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WordPress Q&A/Study Hall: Nov 2013 meetup

Our November 2013 meetup topic was WordPress Q&A/Study Hall. We discussed questions and helped each other with our WordPress sites. Here’s a summary of the questions, answers, and other items discussed.

If I missed any, please leave a comment, and I’ll add to the post.

Relational database to relate custom fields

  • Posts 2 Posts: Efficient many-to-many connections between posts, pages, custom post types, users
  • Pods: a framework for creating, managing, and deploying customized content types and fields

Responsive Mega Menu

  • Hide Mega Menu on mobile, display simple navigation instead
  • See MSNBC for reference
  • UberMenu: user-friendly, highly customizable responsive Mega Menu WordPress plugin

Featured images in Genesis

  • For archives, Genesis first looks for a featured image; if it can’t find it, it looks for the first image attached to the post
  • Video Thumbnails will set video thumbnail as featured image

Fork a plugin and prevent updates

Must change plugin’s directory name

Breadcrumbs for CPTs

  • Create archive and style it as desired
  • Set archive to true for CPT, use rewrite API to point to desired page

Image resizing and compressing

Imsanity: automatically resizes huge image uploads

Cool stuff

  • Advanced Automatic Updates: Adds extra options to WordPress’ built-in Automatic Updates feature

  • MP6: preview future WP admin UI
  • Genericons: vector icons embedded in a webfont
  • Mentionable: Mention WordPress content with inline autocomplete inside tinyMCE (Topher DeRosia’s plugin)
  • Widget Customizer: Edit widgets and preview changes in Theme Customizer, with a control for each widget form in sections added for each sidebar rendered in the preview (Topher DeRosia’s plugin)
  • Dependency Minification: automatically concatenates and minifies any scripts and stylesheets enqueued using the standard dependency system
  • Query Monitor: View debugging and performance information on database queries, hooks, conditionals, HTTP requests, redirects and more.
  • AppPresser: Build iOS/Android apps using WordPress
  • Add From Server: allows you to import media & files into the WordPress uploads manager from the web server


  • GiveCamp Grand Rapids: a weekend-long event where software developers, designers, and database administrators donate their time to create custom software for non-profit organizations.
  • The User is Drunk: create UI that’s so good that drunks can use it
  • SiteGround: web host
  • DigitalOcean: web host
  • WPSessions: training sessions by WordPress experts (run by Brian Richards)
Why Does SEO Matter WordPress Grand Rapids

SEO for WordPress: Sep. 2013 meetup

Our September 2013 meetup topic was Why Does SEO Matter? Paul Kortman of Connex Social gave the presentation below. His speaker notes are below each slide.

King of SEO

Paul gave the following additional advice about slide 22:

  • URL: don’t use hyphens in domain name
  • Title: keyword first, then site name
  • Don’t put site description in title, because it won’t fit in titles for blog posts anyway, and pages with shorter URLs won’t rank highly anyway.
  • H1: stick with 1 per page, despite HTML5 allowing multiple H1s
  • Don’t use headings for repeated sections, such as widgets

WordPress SEO by Yoast

Here’s how Paul configures the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. Settings not noted are left as default. Here’s Joost’s guide.

  • Titles & Metas
    • General
      • Select Force rewrite titles
      • Select Hide RSD Links
      • Select Hide WLW Manifest Links
      • Select Hide Shortlink for posts
    • Post Types: Select Show date in snippet preview
  • Social: configure as appropriate
  • XML Sitemaps
    • Select Ping Yahoo!
    • Select Ping Ask.com
  • Permalinks
    • Select Redirect attachment URL’s to parent post URL
    • Force Transport: set to https if your site uses SSL

Paul gave the presentation Stop Selling SEO at WordCamp Grand Rapids 2012. Below is the video and slides from that talk.

How do I learn more about WordPress? July 2013 meetup

Our July 2013 meetup topic was How do I learn more? No matter how much you know about WordPress, there’s always more to learn. Topher DeRosia and Nate Reist gave a long list of resources and tips for learning and finding support.

Below are the notes from the meetup. Don’t forget to get involved in WordCamp Grand Rapids 2013 by volunteering and/or sponsoring.

Getting Support

How to make a good support request

  • Tell how to recreate the problem, specifically (actions, results, browser, host, etc.).
  • Tell what you’ve tried and what happened.

Where to find support

Where to look for answers

WordPress News

Social Media



WordPress community on Google+

Development Resources

Other Resources

Improving WordPress Performance, June 2013

Our June 2013 meetup was Improving WordPress Performance. Topher DeRosia, Brian Richards, and Chad Warner talked about various ways to make WordPress sites load faster. Below are the video and notes from the meetup.

Also, Brian encouraged the group to get involved in WordCamp Grand Rapids 2013 by volunteering, speaking, and/or sponsoring.


  • Transients temporarily store cached data in the database
    • You can configure them to be stored in cache rather than the database, which is even faster
  • Transients are site-wide, so make sure they should apply to all users
  • You set expiration
  • Transient API
  • Mark Jaquith’s WP-TLC-Transients extends WordPress’ transients
  • Remember where you save transients so you don’t waste time troubleshooting
  • Topher wrote Storing complex queries in transients

Performance testing tools


CloudFlare CDN features

  • No configuration necessary
  • Works with static and dynamic content
  • Always Online™

Web content optimization features

  • Rocket Loader
  • Reduced connections
  • AutoMinify
  • Local storage caching
  • Cache header optimization
  • Asynchronous resource loading
  • JavaScript bundling
  • Aggressive GZIP

W3 Total Cache configuration

  • Follow Installation instructions and accept defaults, then configure the following:
  • WordPress menu > Performance > General Settings > Page cache: Enable
  • Performance > General Settings > CloudFlare
  • Minification: CSS, JavaScript, and HTML
  • Performance > Browser Cache > General > enable/check Set expires header

Ways to improve WordPress performance (in order of increasing complexity)

  1. Caching plugin
  2. nginx, which is faster than Apache for serving static content
  3. Memcache and memcached
  4. APC (Advanced PHP Cache)
    1. Caches code, not content
    2. Turns interpreted code into binary and stores it

WP Super Cache

  • WP Super Cache doesn’t have as many options as W3 Total Cache
  • Topher doesn’t like W3 Total Cache because it’s “arrogant” and “rude”; it doesn’t respect other caching plugins.
  • Stores cached files in /wp-content/cache/supercache
  • Simply install and activate to start caching, but configure for better performance

Configuration: Tools > WP Super Cache

  • Advanced tab
    • Select mod_rewrite
    • Enable Don’t cache pages for known users
    • Enable Don’t cache pages with GET parameters
    • Enable Cache rebuild
    • Expiry Time & Garbage Collection
      • Settings depend on your site and preferences
    • Exceptions: configure items that should not be cached
    • Directly Cached Files: specify non-WordPress sites to cache
  • CDN tab: configure for your CDN, if necessary
  • Contents tab: lets you empty the cache
  • Preload tab: crawls site to build the cache
  • Plugins tab: configure plugins that integrate with WP Super Cache
  • Debug tab: used for debugging

WordPress Show & Tell, May 2013

Our May 2013 meetup was WordPress Show & Tell. Below are the video and tweets from the meetup.

Also, Brian Richards announced WordCamp Grand Rapids 2013! Please consider volunteering, speaking, and/or sponsoring.