I thought that I’d diary my day-to-day tasks managing my WordPress website. It’s very easy to manage, but there are a few steps that few people talk about.
In the morning, after the crunch of work is done, I check the various RSS Feeds that I monitor to see what is going on. I particularly check the ones listed below and these covering WordPress 1.6 status and development because they feature information about WordPress news, tools, plugins, and related information. I can see many of these through the Dashboard in the Administration area of the full version of WordPress, but I have added them to my feed reader and that keeps all the information in one place.
I also check in on the WordPress Forums to see if there is a couple of questions I can answer or information that I need to know.
Here are a list of the sites I have in my feeder for keeping up with what is going on with WordPress:
- Weblog Tools Collection
- Weblog Tools Collection RSS Feed
- Ryan Boren on WordPress
- Matt on WordPress
- Donncha on WordPress
- Lorelle on WordPress
- Photomatt, developer of WordPress
- Alex King WordPress News and Themes (Contests)
- Asymptomatic WordPress News, Plugins, and Information
- BloggingPro – Blogging News and Information
- WordPress Development Feed
- WordPress Support Forums
My next step is to check for comments on my site. I like a clean house, and I tend to be a paranoid website administrator, so I like to really know what is going on with my site, so I use the Paged Comment Editing Plugin by Coldforged. This plugin replaces the normal screen with an enhanced view adding several features such as viewing the caught spam. While WordPress catches the major majority of comment spammers, I still want to know what is going on. I can do this with my full version of WordPress, but on this wordpress.com site, I never see them, which is nice, but remember, I’m a little paranoid. ;-) So I want to KNOW what is going on behind the scenes.
I click on the “Include Spam” link and the screen reloads and any spam left by those disgusting online casino spammers which have been caught by WordPress’ new built-in spam catching tools show up in pink, clearly distinguishable from the good comments.
If there are a couple of these, I delete them from that screen. Why delete them? The comment spam has been caught by WordPress’ comment spam filters, but they still sit in my database. I want them OUT OUT OUT, so I delete them. It keeps the database size down a little as these quickly add up.
If there are a lot of these, I click “Mass Edit Mode” and go down the list checking off all the pink colored comments. It’s fast and easy. I click DELETE ALL SELECTED and they are GONE! Bye bye crap! And I feel so much better for the knowing.
I can then spent a moment or two checking for new legit comments, blasting out any horrid comments that got in (the big spam gets caught but once in a while the nasty individual gets through who wastes my time and trigger my delete button), and answering any comments that require a response. Two minutes later, I’m on to the next thing.
Now it’s time to check those drafts that I made from my morning foray into the RSS Feeds and see if I still want to release any of them with short notes or turn the link into an article. These are usually quickie things and within twenty minutes at the most (I sometimes take my time over these), they are posted. Then it is on to major work.
I always have notes going on as I work on a project, hoping to turn those notes into help articles in addition to the project article that I’m working on. I do all my writing exclusively in WordPerfect, a powerhouse program for anyone into serious writing or desktop publishing of written material. I keep all my notes in one document and the actual article in another and I can quickly move between the two, helping me to stay on track.
When an article is ready to post on my site, a little work needs to be done to prepare it for WordPress. So let me tell you a little more about how I use WordPress and WordPerfect so you will understand the steps better.
For quick, mostly text only entries on my site, I write it up in WordPerfect, spell check it, make sure there is a double line between each paragraph, and copy and paste it into the WordPress Write a Post screen, give it a title, mark the categories, and save it. Done. No HTML, no fuss. I have set my quick correct and text features in WordPerfect to never convert apostrophes and quotes into characters but leave them as text. So WordPress converts my double lines into <p> HTML tags automatically, and I’m good to go.
A last look through and it’s ready to go. I copy the text and paste it into WordPress’ Write Post screen. I type in the title, check off if I want or don’t want comments and pings, then mark the appropriate categories and fill in the explicit Excerpt text area. Sometimes this is something I custom write up to introduce the article, other times I copy the first paragraph or two and paste it in. If I’m really in a hurry, then I’ll just use the built-in
<!--more--> quicktag button to set the excerpt or, if the post is very short, just let it stay the full-size. It’s great that I have all these options with WordPress.
I also use Jerome’s WordPress Keywords Plugin which allows me to add keywords on a per-post basis. I take a moment and type in the keywords for the article, which will appear in the meta tags in the head of the generated document. I also add any Technorati and insite tags so all my bases are covered.
When I’ve checked all the little bits, with a quick glance at the bottom of the Write Post screen to the Post Preview to see if there are any obvious boo boos to the text and simple formatting, I click PUBLISH and off it goes to the public, or sits and waits for publishing in the near future.
If there are any new photographs or graphics that go with the article, I upload them to my site using a free FTP program called SmartFTP. I check the post to make sure the pictures are there, and I’m onto the next project.
Less Frequent Tasks
There is a lot of work to maintaining a large website. Links have to be checked to see if they are valid, articles need updating, material is added all the time, and…well, the list is long.
I’ve outlined a few of the basic maintenance tasks any normal website requires, but let’s look at the more frequent tasks I do associated with WordPress.
WordPress is evolving fast, so every two months or so, I check in to see if there is a new version available. Same with Plugins, which change and improve all the time, so I check those, too, to see if there have been any upgrades or fixes.
My site statistics aren’t of incredible importance to me on a daily or weekly basis, but I’ve had problems on my main site with hotlinking and abuseres so I check it frequently to make sure everything is working right. I check the statistics on my server and with StatTraq, an add-on for monitoring WordPress site activity.
Other than that, WordPress is fairly self contained once it is up and running and the design has been tweaked to death. Sure, I still tweak my custom made WordPress Theme on my main site, a little to the left, a little to the right, and I freak out when a new browser enters the market, trying to test my site and see if it will work in it, but these are the occasional tasks. With so much of the HTML and CSS out of my hands, I can concentrate on the content and making my site’s information and content be the best it can be, and leave all the piddly bits to WordPress. Life is so much easier with WordPress.