WPForms: The Easiest Way to Add a Contact Form to Your WordPress Website

One of the most common questions we get asked here at WP101 is how to easily add a simple contact form to a WordPress website. Despite WordPress being one of the easiest ways to build a website, adding a contact form has always proven to be a challenge to beginners and a hassle for WordPress professionals.

Until now. 😄

wpforms drag and dropWPForms is a brand new plugin that provides simply the easiest way to add a contact form to your WordPress website.

We took the new WPForms plugin for a spin and now we’re going to show you why, as a WordPress beginner or even a WordPress professional, you need to install it immediately.

Why Create Another Contact Form Plugin?

There are currently over one thousand contact form plugins in the WordPress plugin repository. So, why create yet another contact form plugin in what is apparently such a saturated market?

Syed Balkhi, the creator of the plugin, explains:

My inspiration for WPForms was to create the most beginner-friendly WordPress contact form plugin in the market. A plugin that’s EASY for beginners, marketers, and business owners who are not tech savvy. A plugin that I can recommend to churches, non-profits, and startups who don’t necessarily have a budget to afford a premium plugin. WPForms Lite is 100% free and has all the basic features that you need.”

Syed runs WPBeginner.com, so he comes face to face with the challenges and confusion WordPress beginners experience when it comes to contact forms.

Syed and his development partner, Jared Atchison, decided to focus on this common WordPress user pain point and set out to develop WPForms.

What Sets WPForms Apart From the Other Popular Contact Form Plugins?

Put simply, WPForms has all the functionality you need in a contact form plugin and is easy to use. That is what sets it apart.

Currently the most popular contact form plugins are Contact Form 7, the “Contact Form” tool within the Jetpack plugin, and the Gravity Forms plugin. While each has their benefits, they all lack the flexibility and usability that WPForms offers.

For example, the Contact Form 7 plugin advertises that it is “Simple but flexible”. Yet creating a form using its interface is anything but for a WordPress beginner:

contact form 7 interface

The starting point for a creating a new form in Contact Form 7. If you were new to WordPress, would this look simple?

As for Jetpack, the difficulty with using the plugin is that you have to connect your site to WordPress.com and configure whether you want to use all of Jetpack’s other 25 features or not. Once all of that setup is complete, the Jetpack Contact Form itself is light on features and functionality.

Gravity Forms is the most popular paid contact form plugin on the market and is well known for its flexibility and amazing amount of features. However it is definitely a developer-focused contact form plugin and lacks the intuitiveness and ease-of-use that WPForms offers.

The WPForms Difference

It’s important to note that there are two versions of the WPForms plugin: A paid version and the free “Lite” version.

The following are just some of the features we found available in both the free and paid versions that set WPForms apart from other popular contact form plugins:

  • Pre-Built Form Templates: The plugin comes complete with five pre-made form templates that are ready to use immediately, including a Simple Contact Form, Request A Quote Form, Donation Form, Billing/Order Form, and a Newsletter Signup Form.

wpforms templates

  • Drag & Drop Form Builder: That’s right. Build any kind of form you like without even seeing a line of code. Just click on the field you want to add from the field selection and drag it into your new form.

wpforms-drag-and-drop

  • Edit Fields With Ease: Change field labels and formats to make your form look exactly how you want it to.

wpforms edit fields

  • Simple Settings: It is ridiculously simple to set up where form notifications are sent to, what those notifications will say, and what type of confirmation a user will see once they submit a form.

wpforms settings

  • The Most Simple Form Integration Ever: This is usually the most complicated part of a contact form plugin, but we found that WPForms makes it dead simple:
    • Once you’re done building your form and save it, you are given a unique shortcode for your form.

    wpforms-shortcode

    • Simply copy and paste it into the page or widget of your choice.

    wpforms paste shortcode

    • And your form is now live!

    wpforms contact form

  • Every Field You Need: Radio buttons, dropdown menus, file upload options, address/phone fields, checkboxes, payment fields, etc. Every field you need for your forms is available.
  • Smart Conditional Logic: You can choose to show or hide fields in your forms based on how users answer previous fields.
  • Mobile-Ready, SEO Friendly, and Fast: All forms, whether you create your own or use a template, are 100% responsive, meaning they work on mobile, tablets & desktop. Plus, they conform to SEO best practices and work lightning-fast.

No other contact form plugin provides the same level of features combined with an easy to use interface for building your forms.

Check out the full list of features in the paid version of WPForms on their website below.

WP101 Members Get 20% Off Any Plan With Coupon Code: WP101

Head over to WPForms.com now and enter the code “WP101” for 20% off any paid plan.

That’s a savings of up to $ 68 off a lifetime plan!

Get 20% Off WPForms Now!

 

The post WPForms: The Easiest Way to Add a Contact Form to Your WordPress Website appeared first on WordPress 101.

WordPress 101

How to Migrate WordPress to a Different Domain Name

Wondering how to migrate WordPress to a different domain name? This tutorial will walk through the process of moving a WordPress site from one server or domain name to a new server or domain name without having to leave your WordPress dashboard.

migrate wordpress

The process of migrating WordPress from one server and/or domain name to another used to be a painstaking process. For example, you must search and replace in the database and other file structures for any reference to the old domain name and replace it with the new location/domain name. If any reference to the old domain name was missed, there was a good chance the entire site wouldn’t come back online.

Now, with BackupBuddy, the pain and hassle of moving a WordPress site has been reduced to a few clicks of a button.

Prepare to Migrate WordPress

Before you begin the entire WordPress migration process, it is recommended to perform two tasks with BackupBuddy.

  1. First, use the Malware Scanner in BackupBuddy to verify that the site you are going to move is clear of any unwanted malware.
  2. Second, once the Malware Scanner finishes, create a fresh Full (Complete) Backup of your WordPress site to make sure any last minute changes or modifications you made on your site will be brought over to the new domain name.

Create backup to migrate WordPress site

How to Migrate WordPress

There are two popular ways to migrate a WordPress site to a new domain with BackupBuddy.

  1. Option 1: Manually download the importbuddy.php file (found on the Restore/Migrate menu of BackupBuddy) and then upload that importbuddy.php file  to your new server/domain location
  2. Option 2: Visit the Restore/Migrate page in the BackupBuddy menu on the original WordPress site and hover over the listing of your recently made backup.

Migrate WordPress options

Once you hover on this listing, the link you want to click is the Migrate link that appears below the backup file that you want to use (again, most likely your most recent backup.)

After you click the Migrate link, you will be presented with a modal window that will ask you a question about how you want to connect to your new server/domain location.

Migrate WordPress protocol

Typical reasons why you would choose each of the above options/protocols for migrating WordPress are:

  • FTP – If your new web hosting company has sent you a “getting started” email that contains FTP connection information to your new site.
  • Local Directory Copy – This is normally used when you are simply migrating the site from one domain to another domain and both are hosted on the same server.
  • sFTP – Is used when your hosting company requires you to use secure FTP or your access to a server is limited to SSH access.

Migrate WordPress settings

Setting up the method in which you will be migrating WordPress to a new server/domain is a lot like setting up a BackupBuddy remote storage destination.

You need to give it an identifiable name (for your personal reference), access user information for that location, what the new domain will be and any other settings that method (FTP/Local/sFTP) might require. Click the + Add Destination button.

Now that BackupBuddy knows how to access and communicate with this new server or domain location, you can proceed with migrating WordPress.

During the first step, you are asked to verify what the domain will be when you move the WordPress site. This is an important step because this is partly what BackupBuddy will use to modify all the necessary parts of your site and database entries so the site will work perfectly on the new location/domain name.

Migrate WordPress beginning

BackupBuddy will then send a copy of your backup file you made at the beginning of this post, along with a copy of the importbuddy.php file. Everything from this point forward is accessing that importbuddy.php file located on your new location/domain name.

Migrate WordPress restore

Select the Restore Backup option and importbuddy.php will begin to unpack the zip file and prepare to import the WordPress database in the new location.

You will be shown information about your original database connection details and you will be given the ability to either transfer that information over (especially helpful if you are simply transferring within the same server but just to a different domain name since you might end up using the same database) or enter the details for a new database.

Migrate WordPress database

Once the database is imported and/or restored to the new location, you have one more field to fill out.  This is the field where you can declare what you new domain name is going to be in this new location.

Migrate WordPress domain

Congratulations you now have successfully migrated WordPress from one location to another (including changing domain names) while never leaving the comfort of your original WordPress dashboard.

There are two things to do before you finish.

  1. Verify and check that the new domain IS displaying the site correctly and if all is good you can proceed to step 2.
  2. Click the Finish Cleanup  button at the bottom of the window that will remove the importbuddy.php file and remove any temporary and BackupBuddy zip files that might have been used in the migration.

Migrate WordPress finalstep

The ease of migrating WordPress when using BackupBuddy makes it simple to build WordPress sites (or your client sites) on one server or subdomain. Then, when you are ready to launch the site for the client, you simply follow these instructions for migrating WordPress and you can place the new WordPress site on the correct server and with the correct domain name.

Next up in this series of moving WordPress with BackupBuddy, our 3-in-1 WordPress backup pluginwe will see how easy it is to set up a WordPress staging environment to push and pull changes between a live and staging version of a WordPress website.

Get BackupBuddy now

The post How to Migrate WordPress to a Different Domain Name appeared first on iThemes.

iThemes

WordPress Weekly Recap – March 17th

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!!! It has been an incredible week of free training webinars at iThemes.  If you missed any of the Recurring Revenue Summit sessions you can watch the replays. (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4)

WordPress News

WordPress Plugins

  • Imagify Image Optimizer is a plugin that should speed up your site by reducing all of the image sizes automatically.
  • A new “booking” plugin is now available that should help any business/job scheduling easier in WordPress.
  • If you want an easier way of using the WordPress Customizer to tweak the CSS look on different devices you will want to use this Advanced CSS Editor plugin.
  • Do you need a way to modify your site’s PHP settings from within the WordPress Dashboard? The PHP Settings plugin will create a local .ini settings file for your site.

I 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.

The post WordPress Weekly Recap – March 17th appeared first on iThemes.

iThemes

Entrepreneurial Insight With Emilie Lebrun

We’re in the midst of a series of interviews with WordPress entrepreneurs, picking their brains for insight and knowledge.

Emilie Lebrun
Today we talk with Emilie Lebrun. She’s the founder Whodunit, the second largest WordPress agency in Paris, and was recently named chief operating officer of WP Media, the company behind the WP Rocket plugin, among others.

She is also co-organizer of WordCamp Paris, a frequent speaker and a strong voice promoting the professionalization of WordPress in France with her side projects projects ThinkWP and WPNext.

“One of the best lessons I’ve learned to make more money is ‘work less to earn more.’” -Emilie Lebrun

The conversation covers perseverance, increasing profitability and confidence:

When things are hard, how do you know when to stick with it and power through and when to call it quits and move on?

From an early age, I was taught to expect life to be tough. My parents always told me that I could have anything I dreamed of if I worked hard for it. “No pain, no gain,” they said. This idea was further drilled into me through popular culture. We were a whole generation inspired by the likes of Rocky Balboa: we were gonna make it with our will to survive.

After school, I tried out lots of different fields—law, banking, even law enforcement—but I always ended up quitting to try something else. My parents were in anguish, of course. How could I succeed if I didn’t persevere? But to me it was perseverance. I was never scared to try something new. I wanted to learn and to follow my passion. And so I learned to believe in myself and to listen to the little voice in my head, you know the one—the one that tells us what to do, what to believe and when to move on.

This drive and independent nature led me to entrepreneurship. I launched my first company, in IT support services, in 2001. Two years in, both my partner and I realized that this was not what we wanted to be doing and decided to close up shop. During that time I had started building websites, just as a hobby. It was something I really enjoyed doing and I thought, why not try to make a living at it?

Despite the Internet still being in its infancy at the time, nobody wanted to hire me. I had no qualifications, no school certification, nothing professional to show. One day, I heard a recruiter laugh from behind the closed door after leaving a job interview. In that moment, I listened to my little voice again, but this time she didn’t tell me to quit and move on. This time she told me not to be defeated, that I should persevere.

I took another job, an easy one just to pay the bills, and worked hard days and nights to learn how to become a web professional. I learned Photoshop, Flash, HTML and CSS. I started freelancing in graphic design, working with developers and some web agencies. I worked relentlessly, doing a mockup over and over again until it was good enough, until I finally became a web professional in my own right.

In 2009 I founded Whodunit, now the second leading French WordPress agency with a team of seven employees.

Having passion in my work and in my business, believing in my team and in what we are building is what drives me. Speaking and sharing with other colleagues, or in my case other WordPress professionals, keeps me engaged and in tune. Contact with people in the community helps me gain perspective and understand everyday problems that we can all encounter. Friends and family are, of course, very important too.

There is no science to knowing when to stick with it and power through, and when it’s time to move on. It’s instinct. It’s listening to yourself—to your little voice—and knowing yourself well enough to know whether or not you’re thriving in a given situation.

How do you make more money—what are some lessons you’ve learned that can increase profitability?

Diversify: Never put all your eggs in one basket. In the service industry, concentrating all or even a high percentage of your efforts and resources into one client is too risky. Diversifying your portfolio minimizes the risk while multiplying your revenue sources.

Be Proactive: Suggest new products and services to your customers on a regular basis. You know your business and your customers’ needs, what can you offer them to benefit their own business? For example, our main offer is building websites, but in addition we propose hosting (with solid partners), maintenance and WordPress support.

Add Value Through Expertise: Ours customers know their market, but they don’t know how to create a digital strategy. Our mission is to show them how to attract, convert and close with their website. A successful WordPress website is not only based on technical skills or a beautiful theme: it must be useful and bring more money to my clients. Adding value that creates profitability for your clients is an easy sell.

Delegate: When I started my business, I was doing too many jobs every day. I was the CEO, but also a graphic designer, a project manager and the bookkeeper. It’s impossible to concentrate on increasing profitability while juggling so many tasks. It’s a necessary step for a lot of startups and young companies, but the sooner you can delegate and free yourself to concentrate on your primary role, the sooner you will be putting your most necessary skills to work for your company.

Work Better: One of the best lessons I’ve learned to make more money is “work less to earn more.” Seriously, we don’t need to work so much. Time is money. And when I started becoming aware of where my time was going, how I was spending my hours, how my team was spending their hours—I realized that there was a lot of waste. There are even savings to be made in how you allocate time to projects, successfully matching the products and services you offer in relation to a client’s budget.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?

I learn something new every day with each new project and experience. But the lesson I’d most like to share with your readers is that we are the authors of our own destiny. We have the power to decide what we do day to day, whether it’s to move forward, create a new dynamic, get up after falling, take a step back or go in another direction.

My parents had it right all those years ago: we can do anything we dream of if we’re willing to work hard and fight for what we believe. The only thing stopping us is ourselves, and, beyond our will to survive, our desire to truly thrive.

Check out more interviews with successful WordPress entrepreneurs in our Entrepreneurial Insight series.

The post Entrepreneurial Insight With Emilie Lebrun appeared first on iThemes.

iThemes

WordPress Weekly Recap – March 10th

Next week is an exciting week at iThemes Training as we have a four day Recurring Revenue Summit covering why recurring revenue is the lifeblood of a freelancer, how to build and package a revenue generating package for your clients, methods of using membership sites for a revenue stream, and even exploring alternative ways of creating a revenue stream.  

Plus, next Wednesday at 1pm CDT we’ve got Rebecca Gill coming back to talk about creating an exceptional customer journey with your website.

WordPress News

  • WordPress 4.5 Beta 3 is now out and available for testers to give it a “once over.” We are getting really close to the full release of WordPress 4.5. Several of the new features coming in WordPress 4.5 are:
    • theme logo support
    • visual editor improvements
    • better inline link editing
    • a bunch of new inline text shortcuts
    • a remake (and improvement) to the comment moderation screen
    • the ability to test responsiveness in the WordPress Customizer
    • improvements to the image size generator
    • the ability to login using email addresses
    • a new wp_add_inline_script() function
    • customizable embed templates
    • and a bunch of other improvements and bug fixes.
  • There is an excellent article about the economics of Web Hosting (https://kinsta.com/blog/economics-web-hosting) Wrapping your brain around financial number breakdowns like this can help you find new financial stream that are possible to create with your current (and future) clients.
  • If you haven’t found http://heropress.com yet you are missing out on some great stories and behind-the-scenes explorations of many contributors within the WordPress ecosystem. Topher DeRosia has put together a great collection of stories that details how many people in the WordPress community have overcome barriers in life, work, and personal struggles.  If you are looking to be inspired or to be encouraged, make sure you have this site on your radar.
  • Sitepoint has put out a helpful post on working with databases in WordPress that is a good post to bookmark or save to Evernote for people working with WordPress every day. (http://www.sitepoint.com/working-with-databases-in-wordpress)
  • Many people are searching for a replacement for Mandrill after they announced the elimination of the free levels that many WordPress users have been using.  We’ve got a post looking at a bunch of alternatives for WordPress transactional emails.
  • This past week there was a pretty serious security vulnerability in a fairly popular WordPress plugin. (https://blog.sucuri.net/2016/03/when-wordpress-plugin-goes-bad.html) It turns out that a “developer” by the name of wooranker pushed an update to a plugin (that hadn’t been updated in 10 months) that opened a back door to people’s servers. Whether the plugin’s ownership had changed hands or someone had figured out how to take over a plugin’s ownership is still unknown.  But this situation is a good reminder of two things:
    • Make sure you are only using plugins and themes from developers you know and/or trust.
    • Make sure you ALWAYS have backups (even backups that go back a while).
  • During last week’s Pressnomics event they previewed an interview with Alex King, who passed away after a battle with cancer.  http://pressnomics.com/2016/03/our-interview-with-alex-king Its an excellent interview with an individual who has had a deep impact in the WordPress community and direction of the project over the years.
  • */RANT BEGINS*/ In a growing world of “WordPress Developers” we see an increasing number of copy/paste developers who are pulling pieces together from StackExchange and “forking” current plugins without attributing the original authors or even mentioning its a fork.  But it gets even weirder when you look at the code and you still see original “plugin descriptions” that have nothing to do with what the plugin is supposed to do, which leads most people to think that a plugin is just another copy/paste.  Please check the code of plugins or developers you are unfamiliar with and if you see flags like function names or plugin descriptions that have nothing to do with what they claim their plugin is about… please AVOID installing those plugins because you will be in for a world of hurt when something actually needs to be updated. */END OF RANT/*
  • Do you understand WordPress file permissions and how those numbers assigned to files and folders actually work.

WordPress Plugins

  • Do you want to use something other than Gravatar for users on your WordPress site.  Letter Avatars uses the first letter of their username (or email) on a brightly colored background.
  • Do you have guest posters or people who write for you.  Now you can check that your content is unique and not a copy of something that already exists on the internet with the Free Online Plagiarism Checker plugin.
  • While many may be unhappy with the future of Mandrill, MailChimp is still a powerhouse for sending and managing a mailing list.  This MailChimp for WordPress plugin provides excellent integration with your WordPress site.
  • Do you need an easy chart implementation for your WordPress site? It doesn’t get much easier than using the Easy Charts plugin.
  • The perfect plugin for anyone providing a mobile/responsive aspect for their clients. This Mobile Call Now & Map Button will allow people to press the button and the mobile phone will either dial the number or enter the address automatically into their phone’s mapping application.

I 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.

 

The post WordPress Weekly Recap – March 10th appeared first on iThemes.

iThemes

Understanding WordPress File Permissions

How many of you remember growing up and watching television as a little child with your parents and all of a sudden they shout “RED LIGHT”? What did you do? You immediately covered your eyes because you didn’t have permission to see what was on the screen.

wordpress-file-permissions

WordPress websites use something similar to the “Red Light / Green Light” parental commands that dictate who has permission to read files, create and edit files, and to control what has access to the files. In this post, we cover the basics of WordPress file permissions.

Basics of Server File Permissions

Servers consist of directories (or folders) and files.  Permissions can be created that dictate who can “read (r)”, “write (w)”, and “execute (x)” a specific file and/or directory.  There are slight differences between rwx permissions when it comes to file permissions versus directory permissions.

File Permissions

  • Read (r) permissions declare if the user has authority to read the file.
  • Write (w) permissions declare if the user has the authority to write or modify the file.
  • Execute (x) permissions declare if the user has the authority to run the file and/or execute it as a script.  It is important to note that a file is not granted delete permissions.

Directory Permissions

  • Read (r) permissions declare if the user has the authority to access the contents of the identified folder/directory.
  • Write (w) permissions declare if the user has the authority to add or delete files that are contained inside the folder/directory.
  • Execute (x) permissions declare if the user has the authority to access the actual directory and perform functions and commands, including the ability to delete the data within the folder/directory.

Now before we dive into understanding the proper permissions that should be set for WordPress site it, is important to learn about the different forms of ownership of a file.

  • The user who is the owner of the file and/or the user that created the file is known as the User.
  • The user or users who belong to a group the the file and/or directory is part of is known as the Group.  A group is a defined classification of a set of users.  The example of a group might be users that have access to FTP.
  • The user or users who are not an owner and do not belong to an identified group are known as Others.

Take a look at the illustration below and you will see how these ownership roles and permission settings come together to declare who has what authority to do or see something relating to the files on your server.

WordPress file permissions

It may be helpful to understand that there is a method to the madness in the number that appear as part of the permissions settings.  Those numbers relate to the read, write, and execute permissions.  These point values are actually derived from the binary system that are foundational to computer systems (1s and 0s).

  • Read (r) permissions have a point value of 4
  • Write (w) permissions have a point value of 2
  • Execute (x) permissions have a point value of 1

No matter what combination of read, write, and execute permissions you assign to a file or directory it is easy to figure out what of the three permissions have been assigned.  For example:

  • If you see the number “6“, you automatically should know that the ONLY numbers (4, 2, 1) that you can combine to get the value 6 are the numbers 4 and 2.  Therefore the number 6 represents the read and write permissions being assigned.

Now in that image above you will see that file and directory permissions come in 3 digit numbers.  This is where the ownership comes into play.  The first number refers to the User.  The second number refers to the Group. And the final number refers to Others.

So now we can break down the file permission number of 644 to be as follows:

  • The owner of the file can read (r) (4 value) and write (w) (2 value) for a total of 6 value.
  • The group that is attached to the file can only read (r) (4 value) for a total of value.
  • Everyone else can only read (r) (4 value) for a total of 4 value.

So when you see the number 7 you should immediately know that all three permissions (4+2+1) have been granted to that ownership group.  If you see the number 3 then you know that for some STRANGE reason someone set the permissions of the file to have writing and executing permissions (2+1) but no ability to read the file.

What are the Recommended WordPress File Permissions?

So now that you understand how file permissions are composed and how they are assigned to different ownership groups we can understand the recommended file permissions for WordPress.

Basically a directory in WordPress should have a 755 permission and the files should have a 644 permission.  (And now that you know how to read those numbers, can you figure out who should be allowed to do what on your WordPress server?

filepermissions

If you are looking for additional help on checking to see if your WordPress site’s permissions are set correctly, you can open up the iThemes Security plugin’s dashboard (as seen above) and see how your site’s current permissions are set.

The post Understanding WordPress File Permissions appeared first on iThemes.

iThemes

Now Page: What Are You Doing These Days?

Adding a ‘now page’ to your website might be a helpful way for freelancers to explain what they do.

now page

“So what are you up to these days?” How often are freelancers answering that question? Or anyone, really? Jobs and work situations change so frequently, it’s hard to keep up with what people are doing.

That Twitter update or blog post explaining your latest change is here and gone again so quickly. That ancient update doesn’t help people today.

So Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, came up with the idea of a now page. He sold CD Baby and bounced around between a few projects, and so—surprise, surprise—people keep asking what he’s doing lately.

What Is a Now Page?

It’s very much like an about page, except it explains what you’re doing right now. An about page often emphasizes history or background, trying to build trust and explain how you became who you are today. It can include elements of what you’re doing now, but it’s often pretty broad.

A now page, on the other hand, is narrowly focused on right now. It’s a quick glimpse at the few things you’re focused on in the present.

It’s also not the immediate answer we give to Twitter’s “What’s happening?” prompt. Social media is hyper focused and the answer can change minute by minute: I’m watching TV, I’m laughing at this joke, I’m liking this image (often at the same time).

Think of a now page as explaining what you’re doing at this stage in your life. It’s much bigger picture than a tweet or a blog post, but it’s much more focused (and current) than an about page.

“Think of what you’d tell a friend you hadn’t seen in a year.” That’s how the Nownownow.com site explains itself. And yes, it’s an entire site highlighting people’s now pages. It’s a good place to see examples of how this works.

Why Do I Need a Now Page?

A now page isn’t for organizations or businesses. It’s for individuals. It’s ideal for freelancers or entrepreneurs who are often doing multiple different things. If you’re not already seeing how this would be helpful, then it’s probably not for you. For those who are feeling the need, it’s about giving that big picture answer of what you’re doing now. It helps minimize those questions and focuses people on exactly what you do.

  • Many people may know you’re a developer, but they don’t know your expertise.
  • Many people may know you do freelance, but they don’t know the specific type of work you do.
  • Many people may know you, but they haven’t caught up with you lately.
  • And many people may not know you, but they want to know who you are and what you’re focused on today, not eight months ago when you had a different job, different priorities, different circumstances.

In addition to answering those questions, a now page can offer focus—both for you and for anyone reading the page.

“It’s a nice reminder for myself, when I’m feeling unfocused. A public declaration of priorities.” -Derek Sivers

Finding your niche is powerful. It helps you focus on the work you do best and bring in more work. It helps other people understand what you do better and refer work that better aligns with your skills.

A now page is not designed to be a marketing tool, though it certainly can be. Some people use it to exclusively focus on their professional lives. Others include some personal things as well, because that’s what people want to know when they ask what you’re doing these days.

Lessons From Creating a Now Page

The act of creating a now page can help you focus. Maybe you’ll realize something you’re still doing shouldn’t be on the list. So you’ll give yourself permission to start disengaging and giving less priority going forward. It can be a way to help you quit.

The process of writing down what you’re doing now helps to sharpen your view. In some ways it’s a helpful filter. Maybe you had that filter in your head, but this makes it concrete. It has a way of forcing certain questions to the top.

It can also help you say ‘no’ to new opportunities that aren’t the right fit. Rather than welcoming every idea, every possibility, every opportunity—a now page can can be a buffer to fend off the distractions. In some ways it can hold you accountable.

In the process of writing this article I decided to create my own now page (it’s a work in progress). It’s harder than I thought. But I’m finding it helpful. Even as a writer, putting words to what I do is difficult (it’s always hardest to work on your own stuff). How can I say this succinctly and in an engaging way?

I’m also struggling with personal or tertiary interests. Do I include my wife and kids? Sports and hobbies? I find myself asking what this page says about me and if I like that or not. In some ways it’s simply a tool or an exercise to help you hone in on what really matters.

It also helps to read other people’s now pages. Often they included something I wanted to say or approached something in a unique way that I found helpful.

Some examples:

  • Include the date when your now page was last updated. (There’s some accountability to keep it current!)
  • Mention specific projects you’re currently working on, either with links if it’s public or in a vague way if it’s not something you want to make public just yet.
  • Talk about your current goals. (More accountability!)
  • List upcoming appearances or events you’ll be attending. This is a good way to encourage people to connect with you.
  • Include something visual. A lot of the now pages I’m seeing had photos at the bottom of the page, whether they were showing off their latest photography or just something personal (kids and pets). Since this is about who you are as a person, something personal makes a lot of sense.
  • List the current books, music, TV you’re enjoying. This can just be for personal interest, but depending on the books you read it might spawn some professional conversations.
  • Include your availability for new projects, opportunities, interviews and speaking engagements.

Perhaps the greatest lesson I learned creating my now page is that I’m too busy. I knew that anyway, but seeing it in a list immediately made me think about what I could cut.

So whether you do it for yourself or you do it to help people get to know the current you, consider adding a now page to your web site.

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Prosper With WordPress Freelancer Naomi C. Bush

We’re in the midst of a series of interviews with WordPress freelancers, exploring some of the keys to their success. Today we talk with freelancer Naomi C. Bush. She’s been working with WordPress since 2005 and specializes in payment systems and forms.

Naomi-C-Bush

“Life’s too short to be sitting in your chair feeling resentful because you’re doing way too much and getting paid way too little.”
– Naomi C. Bush

We’re going to talk choosing projects, defining boundaries and focus:

What do you love most about being a freelancer?

What I love most about being a freelancer is being able to set the type of work I do and when I do it. There’s no clock to punch and I get to choose my projects.

What’s held you back as a freelancer, and how have you overcome it?

The biggest thing that has held me back as a freelancer is wanting to help too much and not charging enough. I’ve since learned to set boundaries—every one of my projects is clearly defined, has built-in communication checkpoints and is at a price I believe is fair. Life’s too short to be sitting in your chair feeling resentful because you’re doing way too much and getting paid way too little.

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

The biggest thing I’ve done to improve my profitability as a freelancer is focus. I only work with form builders, specifically as a Gravity Forms developer, because that’s what I enjoy. I know others who are WooCommerce specialists or membership site specialists or BuddyPress specialists—even your own Timothy Jacobs who specializes in iThemes Exchange—and when I run across someone who has a need for those things, I know exactly who to recommend. So I always encourage others to find an area you like, and be known for that. And if you’re not sure, just pick something. It’s not like you have to be married to it for the rest of your life.

Check out more interviews with successful WordPress freelancers in our Prosper series.

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