WordPress webinar and points

On Friday the 24th of April, we ran our first WordPress Webinar. We covered quite a few topics so in this post I just want to go back over the key points and give you any relevant links etc – this should help whether you attended the event or not (want to hear about future events?).

The first topic we chatted about was “speed“.

Topic: Speed

Testing your website for speed is an important health check along with other benchmarks. Raw website speed is important as, well really, everything you do on your website is built on top that foundation – if you have raw speed issues –  everything else is going to be harder work than it should.

Here are two speed tests to consider using:

Both tests work in a similar fashion, you put your website address in, click submit, and it then whirs away and comes back with a report.

Whilst a tip-top rating would be lovely, it’s unlikely as that can typically only be arrived at after a series of website speed performance tuning tasks:

Fig 1 - Glass Mountains website speed report as of 27th of April 2020

Fig 1 – Glass Mountains website speed report as of 27th of April 2020

In Fig 1 we see the GTmetrix speed report for Glass Mountains as of the 27th of April 2020. If your website is getting ‘PageSpeed / YSlow Score” of around C/D and a ‘Fully Loaded Time‘ time of under 4 seconds, then I would say you don’t have any major cause for concern. If you are getting higher, great. If you are seeing a low E/F score then it would be wise to take action (chat to us).

One of the simplest ways to improve your speed is to move it a better website host.

On the webinar, I mentioned that if you were to change host, we would recommend you consider FlyWheel.

Not only would this probably* give you a better web speed performance report, but you would get myriad benefits of being on quality, WordPress only hosting.

(*I’m fairly positive that, all things being equal, migration to Flywheel would improve speed but I’m mindful that you cannot give guarantees on this as it depends on many factors. However, irrespective, a move to superior hosting is always a wise move).

Note: remember we do not (by choice) get any referral fees etc from recommended services.

But isn’t moving hosting a pain?

It can be but FlyWheel will do a lot of the hard work for you – check out this page on their migration service.

Update: FlyWheel have just today released a plugin which can help migration.

Note: we tend to prefer CloudWays hosting for a variety of reason. but as this is a slightly more technical service, it is not one that we would recommend you tackle on your own.


Topic: Website Structure

On this section of the webinar, I discussed a process you can follow to start appraising and nurturing your existing website content. A good starting point here is to look at this post we wrote called ‘Treat your website like an allotment‘. This post talks about the general approach you should take with nurturing your overall website structure.

After that, you can dive into this next article which discusses how you can assess and improve a single page of your site.


Topic: Staging website

Next, we talked about the usefulness of having ‘stage‘ (or ‘test”) website. This is a private website (separate to your live one) where you can play with WordPress website, making changes etc, safe in the knowledge that this is not your live site & you can’t really do any damage – ideal for learning etc.

If you think a stage/test site would be useful, please chat to your website designer, or your current website host may offer it. We mentioned Flywheel earlier for WordPress hosting, and if you are considering migrating to them –  they do also offer stage sites.


Topic: Google Analytics

We briefly dived into Google Analytics to answer a particular question, what we wanted was to know was this: what are the most popular pages on our site over a period of time? Knowing that answer, you can then target those pages first when you are looking to make any website improvements.

Here is an older post I wrote all about how to get that information from Google Analytics.


Topic: Yoast & SEO

In this portion of the webinar, we dipped into using the Yoast SEO plugin to fix a particular issue. I’ve just written an article on that topic so if you want to go through the steps I took, please read  ‘How Yoast helped fix an SEO issue in Google‘.


Topic: Managing Plugins

Keeping your plugins up to date is key to maintaining the security and robustness of your WordPress site. For our managed clients, our support packages mean that we take care of these issues for them. However, if you need to do it yourself, what can you do?

Well, obviously you can just go in and click ‘update‘ periodically and hope nothing goes wrong – but a better solution would be a situation where this is automatically looked after for you.

Aside from getting the team at Glass Mountains to help with this, two options are:

Of the two, Flywheel would be better because I think you’ll find access to support easier.

Topic: Ecommerce

We ended with a brief chat about eCommerce.

WooCommerce >>

This is pretty much the go-to plugin for e-commerce on WordPress. It can handle your traditional shopping cart situation, and it also has a whole universe of additional extensions which can help you do things like subscriptions, Amazon Pay etc.

Stripe Checkout >>

I did point out the payment buttons we use on our pay as you go page – these are driven by Stripe Checkout:

Example of Stripe Checkout buttons on a WordPress site

Fig 1. Example of Stripe Checkout buttons

Here are some instructions from Stripe support – if you want me to write an article on a step by step guide, just let me know. Actually, I will do that, but it may come after you get this post – so subscribe to the blog!

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You will need a Stripe account to do the above, but once you have that, creating a ‘product‘ in Stripe is very simple.

You then need is a plugin to give you a nice [buy now] button on your website. For that, I’m using the free WordPress Stripe Checkout plugin. Once you have that installed, you just need to link it to your stripe account and then you can embed your button (all instructions on the WordPress Stripe Checkout link).

As I say, I will write a step by step guide for this.

Note: you can also use PayPal buttons I suppose, I just don’t really like those – the user experience always seems to feel a little clunky.

Shopify >>

The final e-commerce option is actually nothing to do with WordPress but I’m including it as I think it’s a good fit for some use cases. Shopify is a hosted commerce platform – you go to their site, create an account, choose a theme, set up products etc. They then host & support everything for you (I’m always a fan when you don’t have to worry about those headaches).

You can integrate your Shopify store into your WordPress site. Now, my preferred option when doing a slick e-commerce solution would always be to go straight to WooCommerce, but if you are just getting started, just dipping your toes into the e-commerce water, and you want an ‘add to basket‘ type of shopping cart experience (i.e. which Stripe Checkout doesn’t really offer), then Shopify is a great starting point. And, after (say) 9-18 months when you’ve proved your model, you can consider the investment to upgrade your website to include the shop directly (this will mean a slicker user experience, more sales, and lower transaction fees).


I don’t think I’ve missed anything, but if I have, please just shout out and I’ll add it.

If you want to join me on future webinars, please make sure you sign up so that I can tell you about them.




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