The JOMM/WP Jax – WordPress MashUp WrapUp

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The JOMM/WP Jax – WordPress MashUp WrapUp

Written by: Marcia L. King

In case you missed it, this month’s JOMM wasn’t an ordinary meetup! JOMMers and WordPress Jax members were treated to a crash course in anything you want to know about WordPress themes, plug-ins, and development, not to mention food, fun, prizes and networking. Check out what was going on during the event via social chatter and the photo gallery.

A panel of experts provided the WordPress inside scoop including Erin Gordon-creativee company, Frank Corso – MyLocalWebStop and Karena Kreiger – Open Sky Web Studios. They were ready to answer any WordPress question thrown at them by the audience and moderator, Elizabeth Pampalone, Jax Computer Chic. Our emcee, Tony Mann from 600AM the Answer kept everyone on track!

Check out the Q & A’s and some actionable quick tips:

Suggestions for picking out a theme:

  • Not all themes are created equal. {Karena}
  • Keep it lean and mean. {Karena}
  • Choosing a theme with too many features means that you are locking yourself into that theme. {Karena}
  • Look at how often the developer releases updates. {Karena}
  • Check the availability of the developer to address issues. {Karena}

How to Secure Your Site:

  • iThemes Security – great plugin for security. Has color-coded indicators. Developer provides great support. Another option is Wordfence. {Frank}

When to Update:

  • Consider setting the server to update automatically. {Erin}

When to Hire vs DIY:

  • It’s a personal business decision. Know how much your time is worth. If you are spending more time researching and tinkering, then it is time to look to hire a professional. {Karena}
  • When choosing a theme, if you are comfortable with the live preview and you can use it as-is and have the assets to make it work, then you can plug and play. If you need to alter the arrangement or number of elements, then you should consider hiring a professional. {Karena}

How to hire someone to develop a plug-in if there isn’t one available:

  • First, find the plug-in that does the closest to what you need to be done. Reach out to the developer of that plug-in to see if they can provide an altered version of their plug-in for a fee. This will be your least expensive route. {Frank}
  • Be very clear on your scope of deliverables, otherwise there is an opportunity for someone to be disappointed. {Frank}

Why do you suggest WordPress?

  • Has great flexibility. WordPress can be used as e-commerce, membership site, CMS, crowd-funding site, amongst other uses. It has a simple interface that allows clients to log in and make basic edits. {Karena}

How can you speed up your website?

  • Cache plugins – W3 Total Cache. {Frank}
  • Minify – shrink styles. {Frank}

Responsive:

  • Google prefers responsive over having a separate mobile site. One possible reason is due to the duplicate content that mobile sites create by having two sites with similar content. {Karena}
  • If you have a mobile site, remember to have robot tags point to mobile. {Erin}

Home Page Design Best Practices:

  • Have great images; Have one message of what you do. {Erin}
  • Have a pop of color. {Frank}
  • Have a clear call to action – what is the viewer supposed to do. {Karena}
  • Make sure your phone number is a clickable link. {Elizabeth}

Favorite Theme or Framework:

  • Genesis (framework) solid foundation that you can build from. {Karena}

Favorite Plug-in:

Audience Q & A:

Hosting Suggestions:

Thoughts on Microformats:

  • Themes/Websites that use this format are more capable for the long run as it begins to be implemented more consistently.

What to consider when applying plug-ins to your website:

  • Check the reviews for the plug-in and developer.
  • WordPress repository is a good place to start. Although plug-ins initially go through a review, their updates do not. Always check to see if anyone is reporting issues.
  • Only add a plug-in if it adds values to your website viewers. Don’t add plug-ins just because it’s a cool feature.
  • Test your plug-ins on a dev/sandbox site.
  • Do a plug-in audit before you launch to remove any redundant or expendable plug-ins.

Our panelists went above and beyond and each created a fabulous white paper with tons more information. You can check them out here:

If you attended, tell us: what was your best takeaway, from this meetup?

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