How do I change the font size? Why is the background blue? These are questions easily answered through the Chrome Developer Tools. Anyone wanting to do any customization of a web site needs to be familiar with them.
Updated April 30, 2017: This is the presentation given at WordCamp Chicago. Thanks to the many people who came to the presentation and offered comments and compliments!
View this full size in your browser from Google Docs or download Fun with Chrome Developer Tools as a PDF.
There are lots of support forum threads and IRC conversations in the WordPress community about how to pick the right plugin. Here’s my unsolicited advice.
#1 Is it really relevant to what you want?
Plugins can do many things. Some plugins do more than one thing. Some are close to what you want done. So, first thing first. Understand clearly what you want to accomplish.
#2 Is it well supported?
Many people start by looking at a plugin’s reviews. I look at the support threads for the plugin. It tells me whether the author is engaged, active, accepting feedback, and fixing bugs.
#3 Do updates appear at regular intervals or is there long time between them?
There are good reasons why a plugin might not get updated frequently. If you see lots of issues and bugs in the support queue and infrequent updates, it gets back to whether the author is engaged.
#4 Are there enough people using it to cover “edge case” bugs?
Ideally, someone else finds a bug before you do. The more users, the wider the variety of environments the plugin lives in. Does that mean you won’t find a bug? No, but reduced the likelihood that you’ll be alone.
#5 What else have the authors done?
Does the author have other plugins? How are those supported?
What about you? What are your rules?
There’s no separating them. You have to pay attention to “The Big Picture” and all the little details. There’s no shortcut do doing it right.
The Big and the Small of It
What should be the on front page of your website?
If your focus is your blog, then make the blog the front page. If, however, you’re not posting regularly and frequently, go for a “static” front page. It doesn’t make much of a difference, SEO-wise, but when people visit your site and see an 6 month old post as the first thing on the home page, they will probably just bounce off — unless you have incredibly compelling content.
People get all wrapped up in Search Engine Optimization. How can I get to be #1 on Google? (Hint: You can’t.) How do I “own” a keyword across the internet?
Focusing on SEO is the wrong place to start. Good content is the basis of a good website. Focus on what it takes to attract an audience and use SEO to reinforce that.
At the bottom of a list of posts, WordPress puts navigation to newer and older posts. Typically, the linkage is “older posts” and “newer posts”, so your visitor can move one page at a time in either direction. There’s a quick way to modify your theme to use pagination like this:
Here’s links to the pagination code, the styling, and what to modify on your template(s).