This is an internal page, not available through navigation on your site. It is designed to be a quick reference to basics you will need to manage your individual WordPress installation.
WordPress: Your Content Management System (aka: CMS)
For information on WordPress, see: http://www.wordpress.org. This is the depository of information on the WordPress codex, and contains listings for publicly shared Themes and Plugins available in the repository. Note: This is not the same as www.wordpress.com, which is a free hosting environment for very limited function wordpress sites.
Your System is running at the time of Developement on: WordPress 4.3.1. Download a copy for your records here: https://wordpress.org/
Content and layout are separate in WordPress. There are three content types on your site:
- Pages: Used for all your Pages. Pages are content that are not “time related”
- Posts: Not used on your site: The Page called “News” can be your blog. Blogs are time related. Posts are time related.
- Pricing tables: The table used for your comparison chart
This content is text. Text is tagged with styling, to create the look, font, size, positioning, etc. This is normally done by your Theme.
Layout is controlled by your theme. SEE: Dashboard>Appearance>Themes
A WordPress theme is a collection of rules for the specific display and organization a site. Those rules include positioning, font, and other styling elements. The rules are defined by CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets.
The basic areas for layout in a WordPress installation are:
- Header: Header contains the Masthead and the Top horizontal menu area
- Body: A collection of Headlines (of various weight and style), and Paragraph Text
- Sidebar: The strip on the right or left running between the header and footer
- Footer: The area below the Body
- More on how you access these areas later
Your theme is: SiteOrigin Vantage Premium Child Theme.
I encourage you to explore the SiteOrigin web site. They offer excellent support in their knowledgebase and through their forum. Use your Vantage Premium license code in SiteOrigin forums for access to quick (24 hour) response.
To find Your Theme Selection: SEE: Dashboard>Appearance>Theme_Settings>Premium
Note on “Child Themes”:
WordPress is updated regularly with security and feature updates. Security updates are done automatically. Feature updates can be set for either manual (recommended) or automatic. Updates replace certain files within your installation. Your basic WordPress training showed you the three major folders in a WordPress install. Those updates may impact customizations on a site, by replacing customized files in those folders, with others. Later in this page, you will see a reference to Custom CSS, which enhances basic theme settings. That custom CSS would be wiped out, if it were not for “Child Themes”. Now you know why you need a child theme.
What is a Child Theme: A child theme is a copy of a primary theme, yours being Vantage Premium, where customizations are preserved after updates. The parent, Vantage Premium, gets all the necessary updates, leaving custom files like the CSS styling sheets, and functions.php customizations intact. WordPress knows to look first in the Child Theme for customization while loading the parent theme.
So, in creating your site, one of the first steps was to install SiteOrigin Vantage. Then upgrade it to their Premium Version. Then Create a Child Theme for it, called SiteOrigin Vantage Premium Child Theme. This was done with a Plugin (more later) designed to create child themes.
Finding Your Theme, and Theme Settings:
Login to the Adminstration Area of your site: Username and password required
Dashboard: You learned about the Dashboard in Basic Training. Controls for the Dashboard are on the Left side column.
The APPEARANCE title has settings primarily related to:
- Your Theme: Where you select your active theme from installed, available themes
- Widgets: Functional Blocks used in portions of the layout
- Menus: Navigation Menus: Primary, and those created by you for use in Widgets
- Theme Settings: Vantage Premium Theme Settings (be careful there – these are generally “global settings” that have application across the entire site.
- Home Page: Vantage has a special editor/controller for a page titled and designated as your home page. Your home page is one of these.
And secondarily related to:
- Customization; Wordpress has the ability to customize various settings.
- Custom CSS (this is beyond Customization settings available above)
Your Theme is set under: Dashboard>Appearance>Theme>Vantage Premium Child Theme
WordPress (WP) allows you to entirely alter the look and feel of your site with a single change to an alternate theme. Themes can be built internally very differently. So, layouts, margins, padding, gutters, fonts, Headline sizing, columns, headers, footers, sidebars, etc. are almost all changed to some degree (if not completely) when you change themes.
ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR SITE ENTIRELY PRIOR TO CHANGING THEMES, PLUGINS, or UPDATES
You have a Backup Plugin Called “Snapshots” (aka: UDPB) It is set to create a weekly backup of your WordPress contents and database, to be sent to the administrator of your site. You can find the settings under: Dashboard>Settings>UpDraftPlus Backups.
It is recommended to have the backup sent to an actual storage server, like Dropbox, Amazon S3, or other location than being emailed. You’ll need an account on one of them. See UDPB Settings for the available storage services. You can set this plugin to backup more or less frequently. This backup facility is a superb feature of your site.
Your site uses the SiteOrigin’s Vantage Premium Theme combined with a SiteOrigin Layout Builder, called PageBuilder. PageBuilder is a relatively advanced method of getting WP to layout your pages with a very high degree of control, without having to do much coding, if any. PageBuilder is a Plugin.
PageBuilder works (mostly) in the “Body” area of your site. In conventional WP sites, the Body area is controlled only by the theme, and allows text variations in sizes of font, called styles. There are 6 heading styles, a text style, called “paragraph” etc. The theme controls all paragraph formatting, spacing, column positioning, etc.
Pagebuilder layout starts with creating “ROWS”. Each row can be 1-8 columns. Those columns can be laid out from a single, full-width column, to, up to 8 equal or irregular width ones. These ROWS, and COLUMNS within ROWS are CONTAINERS for your content. Content can be pictures, text, headlines, forms, etc. The Types of Content that can be placed in the ROW-COLUMN area of the Body of your Pages, are called WIDGETS.
Your Basic Training showed you Widgets. Pagebuilder allows the use of Widgets almost anywhere on a page. A typical WP installation and theme ONLY ALLOWS WIDGETS in SPECIFIED AREAS – the SIDEBAR, not in the Body, Footer, or other areas of the site. Pagebuilder allows Placing Widgets in ANY part of the Body that contains a ROW, in a Column of that row. This adds vast control to the site.
USING PAGEBUILDER as Opposed to the Standard WP Edit Window:
Your training showed you the WordPress Edit Window for writing text, including media, etc. PageBuilder works a little differently, while still giving you access to the Edit Window.
CAVEAT: You may choose to use EITHER PageBuilder OR the standard Edit Window on new pages or posts you create. Pick one or the other. If you build it in PageBuilder, you cannot use the standard edit window.
Your Pages are ALL constructed Using pagebuilder.
To edit an existing page:
- Be logged into the Administration
- Navigate to the site
- Navigate to the page to edit
- See the “Edit Page” feature at the top of the Administration screen: Press it
- Your Page Administration Opens
- In the Edit Window, see the Rows and Columns
- Each Row-Column combination contains content in the Form of a Widget
- The Row has editing controls in the upper right corner of the edit area
- Each Content widget has controls in the upper right corner of the widget
- These are separate controls, where some settings interact with each other for specific layout of the content of that row.
- Your Rows are all Set (under the ROW edit – top right) >Layout for “Full Width Stretched”
Types of Widgets Used in Your Body Layout: These are the Primary Widgets used on your site:
- SiteOrigin Headline (for headline areas not built with Visual Editor)
- SiteOrigin Image (All Images, except the Home page Billboard “Slider”)
- Circle Icon Widget (Home Page areas below Billboard, using green circles with images)
- Visual Editor (All text type content areas, some headlines, some others, within LayoutBuilder footer)
- Form (Gravity Form)
- Layout Builder in your Footer (Layout Builder allows building widgetized row/column layout within Theme widget areas, like your footer, or sidebars (which we did not use).
There are many others available. There a couple of ways to find them:
- Dashboard>Plugins>SiteOrigin Widgets
- In a Page Editor; >Pagebuilder>Add Widget , a menu of choices to add into the selected ROW
Your basic training showed you that there are functional features that can be added to WP through PLUGINS. Plugins are programs or code that can impact the function, layout, administration or almost any aspect of the WordPress installation not included within the core of WordPress itself.
Plugins are either Free, or Premium. You have some of both. Free plugins, and plugins that have free basic functions plus upgrades to premium ones can be found at:
Find Your Plugins at Dashboard>Plugins or Dashboard>Plugins>Installed Plugins
Rules of Thumb:
- Use as few plugins as is necessary to do the job.
- Plugins can bump into each other and have conflicts.
- Chose free or premium based on what it does, how well it does the job, how often it is updated, what others have to say about in reviews and support areas.
Plugins on Your Site:
These are the primary installed plugins used to construct, create and/or manage your site.
- Akismet: basic spam protection, under my free license. You should request your own at some time.
- Black Studio TinyMCE Widget: Provides broad text editing capabilities, required in Pagebuilder and Vantage Premium
- Child Theme Configurator: Used to create your child theme
- Easy Pricing Tables Lite by Fatcat Apps: Created Table for Traditional vs Relationship Sales
- Gravity Forms: Forms creation and processing
- Metaslider: Creation and control of the Home Page Billboard; can be used for others
- Page Builder by SiteOrigin: Provides layout design control by row and widget
- SiteOrigin CSS: Additional CSS settings not available in Customizer or theme
- SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle: Additional Widgets to WP standard; extensive controls
- Snapshot; Backup and Restore: Active: backup and restore site and databases
- Thememylogin: Provides branded login screen, password recovery, etc.
- UpdraftPlus Backup/Restore: Backup and Restore site and databases: inactive
- Wordfence: Security services and caching: It will block out invalid login attempts by spammers and other nefarious actors. Not 100% guaranteed, but does work.
- WordPress Importer: Provides limited import and export functionality to move site from development to main site
- Yoast SEO: Administration of Search Engine Optimization settings: In place to be used at a later date.
The BOLD HIGHLIGHTED ones are the most used, and most critical to understand for any changes, or updates you plan to do in the future. Yoast SEO is the best of breed plugins for adjusting the various settings to increase search rankings. You will need a Google Analytics account.
The most important group of plugins on your site, from the standpoint of a content creator, writer, site owner, are the ones around PageBuilder, and the SiteOrigin group. They add the functionality to make page and post layout customizable and controlable. That includes the CSS editor and the Widgets Bundle.
- A plugin may be installed and active:
- A plugin may be installed and inactive
Plugins that are installed on your site are stored in your www.tomgoetschius.com/wp-content/plugins folder. Installation alone does not mean they are active.
Plugins must be Activated at Dashboard>Plugins>Installed Plugins . You will see a list of installed plugins. Each plugin has either an “Activate” or “Deactivate” link, to toggle the current status.
Updating and Site Conflicts
WordPress is a growing platform with thousands of people working on the core of WordPress itself, plugins, themes, and related services to make the WP ecosystem better over time. Currently, around half of all new sites are built in WordPress. As such, it, like other successful web enterprises, is subject to varying degrees of attack. It is not unique in this, as attacks have happened on sites with every platforms since the beginning of the web.
To prevent attacks, the designers and builders of the WordPress core, update the core strictly for security reasons as vulnerabilities are discovered. WordPress AUTOMATICALLY updates these minor security issues as they are patched.
The same is relatively true for the competent builders of themes and plugins, though they are generally not updated quite as frequently, and are not necessarily automatic. They are generally updated manually, on receiving notification of an update on the DASHBOARD. Notification of Available Updates is a regular part of maintaining your site. You do have to make regular decisions about updating, and check site performance after updating. Remember that updates can be both security ones, and feature ones.
At any one time, you may or may not have fully updated plugins and themes. In general, I recommend that you keep ALL PLUGINS AND THEMES UPDATED TO THEIR LATEST VERSION. But there is some caveat to that:
CAVEAT: Have a Backup prior to doing any major update. That’s why you have an automated Backup Plugin. Use it. Set it up against a Dropbox or other account. The time it works is the time you need it.
So, the question is when to execute the major backups?
- In the case of major core WP updates: Wait a few days to make sure something didn’t slip by them.
- In the case of theme updates: Go ahead and update them when you are notified
- In the case of plugin updates: Update all security related plugins immediately. Update any you are currently working with (the SiteOrigin group) immediately. SEO immediately. The others, you can wait a few days.
- If you get a warning or message from a Plugin or Theme Developer of a SECURITY update, update IMMEDIATELY.
Because of the nature of the WP ecosystem, I cannot make a firm claim that every theme and plugin developer writes clean code, doesn’t have some nefarious goal, or does a fantastic job. The products on your site are very good, from some of the best developers with great reputations. They tend to follow the guidance of the WP developers. In doing so, their code tends to not conflict with each others’ often or significantly. But, even so, sometimes conflicts happen. Conflicts are likely to happen at two stages:
During site development: Plugins, themes and the core man not work well together. In those cases, we use alternate solutions. So any conflicts that occurred have been resolved. Many of these are minor performance issues, or layout control ones.
As Updates are Applied: A plugin or theme developer can make changes to their plugin that cause future issues. Sometimes major updates don’t work well with other plugins. Sometimes the core WP may impact site behavior as it interacts with themes and plugins. These are out there in the future and may, or may not happen. BACKUP PRIOR TO APPLYING UPDATES.
RECOMMENDATION: I usually recommend having a copy of the various versions of WP, themes and plugins over time. This makes it possible to “roll back” to a prior state if some instability occurred. You can go to the WordPress Repository to get current copies of the free themes and plugins used. Download a current copy of WP 4.3.1 as a backup.
PAGES AND MENUS
To access, edit, or delete Pages, see: Dashboard>Pages>All Pages. Your pages are listed.
Below each Page name, there is a menu bar:
- Edit | Quick Edit | Trash | View | Remove from Wordfence cache
- Edit: Brings up the edit window: Use this one to edit any copy or layout of the page style (full width, or sidebar), or the body copy
- Quick Edit: allows changes to page style and publish date only
- Trash: Delete page
- View: Shows the page as it displays in the browser
Remove from Wordfence cache: Do not control this here. If you want to remove security, or any pages from the cache, control it under Dashboard>Wordfence. The cache is providing a degree of display acceleration for the user.
You can add new pages at
- Dashboard>Pages>Add New, or at
- Dashbaord>Pages>All Pages> Top of screen Add New Button, or in the
- Dashboard>Top Horizontal Admin Menu> New>Page.
When adding New Pages you may use either:
- Standard WordPress Edit Window for either Text or Visual, or
The Standard Visual editor gives you control over Basic Styling, and allows basic page editing, not using widgets for content placement. PageBuilder allows full placement control with rows, columns by row, adjustable column width, and the use of a variety of available widgets. All of your current pages are built using PageBuilder.
Choose the type of page editor you want to use at the time you create the page. If you start with a standard editor, you may convert the entire page to Pagebuilder, within a single row and single column. Your copy will be preserved.
Recommendation: Choose PageBuilder in the upper right of the Edit Window. When you do, you can start adding rows with columns (1-8), or SELECT from PREBUILT. Each of your existing pages is available to you as a starting point.
WARNING: If you start a page using Pagebuilder, and attempt to EDIT it with the STANDARD EDITOR, you will LOSE ALL PAGEBUILDER DESIGN AND FORMATTING. Do not hit “Switch to Editor”.
Let me repeat that for you. If you edit a Pagebuilder Page with the WordPress standard Visual or Text editor, you will lose all your layout and formatting. Poof! Gone. The text may remain. Anything within a “Pagebuilder” or “SiteOrigin” type widget, is likely to be gone. Poof!
Correcting a mistake:
You realize you JUST accidentally hit the Visual or Text Editor Button on a PageBuilder Page.
- Do NOT UPDATE or SAVE the Page
- Navigate to any place in your WordPress Admin. Anywhere.
- A warning message will pop up asking if you want to STAY on the Page or LEAVE the page
- Click LEAVE the Page.
- Hopefully, the change will not be saved
- Return to the Page you were editing
- The PageBuilder formatting will still be there.
- Be sure to select PageBuilder at the top of the Edit window, if you do not already see Pagebuilder editing rows.
Consider this ample warning about the potential of losing all formatting and layout design on a page.
ADDING PREBUILT PAGES
When you are adding a Page, PageBuilder allows you select existing layouts. See training event for how to add prebuilt pages.
- Use standard WordPress features to select the page you want to edit.
- Be sure you are in Pagebuilder Mode on the Visual Editor for all pages built with Pagebuilder
- Scroll the edit window for the Row and Widget you want to edit.
- To edit Row settings (this is the container, not the content) use the uppermost right controller
- To edit Widget settings (this is the content) use the edit selector in the upper right of the widget.
- Each widget has its own settings. Use your Test Pages to try things out and learn how they work.
- If you run into problems, go to SiteOrigin.com, to the forums, search for your question, add a question if needed: Use your license number for faster support
All Pages start with a Template, found in the right sidebar of the standard wordpress page editor. It is there on the Add page and Edit page screen. There are templates for:
- Standard WP pages with Sidebar,
- Full width with Title on page,
- Full width – no title, and
- Vantage Home Page styles.
Your Pages: Are all “Full-Width – No Title” templates.
Pages (and Posts) are not complete and ready to display as created until they are UPDATED. Use the Update Page (Update Post) button to update the content of that page. It’s like saving a document in MS Office. If you navigate away from your new page, or edits to a page, without Updating, you will lose all the changes. You can “Preview Changes” of the changes in a new browser tab without saving the actual page.
Note: Preview Changes will open another browser tab or window with a full view of you WP site administration. Be careful to only edit on one instance of your browser. If you change things on one, then the other, you may lose all, or some of the changes. If you happen to be working on two windows for your site at the same time, be sure to REFRESH the screen to get the most recent view of your site.
Refer to your basic training for general information on standard USERS on a WordPress installation. User types refer to the “Rights” a user has to view, edit, contribute, write, control or administer your site. You have to have an Administrator. Only Administrators have “all rights” on a site.
You are currently set as a “Subscriber”. We will change your setting to Administrator during this training to show you how it’s done.
There are plugins that provide fine gradation of user types. An example would be if you decided to offer “online training”, you could have users with a “Student” role, or “Seminar Leader” role.
- Update email address to firstname.lastname@example.org for admin
- no registration
- subscriber is new user role
- Writing: default
- Static front page: Home
- Open to search
- Discussion: default
- Media: Site settings
- Permalinks: By post or page NAME: set as /%postname%/
- Google Analytics: Need account number to begin tracking
- Pagebuilder: Basic Pagebuilder settings allowing Pages, Posts and Pricing Tables to be edited with Pagebuilder
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
Uses Yoast SEO plugin. It is active. Each page may be set for keyword, meta description. The plugin will check to see how well your page matches your “focused keyword”. Best of breed free plugin.
The site has partial settings filled in for SEO, as it was not part of the design specs to complete them. They should give you as start at how to fill them in.
See each Page and/or Post below the edit window for SEO settings for that page. There are additional tools at the top of the admin bar under SEO.
Your site uses Easy Pricing Tables Lite by Fatcat Apps: for the creation and editing of comparison table content. This content is used on your “Sales Relationship Principles” page.
It is inserted onto the page using a shortcode (example: (Pricing table does not exist. Please check your shortcode.) (284)) with a Pagebuilder Pricing Table Widget. If time permits, we will demonstrate it. If not, you can log-in, go to the page, edit the page, scroll through the Pagebuilder rows for the row with the Pricing Table widget. That widget allows you to select from the Pricing Tables by name. But it is actually inserted by shortcode.
This plugin allows you to create additional Price Comparison Tables. You should experiment on one of your test pages to see how the content and design work. The plugin has separate settings for each line of the content in the comparison; and how the table displays.
Snapshots is a plugin to provide backup and restore capability for both the site, the installation and the underlying databases. It is easy to use and set. You are currently set up for automatic weekly backups, each Sunday night.
There is one issue with your installation of this (or any) backup system: It is currently being backed up to your server. So, if there is a problem with the site, or the server, you still do not have a secondary backup.
Get a Dropbox, Amazon S3 or other off-hosting account storage. Have your backups stored on secondary storage.
Wordfence provides defense against unauthorized access to your site, and some degree of page and site caching, to speed up your site. It is a good defense and modest caching utility. If you find the site runs slower than expected, you should research some of the other caching alternatives.
MetaSlider provides the Billboard “Slider” display on your Home Page. Sliders are inserted, like Pricing Tables, by shortcode. Those shortcodes can be selected by title, within a slider widget.
The slider is composed of graphics and photos you upload into your Media area, then organize as a sequence for display.
Metaslider has 4 basic types of Sliders. Yours is a Flexslider, as that is the recommended one for use with Vantage Premium and Pagebuilder. There are settings for the types of transitions, the size of the display, and the speed of animation of the slides. Conversion experts recommend very slow to slow animation, to not distract users from the primary goal of the site.
Training includes a look at the Metaslider settings page.
Media is the Storage Area for all of your visual and media content. Your basic wordPress training showed you how to upload and insert media. Depending on how you want to insert it into a page, you access it differently.
Standard WordPress editor:
- Insert the media as instructed
- When editing a page or post
- To add a photo, or other media
- Insert the appropriate widget for the type of media
- Select the media with the selector. It will allow you to select from all in Media, or Upload
- Complete the Pagebuilder settings for further placement and row control.
Your site uses Gravity Forms to create forms. It is a premium plugin used to create, process and manage WordPress forms. It is best in class.
Go to the Forms Menu. You can create or edit your forms there. There are a large number of standard form lines and types. Each is customizable.
When forms are processed there are a number of activities that happen:
- The form is validated to make sure all the fields are filled in appropriately
- A log of the form is updated in the Dashboard>Forms>Entries area
- A Confirmation is processed
- A Notification may be issued
The confirmation may be a message to the user or a redirect to a page on your site, or both. It is currently set to redirect to: http://www.tomgoetschius.com/thanks-will-contact-you/
Your current form is set to notify you by email that the form was submitted.
Let’s check the settings for your Notifications.
Forms, like other content, are inserted into your pages using shortcodes, within widgets, within Pagebuilder. You can select any created form into any page or post.
See www.gravityforms.com for additional information on your form processor. You have access to updates under my developer license. You do not have access to direct support from Gravity Forms, without buying a site license.