We had a great turnout this month – even with the Cards game happening just a few blocks down the street. Thanks to everyone who came out!
The main topic of the night was covering some handy tools that help you keep tabs on your WordPress site. We covered Uptime Robot, Infinite WP, and Google Analytics.
This handy website lets you know when your site is down. When a site is down that means that visitors aren’t able to see the site and won’t know why! By using Uptime Robot you can setup alerts to be notified via email or SMS when your site is inaccessible.
This is a free service and you can track up to 50 sites! They don’t have to be WordPress sites at all – this works for any site you’re interested in tracking. The service is hosted, so there isn’t even an installation process. Just sign up, add your sites, set how frequently your site should be checked and wait!
It’s also super handy if you have multiple sites across clients. You can know before they do when a site is having an issue. You can quickly figure out what’s going on, and let your clients know preemptively!
Infinite WP makes managing plugins and theme updates across multiple separate WordPress installations a breeze. You install a simple client on your web host, a plugin on each of your sites, and away you go!
Infinite WP will let you know when your sites have an update available and you can update by site (all plugins at once), by plugin (this plugin on all sites where its installed), or even piece mail – one at a time. There are a ton of add-ons for Infinite WP that extend it’s capabilities even further.
A recent update also brings easy backups to your sites. So your workflow could be something like:
- Get a notification of an update via Infinite WP
- Backup your Dev/Test site.
- Update your Dev/Test site to make sure things are hunky-dory.
- Backup your Production site(s).
- Update your Production site(s) without leaving your beach chair.
All of that without leaving Infinite WP.
We could have easily spent multiple evenings covering the various ways you can leverage Google Analytics it’s that powerful. In a nutshell Google Analytics allows you to keep track on how visitors get to your site, what they do on your site, and some demographic information like geographic location and what browser it uses. It becomes even more powerful when you get into developing campaigns and set goals for your visitors.
Say for example you’re promoting a big event or a new item in your store. You can send out emails, tweets, and Facebook updates with a specific URL that will tell you, in Google Analytics, which outlet lead to that person arriving at your site, and what percentage of visits turned into ‘conversions’ – someone did something you wanted them to do like sign up for a newsletter or buy something.
Google has some great resources on getting started with Google Analytics. Integration with WordPress is a snap with numerous Google Analytics plugins. My particular fave is Google Analytics for WordPress by Joost de Valk.
A few other tools that were mentioned in the similar vein that we didn’t get to spend a lot of time on are listed below. Take a look and you might find a handy addition to your utility belt.
– Hook up WordPress to hundreds of other services all with simple to create ‘recipes’. Want your Instragram photos to automatically publish to your blog? Easy peasy .
Piwik – Don’t like Google? Want to host your own analytics? Pwiki’s your solution.
Woopra – A real-time analytics package. See who’s on your site right this minute. Some say better than Google Analytics!
In September we have the talented Gregory Ray taking us through the best practices and dark art secrets of Hardening WordPress. Join Gregory and the gang on Wednesday, September 17th at Lab1500.
Photo by Dean Gugler – Licensed under Creative Commons