WordPress Tips from Milwaukee Meetup

WordPressAt the Milwaukee WordPress Meetup, we discussed tools and tips for managing and enhancing your sites.

Managing WordPress

Every web site requires maintenance. WordPress is no exception. The following tools will help you maintain your WordPress site.

  • When you manage multiple WordPress sites, it can be time-consuming to update each one. ManageWP helps you to manage your sites easily. You can choose a pricing plan that fits your needs.
  • Not all Plugins work for your site. When you delete them, they may leave tables in your WordPress installation. You can use Plugins Garbage Collector to clean up the extra tables.
  • You may have some options in Plugins that you don’t use. Options Optimizer lets you turn off unused options.
  • Sometimes WordPress sites load slowly. One cause may be a plugin. You can use Plugin Performance Profiler to tell you how efficient your plugins are. Not all plugins run as well as you need them to. If you have a problem, you can use Plugin Performance Profiler to determine the troublemaker.
  • To speed up a WordPress site, use WordPress caching. Plugins like WP SuperCache or W3 Total Cache.

What about SPAM?

Unfortunately, you need to deal with SPAM. In WordPress, you have a couple of options. You can:

  • Turn off comments. No comments means no SPAM.
  • Use a Plugin called Disqus to manage comments and discussions on your site.
  • Use FaceBook comments. The comments appear on your Fan Page.


WordPress continues to fix bugs, security issues and add new features. An out of date WordPress site can be open to getting hacked. We discussed two things that you can do to help make your sites more secure:

  • Keep WordPress, Plugins and Themes up to date. You can use Automatic Updater to help keep your site up to date.
  • Be careful when selecting themes or Plugins. Some Plugins or themes may hide malicious code. You can scan your WordPress site for malicious code by using free or paid tools.


WordPress has many options for themes. You can create your own or use themes built by others.

Learning More about WordPress

When you want to learn more, where do you go? You have many options for yourself and your clients. You may want to look at:

Building a Business with WordPress

WordPressOn 1stWebDesigner.com, I found the first in a video series on building a freelance business with WordPress. Spence, the “Evil Genius” from LabZip, explains how he got into WordPress and why he thinks it is a great tool for freelancers to use to build their own businesses. He doesn’t focus on web designers or developers. He believes that anyone can use and modify WordPress to suit their business.

Milwaukee WordCamp 2012

On June 2nd and 3rd, the first Milwaukee WordCamp 2012 was held at Bucketworks.org, a co-working space, located in downtown Milwaukee. Milwaukee WordCamp offered two different tracks: User and Developer. As a developer, I focused on the developer sessions. My favorite sessions were WordPress Plugins, How to Contribute to Open Source and How Not to Design like a Developer.
WordCamp Milwaukee 2012
Each presentation had something new to learn about WordPress and development.

  • Writing Your First Plug-In: Brad Parbs demonstrated how easy it is to create your first plug-in. He showed us that you can create your first one in five minutes.
  • WordPress Development Practices: Dan Pastori explained how to write a plug-in, plug-in best practices and how to test them. He even suggested having your mom test your plug-in. If she can’t figure out how to use it, then no one can.
  • Contribute to Open Source: Joel Clermont explained that open source communities needs your help to keep making it better. You can contribute to open source for “selfish reasons”: make your life easier, gain valuable experience and further your career. You can get involved in WordPress by writing documentation, fixing bugs or even testing.
  • How to Not Design Like A Developer: Tracy Apps spoke on how to design attractive looking sites. She emphasized the use of Contrast, Color, Balance and Alignment. The purpose of design is about problem-solving not just making things look pretty.

If you missed a presentation, WordCamp Milwaukee has published the presentation slides.

Transform WordPress to Use HTML5

HTML5Smashing Magazine’s Richard Shephard walks you through transforming the theme TwentyTen to use HTML5 tags. In Using HTML5 to Transform WordPress’ Theme Twenty Ten, he explains that many developers are not designing in HTML5. He also argues that people who turn off JavaScript are less than 1.5%. If you don’t use JavaScript because of people who might turn it off, than you are limiting your designs. A web page can consist of HTML, CSS and JavaScript in order to provide an enjoyable experience for your users. Richard shows you by dividing his tutorial by HTML5 tags and providing examples. Why not use JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS to make better websites?