My Environment Medallion WordPress Guide

MEM WordPress Guide

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YOUR CUSTOM VIDEO USER GUIDES:

See below for an in-depth video on making changes to specific parts of your website. Skip to the following time points for important parts of the video:
  • [0:00] – General information about your website and tour of the Home page.
  • [time] – Home:

Your walkthrough session recording will appear here.
Contact Abell to schedule your Zoom walkthrough!

See below in this WordPress Guide for more videos on other aspects of your website that may not have been covered in your custom videos.

SELECTED FEATURES

A few of the special tools and features that have been included with your website
  • GROW YOUR WORLD THEME – Your website uses the standard Grow Your World theme, which has been customized to give it an even more unique and personalized look
  • WORDPRESS 6.2.2 (as of August, 2023) – Your new site has the latest version of WordPress installed as your website’s Content Management System (CMS).
  • CMS IMPROVEMENTS – Implemented extensive improvements and customizations to the default WordPress interface, to maximize the usability of the CMS.
  • FUNCTIONS & FEATURES – Installed a number of essential plugins and widgets to enhance site functioning and performance, including:
    • Membership website
    • Contact form
    • Images enhancements – gallery display, Lightbox popup effects, Metaslider slideshows, image “smushing” and auto-resizing (keeps image sizes down to improve site speed), easy image replacing in media library
  • RESPONSIVE DESIGN – By design, your website is completely responsive for viewing on devices of all sizes.
  • GOOGLE ANALYTICS – Installed Google Analytics, for measuring traffic on your website.
  • SECURITY – Implemented a number of security enhancements to guard against various attacks (e.g. brute force attacks).
  • AUTOMATIC BACKUPS – Activated automatic backups of the website files & MySQL database at regular intervals, in case of hacking or website crash, in preparation for your WordPress Care Plan.

  1. LOGGING IN TO WORDPRESS

    Here’s where you go to log into the WordPress CMS:

    https://growyourworldweb.com/wp-login.php

    Your usernames and passwords for your two WordPress user roles (Admin and Editor) have been sent in a separate email.

    1. USER ROLES – The “Editor” user role minimizes the amount of stuff you need to deal with in the WordPress Dashboard (as opposed to “Administrator,” which has access to most site functions). Most of this guide is written for a user logged in as an Editor.
      1. CUSTOM USER ROLE for the My Environment Medallion site. – Your site also employs a custom user role, the “MEM Member.” This role only gives the user access to the membership tools on the front end of the website, NOT to the website administration tools in the back end of WordPress.
    2. LOGIN LIMITS – For security, login attempts have been limited to 10 retries, after which the IP is locked out for 20 minutes (4 lockouts increase the time to 24 hours). Go to Settings > Limit Login Attempts to change these settings (logged in as Admin).

      Note: sometimes WordPress might require a couple of attempts to log in successfully, if previous credentials are stored in your browser’s cache. Let Abell know if you ever find yourself locked out completely!

  2. GETTING FAMILIAR WITH WORDPRESS

    You will see a few items in the menu to the left:
    1. Posts – are one of the two main types of content within a WordPress site (the other is Pages). Posts, better known as blog posts or news posts, are typically organized chronologically.

      Learn much more about the difference between posts and pages here:
      What is the Difference Between Posts vs. Pages in WordPress
      (https://www.wpbeginner.com/beginners-guide/what-is-the-difference-between-posts-vs-pages-in-wordpress/)
    2. Media – is the library of images, PDF’s, and other media files that have been uploaded to WordPress. Note: a special plugin has been added to organize your media library into folders… see below video for more info on that.
    3. Forms – give you access to the forms created by Gravity Forms, a powerful premium plugin that has been employed to handle not only contact forms on your website, but also all of the membership functionality. This section was written just for the My Environment Medallion site.
    4. Pages – are the webpages that you see in the main navigation sections of the site, such as “About” and “Contact Us.” They are organized hierarchically in a tree structure.
    5. Appearance – where you go to access the navigation menus on your WordPress website.
    6. Profile – where you access your user profile in the WordPress Dashboard.
    7. YOAST SEO – where you go to access your SEO tools using the Yoast SEO Plugin. This also may appear as an icon in the header bar in the WordPress admin area.
    8. [Collapse menu] – will give you a smaller menu to deal with, using only icons.

      *NOTE: your version of the WordPress CMS is completely responsive, so you can access any of the above functions in any browser on any size device!

    The above items should be available by themselves if you’re logged in as an Editor, to minimize the amount of stuff you have to deal with. If you’re logged in as an Administrator, you will have access to everything, including the following items (if they are installed):

    • Site Kit – where you go to access an overview of your Google Analytics statistics, to view your website’s traffic.
  3. HOW TO ADD/EDIT CONTENT IN PAGES AND POSTS WORDPRESS

    You have two choices for adding or editing content in your installation of WordPress: the Beaver Builder plugin, or the Classic Editor. Both are reasonably user-friendly options, but are also pretty different from each other. At this time, my suggestion is to use Beaver Builder, but the Classic Editor is there if you need it. The two options (and a potential third) are explaned below:
  4. *NOTE: Whenever making changes to page or post content, you’ll want to go slow and take care to check your progress on the live website after each change, so you can retrace your steps if you make a mistake. Let Abell know if something gets broken and you need help!

    1. Beaver Builder – Your website has a PREMIUM 3rd-party drag-and-drop editor plugin called Beaver Builder, for editing your static pages like About. The premium version is installed for many GYW clients for free (value $99/year). My clients have usually found this to be the easiest way to add and edit content, and a number of enhancements have been made to the Beaver Builder functioning on your site. To use Beaver Builder, go to Pages > All Pages, and hover over the page you want to edit. Select “Beaver Builder.”

      Check out the following video for an introduction on editing content using Beaver Builder (other videos below will show using Beaver Builder in more detail). The video starts here at 17:50 to skip to the parts you may find most useful:

      See many more videos on Beaver Builder on their YouTube page!

    2. Classic Editor – Some WordPress users prefer to stay with the Classic Editor. To use the Classic Editor, go to Pages > All Pages, hover over the page you want to edit, and select “Edit.” Then select the “Text Editor” tab. You’ll want to take great care when switching between Beaver Builder and the Classic Editor, as preformatted pages can break when doing this!

      To see my older guide on Adding/Editing Page and Post content using the Classic Editor, visit:
      WordPress Classic Editor Guide
      (https://growyourworldweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Wordpress-Classic-Guide.pdf)

    3. Gutenberg – If you follow WordPress, you may have heard about something called “Gutenberg.” As of WordPress version 5.0, the CMS has incorporated its own native, drag-and-drop block editor. This has been disabled in your case, as Beaver Builder serves the same purpose. In my clients’ experience, the Gutenberg editor is promising, but it is “not quite there yet” in terms of ease-of-use.

      If you’re interested in giving Gutenberg a try, let Abell know.
  5. HOW TO MANAGE IMAGES ON YOUR WEBSITE

    The images and graphics (as well as PDFs and other files) live in the Media Library of WordPress. See below for some important tips and tutorials:
    1. Managing images – Check out my video tutorial on managing images in the Media Library, organizing them into folders, and easily replacing images:
    2. Using the image editor – While it is recommended that you use Photoshop or similar software to do advanced image editing, WordPress has a basic built-in image editor that can perform a number of the tasks you might need to accomplish. When you’re viewing an image in the media window, click “Edit Image.” A new page will appear with a row of buttons at the top that will give you several options, with pop-up tool tips when you hover over them. You can change the size of an image by going to “Scale Image” and specifying the dimensions. Basic images within pages can be many different sizes, but should be limited to about 2400px wide for most website designs. It’s recommended that you not increase the size of lo-res images, as this will cause them to appear “fuzzy.” To crop an image, click and drag a little on the image to get a crop-box started, and then in the two “Selection” parameter windows to the right, enter your desired dimensions (e.g. 300 x 300)… this will make the crop-box the desired size. Hover over your box until you get a cursor with four arrows, drag the box to where you want it positioned, and click the Crop button in the top row of buttons (on the far left).

      RESTORING ORIGINAL IMAGE – It is always recommended that you save an original version of the photo you are altering to your desktop before you save your changes in the WordPress image editor. However, if after saving your edited image you need to revert back to the original version, click Edit Image, and Restore Original Image.

      NOTE: Images that are not optimized and/or are high resolution (300 dpi or more) may take a long time to upload (for example, images that have just been uploaded from your digital camera), and will probably not display as quickly as images that are optimized for the web. It’s typically best to optimize these images for the web in Photoshop or other software.
    3. Replace Media – A special plugin has been added to allow quick and easy replacement of items in the Media library. In the media library list view, hover over an item and select “Replace Media.” Make sure the new item has the exact same file name as the old item (e.g., “image.jpg”), select the “Just replace the file” radio button, and click Upload.
    4. Controlling images – There are a number of ways to better control and customize display of your images in posts and pages, such as by “floating” images within a page, adding borders, and opening them using the “lightbox” effect.

      See below for my video showing more about these options:
  6. HOW TO MAKE CHANGES TO SPECIFIC PAGES, MORE ON BEAVER BUILDER

    Certain pages on your website may require specific tutorials to show you how to make changes. See below for some of those:
    1. Home Page – Check out my video tutorial on making changes to the Home page, as well as more info on using Beaver Builder:
    2. NOTE for Roan: The following information on Gravity Forms is specifically for the My Environment Medallion site.

    3. Gravity Forms – Your site employs a powerful premium (paid) plugin the handles not only your contact forms, but lots of the advanced functionality of your membership website. For example, we use Gravity Forms add-ons to handle registering new members, payment for medallions, the map display page, and the math function that adds up items of litter picked up. Check out this video tutorial giving an introduction to using Gravity Forms:

      See many more videos on Gravity Forms on their YouTube page!

      • Viewing submissions to your forms – By default, when you are logged in as an Editor you only have access to see submissions to your forms, meaning the entries made by your users on each of your various forms on the website. To have access to all Gravity Forms functions, log in as an Administrator.
  7. ADDITIONAL FEATURES AND FUNCTIONS

    1. Menus – For more on managing your navigation menu(s), first you’ll need to go to Appearance > Menus. Then check out the following video for more info on menus (plays here between 1:16 and 4:56):
    2. Footer Widgets – You have several widgets in a custom-built footer area of your website, with features such as contact information, buttons linking to important pages, and social media links.

      Check out my video here to learn how to control these widgets, and I also show first-hand what to do if you hit a technical snag while working with WordPress (the answer is don’t panic!):
    3. SEO – You have a strong, free search engine optimization (SEO) plugin installed on your website called Yoast. Check out the video below for more on getting the most out of Yoast and how to make efforts to improve your search engine ranking (the video plays here after 8:41, as setup has already been taken care of):
    4. Analytics – I have created a Google Analytics account for you, and installed a free plugin that gives an overview of your statistics in WordPress. To view this, log in as an Administrator, and then go to Site Kit in the side menu.

      This lite plugin gives a very limited snapshot, so to dive deeper into your traffic stats you should log directly into Analytics. A link and your login credentials will be sent to you after your website goes live. Check out the following comprehensive video to learn how to get the most out of Google Analytics:
    5. Miscellaneous tips
      • Embedding YouTube videos in a post or pageIn YouTube: Navigate to the YouTube page for your selected video, and right below the video, click the “Share” tab. Select “Embed”, and you’ll get a window with the embed code. Copy this code.

        In WordPress: To add a video into a post, choose Posts > Add New Post in the Classic Editor. Simply paste the embed code into the content of the new post in your WordPress Text Editor. Click “Publish.”

  8. WORDPRESS CARE PLANS

    1. Fairly frequently, your theme, plugins and WordPress itself will require updating. Updates typically happen when developers release security patches or add extra functionality. It’s an essential practice to keep your plugins/theme and WordPress itself updated to the latest versions. The top two reasons for sites being hacked are insecure passwords and outdated (vulnerable) software. WordPress has introduced automatic background updates in an effort to promote better security and to streamline the update experience, but by default, only minor WordPress releases are enabled (e.g. v5.1.1, v5.1.2). These minor releases are usually for maintenance and security purposes or translation file updates. Only core WordPress files will be auto-updated; your theme and plugins won’t be automatically updated by default. When your site is auto-updated, your site administrator will be notified by email. If your WordPress installation can’t update itself automatically for one reason or another, your site administrator will be notified of this as well. It is highly recommended that you have a developer perform your updates, as they can be delicate at times… updates can break your website if not done carefully and in the correct order, especially if they have not been done for a while.

      For more information about assistance with ongoing WordPress maintenance, ask me about the Grow Your World WordPress Care Plans!

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