I LOVE My Website (Part 2 of 7)

In Part 1 of our “I LOVE My Website” series, we talked about loving how your website looks. Every business owner wants their website to look amazing, but just as important as it’s visual design is how it actually works. In Part 2 we are going to explore loving how your website works. Here are a few suggestions for tools and programs to consider using on your website.

WordPress Love!

I have to confess…I’m pretty biased towards WordPress. I’ve used Frontpage (blah), Dreamweaver (nice), Joomla (ugh)  and WordPress (smiles.) I’m a WordPress fan because with it we can develop websites with highly customized features, functions and design.  Since a WordPress site can be edited from any computer with an Internet connection, it is a perfect choice for anyone who travels or uses more than one computer. I remember during my Dreamweaver days being away at a conference and coaching my husband through how to change a hyperlink over the phone. I think it took us over an hour.

Widget Logic

One of the things that WordPress site owners like is the ability to put content in widget areas. These are most often found on the sides or below the main part of the page. If you aren’t loving the flexibility you have to control which page a specific plugin displays on, you should check out a plugin called Widget Logic. This plugin gives every widget an extra field  that lets you control the pages that the widget will appear on.

 Controlling Website Access

A WordPress website can have more than one user account as you know and uses the concept of roles to control what these users can and can’t do on the website. WordPress has five pre-defined Roles: Administrator, Editor, Author, Contributor and Subscriber. Each Role is allowed to perform a set of tasks called Capabilities. The WordPress Codex has a very helpful page that explains this is great detail.

What if you want a more customized role for a particular person or group? That is when you should consider Advanced Access Manager. This plugin allows fine-grained control over what users, or groups of users, can see and do on your WordPress site. On the back end, it will filter dashboard menus, panels, widgets, metaboxes, pages and posts. On the front end, it can exclude pages and posts from navigation.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind with this plugin. First, if you are using another membership plugin, test to be sure it doesn’t have a conflict. Second, the person who activates the plugin will now be the Super Admin, aka website god. Be sure that the correct person does the activating.

Automatically Expire a Post

There may be times when  the  information on one of your web pages is only relevant for a specific time period. If you host or share information about events, this may apply to you. The Post Expirator plugin can really help in these situations. It allows the user to set expiration dates for both posts and pages. There is a configuration option page in the plugins area that will allow you to separately control whether or not posts/pages are either deleted or changed to draft status. Additionally you can also choose to have the post categories change at expiration time.

Beyond Custom Post Types

If you’ve used Custom Post Types on your website and are ready to take the control you have with these even further, take a look at Pods 2.0. “Pods is a framework for WordPress that allows you to create, extend, manage, and deploy customized content types and fields.”  With this plugin, you can create a variety of different fields including: text, paragraph text, date, number, file upload, and relationship (called “pick”) fields. Pick fields are useful if you want to create relationships between your content types. One example is if you want to relate an “event” with one or more “speaker”.  We recently used Pods to add some additional fields to the default User > Author area for a client. This is certainly one of those plugins that allows you to build almost anything you can imagine.

Backup, Backup, Backup!!!

Backup Buddy is a MUST install plugin for every WordPress website.  With it you can back up your entire WordPress website. “Widgets, themes, plugins, files and SQL database – the entire package! With BackupBuddy you can schedule backups and have them sent off-site to Dropbox, Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud, an FTP server, or your email. Or download them right to your desktop.” If our clients don’t want to manage this themselves on a regular basis, it is one of the services that I almost insist they hire us for. It’s that important!

More to Love…

The next post in the “I LOVE my webiste!” series will be on “Love its ability to serve your business.” In it we will dig in to some ecommerce tools and look at some creative ways to help communicate your message.

Happy Holidays!