How to quickly verify your WordPress site with Google Webmaster Tools

The usual way to verify a website with Google Webmaster tools (now known as Google Search Console) is to download a small file from Google and then upload it to your website, or to make a change to the DNS records.

As FTP is becoming less and less used these days, and often the DNS management is done by someone different to the person responsible for the website, there are better ways!

Here’s a quick guide on how to verify your WordPress site with Google Webmaster Tools using just your web browser, no FTP or DNS, and a free plugin.

3 Steps to Verify your WordPress Site

  1. Install this plugin in your WordPress site: Verify Google Webmaster Tools – https://wordpress.org/plugins/verify-google-webmaster-tools/
  2. Add the site in Google Webmaster tools, and select the Alternate methods and then HTML tag (Add a meta tag to your site’s home page) option.

    select the Alternate methods and then HTML tag
    Select the Alternate methods and then HTML tag
  3. Then in WordPress, install and activate the plugin, go to Settings -> Google Webmaster Tools and paste in the HTML tag that Google is showing you. Save Changes and go back to Google and click Verify.
paste in the HTML tag that Google is showing you
Paste in the HTML tag that Google is showing you

 

What is Google Webmaster tools?

Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools) is a no-charge web service by Google for webmasters. It allows webmasters to check indexing status and optimize visibility of their websites. As of May 20, 2015, Google rebranded Google Webmaster Tools as Google Search Console.

WordCamp comes to Brighton

This July, Brighton will be host to WordCamp.

Wordcamps are a chance for everyone to learn, share knowledge and celebrate WordPress together.

Typically there a bunch of talks by WordPress users, experts, contributors and developers, and you pick the ones you’re most interested in. 2020Media has both sponsored and attended the London WordCamp for the last 2 years.

Schedule

WordCamp Brighton 2016 will run over two days. You can attend one or both of the days. Cost for the entire conference is just £20 per person. Tickets are on sale now.

Saturday 23rd July 2016

Saturday is the main conference day. It’ll be a full day of informative talks on diverse topics related to WordPress. Food and refreshments are provided throughout the day.

Saturday night is the afterparty. This is a relaxed social event where you can meet others and network with the WordPress community.

Sunday 24th July 2016

Sunday is contributor day. There’ll be talks, workshops and you’ll get the chance to help make WordPress even better.

You can contribute to many different areas of WordPress, depending on your interests. It’s an opportunity to collaborate with people in a similar field to you. Or you might discover an entirely new area of interest. Find out about the different contributor groups here.

Location

WordCamp Brighton 2016 will be hosted at City College Brighton (Central Campus).

Address

City College Brighton & Hove (Central Campus),
Pelham Street,
Brighton,
East Sussex,
BN1 4FA

HowTo: Creating a website for committee meetings

In a guest post, 2020Media director Rex explains how he created a WordPress website to help with managing committee meetings for a school governing board.

Rex says: “I recently became a school governor, and at the first governing board meeting it became apparent that there was an awful lot of paperwork! I’d been emailed various documents before the meeting, but these were spread over several batches, and there were also items that the documentation was not available until close to the last minute. I felt a web-based service for keeping track of a meeting agenda with links to the associated reports would be very useful.”

a meeting agenda
Part of a meeting agenda showing links to reports.

I decided to build the site using the free WordPress software. Not only does WordPress have a well-deserved reputation for ease of use, which was important as non technical people would be uploading documents to the site, but there are also plugins available for every conceivale use, and I knew the some of the functions needed were not going to work “out of the box”.

Primary Requirements

  • Secure.
  • Easy to Use.
  • Reduce, not Add to Workload.

Secondary Requirements

  • Show upcoming and historical meeting agendas.
  • Cater for school governing board committee structure.
  • Format agenda to display items in a familiar way.

I started with a standard WordPress install using 2020Media’s zero-click WordPress hosting. A SSL certificate was added to make all communications with the site secure. I then started to build out the system using a very flexibile WordPress theme called GeneratePress. One premium add-on to this theme was used – Blog – which simply allows some of the meta-data in a post to be hidden. Cost of this add-on was $10.

Homepage showing list of meetings
Homepage shows list of meetings, date and which committee.

WordPress Plugins Used

  • Admin Menu Editor
  • Custom Meta
  • Imsanity
  • Login Logo
  • Nested Ordered Lists
  • Password Protected
  • White Label CMS
  • WP Scheduled Posts
Sidebar showing menu
Sidebar with links to committee and archives

Rather then go through a recipe style guide on replicating the site, I’m just going to explain what I did differently, please ask if anything isn’t clear.

Each meeting is a blog post (in WordPress terms). The agenda items are a simple ordered list created in the WordPress editor, with reports added using the “Add Media” or simply dragged across from the user’s computer. Post categories are used for the different committees. The theme used has sidebar widgets showing clickable Categories as well as Archives, Calendar and Custom Meta (showing a simplied login menu). Password Protected is used to block access to the site to the public.

In WordPress future dated posts are not shown until they are scheduled so to the WP Scheduled Posts plugin allowed us to publish post immediately but with future date-time. This meant the publish date could be set as the date of committee meeting, rather than the date it was written. This in turn meant the calendar and archives had meaningful dates on them.

Other plugins used were mainly to simplify operations for the users of the site. Each user was given the “Editor” role, which allows them to create and manage any post. Menu items were renamed or hidden from view to make the administration as straightforward as possible. I chose to use plugins rather than a custom theme as I believe it will be easier to maintain the site over the long term.

The system has not yet been adopted so I anticipate making changes based on feedback from the committee members. So far feedback from the Chair and Clerk (who will be the ones using the administration side primarily) has been very positive.

Useful Features

  • Prior to a meeting the agenda can be built up, and reports added.
  • A link to the meeting post can be circulated to the board by the clerk, rather than sending several emails with attachments.
  • During a meeting colleagues will be able to use tablets and laptops to pull up reports as needed, and fewer piles of paper will be generated.

Some possible future changes.

  • A notifications system – The system could notify all members when a post is published, or updated, or a week prior to the meeting.

WordPress and CiviCRM integration

If you are choosing a CMS system, WordPress is now a very popular choice.

If you want to use the open-source CRM system CiviCRM, WordPress has been an option as a front-end for a few years. But how integrated are they?

Once installed, CiviCRM keeps your WordPress Users synchronized with corresponding CiviCRM contact records. The ‘rule’ is that there will be a matched contact record for each WordPress user record. Conversely, only contacts who are authenticated users of your site will have corresponding WordPress user records.

When CiviCRM is installed on top of an existing WordPress site, a special CiviCRM Administrative feature allows you to automatically create CiviCRM contacts for all existing WordPress users.

WP plugins for CiviCRM
WP plugins for CiviCRM

The current list of plugins that give extra functionality when linking the two systems together can be found at https://wordpress.org/plugins/tags/civicrm

CiviCRM Admin Utilities

Fixes the menus so that they appear in the standardised WordPress way. It also allows you to choose which Post Types the CiviCRM shortcode button appears on

 

CiviCRM WordPress Profile Sync

Keeps a WordPress and/or BuddyPress user profile in sync with a CiviCRM contact. The synchronisation takes place regardless of whether the changes are made in WordPress, BuddyPress or CiviCRM.

CiviCRM WordPress Member Sync

Keep WordPress users in sync with CiviCRM memberships by granting either a role or capabilities to users with that membership. This enables you to have, among other things, members-only content on your website that is only accessible to current members as defined by the membership types and status rules that you set up in CiviCRM.

CiviCRM Contribution Page Widget

Displays contribution page widgets from CiviContribute as native WordPress widgets. This plugin makes it easy to include one or more contribution page “widgets” as actual WordPress widgets on your sidebar.

CiviEvent Widget

Display widgets for CiviCRM events: the next public event or a whole list. You can include the widgets in the sidebar like normal, or you can include them via shortcodes in the body of your posts.

Because of the huge number and ever-changing nature of community contributed WordPress plugins, CiviCRM cannot guarantee compatibility with contributed plugins. A list of know incompatibilities can be found at  WordPress plugins incompatible with CiviCRM.

Find out more about CiviCRM Hosting from 2020media at http://www.2020media.com/shared-hosting/civcrm-hosting – full support for WordPress-based CiviCRM sites.

Creating an WordPress affiliate site with WooCommerce

Guest post by 2020Media customer Andy Clark

My wife Rebecca asked me to setup a website for her that could showcase some silk flowers. As a way of judging interest for this market we decided to build it using affiliate links.

I had built affiliates sites before using hand crafted PHP and HTML, but as I would not be managing the site myself something easier would be needed. The site needed to be flexible to grow and change with the business and low maintenance.

We asked 2020Media to provide a managed WordPress site and register the domain. That service comes with managed upgrades, backups as well as some handy plugins for images, SEO and analytics. 2020Media also provided us with quality WordPress themes from CSSIgniter and the selected theme was installed by Rex. The themes had all the features you would expect from a modern theme such as responsive design and easy to use widgets.

After experimenting with custom post types and an affiliate plugin, I realised that the theme had built in support for WooCommerce and that in turn supports affiliate links. After installing the WooCommerce plugin the setup adds in all the pages needed for the shop.

Product-edit

The plugin allows you to categorise and enter the products. As there was only a handful of products these were entered manually, import tools are available if you have many to enter. When entering the products you need to select the external/affiliate option, enter the SKU and affiliate link and set a product image. Additional information can be added in the product short description which will allow people to find things via the search.

The theme is responsible for the display of the shop and products. It can be configured and customised without any need for coding. A simple bit of styling was added to hide the shopping cart and the site was configured to show the shop on the home page. A product search widget was added in the sidebar and the product categories were added to the menu.

product-detail
All in all a very easy way to get an affiliate site up and running and it provides a solid platform going forward. The whole thing was up and running in a few hours.

Thank you Andy, we hope the added benefits of our Managed WordPress service enable you to get this site to the top of the search engines! Check out the finished site at http://www.becasblooms.co.uk/