Improvements to Managed WordPress

2020Media is delighted to announce new features to their Managed WordPress hosting plans.

Global CDN Performance and DDOS protection

  • As a hosting partner for CloudFlare, we are delighted to offer the benefits of their free global CDN plan to all our Managed WordPress customers.
  • Websites load twice as fast on an international CDN and use 60% less bandwidh.
  • Cloudflare also blocks thousands of malware, DDOS  attacks.
  • “Railgun” an optional add-on for even more performance.
  • WordPress database optimisation done automatically to keep WordPress fast.
Cloudflare Distributed Performance and Security

Managed WordPress Backups

  • We efficiently auto-backup only the changes every 24 hours.
  • Your sites are safely backed up to Google Drive, Amazon S3 or Dropbox.
  • Stage an update to check integrity before making the changes live.
  • With smart update detection techniques, we automagically detect security updates and apply them on your WordPress sites.

Updates with complete Peace of Mind

  • Automatically backs up your WP site whenever an update takes place, be it an auto or a manual update.
  • Automatically checks your site after every update and notifies us in case of a bad update so that we can restore your site.
  • We can restore a specific file or an entire site or just the database. We can also restore your website even if it’s down or deleted.

Security Features

  • Regular security scans against the complete site.
  • Advanced bot blocking technology locks out intruders without compromising performance.
  • Alerts from Google Search Engine Console reports any problems with your site that might affect it’s search engine ranking.
  • Sucuri Malware scans to root out malware.
Your WordPress watchdog

Summary

“The 2020Media Managed WordPress service keeps on getting better and better” … Richard Clarke

If you’re looking for a faster, safer website, you’ve got a good start with 2020Media.  Contact us on 0370 321 2020 or email sales@2020media.com

How to Customize the Free Twenty Seventeen WordPress Theme for Business – WPMU DEV

Twenty Seventeen ships as the new default theme with WordPress 4.7. This business-oriented theme marks a noteworthy departure from the blog-centric default themes of the past and reflects WordPress’ broader transition from a blogging platform into a platform well-suited to creating all sorts of websites. If you plan to try out Twenty Seventeen you’ll figure something out quickly: this theme is nothing like its predecessors. Past default themes have required only minimal setup and were designed to be functional blog themes right out of the box. This is not the case with Twenty Seventeen.

Source: How to Customize the Free Twenty Seventeen WordPress Theme for Business – WPMU DEV

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.