Help! My WordPress Site Looks Different! And other tales of upgrading to 5+

WordPress - new block editor

In the past few weeks, several people have emailed me in various stages of panic about the new look of their WordPress admin area. They had updated to WordPress 5+, which features the brand new Block Editor AKA Gutenberg, and were flummoxed by the new changes.

The new editor transforms the post editing screen from this:

WordPress Classic Editor

To this:

WordPress Block Editor - Gutenberg

If you’re not expecting it, or if you’ve learned to do certain tasks on your site a specific way, this could be really confusing and stop you in your tracks.

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How to create a member directory on your MemberPress site

Create a member directory on your MemberPress site

MemberPress is one of my go-to plugins for easily protecting and charging for access to your content. I appreciate the fact that they stay focused on this core goal and don’t overload it with extraneous features. So it does not have a member directory feature built-in, but by using an additional free plugin you can add this capability.

In this use-case the requirements of the directory are simple: a front-end listing of site members, that other users can browse.

When people register for your MemberPress offerings, they are added to the existing user system within WordPress.  That means that any plugin which taps into that to display WordPress users should work fine with MemberPress. You don’t have to look for anything that is MemberPress-specific.

There are several fully-featured and fairly complex directory plugins available on the WordPress repo, but they are generally aimed at being all-in-one solutions for creating and monetizing the directory. They aren’t really designed to be used in conjunction with an existing membership site.

There are fewer plugins that take a simpler approach, and even fewer that do a good job.

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WordPress Image Positioning, Spacing & Alignment – Common Problems and Fixes

problems with images in WordPress - alignment, spacing, positiong


Ah images.

They cause so much grief in the WordPress editor don’t they? They just don’t seem to do what you expect of them. Unfortunately the WordPress editor is not a drag n’ drop interface which is how people generally expect it to work.

With the release of WordPress 5.0, the content editing experience has been revamped with the “Gutenberg” block editor. So it’s time to revamp this post. Gutenberg is not completely drag n’ drop, but it is a more visual way of creating content. Some parts of it make your life a lot easier, but not all issues are resolved. 

If you haven’t yet upgraded to WordPress 5+, the Classic Editor section of this post is for you. 

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Will HTTP/2 Make Your WordPress Site Faster?

Will HTTP/2 make your WordPress site faster

What is HTTP/2?

Without boring the pants off you, HTTP/2 is an updated and more efficient way of delivering web site components from server to browser. There are 3 conditions:

  • Browsers have to support it – most of them do now.
  • Servers have to support it. Many do, ask your host about it. If they don’t, using Cloudflare will enable HTTP/2
  • Your site has to use HTTPS

Now that it’s becoming increasingly widespread, most articles on the topic make sweeping promises of faster performance, “just like that”, simply by enabling it. But there are fewer articles which actually back up these claims with test results.

I recently converted a couple of sites from HTTP to HTTPS and decided to take the opportunity to see what difference, if any, enabling HTTP/2 made.

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WordPress Speed Optimization Glossary

WordPress speed optimization glossary

Trying to make your WordPress site faster is an already technically complex process, further obscured by all the jargon you have to understand. Here’s an overview of some commonly used site “speed up” terms. I hope it helps demystify the process!

General web terms

Browser

The program you open to get on the internet: Chrome, Firefox, Safari are the most common examples.

Server

A special computer, provided by your hosting company, where your website actually lives. By “lives”, I mean where all the files and the database are stored. This machine delivers your website to all your website visitors.

Just like your phone and computer run on a certain software – Windows or MacOS for example – there are a few different types of software your server may run on.

Normally you don’t have to worry too much about this – it’s a decision made by your host and you don’t need to get your hands dirty. But if you get really into optimization, there can be a few differences depending on your server environment.

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Troubleshoot Your WordPress Plugins with Plugin Detective

Troubleshoot WordPress plugins with Plugin Detective

Many issues that arise on your WordPress site will be plugin-related. Whether it’s a conflict between plugins, between a plugin and your theme, a buggy update, or whatever else may happen,  the standard troubleshooting procedure is to deactivate all your plugins, then turn them back on one at a time until the issue reappears. This process lets you isolate exactly which plugin is at the source of the conflict. However, if you have more than a handful of plugins on your site, which almost everyone does, this can be a time-consuming and frustrating process.

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