You should feel confident enough to play with your Artist Website, knowing there is usually little that can go wrong that can’t be fixed, somehow. There are some things that could go wrong of course – this will tell you what not to click (and what to do, if you do).
Should I ‘Update’ WordPress, Themes or Plugins?
Please do not Update! As tempting as it may sound, don’t follow the prompts to “update now” your copy of WordPress, that usually appears at the top of your Dashboard. Similarly, do not click on buttons to update any Plugins, Themes, or anything else that controls the working of your website. Some of your site’s customizations may be version specific, and updates may result in your site no longer working.
If there have been any custom modifications to plugins or themes, they will also be lost in an update – content is backed up, but code is not. (If you do have clumsy fingers and something goes wrong, speak to me – I may still have a copy of your original code).
Accidentally Deleting a ‘Post’ or ‘Page’ Content
Mostly you will just be editing normal Posts or Pages on your site, and hitting “Publish” regularly. If you do, there is a fair chance that at some stage you could delete an image, some text, a table, or a slideshow.
Fear not! WordPress auto-saves revisions of a page, which you can find on your edit screen. Simply click Post Revisions, near the bottom of the Page (newer sites might need to first click ‘Screen Options’ in the top right hand corner).
You should see something like this:
Search through them to find the version which looks most complete and up to date. Select, Copy and Paste the content back into your old post. Hit Publish. Hurrah!
If your page has code in it, don’t worry – just click on the HTML (or Text) tab at the top right of the edit box, before you paste it in. Then click Publish. You will most likely see your restored content, just as you left it.
Backing Up Your Website
You should back up your website whenever you make significant changes. Exactly how often depends upon your idea of living dangerously! I run literally hundreds of websites, and have only had an inexplicable crash once or twice in one of them – in around five years of constant use.
If the idea of re-adding content seems painful, you should back up regularly (it only takes a few clicks). For most people, once every six months might be appropriate. I do it whenever I do a big update.
To back up – click on Tools, then Export, then Download Export Files. (If you need to, you can also Import old versions, but it would probably best to speak to us before doing so.)
Again, as always, if disaster strikes, chat to me. I may know a few other tricks!
Did I mention – you should always keep your own versions of your images – on your computer, in your emails (you sent them to me, rememeber!) or on CDs or hard drives. If possible, keep a .tif version of your work, as they do not deteriorate as easily as a .jpg does.
Finally – A Warning to Not Touch The Code!
WordPress is great, because it allows you to do almost anything. But we usually don’t like people to edit their website code, as sites can very quickly become broken. This information is not saved by backups, and is nearly always a one-off (modified specifically for your site).
As there are a range of people with Artist Websites (and you may like to learn as you go), we like to keep the code accessible in your dashboard where we can. Some people may already have had experience with CSS and HTML. If either sounds like you, there is nothing to stop you altering the code that generates your site. Power to artists!
For most people they will want to avoid any scary thoughts like this – at all costs! So, here’s what to not click. It can only really be found a few places, but here are a couple to look out for:
There is a tab called “Appearance”. Altering any files in the section called Editor could break your site, so please do not modify any of these files unless you are prepared for the worst! We can rebuild sites from memory, of course, and may be able to access old server backups, but there are no guarantees. With the cost in time or money to do either of these, it is best avoided.
If you see something like this, you will likely want to back away!
Plugins Editor and Style
There are not that many other catastrophic places not to touch – you would have to be very dedicated to go into “Plugins” and then “Editor” and start mucking about. One of the few areas some people might see is with the NextGen Gallery Plugin, which has an area called Style.
Again, this is something best left to the experts.
It all sounds scarier than it is, because you will likely only have to do a few, regular things to run your site. And remember – if you do need anything fixed, changed or replaced let us know – we always know about a range of solutions.