The importance of updating your WordPress Website

WordPress is constantly changing to adapt to security and browser issues and your installation should be upgraded as often as possible to ensure your site is safe and error free.

Why You Should Upgrade?

  • It Keeps Your Website secure and working.  WordPress is open source.  Like all open source software, when an upgrade comes out, the details of that upgrade are made public.  If one of them is a security fix, then someone with malicious intent could use that information to their advantage – potentially hacking into any WordPress website that has not been upgraded in the meantime.
  • It Helps Ensure Compatibility with Plugins. If you are running an older version of WordPress and install a brand new plugin, it may require the latest version of WordPress to work correctly. In such a case, you would somehow have to find an older version of that plugin that is compatible with your version of WordPress, and that version might be missing some important features and bug fixes that were introduced in the newer version.
  • You Get to Use the Newest Features. The WordPress 3.0 upgrade introduced multi-site installations and custom navigation menus, while the 3.1 upgrade improved internal linking and added the Admin Bar to easily navigate between sites. If you are using an older version of WordPress, you might be doing many things the long way.

Problems with Upgrading WordPress?

  • There is a risk that your site will not work correctly after an upgrade.  There is a variety of third-party themes and plugins used to power your website. It is possible that after an upgrade, a particular theme or plugin will no longer work properly and could cause errors.
  • If you do your own updating, you run the risk of breaking your site therefore its usually better to have your developer do this for you.

How to Upgrade a WordPress Installation

WordPress makes it very easy to update your plugins and version from your dashboard, they will even clearly notify the admin that updates are ready.   However its a mistake to think that by clicking the “Upgrade” button  your WordPress installation, themes, and/or plugins will successfully upgrade with no issues.  There are things that could go wrong, and you could “break” your website.   The proper way to upgrade your WordPress installation is much more complicated.

Before performing upgrades, you should have working knowledge of the following:

  • CSS
  • HTML
  • MySQL
  • PHP
  • cPanel
  • phpMyAdmin

If you are not comfortable with these, you should have your web developer do your updates.  If something goes wrong with the upgrade, you will need to be able to immediately fix the problem or restore an earlier version of your website.  If your website gets a significant amount of traffic, you may want to wait until after business hours, or even a weekend before starting an upgrade.

The upgrade process:

  1. You should always backup your database and files first.
  2. If you modified any source files, you must make notes to make those exact same changes after you upgrade. When you upgrade, all of the relevant core, theme, and plugin files will be overwritten. You should keep your modifications saved in a text file, with notes on which files to apply them to and where they need to be applied.
  3. Check the changelogs for all upgrades to see a summary of what is being changed. If you are upgrading public themes or plugins, check the theme/plugin page and forum posts for reported compatibility issues. If other users report major issues with upgrading, you may want to wait for the theme/plugin author to put out a new release before you upgrade.
  4. Consider installing, activating, and turning on the Maintenance Mode plugin so visitors who are not logged in will see a maintenance message instead of your website. If something goes wrong with your website, they should (hopefully) just continue to see the maintenance message instead of any other errors that arise.
  5. Click to upgrade the necessary software, themes, and/or plugins.
  6. Once the upgrade is complete, thoroughly check your website(s) for errors. If you are using a caching plugin, you may need to clear the cache, or temporarily deactivate it, in order to check everything properly. If you run into any errors, you will want to work quickly to find fixes. In the worst case scenario, if you can’t fix it, you can restore your entire website from your database and file backups.

Thanks to the following for some of the info in this article: http://efficientwebsites.com/2011/the-importance-of-upgrading-your-wordpress-website

 

How to add Facebook friends to Google Plus

Here is a little workaround on how to get your Facebook friends into Google Plus:

1. Login to your Yahoo account or create a new one. (note if you create a new one, Yahoo requires you wait 2 weeks before being allowed to export contacts so you may get an error from Google Plus)

2. Go to the “Contact” Option and then “Import Contacts”.  Authorize Facebook to access your Yahoo address book.

3.  After a minute or so you should get a message confirming the import.  Now your Facebook contacts are in your Yahoo account.

4.  Login to Google+ and go to Circles.

5. Click Find, then click Yahoo import and authorize your Yahoo account.

6. Now All the contact are on your Google Plus “Find and Invite Page”. Now JUST Drag everyone into the appropriate “Circle”.

You can also export these Yahoo contacts to a CSV file and import them into your GMAIL this way too.

Good luck!

How to add Facebook friends to Google Plus

Here is a little workaround on how to get your Facebook friends into Google Plus:

1. Login to your Yahoo account or create a new one. (note if you create a new one, Yahoo requires you wait 2 weeks before being allowed to export contacts so you may get an error from Google Plus)

2. Go to the “Contact” Option and then “Import Contacts”.  Authorize Facebook to access your Yahoo address book.

3.  After a minute or so you should get a message confirming the import.  Now your Facebook contacts are in your Yahoo account.

4.  Login to Google+ and go to Circles.

5. Click Find, then click Yahoo import and authorize your Yahoo account.

6. Now All the contact are on your Google Plus “Find and Invite Page”. Now JUST Drag everyone into the appropriate “Circle”.

You can also export these Yahoo contacts to a CSV file and import them into your GMAIL this way too.

Good luck!

Convert your Personal Facebook Profile to a Business

When setting up a Facebook account for the first time it is important to remember that Facebook requires that your main account is a personal profile.  But many businesses created their main accounts in their business names and that can cause several issues.

First of all, since profiles are for meant individual people, they aren’t suited to meet your business needs. There are limitations such us not being allowed to have more than 5000 friends.  Most importantly, your page will not be able to be seen by anyone who is not logged in.  In other words, if your business is displaying a Facebook icon on your website, telling people to go check out your page, and that person does not have a Facebook account or is not logged in, all they will see is something telling them to log in.

Defeats the purpose of promoting your page doesn’t it?

MOST IMPORTANTLY using a personal profile for anything other than an individual person is a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.   If you don’t convert your profile to a Page, you risk permanently losing access to the profile and all of your content.   They WILL and DO delete these pages regularly with NO warning and you will lost all your friends and activity.

This is why you want to go and create a Business Pages.  It offers more robust features for organizations, businesses, brands, and public figures, which you can learn more about here.  Most importantly, you can have as many friends as you like and anyone can view your page, regardless if whether they are logged in!

GOOD NEWS, Facebook has not created a way for you to convert your page to a Business page easily so you don’t have to start over.

How do I convert my profile to a Page?

If you would like to convert your profile to a Page, click begin here.When you convert your profile to a Facebook Page,  they will transfer your profile pictures and add all of your friends as people who like your page.No other content will be carried over to your new page, so be sure to save any important content before beginning your migration.

To avoid losing important content, we recommend taking these steps before you convert your profile:

  1. Download your profile information. You can download a file that contains all of your sent and received messages and all of the photos and videos you’ve uploaded to Facebook.
  2. Appoint a new group admin or a new Facebook Page admin to any groups or pages that you manage. The account you’re converting will lose these admin rights during the conversion process.
Image courtesy of the Huffington Post

Are you a serious Blogger? Why Self hosting your blog will set you apart.

If you want to be taken seriously as a blogger, its time to consider leaving behind your free Blogger and WordPress blogs and consider self hosting.

Most people start blogging using blogspot or with the free version of WordPress. These are all very easy to use, the come with lots of free template designs to choose from that can have you up and running in minutes.

Its a great place to start.

But eventually as time goes by, you realize there are limitations. You miss functionalities and features and are required to follow strict terms and conditions of the platform which include restrictions on the type of applications and third-party plugins you can use.  You also realize that the blog community is vast and you are finding it difficult to stand out in the crowd.

A self hosted blogging platform is simply a full version of your blogging platform, installed on your own domain and hosted on your own server/hosting account.  The benefits are:

  • you can have your own url. Rather than myblog.blogspot.com, which can be the mark of an amateur, you can have your very own address without the blogspot or wordpress extensions. Not only is this much more professional, its easier for readers to remember.
  • you can now build your own brand.
  • you have a much larger selection of themes and templates to choose from, you can even have one professionally designed to set your blog apart.
  • full use of the open source community which is a resource of literally hundreds of thousands of different plug-ins and third-party applications that allow you to add lots of dynamic and interactive features to your new blog.
  • you will be free you from restrictions so you can now monetize.

How to make the SWITCH

1. choose a URL for your blog. Choose something that is easy to remember and relevant to the content that you publish. This helps with search engine optimization.

2. purchase hosting, be sure to find a host that supports the blogging platform. If you choose WordPress for instance, be sure to find a host that offers wordpress support and an extensive knowledgebase. Many hosting companies will have one click installs that allow you to easily install WordPress yourself.

3. Find a “premium” theme that is appropriate for your content. Or hire someone to customize your blog for you.

4. Import the content in from your old blog. WordPress actually allows you to import in all your blog posts from many popular web based blogging platforms like Blogspot.

5. Be sure to keep your old web based blog up and just re-direct all people to your NEW blog with a link.

Start blogging and have fun!

Article of interest:  Tips for Blogging   Image courtesy of the Huffington Post.

Image courtesy of the Huffington Post

Are you a serious Blogger? Why Self hosting your blog will set you apart.

If you want to be taken seriously as a blogger, its time to consider leaving behind your free Blogger and WordPress blogs and consider self hosting.

Most people start blogging using blogspot or with the free version of WordPress. These are all very easy to use, the come with lots of free template designs to choose from that can have you up and running in minutes.

Its a great place to start.

But eventually as time goes by, you realize there are limitations. You miss functionalities and features and are required to follow strict terms and conditions of the platform which include restrictions on the type of applications and third-party plugins you can use.  You also realize that the blog community is vast and you are finding it difficult to stand out in the crowd.

A self hosted blogging platform is simply a full version of your blogging platform, installed on your own domain and hosted on your own server/hosting account.  The benefits are:

  • you can have your own url. Rather than myblog.blogspot.com, which can be the mark of an amateur, you can have your very own address without the blogspot or wordpress extensions. Not only is this much more professional, its easier for readers to remember.
  • you can now build your own brand.
  • you have a much larger selection of themes and templates to choose from, you can even have one professionally designed to set your blog apart.
  • full use of the open source community which is a resource of literally hundreds of thousands of different plug-ins and third-party applications that allow you to add lots of dynamic and interactive features to your new blog.
  • you will be free you from restrictions so you can now monetize.

How to make the SWITCH

1. choose a URL for your blog. Choose something that is easy to remember and relevant to the content that you publish. This helps with search engine optimization.

2. purchase hosting, be sure to find a host that supports the blogging platform. If you choose WordPress for instance, be sure to find a host that offers wordpress support and an extensive knowledgebase. Many hosting companies will have one click installs that allow you to easily install WordPress yourself.

3. Find a “premium” theme that is appropriate for your content. Or hire someone to customize your blog for you.

4. Import the content in from your old blog. WordPress actually allows you to import in all your blog posts from many popular web based blogging platforms like Blogspot.

5. Be sure to keep your old web based blog up and just re-direct all people to your NEW blog with a link.

Start blogging and have fun!

Article of interest:  Tips for Blogging   Image courtesy of the Huffington Post.