Top WordPress Questions

This past Thursday, Ilana of IRG Websites joined a team of local Jerusalem WordPress experts for a Q&A session, addressing topics that concern the end user, from tips on how to get started to advanced server performance diagnosis.

 wordpress expert panel
The WordPress brain trust. From left, Marc Gottlieb, Aviva Krygier, Todd Edelman, Ilana
Rosenblum Guttman, Rebecca Markowitz.

In case you didn’t make it, here are some of the top tips that the experts shared.

Gutenberg, the new block-based post builder

Q: Is it possible to use the Gutenberg editor on existing pages built with a page builder like WPBakery (formerly Visual Composer)?

[For more on Gutenberg]

A: The general recommendation is to continue to use the Classic Editor if you are using a page builder. There are no significant added benefits to building with Gutenberg for the time being, though page builders are working on incorporating Gutenberg’s blocks into their components.

Alternatively, you can disable Gutenberg on select pages or posts using a plugin. This opens the possibility of keeping the classic page builder on the completed pages and using Gutenberg to create new ones.

Accessibility

Q: What the best tools for making a WordPress site compliant with accessibility requirements?

[For more on Israel’s website accessibility law and guidelines]

A: There are a plethora of online tools, browser extensions and plugins that will check how your website complies with accessibility standards, from color contrast to image alt tag checkers. But none of them are a complete solution in and of themselves. Their results still need to be reviews and sometimes revised.

For those who want to go the DIY route, the W3C web standards association has large list of accessibility tools.

But often, it’s time and even cost effective to turn to a professional solution. Nagishly provides an automated way to bring your website up to AA standards.

Choosing a Theme

Q: How do you decide when to use a custom theme, a free theme or a purchased theme?

A: It depends on the nature of the site and the budget. A lot of times, basic brochure websites can be built easily and affordably using a premade theme. Free themes are often quite limited but may suit your purpose. When moving to paid themes from a repository like ThemeForest, it’s best to check that you aren’t buying a theme bloated with features that you won’t need. That’s a recipe for user overwhelm and slow page load times. Another consideration is how the pages will be built. Do you want to use Gutenberg? Elementor? A custom page builder? Your own custom templates? To complicate matters further, sometimes a framework such as Genesis is used to create a theme. This is so that the developer doesn’t have to work totally from scratch but can create a fairly custom theme.

At the end of the day, it all depends on the skill of who is providing the theme, the ultimate purpose, how the site will be built, who the end user is, and budget.

Maintenance

Q: What do I tell a WordPress website owner who doesn’t want to be bothered with all the updates?

[For more on proper WordPress website maintenance and updates]

A: Updates to the WordPress core, themes and plugins are an unavoidable part of WordPress site ownership. Those who neglect to perform proper maintenance leave themselves vulnerable to security breaches and poor performance.

A user either needs to take it open themself to perform update regularly, or to find a service who can do this for them. There are tools that can remind you when updates are available. Or you can sign up for a maintenance plan from a provider like IRG Websites for the personal touch.

A lot of times it is as simple as logging in and updating whatever needs it. For larger updates, like a point-oh update (e.g. 2.9 to 3.0) you want to make sure to do your homework first and make sure that the bugs are worked out before updating.

ilana speaking about wordpress

Making Websites Compatible With Right-to-Left Languages like Hebrew

Q: How can I make my site RTL for Hebrew?

A: You need a separate css stylesheet with the rules for your right-to-left version of the site, typically named rtl.css. All of the rules that have to do with alignment, such as align-left need to be updated and reversed. For example, if your paragraph text has a rule

p {margin-left: 10px;}

then your rtl stylesheet should have

p {margin-left: 0; margin-right: 10px;}

Some images and icons may also require updating. Consider faces that are looking in one direction and may appear awkward when they are facing away from the site content, or arrows.

To that end, a lot of pre-made themes that claim to be right-to-left friendly overlook these finer aspects. Pagination remains left-to-right and navigation menus still go from left-to-right, for example. It is advisable to ask for examples of sites using the theme in RTL mode before purchasing.

The Jerusalem WordPress Meetup meets once a month. Click here for more details.

Other Recommended Services and Tools

Getting Started With WordPress

wordpress.com

Themes

Gutenberg & WP-Bakery Integration

Child Theme Configurator

Maintenance

Hosts

Security

fail2ban software framework

Shield Security for WordPress plugin


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