October 2017 Meetup: Managing WordPress & WP Transients

Managing WordPress

Steven Watts of Newt Labs talked about WordPress management, which also included a quick introduction to Slack – an instant messaging/support system.

See the slides below:

Click on the image above to see the slide (pdf format)

This is a cut down version of the presentation, for more see https://www.slideshare.net/StevenWatts8/managing-wordpress

Takeaways: where to get help, how to setup a staging site, a backup strategy, quick security wins, eyes on your site, and a better understanding of quality hosting.

Slack – We at WordPress Cambridge have two channels. There are a bunch of UK channels, and also a bunch of international channels. You can stay in contact with the Cambridge group, and get help/support from the UK and internationally.

Newt Labs is a sponsor of our Meetup group. They provide site care for WordPress websites by providing unlimited small fixes, implementing best practices and taking care of ongoing technical tasks. Keeping WordPress sites secure and effective, from £49 a month.

WordPress Transients API

Adam Maltpress of http://maltpress.co.uk/ talked about the WordPress Transients API.

Transients help speed up your site by reducing the number of database queries needed to create a page. We discussed the code needed to start using transients in your theme or plugin as well as looking at a couple of ways of measuring your code’s performance while developing and testing. We also discussed some of the issues around caching content and the compromises involved.

See the slides below:

Transients API presentation cover
Click on the image above to see the slides (PDF format)


Several presentations from Dawn, Chris and Jonathan on the theme of blogging for this meeting!

Content ideas for blog posts – Dawn Fisher

First up was Dawn Fisher of Remedial Massage Treatment.co.uk/

Dawn has been using her site to find customers for around 10 years and her blog is an integral part of this. She spoke to us about the way she creates her blog posts.

The first step in a successful blog (and for each successful post) is to work out what the purpose of it is. You should aim to attract (and retain) people who are actively looking for your goods or services. Ask yourself what they might want to know, and write about it.

Using Google Analytics is also important – it helps you find out what search terms are bringing to your site: you can use these to write your blog.

Another useful technique is to ask your past visitors and customers what they found interesting on your site. You should also make note of what your customers ask you most: these are the sorts of questions people will be searching for online.

Dawn keeps a notebook of ideas for blog posts and suggested that, rather than writing brief notes or titles, you should write out as much of the post as soon as you can – short notes might not mean much when you come back to them! These notes might be about the day’s interesting challenges or questions or just topics which come to you in a flash of inspiration. Topics may also come from the things you read. Wherever the topics come from, it’s important to keep everything – even those unfinished posts – so you can revisit them in future if inspiration strikes. Returning to an old post and writing an updated version can also create new content for you!

One part of Dawn’s success is down to keeping a human side to her posts: not just writing technical jargon, but writing for your audience. It’s a hard balance: you need to be technical enough that other experts respect you, and that customers know that you know your subject, but not so technical that you’re not understood by the layman.

Regardless of where your inspiration comes from, make sure you check your spelling and grammar – nothing undermines your point faster than a poorly written post.

Cats and Tags – Chris McMahon

Next up was Chris McMahon of Very Simple Sites

Blog post covering talk – https://verysimplesites.co.uk/categories-tags-wordpress/

Chris talked about categories and tags and how you can use them to organise your blog’s content in WordPress

DISCLAIMER don’t just change cats and tags without adding 301 redirects

Content needs organising just like libraries

Yoast is a good example of cats and tags – easy to see the cats they have and the different content available

Don’t do it for seo so it for your readers

You need to think about and plan your websites structure before you start writing

Use pages and posts accordingly. Pages can be inferior to pages for content that is time based – getting content out there and seen as and when..

Cats can be broad and must be used, they are hierarchical

Tags are flat and optional

Cats is contents page (or umbrella)
Tags is index (or raindrops)

Did a group exercise to see what could be cats and what could be tags. There are actually many possibilities depending on your blogs focus.

Suggestions/best practice

Less is more – limit categories
Put post in one cat but there are reasons when you might put in more
You don’t have to use tags……….
You can have many tags but limit them to not look spammy
Do not have tags that only apply to one post

If you want you can use neither and just rename the default cat form uncategorised to something like general/updates etc
You can noindex the archive page for this term so it’s unused

Archive pages should be used as standalone pages – add an intro, some more info, you can even sticky posts on these pages sometimes depending on theme plugins etc.

Cat and tag pages can be used for seo

Yoast keeps it simple and well organised they use few tags and cats per article

Only a handful of cats for a clean site structure

Don’t forget your category archive pages! Fill out the fields provided by the Yoast seo or other plugin. Make them descriptive and relevant.

In permalink settings you can change your category base i.e. Decade instead of category.

The whys and hows of micro blogging – Jonathan Whiteland

Slides – https://whiteland.net/jonathan/static/presentations/micro_blogging.html

Click on the above and use cursor keys to scroll left and right… or visit https://whiteland.net/jonathan/static/presentations/micro_blogging.html

Last but not least was Jonathan Whiteland

It’s like blogging….. but smaller..

Think social media updates


How are people going to find it?
A platform like WordPress.com or a
Self hosted WordPress website on micro.blog

WordPress has support for this such as shorter post formats, post categories (separate from your main blog)..

Jonathan’s plugin – A few micro blogging tweaks
Another – character count for post content and excerpt

Micro.blog “a new social network for independent micro blogs” micro.blog

Vision is to take feeds from people that have their own micro blogs and combine them (a bit like twitter).

You can cross post with services like twitter using apps like ifttt to push to twitter your micro blogs

Can do via WordPress app on your phone when out and about.

Json feed – similar to rss and atom but in json – check it out! Jsonfeed.com.


Simon talking about potentially moving the wp meetup to the bradfield centre.

Need a sponsor for tea coffee snacks

Graphic Design with Mario Prelorentsos

We were very fortunate to be able to welcome Mario Prelorentsos of JDJ Creative to talk to us about graphic design – in particular the use of colour.

In addition to a number of great points of interest (green is the colour of the year 2017, for example!) Mario provided us a number of links to handy sites for stock photography and other design resources:



Death to the Stock Photo

Book: Brainfluence

Smashing Magazine


You can see Mario’s presentation here:

JDJ-Colour Presentation

Google Analytics: Enlightening Talks

Time for more lightning talks – this time our topic was Google Analytics.

The presentations covered a lot of material in quite a lot of depth so it’s well worth looking through the slides (and resources they link to).

Graphic Design Goldfish Bowl

In a change to the planned presentation, we ran a “goldfish bowl” group discussion around graphic design – so no slides to share! Thanks to everyone who contributed and we’ll be running more goldfish bowls later in the year.

Hubspot and WordPress comparison

We were very lucky in February to welcome Eric Swain of Equinet Media for an in-depth discussion of Hubspot, the inbound marketing platform.

Hubspot was founded in 2006 in Boston, Mass. and has since gone public. They have around 20,000 customers in 100+ countries, making them an important player in web content and marketing.

Hubspot isn’t primarily a content management system, although it does include one (although they call it a “content optimisation system”). Instead, it’s a series of tools for tracking and identifying potential leads – so, for example, someone who visits your site from a link in an email can be tracked across all their interactions with you as they move from suspect through prospect to customer. As the user visits the site, they’re asked to fill in forms to get hold of more content (white papers and so on).

This tracking allows Hubspot to create a progressive profile of your customers and to present them the content they want to see.

This is the main difference between Hubspot and WordPress is that WordPress is a blogging platform which has evolved into more, while Hubspot is a CRM system which has evolved in to more.

For more details take a look at the Hubspot site, the Equinet Media site, or download Eric’s presentation.