Happy Chinese New Year 2020

It’s almost February and we are midway through Chinese New Year! (Or Lunar New Year for Asians). How has your 2020 been? Have you been able to keep up with your commitments?

I planned to write regularly in 2020, but that didn’t work out for me this January 2020. An old project that revived last minute put a skewer to the plans.

It wasn’t project the only project I had, rather I had a couple of others running too. But the project was more difficult than expected. We were meant to build the site on Elementor, but as I dug the documentation for the plugin, certain layouts were only available with the Gutenberg interface. Being unfamiliar with Gutenberg meant spending hours trying to make the site look similar to the design submitted.

Happy Chinese New Year 2020 from WPStarters
Happy Chinese New Year 2020 from WPStarters!

Honestly, it’s a couple of times harder to do design work on Gutenberg Blocks, compared to page builders like Elementor and Beaver Builder. There are a lack of options and customisation, that I took for granted in page builders which I thought Gutenberg Blocks would have. Unfortunately, when it comes to serious projects, Gutenberg has a long way to go.

For that, I’m thankful for the having lifetime licenses for both Stackable Premium and Qubely Pro. They both saved the day for me and allowed me to put up blocks quite similar to the proposed design.

As that project comes to an end, tighter project control is needed this year in order to have a consistent publishing schedule on WPStarters.

Toolset Blocks is makes it easier for us to build powerful sites and transform WordPress into a proper CMS
Toolset Blocks is makes it easier for us to build powerful sites and transform WordPress into a proper CMS

After that project, I had issues rebuilding the homepage of WPStarters with Toolset Gutenberg Blocks. You see, I built WPStarters’ blog section to display the various custom post types as a combination. We have custom post types for Reviews, Guides and FAQs, which makes it easier for readers to search within those custom post types itself. Custom Post Types also freed up our categories and made organising our posts, better.

While the custom blog section worked, it meant that reviews and guides end up being overwhelmed by news and announcements. And while I would love to write in-depth reviews and guides, those take up to three days of research and writing. It was not viable to do more than a few times in a month.

So when Toolset launched their Gutenberg Blocks, I was really happy. Long term, the Toolset Gutenberg Blocks will enable us to build complex and beautiful sites for clients, without much coding.

As usual, I would usually try it on my sites before applying it for client work (and writing an article about it). But midway while configuring the home page, WPStarters became unresponsive. Did it just crash? I checked the Digital Ocean and WPStarters’ load spiked all the way up to 85!

Over the next few days, I would spend my time deactivating all plugins before slowly activating some and try editing again with Toolset. It was a boring and draining experience. Nonetheless, breakthrough came when I configured Fatal Error Notify Pro to send me an email not just on fatal errors, but warnings as well. And voila, the culprit was found. It was ShortPixel’s plugin, which was trying to generate webP images on the fly. With Toolset Blocks though, this caused an infinite loop, which crashed server and only let up when the plugins were disabled.

Digital Ocean droplet crashed due to Toolset & ShortPixel
Digital Ocean droplet crashed due to Toolset & ShortPixel

Moving forward, I’m currently working on a few pieces of articles, including a short, last-minute review on Social Snap. While I can’t rewind back time in January, WPStarters will be moving forward this February 2020.

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Leo Koo
I run a small agency building and maintaining turnkey and bespoke WordPress sites. I also review WordPress plugins and digital marketing tools while running this site and the WPStarters Facebook Group. Do swing by and say hi :)
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