Plugins

Akismet

Akismet is WordPress.com’s built-in spam/moderation tool. It can’t be disabled on the owner/user end (that’s anyone who isn’t WordPress.com staff).

You can configure the Akismet settings here:

https://ascendant.nyc/wp-admin/admin.php?page=akismet-key-config

If you see wording about needing an API key/plan, you can usually ignore it. Those services are included as part of your WordPress.com subscription.

AMP

AMP stands for “Accelerated Mobile Pages” and is installed by default on WordPress.com sites. It can’t be deleted.

You can configure settings for AMP here:

https://ascendant.nyc/wp-admin/admin.php?page=amp-options

Or for appearance settings via the Customizer under the “AMP” tab:

https://ascendant.nyc/wp-admin/customize.php

AMP creates “optimized” pages for faster loading on mobile devices. One of the ways it does this is by stripping out the styling, leaving you with a barebones version of a post or page.

To simplify things and because you seem to value your colors/styling/branding, I’ve disabled it.

Classic Editor

Classic Editor re-enables the original WordPress editor by default. WordPress.com/Automattic are currently developing and pushing “Gutenberg”, a newer block editor.

Confusingly, that newer editor is sometimes called Gutenberg, the Block Editor, or the WordPress.com Editor, and any number of other names.

If you’d like to adjust the Classic Editor plugin settings, you can do so via:

https://ascendant.nyc/wp-admin/options-writing.php#classic-editor-options

To simplify things, and because most of the WordPress community still uses the Classic Editor, I’ve enabled the Classic Editor by default.

If you decide to use the newer Gutenberg editor in the future, I’d recommend only using it on new posts or pages. Trying to convert old posts into Gutenberg (or vice versa) can be a bit unpredictable.

Clear Floats Button

When trying to align content in the editor, you can end up in situations where the content is stacked/arranged oddly. If you publish the page, it will look fine, but within the editor itself it may look a bit chaotic.

Rather than manually try and add line breaks by hitting the “enter” key a lot, I recommend using the “Clear Floats Button” plugin.

When you insert an image, and then align it so that text “wraps” around it, click the “Clear Floats” button afterwards to keep additional paragraphs that follow from also trying to wrap around the same image.

For more details/screenshots review “Floating” Content.

CoBlocks

CoBlocks is installed by default on WordPress.com sites. It adds several new types of “blocks” to the Gutenberg editor. It can’t be deleted.

Since you’re using the Classic Editor I’ve disabled it for now.

Display Posts

Display Posts lets you insert a list of blog posts into a post or page with a “shortcode”. By default, posts will only appear on the “Posts Page” or an “Archive Page”.

By tweaking the shortcode you can adjust what content will be displayed:

https://displayposts.com/docs/parameters/#display-parameters

For example: I’ve used it to add the list of “Latest News” posts to your homepage:

https://ascendant.nyc/

Display Posts “caches” data, so when you write a new post it may not appear immediately on the homepage. However, it should usually update within an hour.

Embed Any Document

By default WordPress does not offer any functionality for embedding/previewing PDFs. They just show up as links to the file.

Embed Any Document adds an “Add Document” button to the editor when you create a new post or page. This lets you select a document/PDF from your Media Library, then “embed” it into the post or page you’re working on.

It uses Google services to display an embed/preview of the file, even though the file itself is stored in your Media Library. Theoretically if Google’s servers crashed the preview wouldn’t work, but that’s a fairly rare occurrence these days.

For example: I’ve used Embed Any Document to embed the Public Sites for Public Good PDF into this post:

https://ascendant.nyc/2019/05/01/public-sites-for-public-good-report-released-today/

Full Site Editing

This is an add-on for the Gutenberg editor. Despite its confusing name, it is NOT a site builder such as Elementor. It can’t be deleted.

What it actually does is give you “templates” of pre-designed block layouts when creating a new post or page. It’s very similar to using a template in Microsoft Word for things such as creating a Resume or Invoice.

Since you’re using the Classic Editor I’ve disabled it for now.

Gallery Custom Links

By default WordPress does not let you add links to a gallery of images.

For example, if you were to create a grid of images on a specific page using the built-in WordPress gallery feature you would NOT be able to select specific URLs for each image to link to.

This plugin adds three optional fields for items in your Media Library.

Link URL” is the site/address you want a specific image to link to when used in a gallery.

Link Target” lets you choose whether to open the link in a new tab.

Link Rel” you can ignore for the most part. The “No Follow” option tells Google that you’re linking to a webpage, but you don’t want it to be associated as part of your site when it “crawls”/indexes your content.

For example: I’ve used Gallery Custom Links to create the Partners page:

https://ascendant.nyc/who-we-are/partners/

So that each logo/image links to its associated website.

Google Fonts Typography

Something many people don’t realize is specifying a font on your site does NOT guarantee someone else will see that font when they view your content.

That’s because specifying a font in HTML/CSS is really just a recommendation to any browser that visits the site. If someone has that font installed on their device, they’ll see the site’s content with that font. If they don’t have the font installed, then they won’t.

To get around that you can use a plugin to upload the font to your site, so that when someone visits your site the font will be loaded alongside the content.

I found Google Fonts Typography to be one of the more straightforward options. In the customizer:

https://ascendant.nyc/wp-admin/customize.php

It adds a “Google Fonts” tab. I recommend sticking with the “Basic Settings” to avoid interfering with CSS that’s been added to the site.

One quirk of font plugins like this are when you open the customizer you may notice your site’s other “stylesheets” don’t load. When that happens, refresh the customizer page.

Gutenberg

Gutenberg is the WordPress.com Block Editor. It’s installed by default on WordPress.com sites. Confusingly disabling the plugin does NOT remove the Block Editor from your site. That’s because the Block Editor is part of WordPress.com itself. It can’t be deleted.

Enabling the plugin decides what version of the Block Editor you’ll be using. The most recent version or the WordPress.com version (which tends to lag behind).

Since you’re using the Classic Editor I’ve disabled it for now.

Ivory Search

The Shoreditch theme (the theme used as a base for your site’s design) does not include a search bar in the header or menu area. To add one I’ve used the Ivory Search plugin.

You can adjust the plugin/search form settings via:

https://ascendant.nyc/wp-admin/admin.php?page=ivory-search&post=2773&action=edit

I would personally not recommend changing the current settings unless you have a very specific goal in mind.

Jetpack

Jetpack is WordPress.com’s built-in security/optimization tool. It can’t be disabled on the owner/user end (that’s anyone who isn’t WordPress.com staff).

You can configure your Jetpack settings via:

https://ascendant.nyc/wp-admin/admin.php?page=jetpack#/settings

In many ways Jetpack *is* WordPress.com, in that it adds functionality specific to WordPress.com and not included by default in the WordPress software you may use with other hosts.

It handles traffic stats, social media sharing, backups, security, and additional/improved versions of the contact form or image galleries. A real Swiss Army knife of functionality.

Jetpack is also one of the main reasons you cannot most other caching/security/optimization plugins on WordPress.com.

Jetpack creates “Rewind” backups accessible via your Activity Log:

https://wordpress.com/activity-log/andsitev2.wpcomstaging.com

It’s not super intuitive, but each “three dot” button on the Activity Log page is a backup point.

Keep in mind that if Rewind the site, it overwrites the database files for posts/pages/etc. That means anything created *after* that Rewind point would be lost (which is normal in terms of how restoring a backup works).

If you see wording about needing an API key/plan, you can usually ignore it. Those services are included as part of your WordPress.com subscription.

Official MailerLite Sign Up Forms

This is MailerLite’s official WordPress plugin. Theoretically you’ll enter your MailerLite account’s “API Key”, and then you’ll be able to create or add MailerLite forms to your site.

You can review the settings here:

https://ascendant.nyc/wp-admin/admin.php?page=mailerlite_main

One Click Accessibility

One Click Accessibility adds several recommended features to your site without any complicated setup.

You can adjust the settings here:

https://ascendant.nyc/wp-admin/admin.php?page=accessibility-settings

I installed it because of how straightforward it is, but it’s not going to cover every potential accessibility feature.

SlidersPack

Sliderspack bundles several different sliders into one package.

You can create/edit sliders here:

https://ascendant.nyc/wp-admin/edit.php?post_type=wpspaios_slider

I’d recommend sticking with the “bxslider” for general image sliders. But you can experiment with the others if you like.

Once you create a slider, it generates a “shortcode” that you can use to insert a slider into a post or page. You don’t have to copy/paste the shortcode each time you edit a specific slider. It should update automatically with the new content once you save your changes.

For more detailed instructions review Updating a Slider.

Timeline Express

Timeline Express uses a custom post type called “Announcements” to create an animated timeline.

You can adjust the settings/create an Announcement here:

https://ascendant.nyc/wp-admin/edit.php?post_type=te_announcements

https://ascendant.nyc/wp-admin/edit.php?post_type=te_announcements&page=timeline-express-settings

When you create or edit an announcement you can choose an icon/icon color, date, and “Banner” image.

Then, you can add additional details via the text area below those settings.

Note: Even though the buttons to add a contact form, document, or image are displayed above the text editor, Announcements will only display the text. The only way to add an image is via the Banner setting.

For the last step, enter the Timeline Express shortcode into a page or post.

For example: I’ve used the Timeline Express plugin to turn your previous timeline image into searchable text on this page:

https://ascendant.nyc/who-we-are/history/

Yoast SEO

Yoast is an extremely popular plugin for tweaking the SEO on your site.

You can adjust the “structure”/appearance of your site’s metadata (the information that search engines use when indexing/ranking a site) or automatically add the metadata necessary for sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

Social networks often have their own metadata standards (for example, Facebook uses “OpenGraph”) that allow their systems to identify content such as a “featured image” or excerpt.

You can adjust the settings here:

https://ascendant.nyc/wp-admin/admin.php?page=wpseo_dashboard

I’ve made adjustments and set it up already so you really shouldn’t have to tweak anything. But if you want to get really down into the nitty gritty of SEO there are numerous settings you can explore:

https://kb.yoast.com/

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