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WordPress Best Practices

So you have a WordPress site, now what?   Here are a few tips to help you manage things.


To add new users to your site, go to the Dashboard and choose:

  1.  Users >Add New
    1.  If your user is already a member of this site you can use the ‘add existing user’ fields — otherwise use ‘add new user’. If you don’t know, just use the ‘add new user’ fields and the system will tell you if they already exist
    2. for Duke users: username = | email = (yes, these should be identical)
    3. for non-duke users: username =FirstInitialLastName (or some other pattern that makes sense to you) | email = whatever email they’ve given you.
    4. PRO TIP: if you don’t know someone’s netid, open a new email in outlook, add them as a recipient, then right click on their name and choose ‘open outlook contact’
    5. Role:  Subscribers can’t do much except see a site that’s locked down to non-members; Editors can edit content, not design; Administrators can do everything (the other roles are not used much at all)
    6. Check the ‘skip confirmation email’ box unless you want them to confirm their account — not necessary and sometimes confusing
    7. Click ‘add new user’. (or ‘add existing user’)
    8. Remember to tell your Dukeusers to click the ‘duke users login’ button on the WordPress login screen so they get directed to a net id prompt

Once you’ve added them, go head and edit each user to give them a first and last name, AND a publically displayed name.  It will make things much easier to see who’s doing what.  You can find an ‘edit’ button under their entry in your all users list.



The Elementor Plugin (available on this network in your list of plugins) has become very popular at Sanford as a way to easily create dynamic page layouts.  Feel free to activate it on your site and see what it can do, but please follow the below best practices to ensure your site continues to adhere to Duke’s policies.

  1. Use Elementor-specific page templates 
    • under ‘page attributes’ in the edit screen (right column), choose either ‘Elementor Full Width” or “Elementor Canvas” as your Template
      • Elementor Full Width will keep the default header/footer
      • Elementor Canvas will remove the default header/footer
  2. Know that Elementor will slow down your site considerably, so try to use images that are optimized (ie not huge) and consider smaller pages with less going on



Sanford IT (ie Stephanie) will take care of all the WordPress Core, theme and plugin updates around the first of every month.   You can ignore any messages about your site needing to be updated.   You will get an email when updates are complete so you can check your site for any issues.


Got other suggestions that should appear here?  Email ATTN: Stephanie and let us know.