How to Keep Up with the Las Vegas WordPress Meetup Group:
And don’t forget to read our blog, too!
Banner Advertisement Plugins
Our lead organizer, John Hawkins, introduced the group to banner ad plugins: AdSanity, Advanced Ads, and Ad Rotate Banner Manager.
For ease of use, this banner ad plugin wins hands down. It’s especially perfect for beginner-level WordPress users. You can create single ads or group ads. You can add to the side bar or in the middle of your blog post content. You get to control placement and groups and whether or not the groups are randomly displayed or set in a order that you select.
Audience question: Will multiple ad blocks affect load time of the website? Answer: No, so long as the ad images aren’t super large.
If you want to add tracking, that feature is a premium add-on. You can download the plugin free in the WordPress repo.
AdRotate Banner Manager
John hates it, but it looks like they offer great support and has a good rating. The AdRotate Banner Manager plugin requires you to add HTML code; so, this plugin is not for people who don’t write HTML code. You can download it free at the WordPress plugin repo.
John has always used AdSanity. It’s a premium plugin and the Blogger model is $49 a year. The drop down menu lets you select the size for your ads. What John really likes about AdSanity is that you can set expiration dates. Go to AdSanityPlugin.com to purchase the plugin.
Updating Plugins and Themes
Co-organizer, Russell Aaron, talked to us about the science behind updates. Here’s a quick rundown:
- WordPress is a folder called WP-Content.
- Within that folder: Themes & Plugins
- When updating, WordPress deletes the old files and replaces with the new ones.
- When manually updating, update one plugin at a time. This is because if you have 30 plugins and you update all of them at once, and then something goes wrong, you won’t know which plugin caused the error.
- Always make a backup before updating.
- Russ recommends ManageWP for backups. It’s a paid service, but it’s the best investment.
- WPackagist allows you to manage your plugins and themes with Composer.
Navigation Menu Roles
Co-organizer, Robert Gillmer, covered multiple plugins that allow to control and restrict available menu items based on user roles. This may be useful for any website you own where other users log in.
- Nav Menu Roles – Robert has just started using this plugin and he likes that it can be conditional. He says it’s easy to use and he likes the UI.
- Login Logout Menu – If you have a site that members log into, Robert recommends this one.
- Menu Item Visibility Control – If you require more granularity, Robert says this plugin is for you. It has PHP functions and less bells and whistles. It could be used for websites that have paid content sections and want to restrict content access to paid users/members.
- UberMenu – This plugin is premium and uber fancy, but Robert thinks that it “feels heavy.”
- Max Mega Menu – This plugin is free and a good alternative to UberMenu. It converts your existing menu into a “mega menu.”
- CRUDE Menus – Wouldn’t it be super if there was a plugin that allowed you to create a menu based on the URLs of your website, such as you landing pages? Well, Robert built that! It’s called CRUDE Menus.
Q: Media files and orphan files… is there a better system?
A: Try the Media Cleaner plugin. Make a full copy of your site, and then test the use of this plugin on staging, then run a 404 checker afterward to see if there any missing images.
Q: Plugins that aren’t well-written and they add load time… is there a list or anything you should look out for when using plugins?
A: The WordPress repo is doing a relatively better job and making sure plugins don’t break your site. They scan for security and lack of performance. If you run into an issue with a plugin, reach out to our WordPress group and ask for recommendations. WP Engine has a blacklist of plugins that they don’t allow, which doesn’t mean they’re bad; they’re just “disallowed” on your website if you’re a WP Engine customer. View the list here.
Q: What’s a good podcasting plugin?
Q: Any advice about image naming convention and size?
A: Imsanity is a plugin that limits the sizes of images uploaded. Also, WP Smush compresses image size. As for naming, just keep it simple.
Q: What’s a Google Soft 404 Error?
A: The page getting that error won’t be crawled by search engines. It’s like you have a page for nothing. It’s not being added to your index. Log into the Google console and run a 404 check on your site. The Screaming Frog Bulk Redirect Checker is the best tool.