Handy Free Online Tools for the WordPress Website Hobbyist

WordPress Website Hobby

One of the many wonderful things about WordPress is that its barriers to entry are very low.  Anyone willing to roll up their sleeves and spend a bit of time viewing YouTube tutorials can build up a site themselves using the many available WordPress themes and plugins and create and manage their own content.  While we certainly recommend working with a professional team whenever adding new features/plugins to a site (especially when needing to modify code), and we recognize that not everyone has the time or disposition to take on the work themselves, we also know there are those who like a “hands on approach” to their website, and for those we present you with a list of useful tools and resources to help along the way.

Scheduling Content Updates in WordPress

WordPress is the world’s leading content management system, and as you would expect, it has loads of built in easy to use features to help you publish your site content how and when you want.  However, it surprisingly does not have a method out of the box to schedule content updates to your posts or pages.  When we recently needed to enable this feature for a client, I quickly looked to the WordPress plugin repository which is among the greatest advantages of using the platform.  Thousands of plugins are available to expand upon the base set of features for everything that you can imagine: eCommerce, event management, user forums, learning management, and the list goes on.  Virtually anything you can envision doing on a website typically has at least three or four very well supported, feature rich, and heavily used and vetted plugin alternatives to choose from depending on your specific needs.  This is why we were rather surprised to find the available options for the relatively simple and presumably common task of scheduling content updates to be decidedly slim.  Even many of our old friend content management systems that time has passed by, such as Website Baker, offered this feature out of the box in a simple to use format.  After some deeper digging we finally found a plugin based solution that, though not installed on that many sites (600+ as of this writing), had some very quality positive reviews and a well established legacy so we decided to give it a closer look and try it out.  The plugin we chose is Content Update Scheduler by Infinitnet.

WordPress Popups with Popup Maker

Virtually all websites these days feature some sort of popup message designed to get the user’s attention and/or follow through on some kind of call to action.  These can be to sign up for a newsletter, agree to terms of use, to feature new products, services or content, or for any number of other reasons.  Your initial reaction to reading the above may very well be: “Yeah, those things are really annoying.”  And you’re not all wrong. They certainly can be annoying and oftentimes are.  But more importantly, research shows they are effective.  So the goal should be to maximize their effectiveness while minimizing the annoying factor.  Choosing to not use them altogether simply because you’ve been to a lot of sites with popups that annoy you will cause you to miss out on opportunities to actually improve the experience for your website users, and also ultimately improve your bottom line.  However, the purpose of this article is not to convince you of the utility or best practices with popups.  For a very thorough discussion on that, check out Sumo’s excellent write up.  What I want to share is the best method for setting up popups for your WordPress website, and for that the tool I most recommend is the Popup Maker plugin.

New Year’s Resolutions for your WordPress Website

With the new year comes the opportunity for a renewed and better you.  So too is the opportunity for a new and better WordPress website.  Use the following as a checklist for the new year (or anytime) to ensure your website is in tip-top shape.

WordPress Redirection

As your WordPress website evolves over time it is inevitable that you will remove old pages, rename pages, and add new pages.  This is especially true when completing a redesign project or content restructuring.  Another common instance we see this occur is when an organization grows, changes the business model, or merges with another organization.  When this happens, you need to take special care to ensure that any page URLs that were removed or changed are properly redirected to an existing page, otherwise your site will generate what are called ‘not found errors’ until search engines like Google fully re-index the site (which can take some time).  Also, any links back to the site you or others posted on social media, online directories, or via other site’s blog comments which no longer exist will return that same dreaded ‘not found error’.  These external links, called ‘back links’, are especially important for search engine optimization (SEO) not to mention user experience (linking to a ‘page not found’ as a first impression of your website is far from ideal).  Oh, and those ‘not found errors’?  Too many of them can have a negative effect on SEO too.  

WordPress DataTables Plugin

If you have data that you need to display on your WordPress website such that your site users can find what they need easily through sorting, searching, and filtering, and display/export their results, look no further than wpDataTables.  It’s easy to use for site administrators, and displays attractive and usable data for site users.

If you have a data display/management project for your WordPress website and are interested in learning more, we’d love to chat.

WordPress for Email Campaigns? Opt for MailChimp, Constant Contact, or Aweber

You’ve built an amazing WordPress website, created a social media marketing strategy, and are now eager to build a mailing list to connect with your customers via regular email newsletter campaigns.  You love WordPress for managing your website’s content as well as countless other bells and whistles, so you assume it’s also the best tool to manage mailing lists, newsletter templates, and marketing campaigns.  However, in this instance, your best approach is to stick with the folks who specialize in those functions, specifically a professional email marketing service such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or AWeber.

WordPress and Salesforce Integration

WordPress Salesforce Integration Portland

Salesforce is the leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform for businesses and non-profits and WordPress is the leading content management system (CMS) in the world, so it only makes sense to leverage the power of both of these outstanding platforms together by using your website to collect and manage incoming customer sales leads.  There are a number of different methods to achieve this.

What you need to know about the General Data Protection Legislation (GDPR)

As of May 2018, a new European Union (EU) regulation came into effect called the General Data Protection Legislation (GDPR). This regulation pertains to any company which processes the personally identifiable information (PII) of EU citizens. This data is not limited to sensitive PII such as social security number, and includes such basic information as … Read more