Your WordPress installation is made up of several parts:
- The WordPress software
- A MySQL database
- A Theme
Each does different things. And when it comes to updating, and auto-updating, you want to make sure you don’t break things.
First tip- always backup your site before doing any updates, theme changes or plugin installs. We’ve fallen in love with the UpdraftPlus backup plugin. We consider it an essential plugin for every installation- and you don’t need to buy the premium version, the free one works fine.
So, now that you have your installation backed up, it’s time to make a child theme. What is a child theme? It’s a copy of a few key files from your theme that hold your customizations. This way, when you update a theme, you won’t lose any of your custom files.
Now, that’s not to say updating a theme will lose customizations- many themes come with theme options for customizations and these files won’t be touched in an update, however, best practices still say create a child theme. If you’ve mastered FTP and a file management tool, you could do this manually- but there are plugins that will do this for you faster and easier.
The one we’ve come to like is Child Theme Creator by Orbisius although it’s not always perfect. Some of the “premium themes” have additional files that are required- and even come with their own installable child themes. Carefully look at your themes installation notes to see if yours falls into one of these categories.
Once you’ve created your child theme- you activate it, and go about your merry way modifying your theme in any way you like.
The safety and security of being able to upgrade your parent theme, without losing customizations is now yours.
If your website looks the same on a smartphone as it does on a computer, you’ve got a problem.
The latest data from a study shows that almost 25% of the 35% of Americans who own smart phones, use their phone as their primary way of accessing the Internet:
the Pew Internet Project finds that one third of American adults – 35% – own smartphones. The Project’s May survey found that 83% of US adults have a cell phone of some kind, and that 42% of them own a smartphone. That translates into 35% of all adults.
Our definition of a smartphone owner includes anyone who falls into either of the following two categories: One-third of cell owners 33% say that their phone is a smartphone. Two in five cell owners 39% say that their phone operates on a smartphone platform these include iPhones and Blackberry devices, as well as phones running the Android, Windows or Palm operating systems.
Several demographic groups have high levels of smartphone adoption, including the financially well-off and well-educated, non-whites, and those under the age of 45.
Some 87% of smartphone owners access the internet or email on their handheld, including two-thirds 68% who do so on a typical day. When asked what device they normally use to access the internet, 25% of smartphone owners say that they mostly go online using their phone, rather than with a computer. While many of these individuals have other sources of online access at home, roughly one third of these “cell mostly” internet users lack a high-speed home broadband connection.
The use of WordPress as a CMS (content management system) makes it easy to have your content display one way for a computer screen and a different way for a phone or tablet through the use of simple plugins.
- For tablets, OnSwipe is a solid solution that gives your site a magazine feel.
- For phones, WPTouch is a bit of a pain to configure but does the job.
There are also some themes that are purely built for mobile, but, that’s information for another post.
Lately, I’ve been on a usability kick- and looking at better ways to interface with programs we work with everyday.
WordPress has a really great interface- except, that the left sidebar with all it’s drop downs for the different options- seems to have a mind of it’s own- when something is dialed down, you don’t know where to click.
Enter- Ozh- and his plugin for moving the menus to the top- saving space, and making things appear in the same place every time!
When WordPress 2.7 and its new and optimized user interface came, I thought there was still room for improvements: a horizontal menu gave the admin area more of a â€œdesktop applicationâ€ feel, and I think itâ€™s superior to a vertical menu. So I updated the WordPress Admin Drop Down Menu.
You can download older versions and the current version on his site- but, I always prefer to get it from the Codex: