Learn How to Make Your Site More Inclusive with the Accessibility Checker Plugin

Accessibility is something that I’m really into… in theory. I believe everyone should have full access to the internet no matter what challenges they face or if they are using different devices to navigate and access the web.

But in reality I have not put as much work into this as I need to. So when I received the pitch email about the Accessibility Checker plugin, I thought it was a good opportunity to figure out just how badly I’m sucking at this, and find a starting point to try to address some of the issues.

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How To Back Up Your WordPress Site To Dropbox

Last Updated on January 24, 2021.

Backing up your WordPress site is a necessity, but it can be hard to find an affordable, easy-to-implement solution that covers all the bases. There are a lot of possibilities out there, but the following have served me well over the years. I usually only have to use them on shared hosting plans. Some of my sites are on managed WordPress hosts who take care of backups as part of the plan.

Here are my criteria for a backup solution:

  1. Ability to back up both database and files
  2. Ability to schedule these backups separately – I haven’t found too many situations where a full file backup is needed as frequently as the database backup
  3. Offers backup to an off-site 3rd party. You don’t want to keep backups on your server because if something goes wrong with the server, your backups could be lost. Backups sent via email are usually only realistic for the database, full site backups would be too large to email.

My preferred solution is to backup sites to my DropBox account. You can get 2GB of storage with a free account.

I typically use one of the following 2 plugins to back up my sites:

Both are free plugins that meet the criteria described above.

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The 7 Most Customizable, Free WordPress Themes

 

Last Updated on October 11, 2020.

I must start with a caveat – I don’t believe any one theme should be all things to all users. A few years ago, a theme used to simply be a pre-made design that you could apply to your site – an overall look and feel, not a “website in a box”. You used a theme because you didn’t have the design and/or coding skill to create your own. But, nowadays users want to be able to control every aspect of their site’s look and feel – basically design their site themselves, without doing any code. If you are not an actual designer, then there are many downfalls to this approach. But that is not the point of this post.

Now, as I write the update, Gutenberg is in full force. It’s still being improved but it’s already a very powerful tool, giving site owners a lot more control in laying out their pages. The theme landscape is evolving, and at this particular moment, it’s still figuring out what it’s going to become. The power of themes seems to be tending toward the set of blocks and pre-made layouts they can provide.

Needless to say, people like free themes and they also like flexibility. So here are 7 themes that fit the bill. I’m not saying they will do anything and everything you want, but for free, they are pretty extensive. I’ve tried to point out the features that are useful and/or unique, but that doesn’t mean I’ve included every possibility. But these themes are free, so you can try them for yourself at no risk!

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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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How to Have Different Sidebar Content On Different Pages of Your WordPress Site

How to have different WordPress sidebar content on different pages

Updated: April 2018

Not all WordPress themes provide a way to have totally different sidebar content on different pages of your site. Some may provide a little flexibility with, for example a sidebar for the blog and a different sidebar for static pages, but sometimes you need more comprehensive control. You may need an additional set of navigation on a certain set of sub-pages, or you may want to hide some widgets on mobile devices, or for other specific conditions.

There are several different plugins that help you gain this type of flexibility with your site.

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Hosting Recommendations for your WordPress Site

web hosting recommendations for your WordPress site

There is an overwhelming choice of web hosts these days and it can be hard to determine which would be a good fit. A Google search will reveal many blog posts on the subject which are really are just a roundup of that blog’s sub-par affiliates that haven’t been vetted for quality.

I’ve been running my own sites for over 14 years now, and have also had many years experience with client websites and all their various hosts.  So I have direct experience with many different hosts and have also interacted with the technical support departments of many of them.

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