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Using WordPress for Your Next Website, an Interview with Glenn Todd from Dvize


 

Interviewer: Tim Martin, August 2014.  Episode #17 from the NET:101 podcast.

 

Podcast Transcript

TIM: Welcome back. Today I’ve got with me Glenn Todd, who runs a creative agency, Dvize, based here in Melbourne, Victoria. Welcome, Glenn.

 

GLENN: Thank you. I’m pleased to be speaking to you.

 

TIM: I’ve been busting to get you onto the show for awhile. WordPress; it’s one of the things that everybody’s heard of. Some people have their websites built on it already or blog through WordPress. But the question I get asked a lot from people coming through my courses, within the context of launching a new website, should they go on WordPress? In an answer, I say yes, but what I’d like from you today is your rationale or reasons as to why you would suggest somebody build on WordPress as a good option.

 

GLENN: First you’ve got to look at all your business needs, whether you’re using databases or other technologies that your website needs to work within. Assuming you don’t have those complexities, WordPress is a very simple format that’s very common, so it means that it’s easy to find supplies. You can get really good themes, plugins. So it’s a very healthy ecosystem software so that you’re really empowered to doing lots of things with it. There are some paid services within that, but most of it’s free.

 

TIM: Open source code is free. Now, that doesn’t mean necessarily that I’m going to get a website for free, right? I’m going to have to pay some money at some point to get my site up and running?

 

GLENN: The two things is skills and time. If you’ve got skills and you’ve got the time, then you get it for free. Although a lot of those skills are quite specialist, so in that context, you are better to pay good people to get you to where you’re going. And again, it depends on your investment levels and what returns you’re looking for, and again, what your website wants to do.

 

TIM: So if I’m not paying for the software, I’m paying for some specialized skills, as you say. If I wanted to try and cobble something together myself, what are my options? I know for example there’s a lot of confusion around WordPress.com as opposed to downloading the software from WordPress.org. Could you walk me through that?

 

GLENN: Okay, it comes in two flavors, if you like. One is the .com, as you mentioned. That’s a bit like Facebook, where you just go, you log in, you sign up and then you can just create a website. That’s a really good option for people that have no skills, that are beginners. There are a few other benefits to it. For example, they host and secure all the software, so you don’t have to have any responsibility and worries, just a decent password.

If you’ve got a .org, then you are responsible for hosting, which is where your website lives on the internet, and you’re also responsible to secure it, maintain it, and all those things. The key benefit to going to .org is that because .com is secured, it’s very restricted in the functionality. So it’s sort of good to start with, but once you want to do some more powerful things with WordPress, you really need to go to .org.

 

TIM: In either instance, can I have my website sitting on my own domain?

 

GLENN: Yes, definitely. I think with .com, it’s like $20 or something. I haven’t checked the prices lately. However, if you are on a .org, you will need to pay registrar fees, which are about $15 a year, and then hosting. Your hosting is a variable cost depending on your needs. That’s probably a full conversation, the hosting stuff.

 

TIM: Sure. On .com, what customization options do I have? Do I have the full suite of themes to choose from, or am I locked down to a few templates?

 

GLENN: Sort of in between. There are quite a lot of templates in that ecosystem, and you do have success to some customizations. So if you’re quite clever, you could do quite powerful things with that. However at that point, if you are investing the skills in skilled professionals to do that, you are better off to go to .org because the benefits would outweigh that.

There are some case scenarios, though, that you may consider using .com. If you’ve got very high traffic, for example, or you think you may be targeted for political or religious reasons.

 

TIM: Ah, because it’s sitting on the WordPress service, not your own.

 

GLENN: Yeah. So in that case, if that was your motive, you may go that route. I usually would advise that .coms go for beginners or for the less serious projects or if you’re doing a proof of concept or something. If you’re actually serious about your website, you’re best to do some planning and then work out what skills that you can learn yourself to save money, and what you’re prepared to learn, but then also pay for the professionals to do bits and pieces.

 

TIM: That makes sense. If I start off with a hosted solution through WordPress.com, can I migrate across into my own downloaded instance on my own server easily enough?

 

GLENN: Yeah, it’s quite easy. WordPress has a great export/import function, so you basically set up your new site. WordPress.com always uses free themes, so you’ll be able to download that theme and put it up on your .org and then import it. So it is actually quite painless, which is really good if you are not sure and you just want to try WordPress.com and give it a go. If you do actually get into it and spend a lot of time building things, you can migrate it. It’s easy.

 

TIM: Nice. What about Google Analytics? Can I have that tracking my .com instance?

 

GLENN: My understanding is yes, but I don’t quite know on that.

 

TIM: Sure. Nobody [inaudible 00:05:46].

 

GLENN: I actually don’t work a lot in .com. Simply because of my skill set, it just makes sense to use .org. I’m not discounting that as a platform; it is a valid platform for a lot of reasons. So I don’t like discounting it, but in my work, it’s usually doesn’t stack up.

 

TIM: Yeah. So that would be a good one for, as you said, beginners or hobbyists or if you wanted to have a soapbox to rally the local city council around some project you don’t like, .com, up and running very quickly.

 

GLENN: Even a business proof of concept, or if you’re starting a new side business or something in addition to your current business, and time and money or resources are a problem. There are a lot of other reasons to use that.

 

TIM: Essentially, we could have something up and running within literally 10 minutes, right?

 

GLENN: Yeah. The thing that a lot of people don’t understand about websites is tech is one thing, but then you’ve got your actual communication. I know you’ve discussed with other experts in this area, but it’s copywriting, talking to your audience, photography, all that sort of stuff, which is essential between a professional and a really dodgy-looking website. And that’s tech inside. So that’s a really time-consuming part of it as well. But as far as the technology, yeah, you can get running up in 5, 10 minutes.

 

TIM: Themes. This is the ability to have almost a ready-made structure and ready-made design. Is that right? Could you talk about themes a little bit?

 

GLENN: A theme, if you think of a car and you’ve got the motor and the gearbox, which is the WordPress engine, the rest of it is run by the theme. In that we include the aesthetic – so how it looks, the graphic design, topography, colors, and those things – but also how it interacts with WordPress software. That includes the steering wheel, the gearstick, indicators, all that sort of stuff.

Some themes are very simple and do very simple things; some themes are very complex and do full-on things. And there are actual software apps that are written as themes. For example, there’s a theme which allows you to create a mapping business straight out of the box via the theme. So it can be quite complex choosing a theme.

And also, some themes allow someone with little experience to drag and drop and do things like different columns, set up the actual website. As a developer, I prefer simple ones because they’re easier for me to develop. So depending on what we’re doing, it’s quite a process to choose a good theme. It’s the most important decision of your website.

 

TIM: I would imagine a lot of people – and I think I’ve fallen into this trap, too – would look at a theme and judge it purely on its aesthetic values as to whether I like it or not. But there’s more to it than that, right?

 

GLENN: Oh yeah, there’s definitely a lot more to it. You want to test it on desktop and then obviously through to mobile and how it works on different devices. But then different functionality, depending on your needs. If, again, you want a simple website you’re not going to need much features, but for example things like sliders, the ability for you to drop and drag and lay out pages, they’re the common things in themes. But there are quite a lot of other bits and pieces.

The thing is, though, that if you get really powerful tools and people that aren’t good communicators, it usually goes to dog’s breakfast pretty quick. However, if you’re a good communicator and you’re reasonably good at learning stuff, then some of these themes will really get you to a professional level really cheaply and quickly.

 

TIM: If I go ahead and put just a theme – and I might pay anywhere, what, between $10 and $150, say. Would that be a good range?

 

GLENN: Yeah, they’re usually around $40, $50 bucks. Yeah, that’s generally the price range we’re looking at.

 

TIM: So I get my theme, and in a lot of instances, without any technical knowledge, I can actually put that theme, overlay it on my existing WordPress instance, right?

 

GLENN: The first thing you need to do is learn how to use the theme. When I’m working with clients, if there’s a new theme, we’ve got to actually sit down and learn how to use it. Different theme developers have different approaches. With WordPress, it’s very consistent; however, once you go into custom themes, it could be anything. So the first thing is you’ve got to learn how to use the theme, the complexities of that theme, and how to set it up.

 

TIM: So I can actually play with it before I decide to go ahead and purchase it?

 

GLENN: Usually they’re pretty good with refunds; however, if you are spending $40 and you make a grave mistake, I think it’s worth just chipping that on the chin rather than – because the amount of money you’ll waste paying a developer to try and change something that’s not quite right… yeah, $40, $50 bucks is quite a small cost compared to when you’re looking at custom development.

 

TIM: Where would you recommend listeners go to check out some good themes?

 

GLENN: We generally buy off ThemeForest and other marketplaces. However, what I usually do is I’ll Google “top 10 themes,” and depending on what you’re trying to do, like whether it’s a minimal look you’re looking for or a certain type of business, we’ll always Google first. Because there’s a lot of bloggers out there that review themes. What they’ll do is they’ll give their top 10, they’ll do screenshots so you can look at it, links to the demo – I mean, they’ll do all your work for you.

And then what you do is after you look at a few of those blogs, hopefully there’ll be a few themes that start coming through. They start looking consistently reviewed well. Then you can also look at how stable the business model is of the developers, because you don’t want to invest in a fancy theme and they go broke or stop doing it. And also downloads; you can look at how popular the actual theme is.

 

TIM: Once you’ve bought the theme, I guess it would be – well, rare, or maybe not advisable, to keep the theme 100% as you purchased it. You would want to customize it to some extent, wouldn’t you?

 

GLENN: That’s usually a skills/time/budget question. If you, again, had no skills, limited budget, you might want to keep it quite stock standard. And again, a lot of these themes are quite good quality.

Usually, though, if we start with communication and what we’re trying to achieve for the client, what the website’s trying to achieve, usually I lay out – we will design our layout before choosing a theme, depending on how many boxes you want on the home page, depending on your customer journey, those things. So we usually will customize. Usually the home page is heavily customized. In our work, generally we’re putting logos in, corporate colors, those sort of things.

So those are the base customizations we do. But then depending on business process, sometimes we’ll get in and do a lot more complex stuff based on their theme.

 

TIM: This could be a quote or an hourly rate, yeah?

 

GLENN: Basically the way we work is we ballpark quotes, because most of our variables is on how clients work. Some clients require a lot of service, and as we’re a service-based org, then we provide that. Other clients are really interested in saving money, and we work very efficiently with those clients. So yeah, depending on how people want to work with us.

 

TIM: Okay. Now, WordPress started life as a blogging platform, kind of morphed more into, as you say, the engine of the car, the content management system to drive many of the world’s websites now. How do I go about getting a blog into WordPress if I want it to be a blog, or if I don’t want it to be a blog, I just use it as a website, right?

 

GLENN: Yeah. When you install it, it by default puts the blog on your home page. So if you wanted to move that blog, you create a new page, and then you go into the Reading Settings and then say “I want the blog page to display the blog, and I want the home page to display on the home page.” It’s a simple setting. If you wanted to turn off the blog, you just wouldn’t create that setting and make the home page a static page.

 

TIM: So pretty simple; we can either blog or not blog. If I had a pre-existing blog, say for example on Blogger, would I be able to migrate that across to WordPress? Do they talk to each other?

 

GLENN: They do, but it does take some technical experience. So if you’re reasonably good at fixing your computer, you’ll be able to download guides off the internet and do it yourself. Otherwise, if you’re a bit scared of that, you can also pay services to do that.

Say going from Drupal to WordPress is very painful, and we’ve got a supplier that we use – I think he’s in Switzerland or somewhere – it’s about $500 bucks to migrate the content of Drupal to WordPress. So depending on how much content you’ve got is whether it’s worth doing that.

 

TIM: Yeah, sure. Plugins. Walk us through that.

 

GLENN: Okay, so plugins are a bit like apps on your phone. They create a lot more functionality. Now, WordPress core, when you install it out of the box, has the minimum amount of features that WordPress community think you need, and then you add on extra features. Because if you had lots of features to start with, the complexity would probably break it, and that’s usually the biggest issue that breaks WordPress websites, is plugins, themes. So it allows us to turn all the themes and plugins off, and then we can work out how to fix things.

There’s many plugins. I think there’s 40,000 of them, so I would always recommend that you look at what your needs, more specifically your audience needs, are, and then you choose plugins accordingly – not because you think they’re cool, because you’ll have lots of plugins that will cause potential conflicts and issues later on.

 

TIM: Do you pay for those plugins?

 

GLENN: There’s three different business models. One’s free and open source; the other is a paid subscription or paid download; and the other business model is one called Freemium. So you get a plugin that does a lot of really good features, and then you may pay for a premium specific thing that this may do. Yeah, there are some costs.

Again, usually you can do anything without paying, but generally for us, it’s just cheaper to pay it because they’re doing something that’s cheaper for us to do.

 

TIM: If I were to run a keyword search on a particular plugin I’m looking for, there seems to be in some instances dozens of results, all purporting to do the same thing. How do you differentiate between the good plugin and maybe one that’s not so good?

 

GLENN: Again, I start with Googling and trying to find blogs to review them. I would have a very clear idea what I want it to do in the first place. If there is a lot of options, what you do is you look at the author; some authors are really well-respected in the community. You look at the downloads. You can look at when it was last updated. If it wasn’t updated in a long time, you don’t really want it. I think I said downloads, how popular it is.

Then the best way to test a plugin is to install it. Sometimes I might install a few plugins that do the same thing and just see how they work. Every now and then, it just doesn’t work, so I just go, “Okay, I won’t use that one.” Others will work not how I thought they would until you find something that is what you’re looking for.

 

TIM: The plugins, do they update themselves automatically, or is that something you have to be on top of?

 

GLENN: It’s important when you install plugins to only get them from the WordPress repository, which is WordPress.org, or from a trusted supplier, because they could be full of viruses and things. So in that context, if you download it from WordPress.org, then it will automatically update. You’ll still have to press the button to do that, but it’s all automatic. So you just log in and hit “Update.”

 

TIM: Okay, that’s pretty simple. WordPress themselves have a suite of plugins, don’t they?

 

GLENN: Yeah. Jetpack is their big one, and they’ve got a few other – Polldaddy, Vault, things like that.

 

TIM: If I were to say a few words to you around different things I’d like to happen on my site, is it fairly automatic for you, the number one plugin that you would recommend?

 

GLENN: I’ve actually got a list of the plugins we use on my website, so I’ll give those details at the end. I use a tool called BackupBuddy, which is a paid plugin which allows really easy backups. First thing we want to do in an environment is be able to back up so that we can regularly do it while we’re developing it, so if anything goes wrong, we’ve got our work. It also allows us to easily move websites.

I use a commercial plugin called Gravity Forms, which we use for our online forms and things like that. There are a lot of free options, but because we use forms so much, it allows us to do more complex things.

So from there, it depends on what we’re trying to do. My rule of thumb is less is more. The more plugins you have, the more chance of conflict or issues, so only using plugins that you actually need to do whatever functionality you’re trying to achieve.

 

TIM: That makes sense. If I’ve got the software downloaded and I’m hosting it, I’ve found a theme, I’ve got some pretty good plugins, in some instances – not all instances, but in some cases, I could actually get away – I’d be up and running and ready to go. If I wanted to take the site to the next level, what does the next level look like?

 

GLENN: For us, we always start with what we’re trying to achieve for the client, the user, the website, and then we’ll look to see what layout, what we need, look at what plugins, what functionality we need to do. Then we will advise plugins and solutions. Once we’ve got all that signed off, then we will actually install all the plugins.

There are some things that we use called custom post types which allows us to do advanced libraries, where we can categorize data and all those sort of things. So we’ll build that code base. A lot of times there’s a lot of customizations in the actual theme, so we may want the home page redesigned, we want to put a logo in, as I said. So we’ll develop those stuff.

Sometimes we’ll build a theme from scratch. I recommend that approach less these days, simply because the cost versus benefit is adding up less these days, especially for smaller businesses.

Then we do follow-up training to make sure that everyone can use the website. There’s no point in having a fancy website if no one knows how to use it.

 

TIM: Yeah. This question is difficult; it’s a hairy one, and agencies traditionally don’t like answering it. But can you give us some ballpark indication as to what a business might expect to pay to build on a WordPress platform, to use a theme, to engage a developer or an agency like yourself, to help them massage it into place, and of course meet the objectives of what they’re setting out to do?

For example, an engineering company has got a site. They’re got let’s say 100 SKUs or products, they’ve got the About page, they’ve got a Contact form or two, and they’ve got Google Analytics in place, it’s responsive. What would be a ballpark cost to get something like that up and running?

 

GLENN: For that, the actual number of products would not be relevant to us, because generally we will set up a framework for the client to add content. We do quote separately if they want us to do it. And also things like your Google Analytics and things like that, they’re sort of minimal tasks.

So what we do is if you want something more simple out of the box, we start around $1,500. In that context, we’ll work out what your needs are, do the installation for you, do some basic tweaks, logo, colors, and things like that.

Once we get up to the $3,000, $4,000 mark, we are then doing much more, working with you on prototyping, working out what the website does. Then we’ll be doing some custom coding on the home page, making sure that’s all how we need it, and then usually doing, as I said, custom post types and actually building a lot more functionality that’s custom to your business needs or user needs.

Once we jump up to the more $8,000 mark, that’s when we’re considering custom-building themes. But that can blow up to up to $25,000 if you’re really doing a lot of work custom themes. But in that context, I would be looking at having copywriters working on sorting decent photography. So it’d be more of an all-around approach, where we’re looking at holistically the whole website, not just the tech.

 

TIM: For a lot of businesses out there that don’t need anything that fancy, we’re talking about change out of five grand these days, aren’t we?

 

GLENN: Yeah. But I would urge all people that are serious to pay for copywriting. It’s one of the hardest things for me to get clients to agree to, because everyone can write, right? We learn in high school and we write business all day.

 

TIM: Difference between writing and writing.

 

GLENN: Yeah. But the thing is, it’s a real art to make really good sales copy that’s really clear and easy to understand and that’s really inviting. So I always recommend that. And again, we work with partners, so if you had your own writers, that’s fine. And photography is essential. So no matter what you’re spending, you really want to prioritize those areas.

It’s interesting, because I sell tech, whereas in that context, I would rather you spend your money on those things, because it’s really going to be much more successful.

 

TIM: Yes, exactly. What about e-commerce, if I wanted to sell stuff online? Is that just a case of grabbing a plugin?

 

GLENN: Yeah, you can. I advise against it, because there are some complexities and risk once you start putting credit card details. So again, it depends on how serious you are with your business, and obviously how much return on investment you’re looking for.

If you’re starting out and you’re not sure, then there’s what we call hosted applications, which are similar to the WordPress.com scenario. Shopify is a really popular one with e-commerce. You’d be looking at paying about $40 bucks a month, and they do all the security, all the credit cards, all that stuff. You put your products up, and away you go.

That is a really much better approach than you trying to secure, maintain your website. Now, WordPress does have some great plugins. I’ve had some issues with them in the past, and because I’m so paranoid about security, I really like to outsource that.

If you’ve got some specialist needs – say you’re trying to integrate your inventory or your point of sales systems within your website – that then becomes quite a specialized field, and I would recommend that you start with that rather than WordPress and talk to developers that are specialized in e-commerce. And the answer would be you may not use WordPress, depending on what tools work best with your point of sale and your [inaudible 00:26:07] and all that sort of stuff. But you would start with that.

Those sort of services can get quite expensive; however, that’s the cost of doing business. So you can start off very cheap, $30 bucks a month and away you go, up to paying hundreds of thousands of dollars integrating your inventories and things like that.

 

TIM: What would you say to somebody that said, look, I’m looking at WordPress, but another option would be a hosted solution like Squarespace, for example. Why would you go with one over the other?

 

GLENN: Okay, Squarespace – and there’s a few other tools, Wix – and there’s going to be quite a lot of these come on market, so definitely watch this space. They are really good, as I said, to do simple projects. They’re very good for starting out. And if you’ve got really good communications skills and copywriters and photographers, it can make them look really good. So again, I think they’re very valid tools, and I think in the future these tools are going to evolve very fast and very powerful, and they’re going to be – as I said, watch this space.

However, my experience with them in the short term is they’re really restricted. If you want to try them, you need to grow out your Facebook and this and that. That’s one example. But usually when we’re doing a build, there’s a lot of scenarios we need to integrate things with. Generally they’re really bad at that. Generally they do what they do, and they do it well; they just don’t have much flexibility. You can’t build on them, those sort of things.

So again, for something simple, great. But if you want to have something a little bit more complex, bit more custom, then they are pretty much useless for that sort of stuff.

 

TIM: Responsive sites. I know a lot of the themes, when you look at them, tout that they are responsive. Can you explain what that means?

 

GLENN: In a classic sense, it just means that when you resize your window, the website will change its format to optimize for multiple devices – specifically in our case, iPads, iPhones, those sort of things. For me, it’s just essential. Unless you’ve got a good reason not to do that, then it just needs to be done as business, because I use my phone primarily for transactions, and a lot of people are. So you want an optimum experience for a phone and you want an optimum experience for desktop.

Sometimes we actually use what we call mobile first design, where we actually design the whole website for mobile first. We did that for Stereosonic , who their audience generally are using more phones than they are laptops or desktops. And then we design it to scale up to a desktop. Or you can design for desktop and scale down for mobile, and everything in between.

 

TIM: What would your recommendation be in terms of some additional skill sets as a layperson, a business owner, or a marketer, without going to full code monkey territory? Would you advise that people should get a little more familiar with how basic things work, some basic coding and that sort of thing?

 

GLENN: First thing we train is just the basic general using the WordPress software – which I won’t do now, because there’s great free stuff online. The next thing I really nag about is formatting, just having basic simple formatting versus where people sometimes can get a bit carried away.

The next thing you would want to learn is image optimization. There are free programs, or there’s programs like Photoshop that are actually able to edit, crop, color correct, and save your photos for the web.

Then from there, I recommend you learn some basic HTML. Now, HTML is the basic language that browsers read for all websites, and it’s a very simple language. You wouldn’t need to learn it in great detail, but it’s really important, because sometimes on a page, you may have all these weird spaces you can’t delete, or there might be a weird font or some little gremlins that get stuck in your content. You can look at the source, and with very little knowledge, you can clean that up. It really allows you to have a lot more power to make sure your content’s clean.

 

TIM: Yeah. From my experience, a bit of basic HTML goes a long, long way. I think that’s one of the skill sets that should be taught at high school these days.

 

GLENN: They are. They’re teaching HTML and CSS. In a few years, if not now, us older people need to be looking behind our backs, because they’ll probably exceed us pretty quickly.

 

TIM: You mentioned learning resources. I would imagine there’s many people that have published stuff through blogs or have YouTube channels and done screencasts. Are there any particular resource places that would be good to start for people?

 

GLENN: Depending on what you want to learn, there are – I don’t have them off the top of my head, although we do have on our website the first day of our training course, which is talking about domains and basic level internet stuff to get you going building websites. And on there, we have links to training resources. First site would be Google.

 

TIM: Yeah, for listeners, I’ll put a link on the show notes to the various places that Glenn would recommend that we go.

 

GLENN: Yeah, and also there’s an online tutorial which is really old school called Lynda.com. I think it’s like $25 bucks a month, and you can do unlimited tutorials. It’s usually more for advanced software, but they do have beginner WordPress stuff on there. They have intro to Photoshop or image editing, all that sort of stuff. So there are some great online tutorials.

 

TIM: Okay, good, good. Glenn, in finishing, could you give us an overview of some of the plugins that you commonly use for clients and that you stand by?

 

GLENN: Yeah. The first one I really like is WordPress’s Jetpack. That is a multi-featured plugin, so a bit of a plugin framework so to speak. The things I really like is that they allow you to choose where widgets display on the site. That’s getting a little bit more technical. They also have the best sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and all those sort of things. Because a lot of the social buttons are actually trackers, and there’s a lot of dodgy stuff going on there. And they’ve got a few nice publishing bits and pieces.

If you’re creating a webpage, there’s a thing called Bulk Page Creator which allows you to create multiple pages really quickly. If I’m setting out a website and there’s 30 pages that we’ve got to set up, that can take quite awhile, whereas we can use the Bulk Page Creator to create lots of pages really quick.

There’s managing content. For example, you might have a content scheduler so you can set pages to expire and do various things. For SEO, I recommend Yoast. He’s quite famous online about being an expert in SEO.

And then as well as that, you’d want to put in a redirects plugin which allows you to change the addresses of pages and then allow Google to redirect those. Things like Broken Link Checker, which will just check your site for broken links. So that’s some of the more basic stuff.

When we get into more advanced stuff, I use advanced custom post types, so various plugins around that. There’s a great plugin called Advanced Custom Fields, written by a developer in Melbourne. So that allows us to have the website to interact a lot more so the user can fill out forms, we can do much more customization of their content.

Backups are really important, so I mentioned BackupBuddy before. There’s a few there, BackWPup, online backup for WordPress. That area’s getting bigger, so watch this space and do your research.

 

TIM: What about Google Analytics? Do they have a plugin? I can just put my cap number?

 

GLENN: Yoast has got a simple one that just plugs that in.

 

TIM: Okay, nice.

 

GLENN: There’s a great one called Dashboard Site Notes, which allows us to do custom messages throughout the website. So if we’ve got some customizations on the editing page and the client’s in there editing, we can write some notes, or “Here’s the image sizes you need to use.”

There’s a great one called Adminimize, which allows us to switch off things out of the menu. For example, if a theme sticks in all these features and bells and resources that we’re not actually using, we just switch them off so no one can see them.

 

TIM: Nice. Okay, excellent. But as you said, it’s not a case of grabbing every plugin under the sun and putting it in and thinking that the job’s done. It’s a case of working out what the use case for each is and then being selective around what goes in based on quality, reputation, how well it’s supported, that sort of thing.

And then if you don’t have a plugin that they’re using, it’s probably better to get rid of it rather than just keep it there, right?

 

GLENN: Yeah. And the other thing is, some plugins may not play well with your theme, in which case – or they work really well, but they just look a bit dodgy. So in that case, then you may need to do the frontend development to make it look pretty. You may not have the skills to do that, and all those sort of things.

Yeah, so I’m a huge fan of less is more. We always do as minimum amount as we can. What that means is we reduce costs upfront, but then we also reduce costs 6 months up the line when we’re trying to upgrade stuff where there’s conflicts and all that sort of stuff. Complexity will always create more complexity in the future, so we always make things as simple as possible.

 

TIM: That makes sense. Glenn, thank you so much for coming on today. It’s been a while; we’ve been trying to get you onto the show for a few months, but we’ve finally done it.

 

GLENN: Yeah, I’m really thankful.

 

TIM: Glenn, let people know where they can find you?

 

GLENN: My website, dvize.com. Or you can get me on my personal website, which is glenntodd.net, spelt with two n’s and two d’s.

 

TIM: Excellent. Glenn, thank you very much. Talk soon.

 

 

Shownotes

Dvise Creative website
WordPress.com (a hosted solution for your blog/website)
WordPress.org (for self-hosting your own blog/website)
Themeforest
Lynda.com
BackupBuddy
WordPress plugins directory
Shopify plugin
Jetpack plugin by WordPress
Gravity Forms plugin
Bulk Page Creator plugin
Yoast plugin
Advanced Custom Fields plugin
BackUpWordPress plugin
Adminimize plugin

Working with WordPress and the Internet (Dvise website resource)
Recommended WordPress plugins (Dvise website resource)
Glenn’s WordPress training courses (Melbourne only)