Surprise – No Special Characters or Numbers Are Allowed To Be Used In IDs

Surprise – No Special Characters or Numbers Are Allowed To Be Used In IDs

Have you ever been working on a website and been completely stumped as to why something is no longer working that was working just a bit ago? We this happened to me a few weeks ago and it was quite the puzzle to figure out.

I was creating anchor links within a web page that allowed you to jump to a section of the page via a scrolling sub menu. My first thought was that someone had gone in and changed a theme setting. I spent about an hour trying to look around for some sort of setting that had been changed with no luck. The next thing I did was inspect the element and I found a JavaScript error so I jumped to the conclusion that this was broken because of some sort of JavaScript caching since we had been using an outside developer to help with optimizing our site.

When a few days had gone by and there was still no change with the full width display, I asked the backend developer that I work with for a suggestion. He took a look and low and behold I was told that you can’t use special character of numbers within an anchor tag.

Thank goodness this was an easy fix. I had the anchor id labeled something like #example1+ and changed it to #exampleplus. It is alright to leave the anchor label with the special character or number included. Who would have though something so simple could throw off the JavaScript allowing a page to load full width. Chalk this up to a good learning experience and I am happy to share this information in case anyone else is struggling with the same situation.

 

 

Adding Free SSL to a WordPress Site Hosted on GoDaddy

Adding Free SSL to a WordPress Site Hosted on GoDaddy

until recently I was really intimidated about adding a free SSL certificate to my Portfolio site. I knew that I should have a certificate in place because of the effect on Google ranking and just to be secure in general but I had herd horror stories of this process being really involved with changing of server setting etc. It was just scary so I avoided it at all costs.

Be Brave and Attempt Adding SSL To Your Site

Well I finally felt brave enough today, bit the bullet and added the free certificate from Let’s Encrypt and honestly it was not bad at all. I mean it folks, why pay the GoDaddy the cost of SSl which is currently $59.99 a year per website. With less than 30 minutes of work you will be able to add a certificate that works just as well on your own. There is one downfall of Let’s Encrypt and that is the fact that you will have to repeat this process every 90 days, but when you see how simple the process actually is, I think you will be on board.

I was able to find a video on YouTube that will walk you most of the way through the process and I would rec recommend watching it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPcznB74GPs Watch the video and follow the steps and you will be successful, but just in case you don’t want to watch, I will walk you through the steps here as well.

1.The first thing that you need to do is go to the website zerossl.com. This is a web application that will help you set up the Let’s Encrypt certificate for your website. Once you are here, click on Online Tools. Then click on the Free SSL Certificate Wizard. This will open a screen where you will need to enter your domain name with and without the www. at the beginning. You will also need to check the two boxes and accept ZeroSSL TOS and Let’s Encrypt SA. This process will generate a CSR file which you should download a copy of just so you have a backup. You will then click the NEXT button in the upper right corner.  This generates the account keys for your certificate. You will need to download both files and save them for the next step.

2. The next step is to log into your GoDaddy account and gain access to your Cpanel. Here you will need to open your file manager. and find either the root area, or if you have split your hosting into multiple sections you will need to click on the folder for the site you’re adding the certificate to. For example I added a certificate to my project site : mcdougalllakeproject.com and I added this certificate directly to the mcdougalllakeproject folder. Once you have found the section you need you are going to create 2 folders. The first being a folder called .well-know. Then search for this folder using the search feature on top and add another folder within this folder called acme-challenge. It is very important to use the exact names for these folders.

3. Now that you have the proper folder structure you will need to upload the 2 files that you downloaded into the acme-challenge folder. you can check to make sure things are working properly by going back to zerossl.com and clicking the links. Your certificates keys should  display when you click on these links. You will then click the NEXT button. If  everything went well and you will be able to download 2 forms so that you have a proper backup.

4. Now return to CPanel and scroll down to find SSL/TLS and click the icon. Then click on Install and Manage SSL for your site.  Here you can select the domain that you want to install the certificate for. You will then return to the ZeroSSL site and copy the certificate and the private key. The certificate download file contains 2 sections of code. The first section will go in the top box and the second section will go in the bottom box. You then have to past the code from the private key section into the middle box. You should see green check marks next to each box to assure you that you have done things correctly. Then click the Install Certificate button.

5. Now go to your website and add the https:// in front of the url, you should see the green lock and secure symbol in place. The next step is to either add in code to redirect the url structure. Or if you are like me you prefer the non-code option, you can just log into your WordPress dashboard and under settings > general change the url of your website to include the https:// before it. You are not quite finished though. Since WordPress codes all image and links relative to the site you will find broken links. I recommend a plugin called SSL Insecure Content Fixer. This will surely take care of your problem. This plugin can be downloaded directly from the plugin repository.  Download the plugin, activate it and find the settings in the Settings section. There are different levels of fixing and they recommend you start with the least level of fixing and work your way up. I needed to use the Capture All setting to fix my portfolio site, and that is it. You should now have a properly secured website.

6. Hopefully just like me you’ll see that this process is not so tough. Give it a shot and watch the YouTube video for help. SSL certificates are no longer a scary thing for me. Hopefully you will feel the same way after you attempt to add a certificate to your site.

WordCamp US 2017

WordCamp US 2017

I am truly looking forward to attending my third WordCamp US coming up the beginning of December. The location this year has changed from Philadelphia to Nashville so it will be fun to check out a new location. I am also excited to meet new WordPress developers from across the country and also am looking forward to learning some new tips and tricks involved with website creation.

Interesting Topics

I am looking forward to hearing speakers from all different aspects of website creation that will be gathering in the great city of Nashville TN. Some of the most interesting talks that I am looking forward to are The Next Phase of Growth for WordPress, Preparing for and Dealing with Websites Imploding, Designing for Dynamic WordPress Content with CSS Grid, Flexbox, and More CSS Trickery, and Kids and Code: The Facts and The Future. I like how the WordPress community is represented through the choice of topics and material that will be presented at this conference. Whether you are just a beginner or have been coding for years you can certainly find something to take away from this seminar.

New Faces

One of the best parts about WordCamp gatherings is getting to meet new people. I love talking with new folks from different places and learning what part they play in the WordPress community. I have met people from other countries, as well as all parts of the United States. I even see people each year now that I have talked to in the past and we have built up a rapport and it is great reconnecting with them.

WordCamp Fun

Thanks to the fantastic sponsors, WordCamp US is able to throw an awesome after party as well as provide fantastic lunches each day of the conference. There is always barque provided for lunch on one of the days. I think this is because Matt Mullenweg hails from the great state of Texas. The after party is also a blast, with Karaoke, games, appetizers and drinks. I have really enjoyed all that the great sponsors are willing to give to this great event.

Sponsors

Not only do the sponsors help pay for lunch, after party fun, and conference space rental, they give us awesome stuff. I love that I typically come home with at least 6 t-shirts as well as many other vendor sponsored goodies.  Most vendors have games or other fun tasks at their booth and last year one of the vendors even gave away a large screen television. Some of the great sponsors this year are: Jetpack, WooCommerce, Sitelock, BlueHost, DreamHost, SiteGround, wp engine, GoDaddy, Google, PayPal, VendorFuel, wpmudev, and Mindsize. There are several others as well that have kindly contributed to this awesome learning event.

In conclusion I can’t wait. This event is going to be great and I feel so fortunate to be a part of the great thing that we call WordPress.

Waukesha WordCamp 2017

Waukesha WordCamp 2017

Who could have guessed that the Waukesha WordCamp would have been such a great success? This was by far the best set of speakers that I have seen at any WordCamp. From Digital Marketing Strategy to AB Testing, there was something for everyone.

The most interesting presentation, by far, was the talk on SEO given by Ryan Erwin. In his presentation he covered the following topics: SSL,  Subdomains, Redirects, Mobile Sites, Canonical, robots file, XML Site Map, and On page tagging and schema. The most important information that I took away from this was the organization on a web page is very important for SEO. I already knew this fact but it was great to be reminded. I also was reminded how important it is to add in the alt tags for each photograph which provides excellent information for Search Engines. You should make sure the naming on the photos matches the text and titles on your web page.

My second favorite talk was on Tools to automate and elevate your marketing efforts.  This covered tools such as SumoMe to build up lists for newsletters and Title Experiments for testing to see what titles people are searching for. This talk had so many helpful ideas on how to increase the viewership of your website.

I am already looking forward to seeing what WCTC can put together for next year. Thank you for such a great grouping of presentations.

 

 

 

Dealing With Difficult People

Dealing With Difficult People

In every job you will find difficult people and it is a necessary skill to learn how to deal with them. My advice is that you must be strong, courageous, bold and brave and stand up for what you believe in. You should never let someone make you forget the moral values that shape your character. If you feel strongly about a belief, then you must stand up for that belief. I had an incident last week where I was being asked to be a part of a lie. I strongly believe that lying is not right so I had a very hard time with this. In the end I did not lie and I will not do so in the future. In fact I will leave my job and find a different one if I am asked to be a part of a lie again.

So be brave, and don’t be discouraged. Stick to what you believe is right!

Trouble with WordPress 4.7 upgrade and W3C total cache plugin

Trouble with WordPress 4.7 upgrade and W3C total cache plugin

Who hasn’t run into a WordPress or plugin update issue from time to time? Thankfully with a bit of patience and some good problem solving skills you will be on your way to having your site fixed in no time.

I ran into a bit of trouble with the WordPress upgrade to 4.7 this week and thought I would share my struggles in case others are also facing this issue. On Tuesday I ran a WordPress update on a small non-profit camp website for a client. The front end of the website worked perfectly however when I tried to access the back-end I got a 500 Error that showed wp-admin/upgrade.php?_wp_http_referer=%2Fwp-admin%2F in the url.

My first reaction was to call the hosting company and have them reset the website back to the previous day. (This site is hosted on a great local hosting platform where they are happy to do this for me) They kindly reset the website to the previous day, however this did not fix the website. Yikes!

My next step was to talk to a development company that we use to help when I can’t figure things out. I reached out and got a few suggestions on how to add a debug file to see if that would help to pin-point the error. This was really no help either.

My next step was to go to the WordPress forum and search for help. Here is what I found. Apparently if you use the W3C total cache plugin it causes this error with the update. The first step is to go into your files via ftp and change your plugins folder name to plugins-old. Then you also need to change the names on advanced-cache.php, db.php, object-cache.php, w3-total-cache-config.php. I couldn’t find the config file so I didn’t change this one and it still worked. Once you change these file names you will be brought to a screen that says update database, click on this and you should be good to go. Once this has been completed you will need to go back in via ftp and rename all files that you changed. You may want to make sure all plugins are also up to date at this time. I ran into an issue with one of them not working properly after this.

Thanks to the WordPress forum for helping all of us WordPress geeks out there. It is great to know that someone has your back when an issue does occur.

Happy Updating

My Branding

My Branding

I am taking the advice of a speaker at a WordCamp that I recently attended and beginning to process of writing a weekly blog. This first post is pretty much just a snapshot of my personal branding strategy.

When I was in school for Digital Media and Web Design we were required to create a logo and all other branding to represent ourselves at the Portfolio Show before graduation. My graphic design skills were not as strong as some of my classmates however I think that I came up with a pretty good idea to have my initials in a lightbulb for my logo.  I have always loved the look of an old fashioned Edison light bulb and was fascinated with how the wires would heat up and produce the light as a child.

When the portfolio show came around I found these great jars shaped like light bulbs at Hobby Lobby. The tops of the jars were gold so I painted them an industrial gray to match the colors on my website and business card. I then rolled a business card and put it inside of the jar. They looked super cool and got a lot of attention. I also had small flashlights created with my name and website url printed on them. I handed these out to potential employers and onlookers. While I did not land a job from the Portfolio Show., I thought it was a pretty good experience and I would not have done it any differently.