I went along to August WordPress meetup: Maintaining and updating 80+ WordPress Sites talk that was very interesting. The main plugin/tool that was used was Manage WP. Peter Williamson, the presenter, used the paid add-ins to do the maintenance. I have played with the free version that I found a bit limited. Still, that is the way of free versions, they stop from being useful in the free area and you need to pay for add-ins to actually make the tools useful.
Peter strongly recommended that you keep your sites WP version and Plug-ins as up to date as possible.
There was a discussion about image size manager plugins and Compress JPEG & PNG images was recommended.
Peter recommended Thrive Content Builder but its a paid tool and I do not do enough website building to look at paying for it.
Peter made a comment about Updates being one of the big issues that slow down sites. I was not aware of that and I asked him about it. Apparently WordPress saves the updates to the database.
I am absolutely terrible about Updates. I write a post, then think about it and edit it a lot, saving, updating then going back in and re-editing again.
I have noticed my Blog site slowing down quite a lot recently. I put this down to the number and size of images on the site and had used an image manager to do something about that but it still was slow. I have over 125 posts now. But apparently one issue is Updates. Peter uses the Manage WP to clean these up.
I looked on the interwongle and found these posts:
I followed the posts processes and installed a plugin WP-Optimize
After running the WP-Optimize on my Blog site, I found I had over 1,600 revisions sitting in the Database.
After running the optimiser I reduced the database by 19Mb to just 16.5 Mb.
A dramatic drop in the database size.
I ran this on my other 2 sites, Apriori & Pir2, both mainly pages (not posts) and there was still a marked reduction in database sizes, so worth doing.
thank you Peter for your advice.
Updraft Plus Backup
I am a bit relaxed about backups but I thought I’d better revisit that after going to the meeting.I revisited my free Manage WP and that was already set up on a monthly basis. I wanted to update my blog today and it wanted to charge me. So I left it and looked for another plugin.
I had tried Updraft Pus before that had free options but then there were loads of paid extras. It sort of turned me off. I decided to put it back on to a couple of my sites. I’d been playing with my WD-MyCloud and realised that I could link via FTP (prior to that I was cabling via a computer. I just store a few videos and backups on it. Anyway, I found my VPS was not setup to transfer to the MyCloud backup, but did find that I could backup my WordPress sites to an AWS S3 account, A MS OneDrive or Google Drive.
I’m a little wary of the AWS free service, I constantly get caught with little bills, so I thought I’d try The MS OneDrive and Google Drive. I did not have success with the OneDrive (you had to add something in to make it work, I thought this was a premium add-in so didn’t do it), but have all my Sites now backing up to a couple of Google Drives (you have 15GB free space on a google account). And I have weekly & monthly scheduled backups to those.
I actually found the process quite easy to setup. The only concern is it drops them all in the same folder and 2 of the sites have similar names. So I’m making sub directories in the main folder for each.
My focus is on content. A story:
A friend I worked with started with CAD (Computer Aided Draughting) before me (we were both draughtsmen). I asked him, how did he find CAD? His answer was, when you draw a line on a drawing board, your body draws the line, there is no barrier between thought and action, whereas in CAD you mentally want to draw a line, so you then have to think “L” for line [Enter] (type Keyboard), from [@ click mouse at point] to [click mouse at point]. He said the computer got in the way of the natural process of mental thought to physical hand action of drawing.
This is WordPress. It is easier to focus on content rather than focus on process of creating content.
If you can’t do something you want, then look for a plugin for it. Because it is a popular CMS (Content Management System) there are a lot of plug-ins out there from people who were trying to solve a problem that WordPress Out of the Box doesn’t do, and they share them with others. And there are lots. If you look on the SilverStripe or Drupal sites, there are not as many plug-ins.
A lot of the free plugins are not up to date and maybe are not coded that well, but some of them do the job.
There are also a lot of articles/videos about “How to……” for WordPress. True, there are a lot of articles that try and persuade you to buy their superior “PAID Plugins” (also without declaring their interest in the products) but there are usually a lot of Free plugins that you can try to get a feel for what works for you, and if only a paid equivalent does the job, at least you have been able to explore the alternatives. Other platforms are not as versatile or extensive in add-ons.
So, WordPress lets me focus on my content. It gives me alternative as to how I want to express that content. I have a blog site where I have posts where I test processes out. I also have ‘Demo” sites where I display “ideas” and “solutions” that I demonstrate and people can explore. I also have a couple of photography sites and also a Resume/CV site too. I have also explored building an E-commerce site as an exercise.