How our members worked together to resolve an issue on a WordPress website
At our September 2016 meetup, we held a Q & A workshop where our Metro Detroit WordPress members can get answers about their WordPress site from other members. Or they can ask specific questions about WordPress features and functionality.
Because it’s community-focused, the Q & A workshop is one of my favorite meetup formats. It’s where we learn about each other sites and what members do.
Our Q & A workshops are casual, with people moving from table to table to help each other. Or just listen in to hear what other people are doing on their site.
What’s the Issue?
One of our members was having issues with her self-hosted WordPress website, where the sub-menu wasn’t displaying.
She was using the Divi theme on her site, one of the drag-and-drop premium WordPress themes, which has a lot of built-in functionality that’s usually provided through plugins.
Divi recently released version 3.0, which none of our Metro Detroit WordPress members had worked with.
Nevertheless, several people stepped up to the challenge to try to find a solution. Which they did!
Knowing others go through similar situations, trying to figure out why some feature isn’t working as expected on their site, we wanted to document the steps.
1. Backup the Site
Before making any changes, backup your site. That means backing up both the files and the database.
You can find lots of free backup plugins in the WordPress repository. Additionally, there are many premium backup solutions.
WP Beginner recently published a review of several WordPress backup plugins.
Luckily our member already had a backup plugin installed on her site, so a backup was quickly completed.
2. Update WordPress
You always want to have the most current version of WordPress installed on your site.
WordPress releases major updates and security updates regularly, it’s important that your site has the latest version to stay secure.
One of our members helped to get the latest WordPress version updated on the site. Still, the problem persisted.
3. Update Themes and Plugins
As with WordPress, you want to make sure you have the latest versions of the themes and plugins installed.
Developers update themes and plugins to incorporate new features from the latest WordPress version, to fix bugs, and to add new plugin functionality.
If you’re having an issue that is theme- or plugin-related, it’s possible the latest version will fix your problem. Why waste time searching for a solution when an update will resolve the problem?
Her site themes and plugins were updated, but the sub-menu still wouldn’t display.
4. Activate the Latest Twenty XXX Theme
This is a tried-and-true solution to many issues.
The latest Twenty XXX theme is the default theme installed with every new WordPress installation (at the time of this post, the latest is the Twenty Sixteen theme).
These themes are used to rule out any issues that might be theme-related.
Review in Other Browsers and Devices
At times, a browser or device might be the culprit.
Checking the site in different browsers or on different devices (tablets, smartphones, etc.) can help narrow down the cause of the issue.
This wasn’t the case for our member’s site.
Unfortunately, the sub-menu wouldn’t display in other browsers, nor in other devices.
Many free and premium themes have Theme Options that control fonts, CSS, menus, and other features in the theme.
That was where the issue was, a custom CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) setting was the reason the sub-menu wasn’t displaying.
The existing CSS code in her site was copied to a text file for safe keeping. The CSS was updated, saved, and the sub-menu displayed.
Troubleshooting the WordPress theme on our member’s site only took a few steps. We were lucky it wasn’t a more involved issue, with conflicting plugins or an issue with the web host.
If you find yourself needing to troubleshoot your site, always start by:
- Backing up the site, both database and files
- Updating to the latest WordPress version
- Updating to the latest theme and plugins
Shoutout to our members Angela Samuels, Randy Wright, Andy Melichar, and Eric Malcolm for their help in troubleshooting the issue!
Photo credit: Randy Wright