WordPress-Related Warm Fuzzies for Friday

AloeRoot is a big fan of WordPress, the content-management application we recommend most to customers with large sites, or sites with time-sensitive content that need frequent updates.

What’s a Plugin?
One of the things we love most about WordPress is the variety of plugins available – snippets of code created by other WordPress users and contributed to the WordPress community at no charge. These plugins enrich the basic WordPress installation by offering extra tools and functions not included in the basic program. We especially like the SEO Pack that enhances search engine optimization efforts, and the Page Links To plugin that enhances navigation.

Community is Keen
Being a programmer in the Internet age is a great thing; the community of web developers is very generous and is willing to share their code, help newcomers find information, and freely offer solutions to challenging problems faced by people who are, technically, competitors. This willingness to help is not common to other industries, but developers know that there’s more to be gained from sharing information than from hoarding it.

Rudy Can’t Fail:
One of my favourite community members is Rudy Limeback, a longtime SQL developer who is very generous with his time on the SitePoint.com support forums. Rudy goes out of his way to help untangle sticky code problems without expecting anything in return. This represents the collaborative beauty of the Internet at its best, and it’s a level that non-programmers don’t often get to see.

Pay it Forward:
Programmers are, in AloeRoot’s opinion, honour-bound to pass this value on to their customers. Open-source (no-cost) software like WordPress is inexpensive to install and relatively cheap to maintain, so we have no right to charge exorbitant fees for installation and upgrades. We do have the right to be paid fairly for our time, but marking up a small website to $5000 (in one recent example I happened across) seems like robbery, especially when the customer doesn’t know what fair market value is for a site of that size.

Upgrades En Route:
On the topic of upgrades, new versions of WordPress are released fairly frequently, as are new versions of the plugins. AloeRoot does not immediately upgrade WordPress software for our clients every time a new release is available (unless the upgrade fixes a security problem).

Upgrades themselves can be completed relatively quickly, but preparing for an upgrade involves making a full backup of the website and all its databases first – something that takes time and costs the client. We prefer to wait until there are a handful of updates available first, make one backup and then perform the upgrades all at once.

On that note, if you’re an AloeRoot customer with a WordPress-driven site, you’ll be hearing from us soon. We’ve discovered a couple of new plugins we’re excited about and we’ll be offering to install those for you (at a fair rate, of course) while we perform your upgrades.

Happy Friday!