WordPress Weekly Recap – August 20th, 2015

There have been a number of exciting announcements happening on the iThemes blog this past week.  Make sure you haven’t missed the newly announced “Back to the Basics with WordPress” free webinar series, as well as, the release of BackupBuddy 6.3 and a checklist for optimizing your WordPress website.

WordPress News

  • WordPress 4.3 is now out. There are a number of new features you should know about with this latest WordPress release.  Remember to have a backup of your site before you attempt any update to a live production website. Some of the new features:
    • Stronger password enforcement
    • A number of Visual Editor improvements
    • Menus are now in the Customizer (whether you like it or not)
    • And the most noticeable for some people is the new Customizer stand-alone button on the Admin Bar.
  • Are you using WordPress in higher education environments?  You might be interested in this new conference called WordCampus that will focus on those people providing WordPress instruction at the college/university level.
  • Now that WordPress 4.3 is out it is time to start talking about 4.4 :).  No seriously… the time is NOW.
  • For those that love statistics, benchmarks, and infographics, you cannot get much happier with this infographic on statistical benchmarks of WordPress web hosts.
  • An AWESOME WordPress Template hierarchy website is out there for anyone who’s looking to take an interactive look at WordPress templates.

WordPress Plugins and Tips

Web Design Tips & Tricks

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Ecommerce For WordPress

WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems, which is widely used to create both professional and personal website. If you want to start your own ecommerce website and dont know where to start, WordPress can be your savior. The advantages of WordPress website are mentioned below:
It is easy set-up
There are many free themes available
It is easy to customize
It enables interactivity through comments
There is an RSS feed built in so that the visitors can subscribe
WordPress is easy to customize
It can create search engine friendly web pages
It automatically pings the search engines
All eCommerce plugins are available to sell products
There is a large online community available for WordPress technology support
How to make WordPress ecommerce website:
Install WordPress software: First of all, install the WordPress software. Login to cPanel of your system and click on setup.
Select the theme template for your website. There are Google free themes available for WordPress. You can simply download it.
Add eCommerce plug-in to the website. Download Google WordPress eCommerce plug-in and install the files to activate plugins. You should see the links on the sidebar such as product details, transaction results, checkout, your account etc.
Now, add your products to the website. Set certain parameters such as payment options, countries etc. before adding the details about your products. You can add as many items as you want.
Search engine optimization: For making your website search engine friendly, you should install an All-in-One SEO Pack to the website. This tool will optimize the title and description Meta tags so that Google can crawl your web pages.
Now, this is time to promote your site. You can use the below-mentioned tools for the same:
1.Blogging
2.Article marketing
3.Social media marketing
4.Video marketing
5.Pay per click marketing
6.Newsletter
7.Blog directories
8.RSS directories
You need to constantly monitor your website so that you can track the number of visitors, from where they are coming, best selling products etc. This monitoring helps you to increase your sites traffic.
There are a number of ecommerce plugins for WordPress. Some of the popular ones are:
WP e-commerce: This free WordPress e-commerce plug-in provides multiple options for creating an e-store with WordPress. This plug-in is integrated with Authorize.net, PayPal, and Google checkout.
e-Shop: This free WordPress plug-in has a number of features for ecommerce websites. It supports many payment options such as Webtopay, PayPal, e-Processing Network, Cheque, and Cash.
There are two plugins, Shopp and Quick shop that can make ideal platform for ecommerce websites on WordPress. For more information and free quote, visit http://www.evontech.com/wordpress-development.html

First, Best & Wish You Knew: Brad Williams

brad-williams-wordpressBrad Williams is the co-founder of the WordPress development company WebDevStudios. He co-writes the Professional WordPress series of books and hosts the Dradcast WordPress podcast.

We get some quick business advice for freelancers from Brad in our series, “First, Best & Wish You Knew.”

How did you find your first client?

I get asked this question quite a bit, and honestly I think it was mostly luck—and content. When we relaunched our website in 2008, we relaunched on the WordPress platform. I decided to start writing a lot of content on our website about our services, coding examples, blog posts, technology news, etc. Over time we saw an increase in new contacts coming in the door. Keep in mind, no one knew who WebDevStudios was at the time. We didn’t have much of a history, we weren’t known in any industry–we were just two guys building websites on a coffee table.  Content really helped increase our website visibility, which grew our contact requests.

How did you find your best client?

The best clients are the clients looking for a long-term partner. They are also the clients that hire you because you are the experts in your field. They listen to and take your advice more often than not. They understand the strengths you bring to the table and respect you because of that.

Finding these clients takes a bit of vetting when talking to new job leads. Many new leads probably don’t realize, but I’m interviewing them as much as they are interviewing me. I look for various good and bad flags when talking to a new lead. Are they nice or demanding? Do they listen to your responses or just talk over you? Over the years I’ve learned how to spot great clients and how to spot problem clients very early on. It’s a skill that takes time and experience to learn, but a very important one as you grow your business.

What do you know now that you wish you knew before you started?

Starting a business from scratch takes a lot of work and is a huge learning experience. We’ve had many ups and downs over the years, but ultimately everything you do, good or bad, is a learning tool.

Something I learned over the years is not every project is a good fit. Early on we would take any project that walked in the door. It didn’t matter if we knew the tool or system they wanted to use, we would figure it out. This quickly became a problem because we were mediocre at a lot of platforms, but an expert at none. In 2010 we made the decision to go 100% WordPress development and design. From that day forward we focused at being the best at a single platform, which has ultimately helped us refine our message and provide high quality products for our clients.

Get more insights from successful WP freelancers and business owners in our First, Best & Wish You Knew blog post series.

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WordPress Plugin Roundup – August 2015

Each month, iThemes Training brings a list of 10 cool, powerful and useful WordPress plugins that were recently added to the WordPress repository. iThemes Training members can check out the July WordPress Plugin Roundup webinar replay hosted by Nathan Ingram here.

1. Page Scroll to ID

The Page Scroll to ID plugin is an easy-to-use jQuery plugin that enables animated page scrolling to  specific id within the document.

page-scroll-to-id-plugin

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Makes adding smooth scrolling to an ID (or back to top) very easy in WordPress
  • ID must be on the same page
  • To make a link scroll to the target, add rel=”m_PageScroll2id” to the HTML
  • To activate scrolling from the navigation menu, open Screen Options and check “Link Relationship (XFN)” then add m_PageScroll2id in the link relationship field for each menu item you want to scroll.
  • No issues on mobile devices

2. YouTube Channel

With the YouTube Channel plugin, you can show video thumbnails or playable blocks of recent videos from YouTube Playlist, Channel (User Uploads), Liked or Favorited videos.

youtube-channel-plugin

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Slightly complicated setup (necessary for connecting a YouTube Channel, not the plugin author’s fault).
  • Embed with shortcode [youtube_channel]

3. Orphan Word

The Orphan Word plugin will handle the orphan words from: post/page title, widget title, widget text and comment text.

orphan-word-plugin

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Simple install-and-it-just-works plugin for typography nerds

4. Aladdin

The Aladdin plugin is a keyboard quick launcher for your WordPress Admin Dashboard.

aladin-plugin

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Just double press the shift key and type what you want to do
  • Searches the admin menu for options
  • Very fast and efficient

5. JKL Pricing Tables

The JKL Pricing Tables plugin is probably the SIMPLEST Pricing Tables plugin you’ll ever use. Just type an ordered list of ordered lists within the shortcode tags.

jkl-pricing-tables-plugin

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Wrap an ordered (numbered) list with shortcode [jkl-pricing-table]
  • Each line of the list is styled differently
  • Takes a few minutes to get the hang of it, but it definitely beats the cluttered shortcodes and quirky UIs that most pricing table plugins depend on.

6. WP Links Page

The WP Links Page plugin allows you to create a dynamic link gallery with screenshots of each link.

wp-links-page-plugin

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Provides a thumbnail screenshot, link and description of web pages
  • Great for portfolios or a page of links
  • Lots of settings for easy customization and a good help page
  • Drag and drop links to reorder

7. DrawIt (draw.io)

The Drawit plugin allows you to edit flow charts, diagrams, images and more while editing a post.

drawit-plugin

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Adds a simple to use Visio-like diagram creator to the visual editor
  • Integrates with Draw.io for functionality
  • Saves the diagram as an image in the media library when completed

8. Sam’s Modal Login

The Sam’s Modal Login plugin adds a modal login and register forms to your site to suit your style.

sams-modal-login-plugin

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Sam has done a nice job here
  • Add the link with shortcode [modal_login]
  • When logged in, a “Log Out” link displays
This Month’s Creative Site Enhancer

9. WP Konami Code

With the WP Konami Code plugin, you can add Konami code easter egg to your WordPress website.

WP-Konami-Code

Nathan’s Notes:

  •  Up up down down left right left right B A
  • Forwards to a “hidden” page of your choice
This Month’s Buggy Plugin Award Winner

10. Bug – fly on the screen

The Bug- fly on the screen plugin just displays a fly on the screen.

screenshot-1 (1)

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Plugin claims to be “More useless than Hello Dolly”
  • An excellent way to bug people who visit your site.
  • Gives a whole new meaning to “debugging WordPress”

Get More WordPress Training & Tips from iThemes Training

Join the community at iThemes Training today to get access to 500+ hours of professional WordPress training plus weekly live webinars to grow your WordPress design and development skills.

Learn more about iThemes Training

This post is based on the August Plugin Roundup webinar by Nathan Ingram. In this webinar, Nathan covers all 10 of these plugins plus 5 more bonus plugins to add to your free plugin arsenal.

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Must Read Info About Flash Tutorials

With the power of Adobe Flash the web has come full of life with animation and interactivity. Websites that were once boring and flat now have interactivity and depth that is quickly getting close to the level of full-fledged computer software. As the potential of Flash has grown so has the need for individuals to produce Flash movies. Flash training is often an uphill fight but there are lots of sources of info that a person can turn to. Flash tutorials, classes, tutors, books are just a few of the ways to get excellent Flash training.

Teachers are a great solution to get Flash training. They can often offer you personalized Flash training as well as Flash tutorials so that you can learn exactly what you would like or need to understand. This is particularly good if you specialize in animation mainly because they can teach you to create killer animated graphics without being bogged down with the encoding end. Nonetheless, tutors are generally hard to find and they’re quite costly. In the event you have a buddy or neighbour who’s ready to teach you the things they know, make sure you take advantage of the chance.

Formal courses provide probably the most structured setting for Adobe Flash training. Men and women who take formal courses generally learn the material really quickly and well. Courses do have draw backs as they are costly and hard to find. They’re not provided in all places. If they’re offered they might not cover the content you want to learn.

Another excellent approach to get Flash training is through books. Books give an affordable solution to learn Flash. They’re also wonderful because there are various options for you to read, so it is possible to customize your learning curriculum. Books take time and there’s a great deal of technical reading that can discourage many hopeful Flash developers.

Flash tutorials are one of the most fascinating and varied ways to get Flash training. Thousands and thousands of folks post mini-lessons on things that can be done with Flash. Flash tutorials offer you the flexibly to learn whatever you want. The down side is they’re not in a standardized file format. Their quality is only as good as their author. A Flash tutorial are a great method to get Flash training in case you have a certain task you need to accomplish.

The best way to study anything would be to use all of the resources that you have available. Classes, tutors, books and Flash tutorials can all assist you to learn the techniques that you want so use what works out best for you in your situation.

Get Started With Flash Tutorials

With the power of Flash the web has become alive with interactivity and animation. Websites that were one time flat and boring now have depth and interactivity that is quickly getting close to the level of full-fledged software. As the capability of Flash has grown so has the demand for men and women to produce Flash videos. Flash training is often an uphill fight but there is a lot of sources of info that a person can turn to. Flash tutorials, books, classes, tutors are merely a few of the ways to obtain good Flash training.

Teachers are a fantastic solution to get Flash training. They can offer you personalized Flash guidance as well as Flash tutorials to ensure that you can study exactly what you would like or need to understand. This is especially good if you specialize in computer animation because they can teach you to produce killer animated graphics without being bogged down with the encoding end. Nevertheless, tutors are generally hard to get and they are very costly. If you have a friend or neighbor who is willing to teach you what they know, make certain you take advantage of the chance.

Formal courses provide probably the most structured environment for Flash education. Individuals who take formal courses usually learn the content really fast and well. Classes do have drawbacks as they’re costly and hard to come across. They are not offered in all places. If they are offered they may not cover the content you want to study.

Yet another great way to get Flash education is through books. Training books offer a cheap way to understand Flash. They are also excellent because there are many options for you to read, so you will be able to customize your learning curriculum. Training books take time and there’s a great deal of technical reading that can dissuade many hopeful Flash developers.

Flash tutorials are one of the most interesting and varied ways to get Flash education. Hundreds of thousands of folks post mini-lessons on issues that could be done with Flash. Flash tutorials give you the flexibly to learn whatever you want. The downside is that they are not in a consistent format. Their quality is only as good as their author. A Flash tutorial are a great way to get Flash training in case you have a certain job you need to accomplish.

The best way to learn anything would be to use all the resources that you have available. Classes, tutors, books and Flash tutorials can all assist you to learn the skills that you want so use what works out best for you personally in your own situation.