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Mod 5 - Plugins

Running Time:  10:19

When it comes to the social nets there are two types of WordPress plugins. One allows you to link your site to your pages in social networks.

The other, allows you or your users to share your content with a social network. Add To Any/Share Buttons is an example of this type of plugin.

This plugin is easy to configure as it’s good to go out of the box. Customizing it for your needs to is fun and easy.

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Let me show you a great plugin. It’s called Add to Any Share Buttons that will allow you or a user on your website to share the content of a page into a social network. I’ve been demonstrating this plugin for years. It’s what I would call a “WordPress standard.” It’s been downloaded millions of times, and there’s currently about a half million active installations. So, let’s get started. Here I am on my prototype site and here are the buttons that I’m referring to.

If I click on the Facebook icon, let’s see what happens here. Facebook icon. This will open up a little window over here, and because I’m logged into Facebook, I can now share this content right into my page on Facebook. Or, I could share it into any one of these other options over here that might be familiar if you’re familiar with Facebook. No, I don’t want to stay on the page. I will leave. The same goes for Twitter, and if I want to send this to e-mail that’s fine. This over here is the universal icon, so there are other options over here. How do you get this going? Here is the site that I’m developing and I’ve already installed the plugin, Add to Any Share Buttons. What I like about this plugin and it’s the hallmark of any good plugin, is that it’s easy to configure. By that I mean most of the configurations are done for you out of the box, so it’s set up the way you would want them to be. If you have to make any changes, which I’m about to do, it’s easy to do. I’m going to click on “Settings.” It takes me to the “Settings” section, and by the way, if you forget where it is, it’s right over here in “Settings.” You can see down here it says Add to Any.

There are two panels for the configuration section, one is right over here, the standard and then floating. So we’ll get to that, we’ll do the standard first. It asks you, “How big do you want the icons to be?” 32 pixels is fine. “Do you want have a background color for your icons, or do you want to have a foreground color?” I’ll leave everything the way it is, because like I said, out of the box it’s really good. Now here are the icons they get you started with, if you want to add some icons– Look at all this, I bet you didn’t know there’s so many different networks. I didn’t know this. You can replace them, for example, if you didn’t want Twitter you click on Twitter, and then you could see right over here “Click on Twitter here,” and Twitter goes away. Let’s say I wanted to add Tumblr, which I’m going to do, and I’m going to add Reddit which I happen to like.

Then if I want to change the order, I can switch these on over here. I’m going to do– So, what is this? If you want to show how many times it’s been used that’s what show count is about. I don’t think I want that, so I’m just going to click outside this box. Or actually, let’s click over here. I didn’t want to do that, OK. I just clicked it, and it reappeared. Not too difficult. Let’s see if I can get this to go over where I want. I want Reddit to go first. OK, and we’ll leave that over here, and Facebook is fine. The e-mail– We’ll just put this one over here, and that’s good. Now I’m just going to ignore the fact that it says “Show count,” I’ll leave that where it is. It’s not going to bother anybody. I’m just going to go down over here, and I’m skipping through some of this, but here’s what’s important. You get to decide where do you want to position these icons, do you want them to go at the top of your pages or the bottom of your pages? You have bottom, top, and top and bottom, which would be crazy to have them twice on a page. So I’ll leave it at bottom, and then you have all these different options over here.

Do you want to display them on all your pages or all your posts? You can go through this and configure it as you want. As you see right now, it’s going to be everywhere so we’ll leave it that way. Now I’m going to save my changes. One thing I like too about this plugin, as you’re working with it if you want to reset to the default you’ve got this button over here. I think that’s great. OK, so let’s see what happens. We go over to the site, and we see it’s on the home page. I don’t want this to be on the home page, so what can I do about that? Just go into the “Edit page,” and there’s going to be an option right over here. “Add to Any?” No, I don’t want to show that, so I’m going to deselect that. Of course, I’m going to have to update this, and now if I go to view the page you’ll see– All right, they’re gone. How about these other pages? They’re going to be– Every one of them is going to be just like this because I have them on the bottom of all my pages. If I go to a post, you can see that, and you can configure it so it doesn’t show up over here on the archive page, but it would just show up on the blog post itself.

Many different ways to set where and how they’re displayed. So, that’s one thing. But there’s something else that’s kind of interesting about this plugin, and that is– I’m going to go here, and we’ll go to “Settings,” and we’re going to go to “Add to Any.” There was another tab right over here, “Floating.” You know how you see these icons that float on a page? Let me show you what I mean. Right now, they’re not floating. I’m going to experiment a little bit. I want to position them on the left side, and we’ll make the buttons vertical. I’m not going to make too many changes so I can follow what’s going on over here. Position, 100 pixels from the top, that’s fine. Offset, we’ll leave it just the way it is. Maybe we’ll put a color in the background so it’ll show up a little better. I’m just going to put this color over here, that’s fine, we’ll leave it there. Let’s don’t make any other changes, let’s leave it exactly the way it is. We can come back to this page and look a little more closely at it. Now it won’t be on the home page because the buttons aren’t there, so I shouldn’t look over there.

Let’s just out of curiosity look at the “Plant” page. Aha– So they’re fixed on the left-hand side. OK, notice that it doesn’t start exactly at the top, there’s a bit of an offset. I think it was 100 pixels, but it will just stay in place at all times as you scroll through the page. OK, let’s go back and look at the settings page one more time and see what other options are there. Here we are, again we’re in the “Floating” panel, and instead of doing it on the left-hand side or in a vertical position, I’m going to switch this to “None.” I’m going to skip down to over here, and this time I am going to put it in the center. All right, there’s some options over here too that deal with essentially not to display this on mobile devices. Generally, you don’t want something like this to show up in mobile. It would really be distracting, so if you want to you can, but I’m just going to leave that, and I’m also going to put in a color for this too. There we go, let’s give it a different color here. Again, it’s got this reset. So if you wanted to start all over again, really nice. But I don’t so I’m going to save my changes. Let’s go to the site, and I’m again going to go to the “Plant” page.

Now you see, here they are down here. It’s different, so you can position these in a floating manner or a fixed position on your page if you want, rather than have the standard layout. One other nice thing about this plugin that you should know. That is, I want to show you this right over here. If I go over here to “Appearance,” “Widgets,” I can add the “Add to Any–” Here we are. “Add to Any Share” is now a widget, so if I wanted to put this in my blog sidebar– Let’s do this right at the top so it’ll be real obvious. I’m just going to do right like that, and this is what’s nice, here’s another option you have with this plugin. If I go over here to “Blog,” look at that. It’s right over here. Of course, then I would have to go through and make some more changes because I really wouldn’t want to have it in the sidebar over here, and on the page, and over here too. You’ve got to be careful not to have them show up everywhere, but that’s easy to do to configure it. In fact, let me do that right now. I will take out the floating one.

That’s the only one I’m going to take out, so I’m going to go over here to “Settings,” “Add to Any,” and “Floating.” I’m going to make sure it’s “None.”

Actually, I’m going to reset. Do the whole thing as a reset. Yes, I do. Now if I go out and have a look, you’ll see that the floating option is gone. I could go over here, so this is still here, and the widget is still here. This one’s here too, but I can get rid of this one too as well. All right, Add to Any Share Buttons is a great plugin, and you see it everywhere. Very easy to configure, and it allows you or a user to share the content of a page or a post into a social network.

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Mod 5 - Plugins

Running Time:  1:15

For years I used the Hide Title plugin to hide page and post titles. Since the developer of that plugin did not keep itup to date I switched to this one, Title Remover. Both do the same thing but in different ways.

When creating pages and posts always give it a meaningful title. But, as you’ll see here, if you do not want the title to be displayed then hide it using Title Remover.

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Let me show you a plugin that I can almost guarantee you’re going to use. This one is called Title Remover. There are other plugins that do exactly the same thing, but this is very well known and most websites you’re going to have pages where you don’t want to show the title. In this case, the home page. You hardly want to show the word “Home,” right? That doesn’t make any sense. So, how would you take that out? I’m going to click on “Edit,” and now I’ve installed the plugin, and I’ve activated it. Because that’s true, it gives me this little box over here, “Hide title.” I want to open that up, and I’m going to click it. OK. Now, it still shows over here. By the way, never do this. Don’t do it like this. You’re going to take out the title this way. You don’t want to do it that way, and there could be a lot of bad consequences to that, so use the plugin. Once you do, of course, you want to update, and let’s have a look. The “Home” title is gone, and you can use this plugin to remove the titles of any page or post on your site.

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Mod 5 - Plugins

Running Time:  3:35

Any site that operates a blog where anyone (or bot) cane leave a comment or that uses similar forms (text boxes, etc) will benefit by installing and setting up Akismet.

This is a very simple plugin to install but DO NOT forget that in order for it to work you will need to set up an Akismet account. You’ll do that when you set up the plugin as I show you here.

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OK, so what are we looking at here? I’ve installed two plugins, they’re both active, but I need to do some configuring. In this video, I’m going to show you how to configure the Akismet Anti-Spam plugin. Number one, “What do you need this plugin for anyway?” Once your site is up and running, you’ll have a number of forms on your site where people can say, leave a reply or send you a comment. That’s all good, but that can be a source of mischief. That is, people or bots can spam you, and you don’t want that. This plugin will help not just prevent the spamming– Because it can’t do that. But what it will do is it’ll filter out spammy comments to you, so you’ll never see them in your email. Generally, the process is when somebody leaves you a comment you’ll get an email, which is fine, and if it’s legitimate then maybe you’ll approve it, and you’ll reply to it. That’s fine, but you don’t want to see a lot of junk spammy email to you as a result of the fact that you have a website. So, this is a very good plugin. This is the number one plugin to filter out spammy comments, and thereby eliminating or thereby removing you from seeing a bunch of ridiculous emails every day.

In order to do this, you have to do some settings. It’s very simple. Click on “Settings” and two things. One is if you don’t have an Akismet account what you’ll have to do is click on this, and it’ll take you to the Akismet website. By the way, Akismet is owned and operated by the folks that manage the development of WordPress. It’s a company called Automattic. You have three different plans here, the one that most people may want is the personal one. I have the personal one, and I think I pay $5 dollars a month. In fact, I know I pay $5 dollars a month for my Joy of WP site, and you would go ahead and click on this and complete the process. When you’re done with your credit card, you’ll see down here they want all that stuff, and when you’re done, you’ll get what’s called an API key. An API key, you would go back in over here, and you’d paste it in. It’s just a series of digits, and what this does is it connects your website to the Akismet filtering service.

Without that API key, there’s no way to communicate from your site to Akismet. So, make sure you get the API key and paste it in here. I’m not going to do that, but what I do want to show you is what happens if it was active. OK, this is the Joy of WP site and the very site that you’re probably watching this video from. If I go over here, you’ll see under “Settings–” I have my API key in place, and the Akismet filter is working, and it is filtering out these spammy comments so that I don’t see the emails, which is great. You can see the accuracy of the filter is pretty high. Right over here you can see “API key,” I blocked this out so that you can’t see it because I don’t want you to know what the digits are. That’s all it is, just a series of digits for an API key. So, that’s all you have to do. It’ll work nice and quiet in the background, and it relieves you from seeing a whole lot of spammy email.

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Mod 5 - Plugins

Running Time:  20:02

When it comes to adding forms that allow you to obtain voluntarily supplied user data, WordPress has many plugins to choose from.

One of these is Ninja Forms, a very well known and flexible forms plugin.

Here I show how to set up a contact form using one of the templates that comes with the plugin.

While the plugin is free there are many affordable add-ons (plugins that only work with Ninja Forms) that allow you to connect with third party services like MailChimp and AWeber.

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Have you ever been to a website that didn’t have a contact form? Probably not. In this video I’m going to show you how to set up a contact form using a very well-known plugin called Ninja Forms, and you can see with this plugin I have a field for the name, field for email address, I’ve got this little text box area over here with a rich text editor and a submit button, and I’m going to use Ninja Forms to set up something very similar on the site that I’m developing. But first, let me show you about Ninja Forms. Here’s their site. It’s a very well-known plugin, and it’s an excellent resource. All kinds of good information and the nice thing about Ninja Forms is the plugin itself is free. But as we’re going to see, extensions for the plugin or what they call add-ons– Those are things that you’ll have to pay for. But let’s get right into it, and I’m going to go to my site that I’m building.

So I’ve already installed the Ninja Forms plugin like I said it’s free, and it gives me all these other areas here to explore. We’ll look at a lot of the plugin here, we’re not going to check on everything, but we’re certainly going to hit the highlights here.

On this page here it gives me a list of all the plugins that I’ve had so far. Now, just by virtue of the fact that I’ve installed the plugin, it gives me my first form, and it’s called “Contact me.” But let me show you something before we get into that, let me go over here to “Add new” and what I love about this plugin is that it gives you a whole list of plugins that are already pre-built that you can use just out of the box, or you can edit them to your specifications. That is a real time saver if you ask me. We’re not going to explore all of these, but if you wanted to collect feedback, or here’s a blank form which means you could start from scratch. There’s all kinds of great forms here that get you started. MailChimp, and so forth.

OK, great. But the one I want to start with and explore is the “Contact Us” option here, so we’ll start with that. It does that pretty quick. It didn’t give me much time to give it a name, which is something I don’t like. That was way too fast. But I think that’s the only little glitch in the whole thing, so not too bad. Anyway, you can see that it gives us four different inputs to start with, and you have the “Name” “Email” “Message” and “Submit.” If I click on any one of these like I just did, you’ll see on the right side all the options will open up for that field. So again, if I click on “Email”, you’ll see that’ll change, “Email.” You can see that they change. We’ll look at some of this, we’re not going to go through every single thing, but you’ll get the idea. If I want to put in somebody’s name, by the way, I usually have two different inputs for name. First name and last name, it’s just a lot easier to handle the data that’s submitted. But right now, just name, that’s the default, and that is the way Ninja Forms sets this up. The label is what people are going to see on the site, so you’ll say “Name” or “First name” or whatever, those are the words that you’re going to see.

Then, how do you want the label to be positioned? Do you want it to be positioned above the little box, or below the little box? Here you can see all these different options over here. “Above” is the standard, so I’d leave it that way. Is this going to be a required field? Do people have to fill this out? That would make sense that they do. “Restrictions,” limit the number of words or characters? No, we’re just going to leave that alone. “Display,” do you want to put a rich text editor in there? That wouldn’t make any sense to me, so I’m not going to do that. Some of these other ones deal with use of HTML and CSS, so we’re going to leave that stuff alone, and we’re just going to accept that. We’ll go over here to “Email,” and “Email” is pretty much the same thing, so I’m not going to get into that. For “Message,” the only thing I want to do with “Message” says “Paragraph text,” and “Message–” So you want to leave a message, that would be fine. I don’t want to make this a required field, so I turned that off. Then for “Display” I’m just going to go over here, and in this case, I do want to use this cool little rich text editor here, so I’m going to flip that on over here.

It says, “Do you want to turn it off for mobile?” I think I’m going to leave it off for mobile and leave it the way it is because it looks silly for mobile and probably doesn’t work all that well. Having done all that I am now going to click “Done.” Of course, I can come back and edit this anytime, and as I’ll show you later on you can add more fields or take fields out. So, let’s have a look at the form as it currently exists. For that, we’re going to go click publish. Now, this doesn’t mean it’s on a page, and it just means it’s saved. I wish they had said, “Saved,” it would make a whole lot more sense.” I’m just going to go back to our main page over here, and you can see now I have two forms named “Contact me,” which is confusing. But I want to use the one that I’m working on, which is this one right over here. The second one. So I’m going to click this little button over here, and you can see I have various options that come out here.

I can edit the form, but what I want to do, I can duplicate the form which is nice. Suppose you have two forms very similar you don’t want to start all over again, that’s a good way to start is by using the duplicator over here. But I want to preview the form, so I clicked on “Preview.” Again, this is not live on my site. It’s not in any page. It’s just going to give me an idea of what I’m going to have here. Here’s that rich text editor business over here, and submit, and that’s OK. I like that. What I’m going to do is publish this. Let’s click out of this, and we don’t need this. OK, I’m going to publish this and then I’m going to add some things and show you a little bit more so you get a better sense of all the different options that Ninja Forms allows you to use.

I’m going to go over to my site. In fact, what I’m going to do is let’s go to the prototype site. Take a look, and now the prototype site is two columns. It’s got a column for the form, and it’s got this little text area which I’m going to copy. I’m going to cheat, and then I’m going to show you what I’m going to do. For contact, we don’t have anything which is exactly what I would expect. Now I’m going to click “Edit” over here, and for this, I’m going to use a multi-column layout. So let’s use that column black over here, and I’m just going to type in “Column.” Here we go, “Column.” In the first column we’re going to put the form in, and the second column to the right we’re going to put the text in. I’m just going to paste that in, Command-V. All right, but what about here?

This is kind of cool and sort of new, actually, because of Gutenberg. I’m going to click on this, and I installed that plugin, Ninja Forms, so there might be a block for Ninja Forms. If I type in the word “Ninja–” There it is. That’s great. So now, if I click on this, it’s going to display the two forms I already have set up. I know it’s the number two, so all I have to do is click on number two and wait a second, and you get a real live look at the form, not just some code that you might have seen in the past. Now you get to see the form. You can’t edit anything here, and you’re can have to go to the Ninja Forms admin area to do that. But at least you get an idea, “This is what it’s going to be.” I am just going to update the page, and we’ll have a look. Let’s see.

Let’s go over to look at this page, and we’ll see how good is that? OK, but I want to add something to it. I want to add– Let’s say, “Subscribe to my newsletter.” How do you do that? Let’s go back into the admin, and we’re going to go back to Ninja Forms, we’re going to go back to the dashboard, and this is the form we’re working on. To get rid of any confusion, I don’t want this form, and this is the one that came with it. If you don’t want a form anymore or if you don’t want it at all, we’ll click on this little button over here, and we’ll click on “Delete,” and it will prompt you with all kinds of things because you never know. You might not be awake and might make a mistake. So, I do want to delete it, so I’m just left with this one. That’s fine. Now I’m going to edit this so you can click on this, and we’re going to add another input and another field. How do you do that?

Right over here in the bottom right-hand corner, there is this nice plus sign over here, and this opens up all the different kinds of inputs that you can add to your form. You can see you can do all kinds of things. They even have things that deal with e-commerce and layout, but we’ll make it pretty simple. When you’re asking a question where you want a mutually exclusive answer, in other words, a yes or no or give me one out of the following five. For that, you’re going to use a radio list. OK, so I’m going to take this little guy right over here and drag it into place, and I’m going to now click “Done.” There we go. Now, by the way, you might have figured out “Yes you can drag these around too, much like creating menus in WordPress, how you can drag and drop these little things, you can do that with this form. So I’m now going to say radio list, and I want to put it over here, and I’m going to click on this, and it gives me a fly out over here with all the options. I don’t want the user to see the word “Radio list,” I want them to say something like “Subscribe to my newsletter.”

We’ll leave all this stuff alone. We’re not going to– Let’s make it required because I want them to answer this question. It’s a required field, and for this, there’s only going to be two answers. OK, so we’ll get rid of one right off the bat. We don’t need that. For the first one, we’re going to say “Yes,” and then for this we’re going to say “Yes” over here. Which means I’ll tell you why in a second. Let’s do “No” over here, and we’ll do– There, perfect. “No.” So these are the words “Yes” and “No,” this is exactly how they’re going to see it on the website, but this is how data when they say value– This is how the information gets stored, lowercase like that. That’s just my prerogative. Now, do I want it to be pre-selected? I think that’s what that’s going to do, pretty sure about that. So that means “Subscribe to my newsletter, yes” will be pre-selected for them. I like that. When I’m done, I’m going to click “Done.”

Now if I go to the site, I’m actually on the site. Let’s do this. Let’s publish, which is again crazy because what you’re doing is updating in this case, and I’m going to close out of this, and we’ll see– Let’s go to the site. We’ll go to contact, and this is perfect.

So that’s exactly what I want. You can see that the “Yes” was pre-selected, so the user could still click “No” and then submit, but I like the pre-selected idea. You can see that you can add many different fields and do all kinds of customization for each one, but there’s a little more to it than what I’ve shown you so far. Let’s have another look.

So, we’ll go over now to Ninja Forms. What happens if I wanted to integrate this to MailChimp or AWeb, or all different kinds of services? For that, you’re talking about add-ons. So I’m going to take us down to over here, “Add-ons,” and these are the different add-ons. They’re like plugins actually, that plug into Ninja Forms. They would only work with Ninja Forms, and you can see the different types of services that you can connect your form with. I love MailChimp, so you could do that. There is all kinds of different systems. There’s AWeb over here, and this is another email distribution service. If you wanted your data, let’s say they subscribed and you wanted the information to go to AWeb, not just to you. Then you would click on “Learn more,” I suppose, and “Learn more” is going to take you to the place where you’re back on the Ninja Forms website, and you can purchase it. Over here, you can see a single site license is $19 for a year, and you have the ability to connect whatever users submit from your site using Ninja Forms to AWeb. It’s nice.

Now if I go back over here to the site that I’m working on, you’ve seen all these different integrations, and by the way that’s how Ninja Forms makes their money. Because they give away the Ninja Forms plugin for free, it’s all these extensions that cost money. But I want to show you something else, a little deeper look into that contact form that we created because we need to see a few other things. So, let’s have a look at the form. Let’s go back over here. Now, you had these options over here that we haven’t looked at and we’re not going to look at every one. In fact, the only one I want to spend time on is “Email” and “Actions,” because this is important. Which is “What is going to happen after the user submits the data? Hits that ‘Submit’ button. What do you want to happen?” As the way they do things, they have a whole bunch of things already set up for us. For example, one thing we’re going to do is the data is going to be stored, so whatever information they supply to us the data will be stored in our database so we can have access to it. It doesn’t have to go anywhere, and it can go right to us unless you say for some reason I don’t want to store the data. Wouldn’t make any sense.

Then you have these other options over here, other things that are going to happen. One is an email confirmation, so let’s click on that. We’ll see over here that an email is going to be sent to me, that is the admin is going to get an email, and it’s going to tell me exactly all the information where it says over here. These are little shortcodes, all the information that was submitted is going to appear in my email right over here, so this looks like an email. Of course, you can edit this to whatever you want. Ninja Forms, like almost all form plugins, use these little shortcode-y things and these curly braces, and there’s plenty of places to get information on what this all means. You would go to the Ninja Forms website to find out all the shortcodes that you could use.

You could put in a subject, and this would go to yourself. That goes to the admin or the site owner, the next one over here is a notification, and this is what the user gets when they fill out the form. So maybe you’re going to send them a little message over here. You could put in– You could take this all out and put in your message that says “Hi X,” whatever their name is, “Thank you for filling out my form and subscribing to my newsletter.” You could do something like that. This is an email that goes to the user, and the last one over here, “Success message,” this is what the user sees on the web page when they hit the “Submit” button. So you hit the submit button, and you see a little message over here, that’s what this is. Now the nice thing about all this is you can customize all these, and you can– Let me get rid of this over here.

You can remove them, so if you don’t want something– Let’s say you don’t want a message to be on the web page, you can delete it. Of course, you go down here, and if you want other actions to take place or other events after they submit, you’ve got all these things over here that you can use. Notice over here, here are the add-ons. OK, again they are all greyed out because I haven’t paid for any of them, but it would be very easy to pay and then install the extension, and then I’d have access to this additional service. I’m going to go back over here and a couple little things more to do and we’ll be done. Yes, I do want to leave the page. OK, so that’s fine. When you do buy an extension one of the things you’re going to want to do is just head over here to “Settings,” and I like this plugin so much that I don’t mess around with the settings, so I’m not going to take you through it. You might have to do something with the settings, and this would apply to all the forms that you use. Remember, you don’t have to create one form for your site. You can create many different forms, starting with the pre-made forms that they have or creating your own form from scratch using that blank form.

But what I want to show you is license. So, you’re going to have to type in, or you’re going to put your license in over here if you buy additional add-ons OK. It would say “MailChimp,” and then you’d put the license key in over here, a series of digits. Two other things I need to show you, one is if I go over here to “Imports and exports, let’s say you have a website and you love the forms that you’ve created, and you want to move them to another form. Let’s say it’s a friend’s form, a client form, a client site, whatever. It doesn’t matter. You can export the form, and it’s in the form of what’s called a JSON file. You download it to your computer, and then you import it to the site that you want the form to appear on. So, that’s nice. There’s an “Import, export” feature to this. Fabulous. The last thing to show you is this, and that is once people start filling out your forms all that data is going to get stored on your server. You can reuse it and download it as a CSV file, but the more effective way to use the submitted data is, of course, to connect your site using one of those add-ons with a third party service.

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Mod 5 - Plugins

Running Time:  12:23

Backing up your WordPress site is something you need to pay attention to and not just blow it off. Remember, there is no copy of your web site on your computer. If your site is hacked or in any way compromised a backup will be the only way your site can be restored.

BackWPup is one of the many plugins you can use to make a copy of your site (a backup) automatically.

This plugin does not require a lot of special configuration to make it work.

Always have 2 locations where the backup (it can be a .zip file) will be stored.

Links In This Video

Transcript Of This Video

If there’s one thing that you’ll take away from this course, and I hope you’ll take away more than one thing, it’s that your site needs to have a backup and you need to know where that backup is in case the worst should happen. Now, there’s a high probability that nothing bad will ever happen but if something bad were to happen–Let’s say your site is compromised, it’s hacked, then the only way to restore that site is through a backup. Many web hosting companies will do this for you automatically, but I wouldn’t count on them. My feeling is that you should do your own backup unless you know for certain that they’re doing a backup. OK, so if you need to do a backup or you need a plugin for a backup, then I’ve recommended WackWPup. But there are certainly other ones, I’ve recommended others like Backup Buddy, and– There’s a whole lot of other ones out there, so this is the one that I’ve used, and I’ve demonstrated for years. Let’s go through this.

I’ve already installed it, and there’s no little link over here for settings, so what do you do? In this case, I’m going to head down over here in my WP admin sidebar, and it says “BackWPup” and I’m just going to click on “Dashboard.” This plugin has its own dashboard, and it doesn’t have a whole lot going on.

If I scroll down here, it’s got some videos, and that’s good to help me understand how to use this plugin. I like that a lot. Then I scroll down a little further, and it starts talking about the fact that there’s a commercial or a paid version of this plugin. There’s a high probability that you won’t need to have the commercial version, that everything that you’ll need will be in the free version. So, let’s take a look at how to set that all up. I’m going to go over here to where it says “Jobs” and click on “Jobs,” and there’s no jobs. What’s a backup job? A backup job is just a set of instructions that says “On such and such date, backup such and such thing.” That’s it, and “Store it in such and such place.” OK, that’s what a routine is, or a backup job is. Since we haven’t defined the parameters for that, let’s do that right now.

I’m just going to click on “Add new,” and one thing I love about this plugin is that it’s got the hallmark of any good plugin, that you don’t have to do a lot of configuring. I’m just going to rename this, or name this something over here. I’ll give it a name, let’s call it “Full backup.” OK, we’ve got the full backup. I just gave it that title, and you could call it whatever you want, so that way it will be easy to identify. Then I’m going to leave this pretty much alone as I see it. It says this job is going to back up the database, and it’s going to back up files and so forth. I’m just going to leave it over here. This is some technical stuff, and I’m just going to skip right through it– Like I said, it backs it up without a whole lot of understanding every little detail.

Yes, I do want to have it in a zip file, so all the files in my database and everything is going to be backed up into the zip file. Fine. Now, here’s an important part. Where do you want the backup to go? All right, I always tell people, “Have it go into two different places just in case there’s a problem.” I want to back up to a folder, and I’m just going to leave it like that. OK, back up to a folder, and then I have all these other options over here. We’ll configure this in a second. You can see that it just put this in over here, and we’ll get to that in a second. “Backup to folder–” All right, that wasn’t there before. I’m just showing you.

The other one I’d like to do is do “Backup to Dropbox.” But you can see all these different options here. Here’s what I wouldn’t do, don’t back it up and send the backup to your email. That’s just crazy. You want to leave the backups on the internet, but you want to know where the backup is going to be. So, in two different locations. One would be to a folder which will not be on my computer, and then one will be in my Dropbox account. If you don’t have a Dropbox account, it’s very simple to set up. You get 5GB of space for free. I have the commercial version, but it doesn’t matter. Chances are the free version will be fine. That’s it. OK, so we’ve done that, and I see that not only do I have the “To” folder, now I have the “To Dropbox.” Great. Those are exactly what I need. Now I go over– Before I do that I want to save any changes that I made.

OK. One other thing, make sure that you have the address you want. Any emails that this plugin may generate, for example, if the backup is not made correctly, you’ll get an email that says, “The backup wasn’t made.” Let me make sure I saved. Now I’m going to go over to schedule, and this is a little geeky stuff because it says something about cron jobs. OK, I don’t know what that is– But I do know actually what that is. That’s the option I want to check. The reason why I want to check that is I don’t want to have a manual backup, and a manual backup means I have to go into my WP admin to do a backup. That’s not what I want to do, and I want to have it done automatically. I want to set a schedule. So, with the cron job, I scroll down over here, and I can see that I can schedule a time when I want backup to take place. This is final, every day at 3 AM. If you have an active site, that would be good. If you don’t have a very active site, maybe once a month or once a week would be OK. There’s different ways of configuring exactly what time of day you want it to be backed up. So, I’m going to save because I did make a change there.

OK, That’s good. Now I’m going to click on this over here. So, every WordPress site has a database, and the database consists of data tables. If you don’t know what a database is, think of an Excel spreadsheet that has rows and columns, and those rows and columns have formed cells. A cell is what you can put information in, it’s just a way to store information, and WordPress is run that way. It’s not exactly an Excel spreadsheet where the information is stored, and it’s a little more sophisticated than that. But the bottom line is all of the content that you create, all the settings and changes that you make in your WP admin they go into the database. The database is the single most important part of your WordPress site. It’s what distinguishes your site from all other site, for that matter. By default, the plugin has selected all of the data tables that make up the database, and I would leave it the way it is. I wouldn’t do anything unless you don’t want a particular data table to be backed up. But this is the right way to do it. Then I’m going to go over here to “Files.”

In addition to your WordPress site having a database, it also has various files, and the files are PHP files or CSS files or image files, and you can go through this and decide which files to include or exclude from your backup. Again, because I love this plugin so much I know that by default this is going to be set up pretty much the way I want. I’m not even going to make any changes at this point. So, “Database” is fine. “Files” is fine. “Plugin,” I never even do anything with this over here. I don’t want my plugins to be backed up because that’s silly. I can always get my plugins anyway. “None” is OK. Then the “To” folder, this is going to indicate on my server– That is, where my WordPress site is located. I happen to have an account– I have various accounts with various servers, and I happen to have different web hosts for different kinds of websites. But anyway, this is the location where this backup is going to go, and it’s going to back up. Or, it’s going to keep the last 15 backups. You don’t want the server to have 100 different backups, especially if you’re backing up every day it doesn’t make any sense to do that.

This is good. I want to leave it just like that. The only one that you have to do any real configuring is the Dropbox account. So currently, I’m not connected to the Dropbox account. I need an API key to connect my site with a Dropbox account, so that when the backup is made that zip file will go automagically to my Dropbox account. To do that they give you two options. I’m not sure which one is which, or what the difference of them is, but I always use the second one. It will take me to my– It will ask permission from my Dropbox account to connect the two. I’m going to say, “Allow.” OK, so it gives me my API key, which is just a series of digits. I’m just going to copy these, and now I’m just going to go back– No, I don’t have to go back. I can go like this and then paste it right into here, Command-V. That’s good. And again, the “15” will– That’s fine. By the way, you might be wondering about the “15.” So when it gets to number 16, it’ll just delete the oldest backup, and we’re done.

Not really. I save the changes and make sure we’re good with that, and I’d like to check to make sure everything is going to be good. Go back to jobs, and now we see I do have a job. Yes, it’s called “Full backup.” If I need to make any changes, let’s say I want to include something– It took me back to the setup page. OK, that’s fine. I don’t want to make any changes I just wanted to let you know that you could change the parameters of the job or the backup routine if you need to. You can also delete it, and if I go over here, it tells you the type of backup. I’m just going to back up my database, going to backup files, plugins– That’s fine. Also, where the zip file is going to go, it’s going to go to the Dropbox account, and it’s also going to go to a folder on my server. So all the basic, main, key information is stored over here.

It’s never been run, that is a backup has never been created, but we’re going to test it right now. So, I’m going to do “Run now,” and run we go, and it probably won’t take that long because there’s not much of a website here. If you have a really big website with lots of pages and posts and images and all that, it would take a little bit longer to back it up. I’ll see if I am going to wade through this.

Sometimes I say, “No. I don’t want to wade through it.” It’s done, OK, how exciting was that? It was perfect. All right, and now it’s 100% complete. You do want to test it to make sure that it’s going to work. The other thing I might want to check too here is called “Log.” I’m going to click on that, and this really gives you a whole bunch of technical stuff, and it just says that it was successfully completed. That’s the key thing. If there was a problem, there’d be an error message in here that might be a little difficult.

The single biggest hangup that you’ll have is that the connection won’t be established between your site and Dropbox. So, that may or may not be a problem. Sometimes it’s just a temporary thing to clear up by itself. Usually, it is. OK, and we might wonder, “Where do you get the backup?” I’ll show you. I’m going to take you over here to jobs. Good, now it has “Download.” If I clicked on this I could download, and it will tell me– I’m just going to click on this, and I could download the zip file. Now, in all probability, if your site were compromised, you wouldn’t be able to log into your WP admin and do what I just did. Then you would have to go use a program called FTP or have somebody do this for you to get it from your server, and/or if you send your file– Your zip file to Dropbox then all you have to do is log into your Dropbox account, and your zip file would be there. This is very important to know the location of where your backup is, just in case that rainy day happens.

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Mod 5 - Plugins

Running Time:  8:15

There are two common ways to install plugins into your WordPress site which I show you in this video.

  1. Right from your WP Admin. Just select Plugins > Add New Plugins link from the right hand sidebar.
  2. Go to the WordPress Plugins Repository (everyone calls it The Repo), download a plugin to your computer. I explain the rest in the video.

There’s Really A Third Way

If you know what FTP is (File Transfer Protocol) you can use that to move a plugin folder into the proper location. I didn’t get into this during the video.

I mention that the 50,000 plugins in the repo are free. That is true but some plugins have premium versions or features that you pay for but not to worry. There are so many plugins that are excellent in what they do for free.

You’re probably tired of me saying that when you make changes to your site like adding new plugins make sure to have a current backup of your site. That’s just safe practice. Plus ff you are adding a plugin to your site and you’e not sure what it does then make a duplicate of your site (you may need help for this). DO NOT use your life site to try things out!!

Links In This Video

Transcript Of This Video

I’m back here at my dashboard, and my dashboard might look a little different than yours because there’s not much going on with this site. This is the site that I’m building for this course, and there are two very common ways to install a plugin. One is through the WP admin, which is what I’m about to do, and the other is to journey over to and find your plugins there. So, let’s start with this. I’m just going to go over here to “Plugins,” and I’m going to click on “Install plugins,” and there aren’t any installed plugins. I’m about to do that right now, so I’m going to go over here to “Add new,” and it’s going to let me have access to the 50,000 plugins that are currently in the WordPress plugins repository, and they’re all free. Where do I start? You can click along any one of these options over here, “Featured plugins,” “Popular plugins,” we have over here “Recommended,” and so forth. I’m not going to do that, I happen to know the plugin that I want, and it’s called Akismet Anti-Spam. It just so happens because it is such a well-known and popular plugin, it happens to be right here. Now if it wasn’t here I would type in the name of the plugin right over here, or if I had a general notion I would do that, and then I would search by keyword. But anyway, it’s right over here.

So one thing I can do and I usually do especially if it’s a plugin I’m not familiar with, I’ll click on this over here “More details.” I want to study up a little bit on what the plugin is before I install it. I should say that in general if you don’t know what a plugin is going to do for your site, you might want to do this on a test site first. Don’t use your live site to experiment with plugins, especially if you don’t know what the plugin is likely to do. I’ll read through this, and I’ll skip over installing the plugin because I always say if you know how to install one plugin you know how to install all 50,000 plugins. “Changelog,” that’s really for developers. It talks about the history of the plugin and the changes it’s undergone, so you may or may not want to click on it. “FAQs,” depends. Some plugins have a lot about FAQs, and some don’t have any. “Reviews,” you might want to check this out too. I always like to get a sense of how many people have used the plugin, and if it’s a plugin that’s a well-known plugin it’s probably going to have over a million installations and, it does. It has well over– I know this for a fact, well over a million installations. I could look at the ratings and reviews.

Now, be a little careful with this because sometimes these reviews can be from somebody’s mother in law or something like that. But you want to check that out. Anyway, once I am ready to install I could click on “Install” right over here, or had I not chosen that option for the “More details” I could go over here to “Install” and click this. You’ll see in a second or two it’s completed. Now, in order for the plugin to work, you have to do one other step, you may have to make sure that the plugin is activated. I’m going to click on that, and now we’ll see that the plugin is activated. OK, that’s good. Now it turns out this plugin needs one other thing, which I am going to go over in another video that deals with configuring this plugin in order for it to work. We’re just going to leave it right like this. OK, that’s the first plugin I want to install. The second plugin we’ll use the second method, which is in this case, I’m going to go over here to the WordPress repository or the plugins repository, and it says “Plugins.” I got there just by going to, and I just clicked on “Plugins,” and here I am. It’s the same setup that we just saw through the WP admin, and look at this, and this plugin is right at the top. It goes through all these popular plugins that everybody uses, but let’s say you came here and you knew the name of the plugin or you had a general idea of what you were looking for. Either one, you would type in the name or general idea, and I happen to know exactly what it is. I want to use the BackWPup plugin, so it’s already been typed in. Here’s the little tricky part. There isn’t any little button over here to click, once you have completed the entry of your name of the plugin or general search term, you want to hit your “Enter” key. Which I just did. So, type that out on your keyboard, and here it is. This is a very popular plugin. There’s many different kinds of backup plugins, and this is the one I happen to use. So in this case, if I want more details what I’ll do is I’ll click on this link over here, and it takes me to the page that’s just dedicated for this plugin. Each plugin has its own dedicated page on the site. The same kind of information that we saw before in the WP admin, the description and all kinds of information. I like the way this is a little easier to read. How many installations? Lots of installations. The ratings, pretty good ratings.

Again the same thing over here, sometimes you’ll also see a screenshot. There is no screenshot. “Reviews,” “Installation,” “Instructions, “Support.” Yes, this is an important part to know. If you need help with any plugin, then go to the WordPress plugins repository which is where I am, and you would go to the plugin page, and then you would click on “Support.” You’ll see that there is a support forum and you can ask questions or search for answers to questions that you may have. Hopefully, the developer of the plugin will get back to you real soon, you’ll see that plugins that are very well-known and highly rated generally the developer does get back real soon. That’s a good indication that the developer cares about the plugin that he or she has made. Anyway, I’m going to navigate away or click back, and I’m ready to download this plugin. OK, so I’m just going click this over here. In this case, I am downloading the plugin to my computer, and that’s fine, so I’m going to save the file and the way my computer is set up all my downloads go onto my desktop. It’s just the way I like it. It’s been done, so now I go back to the site that I’m building. Here we go, into the WP admin, and this time I’m going to click “Add new” again, but watch this. I am now going to upload the plugin that I just downloaded. Now, when you download a plugin or a theme for that matter, all the files are contained inside a zip file. You can open them if you want, you don’t have to make anything work. Generally, I don’t unless there’s a specific reason why I have to open up that zip file, so I’m going to browse for that zip file which is on my desktop, and I’ll bet it’s going to be called “BackWPup.” Yeah. Normally the names of the downloaded files are really easy to find, and in this case, it was. I am now going to click “Open.” Don’t forget to “Install now.”

You’ll see this will take a second or two because what’s happening is that the plugin zip file goes up to my WordPress site and then it’s unpacked, when I click– All that technical stuff that we don’t need to know about. Here it is, so the plugin has been installed. Very nice. By virtue of the fact that I installed this plugin I now have a little link over here in my admin that I didn’t have before, and if I just go back over to plugins we’ll now see that both plugins have been installed and I’m going to configure both of these plugins in two upcoming videos.

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Mod 5 - Plugins

Running Time:  8:51

At the end of my video I show the different ways to keep your plugins up-to-date. This is one of the simplest – and most important – things you can do to protect your site from being compromised.

Check out my list of the 21 Most Popular WordPress Plugins.

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Transcript Of This Video

OK, let me give you a little intro to plugins. This is going to be a very big section of my WP A to Z course. So first of all, what is a plugin? I always tell people it’s like an app. An app to a cell phone, or to a tablet, things like that. Apps extend what the device does by default, same thing with WordPress. Plugins extend what WordPress does by default. Everything I’ve shown you up to this point if you’re following along in the first four modules is without a plugin. From this point on, I am going to use plugins for the WordPress site that I’m building, and I’m going to show you plugins that are not part of the site that I’m building. OK, so what types of plugins are out there? There are a lot of them. There are what I call “Utility plugins” that will do things like backup your website or speed up its performance, or do all kinds of things that you would do for any site. There are plugins that add forms to your site, some of the well-known ones are Contact Form 7, Ninja Forms, Gravity Forms. You have to pay for it, but it’s fantastic. Many different kinds of plugins to add forms to your site. There are search engine optimization plugins, the most well-known ones, the Yoast SEO plugin, but that’s not the only one that will help index your site with search engines. There are page builder plugins, such as Elementor or Beaver Builder or SiteOrigin page builder. These are designed plugins that will help you build the pages and posts and other kinds of content for your site, make it more of a whizzy-wig environment. There are metrics plugins, in other words, plugins that will do all kinds of measuring for your site. I think the most well-known one would be something like for Google Analytics that connects your site with Google Analytics so that all the tracking patterns, and how people go through your site and how long they stay on a page, and where do they go from one page to the next.

That’s all part of metrics, and there are lots of different plugins for that. There are e-commerce plugins, the most well-known is the WooCommerce plugin, and that turns your website into a store. So, yes, a plugin to do that. There are plugins to connect you with third-party services, and in fact, this is what many plugins do. For example, if somebody subscribes to a newsletter on your site, you may want the email address, and other information go to your email provider. Constant Contact or MailChimp or [AWeb], or whatever it is. There are plugins that will connect you to those third-party services, and then there’s Jetpack. It’s a swiss army knife of a plugin, in that it’s got a package of plugins. It just so happens that Jetpack is a plugin which is developed by Automattic, it’s the company that manages the development of WordPress. All this does beg a question which is, “Do all these plugins play nicely together?” There are about 50,000 different plugins out there. Most of them are free, or at least there are a “Try before you buy” concept in all of these plugins or many of these plugins, and do they all work well together? The answer is, “It depends.” If it’s a well-known plugin, chances are it will. If it’s an offbeat plugin that hardly anyone uses, maybe not. What I always suggest is that you test or try out your plugin or a new plugin for your site on a test site. Don’t ever install plugins that you don’t know what they’re going to do on your site. Better to have a test site, a staging site, a mirror site, whatever you want to call it. That is not your live site where you can experiment and try out new plugins. Where do you get plugins, and how do you install them? I’ll take up the matter of installing them in the next video, but the most common place or the easiest place to get a plugin is within the WP admin. You can also go to where they have a plugins repository, also called “The repo,” and you can download a plugin from there. Just about all 50,000 plugins will be found there. Then many people develop plugins where you go to their site, and you download the plugin from there. Once installed, there are four things you can do with any plugin. You can activate and deactivate the plugin, and you can always tell if it’s active if it’s got this little blue bar right over here like this.

So, that’s easy to tell, “That’s an active plugin.” In this case, over here, there’s another plugin over here, and you can see that it’s not active. It’s pretty easy to tell if a plugin is active or deactivated. Then you can update a plugin, and I am going to show you how to do this in a minute because updating your plugins is key to keeping your site safe and sound. Of course, you can also delete. Now I should say, in order to delete any plugin you must first make sure that it’s deactivated, and then you can go ahead and delete. OK, we’re going to have a look at updating your plugins. It’s not very hard to do, but you do need to do this, as I said, to keep your site safe and sound. So this is the site that is my prototype site for this course, the site that’s been already built, and I’m just going to log in– I’ve already logged in, so I go to the dashboard and the thing I noticed right over here it says “Update” and a little four next to it, which means there are four somethings to update. Now it could mean that our theme needs to be updated or WordPress itself needs to be updated, in this case, it says over here “Plugins–” I have four different plugins that could be updated. You could do this, check this off and then click “Update” anyway you go. Now, word of caution before you update anything make sure your site has a backup, because what happens if you do an update and there’s something with a new plugin that’s not compatible, and you’ve got an issue? Make sure that your site is backed up before you do the updating. OK, but I’m not going to do it this way. The way I’d like to do it, it’s just my preference, I go to plugins, and again I see the four over there, and I go to where it says “Install plugins,” and here you can see it’s really easy to identify. Because you can see right over here that this plugin needs to be updated, and this plugin needs to be updated, your Elementor needs to be updated, Jetpack needs to be updated. One way I could update a plugin, let’s say I didn’t want to update all of them at once, or I just wanted to update one for some reason, I would do this. Just click “Update,” and you can see it’s updating. I have three plugins that need to be updated, and it even turned the number over to three right over here. I could check off, and I could do it this way, I could go to all the plugins that need to be updated. In fact, I usually do it this way, I go to all the ones that need to be updated and check on them. By the way, it’s very possible that an inactive plugin needs to be updated too. In my case, all my plugins– Here’s an example. Jetpack is currently not active, but it says I need to update it. I could click on those three the way I just did and then go to “Bulk activity” and click on “Update.” I’m not going to do it that way, and I’m going to do it a little more efficiently. You could click on right over here where it says, “Updates available (3).” Perfect, and now I’m going to select all three like this. It’s just a lot easier. This time I’m going to click on “Bulk activity” like I did before, but I’m going to do it now. I’m going to click on “Update,” and I’m going to click “Apply,” and you will see in short order all three of these plugins are going to be updated. Now if I go back to “All,” where all the plugins are, you’ll now see that nothing needs to be updated. That’s great. OK, good. Like I said, keep your software– That means your plugins, up to date.

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