It has happened to us all at one time or another. We work hard to build a seamless website (in our eyes, anyway), and then a client comes up with a “recommendation” that blows it all. Then there are those times when we make a bone marrow mistake that means we have to rip things up and try to put it back together.
Not so fast. When working with WordPress, there are indeed a number of built – in features, best practices and plugins available that will help us in these moments. They may not be able to fix everything, but at least they can make the task easier to manage. Here are some notable options you will want to check out next time $ #!% Happens.
Job Type Switcher
Working with custom WordPress post types makes content management much easier in that it provides a clear way to separate different types of posts. But sometimes, site requirements change, and posts have to move from one type to another.
Post Type Switcher does this with ease, adding a “Job Type” drop-down box when editing mail. Editing large copies is handy, as you can move multiple posts in a few clicks.
Wipe Bulk WP
Need to get rid of many things in a hurry? WP Bulk Delete lets you quickly remove all types of WordPress items.
Posts, pages, users, meta-fields, and more can be deleted based on custom criteria. It certainly transcends the manual way of passing these tasks. Be sure to back up your database first – just in case.
Better Search Center
There are times when you need to find and replace specific text strings in your site database. Here’s where you can go to Better Search Replace to do it. However, be careful as the plugin will allow you to select the database tables you want to include in the operation.
It is always a good idea to create a backup before use. You can also use the “Run Dry” option to see what will affect search / replacement before it actually runs.
As an administrator, it’s good to know what other users accessing the WordPress Desktop are up to. Simple History is a helpful resource that keeps track of who does what.
Not only is it important to keep track of any unwanted user actions but it also helps to track your steps when something goes wrong. You can find out, for example, which plugins have been activated or deactivated, and this is a handy piece of information when troubleshooting.
Over time, a site may experience changes to its URL structure. Or maybe a client has changed their mind about where something should go. Whatever the case, adding 301 redirects for outdated content is an important step in ensuring that users can find what they are looking for.
A referral will help you take care of those items in a quick way. But you can also use it to redirect users based on their login status, browser, redirector, and more.
Yoast Duplicate Post
Often, we get requests to make a page or even a product on the site already look “that one”. Instead of trying to recreate a piece of content, use Duplicate Post.
It can only copy the parts of a post you need and give you a faster method of getting things done.
WordPress plugin updates do not always go smoothly. In fact, one tiny bug in a site update can leave it broken. WP Rollback is for such occasions, as it allows you to “roll back” a plugin or theme to an older version.
Please note that it only works with plugins in the official WordPress.org repository – so remember it can not save you from problems with commercial products. But it’s a quick and convenient option when you need to restore something to a more stable version.
Tips & Tricks
Use of Post Reviews
Raise your hand if you have ever made a huge mistake while editing a page or posting (both hands would be up if I was not currently typing). The good news is that WordPress Revisions can easily restore previous versions of a page – which gives a huge sigh of relief.
One thing to note is that when creating custom post types, you can choose whether or not to keep reviews. It might be worth turning them on.
If you are in the process of development, make sure to create backups as you reach various project milestones.
This will be an invaluable resource that will allow you to urgently erase mistakes or misunderstandings. And, if your site is live, a regular backup must be done.
Comment on Your Code
A lot is done about good statement code, and for good reason. This very small step allows you (or others) to see where you have implemented specific features that will need to be maintained in the future. Write out some basic details about what the code does and notate in other key spots.
When you have to go back and make changes, you will have a better understanding of where you need to go and what you need to do.
Do not blow it up
If you’ve made a mistake or a client has radically changed their way of thinking, it’s easy to want to blow the whole thing up (often in anger).
Keep it to yourself. Instead, take some time to reflect on things and see if anything can be saved. There may be ways to keep at least some of the work you have already done and reuse it.
And, even if you finally hit everything and start all over again, keep copies of everything you have done. You never know when something might be needed again down the road. Like when the client has another heart change.
Turning “From $ #!%” To “Oh Yes!”
Being a web designer (and being human) includes making mistakes and dealing with others who change their mind without warning. How do you deal with it?
It’s really a combination of having processes in place to help you reverse a course and have the necessary tools to provide an extra helping hand.
By using the tips and plugins above, you will find the right way to make the most of those unexpected moments.