Tag Archives: wordpress

Tips and tricks to get the most out of WordPress. Tutorials, guides and user friendly advice.

Medal inscribed with 20 years

Happy Birthday WordPress

Happy Birthday to the #1 Content Management System (CMS), WordPress.  On its own, it has far greater coverage than all the other CMS put together.
20 years ago this month, WordPress was born.  A fork from a previous project saw it rapidly take off and become one of the guiding lights of web 2.0.
Starting out as a simple blogging platform, anyone who has had exposure to WordPress since then knows how far it has developed.  Each new version adding more features, additional capability and an improving user interface.
QD Design have followed this development when WordPress became our CMS of choice in 2015. The changes we have seen in 8 years are astonishing; goodness only knows what the future holds for WordPress.
Why should you use WordPress? Good question!  WordPress balances the competing priorities of ease of use with flexibility and capability.  Some CMS tools are easy to use but have limited capability and minimal flexibility in what they can do (yes, Squarespace I do mean you).  WordPress is equally at home powering a personal blog as it is representing a small business or even running a holiday rental platform.
If you are finding your current website platform restricting, talk to us at QD Design about moving to WordPress.
Homepage of Big Role Media

Client Introduction – Big Role Media


Who are they?

Big Role Media are an inclusive media company based in Los Angeles.  Targeted largely at women, Big Role produces multimedia that ‘gives them a nudge to hold their head high, get out there, grab a hold of their dreams, and not let them escape‘. They are multi-talented and write, record and film their own work.

Their requirement

Having had a Squarespace site previously, they wanted to move onto a more capable platform, one that gave them more features, more options, more scope for growth and a greater ability to truly customise the sites to match their ‘brand’.  This was their first experience of WordPress, and like most of us, that first experience was daunting.

WordPress does lots of good things but the “Dashboard” is not one of them. I still remember my first visit shortly after having installed a box-fresh copy of WP, it was overwhelming; I had no idea where to start, what was a Post vs a Page, where images had to go etc. Having spent 16 years successfully crafting sites in html by hand, WordPress’ dashboard seemed like it was more of a hindrance than a help.

Screenshot of the WordPress dashboard
The WordPress dashboard

Big Role Media wanted a ‘magazine’ style site where they could write articles, post video, share audio and generally connect with their audience (and demonstrate their multitude of talents).

What did QD Design do?

We ran an initial WordPress 101 session over Zoom to a) find out what they needed and b) give some pointers on navigating around the Dashboard.

As they began to create content, we suggested and added suitable plugins to offer the functionality they required and began to customise the site appearance by creating a child theme that removed some of the elements that were not needed. We advised them to  streamline the dozens of Categories and hundreds of Tags to a more usable amount and then linked specific Post Categories to certain Pages making it quicker to find the content type or subject matter the visitor was after. We also connected the site to both Google Search Console and Google Analytics so traffic and search health could be monitored.

Lastly, we ran the site through a suite of tests to evaluate site speed, SEO and accessibility (all part of Google’s Core Web Vitals they use to measure user experience of a site).  Where possible, issues that were flagged were addressed through opting in / out of different plugins, resizing media images and deploying a SEO tool. Frustratingly, as a wordpress.com (hosted by WordPress rather than the self hosted wordpress.org type of site), some of the built in and unavoidable tools and plugins were the cause of Core Web Vital problems. C’mon WordPress, why are you building in issues and problems?

The finished article

Whilst no website is ever finished (there is always new content to add, improvements to make and updates to apply), this is how the site looks right now.

Screenshot of the home page of Big Role Media website - https://big-role.com

A huge thank you to Bella at Big Role Media for asking QD Design to help with their site. We now have / have had customers in the Middle East, Australasia and now the USA.  Where next?

WordPress – How to Change the Number of Dashboard Columns

This has been bugging me for weeks.

I tend to use a single decent sized monitor for most of my web design work.  On it, every WordPress install gives me two columns of very large dashboard blocks that makes appallingly poor use of the available space.  So much so that with a number blocks expanded to their full size, much of the information is off the bottom of the screen meaning I have to scroll down for it.  Sort of negates the idea of a ‘dashboard’ if you have to go looking for the info.

I do have one site that for some reason has three columns and it made much better use of the available space.  I wanted to recreate this on my other installs but couldn’t find out how.  I searched every control in the menu structure, looked at the code that drove the dashboard but nothing came up.  How on earth did this one site have three columns and not two?

Prior to WordPress 3.8 there was an option to choose the number of columns present in the dashboard but 3.8 saw this disappear.  Admittedly, there are plug ins that allow you to take control over the dashboard but I’ve discovered something easier, simpler and so obvious I’ve been kicking myself since I found it.

Most browsers allow you to zoom in / out.  On my personal favourite browser – Chrome (and I’m pretty sure it is the same in others too), it is CTRL + / CTRL –
Well, if you zoom out to 90%, such a small change in font size you will barely notice it, it gives just enough room to fit three columns across the dashboard. Voila, everything in view, all at the same time and no need to scroll.

Give it a try. If you have a reasonable amount of space on screen when working on a WordPress site, why not make the best use of it.