Highlights from 34SP.com’s first WordPress Q and A Twitter session

On Wednesday we held our first session of questions and answers over on Twitter, allowing our followers and clients to ask any questions they might have to two of our WordPress specialists.

We invited people to submit their questions from 1pm onwards for live feedback, but we also asked earlier over Facebook and Twitter so some of you could get your questions in early.

To save some time navigating and reading through our Twitter feed, we have provided our questions and answers into the following categories for you:

Performance-based questions

@methemandothers: “I know I should try to minimise the number of plugins I use to keep my site from slowing down but I don’t know what sort of number of plugins is considered reasonable? #WordPressQandA

@tnash: “Hi Josie, That’s a bit of a how long is a piece of string. You can have 30 good plugins and 1 bad, it’s the bad one that will be slowing the site down. I wouldn’t focus on the number, rather go KonMari and ask does this plugin bring me joy.”

@kayleighthorpe: “That’s because there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ number of plugins. You could have loads of them and it not be impacting your site speed. Just make sure you have ones that your site is actively using, and providing they are well rated and kept up-to date you’ll generally be fine.”

“Any additional code is extra load potentially, so if you’re ever unsure if you really need a plugin you can try disabling some that you don’t think you’re using and see how it impacts your site? If you’ve got along fine with them disabled, then it might be time to delete them!”

@34SP.com (Facebook submission): “Are there any easy tips to speed up our websites for the technologically challenged people?”

@kayleighthorpe: “Optimise your images before upload, or use a plugin like EWWW Image Optimizer. There are also plugins to minify CSS and JS If your host doesn’t provide it; look into a caching plugin. Services like http://webpagetest.org can help you identify what assets are slowing your site”

@tnash: “To slightly contradict an answer I gave to @methemandothers. Less is more, reduce your plugins, and keep things simple. Everything you add has an impact on performance. But it’s more about reducing widgets than the plugins themselves.

Security-based questions

@34SP.com (Facebook submission): “How do I protect my site from hackers?”

@tnash: “Keep things up to date, automatic updates are your biggest defence which is why we make such a big deal of them on our WordPress Hosting! But update ALL THE THINGS!!!”

@Kayleighthorpe: “If you’re using shared hosting, consider container/VPS based hosting, use secure pass-phrases (don’t use the same password everywhere!) You can also talk to your host about security services they provide on the server level. And enable two factor authentication where you can.”

@34SP.com (Facebook submission): “What should I do if my site has been hacked?”

@tnash: “Breathe! It will be ok. We have a handy guide for just this as we know it’s super stressful: https://www.34sp.com/kb/206/how-to-clean-a-hacked-wordpress-website But as someone who handles hacked sites every day, just breathe make yourself a cuppa, then read the guide.”

General WordPress usage

@tsfblogger: “@34SP What is the one piece of advice you would give a newbie to get the most out of wordpress? #WordpressQandA”

@tnash: “Play with the Post/Page editor, you will find loads of useful little features. WordPress has had a big change with its new editor, so actually you’re in a great position as lots of new material is being created with no expectation of people knowing what’s going on.”

@34SP.com (Facebook submission): “What plugins do you use on your own blogs?”

@tnash: “I recently wrote a post on what I use on my site which lists all the plugins I use and why: https://timnash.co.uk/making-timnash-co-uk-plugins-and-theme

I’ve gone very heavy with Gutenberg so a few block libraries and a lot of the plugins we have recommended over the last hour.”

@kayleighthorpe: “I actually love Jetpack, despite some finding it too bulky. I find the contact forms, social tools and other features really useful. I wrote a blog post about it a while ago: https://www.34sp.com/blog/getting-wordpress-started-jetpack

Some other plugins I love were featured on this post: https://www.34sp.com/blog/five-plugins-which-help-me-quickly-deploy-a-new-wordpress-website

We plan to have more of these little sessions in the future, so if you have any questions for the team please follow us on Twitter and keep an eye out for the next one.

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