This is going to be plugin week. We're going to talk about what are plugins and widgets and what they'll do for you.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 624
How To Automate Your Business – https://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Higher Education Webinar – https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
See Tom's Stuff – https://linktr.ee/antionandassociates[01:56] Tom's introduction to Plugin Week Part 1 [06:27] WordPress Horror Stories [13:12] How to tell if your site is running fast [15:23] Differences between a plugin and a widget [29:12] Plugin trouble and what to do about it [41:18] Preparing for future “trouble” and how to handle it [48:24] Taking backups, backups and backups
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Email Tom: Tom@ScrewTheCommute.com
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Business Communications – https://screwthecommute.com/623/
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Episode 624 – Plugin Week Part 1
[00:00:08] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:24] Hey everybody, it's Tom here with episode 624 of Screw the Commute podcast? This is going to be plugin week. We're going to talk about what are plugins and widgets and what they'll do for you. And we're going to have a special surprise guest I'll tell you about in a minute. Now. Episode 623 This is 624, but episode 623 was about business communications. See, regardless of the quality of your work, how you communicate with customers can make people either thrilled with you so they refer you, or it could make them feel reluctant to do business with you again, even if the quality of your work is good. So in that episode, I tell you about two separate small businesses I'm dealing with currently and the mistakes they're making with me. All right, make sure you pick up a copy of our podcast excuse me, our automation e-book. It's. Oh, geez, we figured it out a couple of years ago. Just one of the tips in the book that saved me seven and a half million keystrokes. And that's not an exaggeration. And probably now it's probably 8 million or more. I want you to spending time with customers prospects and developing products and services, not fighting with your computer. So make sure you grab a copy of that at screwthecommute.com/automatefree. While you're at it, pick up a copy of our podcast app at screwthecommute.com/app and put us on your cell phone and tablet and take us with you on the road.
[00:01:57] All right. So this is plug in week. This is session one of three sessions about everything you need to know about plug ins and widgets. And the first thing I like to start this with to get you in the right frame of mind, because so many people throw these terms around and they really don't know what they mean. So so I'm going to talk about WordPress right now. So WordPress is like the engine to your car. I don't care if it's a Bentley or if it's a Volkswagen bug, it's got an engine. And so that's basically what WordPress is. It's the most popular ever website creation device. It's it's just amazing, but it's the engine and it's free. So that's their starting point here. It's WordPress is the engine to your car. A theme. You've probably heard the term theme. And nowadays for the last years, really five, four or five years, you want the theme to be what's called responsive. That means that it looks good on a cell phone and a tablet automatically.
[00:03:05] But the theme is like the paint job on your car. So a Bentley looks different than a Volkswagen bug that looks different than a pickup truck and and a Toyota Tundra or whatever is out there nowadays or an S.U.V.. It's kind of what the site looks like. That's what a theme is, a plug in or a widget. And our guest is going to show you tell you the difference. There is like an accessory on your car, like heated seats or power mirrors, stuff like that that makes your site do certain other things. So that's the analogy that WordPress is the engine or whatever website builder you're using is the engine. And then. The theme is the paint job and then plug ins and widgets are the accessories. So we're going to talk about the accessories because a lot of you already have the other things that are already going on. All right. Now we are primarily concentrating on the gold standard of websites, and that is WordPress. Now, if you happen to be one of the poor, destitute, uninformed people using something other than WordPress. Besides all of us here at Screw the Commute praying for you, you still might want to listen to these episodes because almost all websites and website builders most likely have some sort of plug ins to make the site do other things which you will learn about in today's episode and super important things your sites should do, and the next episode and the following episode.
[00:04:53] So you really want to pay attention to this week, our three episodes. All right. So our special guest, Larry Garrett, is here. He's going to be our special guest for three episodes this week. He's a graduate of my school and he's been freelancing for me. Now he tells me five years, wow, time flies. And he's also responsible folks for my beautiful back end. Now, what I mean by that is the back end of this podcast. He's done all 623 episodes so far, and he's got a technical credentials out the wazoo, and he's critiqued hundreds of websites from the behind the scenes technical aspect while he's been working here. And he's going to tell you some of the Supreme Misses from big shot people and people who brag about their website and web designer simply because they don't know any better. I mean, these websites are hurting them and their ego gets in the way with state statements like this. But it looks so cool. All right. Let's bring on Larry the back end guy. Hey, Larry.
[00:06:07] I'm still.
[00:06:08] Trying to.
[00:06:09] Come down from this.
[00:06:11] You do have a beautiful back end, and I will definitely take responsibility and credit for that.
[00:06:17] Thank you. Thank you.
[00:06:19] Oh, yes, absolutely. I said you should see Tom's back.
[00:06:22] The Internet guy. So let's start off with some some real good horror stories about what when we get a hold of a website's back end and the some of the things you've seen and this this is just a small fraction. We could go on for the whole week talking about this, but take it away.
[00:06:46] All right. So. There are. What was the catchphrase for that old TV show? In this case, it would be. There are so many horror stories in the big city.
[00:06:58] Right? Right. Yeah.
[00:07:00] So I've run into.
[00:07:02] That was naked.
[00:07:03] City. Naked city, right. That was it. So in this case, it'd be Horror City. Right. In my travels throughout the WordPress ecosystem or the WordPress universe, I've lost count. Literally. I have lost count of the number of times I run into a website that I just I got to put my head in my hands and think, oh, my God, why? Why?
[00:07:28] Yeah. And a lot of these people had web designers. That's why I own the domain name killer web designer that they brag about. Oh, they're wonderful. They're wonderful. No, they suck. And you just don't know it.
[00:07:39] Yeah, and I get, I get the comment. Oh, my site, my site works great. And I'm looking at this site. What, what site are you looking at? Because it's not the one I'm looking at. So let me give you two quick examples of what I run to on a regular basis. And these two examples are very, very recent, like within the last few weeks. So I did do a website review. For one particular person who had two different sites, and they were different enough that it was different from a business standpoint and all this other stuff. I mean, completely separate. But each side had one major. A problem that was caused by the same person. They were designed by the same web designer, and they were maintained by the same tech person, if you want to call them that. So. The one of the things I'm going to describe in this episode is how you're supposed to use things like plug ins and widgets and the like. Some people have the feeling that more is better. So the very first one that I'm talking about that I wanted to talk about literally had 53 plug ins. Now, at the moment, that might not mean much to you, but let me tell you something. 53 In any type of technology universe is a lot like sometimes it's beyond the lot. And 53 was where we started. And I took a look at this and I said, All right, I've got to break this down and see what these things are doing.
[00:09:15] Okay. So this particular website had 53 plug ins, which in the grand scheme of things may be okay, but I had to take a look and see what are all these plug ins doing? Is it really necessary? So I went through them step by step, one by one, and discovered, as I said earlier, more is better. They had multiple backup plug ins, they had multiple security plug ins. They even had multiple plug ins to generate like fancy links so that they could send them to people to get access to their website and so on and so on. And all these duplicates, while from the surface, may seem like they don't really harm anything, they absolutely do, because these type of things will slow your website down. Could potentially cause Google or any search engine that goes to scan your website could cause them problems because they're not really sure what they're looking at. They're seeing all these multiple things, and it causes a bit of confusion. And one of the things you really don't want to do is cause any search engines, any problems. So that was one of them. The other one, I had an issue with too many plug ins. This one was, I think in the forties, I think it was 45 or something like that. But even worse, they were using a theme. Now remember what Tom described as a theme? It's the paint job, it's the way your website looks. And that is the very first thing that a visitor will see when they come to your website.
[00:10:46] So what happened in this case was the theme that they were using was heavily customised like. I'm going to use the term butchered because that's almost what it was like. And because of that, any slight change at all to anything within the website, either a plugin or a widget or anything, caused all sorts of problems. It was literally un changeable and modifiable. With one exception. The only person who could change this was the one who created this mess in the first place. And that person went off to Tahiti, I think, or the Bahamas or someplace completely wiped off the face of the Earth and was inaccessible. So the person I was doing these reviews for was really in a bad doo doo. Oh, deep doo doo. Correct. Yes. Yes. Doo doo is a technical term and the deep doo doo means you're really very technical. So in this particular case, I had to tell, I had to give him the bad news. I said, look, you've got to find this person. And if you can't find this person, it's going to take a good length of time and potentially a lot of money to fix this, because what you have here is a WordPress site, you've got a bunch of functionality in it, but if you dare to even breathe on it the wrong way, things break. And that's certainly a situation we don't want to be.
[00:12:09] I was just thinking that we ought to. We'll make a fortune. We should invent a plug in that tells you you have too many plug ins.
[00:12:16] I know. That's a great.
[00:12:18] Idea. That's a good it is a good idea.
[00:12:21] And actually, it could be me like on a bobblehead saying, one, two, three, four. You listeners out there, don't take that idea. We're going to patent this somewhere. So those those typically represent the type of horror stories I've written. Now, granted, they're not all that bad, but what I do run into is people not really understanding how their websites work and leaving it up to somebody else and not really asking the questions that they should be asking. And that really can produce lingering long term problems on your site, such as slow response time not being.
[00:12:56] Which is the kiss of death. Oh, yes. Search engines. Yep. And people? Yep. People won't wait anymore. If your site doesn't load instantly.
[00:13:02] People will not wait. And Google and all the other search engines certainly will not wait. In fact, you're being penalized now if your website is not fast enough.
[00:13:13] Oh, and you know what sucks people in? They say, oh, it loads instantly. Well, that's because when once you look at it, it's what they call cached in your browser. It's a lot of the files are already there and it loads instantly. But if I look at it for the first time, it might take a calendar to get it to load.
[00:13:31] Yep, that's correct. Let me throw it let me throw a little tip out here as we're talking about this for for those who are wondering, does my website really run fast? One of the things you can do very easily to test this is to if you're using the Chrome browser or anything equivalent to that, use what's called incognito mode, that's a private browsing mode that doesn't use any of the caching, doesn't use any of your cookies, doesn't use any of that stuff that accumulates in the browser over time. This way you can see if your website actually is loading. Normally, you can also do this on a mobile device. For example, if you have an iPhone, if you pull up safari, you can use what's called private browsing mode. That's the same thing as Incognito on the Chrome browser, and it will do exactly the same thing. It will load your site would add any cached files or any caching involved, make sure there's no cookies involved, so you'll see what a new user would see if they went to your website. That could be incredibly eye opening for you.
[00:14:31] Oh, and also they could. It used to be called Google Webmaster Tools. I forget what it's called now, developers or something, but they'll basically, you know, look at your website and tell you exactly what's wrong with it, what to do about it. And if you don't understand it, that's when you get a geek and say, Hey, I need this fix. Do you know how to do it? And it's far more than just how fast your site loads, but it's going to the horse's mouth basically if you sign up for that. Like I said, it used to be if you just type in Google Webmaster Tools, the new name of it will pop up.
[00:15:02] Yeah, you'll, you'll get a whole bunch of hits on stuff like that that you can use to take a look. Now, as far as geeks, just find any local teenager, wake them up from their nap and have them fix your website.
[00:15:12] I thought that was a preschool.
[00:15:13] Well, it could be preschool now. Yeah, right. Yeah. Okay.
[00:15:19] So did we cover both horror stories?
[00:15:22] Yeah, we've covered both horror stories.
[00:15:24] All right, good. All right, so let's define what's the difference between a plug in and a widget.
[00:15:30] All right. So for those of you that do have WordPress websites and even for those that don't, widgets and plug ins are really generic terms that are unfortunately used interchangeably and they should not be. They are two separate entities. So let me give you the the definitions of each. So a plug in adds functionality to your site. A plug in will add a feature that doesn't exist in WordPress or it will enhance a feature that currently does exist in WordPress. So these are the things that operate in the background that a user or a visitor to your site would not interact with directly. They wouldn't see necessarily something different on the page they're looking at, but it does provide stuff in the background, like Tom's beautiful background that that adds, oh, your back end, I'm sorry, back and we must use the right term here that add functionality to your site and enhance what your website is capable of.
[00:16:31] So give them some examples like gallery or gallery.
[00:16:35] So a gallery is a perfect example of what I'm talking about, and this would be a video or a picture gallery. What you can do with one of these plugins is just throw in a bunch of photos or a bunch of videos and a gallery can do a whole bunch of different things. You can display it on your screen in a grid, it can display it on your screen in a rotating fashion. So that one image comes up, it waits a couple of seconds, the next widget, the next image comes up and so on and so on. And this stuff happens all automatically. So a visitor to your site could see that also a. Some of the other plugins that you would see up front are things that automatically load a list of things that you can do. Like, for example, on our school commute website, there is one section in there for podcasts, this podcast, and it will give you a running list of all the available episodes that you can listen to on the website. Well, that's done by a plug in. It allows you to pull up the player. It allows you to take a look at the show notes, you can get a transcript and so on and so on and so on. That's a plug in that's operating in the background that gives our website the enhanced capability of showing you all the podcast episodes that are available for you to listen to. So that's one type of plug, and there's a whole bunch that offer different functionalities, which some of them are generic, some of them are special.
[00:17:55] And the next episode we're going to talk about like must have.
[00:17:58] Yes, absolutely. There is a.
[00:18:01] Overview now of what they are, why it's important to you. But then Wednesday, we're going to do must haves, and then Friday we're going to do all kinds of stuff memberships and.
[00:18:14] We call them specialty or boutique plug ins. Right? So that's plug ins. So let's move over to widgets. So what's the difference? Well, a widget, a plug in is something that a user would not normally interact with. And he visited a website. A widget, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. A widget is something you want a visitor to interact with. It's either going to be, just to give you an example, a calendar widget. And you would they would be able to book some time with you using a calendar widget on your website. So what would that look like? They come to your home page or they go to a specific page there and there's an actual calendar there. They can click on that, pick a date, pick a time and that kind of thing. Those are usually done by widgets. Other things that are done by widgets could be in the header of your website or even in the footer down at the bottom or what we call a sidebar. That's the stuff on the left or the right of your website that provides them with a whole bunch of information. So some websites, they show you the weather in your local area. Other websites give a running tally of what's going on for let's say you've gone to a website that is promoting a seminar. They would give you a running tally of, let's say, how many people have signed up where the next seminar is going to be like a running list of all the things that are available. Other widgets could show you a list of available downloads that a visitor could see or download to their computer for whatever it is that particular website is is promoting. Widgets are the interactive thing that allows a website owner to show a website visitor. All the things that are available on that website and the range is almost infinite. As to what you can put on there.
[00:20:05] And the kind of the reason people get them confused is because, yeah, if you're looking at somebody's picture gallery, sometimes you can interact with it too, you know, but but it's not as clear cut as what a widget would do. Widget would maybe allow you to upload a photo, you know, really get, really get involved with it. But yeah, so they kind of cross over a little bit. We're primarily concerned with plug ins because I think people overload plug ins way more than widgets.
[00:20:37] This is true. And there's there's an actual valid psychology psychological reason for that, believe me. Who knew we were going to go into psychology here? But there actually is plug ins are extremely easy to find and install. Very easy. There are search directories available, you can even do it within your own website. Searching for new plug ins, you click the install button, you click the activate button bang. You've got a brand new plug in that's now running on your site. We just take a little bit more effort because widgets are more on the design side, meaning you've got to find where do you want to place this widget? How is it? How do you want it to look?
[00:21:16] Hey, well, didn't we just run into this with one of our students with the speaker pipe?
[00:21:22] Right, exactly. So to speak. Pipe is another one of those things that could be a plug in, but it's actually a widget. And what that does is it puts a small piece of code on your website. We have that on screw the commute as well. It allows you to send Tom a voice message simply by clicking on the button there that you see on the home page. And what that does is it pops up a widget where you click the button and you just start talking and it could be on your computer, it could be on your phone, it doesn't matter. So that particular widget comes in a variety of flavors.
[00:21:58] One does matter if you don't have a microphone hooked up to your laptop or desktop. Well, most of them have them usually have them, but desktop's not necessarily.
[00:22:08] Not necessarily on a desktop, but most of the other ones will have them built in somewhere. And this, this particular one allows you a couple of flavors. One is to have a fixed location for your widget, meaning it's like smack in the middle of the page or it's down on the bottom, and that allows people to leave you a message. Another one, another variation on that is a floating toolbar and it's actually floats as someone is scrolling up and down on a particular page on your website. And we had a problem with that because the widget refused to scroll. So digging a little deeper, it turns out that the person's account settings were not set correctly. It was set for the fixed widget and not for the floating widget. These are the kind of things that give you a lot of flexibility, but you have to be aware of what these widgets are capable of doing because if you pick the wrong set of code, you're going to get well, you're not going to get what you want. So.
[00:23:04] All right. So here's the beautiful thing, Larry. If you put a plug in in, you can just leave it and forget about it for 20 years at least, right? Oh, of.
[00:23:14] Course. Absolutely not. Not. One of the things that a web WordPress owner, a WordPress website owner, I should say, has the responsibility of is to make sure things are kept up to date. And our running correctly. Now, you may farm that out to a tech person. You may farm that out to somebody else who you trust, who will take a look at your website on a regular basis and make sure things are working. But these things get updated all the time. There has not been a day that has gone by where some of our plug ins need an update. Why? A variety of reasons, but the two main reasons are that the plugin creator has added a new feature or a new function, or they have fixed stuff in the code that was either a security problem or it was a bug, or somebody found something that didn't work correctly and they're fixing that. But these things happen on a regular basis. I mean.
[00:24:16] Also when WordPress itself updates, doesn't it some sometimes.
[00:24:21] That is correct. The biggest update is to WordPress itself. And when WordPress updates, many times that triggers plugin updates because the plugins now have to change a little bit in order to accommodate the new version of WordPress. So I would never I'm never surprised when WordPress gets updated that some plugins and possibly even widgets need to be updated as well because those go hand in hand. While these seem to be independent entities, they're all connected. And if one thing changes, there's a good possibility that the other one has to change in order to accommodate the new updated versions.
[00:25:02] All right. Now, shouldn't this be totally automatic? They update themselves.
[00:25:07] They it should be. And there is a feature within WordPress that allows plug ins to update automatically. And I am a very big fan of that. I have to tell you, I'm making a confession here, right here. And screw the commute. I am a plug in minimalist. Now, what does that mean? That means if I can get away with using one line of code somewhere, or if I can change something on in the back end of the website without using a plug in, I will do that instead. Why? First of all, it makes the website run faster because I don't have another plug in. Secondly, it short circuits and bypasses a whole bunch of other stuff that could potentially slow down your site. Now that's just me. Other people feel I know what I need to do. I'm just going to throw some plugins at it and make it work. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that either because from a convenience standpoint, plug ins are more convenient and they most 99 times out of 100, they do the job that they're supposed to do. However, that one time out of 100 where it doesn't do what it's supposed to do could really cause problems for your website.
[00:26:14] So getting back to updating WordPress has the capability that allows you to set your plugins to automatically update when there are new versions released by the Creator. So there's there's to two reasons why you should do this. And this goes back to what I said earlier, me very, very leery of having this set for automatic. At first I didn't want to do that because this was a new function within WordPress and it's the kind of thing you don't want to turn on without checking. But after a while you got to see that this was very stable and it was working fine. One of the reasons why you would want to do this is because security updates are happening all the time. You always want your website to be as secure as possible. The second thing is speed. Many plugins go through what are called code reviews, and people look at them with a critical eye and say, You know what? You can make this faster by doing this, that and the other thing. And a lot of times plugins will be the beneficiary of that type of code review. And by downloading and installing the latest versions, you make your website better and faster. On top of all that.
[00:27:20] The other saying is you can't just set it and forget it like that.
[00:27:25] Absolutely not. This is not.
[00:27:26] All these people want to do. They just say, Oh, it looks nice. I don't have to think about it ever again. And that's stupid.
[00:27:33] And that is absolutely stupid in the wrong way to do this. And here's a perfect example of this. The set it and forget it mentality may work for some, but it does not work for all and it can actually get you into big trouble. So I had one website that I reviewed just recently that had two plugins that did exactly the same function. In this particular case, it was backing up the website. Now.
[00:27:59] Which is a good thing.
[00:28:00] Which is a good thing. Yes, but I don't know about you, but one backup plug in should be sufficient. You don't need a second one to do exactly the same thing that the first one did. So what did I discover? I discovered that the original plug in that was actually put in there for some reason had failed and it was not taking backups. So the person who was managing this website thought there must be something wrong with it. I'll just put it in another plug in to do the same thing. And that's what they did. So the second plug in was actually taking backups all along, but the first plug in never stopped taking backups. And this this review that I did was only a few weeks ago, and the first plug in had been taking a backup of the website since 2019. So this was a three year backup process which never completed, by the way. It was still active when the second plug in was thrown in to do backups. So set it and forget it. Absolutely not. Using plug ins for feature enhancement and functionality and doing things like backups and the like. Absolutely. But you can't just set it and forget it doesn't work.
[00:29:13] So what what if a plug in quits or the developer and a lot of these are free folks so so if the people you know some don't have a big incentive to keep updating and they say oh heck with it and go on to something else because they're not making any money. So so what do you do if it fails? How do you know and what do you do about it?
[00:29:33] Okay, so later versions of WordPress, meaning the most recent versions versions are much, much better.
[00:29:39] At you say Virgin.
[00:29:40] No, I said versions. Versions, although.
[00:29:43] I think you said Virgin.
[00:29:44] Although let's review the videotape if you're new to WordPress than you are a WordPress virgin. All right. But four versions of WordPress, the later versions do provide far better notification capability than the older versions. So what will happen is if a plugin is having trouble, or literally if the plugin crashes your website, for some reason, WordPress will try to send you an email to the email address that was listed as the administrator for the website. So what does that mean? That means that at least WordPress is trying to tell you, Hey, listen, you've got a real problem here. Click this link and we'll try and solve this together. And what that link will do is take you into your WordPress site in what's called safe mode. Now, for those of you that run either Windows Machines or you have a mac, both of those type of equipment have what's called safe mode. And it takes you into a minimal version of Windows or the Mac OS that allows you to troubleshoot and be able to get into your computer and see what's going on. Wordpress does the same thing. Now. There are a lot of variables to that, but in essence, that's what it's doing.
[00:30:55] And the typical user probably wouldn't do this, right?
[00:30:59] Typical user probably wouldn't, unless their email address is listed as the administrator.
[00:31:04] But they will get the email.
[00:31:05] They wouldn't know what to do. Really?
[00:31:08] Probably not unless it's so glaringly obvious. Like they installed the plug in and immediately the site crashed. Yeah. Then they would not. But in many cases, that's not always the case. It could be that a plugin was updated. It could be that WordPress had a minor update and that caused the problem with the plug in. So yeah, you've got to get your tech person on there and see exactly what's going on. So WordPress gives you that capability. At least it'll tell you that something went wrong. So that you can go investigate and see what you need to do to change that. Most times, the vast majority of times none of this happens. The plug ins work fine. They get updated. You don't even know it's happened. But there are times where there's a collision or a clash of some sort and you need to take steps and you need to take action to get your site back online.
[00:31:56] All right. So before we go any further, I want to I know we're scaring the heck out of people that oh, my God, this is too much work. I don't want to fool with this. I'll just go on that stupid stuff that I see on TV that's so dummy fied that that I don't have to think about this anymore. Well, folks, that's what why it's on TV is to go after people that don't know any better, and you can't do the things that you need to do. And so you're really hurting your business if you fall for the the big hype. My rule of thumb is if you see anything Web related advertised on national TV, you can be absolutely sure. No exceptions to this ever in my entire 28 years online. It's designed to go after people that do not know any better. They're just going for the masses and they're just big sales organizations as all they are. So this sounds complicated and troublesome, but this is the way professionals do it if you want success with your website.
[00:33:03] All right. Yes, that is absolutely correct. And also, keep in mind that the cost of entry for WordPress is extremely low, comparable to or even less than some of these other website builders and all the things you see on commercials and stuff. They make it sound like it's so cheap to do this and it's so easy. And at first it may be, but then when you realize what you can't do, when you like do the trial thing or you take the the lowest tiered plan that they have, that's when you start seeing that this is going to cost you a lot more than really you should be paying.
[00:33:39] Yeah. And many of them will never see that until it's far too late. And they're in far too deep.
[00:33:44] Yep. And that's when they start panicking and start making phone calls and like, what do I do? What do I do? Yeah, that's a problem.
[00:33:53] So that's why I like when new mentees come to me and don't have anything because we don't have to clean up their mess to get started doing things, correct?
[00:34:03] Exactly right. They there's no preconceived notion. They haven't made a commitment to a particular platform. They haven't put any money into it. And they are in a really good position because we can show them with real evidence, with real websites. This is the way you want your website to look. You don't want it to look like this. So that really helps them out a lot.
[00:34:22] And this is how you want it to operate.
[00:34:25] Yes, exactly.
[00:34:25] I'm talking about today. Yes. Yeah. All right. So so what if a plugin fails? What do you do?
[00:34:32] Okay, so there's a couple of things you can do right off the bat. If you have access to your WordPress site and you can get into the dashboard.
[00:34:40] Which you should as the as the entrepreneur, if you just turn everything over to some geek, they're going to disappear on you. They all do. And then you're stuck calling me in the middle.
[00:34:51] Of the night. As Exactly right. So let me put this out that I always tell everyone that I work with. If you cannot log in to your own website, you have a huge problem on your hands because if anything goes wrong and you can't reach somebody, even if you don't know what you're doing at the moment, if you can't log in, there's no way anybody can help you. No matter what their technical capability is. You must be able to log into your own website and by extension, you must be able to log into your hosting company that.
[00:35:26] Hosts two different things. It's two different things, folks.
[00:35:29] Yep, two different things. Completely. You must be able to log in. You must own the credentials for those two things at a minimum. Now, could you have your tech people be able to log into those? Absolutely. And if you're working with someone that's building your website and stuff, they must have separate logins. You want to keep those separate, but if you don't know what your login is and somebody says to you, All right, I want to get into your dashboard and be able to see what's going on. And your response is, Well, I have no idea how to log in. You are, as we said earlier, in Deep Dudu.
[00:36:01] Because we'll go ahead and use a term for the podcast.
[00:36:04] You're screwed. Okay. There you are. There you go. Right? Yeah. You are deeply screwed, in fact. Yeah. Because unless somebody gets in there and hacks into your website and does all sorts of crazy technical stuff, you have just made this about 100 times harder than it really needs to be. So as the owner of your website, as the entrepreneur that relies on this website, you must be able to log into it and be able to access what's going on in the background. That's just a fundamental thing that must, must happen. And actually, it's. Doesn't really matter if it's WordPress. It could be any type of website platform. You must be able to get in there and at least see what's going on, if there's any error messages or whatever.
[00:36:46] Somebody else in that you trust to fix it. Because if you can't get in, nobody can do it. Unless, like I said, you spend 100 times as much to get him to hack in.
[00:36:56] Yeah. And not a good idea and not a great place to be if you're running a business and your website is critical to your success.
[00:37:03] All right, so what if it fails and they can get in? What?
[00:37:06] What's happening? Okay, so there's a couple of things you can do if you're able to get into a WordPress dashboard. That is a huge, huge plus, because one of the very first things you're going to do is look at the top of your screen and see if WordPress is displaying any messages about a plugin that's gone awry. Many times it will have a message at the top of some sort that says WordPress had a problem with blah, blah, blah, blah, plug in and so on and so on. If you don't see that, you can then take a look at all of your plugins that were installed on your dashboard. On the left side will be the word plugins. You click on that. It will bring up a full list of all the plugins that are running on your site. It is very possible that one of those plugins, one or more of those plugins, I should say, have updates that are pending, meaning there is an update available. Wordpress tried to do an update and for some reason it failed. Now many times and I've seen this happen even with with many of Tom's sites, one of the WordPress plugins will try an update and it fails for reasons outside of your website. It could have been from wherever it was coming from. The server that it was on had a temporary loss of connectivity.
[00:38:14] It could be a whole bunch of stuff. So the first thing you should do is try the update again manually by clicking on update. Now for that particular plugin. If that goes through and you get a nice green check mark, then try your website again and most likely you're all finished. If, however, it tries it again and it still fails, you have one of two things. Either there's a there's a really big flaw in the plug in, or there's something wrong with your WordPress installation that's causing this problem. Now, the chances are it's the plug in. So here's the easy way to figure this out. Uninstall Deactivate the plug in and there's a button right there that says Deactivate. And then once you do that, you can uninstall the plug in and get rid of it from your WordPress site. Now this is temporary. You just want to try this, try this to see if that fixes it. If your WordPress site now starts acting normally minus the functions that that plug in provided, then that's the absolute reason. And then from there, there's a couple of things you can do, but if it's the actual plug in, you're going to have to wait for the developers to put out a new release that will fix whatever just broke or.
[00:39:24] Find another plug.
[00:39:25] Or find another plug in. Yes. Yes. And that's a good point for there are. I forgot what the last count was. There are literally millions of plugins available. Many of them do the same thing as some of the other plugins. For example, there's a whole bunch of anti-malware plugins.
[00:39:44] There's a rating system, too. Yes, there's a star rating system from.
[00:39:47] Yeah. I'll get to that. And there are also a whole bunch of backup plugins and there's a whole bunch of video and photo gallery plugins and so on and so on. So what Tom is talking about is a rating system very similar to apps that you use on your phone. Every app that's in either the App Store or in the Google Play store comes with a rating. You're either going to get one star, five stars or somewhere in between. And depending on the number of ratings, will determine how popular this plugin is and how reliable it could potentially be. The exact same thing happens with plug ins, apps, all of that. So when you go to install a plugin, you're going to see a rating that shows the number of stars overall that people have given this and also the number of installs. That number is massively critical. It will say this plugin has X installations. The higher that number, the better. The chances are that this plugin is frequently updated, that it's stable, and so on and so on. So if you're going to compare a plugin that has like 1 million installations versus one that's got 1000 installations, and they both do the same thing, pick the one that's got a million. Because that means at least a million people have vetted out this plug in and have determined that it does what it's supposed to do and they're keeping it. That's not to say that the other one is bad or there's anything wrong with it, but it doesn't have enough, quote unquote experience in the real world to determine whether or not that plugin is worth keeping.
[00:41:19] Beautiful, beautiful. Now. What can you do ahead of time to prepare for trouble so that you're ready for it or knocks it out before you get it? It's like it's like my self defense stuff, you know, awareness that's ahead of time keeps you out of trouble.
[00:41:34] Okay, so the one. The one thing that I run across every almost every single time, almost I'm not going to say all the time because that's not true. It's it's a vast majority of times. I would ask a very similar question to what Tom just asked, and the answer I get is, Well, I'll just have my tech person handle it. That is a valid answer. But my follow up question to that is how do you reach out to them? How do you make connection with your tech person? And then I get the deer in the headlights look because they just realized, you know what, I don't think I have his cell phone number or her cell phone number. I'm not sure if I even have their email address or the last time I tried their email address, that didn't work. So the answer to this is you must not only should you be able to log into your website, you need to be able to reach your tech person, whether that's via a phone call, whether that's via email, whether that's via a text message, whether that's via messenger or Facebook messenger. However you want to do it, you must be able to reach out and touch your tech person and have them must respond. And they must respond. Exactly. Yes.
[00:42:55] Absolutely. Have a crash on a Friday and then you can't even get them till Monday. And then they got work backed up and they'll get to yours by next Thursday.
[00:43:04] Yeah, exactly. Yes. And I hear this I hear this complaint all the time, which is really, really very bad. I'm one of those people that do not do that, only because I take really personal responsibility for any of the websites that I work does.
[00:43:20] And five years of proof with me for sure.
[00:43:23] Yeah. Thank you. And one one of the things that really irks me more than anything is when I hear complaints like that. My website crashed on Thursday. I could not reach this person. I've left messages, I've sent emails. They get back to me the following Tuesday. In the meantime, I've just lost $100,000 worth of business.
[00:43:41] Yeah. Listen to my. What is it? Last episode on business communication.
[00:43:45] Oh, there you go. That was it. Yes.
[00:43:47] 23. That same kind of thing.
[00:43:50] Yep, absolutely. Other than where your website lives and what platform you're on, WordPress being one of those platforms, the second most critical thing for you as the website owner is being able to communicate with the people that make sure it stays up and running, because without that, you are dead in the water. Dead in the water. I had this happen just this weekend. I have a client that was out at a trade show. And his hosting company is GoDaddy. This is not a knock against GoDaddy.
[00:44:25] Good idea to start.
[00:44:26] Well, yeah, but it was already there, and I took steps to make sure it was solid. And it was. The problem was he allowed a family member to make sure financially that everything was paid for. Everything was up to date. Credit card information was good and all this other stuff. Well, this particular family member dropped the ball big time. Not only did his domain expire, but his website hosting package expired at the same time. So GoDaddy suspended his entire website. He's at a trade show. He's got a form on his page to allow people to sign up. And none of it worked. None of it. And this was on a Thursday night, and I'm not expecting any trouble. I make sure that all my customers are very happy and all this other stuff. And I get this panicked text message and I'm looking at this thing saying, what? I just checked this website earlier today. Well, it turns out GoDaddy gave them, I don't know, maybe two weeks of grace before they decided to finally put it on suspension. In the meantime, they had no idea that the credit card expired. So I got in there and I made absolutely sure that I knew what was happening. And it turned out that's exactly what it was. They had bad credit card credentials on there. I'm not sure if it was the wrong expiration date or something else. And GoDaddy decided, well, you're not going to pay us, we're going to put you on hold. And that's exactly what they did. So it took another two days before all of that was updated and the website was back up and running. You do not under any circumstance.
[00:46:02] It was almost.
[00:46:03] Over and the trade show was over at that point. It was gone. It was absolutely gone. And he was really upset about it. And I completely understand that. But he used well, let's just say he was cussing up a storm when he found out why this happened. So him and the family member, I think, had a long talk about what was going on because this literally must have cost them business. Without a doubt, this was a big high end trade show and he was really relying on a lot of people to sign up and get stuff moving. And it didn't happen all because of something very simple. Not checking that the credit card was good or even even worse, not responding to the emails that GoDaddy must have sent out saying, Hey, you got a payment coming up in a week. We can't renew this because there's a payment issue and they probably got this.
[00:46:51] And I get that. That's hard because we get so much spam on major companies that, you know, you look a little bit deeper and it's from some weird thing in Pakistan, the emails coming from. So you kind of get acclimated to not checking everyone you get because most of them are spam. But there's look what happened to that guy.
[00:47:14] Yeah, exactly. I mean, I understand this completely. You can go snow blind by looking at so many spam emails coming in. I get them all the time. So does time. We all do. It's just a matter of being diligent enough to pick those out that, you know, you have to take some action on and just trashing the rest. But I don't want you to be in that situation. Make sure that you can reach out to your tech person. Make sure you know how to reach your hosting company, whether it's GoDaddy or whoever it happens to be, so that you can get somebody on the phone to help you out in case you have a problem, because otherwise your website is sitting there dead in the water and potentially so is your business. And we don't want that.
[00:47:51] Yeah. And go ahead. Setting an alarm when you sign up for something and even if it's two years away, you're never going to remember it. Set an alarm on your phone or something.
[00:48:00] Yeah, something. Exactly. Yes, yes.
[00:48:02] Not that I have. It hasn't happened to me after 28 years and hundreds of websites. Right. I mean, at one time I had this long before Larry was around, I had 1200 blogs. So you didn't know that you could have made a fortune off me then?
[00:48:17] Like so, Tom, you have a great memory. You mean you can't remember all of that?
[00:48:22] Oh, absolutely. So. All right. So this is a thing that I've been preaching, preaching, preaching forever. And then I get the call in the middle of the night. Oh, I lost everything, you know? And it's not just websites, it's, you know, databases and, you know, text lists and all kinds of stuff, but backups. So talk to them about back backups. And the one thing I think is crazy that people get sucked in on all the time, you're hosting companies, says, well, we do automatic backups for you.
[00:48:55] Well, see.
[00:48:56] That is the stupidest thing to I mean, I see from a marketing standpoint that they're telling people that don't know any better, that this is a great big benefit and they don't have to worry about it. Well, the thing is, is if you're hosting company gets hacked, their backup might get hacked, you know, so you still lost everything. So you should have backups going to different places, different companies so that you're not and a local copy. What happened to me? I don't know if you know this, Larry. Years and years ago, Vario was one of my hosting companies and it. It wasn't called very. They've gone through several buyouts. But but they bragged about how, you know, we do tape backup of your site. Don't worry about it. And so the whole thing crashed one time. Their whole system got hacked. And ten days later, they found my site to restore it. Ten days. And at the time, I was making $1,000 a day. Today, this is in the late nineties and you know, it cost a fortune because if I would have had a local backup in addition to whatever these other backups are, I could have restored it myself in like 10 minutes and I wouldn't have lost 10,000. So. So talk to him about back.
[00:50:16] Okay. So this is exactly why I am a big, big believer in belt and suspenders when it comes to backups. Now, I'm not talking about using two plugins to do the backups on your website. That's ridiculous. We don't want that. What we do want and Tom just said it, you want backups to be in different places so that in the event one of them fails, you have a way to recover. And let me give you a real life example. This is what I do as someone who watches over times websites and a whole bunch of other websites for other people. Yes. Your hosting company does have the capability to back up your site. Yes, they will do that every single day or even more often if you pay for a premium package, probably. Yes. They will be able to back up your site. Yes, they will be able to restore it. But how long is it going to take? What hoops do you have to jump through to get that to work? And so on and so on? Godaddy, Verio and all the vast majority of these hosting companies have backup systems that are pretty much hands off. They tell you, you back up. That's just great. You probably have access on your dashboard for the hosting company that says, Hey, you've got these backups here. Where do you want what data you want to back up from? So they allow you to restore and all this other stuff. But here's a big issue. Like Tom mentioned earlier, if the website hosting company crashes or if they get hacked or if they have a server failure, they're taking down not just one website, meaning yours, unless you've paid for a very expensive, dedicated server.
[00:51:52] But they're taking down a whole bunch of other websites, all of which need to be restored. So you're going to be on a waiting list of who knows how many websites before they finally get to you. And that could be hours. It could be days and hopefully not. It could be weeks. It really depends on how bad this is. So what I do is to following I follow belt and suspenders. We have the hosting company doing the back ups. That's fine, but you can't always rely on that. This is why having a backup that's a plug in on your own website makes a big difference. Why? Because you can set those backups to be hourly. Do it twice a day, do it every day, do it every week, whatever you want. And you are going to put those backups in a different place. And by place I mean something like. Dropbox, Google Drive or Vox.com, Amazon, Amazon S3 as a place to put data and backup files in all of that. And there's there's a variety of other places you could use that allow you to store files very inexpensively. And I have to say, out of all of these and I'm not promoting Amazon for any particular reason, but Amazon S3 seems to be the cheapest thing you could possibly get. The amount of storage you can put up there, I mean, it really is. It's almost, like, almost hard to believe. Cheap.
[00:53:18] Yeah. It's pennies.
[00:53:19] Yeah, it really is.
[00:53:20] Pennies. All the stuff I got going. I think some months they don't even send me a bill. Yeah. They wait the second month and I get a bill for like $13.
[00:53:27] Yeah. Which is like insane given the amount of data you have stored up there. But that's what they charge and they have a very robust system. But you can't use any of this. Stuff like Google Drive, for example, is free. If you have a Gmail address, you automatically get 15 gigabytes worth of storage. No questions asked, doesn't charge you a penny. A perfect place to store your backup files. And what.
[00:53:46] Is that? Chances are your your website is not going to be 15 gigabytes.
[00:53:50] No, not even close. Not even close. So you can store multiple days up there and all sorts of other things.
[00:53:56] Multiple websites.
[00:53:57] Multiple websites. Yes, I do that. It's 15 gigs is a lot of space when you when you use it correctly. So this is what I use that for. You're thinking to yourself, well, if my hosting company is backing up and I can retrieve those pretty much any time I want, what do I need this other stuff for? Here's why I'm busy making a change to to your website or you're making the change to your website. You update a page or you just had a plug in update and the whole site just crashes and burns. You're looking through this thing and you're saying, Wait a minute, I know what I did, but now I can't get back in in order to be able to fix this. Or I can get in there, but I can't figure out how to fix it. One of the things you can do is go to your backup plugin. Now, granted, this is assuming that your website is working. There are ways to do this which are beyond this particular episode, but there are ways to do this. Even if your site has crashed and burned and it's completely inaccessible. But that's far more technical for what we're talking about right now. But if your website is usable and you can get in there, you can tell this backup plugin, hey, listen, I just had a problem here. I want you to restore from the last backup you just did. And that could be yesterday or hours earlier or whatever it happens to be. And what that plugin will do is retrieve the files from the place you said to store them in Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon, S3 and so on, and literally rebuild and restore your site back to the point where it was backed up and hopefully keep your fingers crossed.
[00:55:32] It comes back up again and your website is now back up and running. Now from there you can then try and figure out what happened to cause this thing to crash. Now, what did we do here? We were able to restore your website back to full functionality without having to connect with your hosting company, without you having to wait. Because a lot of times your wait time could be hours, hours before your website gets restored. You get put into a queue where there are other people waiting for their websites to be restored as well. So you don't want to be waiting like that. So you've short circuited a lot of the time necessary to do this. That's the first thing. The second thing is you've restored it from a backup, you know, is valid and good for your site Y because that plug in backed it up from your site directly. This wasn't some other company doing. You did it from inside your own WordPress website. And the third thing is it is on demand. Any time you want to restore your sight to a given day or time, you have the capability to go in and say, do this, hit, restore and let the website do its thing. So that does not leave you high and dry waiting for somebody else to do something. While time is ticking away and you are losing revenue. So this is why we do double. Oh, yes, absolutely. So this is why we do a double approach like this, because at least you've got your hosting company with the daily backups or however they do it, but now you have backups as well that you have complete control over. And this is really what it's all about, you being in control of your own website.
[00:57:09] All right. So if they get stuck, you can either get in our mentor program and have access to Larry and Mark and myself and everybody else who works here. Travis Or if you have individual problems, which one thing, the reason people call me up and want consultation on. I got this problem, Tom. Well, I keep my fees for that extremely high. And I'll tell you why. Because as soon as I look, they think they have one problem. They have 40 different problems, and then I can help them fix that one problem. But they still fail because. And then blame it on me. So I suggest you get into my mentor program and then you have access to people, you know, with my specialty, the way I run the program, my success and our success here is tied to your success. So you have somebody that actually cares and knows what they're doing. You know, you can have somebody that cares and is nice person. Like we hear about all these web designers, but they don't know what they're doing. Or you can have people that know what they're doing and want to keep the wool pulled over your eyes, like the one Larry talked about earlier, where they made it so complicated that they're the only one that could work on it, and then they disappear like they always do. So. So check out the mentor program at greatInternetMarketingTraining.com. And then if you do need some individual help and some freelance stuff, then check out Larry@Antion.com. And that's who we're talking to today. So what kind of give him a give him a little preview, Larry, of next episode on the must have plugins.
[00:58:53] Okay. So on our next episode, I'm going to be talking about essential plugins. These are the core group of plug ins that I put on every website that I work on and that I have other people put on their websites if they're if they're technically, technically savvy enough to do it. But there is a core group of plug ins which really should be on every single website. And there are some of them that I mentioned earlier, security plug ins, backup plug ins, just overall general health of the website type, plug ins and so on. So we're going to go into real depth of those and which ones you need. And I'm going to name names. Bet on it. I'm naming names for these plug ins. These are the ones that Tom and I use. And we've had great success with these. Never had any trouble. And I think with that exception, just about all the ones I'm going to talk about are free. Not a penny.
[00:59:44] Beautiful. Beautiful. Yeah. So check out the next episode. This is episode. I'm sure you're going to want to tell your friends about this one and replay it. This is episode 624. Any time you want to get to a back episode, you go to screw the sitcom Slash. And then the episode number that's 624, 625 will be the essential plug ins, and 6 to 6 is going to be all kinds of other stuff, memberships and all kinds of cool things you can do with plug ins without messing up.
[01:00:14] So what we call what we call boutique plug ins.
[01:00:17] There you go. Let's call them Boogie.
[01:00:20] O Boogie.
[01:00:21] Plug ins.
[01:00:24] So thanks for coming on, man.
[01:00:26] Oh, it's been a I love talking about this stuff because I know it helps people. So please take notes, listen carefully and we'll see you on the next episode.
[01:00:34] Well, yeah. And you're going to clean up and make my back end look nice.
[01:00:39] That is one of my tasks is to make Tom's back end look nice. Yes.
[01:00:43] All right, everybody, we'll catch you on the next episode. Check out greatInternetmarketingtraining.com if you'd like to have us on your team. See you later.