meetu[
- 19:52:34 From Paul Warner: I put my question in the RSVP like it asked me to … I guess that didn’t work
- 19:53:05 From Maitrik Shah: I think I put my question through not sure if you can see it
- 19:55:10 From tammy gilden: My question had to do with PayPal and coordinating with an interactive online booking calendar
- 19:56:04 From Boris: Green Genie – you are looking at After Effects for that type, then convert to video (like MP4) as a backgound video
- 19:57:31 From Valentin Lyashenko: What are your thoughts on Neve Pro theme? I’m using it to create an ecommerce website with a shop, but cannot find any good tutorials to design the products page to work with woocommerce shopping plugin
- 19:58:30 From Deena M: Boris would you pl elaborate it about music?
- 20:02:17 From Dan Stramer: Lynda on Toronto Public library: https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDMEDB0187&R=EDB0187
- 20:02:29 From Dan Stramer: It probably exists in other regions too
- 20:04:07 From Paul Warner: Paul Warner I get this when I go to widgets… Notice: Undefined property: stdClass::$post_status in /home/x5rctri01gs8/public_html/pricefamily.info/wp-admin/includes/misc.php on line 1433 Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/x5rctri01gs8/public_html/pricefamily.info/wp-admin/includes/misc.php:1433) in /home/x5rctri01gs8/public_html/pricefamily.info/wp-admin/admin-header.php on line 9 It doesn’t interfere with the functionality but flags that something’s wrong.
- 20:04:16 From tammy gilden: I am on the site now and it is a paid site only offering a 1 month free and a pretty hefty about $1 per day
- 20:05:40 From Maitrik Shah: I put my question on the comment section but here it is: Hey I would like to add private messaging to my website, any insight on how to do this? Theres already users and the plugin I use had a chat feature however it doesn’t work very well. Any ideas?
- 20:06:09 From Paul Warner: Tammy, I think what he was saying is that you can get it free through the public library
- 20:06:11 From Boris: Deena – I believe you need a plugin that plays MP3 and would have various options on how to play and display controls
- 20:09:37 From WordPress Toronto Organizer: https://www.betterhostreview.com/add-background-music-wordpress.html
- 20:10:49 From Boris: Green Genie – check out https://www.balbooa.com/blog/tips-and-tricks/add-falling-snowflakes-animation-on-your-joomla-site
- 20:11:09 From Boris: maybe contact them to see if they do smoke/fog
- 20:12:21 From Green Genie: Thank you Boris!
- 20:12:50 From Sandy Feldman: https://thoughts.amphibian.com/2016/05/css3-smoke-animation-effect.html
- 20:13:02 From Sandy Feldman: smoke animation
- 20:13:37 From WordPress Toronto Organizer: https://wordpress.org/plugins/facebook-messenger-customer-chat/
- 20:21:15 From tammy gilden: We are close to ending I am just saying thank you.
- 20:21:29 From Maitrik Shah: Thank you guys!
- 20:21:45 From Green Genie: Thank you Sandy!
- 20:22:05 From Sandy Feldman: you’re welcome Green Genie
- 20:22:50 From tammy gilden: How do I get my question answered since it wasn’t so far?
- 20:33:20 From Jacques Surveyer: This was a very helpful meetup with insights on how to create audio background and the Manage WP plugin for cloning. Very helpful. Thanks all
- 20:33:31 From Sandy Feldman: Thank you Alex!
- 20:33:47 From Green Genie: Thank you for the help and a great meet up!
- 20:34:01 From Deena M: Thank you for the info and this me. I want to join the meeting whenever I could. Thank you
That’s it for this month’s Meetup recap notes.
The next online session is Let’s Fix Your WordPress Site, 2021-03-16 | WPTO Meetup. RSVP and post your question or request.
Robin Macrae (LinkedIn)