The JetPack plugin makes it easy to add share buttons to posts in WordPress. With a little custom code it’s also possible to track how often the share buttons are clicked and which URLs are being shared.
When developing WordPress sites I generally have three environments: live, staging, and local. Since I like my staging environment to be a very close replica of production, I frequently overwrite the database and files in staging. This is especially true when working with a host like WP Engine that has one-click staging environments.
However, when the database is overwritten in staging, there’s a generally a few settings that still need to be different from production. For instance, with WooCommerce sites, I may need to deactivate SSL and put Stripe into testing mode.
Occasionally I’ll also need to deactivate certain analytics plugins or third-party API integrations like MailChimp.
After making these updates manually for months, I finally moved to a programmatic update routine for many of my sites. The code basically just checks which environment we’re in. If it’s one of the staging environments and the update script hasn’t been run already, it runs it. Continue reading →
A lot of the big services, like Google Analytics (tutorial) or Facebook ads, have off-the-shelf extensions you can use. But for smaller services, you often have to write some custom code to send them the conversion information.
Generally the easiest way to do this is by using the woocommerce_thankyou hook. This action is only fired on the order confirmation page and also provides the $order_id variable, which gives access to all the order details. Continue reading →
I’ve been using FitVids.js in a lot of recent themes to ensure video displays nicely in responsive layouts. I wrote about this in detail for a previous post.
The FitVids script is super tiny (1.7k), and I generally concat it will all my other scripts and then minify using Grunt. So, it’s really not a lot of additional page weight to include the script. However, I was just clued into an alternate method when doing a theme review for the Make theme on wordpress.org that could be slightly more efficient.
Generally FitVids will only be required if video is loaded via an oEmbed (YouTube, Vimeo). So, if we hook into the oEmbed and already have the FitVids registered to load in wp_footer, we can just enqueue the script when it is needed. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →