Rihards Steinbergs

Web developer, gamer and fan of everything scifi.

WordPress tips to make your life easier

During the past ten (on and off) years I’ve worked on around thirty WordPress projects, some have been great, and some have been not so great.

And over the course of those years I’ve collected many links, tips, hints and ideas that make WordPress development much easier than it might seem to new comers.

So here’s my list of hopefully helpful items when it comes to WordPress development and in general running a WP site.

  • Git. Always use git for your sites. Not just to be able to revert changes and keep track of things, but also to see what local changes have been made.
  • Get yourself an IDE or an editor that has WordPress integration. Atom, Sublime Text and PhpStorm are some of them.
  • WP-CLI - lets you create content and users, download and update plugins, configure your site, etc. all from the comforts of your terminal.
  • Follow WordPress Best Practices and WordPress Coding Standards.
  • GenerateWP can be handy to generate snippets for pretty much anything WordPress you can think of.

Themes

  • Child Themes are a must if working with an existing theme.
  • CSS Frameworks like Bootstrap, UIKit, and Foundation. If used correctly they will make your life much easier. In addition, all of them have base themes for WordPress which you can use as a starting point.
  • Timber - for more complex projects this can make templates much cleaner and more readable as it lets you use Twig in your theme.
  • Use WordPress’ Template Hierarchy properly and to your advantage.

Plugins

  • General rule of thumb I’ve followed, use as few plugins as possible. Less bloat and less security issues.
  • ACF - lets you create custom fields for your content with ease. It’s worth getting the Pro license of this plugin.
  • Anti-spam - a great plugin that prevents most spam. Can be used together with Akismet as the way they prevent spam is different.
  • PHP: The Right Way is a great resource on how to do things the right way in PHP, in case you are developing your own custom plugins (and themes).
  • Gravity Forms for when you need advanced forms on your site and Contact Form 7 when your requirements aren’t as advanced.
  • Polylang or WPML for multi lingual sites.

Security

  • Keep your WordPress, plugins and themes up to date.
  • Use 2 factor authentication. By far the best way to keep your site safe (after updates that is). Some good plugins that provide this functionality are Two Factor Auth, Google Authenticator and Clef.
  • Don’t use premium plugins (or themes) for free. These contain backdoors most of the time.
  • Regular (automated!) backups of your site (and/or server).
  • WordFence is a great security oriented plugin.

I hope that these links and tips will be helpful to people, and I’ll be updating the list as new things become apparent.