Takeaways from May 2017 WordPress Q & A Workshop

At our May 2017 Q & A workshop, our WordPress experts answered questions about website performance, web hosting, styling content, setup and configuration, child themes, and plugins.

I joined Eric Malcolm, Andy Melichar, and Randy Walker in helping our members with their WordPress questions.

Before we broke out into small groups, we had a good discussion among our Metro Detroit WordPress members about performance, themes, and identifying the goal for your site.

Here are the top takeaways from the workshop:

  1. When you’re researching a WordPress theme for your site, contact the developer and ask about performance/speed. Or use online tools like GTMetrix or Pingdom to test a site built with the theme or the theme demo. Don’t wait until site launch to find out your theme is slow.
  2. Use the free Imsanity plugin to automatically resize huge image uploads. Imsanity also includes a bulk resize feature, ability to configure maximum width, height, and photo quality. Another option for optimizing your images is WP Smush.
  3. Elementor is a free page builder, released in summer 2016, that has instant drag and drop, real-time page editing, and a clean interface.
  4. Learn about CSS specificity, how it works, rules, and basic principles.
  5. Are you new to WordPress and looking for learning resources? I published a post listing five online resources for learning WordPress.
  6. Hosting plays a part in the speed and performance of your website. Combine hosting with a content delivery network (CDN) for maximum speed. Invest in good hosting.
  7. Child theming is essential so you don’t break your site when updating purchased/downloaded themes. Here’s info from the WordPress Theme Handbook on how to create a child theme. Note: we talked about the One-Click Child Theme plugin. When I researched the plugin today, I discovered it hasn’t been updated in two years, so it’s not recommended.
  8. If you’re looking to convert an HTML/static site to WordPress, consider using the Underscores theme for your foundation.
  9. For anyone looking to learn HTML and CSS, consider the Lynda.com courses: HTML Essentials and CSS Essentials.
  10. Before making a decision on a form plugin, identify your requirements. Here are 10 questions to ask before choosing a form plugin

Our next meetup is June 10, 2017, Share Your Favorite Plugin. This is a member-driven event, do you have a favorite plugin to share? Hope to see you there!

Author: Deborah Edwards-Onoro

Deborah Edwards-Onoro is a web designer focused on user experience, accessibility, and WordPress. Founder of Lireo Designs, I create usable, attractive, and mobile-friendly websites for businesses, nonprofits, and individuals. I offer WordPress training, website maintenance services, and consulting. Organizer for Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup, West Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup, and Refresh Detroit. Former Detroit User Experience co-leader, Michigan Usability Professionals Association officer, Internet User Experience conference organizer, and HighEdWeb Michigan organizer.

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