WordPress Weekly Recap – January 28th

Most of the East Coast here in the United States is STILL digging out from last weekend’s “Snow Storm of Doom” #Snowzilla… or whatever else they are calling it.  People found themselves with all this extra “time” because they couldn’t go anywhere and I started wondering what other people do when they “find time”.

Do you catch up with friends? Do you code a new plugin? Do you design a new layout for your WordPress site?  What do you do when you “find time”?  Found time is gone before you know it if you don’t have a plan.

WordPress News

WordPress Plugins

  • Want to test out a future core feature of WordPress? The Shiny Updates plugin is one of the proposals for inclusion in WordPress core that provides a better user experience during the upgrade/update process of plugins and themes.
  • A premium plugin to keep your eyes on is Ingot – an A/B testing tool for WordPress.

Web Design Tips & Tricks

I also wanted to thank those of you who write me and let me know about plugins, news, tutorials and other pieces of content many of you create. I love adding that type of information to our WordPress Weekly Recap posts. You can also let me know about things you come across by emailing benjamin @ ithemes.com. Until next week … have a great day.

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10 Ways Stash Live + iThemes Sync Are Going to Make Your Life Easier

This Friday, we’ll be giving you a first look at how Stash Live in BackupBuddy 7.0 will work together with iThemes Sync to bring you real-time, automatic backups plus WordPress site management in one convenient dashboard.


10 Ways Stash Live + Sync Are Going to Make Your Life Easier

Free Online Training – Friday, January 29 @ 11 a.m. (CST)

(see in your own timezone)

Reserve your spot for the preview

Can’t make the live webinar? Go ahead and register and we’ll send you the replay.

With BackupBuddy 7.0’s Stash Live + iThemes Sync, you’ll love:

  • The Convenience – One login to one dashboard gets you access to manage all your backup files and site maintenance. No more logging into multiple sites or logins across multiple platforms or services.
  • The Efficiency – All of your site maintenance tasks can be performed from the Sync dashboard: run remote backups, update WordPress core, keep themes and plugins updated, install or delete plugins and themes, and more. With Sync, you can also enjoy easier backup file storage and management – Sync automatically handles organizing your backup files, so you don’t have to sort them.
  • Increased Productivity – Do more with the time you spend managing your site: manage comments, users, your iThemes licenses and more.
  • (Cha-ching!)The Extra Revenue – If you’re managing sites for clients, Sync & Stash Live give you another (higher-priced) tier to add to your monthly WordPress maintenance plans: real-time backups. Sync Pro also offers other ways to bring more income into your web design business like Uptime Monitoring, Google Analytics and Maintenance Reports.

If you still aren’t using Stash or iThemes Sync with BackupBuddy, we’ll walk through all 10 ways Stash Live + Sync are going to make running and maintaining (and protecting!) WordPress sites even easier during this webinar, so don’t forget to reserve your spot now.

Still haven’t tried iThemes Sync? Give it a test spin now.

Get Your 10 Free Sync Sites Now

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New in Exchange: iThemes Security reCAPTCHA Integration, Transaction Activity Timeline & More

The latest version of iThemes Exchange includes some handy new features to help protect your site and to make managing customer orders even easier.

Secure Your Exchange Login and Registration Forms with iThemes SecurityNew!


If you’re using iThemes Security Pro to protect your WordPress ecommerce site, iThemes Exchange now includes a new core add-on that integrates directly with iThemes Security’s reCAPTCHA.


Activating the iThemes Security add-on allows you to start securing your customer login and registration forms with a reCAPTCHA. You’ll just need to configure your reCAPTCHA settings from iThemes security (here’s a tutorial on how to set up reCAPTCHA in iThemes Security).

Once you activate this add-on (and once you have turned on reCAPTCHA in iThemes Security Pro), users on your site will have to complete the CAPTCHA to log in or register. Adding this reCAPTCHA is a great way to protect your site from spam and abuse.


See Payment Status Updates & More with a New Visual Timeline New!


Now, from the Payment Details page, you can see a handy (and real-time!) timeline of order activity. See activity like when the order was placed, if the status of the payment changed, when a refund was issued, notes, etc.


Allow Customers to Add Notes To Their Orders New!


From the Add-ons page, you’ll see a new Customer Order Notes add-on in the list of available add-ons. By activating this add-on, you can now allow your customers to leave a note when placing an order.

After activating, customers will see an extra field before checking out that allows them to add notes about their order, such as delivery instructions or customizations.
Again from the Payments, page you’ll be able to view these notes in the visual timeline for the order.


Make Backend Notes on OrdersNew!

Support for internal order notes

In addition to allowing customers to add notes to their orders, you can now make internal (back-end) notes as well. From an individual Payment Details page, click the drop-down on the right side of the screen. You can add notes from there. All notes will be displayed in the new visual timeline.


Sell Your Digital and Physical Products from Your WordPress Site with Exchange

If you still haven’t tried iThemes Exchange, our free WordPress ecommerce plugin, you can download it for free here or on the WordPress.org Plugin Directory. Exchange also offers a ton of premium add-ons to extend the capabilities of your WordPress store, including Memberships, Invoices and Recurring Payments.

In addition to these features, you can check out the rest of the the iThemes Exchange 1.34.0 version changelog here.

Download Exchange now

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MLK Day Holiday as a Day On, Not a Day Off

As a freelancer who sets my own hours, federal holidays rarely matter. I’ve tugged on the locked post office door on a Monday wondering what holiday I forgot about. Sometimes I choose not to celebrate these holidays because my clients do and that means a day of uninterrupted work.


But let me suggest that Martin Luther King Jr. Day should be something different: It should be a day on, not a day off.

Not just a day to keep on working, but a day to engage in the kind of community-building and volunteerism that exemplified King’s life and work.

Racial unrest across the nation is proof that King’s dream is far from achieved. Segregation may be in the trash heap of history, but equality is far from universal. Systemic racism and outright discrimination still exist today—people of color lag behind whites in nearly every category, from education to income. We often think bold-faced discrimination ended with the civil rights movement, but it did not.

So if we want to truly honor King’s legacy, we shouldn’t allow MLK Day to become just another holiday—a day off and excuse for retail sales. We should use it as an opportunity to embrace justice and equality in our communities.

And not just for one day either. Allow this day to be a starting point, not a one time thing.

See if there are ways you can volunteer or attend a local event. Be a part of your community. The WordPress community is big on giving back, so here’s your chance.

  • If you don’t know what injustice is haunting your neighborhoods, find out. An MLK event may be a good opportunity to connect with local organizations and listen to learn about today’s challenges.
  • If you don’t have a specific place to volunteer, find one. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities where you can get your feet wet and find something that’s a good fit.
  • If you feel like you don’t know much about Martin Luther King Jr. besides the regular platitudes, find out. This is a good time to start researching King or the wider civil rights movement.

As freelancers, we often revel in our freedom. Most of us didn’t have to go on strike or protest to get the opportunities we needed or to do the work we wanted to do. We’ve greatly benefited from the community spirit around WordPress and the countless contributions that have made it what it is.

So let’s return the favor. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a good time to start (or continue!) giving back.

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Understanding WordPress Security Vulnerabilities

WordPress is so popular that it powers 25% of the entire internet’s websites. Because of its popularity, WordPress sites become a target for a lot of hackers.

Understand WordPress Security Vulnerabilities & Protect Your WordPress Sites

In order to understand how to protect your own websites, you need to understand the different types of WordPress security vulnerabilities. During this free webinar on January 20th @ 3 p.m. (CST), we’ll look at how to lock down WordPress and protect it from common threats.

Understanding WordPress Security Vulnerabilities

a free webinar hosted by iThemes Training

Wednesday, January 20 @ 3 p.m. (CST)
(see in your own timezone)

Reserve your spot now

Can’t make the live webinar? We’ll post the webinar replay here on the iThemes blog.

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Take 15 Minutes to Look Back

I woke up at 2:30 this morning, thinking about the next year, next steps. I do this often when I have something on my mind, like a big idea or project or meeting. Or in this case, the year is ending and I’m getting amped up for the coming year.


I’m the kind of person who HAS to always be moving forward. In fact, if I’m not moving forward, I feel like I’m falling backward.

But one lesson I seem to always forget is to look back and see what I have actually accomplished.

I’m a goal-oriented, future-facing person. I live for the challenge, for the next summit to conquer.

So I hate to look back. I don’t want to dwell in the past, rather I want to push on toward the next thing.

But I know that’s not healthy, or even right. I acknowledge a huge part of this whole thing called life is also looking back, measuring, reflecting, savoring the joy of another year on earth.

So 12 hours later, I found myself writing about the steps I took and the accomplishments I made in the last year.

I spent 15-20 minutes going through my calendar for the past year (the best way of seeing what I had done). I started by trying to think off the top of my head, but realized the biggies were most likely all on my calendar and they were.

All in all, I listed out about 30-plus incredible experiences, moments, events I was most proud of. (And I know I didn’t capture all of them.)

But after I was done and started to review it … the funniest observation occurred to me:

None of it had to do with money.

On further scrutiny, it all had to do with people. Specifically time with people I like, enjoy, cherish and love. Those were my most beloved moments and accomplishments.

The second category I saw in the events I recorded would be impact. Doing something that had an impact on another person’s life meant a ton to me.

And the final category would be learning.

What a refreshing reminder — people, impact and learning — those are indeed the things I treasure most.

And now I realized I’ve been robbing myself of feeling the joy of my accomplishments for years by not doing this simple 15-minute exercise.

It helped me to …

  • Remember — the awesome things I achieved and experienced through the year.
  • Savor and Celebrate — the memories and experiences again, the good things I’ve used my time, talent and treasure to do.
  • Be Grateful — yet again for the opportunity to experience and achieve them.
  • Remind Myself — Some things in life need to be put on Repeat.

Here’s to 2015. A great year.

And as for 2016, I’m even more optimistic and eager and excited to start on that journey …. but I hope to remember this little exercise so I can relive the awesomeness of another 365 days on earth.

So I’ll just go ahead right now and put a reminder of it on my calendar for 2016 so I can do all this again.

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Prosper With WordPress Freelancer Kronda Adair

We’re doing a series of interviews with WordPress freelancers, exploring some of the keys to their success. Today we talk with Kronda Adair. She’s a Portland, Ore., native and founder of Karvel Digital. She helps companies find digital solutions without being overwhelmed by technology. She’s also a regular speaker at WordPress meetups and WordCamps.
Kronda Adair

“Not everything is rainbow unicorn farts all the time—I work harder than ever, but I do it on my own terms.” -@kronda

We’re going to talk freedom, bottlenecks and what customers actually need.

What do you love most about being a freelancer?

The FREEdom. No one told me how sweet this was. The not putting up with bullshit from toxic work environments because I can choose who I work with. Not that everything is rainbow unicorn farts all the time—I work harder than ever, but I do it on my own terms and my ability to help people is only limited by my creativity.

Also, I’ve met a ton of amazing people who are eager and willing to help each other succeed.

What’s held you back as a freelancer?

I’m totally holding myself back right now by being the bottleneck to growth and managing too much. I’m comforted by the knowledge that almost everyone I talk to has gone through this phase and survived. I’m working on documenting my processes so that when I’m ready to add people to the business, they can have a successful start.

What are some things you’ve done to improve your profitability as a freelancer?

ALL THE LEARNING. I no longer make websites. Instead, I help business owners get more customers online without being overwhelmed by technology. That still includes making a website much of the time, but it’s just one part of the process in service of the overall goal. I’ve spent the past year studying with successful entrepreneurs, digital marketers and product launch masters, and I bring all of that knowledge to my clients (and charge them more for it).

As I mentioned above I’m also focused on building processes and predictability into the business.

Check out more interviews with successful WordPress freelancers in our series First, Best & Wish You Knew.

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