The topics at this months meetup were entitled:
- Handling WP user generated content
- Use WP to find clients
- WP Security
- Cleaner themes.
User generated content
The first talk was by Graham Armfield of Coolfields, who is known as Mr Accessibility. But this month he almost managed to talk about something completely different! Accessibility came in sideways with an aside about captchas vs logic puzzles.
Graham’s talk was about handling user generated content – this means input to the website via a form or upload box – without requiring a login. Grahame gave us a run down of the steps needed to take input from a form on a wordpress website, process it, allow an admin to moderate it and then publish the data on a page. He used a gig guide as an example.
If you’re interested in learning more, his slides are available here http://www.slideshare.net/coolfields/handling-user-generated-content-in-wordpress
Another useful tip was the the popular Ninjaforms plugin offers a logic puzzle anti-spam test, which is apparently much better from an accessibility point of view.
Using WordPress to find clients
The next talk was from Rob Cubbon and entitled “Using WordPress to find clients”. In practice this talk was about optimising your site or online presence to attract and then convert vistors into clients. Rob talked about carefully choosing keywords with buying intent, creating specificity in your pages, not generallity. Example being writing detailed tutorials on how to do something – a subject hopefully you are an expert and authoritative on. Creating a call to action on every page. Adding key phrases to page titles and headlines. He also recommended creating in-depth profiles on social media sites for freelancers as it’s likely prosopective clients will research these when selecting somone.
Duncan Stuart gave us all a wake up call with his fascinating talk on WordPress Security. Duncan’s company works mostly for government departments or agencies and they spend a lot of time working on security. Duncan began with telling us that the well-known Jetpack plugin, has been suffering from a security weakness that allowed spammers to publish their own content on websites. He then went through a set of examples of types of attack and some well known plugins that have (in the past) had vulnerabilities that have allowed these attacks.
Duncan then gave some advice on improving WordPress security. The first point of call being the Hardening WordPress Codex page. He recommended choosing plugins carefully as these can be a very weak part of the WordPress ecosystem. Look for high numbers of downloads, recent updates and an active support forum.
He wrapped up with tips on writing a good plugin or theme so that our own work does not become part of the problem. His company runs a free resource at https://security.dxw.com/
Persil.co.uk – Cleaner Themes
After a break, the final talk was from Adam Onishi. The company he works for recently built the new iteration of washing powder brand Persil. It was a great insight into a complicated build that spanned 20 countries with many competing requests from different parts of the Persil marketing departments.
Adam’s mission was to keep the site management under as tight a control as possible so that updating and changes could be made as simple and straightforward as possible. To this end, the entire global prescence of 35 websites runs from a single WordPress multisite installation.The second vital ingredient was Parent/Child themes. This has allowed extensive localisation of design and content.
Adam went through some code examples, the tools he and his team used to build the site, the most useful plugins that were used, and how he now is working alone on building out the individual country sites.
All videos of WordPress meetups are free to view and can be found here https://www.youtube.com/user/WordPressLondon