How To Make a WordPress Test Site In 8 Small Steps

How To Set Up a WordPress Testing Site

Every time a new version of WordPress is released, some people will experience compatibility problems with their sites. These can be minor and easily resolved, or they can  be more tricky to diagnose. Either way, especially for non-developers, such problems are a little scary, particularly if they make your website inaccessible or unusable. One way to ease the stress of an upgrade, or to experiment with any changes you may want to make on your site, is to create a sandbox, or testing site. The video below shows you how you can easily do that using free tools. 

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Create Custom WooCommerce Layouts with Beaver Builder

In this series about customizing WooCommerce product pages, Beaver Builder is the next tool we’re looking at. I previously wrote about PootlePress’ WooBuilder Blocks.  

Beaver Builder is an established page builder plugin with its own interface which replaces the default WordPress editing screen. There’s a free version and a premium version along with numerous free and paid add-ons from various 3rd party developers. 

Using the core Beaver Builder plugin you can choose to enable the builder for your Product pages, but word to the wise, this isn’t going to get you very far. In this mode the builder doesn’t fully take over the whole editing experience so you can’t actually change the product layout. I spent a fair amount of time beating my head against this wall before I found this guide. Keep that handy as you embark on this mission. 

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Design WooCommerce Product Pages with WooBuilder Blocks

A lot of online stores look very similar these days. It’s not really a WordPress-specific issue – websites in general kind of look the same.  When it comes to ecommerce, WooCommerce has become the default plugin to use because of its enormous power and market penetration.

But if you install WooCommerce and do nothing else, everything does look the same. Even if you use an ecommerce theme, in many cases the product galleries are laid out the same way, the information is organized on the page in the same way etc.

Some themes do offer more unique and creative layouts. But if you’re someone used to using page builders, for example, or you want to be able to customize your product pages without switching themes, you’ll need a plugin to help you. And honestly the state of this in WordPress is not as advanced as I was anticipating.

Given that page builders are a fairly mature concept at this point, I was expecting to find some really good ones dedicated to WooCommerce. That’s not really the case.  So I’m going to do a series of posts where I test out some of the available options for customizing your WooCommerce product pages. 

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What’s Making Our Websites Slow? We Are!

This is the blog post that accompanies a talk I gave at WordCamp Seattle in 2019. You can see the slides here.

Additionally, the HTTP Archive Web Almanac was published around the same time so I’ve also interspersed some of the insights from that report since they dovetail really nicely.

Providing excellent context for this post, the CMS chapter shows how sites built with a Content Management System (and WordPress sites comprise almost 75% of those in the report) tend to:

  • be more bloated with heavier page weights
  • use more 3rd party resources
  • use heavier images

Additionally it reported that WordPress sites tend to have slower performance metrics.

Now this is not really the fault of WordPress itself, it’s really due to what we site owners have done.

While it’s possible to build bloated pages and use techniques to make them seem fast, that shouldn’t be the goal. Let’s just build lighter pages to begin with!

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How to Update Old Content on Your WordPress Site

Maintaining a steady flow of traffic to your WordPress site isn’t only dependent on constantly producing brand new content. Updating old content is a great practice to keep benefitting from the posts you’ve already worked on. It’s possible to take advantage of Google’s freshness algorithm and generate a new burst of traffic for the updated content, as well as provide a better user experience for visitors to your site ensuring they never find old or irrelevant information. 

In this post I’ll cover:

  • The easiest way to update existing posts in WordPress
  • How to push your content to the top of your blog feed again
  • How to let Google know your content has been updated without pushing it to the top of your blog feed again
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