WordPress spice with plugins

Wordpress logoSo, PHP and MySQL, two slightly suboptimal technologies run a fairly large chunk of the internet in the form of WordPress. You have the idea for a blog or maybe want to knock up a quick corporate web site. What’s your first step?

Themes

  • Choose a WordPress theme. There are loads out there, some free some paid for. My site of choice for finding themes free or otherwise is Themeforest. A fair number of the themes are free, and you can choose 2 or 3 column, responsive and so on.

Having chosen your host (we use bluehost.com for www.pandaandpolarbear.com and this site), then it’s time to flesh out the functionality of your site with plugins.

Plugins

  • Akismet – a pretty good comment spam filter plugin. It will mark spam for you so you can you through and trash it. Not sure I’ve ever had a spam comment go through.
  • Cloudflare – These guys are making the internet better. A DDoS, CDN and free SSL solution. 128 data centres. Who is to argue with that?
  • Cookie Consent – Everyone needs this, right?
  • XML sitemaps. Does what is says on the can!
  • Jetpack – Even more themes, stats, SEO tools, Security stuff.
  • Loading Page – while the page is loading, shows a pretty graphic. Given the stats on site abandonment, any distraction is worth it.
  • NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster – lets you spam nearly 30 social media channels.
  • P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) – Really useful to see where the CPU time is going and if a plugin is taking the time. In my experience, plugins take about 50% of the page render time.
  • W3 Total Cache – caching is good. Most site are not that dynamic so caching is relly good to have.
  • Wordfence Security – useful to have. We’ve had someone uploading rogue JavaScript to WordPress and this spotted it.
  • WP Smush – optimise graphics for the size you’re rendering them at. This is a cool speedup. When you’ve got four years of art, it’s a big win.
  • Yoast SEO – If you’re wordy like me, it’s good to have something reminding you of the good stuff to put in your posts to get the attention of the search engines.
  • Amazon Associates Link BuilderĀ  – nice integration with Amazon associates.
  • Finally, Link checker – useful to check for broken links, or destination pages that have gone away.

Other stuff

Don’t forget to sign up to the Google suite, Google analytics, Google webmaster tools, and Google Lighthouse.

Conclusion

That’s a small selection of the plugins we use. There are a whole bunch of Woocommerce related WordPress ones and others related to selling stuff.

I did a site for Dusty Knuckle Pizza, which was working great until they foolishly decided to spend money and get something worse. IMHO.

So that’s that. Your site is now standing on the shoulders of giants.

Remind me, why do people still build web sites manually?

Recruitment. Broken industry.

Dodgy Dave
How I imagine working in recruitment

Introduction

Looking back over my LinkedIn, I have had the following gripes about recruiters and recruitment. As a contractor, I do the interview round two or three times a year, so this stuff is becoming second nature.

Recruitment gripes

  • Diction. I’ve had calls from English people who either mumble incoherently, have incoherent regional accents or are Indian with the same. Really guys, listen to Radio 4 and copy their accent.
  • Please don’t call me from a speakerphone in a room full of echos. Also, your phone system may well be crackly, out of date junk. Please get a modern system where I can hear what you’re saying.
  • I’m not Gordon.
  • If you call and I don’t pick up, LEAVE a succinct, clear message.
  • Have caller ID so if you fail at leaving a message, I can call you back.
    If you do leave me a message, leave words. I really don’t want five minutes of your office background noise and you flirting with a co-worker.
  • If I contact you via LinkedIn or even by phone, PLEASE RESPOND. I’m trying to make money for you.
  • If you call me and the line drops, CALL ME BACK. Don’t just wander off and make out with a fellow recruiter.
  • LinkedIn, I *hate* being stalked by anonymous recruiters. Why do you allow this? Why are recruiters afraid to reveal themselves?
  • Recruiters, and job sites too. Why do you send me Java, Scala or Go jobs? I don’t do that. You’re wasting your time.
  • Please write literate adverts. I’m not a “principle” developer. Writing advertisement littered with spelling or grammar errors is doing you no favours.
  • Please make sure that the salary mentioned in the job headline matches what’s mentioned in the body. Come to that, mentioning a salary or day rate in the advertisement is a Good Thing.
  • Really research your client. Even yesterday I spoke to a recruiter who barely knew the client, didn’t know what their vertical sector was, and had a really sketchy job spec. At the very least, check out their profile on Glassdoor.
  • It’s REALLY nice to know where in the UK the job/contract is. Come to that, knowing where in LONDON the contract is would be nice. Docklands and Shepherd’s Bush are worlds apart.
  • Just because my CV isn’t littered with Jenkins, JIRA, Confluence and Git, doesn’t mean I don’t use them every day! They’re fundamental.
  • Recruiters, keep *your* web site jobs listings up to date. Get a job in, put it on your site. Fill a job, take it down. Otherwise, you’re wasting my time and yours.
  • Don’t spam me on my work email address. Straight to the trash, this one.
  • Don’t email me with barely a spec. I’ve just had two. What’s the point? “Must be good with computers.” Well, *duh*.
  • Don’t demand references up front. You’re just trawling for business.
  • Don’t demand ridiculous documentation like passport copies, A-level certificates, utility bills up front. That all comes AFTER the offer. I’ve worked for banks where that process took a day when I was being “onboarded”.
  • Don’t expect me to fill in a long, convoluted web form that replicates pretty much everything that’s in my CV. At least that’s optional with Jobserve.

Finale

And now, the big one. Back in the day, when I was CTO, I was hiring for a team of Linux, Perl developers. Not one of the people I hired had all of the things I was looking for. Some people were Java or PHP. One guy was a Windows dude. I hired them because they were GOOD PEOPLE and as it turned out, we built a great team, of expert Linux/Perl people.

Asking for 10 years of Python is essentially meaningless. These days we have Google and Stackoverflow. I’ve done Python and Ruby on this basis. It’s not hard. Anything can be learned. Unlike twenty years ago, there’s barely a question that hasn’t been asked, answered and blogged. I want the right PEOPLE, not your in-depth Node.js skills. Asking for particular knowledge is essentially meaningless.

So there you have it. The entire recruitment industry is based on a false premise and staffed by a proportion of cowboys and dodgy companies. Where have we heard that before?

David Hodgkinson’s blog

So here’s a new blog after nearly a year of internet silence. My life mostly exists on Facebook and a few retweets. I have a friend who retreated from Twitter to his blog. Maybe that’s what I might do. And set up IFTTT to post from here to Facebook and Twitter.

If you care about what I did previously, there’s the Wayback Machine.

I have a backup of the old site and if I can overcome previous borkage, I’ll load it. We’ll see. I like the sparseness. It’s not like I did much significant before.