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Once again, Gary and Geoff take to the couch for our Lunchtime Live Q&A. Today they discuss:

  1. How to create new users by uploading a spreadsheet
  2. How to safely update plugins, and
  3. How to integrate WooCommerce with MailChimp.

As always, if you have any WordPress questions that you’d like us to cover, get in touch and we’ll answer them on our next Lunchtime Live Q&A session.

Gary Weis: [00:00:00] Good afternoon folks. Gary here from WP Butler and again this week I’m joined by the magnificent… Geoff Franklin.

Geoff Franklin: [00:00:06] Hello.

Gary Weis: [00:00:06] You got another vote last week for “Save Geoff”.

Geoff Franklin: [00:00:12] Singular vote, yes. That was enough.

Gary Weis: [00:00:14] I think first it was your mum. And second week I reckon its your brother. Thanks Matt looking after your little bro, that’s the way mate.

Geoff Franklin: [00:00:23] At the end of the day I’m here to answer your questions.

Gary Weis: [00:00:26] That’s right. That’s right. So again this week Geoff on the couch and Andrew behind the camera. G’day mate. I think we’re going to have to do is now do a “Save Andrew”.

Geoff Franklin: [00:00:37] Yeah. He’s on the bench. He’s on the bench, keeping it warm.

Gary Weis: [00:00:41] Yeah you’ve blocked his run mate. It’s a competitive game, this on the couch on Friday afternoon Facebook Live with the WP Butler crew. All right. Plenty to get through. Plenty to get through. Thanks again for sending in your questions folks. If you want to get in touch with us, probably the best way to do it is to jump onto the Facebook page and send us a message, or leave a comment in one of the videos, or you can jump on and send us an email at wpbutler.com.au. That will get to us and we’ll be able to help you out. All right.

Geoff Franklin: [00:01:16] Giddy up.

Gary Weis: [00:01:17] Here we go. Casey from Brisbane asks “We have a membership website set up and we have a database of old users that we need to bring across. What’s the best way to do this, in your opinion?” Geoff, what’s the best way to do this in your opinion?

Geoff Franklin: [00:01:32] In my opinion. OK so what really helps is if you have that database in a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel, or typically a CSV file would be really great because there’s a plugin that I like to use as a starting point. Import… I can’t remember the name exactly. Import Users by CSV file, something along those lines but it’s usually the first one that pops up. And that plugin, it’s very very simple. I mean it only needs to be simple for the purpose of what you’re you trying to do. So as long as you’ve got that CSV file, there is a format that needs to be set up in. So long as in that spreadsheet file, CSV file, you’ve got the list the usernames and the email addresses. That’s essentially all you need. And part of the documentation with that plugin tells you how to format it exactly, but basically, so long as you got those two columns in that CSV file, once you’ve installed and activated that plugin under the Tools section in your sidebar, you’ll see it popup in there is a menu item. When you go in there, you’ll select your CSV file and it’s quite linear, just follow the instructions. So basically, that’ll pull in all the uses that you want to import into your site. And then from that point, depending on the membership plugin that you’re using, the one that springs to mind right now, Restrict Content Pro is a plugin, a membership plugin that we’ve used quite frequently and it actually has an option in its settings that any new members, any new users that get added to a site get automatically assigned to a membership plan that you create in the plugin. So depending on the membership plugin you have you’ll have plans that you set up and typically there’ll be a default one. So Restrict Content Pro allows you to set up a default plan. So when you go in and import all those new users, they’ll get assigned to that default plan. And that’s a great starting point. So that’ll get all your users into the membership site. And then from there, you’ll be able to go in and once you’ve imported them, they’ll actually gets sent a request to set up a new password. That’s the most secure way to do it. So yeah like I said in that spreadsheet, so long as you’ve got the username and email, the password will automatically get generated. They’ll get sent an email to set up their password. So that’s that’s basically it. But yes, if you need help with that, we’re here to help.

Gary Weis: [00:04:22] Casey I hope that was of some use to you. If you’re still having trouble with that, make sure that you reach out to us at wpbutler.com.au and you can pick up a support ticket. If you land on wpbutler.com.au, up the top, there is a big yellow button that says “Buy Ticket“, or you can fill in the Support Request Form, or you can jump on live chat, or simply pick up the phone and dial the number on the screen and you will be able to talk to one of our WP Butler gurus. All right. Thank you Geoffrey.

Geoff Franklin: [00:04:53] No Worries.

Gary Weis: [00:04:53] Next Richard from Perth asks “When I’m logged into the admin area of my site, I’m always seeing that plugin updates need to be done. Should I just click update for all of them? What should I do?” What should he do, Geoff? What your advice?

Geoff Franklin: [00:05:14] We’ve had people come along who have done just that. They’ve gone and clicked “update” to all of them and it’s crashed their site or it’s done something funny. So, don’t do that. Before you do any updating, especially if you’ve got lots and lots of plugins that do need to be updated, make sure you’ve got a backup of your site, and that you have access to your hosting details. And that’s what we’d need to if we’re going to help you with that as well. We make sure that we’ve got access to your hosting and WordPress admin login so we can go into the backend and do those updates. So, for yourself, make sure that you have access to that before you even look at clicking that “update” button. And then typically what I do as the process of updating plugins, if there’s a lot of them, I do them in batches. Because, depending on, say if there’s like 30 plugins that need updating, I do them in batches of five, because depending on your hosting provider, it may or may not have the resources to do all the updates in one hit. And that’s typically what happens when people just click “update all”, the server can’t handle it. So yeah just a word a precaution is to just do it in batches of five. Perhaps actually backup from there. Depending on your site, if it’s a WooCommerce site or like a forum type site, that maybe like BuddyPress, you may have heard of BuddyPress, but if your website has one of those plugins that’s like a core feature plugin like WooCommerce, start with those. So start with updating WooCommerce first and then go to BuddyPress, and there’s some other ones but they’re the ones that pop to mind now. And then from there, start updating like the extensions of WooCommerce. You might have a WooCommerce subscription plugin, or membership plugin. Start working your way through the plugins from there. And then once you’ve done, then you can perhaps start from the top of the list and start updating in chunks of five. So that’s that’s typically what we do. Yeah. But on the clients who we host on our dedicated WordPress environment, we can quite safely go through and do it in chunks with peace of mind. Again, it all comes down to what your hosting, what resources it has to manage those updates.

Gary Weis: [00:07:44] It’s also pretty rare that we would see that there is a site that needed that, particularly if we’re managing it. It’d never happened if we were doing it, but we don’t need to be doing 30 updates at a time because we’re obviously doing it on a very regular basis and making sure that the updates are done when the updates need to be done. So we’re not leaving sites in a bit of a derelict. Sorry mate, keep going.

Geoff Franklin: [00:08:07] OK. So you’ve updated all your plugins and again, if the quote one of the core functions of your site is WooCommerce, go and test, do some test payments, transaction, orders, just to make sure that sticking along and any other plugins that have specific features, make sure that they’re working as well. You know, the contact form, that kind of thing. But that’s basically the process. Yeah, that’s basically the process. Yeah.

Gary Weis: [00:08:37] What we would encourage you to do is, we approach updates and maintenance, updates of themes and plugins, and the WP core sort of like maintaining a car. Not a lot of people are mechanics, and they’re not about to do the service, your own service on your own car. So updating your WordPress website is sort of a lot like doing a service on your website. So, we’re not saying don’t do it, but you need to follow yourself process otherwise you do run the risk of breaking things. But if you want to take the hassle out of backups, security, maintenance, updating plugins, themes etc, go and check out wpbutler.com.au/sitecare and check out some of our SiteCare plans, where we take care of all of that for you. Alright, thank you very much.

Gary Weis: [00:09:25] Aaron from Canberra asks “I want to do some email marketing. What’s the best way for me to copy all my customer data from my WooCommerce store into my email marketing program? I use MailChimp, by the way.”.

Geoff Franklin: [00:09:39] I like it.

Gary Weis: [00:09:40] Right up your alley, isn’t it?

Geoff Franklin: [00:09:42] Cool, cool. You basically said right there. I mean, you’re using MailChimp, and MailChimp is a very popular email marketing platform. And funnily enough, there’s a plugin that we like to recommend for this job. And it’s available for free on the WooCommerce.com marketplace. So you can head over there and it’s just called MailChimp for WooCommerce. Plain and simple right? So install that plugin and basically, so long as you got your MailChimp account, you install the plugin and activated it. It’s really basic, all the work’s done by the plugin essentially. So what you’ll need to make sure you do is create what’s called an API key. So go into your MailChimp account. You’ll create an API key and the plugin actually has some notes to help you with that. You need that API key to put into the settings of the MailChimp for WooCommerce plugin, and what that’ll do is then create the link from your website, from your website to MailChimp. And so long as you got a list set up in your MailChimp account, it will then take all your customer data, all the orders, the email, name, all that good stuff. It will do a live sync from your website to MailChimp. So anything that’s going on your website will appear in your MailChimp account. So actually, Andrew was showing me a lot more about it the other day and I was like, wow I’ve got to use this! I’ve got to share it people! So yeah, that’s a really awesome plugin, check that one out.

Gary Weis: [00:11:22] If you need MailChimp connected to your WordPress plugin, or any third party resource that you want to talk to WordPress website, just give us a shout at wpbutler.com.au. Probably best, before you go ahead and just buy a ticket, probably jump on chat, pick up the phone, or fill in the support form there, and just have a chat to one of these two gurus, Andrew or Geoff, in regards to that because that’s definitely their wheelhouse, connecting WordPress up to third party software and making it all happen. So that’s wpbutler.com.au and just reach out on that, and we’ll help you. Mate, that’s it for questions this week. WordPress news, what have you got? Have have you been seeing out there? What’s burning the Web down?

Geoff Franklin: [00:12:12] Oh yeah, next week actually, WordPress 5.1 is finally going to be released. Although you know they keep sort of dragging it along. But I’d say next Thursday I think I saw they’re releasing WordPress 5.1. It’s a big one, there’s gonna be a bunch of performance improvements which they just continually work on, which is amazing. They’re going to add more performance updates to the block editor, so the new Gutenberg editor, they’re improving the performance and that again, adding some extra features there and what they’re also going to be doing now with PHP… The versions of PHP 5.6 and 7.0 all starting to get phased out, not supported anymore. They’re actually introducing this tool called site health check? Sit check? Health check? Something along those lines, but basically what that will allow you to do is before you go on activated plugin on your website, this tool built into WordPress 5.1 will allow you to check that plugin and make sure it’s all good to go before you plug it in and start using it. Which I think is available as a plugin separately, but it’s gonna be built into WordPress 5.1 which is really cool. So they just keep jam packing that with so many good new features and it’s cool to see, cool to see.

Gary Weis: [00:13:40] Just on that, you mentioned Gutenberg there again. We’re still stockpiling all your Gutenberg questions, so we’re gonna have a Gutenberg special on our Friday Q&A, and that’ll come to you real soon. So stay tuned. Thanks mate. Something I’ve be checking out was the announcement of the WooCommerce app that’s being released on both Android and iOS. A little bit contentious in the sense that there’s some people that are loving in, some people that are throwing a bit of hate on it. And the main reason being is that it requires Jetpack to connect. So the argument around that if you’re not familiar with it is that Jetpack is the security piece in the middle that enables the push notifications and the data to flow and that’s Google’s preferred way of doing it at the moment. So those lovers of Jetpack will dig it, and those hater, well you probably gonna have to continue to hate because that’s the way it gonna be for a little while longer. The other part is that what it enables you to do I suppose is keep track of your web store on the fly, so you can see orders coming in and you can see that the important customer data, and customer detail. That doesn’t allow you at this stage to sort of update products on the fly, or load new bits and pieces in, but it certainly enables you to see what’s going on with you store if you’re out and about and nowhere near your desktop. That’s about it from us today. Well, me anyway. What about you mate? You got anything else?

Geoff Franklin: [00:15:13] I just see Nicole’s left a little message there. Yes, Nicole, join us next week with all your questions. Fire away, fire away!

Gary Weis: [00:15:21] Thanks for tuning in Nik! Okay. And thanks everyone for tuning in. I can see plenty of numbers chocking up there, so thank you very much for supporting WP Butler’s Friday Facebook Live Q&A session. We hope to be bringing you more and more of these during the week as well as we start to get more and more questions, so we’re happy to spend the time on the couch if you want to spend the time firing in your questions. So until then, if you’ve got anything WordPress at all, reach out to us at wpbutler.com.au and we’ll see you next week. Tune in then.

Geoff Franklin: [00:15:51] Cheers guys.

Andrew Marks

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