Tracking eCommerce in WordPress

If you run any type of eCommerce site, it’s important to understand how visitors found your site and which specific entry pages led to a conversion. Tracking data can also let you know the type of content or marketing that is worth investing in.

Here’s a screenshot from a basic eCommerce dashboard I have set up in Google Analytics for a client with a WooCommerce shop (some data changed to make anonymous):


Seeing the top referrers, landing pages, and revenue at a glance is great. But once the eCommerce data is in Google Analytics, you also drill down and answer very specific questions.

For instance, is an ad campaign on one site performing better than another? Should ad traffic be sent to the home page or the shop page? What is the conversion rate (or total revenue numbers) for visitors from Google who landed on an article page via an organic search? Continue reading

Custom Links in the Customizer


Adding custom links or markup to the theme customizer can be a bit difficult since everything is injected with javascript rather than the normal PHP toolkit. However, there are a number of use scenarios where this might be useful.

One common use case for theme authors might be to add a documentation link or an upsell link so users can find out about theme features.

The approach I like the best is one I first saw employed by the Theme Foundry with their theme “Make”. Their upsell link is prominent, but it doesn’t detract too much from the theme customization experience or take up too much space in the limited UI.


This tutorial takes a similar approach, but shows how to add a styled link to the “Active Theme” section. Continue reading

Concepts for Custom Theme Development


If you’re new to WordPress development, there’s a couple techniques that will be incredibly useful when building themes for a specific company or purpose. Most WordPress themes available are built for general use, but when adapting it for a specific site it’s usually necessary to hardcode at least a few specific elements rather than make everything dynamic.

For example, it might make sense to hardcode the menu if it requires a lot of custom styling. It might make sense to query for specific pieces of known content. Certain pages may have a lot of art direction or targeted styles that would be incredibly difficult to build a custom UI for.

If you’ve already built a few custom themes, it’s likely know a many of these tips already- but hopefully there’s a few gems that will be useful for your toolkit. Continue reading

Theme Repository Data


Aaron Jorbin just released a script called the “WordPress Theme Directory Slurper“, a command line PHP script which downloads the latest stable version of every theme in the theme repository. You can find more information about it in the GitHub repository.

I had a number of questions about the themes on, so I ran the script this morning a slurped all the themes. It took 112 minutes to run and downloaded nearly 4GB of theme code. Here’s what I found out. Continue reading

Version Control and Deploys with WP Engine


It’s taken me a bit of time to figure out the best way to version and deploy sites with WP Engine. I still don’t have a perfect solution, but it’s now much better than using an SFTP GUI to move the files from local to staging.

Version Control

In terms of version control, I like to have the active theme in its own repository. This is generally where the bulk of custom development work happens, and this makes it easy to view the commit history, open issues, and reference code. If custom plugins are needed for the site, I also like to have those in their own repositories for the same reason.

For everything else on the site (WordPress core, third-party plugins, and media) I think it’s important to have backup points (especially before plugin/core upgrade in case a rollback is required), but I don’t necessarily need to have that versioned with something like Git.

If you’re not like me and prefer to have the entire site versioned in one repository, then git deploys work great with WP Engine. You can even set the gitignore file to ignore specific third-party plugins, media, and core so it just tracks your custom plugins and themes- but those all still need to be in one single repository that is tracked from the root of the WordPress directory. Continue reading

Angular + WordPress JSON API


I’ve been wanting to get more familiar with the JSON API proposed for WordPress core and also with Angular (a javascript framework), so I decided to start building a little web app idea I’ve had for a while.

I’ve started small. My first experiment was just to see if I could connect to the JSON API and output a list of most recent posts. To do this, I built a basic theme with only the essential components: a stylesheet, a functions.php, an index.php, and the custom javascript.

You can find it on GitHub here. Continue reading