Podcast Episode

474 – 20 WordPress Resolutions for 2020


Is there a plugin for that?

With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin form the repository.

For more great plugins, download my 50 Most Useful Plugins eBook.

Magic Post Translate is a plugin that uses Deepl API key to translate posts and pages.

20 WordPress Resolutions for 2020

Here are the 20 resolutions:

Set up Automation

  • Set up automated WordPress backups
  • Automatically capture email addresses and create an autoresponder series of emails
  • Use AutomateWoo to create some simple actions that happen automatically


  • Start practicing good security measures
  • Update out of date plugins, themes and WordPress
  • Set up two factor authentication on logging in
  • Start using a password manager

Develop a content strategy

  • Blog more
  • Develop an SEO strategy
  • Optimize images
  • Update website design
  • Update portfolio
  • Publish posts regular to social media

Make money

  • Offer product or services on your site
  • Add affiliate products / reviews to sites

Make continuous improvements

  • Start using the block editor
  • Learn a new coding/design/marketing skill
  • Fix nagging issues to your WordPress sites
  • Get involved in the local WooCommerce community
  • Do something that challenges you!

Thank You!

Thank you to those who use my affiliate links. As you know I make a small commission when someone uses my link and I want to say thank you to the following people. For all my recommended resources, go to my Resources Page

Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

In today's episode, we are going to talk about 20 different resolutions that we can stay on top of for our WordPress sites, right here in 2020. Then you're listening to Your Website Engineer podcast, episode No. 474.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Your Website Engineer podcast. My name is Dustin Hartzler and I'm sure you've heard many podcasts this year, or seen on Facebook, and welcome to year 2020. It's hard to believe that we are already seven days into the new year and it is just a crazy time that life continues to move, and we need to continue to stay focused on the things that are important to us; otherwise, we're never gonna get any work done, especially in 2020. So, today let's go ahead and talk about some different resolutions, things that I'm gonna focus on this year, and some things that you can keep in mind in the back of your head that need to be updated and worked on in the coming year, but first I've got three announcements and a plugin to share.

The first announcement is one that came out – it's been a few weeks – December 18th is when the article was posted and it's been launched a few weeks before that, but now WordPress.com now offers SFTP and database access. And so, if this is something that's always been kind of shying you away from WordPress.com servers, then this might be the feature for you.

I believe it's available for all customers with either the business plan or the e-commerce plan, and the business plan is the one that unlocks plugins. So, if you have a WordPress.com business account or a business plan, then that means you have everything that you could need for a self-hosted WordPress site, even though it's on WordPress.com. You read articles out there and so many people say that WordPress.org or the self-hosted version is so much better, you don't want to use WordPress.com because it limits you and you don't have the features, but now when you pay the business plan – I believe it's $299.00 per year, so not quite $30.00 per month, which is in line with any other hosting package, whether it be WP Engine, or Flywheel, or whatnot – now you have the ability to add plugins, add your own custom theme, and now you have SFTP and database access.

I know that I have a few friends that have WordPress sites and I think WordPress.com would be a perfect solution for them, but I was just kind of contemplating is it worth it to move to WordPress.com servers or not, and it turns out that I'm gonna try it. I'm gonna try to move a self-hosted site that's on a very slow Bluehost site. I'm gonna move it over to WordPress.com and then compare it. Apples to apples. See which one loads faster and check out all of those different things. And so, there's a link in the show notes for the blog post over on WordPress.com, but basically it tells you how you can get SFTP credentials, how you get database access, and you can even do PHP switching. So, if you want to run the current version at 7.3 or you want to switch to 7.4, you can do that as well.

So, it's a really exciting time and it's really neat to see that WordPress.com is being – it's almost like you have the WordPress.com free version, where you don't have a lot of options, but then also have the paid plans, and the paid plans will allow you to have a fully customizable WordPress site, including plugins and themes. And so, the only catch is with WordPress.com, you pay for one business plan and you get one site. Whereas if you use a shared hosting account, you pay for one account and then you can have multiple websites there, but I think you'll be really impressed with the speed, and I've seen the behind the scenes things of what the systems team at Automattic has redone just to make this hosting platform top notch and one of the fastest things I've ever seen. So, that is the first announcement. That was a long first announcement.

The second announcement is a link over on WP Tavern and there is a link to the WordPress.org, the make-track, if you will, the folks that are working on WordPress, but basically there has been some screenshots created for what the new block admin directory is going to look like. It's basically going to bring a block directory to the admin of WordPress in WordPress 5.5, and it's set for August of 2020. And, it's basically a place where you can have reusable components that can be used in different places around your WordPress site, and so if you want to see what that's gonna look like, WordPress now has default blocks built in, but developers can add their own blocks.

So, like for WooCommerce, there's a WooCommerce block so you can add products. So, you can add on-sale products and you can add that stuff right to a poster page, and so this is going to be the area. The block directory is going to be where you can search. Kind of like the plugin directory, but it's gonna be exclusive for block. So, if you're interested in seeing what that looks like, there's a link in the show notes for episode No. 474. And then also, back in December – feels like forever since we've done a full show with lots of announcements – but back on December 18th, WordPress 5.3.2 was pushed out and it addresses a handful of different bugs that are out there. So, if you haven't updated to that I recommend doing that this week as well.

And then, I do a have a plugin to share with you, and this one is called Magic Post Translate, and it's one that I found on the WordPress repository that works with DeepL, D-E-E-P-L, and it basically uses that API key there and you can translate any post or page between nine different languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Polish, and Russian. And, you can also do custom Post Types, so you can do posts and pages in custom Post Types, and you can translate all posts in a certain category or whatnot. And so, it is a new plugin out there and I'm sure that they'll have other features and do different languages in the future, but that's where they're starting, with those nine languages.

Moving on into the main part of the show, and every one of these shows that I've put together with 20 of this or 15 of this, the list can be longer and longer and longer, and these are the things that I thought of when going through the list and thinking through some of the things that I wanna focus on and some of the things that I want to work on. And, these are things that we're gonna talk about today. As any good show in the start of the year, let's talk about different resolutions, different things to work on, and I think I want to preface this by – I've spent a lot of time, I use OmniFocus as my task manager and anytime that I have a little nagging thing that I wanna do to update YourWebsiteEngineer.com or any of the other sites that I'm working on, I just kind of send that over to OmniFocus, and I'm like, "I'll get to it, I'll get to it, I'll get to it," and I never really assigned a day, or a time, or a task in there.

And, I'm ashamed to say that there's some that's been in there since 2017. It's like, "Oh, this would be nice to fix,” and, “Oh, I see that every time that I do a review." But I've never really actually scheduled it out, and so what I want to focus on this year with these things that I'm gonna talk about, I also wanna say that, "Oh, I'm actually gonna put something on my calendar everyday." Make a task, whether it's five minutes or 15 minutes. Try to figure out and fix something on my site.

So, that's where I wanted to kinda start the whole thing, so these things that we talk about, set them up as: "Oh, I'm gonna work on, maybe on Friday, I have one hour of dedicated time to work on my own personal WordPress sites. Okay, on Friday, maybe I'm gonna set up some sort of automation that we talk about, or maybe I'm gonna review my security, or spend some time and put these on repeating tasks." I only have one repeating task for my website, and that is to check for broken links. And, it comes up once a week or once every other week, and when I go, I just go, and I look and – "Okay, there's one broken link" – I fix that and then I move on, and so that's making continuous improvements each week on that one specific access. So, if I wanted to talk about automation, maybe each week, or maybe each month I set up one new automated task so that I don't have to do things manually every single time.

So, that's kind of what I wanted to kind of start the whole show. You just have to spend time and figure out: "Where is this gonna fit on my calendar?" What I like to do is I like to just put blocks of calendar on my time. And so, like today, this is the one hour I'm spending. I'm recording, I'm prepping a show for next week, and I'm doing a few things, and that's going to be my Your Website Engineer activity for the week. And, I'm gonna try to spend at least a minimum of 15 minutes everyday making continuous improvements and making things better, or coming up with rearranging things, or whatever that looks like, but if you spend 15 minutes per day over the course of a week, that's almost two hours of time that you've got. You're continuously working and you're continuously fixing, or whatever the task is that you've decided for yourself.

So, let's go ahead and talk about some 2020 resolutions or things that we can work on, or whatever you wanna call them, for this new year. The first one is automation. I love automation…home automation. I've got lights that turn on at certain times, they turn off at certain times, they do special things, alarms go off. I love automation. I love using Keyboard Maestro and Alfred, and doing shortcuts on my keyboard to make things work better and more efficiently.

So, I wanna level up my game when it comes to WordPress a little bit. And so, I wanna set up automated WordPress backups. I have this set up already, but this is something for you to make sure that you've got this set up in 2020. There should be no reason that you don't have automated WordPress backups. It's something that's very important and that should be used. Everybody should have this all the time. And, if your host already does it, that's great, but I highly recommend setting up a second instance. Just to make sure that you have access to a back up of your WordPress site.

A couple more things that are on my automation list is to automatically capture email addresses and create an autoresponder series of emails. I have this, and I believe it's got maybe four or five emails. It's nothing big, but it's kind of a great way if people sign up they get your free download and then you can kind of tell them a little bit about yourself…"Here’s an additional plugin that you may learn," or, "Here's our services," or just continue to add value, and you can add one email message that goes out every week for 10 weeks. And, it's just a constant drip of information, a constant top-of-mind mentality that you can do to make sure that folks remember you. They didn't come to your website one time, they get the download, and then they completely forget.

So, that's something that definitely needs to be worked on from my end, but it is something that is a very easy, low-hanging fruit. You can spend 10 minutes creating a new email, maybe introducing yourself, or talking about the problem that you solve with your product, or whatever that may be. So, that is something that you can do: Automatically capture email addresses and create autoresponders.

Or, one thing else that I'm working on, and this is for my wife's website, is using AutomateWoo to create simple actions that happen automatically. You can use Zapier. There's some different automation tools that are out there that can hook into WordPress and do different things, but the cool part about AutomateWoo is if you are using WooCommerce as your e-commerce platform on your website, you can do simple things like, "Oh, if they purchase this particular product let's send them a customized email so then they get a better experience than just the generic email that comes from WooCommerce," or maybe you wanna set it up so that they get automatic emails, maybe they bought a product and you wanna make sure that they get the instructions, they wanna know your refund policy.

You can set up emails that kinda trickle out and automatically go out based on the products that are created. So, those were some cool things that you can do and set up with automation.

When it comes to security, a few things that came in mind is start practicing good security measures, and this means that you would update all of your plugins, and your themes, and your WordPress, and make sure those are updated. You wanna make sure that you have two-factor authentication turned on when logging in.

Now maybe this year is the year to start using a password manager. I use 1Password and it is fantastic. You go in and regularly update passwords and check. They have a great feature that's built in that kind of looks at all the websites that have had their passwords hacked or released, and it goes in and it will notify you which ones of those you need to change. It lets you know when you have weak passwords or if passwords are being reused. And so, every password in my system has a different, unique password and I know none of them. I just know the one password for 1Password to get in and unlock all of my features. So, that's something to think about when it comes to security.

Good security measurements like installing iTheme Security and going through that checklist of making sure you've locked down your site and you can make it harder for somebody to hack in and get into your data and just really create headaches by messing up your website. So, those are some security things that you can think about.

Another thing in 2020 is probably creating a good content strategy. The month of January is great for this, as it's usually cold outside if you're in the northern hemisphere and you're not going outside as much, but sit down and kind of determine what is your content strategy going to be for the next three months, maybe the next six months, maybe the full year. It makes it so much easier. I know for a fact that if I'm creating content and I have a plan like, "Oh, I'm gonna talk about X,” or, “I'm gonna talk about Y." If I know what that is in advance, it makes preparation for the show so much easier, but if I have no idea and then I'm spending all of my brain power trying to come up with an idea and then it's like, "Oh, now I have the create the show now that I have a good idea that's actually gonna work." It creates that mental barrier that just makes it harder to create content. So, develop a content strategy.

Blog more is one of the options. If you're doing it once per month, maybe “blog more” means twice per month, or maybe that's once per week, or maybe that's everyday, or whatever that looks like. Create more content. Whether that's blogging, or YouTube and audio content, whatever that looks like, whatever medium is best for your platform, then I think that is a good content strategy for 2020.

You also wanna develop on an SEO strategy. What does that look like? Are you gonna spend time customizing each post or page, or do I have keyword set up correctly so people can find my search or what not? What does that look like when it comes to my websites, or my hobby sites, or whatever. Optimize images. Are you using images that are right-sized? Are they too big? Have you cropped them before you uploaded them? Just kind of think through the different sizes and the different things when it comes to images, when it comes to your content, and then other things you need to do is update website design. Is there any type of refresh that needs to happen? Maybe do I need to work on a layout for my show notes, if you will, or a layout for my blog post, or change some of the font settings, or the customization, and stuff like that?

Maybe if you have a portfolio page, or a "About Us" page, or things like that, make sure that that content is updated regularly. Maybe if you have a team, maybe make sure that all of the team members are there and they are appearing on the website properly. And then, I also think that a good way to work on content strategy is to figure out how to post regularly to social media. Are you gonna go and you're gonna post once a week or a couple times a day? Are you gonna use a tool or a service? What does that look like and how are you gonna make sure that your content is being visible and seen out there by others who are on the social platforms?

Then we've got two more sections here. We're gonna talk about "Make Money" and "Make Continuous Improvements." And so, to make money, whether this is something simple like adding some products or services to your website, this is a great way to add some financial stability for 2020. Whether you create a stand-alone product or e-book, or it's a physical product that you mail to somebody, or it's a service on your website, or an online course, or a webinar. There's tons of ways that you can leverage what you know and make money on them. If you sell affiliate links, or if you – affiliate links is another one that you can do, but if you have affiliate links for Amazon, for example, or ads on YouTube, it takes thousands of people to use those links and see those ads for you to make any substantial money, but maybe you are helping people organize their closets, let's just use that as an example.

You could offer a product or a service where you could talk to them. Maybe you have a $50.00 consultation for 30 minutes and you can talk with them on their phone via FaceTime, or Zoom, or something. You can walk around the house, and you can find out the problem areas, and you can come up with a strategy or a plan to help a person to declutter their lives or whatnot. That would be a good example. You could offer a product, which is a service, that people can purchase. Charge $50.00, $100.00, whatever, and that's going to give you a lot more value. You're gonna make a lot more money than just these individual clicks or whatnot.

I do have on my list here to also do affiliate products, but what I mean by this is most affiliates – Amazon affiliates is probably the lowest paying one, because they give you just a small percentage, but if you were to be an affiliate for different products – so, like I am an affiliate for Flywheel hosting, say for example, and if you click on my link and use it for Flywheel hosting, or ConvertKit, or whatever, I'm gonna make a significantly more amount. It's not as much. It could be $5.00, or it could be $8.00, or something like that for every referral, but that is much more than the $0.13 that you get by clicking on a link to a book from Amazon.

So, that is something. Different ways to do that to make money on your site, and if you do have affiliate products it's really great to add reviews or do a full breakdown of how the product worked toward the service, and with screenshots and different things, or maybe you unboxing a physical product. That really adds up and can do some really cool things.

The last thing for 2020, and these are the ones that I think you should put on your schedule, on your to-do list to do regularly, is to make continuous improvements to your website. Maybe this year you'll start using the block editor. You haven't used a block editor yet. You're still in a classic editor. Maybe you'll start using the block editor and see the power and see how cool it is, and the different features that are offered there.

Maybe you will make continuous improvements by learning a new code challenge or code skill, or maybe you'll work on your design skills and learn Photoshop, or learn InDesign, or Illustrator; or maybe you'll work on your marketing skills and work on that copyrighting content, and making sure those emails that you write are just perfect and people wanna click on them. Those are some things to make continuous improvements to your website, indirectly to your website, but leveling up your knowledge is something that will definitely help in the long run.

You could fix nagging issues to your WordPress sites. Maybe when you login you don't like the way that that background looks, that's one of the issues that are on my list, or maybe you know you purchased this theme and it has tons of extra code in it that doesn't need to be there anymore, and so you wanna try to strip that out and get rid of some of that stuff, or maybe you don't like the way that your h4 tags look when you're using it on a blog post. You can write a little CSS to make improvements to that. And so, I just recommend just making lists and notes as you're going through your website, and then put them on the calendar and tackle them at some point during the week.

And, the other thing that you can do to make continuous improvements are get involved with the local WordPress community. You can go to WordPress meetups or Word camps and just continue to learn your skills, and the community is great. The community is awesome and it gives you the ability to go in and just meet friends in the area that you can bounce ideas off of, or if you're stuck and running into a problem they might be able to help and things like that.

And, the last thing is to do something that challenges you. Whether it be learning that new technology or trying to rewrite your whole website. Maybe you're using Bootstrap and then you want to turn it into Gatsby, or any of those new things that are out there, new different technologies. Challenge yourself this year. Do something that could take a lot of time to do, but you could be really happy with the results and all of the things that you've learned from that challenge. And so, those are the 20 things that I want to talk about this week, and hopefully we can work on these together and we can get a lot of these things accomplished in the new year. I know that I'm gonna spend a lot of time looking at code and fixing a bunch of things that are on my outstanding to-do list. So, that's what I wanted to share with you this week. Take care and we'll talk again soon. Buh-bye!