WordCamp Edinburgh 2017

This weekend we are super excited to be attending, and sponsoring, WordCamp Edinburgh 2017!

What is a WordCamp?

WordCamps are community driven events usually running for 2-3 days. In the spirit of WordPress they are organised by community members (our very own Iain Taylor is on the organising team for this one) and feature a schedule of speakers delivering talks covering a vast range of topics that are usually split between two ‘tracks’ so there is a choice of talks to attend depending on what takes your interest.

At some WordCamps there are also ‘contributor days’ which are an opportunity to get involved with WordPress, be it helping with online support, getting involved with developing WordPress core or helping out with marketing. These are a great way for people who work with WordPress to get involved with giving something back to the community.

In addition to this there are always a range of sponsors with stands at WordPress events offering a great opportunity to speak to hosting companies, plugin developers and more.

But of course probably the most valuable part of attending a WordCamp is the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals. With hundreds of attendees at most WordCamps there are a great many people all working with WordPress in one way or another so whether you are looking to build business contacts or simply looking to make some friends with similar interests WordCamps are a great opportunity to do so.

Who are WordCamps For?

WordCamps are great for anyone that uses WordPress – on any level. Whether you are an end user, a designer, a developer you are almost guaranteed to take a lot away from a WordCamp. Because of the variety of speakers there is bound to be some talks that are of interest to you and you will make new contacts at the same time.

To get an idea of what some of the talks are like at WordCamps check out https://wordpress.tv/category/wordcamptv/ for videos of talks from previous WordCamps.

What Do We Hope to Get From the Weekend?

Here at Ezone we have been attending WordCamps for over five years now and we always come away with useful information that we can apply to our business.

As WordPress specialists it’s extremely important that we keep up to date with latest developments and best practice and we also place a high value on the WordPress community and the importance of contributing to it.
We’re also love meeting talented individuals that share our passion for WordPress and where better to do so than at a WordCamp? It’s a great opportunity for us to make new contacts and to catch up with old friends too. It’s also a good opportunity to meet some of the teams behind WordPress services that we use such as JetPack and WP Engine.

Are You Interested in WordCamp Edinburgh?

If you are interested in attending WordCamp Edinburgh check out the website at: https://2017.edinburgh.wordcamp.org. At the time of writing there are still 26 standard tickets left, they cost £20 each and that includes all the talks on both days and lunch and other refreshments.
Whatever you do with WordPress we’d recommend you checkout at least one WordCamp as they really are fantastic events.

We hope to see you there!

 

 

Organizing Website Content in Pages and Posts

Keeping your website content organized matters a great deal in terms of:

  • how it affects user experience, and
  • in improving your search engine rankings.

A well-organized site helps your site visitors to navigate the website quickly and easily and find the information they need. This gives a positive impression especially to people who visit your site who have very short attention spans and expect to be able to access information at the click of a mouse. Continue reading “Organizing Website Content in Pages and Posts”

Managing Comments in WordPress

Since it originated as a blogging platform WordPress has good support for comments and discussion on your posts. In this article we’ll discuss how you can manage comments in WordPress, including choosing where to allow them and moderation.

How to Enable Comments:

To enable comments on your WordPress posts go to Settings > Discussion and check the ‘Allow people to post comments on new articles’ box.

This will display a comments box at the bottom of any new posts that you create.

You will notice that it mentions that these settings can be overridden for individual articles. This can be useful if you want to disallow comments on specific posts and can be done within the post editor by scrolling down to ‘Discussion’ and unchecking the ‘allow comments’ box.

Enabling comments on old posts

It’s important to note that enabling comments in the discussion settings page only affects new posts, not existing ones. You can enable comments individually on each post as mentioned above, but if you have a lot of posts this will take a long time, so a quicker way to do it is to go to ‘Posts’ and select the posts that you want to enable comments on and then select ‘Edit’ from the bulk actions dropdown. You can then select ‘Allow’ from the ‘Comments’ dropdown as shown below:

Moderation

An important part of managing comments in WordPress is moderation. Unfortunately with comments forms enabled you will inevitably get spam comments. There are a number of options within WordPress to control comments, for example you can set it so that only logged in users can post comments – a useful function for member based sites.

The most simple way to manage comments is to simply check the ‘Comment must be manually approved’ box in Settings > Discussion as shown below. An alternative is to have it set so that not all comments have to be moderated before they appear but you can set up a blacklist of words that will force a comment to be held for moderation before it appears on your site. Similarly you can set posts to be trashed if they contain specific words.

Summary

There are a large number of options within WordPress to make managing comments and discussion simple and suitable for your specific website. We’d encourage you to explore the different settings to identify the best setup for your individual website.

 

Key Differences Between WordPress Posts and Pages

One of the things that many beginners find really confusing when creating new content for their website is in using WordPress posts and pages.

Posts and pages are two different ways you can publish content on WordPress. They seem to look the same on the website, but both content types function very differently. Continue reading “Key Differences Between WordPress Posts and Pages”

An Overview of WordPress 4.8

This week we are doing an overview of WordPress 4.8 (named Evans in honor of the Jazz musician William John Evans) which was just released at the end of last week. Some updates primarily fix or add features that you only really notice as a developer, but WordPress 4.8 brings a load of great updates that will be appreciated by both developers and users.

So what’s new?

New and Improved Widgets:

WordPress 4.8 adds a number of widgets as well as massively improving the text widget. Let’s start by looking at the new widgets:

Image Widget:

WordPress 4.8 introduces an image widget that allows you to easily add images to your widget areas by selecting the image from the media library. Image widgets were not native to WordPress before (although the Jetpack plugin did add one, it wasn’t as intuitive, since it didn’t use the media library), so this is a welcome addition.

Audio Widget:

The new audio widget lets you select a audio file from the media library and it will be embedded in a player in your page. This is a great feature for podcasters and musicians alike.

Video Widget:

Similar to the audio widget this widget lets you select your video file from the media library and embed it in your widget area making it super easy to add video to your website.

The Text Widget:

This update is one that I have wanted for a long time as from a usability perspective the text widget was very difficult to use without knowing html. WordPress 4.8 adds a rich text editor to the text widget, making it easy to add links, make text bold, format lists and more making it a great improvement for end users.

 

Link Boundaries:

Another interesting feature of WordPress 4.8 is an improvement to links in the rich text editor. Your link is now highlighted in blue and you can adjust the text that your link covers, making it much easier to edit text in and around links without linking the wrong part of the text.

As you can see from the above screenshot the linked text is surrounded by a blue background. As you edit the text that is linked the background expands around it, making it really easy to tell where your link starts and ends.

Events and News in Dashboard:

WordPress 4.8 also introduces a new panel in the WordPress cms dashboard (the page you land on when you login) that tells you about upcoming events near you and also news relating to WordPress. This feature is probably most useful to those working with WordPress and that want to get involved in the WordPress community. It also tells you about meetups in your area – these are a great way to get involved with the community regardless of what you do with WordPress, be it design, development or as an end user working with it every day.

Improvements for Developers:

There are a number of improvements for developers working with WordPress in this release. This includes improvement of accessibility, the removal of core support for WMA and WMV videos files, a text editor javascript api and a number of other updates that you can read about in more detail here: https://wordpress.org/news/2017/06/evans/.

 

Do I have WordPress 4.8?

If you are one of our clients you needn’t do anything, we have already upgraded you to WordPress version 4.8 so you can log in and start enjoying the benefits straight away.

If you are not sure what version of WordPress your site is using you can easily check by going to the WordPress dashboard in the content management system and looking in the ‘At a Glance’ panel:

 

Right to Left Websites in WordPress

While translating your website can be tricky, translating it into a language that is read from right to left can seem even more daunting. The good news is that the WordPress cms has excellent built in support for different languages as well there being a number of excellent plugins to help.

In this post we are going to look at how to create right to left websites in WordPress, covering both the use of existing themes and those that are created from scratch.

To make your website read coherently from right to left you will usually find that simply switching the direction of the text is not sufficient, you will want to switch the entire layout of the website so that those viewing the site from right to left have the equivalent experience of those viewing from left to right. .

Using a Theme in Right to Left Layout

If your website is built on a pre-built theme then it may have built in support for right to left, or rtl, layouts. There are a couple of ways that you can check this:

  1. Go to Settings > General and select an rtl language from the Site Language dropdown and click Save Changes.

You will see that the WordPress dashboard will now display right to left:

If you now go to your live site it will display with a reversed layout if it supports rtl languages and even if it doesn’t it will change your text to read from right to left.

2. If you are a little more technical you can quickly check if your theme supports rtl by looking to see if there is a rtl.css stylesheet. This will be contained in the root of the theme (usually located in /wp-content/themes/theme-name/ ).

3. There is also a plugin called RTL Tester which you can use to test your site in rtl layout without having your visitors see it on the live site. It is available in the WordPress Plugin Repository.

 

Converting Your Website to Right to Left Layout

If your website uses a custom theme that doesn’t have rtl functionality you will need to add it to the site. This is not a difficult process, although it can be time consuming:

  1. If your theme doesn’t have an rtl.css stylesheet the first thing you will need to do is to create one. To do this you should copy your themes main stylesheet (usually called style.css).
  2. Under the body attribute add direction:rtl; and unicode-bidi:embed;
  3. Save the file as rtl.css
  4. You will then need to go through your stylesheet and make the following changes:
    1. Remove any unnecessary attributes – anything that is not related to the positioning of elements.
    2. Reverse the values of floats, text alignments and clears so that, for example, float:left; becomes float:right;
    3. Mirror the values of any paddings, margins and positionings so that, for example, padding-right:20px; becomes padding-left:20px; but also remember that you will need to zero the original value so you would also need to include padding-right:0px;
    4. You may also need to add reversed versions of your images if they are direction specific.
  5. Save your stylesheet and upload it to the root directory of your theme.
  6. Follow the above procedure in WordPress to change the language to an rtl language.

There is some really useful information and examples about the above procedure here: https://codex.wordpress.org/Right-to-Left_Language_Support

If Your Website is Multilingual

If your website is in several different languages then you probably use a plugin such as WPML (which is the standard plugin that we use for multilingual websites). In this case you obviously don’t want to change the site language in your WordPress settings as the site will not always be using just one language. So long as you have an rtl.css stylesheet you shouldn’t need to make any other changes, selecting the country from your language selector will add the rtl declaration to your page header prompting the site to use your rtl css.

 

 

How to Setup Google Analytics on Your WordPress Website

In this post we’ll be explaining how to setup Google Analytics on your WordPress website. It is a very easy process that you can do in five minutes once you are familiar with your chosen plugin and the setup process.

Why Should I Use Google Analytics?

We could write an entire article on the importance of using Google Analytics on your website. It is a fundamental part of your website and growing your online presence, not using it is like hiking in heavy fog with no compass: you are just guessing what direction to go in.

Google Analytics tells you information such as where your visitors are coming from, what search terms they are using to find your website, how they found your site and what browsers they are using all of which is invaluable information when trying to grow your online presence.
You can also create goals and funnels to measure the performance of your site in important areas.

This is a great article on the importance of Google Analytics. 

OK, I’m Sold, How Do I Install Google Analytics on my WordPress Website?

The process of setting up Analytics in WordPress is a simple process. There are a number of plugins that take care of the code implementation for you and here at Ezone we favour Monster Insights as it is always kept up to date, and is super easy to setup. There are also various levels of premium subscription available that offer a host more functionality, however, for simply connecting your site with Google Analytics the free version does the job fantastically well.

Step 1: Go to https://www.google.com/analytics and create a Google Analytics account if you don’t already have one.

Step 2: Add your property to your Analytics account:

  1. Sign in to Google Analytics..
  2. Click ‘Admin’.
  3. Under the ‘account column’, use the menu to select the account to which you want to add the property.
  4. Under the ‘property’ column, select ‘Create new property’ from the dropdown menu.
  5. Select Website.
  6. Enter the Website name.
  7. Enter the Web Site URL.
  8. Select an Industry Category.
  9. Select the Reporting Time Zone.
  10. Click ‘Get Tracking ID’.
  11. Copy your tracking ID (Control and C).

Step 3: Install the Monster Insights plugin on your website:

In your website dashboard go to Plugins > Add New and search for ‘Monster’ and install and activate the plugin.

Step 4; Configure settings in Monster Insights

  1. Go to ‘Insights’ > ‘Settings’ and click ‘Authenticate with your Google account’.
  2. Click ‘Next’.
  3. Click the ‘Click to Get Google Code’ button.
  4. You will be asked to allow permission for the plugin to access your Analytics account, click ‘Allow’ .
  5. Copy the code that is created and go back to the Authentication screen and paste in your code and click ‘Next’.
  6. From the ‘Analytics Profile’ dropdown select the property you want to track (if this is your first website you will only have one) and click ‘Next’.
  7. You’re done!

While the above may seem like quite a long process it is actually quite straightforward, especially in comparison to manually inserting the tracking code in the header of your website and once you have done it a couple of times it starts to feel like a very slick process and one that we would strongly recommend is worth taking the time to set up.

Once you have completed the above process we recommend taking some time to familiarise yourself with the Google Analytics dashboard so that you know how to review your data and setup goals and funnels. Google’s ‘Analytics Academy’ is a great place to start: https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/

 

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