Bridal Roses 101

Roses are one of the favorite flowers for weddings. They have a classic appeal and a year round availability that makes them a wonderful option for many different types of weddings. If you are not familiar with the various types of roses that are available, this handy primer will soon have you feeling like an expert.

There are some misconceptions about roses. Many people think that roses are always going to look stuffy or too formal; some brides think that because they are so popular, roses cannot be used to create unique or original floral displays. They think that roses are only appropriate for brides who are wearing elaborate custom bridal gowns with traditional bridal jewelry. In fact, these things are not true. Because roses are grown in such an incredible array of varieties, you will be able to find roses that are more relaxed or have a quirkier charm than you ever might have expected.

The most commonly used type of rose is the hybrid. These are the roses that probably spring to mind when you picture a rose, with their petals arranged in concentric circles with a higher center and a long stem. Classic hybrid roses are the ones that you are most likely to see in the florist’s display case. They are particularly popular for weddings thanks to their hardy nature and year round availability. Many of the most classic wedding roses, such as the rich red Black Magic or the lovely white Bianca, are hybrid tea roses.

The hybrid rose is an ideal choice for a bride who loves roses precisely because of their classic style and grace. A round bouquet of a single color and type of rose would be the prefect complement to a wedding gown with a full skirt and pearl custom bridal jewelry. Hybrid roses also look fabulous in combination with flowers such as lisyanthus and hydrangeas.

If you love flowers like lush peonies, then you will adore the large full look of garden roses. These roses are generally bigger than hybrid teas and have an incredible plucked from the garden look, often with a heady scent to accompany it. These roses are gorgeous for centerpieces that are overflowing from garden urns, and work wonderfully with loose and trailing greens. If you are designing a wedding with a romantic English garden flavor, garden roses would be perfect. Garden roses do have some limitations, however; they are more expensive and fragile than hybrid roses, and they are not available in the winter.

This brings us to the spray rose. Spray roses are flowers that grow in clusters of four or five, rather than a single blossom on one long stem such as the hybrid roses have. Spray roses combine beautifully with hybrid or garden roses to add texture and interest to a rose-based bouquet. They are often paired with hybrid or garden roses in the same color. Since they have several blooms on every stem, spray roses are a very popular addition to floral arrangements when you want to quickly add more fullness. They are available in virtually any color, making them even more versatile.

Finally, there are the miniature roses, which just as their name suggests, are small roses. As with the spray roses, mini roses are a wonderful addition to a hybrid rose bouquet or centerpiece. Their petite size adds a nice contrast in scale that will make your displays more interesting. Mini roses are also very sweet for boutonierres and make adorable bouquets for flower girls.

The beauty and availability of roses has made them the gold standard for wedding flowers. From the classic hybrid, the lush garden, the versatile spray, to the darling mini rose, there is a type that will have just the look that you want. Whatever season and whatever your style, there will be a rose that is just perfect for your wedding.

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Freelancer Self Care: Why It Matters and How to Do It

We’ve been doing interviews with several pros about freelancer self care. It’s always helpful to hear from the experts, and we wanted to pull all their good ideas into one place. Taking care of yourself is an important part of any freelancer’s business. Unfortunately, most of us put it off or don’t even think about it … until it’s too late.

Why Self Care Matters

We don’t take self care seriously until something serious happens.

For Jennifer Bourn, it was her husband’s cancer. For Michelle Schulp, it was chronic pain. For Patrick Neve, becoming a parent inspired him to take better care of himself.

When Jenny Beaumont lost her mom to cancer, she re-prioritized her life. She remembers working on her laptop in the hospital room with her mom, missing out on some of those final moments:

“None of us knew how to just be there with one another, to spend that time talking about things, or just sitting in silence, to accompany one another through those most difficult of times. Those are moments I can’t take back, but which have now reshaped my attitude toward life in a positive way.”

Don’t wait for something serious to force you to take self care seriously. Take care of yourself now.

“The life of a freelancer can drive you mad if you don’t find balance.” –Patrick Neve

All the freedom of freelancing means you can abuse that freedom. You can work long hours and never take breaks—and you won’t last long.

It’s crucial that you understand the importance of taking care of yourself.

Freelancer self care is just as important as finances or contracts or marketing. Consider it another part of your business that you absolutely cannot neglect.

Know Yourself

The first step to taking care of yourself is to know yourself. Everybody relaxes and recharges in their own way.

  • Introverts want to hole up by themselves, while extroverts want to hang out with other people.
  • Some people think a good vacation is a whirlwind tour of action and excitement. Others want to drop into a hammock and not move.
  • Some freelancers like to think about code 24/7. Some need to spend time with something completely different so they can come back with fresh eyes.
  • We all have different strengths and weaknesses, different areas where we need to grow. Part of taking care of yourself is learning and growing, but that will look different for everyone.
  • How often do you need breaks? Do you like long sessions of work followed by long breaks, or shorter work sessions interrupted with shorter breaks? Can you recharge your batteries over a weekend or do you need a solid two-week vacation?

Freelancer self care is all about figuring out what works for you.

And to make it harder: What works for you can change over time. The ideas and hobbies you found energizing a few years ago might not work the same today.

The bottom line is that you need to pay attention to yourself. When are you feeling stress? What helps relieve that stress? Figure out what works and what doesn’t, listen to your body, try different things.

Freelancer Self Care Starts With Health

Every single freelancer we talked to about self care mentioned health. You need to eat right, you need exercise, you need good sleep.

“The thing that motivates me to stay healthy the most is that I’ve recognized that my eating, exercise, and sleep directly impact my work and my business.” –Brian Casel

If you’re not healthy, you’re going to have a hard time getting work done. Again, take action before it becomes a crisis.

It starts by recognizing the sedentary nature of computer work. Sitting all day long is incredibly unhealthy.

You can’t chain yourself to a desk all day. You need to get up and move around. Brian Casel uses a standing desk. Patrick Neve drinks from a 32-ounce jug to force himself to get up. Jennifer Bourn leaves her phone in the next room so she has to get up if she wants to check it.

Simply forcing yourself to get up and move around is a good way to disrupt a sedentary lifestyle. But it takes more than that.

Several of our freelancers made exercise a priority by starting the day with it. And exercise doesn’t have to be a sweaty, intense affair. Jenny Beaumont starts the day with yoga and goes on walks with her husband in the evening.

Mental Health

Physical health is important, but don’t forget mental health. All that stress can weigh on your mind and result in serious issues. Depression is not uncommon, and sometimes you need some help.

There can be a temptation to self medicate when you find yourself in a dark place: “Having that extra beer or shot to make yourself feel better starts you down a dangerous path,” cautions Adam Soucie. “When you’re teetering on the edge, mixing either with your stress and possible depression is a recipe for disaster.”

If you’re struggling with mental health issues, talk to somebody.

“Having someone to talk to about your deepest and darkest thoughts without judgment is incredibly helpful,” Adam Soucie says, describing the benefits of therapy.

For more on the value of mental health, check out these resources:

iThemes founder Cory Miller has been up front about his struggles with mental health and most recently his efforts at physical health (the two are certainly linked). There’s no shame in taking care of yourself.

Give Me a Break

Taking care of your health is a good foundation for self care. Now you need to be proactive about taking appropriate breaks to rest and recharge.

“Every day we need rest: It’s not something that we should push back until the last possible moment. We need to pace ourselves and take care of ourselves every single day.” –Jenny Beaumont

You should take regular breaks throughout the day. Getting up from the computer and walking around, letting your eyes rest, allowing your mind to unplug—even five minutes can make a difference.

Be sure to include breaks as a part of your daily routine. That should also include having an end to your work day. Working late into the night might have worked in school, but it’s not a viable long-term solution.

“It’s really important for agency workers and freelancers alike to have set work hours. Once those hours are over, work stops. Period. You have to have a life away from your code or design.” –Adam Soucie

Regular short-term breaks, whether it’s a 15-minute walk around the block or putting work aside to actually enjoy the weekend, are important. But you should also include regular long-term breaks—also known as vacation.

Vacation

Taking a vacation can be a real challenge for freelancers: “Vacation is a pretty foreign concept for me,” admits Jenny Beaumont.

Paid vacation is a nice perk of full-time employment, but it’s something freelancers have to figure out for themselves. Taking time off usually means not making money, and for a lot of freelancers that’s not happening.

To make vacation a reality, freelancers have to plan for it and schedule it. That means setting money aside (both to cover the lost income and to pay for the actual vacation) and clearing your calendar.

It can be a real challenge, but it’s worth it. Jennifer Bourn says it’s one of the best perks of freelancing: “We typically take seven to eight weeks of vacation each year, plus long weekends throughout the summer, and all major holidays.”

As a freelancer, you set the rules. So if you think you can’t manage a vacation, you need to change the rules.

Our freelancers have some tips for how to make the most of your vacation (once you do manage to make it happen):

  • The anticipation of vacation is the best part: “We almost always have our next vacation planned,” says Brian Casel. “If we don’t have some kind of getaway planned in the next few months, we (especially me!) get antsy and it makes work less enjoyable.” (This is one of the lessons from Happy Money).
  • Time to readjust: Michelle Schulp tries to take a day on either side of her vacation to adjust. You need a day to step away and unplug, and you need a day to step back into things.
  • Unplug from email: “I would always recommend steering clear of emails while on vacation,” says Patrick Neve. “Email can easily eat up hours of time that would be better spent creating memories with the ones you love.”
  • Leave work behind: “It’s all about being present in the moment and allowing everything else to fall into the background,” says Jennifer Bourn.
  • Turning work trips into vacation: A lot of work trips do double duty as vacations for Michelle Schulp, and she makes that work by taking time for meaningful social connections. That energizes her and makes it more than a work trip.

Jennifer Bourn has also written a couple posts about how to make vacations happen: How to Take a Vacation From Your Business Without Freaking Out & How to Take a Real Vacation Even If You Own A Business

Reward Yourself

Vacation can be a powerful reward, but you also need more regular rewards. You should have small, daily or weekly rewards—whether it’s taking a few hours off in the middle of the week or a special snack or treat.

Figure out the reward that motivates you, even if it’s as simple as a sticker.

“We have to reward ourselves once in a while. It’s easy to feel guilty for doing this, but if you never reward yourself, you’ll burn out.” –Patrick Neve

Learn New Things

Freelancer self care doesn’t have to be all vacations and rewards. Sometimes taking care of yourself means improving yourself. Sometimes you need to learn new things or stretch your creative muscles with a side project.

Maybe you need to take a class and push your skills. Or maybe that class should be in something completely different from your daily work.

“Never stop learning and never stop trying new things.” –Brian Casel

Again, you need to know yourself and what works best for you.

Interact With Others

Another way to take care of yourself is to hang out with the people who inspire and sharpen you. Go to some events and spend time with your people.

Maybe rubbing shoulders isn’t what you need. Maybe you need to invest in people. Look into mentoring an up and coming freelancer. Inspire the next generation of coders.

Sometimes passing on what you’ve learned and investing in others can recharge and refresh you. You’ll gain a new perspective and a sense of accomplishment you won’t get from keeping everything to yourself.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Freelancer self care isn’t just about taking time away from work. It’s also about working better.

Taking breaks and getting exercise and all the things we’ve talked about above will actually make you more productive.

That’s right, take some time off and get more work done. It’s magic!

Not really. You’ll be happier, more engaged, and more energetic. You’ll attack your work with more vigor and brain power, you’ll have more stamina, you’ll do better work in less time. And getting things done will make you feel even better. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle.

So take a look at how you work and find ways to be more productive.

You can find some advice in the book, Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much by Tony Crabbe. The premise is that busy is a myth and should never be a goal. Instead of rushing around working harder, we should work smarter.

A lot of taking care of yourself is about how you work. Some tips from Busy for a better work life:

And yeah, if you’re too busy to read five blog posts about being busy, we summarized it for you in one.

Our list of 99 productivity tips can also help you work smarter, not harder.

The Perks of Freelancing

Finally, the perks of freelancing really make taking care of yourself easier.

Brian Casel, Jennifer Bourn, Patrick Neve, and Jenny Beaumont all said that a flexible schedule was one of the best perks of freelancing. That flexibility means you can tackle family drama and finish work later. Or work extra hard now so you can take a three-day weekend. You’re not punching a clock and following someone else’s demands. You make your own rules, and that freedom allows freelancers to breathe easy.

That’s quite a boon to self care.

“The biggest ‘perk’ is just giving myself permission to prioritize self care,” says Michelle Schulp.

Get more insights on freelancer self care by reading the complete interviews with our experts:

So freelancers, take care of yourselves.

The post Freelancer Self Care: Why It Matters and How to Do It appeared first on iThemes.

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WordPress Is Not Just A System For Bloggers

When a lot of newcomers hear about WordPress, they are very quick to assume that it is a platform made just for bloggers. Whilst they may be partly true, the thing that most people tend to forget is that WordPress is also a system that the greater community is free create themes for, and add extra functionality through the use of plugins. It is in this case that WordPress has also become known for being used for some of the largest news sites on the internet, plus various photo portfolios, sales letters, and even full blown membership portals.

So, what is it that makes WordPress so versatile? For one, WordPress has a built in membership system, which allows users to sign up to be able to do specific functions such as commenting, and even posting their own content from time to time. This can easily be used by plugin makers as their foundation for creating membership based platforms. In fact, there have been various of these plugins released, mainly premium, however, they provide a very solid platform for a good membership based website.

Themes are also becoming much more versatile these days. With big theme makers straying from the standard blog themes that we have been getting used to, there are real estate style themes available now, along with portfolio themes, plus even a handful of sales letter themes that include a membership portal, plus payment processor options. This means that WordPress can now be used for multiple purposes instead of being limited to just being a blog.

There are also several other plugins out there that will allow for the sale and distribution of product. In fact, there are even some plugins out there that will allow you to create your own online store that sells products as an affiliate of marketplaces such as Amazon and Ebay. This is a huge leap in how WordPress is used, as this allows you to operate a fully functioning online store front without the need to ever even hold so much as a single item of stock, or deal with support issues.

As you no doubt understand by now, WordPress has become a very versatile platform that many people can use for a variety of functions. It can take some time to set up WordPress with the right plugins and themes, however, once the job is done, it is worth every ounce of your time.

18 WordPress New Year’s Resolutions for 2018

2018 is officially here. Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? Your WordPress website could probably benefit from some renewed attention and updates, and the New Year is the perfect time to revisit your business or blogging goals.

In this post, we offer 18 WordPress New Year’s resolutions if you’re in need of some inspiration. Choose one, tackle them all or write your own—you decide!

wp resolutions

The Key to Successful New Year’s Resolutions: SMART Goals

SMART Goals, described by Paul J. Meyer in his 2003 book, Attitude Is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Apply the concept of SMART Goals to your New Year’s resolutions for the most success in achieving your goals.

18 New Years Resolutions for Your WordPress Website

  • 1. Start running scheduled, automated website backups.

Does your WordPress site have a reliable backup strategy in place? Are you relying on host backups alone?

Owning a website means protecting your online investment, and one of the best ways to do that is with something as seemingly boring as backups. WordPress doesn’t have a built-in backup system, so it’s up to WordPress admins to have a backup strategy in place.

A WordPress backup solution should offer these four components:

  1. A complete website backup. You need to backup your entire WordPress website installation (the database + all WP files). A database backup alone won’t cut it.
  2. Scheduled, automatic backups. Backups need to run automatically at scheduled intervals, depending on your site activity and traffic, like hourly, daily or weekly.
  3. Support for off-site backup storage. Backup files must be stored off-site in a safe, secure location, not on the same server as your website.
  4. A way to restore your website from a backup. If your website crashes, you need a way to restore your WordPress website quickly & easily from a backup file.

Note: While your website host may offer backup services, it’s important to know how their backup system stores your website data, how accessible it is to you (can you download the files yourself?) and how quickly support can restore your latest backup in the event of a server crash or error.

Tip: Install a WordPress backup plugin such as BackupBuddy. BackupBuddy was designed specifically to backup WordPress websites and also offers a real-time WordPress backup feature with Stash Live (included for free in BackupBuddy 7.0+). BackupBuddy offers customizable automatic backup schedules and supports multiple off-site storage destinations for your backups.
  • 2. Start practicing good WordPress security measures.

How secure is your WordPress site? Do you know the most common WordPress security issues? Spend some time this year to review WordPress security tips (such as using a reputable hosting provider and keeping your software updated) to minimize your risk of being hacked.

Tip: Install a WordPress security plugin such as iThemes Security. Run the WordPress security check feature to analyze your site and activate the recommended security settings.
  • 3. Update out-of-date themes, plugins and WordPress core.

Are you running out-of-date versions of WordPress core or any themes or plugins on your site? If so, you could be running software with known security vulnerabilities. While it may seem like a chore to keep up with constant updates, keeping everything updated is a very important part of maintaining your WordPress website.

Tip: Use a service like iThemes Sync to manage multiple WordPress sites. Instead of logging into each individual site, Sync gives you one dashboard to perform updates. Sync also sends daily update notification emails to let you know when new updates are available.
  • 4. Set up two-factor authentication.

Are you using two-factor authentication for your WordPress admin login? If not, you may want to consider implementing this important security measure in 2018.

WordPress two-factor authentication (or WordPress 2-step verification) adds an important extra layer of protection to your WordPress site’s login and admin area by requiring 1) a password and 2) a secondary time-sensitive code to log in.

While it may seem like a hassle to add another component to your login, two-factor authentication is still one of the best ways to secure your login, making it nearly impossible to be compromised. At the very least, set up two-factor authentication on all online banking or financial accounts.

Learn more about WordPress two-factor authentication and how it works. The iThemes Security plugin offers two-factor authentication for your WordPress admin login with support for multiple two-factor apps and other methods.
  • 5. Start using a password manager.

Are you using a password manager yet? If not, you might want to review these important reasons for why you should use a password manager (in addition to two-factor authentication) to protect your online identity. Adding a password manager to your online workflow may actually speed up your logins and give you peace of mind as well.

A password manager such as LastPass remembers your login information for you, allowing you to use complex passwords for all your logins across the web. Check out this recent free training webinar on Getting Started with LastPass.
  • 6. Blog more.

Blogging may fall to the bottom of your to-do list, especially when you’re juggling other high-priority tasks. But maybe 2018 is the year you resolve to blog more. Realistically, can you blog daily? Maybe twice-weekly? Maybe just weekly? Make it a priority to blog more frequently to bring in more traffic to your website.

Need blogging ideas and inspiration? Download our free ebook: Blogging Isn’t Dead: Discovering (or Rediscovering) the Power of Blogging.
  • 7. Develop an SEO strategy.

How’s your SEO strategy? Are you seeing success with your targeted keywords and phrases, qualifying leads through quality content? If not, and you need to brush up on your SEO knowledge, set aside time each week or month to work on your website’s SEO. Little changes can mean big results!

Check out this giant library of free SEO training with SEO Expert Rebecca Gill.
  • 8. Optimize images on my website.

One bad habit a lot of website owners get into is not optimizing the images they upload to use in their posts or pages. Do you know large image files can have a BIG impact on page load time? Are you optimizing your images for the web? Stop uploading huge image files to your website and optimize them instead. Even in the era of retina displays, images should still not climb above 500KB in size. Yikes.

Use a plugin such as Smush Image Compression and Optimization to resize, optimize and compress all of your images.
  • 9. Update my website’s design.

Is your blog looking tired or outdated? Is 2018 the year you need to roll out a new website design? Perhaps it’s time to overhaul your entire website, but maybe all that’s needed is to “freshen up” your theme or design.

It’s easy to get focused on design rather than content. If you aren’t blogging regularly, a new design can be a distraction from actually writing and producing content for your blog. Sometimes it’s best to work with the website you have now, make changes and get creative. Make some changes and get creative. At the end of the day, your goal as a blog owner is to focus on producing new high-quality content.

Check out this post for tips and ideas before you embark on a total redesign: 5 Ways to Freshen Up Your WordPress blog.
  • 10. Update my portfolio.

What did you accomplish in 2017? What major projects did you complete? Does your website reflect your latest client work or product releases? Resolve in 2018 to spend some time updating your portfolio with project photos, summaries and client testimonials.

  • 11. Get informed about Gutenberg.

A major update is coming soon to the WordPress. Do you know about the Gutenberg WordPress Editor? If you don’t know already, the Gutenberg a new page builder that is being designed to integrate with WordPress core. Gutenberg will add content blocks and page builder-like functionality to every up-to-date WordPress website. When in use, it will replace TinyMCE as the default content editor. With Gutenberg, content is added in blocks of various types from the WordPress backend.

Spend some time in the next few months reading up on Gutenberg and preparing for how it will change the WordPress editor. Check out this post: The Gutenberg WordPress Editor: 10 Things You Need to Know.
  • 12. Get involved in WordPress community.

Did you know WordPress has a thriving online and in-person community? Are you participating? Have you attended a WordPress meetup or a WordCamp? These WordPress focused meetups and events bring WordPress users together to share knowledge, solve problems and network. Who knows! Maybe you’ll make a new friend or two.

Find your local WordPress Meetup group and check out the WordCamp Central schedule.
  • 13. Set up (and review) website analytics.

Do you have Google Analytics and Google Search Console properly set up on your website? What about WooCommerce analytics to track sales data for your store?

Analytics offers a ton of insights and clues as to what’s working (and what isn’t) and your website, but some website owners get quickly overwhelmed by the setup required and the data in the reports. Maybe this is the year you finally tackle your analytics and translate the data into actionable steps to improve your website and e-commerce performance.

Check out the recent 12 Days of Google Analtyics webinar to help sort through your data. Run a WooCommerce e-commerce shop? Install iThemes Accelerator, our new WooCommerce reports plugin, for instant in-dashboard analytic reports.
  • 14. Raise my prices.

Are you charging enough for the work you do? Have you raised your rates in the past 12 months? Why not?

You should raise your rates at least 5% a year. (Seriously!) Most markets can support a 5% increase in rates. Communicate your rate increase to your existing clients, and raise both your hourly rates and your service contracts in 2018.

Need help pricing your services or help in dealing with clients? Check out the Freelance Summit hosted by Nathan Ingram.
  • 15. Start building (and using) an email list.

Do you have an email list currently for your website or blog? Are you emailing that list consistently with updates, tutorials or promotions? Email is still one of best performing marketing platforms based on ROI, so spend some time in 2018 either building your email list, working on your email strategy and actually sending emails. To help build your email list, use an opt-in incentive such as a free download (think ebooks, templates, worksheets, videos, etc.)

Use a tool such as OptinMonster to help drive your email signups, then integrate OptinMonster with an email marketing service such as MailChimp.
  • 16. Write an ebook.

Writing an ebook can seem overwhelming. But if you already have a blog post series on a similar topic, you can easily compile those posts into an ebook. Ebooks downloads can be as simple as a PDF (if you’re not comfortable yet with EPUB or Kindle), and you can offer the download directly from your website as a way to build your email newsletter list and position yourself as an expert.

Some tools and services will do the work of compiling blog posts into ebooks for you. Check out Beacon, which also offers a WordPress plugin, to turn your blog posts into a well-designed PDF.
  • 17. Learn a new coding/design/marketing/other skill.

What do you want to learn in 2018? Do you need to improve your HTML, PHP, CSS or JavaScript skills? Web or UX design? Digital and content marketing? Set aside time each month (maybe Friday afternoons) to watch tutorials or take online classes. Be sure to track your progress and compare how far you’ve come in a year. Commit to constantly learning and growing in 2018.

Check out iThemes Training for professional WordPress training and other online training sites such as Lynda.com or Skillshare. If you don’t already have one yet (or if you haven’t used it in a while), take advantage of your local library card.
  • 18. Have more fun and practice self-care.

One of the most meaningful resolutions you can make this year is to have more fun and practice better self-care. This may mean different things to different people—from committing to eat healthier, exercise more, get outdoors, get better work/life balance or spend more time with the people you love. What do you enjoy doing? Do more of that. Maybe it’s finding a new hobby or returning to an old one that got lost in the midst of being a grown-up. How will you have fun and take care of yourself in 2018?

Check out our recent interviews with WordPress freelancers on freelancer self care. They share a ton of great advice and insights!

Here’s to an amazing 2018.

The post 18 WordPress New Year’s Resolutions for 2018 appeared first on iThemes.

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PSD to WordPress: Take Professional Help

process, but in reality it’s not that easy as assumed to be. In order to convert a PSD file to WordPress, creation of separate theme files for different theme components is very essential. If you are not an expert in this process, then outsourcing your PSD to WordPress would be a good option for getting your job done perfectly. However, in order to do so, at first you have to design a theme in Photoshop and then go for hiring a company that has been providing excellent PSD to WordPress services to their customers for quite a longer period of time. It will help you to get your desired results.

WordPress is a very useful platform to work with, as it is easy to use on regular basis particularly for bloggers. However, it’s not easier to set up properly. If you are trying for the first time to convert the PSD files to WordPress, then you might find the theme coding a little difficult. The situation can be worse if you are not aware of what you are doing, for instance: it will be difficult to create the desired look of your theme. Though you can go for readymade WordPress themes, yet creating your own theme will always be beneficial for you.

The companies that provide PSD to WordPress conversion service will ensure that every part of your PSD design gets a fine look and thus, becomes a finished product. The reason behind going for a PSD to WordPress conversion company is that these companies have all the experts who can provide you with a great service and thus, will convert your PSD design into WordPress in a more professional way.

A lot of people are there who have the basic knowledge of HTML along with little designing and coding for web pages just think that PSD to WordPress is not such a difficult process and they can easily do it. However, in order to convert a PSD design file to WordPress, you need a lot of technical knowledge about both the PSD file formats and WordPress. Having basic knowledge about it, can’t be very beneficial in this regard.

Finally, we can say that proper conversion from PSD to WordPress requires a lot of considerations and knowledge. If you don’t have much knowledge about it, then instead of trying for this, taking the help of professionals will be a wise decision. It will help you to get your desired results.

 

WordPress Plugin Roundup: Best of July – December 2017

In this post, we round up the most cool and useful (oh, and free!) WordPress plugins added to the WordPress Plugin Directory from July to December of 2017. This roundup includes our top picks from each month so you’ll have a “best of” recap of our favorite new plugins.

1. Postmenu

The Postmenu plugin allows you to duplicate/clone posts, pages, menus or menu links (items of menu). Easily add your posts or pages to the menus and control who can see the content on the web using “User Roles” in the menu.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • An incredibly powerful plugin that does a number of useful admin tasks.
  • Adds 3 options to the post/page list:
    • Duplicate – copies the post/page as is with –copy appended to the title
    • Advanced Duplicate – specify the new title, slug and other items to be copied
    • Menu Link – opens a UI to the menu editor right in the post/page list
  • Also adds Duplicate, Duplicate and Edit, and Advanced Duplicate to the Add New button in the post/page editor
  • On the Settings > Postmenu page:
    • Control where the postmenu functions are displayed and what roles can access them
    • Duplicate full menus

2. WP Pexels

wp pexels plugin

The WP Pexels plugin helps you search millions of free photos from pexels.com then insert into content or set as featured image very quickly.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Pexels.com is a free stock art website with some excellent images
  • Super easy setup – just activate the plugin. It adds a button in the WordPress editor
  • Not the most intuitive interface, but not bad either.
  • Search for your image – pagination is handled by a drop down (not the best UI)
  • Select your image and you get three options
    • Insert – inserts the image into the page or post directly from Pixabay (does not add it to the media library)
    • Save & Insert – saves the image to your media library and inserts the image into the page or post (only available in the Pro Version – $ 15)
    • Featured – saves the image to the media library and sets it as featured image.
  • Similar plugin available from same author for Pixabay, but limited to 640px images.

3. WP YouTube Video Optimizer

The WP YouTube Video Optimizer plugin gives you the ability to optimize the YouTube videos on your website. By default, if you use the direct embed code, then it downloads the YouTube player on every occurrence of a YouTube video. This plugin shows a video thumbnail to your viewer and loads the YouTube video only when the user clicks the play icon.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Could dramatically increase page load speed on pages containing videos.
  • Lots of shortcode parameters available and well explained on the plugin page.

4. Snippy

Use the Snippy plugin to quickly create your own custom shortcodes. A Snippy shortcode is built by combining bits. A bit can be a file, like a Stylesheet or a Script, or a piece of code, like HTML, CSS or JavaScript. The “code” bits can contain placeholders, which are automatically made accessible as shortcode attributes.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Super helpful plugin to set up shortcodes without having to get into PHP.
  • Create buttons, reusable calls to action and more simply.
  • A powerful way to customize a site for a client.

5. Media Library Organizer

The Media Library Organizer plugin is a simple, effective WordPress plugin that allows you to categorize and search images, video and other media in your WordPress Media Library.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • A very handy plugin if your site has lots of media files.
  • Remembers user preferences on sorting and sort order.

6. Smush Image Compression and Optimization

The Smush Image Compression and Optimization plugin allows you to resize, optimize and compress all of your images with the incredibly powerful and 100% free WordPress image smusher, brought to you by WPMU DEV.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Probably the best image optimizer for WordPress.
  • Image compression is offloaded to the WPMU servers so your site isn’t affected.
  • Recently directory smushing has been added to handle images outside the media library too … pretty sweet.

7. Admin Select Box To Select2

Admin Select Box To Select2

The Admin Select Box To Select2 plugin is used to convert all simple select boxes to select2.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Adds a searchable box to the top of all standard select boxes in the WordPress admin.
  • Can be very helpful if you have long lists of taxonomies or dates that you need to quickly filter through.

8. Classic Editor The First of (Probably) Many Gutenberg Replacements

wordpress classic editor plugin

The Classic Editor plugin restores the previous Edit Post screen and makes it possible to use the WordPress plugins that extend it, add old-style meta boxes or otherwise depend on the previous editor.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • This plugin allows you to turn off the Gutenberg WordPress editor entirely or use the classic editor on only certain pages or posts.
  • Uses Add New (Classic) and Edit (Classic) in a mixed use scenario.
  • Checkbox to turn off Gutenberg is under Settings > Writing.

9. Tabify Edit Screen

tabify edit screen plugin

With the Tabify Edit Screen plugin, you can make your post edit screen easier to navigate and manage by creating a set of tabs.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • It may take a moment to see how this plugin works, but once you do, it offers some splendid customization options for the page and post editor screens.
  • Move metaboxes to tabs within the settings screen.
  • Works for custom post types.
  • Control who can see tabs based on role.

10. Install FitVids – Embed fluid width Videos

The Install Fitvids plugin allows you to add responsive video embeds on your blog.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • The ability to oEmbed videos from YouTube and other media by simply placing the URL on its own line in the content is a nice feature of WordPress.
  • However, embedded videos are usually smaller than the content width and may not look fantastic as a result. And changing the width can be confusing for some.
  • This plugin installs the FitVid javascript which will automagically make all your videos go full width.

11. WP Optin Wheel

wp-optin-wheel-plugin

The WP Optin Wheel plugin can help grow your email list by offering your visitors a chance to win a coupon, or link through spinning the wheel of fortune. Users have reported that their signup rate increased by 20%!

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Creative way to increase mailing list signups.
  • Only available as a pop-up in free version. Pro version offers more options.
  • Pro version of WP Optin Wheel available starting at €35/year for one site.

12. WP Shapes

With the WP Shapes plugin, you can add a transparent image using a shortcode and make the inline content wrap around the images on one side left or right. Content looks in a shape based on the image.

Nathan’s Notes:

Watch the Webinar: WordPress Plugin Roundup – Best of July – December 2017

This post is based on the Best of July – December 2017 Plugin Roundup webinar by Nathan Ingram. In this webinar, Nathan demonstrates how to use each of these plugins so you can get a better idea of how they work. Check out the entire series of monthly WordPress Plugin Roundup posts here & register for the next Plugin Roundup webinar here.

The post WordPress Plugin Roundup: Best of July – December 2017 appeared first on iThemes.

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Tips To Optimize Your WordPress Blog

As we know that wordpress is mostly used as a content management system & the main reason of its popularity is that it is very user friendly. The person who is not a webmaster can also use this content management system. And moreover, wordpress is free & open source CMS. It includes all the CMS Web Development features. The main features of this CMS are its plug-ins & themes. More than 12% share among the biggest websites in the world on internet is having wordpress as CMS. As everything is nice about this CMS, but as we know the a good things is always has some problems also .The same is with wordpress. The main problem with wordpress is that, it is resource sucker. This is because when more & more plug-ins & complicated themes are added in this then there happens a problem of high CPU server load & memory usage. This can also be when there is high traffic in the website. Due to heavy load in server your account can be suspended & you may lost all visitors & this will be very bad for your website SEO. To overcome all these problems your wordpress developer should be very experienced.

If you are handling your wordpress blog by yourself then, it is very necessary to optimize your wordpress Blog. And for that you have to pay attention on the following tips.

1) Just minimize the plug-ins if you are using so many. And if you are using plug-ins then keep one thing in your mind that these plug-ins should be highly recommended. Highly recommended means highly rated & most downloaded plug-ins & also live plug-ins.

2) Always use the themes which are simple to use & easy to read and also related to your targeted niche .Otherwise having complicated themes there will be server load & it will create a big problem to your website.

3) If you are using any kind of unnecessary script then delete it. Never use unnecessary scripts.

4) Use cache mechanism to to keep your content safe. There are many plug-ins to do caching. Use those plug-ins. But again remember that there should be some recommended plug-ins only. Like Database caching, Page caching, Memory caching, Object caching. So, only recommended Plug-ins should be installed.

5) For your images take another host site that will also reduce the server CPU load. Otherwise having so many visitors and then images can do big loss to your site. Beside imagine,it is better to host CSS & Javascript files also.

6) Optimize your database regularly and also backup regularly when you have lots of data in your MySql database, because it is very necessary to optimize your database.

7)It will be better if you buy small or medium size VPS(virtual private server) to overcome the load on your server CPU. And later as website will grow then add more resources in it as required.

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Cymbals 101

Cymbals are some of the basic percussive instruments for musicians. These metallic disks are round, and make an indefinite pitch when played. Cymbals are used in a variety of genres and in bands of many sizes from a full sized orchestra, to a three man rock band to a high school marching band.

The average drum kit uses at least three cymbals: the suspended cymbal and two hi-hat cymbals. Some of the most trusted brands in cymbal manufacturing are Zildjian cymbals, Sabian cymbals and Meinl cymbals. These cymbal purveyors are likely to start off a beginner’s kit right.

A suspended cymbal, one of the important additions to a drum kit, is a horizontal cymbal that creates a “crash.” These cymbals should be played with sponge or cord wrapped mallets, and are a favorite among drummers for their sharp notes when struck and spooky notes when played quietly. Drummers use the suspended cymbal to create the tremolo, or drum roll. The suspended cymbal is usually used in tandem with the bass drum, because the instruments combine high and low frequencies loudly.

The hi-hat cymbal is played by striking the foot petal and the foot petal at the same time. Two cymbals are mounted one on top of the other cymbal, with a rod that connects the cymbals to the foot petal. The bottom cymbal never moves, while the foot petal moves the top cymbal, with each press of the petal causing a collision between the two plates. The cymbals are easily adjusted for different heights. Changing the tension of the unit can alter the tone of the hi-hat cymbal.

The anatomy of the cymbal dictates the sound it creates. Suspended cymbals and hi-hat cymbals alike feature a hole in the center used to mount the cymbal. The raised area that surrounds this mounting place is called a bell, cup, or dome. This section of the cymbal creates a higher pitch when played. The area beyond the dome is called a bow, and is separated into the ride and crash areas. The ride area is the thicker area of the bow, closer to the dome, and it creates a deeper sound than the crash area. The crash area is the thinner edges, and these create a higher pitched sound.

When choosing a cymbal, keep thickness in mind. Thick cymbals are louder and deeper, and can maintain a sound for longer. They will be heavier, create a more crisp sound, and are easier to play. A thin cymbal sounds more full than a thick cymbal, and responds more quickly to being played.

Some of the smallest cymbals, the crotales, are based on designs of ancient cymbals. Cymbals found in Egyptian tombs were much smaller than normal cymbals, and produced a specific note when played. These cymbals are thicker, creating a sound that is much higher than the sound of normal cymbals. The timbre of the crotale is completely different than normal cymbals, sounding similar to hand bells when struck on the side.

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Motherboard Components 101

If you ever took an Information Technology class in your life, then the word motherboard should not be foreign to you. Many regard it as the central nervous system of a computer and just like what the analogy suggests, without the central nervous system, the human body would seize to exist and so without the motherboard in full-swing operation, that computer would seize to be useful! But is that all we are able to tell off hand about a motherboard? Considering that it is such an essential component of a computer system and more importantly, so prevalent in many households, shouldn’t the average Joe be able to tell how it looks, its basic functions and capabilities? Yes!

But the average Joe has no idea where to start to learn about the motherboard, and the search engines all prove to be much ado about nothing! So what’s the next option? Well, how about our great little crash course that you have already started, which might I add is on the house! So let us take you from the dungeons of “No Computer Knowledge”, to a place where terms like CPU, RTC and RAM all seem like a part of your native vocabulary!

So what’s the first thing a computer dummy would need to know about a system’s motherboard components? Well, a definition of a motherboard would be helpful! Certainly, it is the main circuit board of a computer which comprises of many components, mainly the Central Processing Unit (CPU), the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) and the chipsets. Additionally, there exist sockets, memory chips and a clock generator that all work hand in hand in the daily operation of one’s computer system. A bit flustered with the above mentioned terms? Why would you when these all will be explained in a jiffy!

But first it should not be mistaken that the motherboard is limited to only computers, as it is also found within electronic devices such as stop-watches, mobile phones as well as clocks! Yes, I know what you’re saying now; all motherboards and more importantly, motherboard components are not the same size due to the devices in which they are placed! See, you’re learning already!

Now, back to our regular programming, the CPU or as it is more commonly known, the processor (like in those Dell ads, ‘the Intel processor’), is a key component of a computer system that contains the circuitry necessary to interpret and execute program instructions. In essence, the CPU performs mathematical and logical operations through the ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) and the CU (Central Unit) regulates the activities of the system. Additionally, the motherboard uses the CPU to communicate with the rest of the system. Follow? I know you would!

Moving right along to the BIOS, as introduced earlier, is another critical constituent of the motherboard that controls the operation of the system. It is responsible for booting up one’s computer while it also initializes the hardware, making sure it is working and ready for use. In lament terms, the BIOS is in charge or starting up one’s computer. Another main component, include the chipsets. As they are grouped in pairs, they carry out different functions as the north-bridge links the microprocessor with very high speed devices such as graphic controllers and the south-bridge links the microprocessor with low speed buses such as the PCI, APM and the real time clock. Notwithstanding all this, the interface, which is another motherboard component, allows the average Joe to connect instruments such as hard drives and peripheral devices including printers, microphones and cameras!

Well that is all the time we have for today but I trust that this lesson proved beneficial and an eye-opener to the many average Joe’s in internet land!

Getting Traffic – Keyword Optimization 101

Getting your website listed in the search engines requires the optimization of each page of your website with the correct keywords. If you have an HTML based website these keywords will be in the tags. If you are using a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress, there are some great plug-ins that will assist you.   

Choosing the right keywords for initial site optimization is crucial. Phrases are often better than words. As you are starting a new site, if you want to get decent page rank, check out the competition for your term. A term with heavy competition is going to leave your website buried for some time to come. 

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What words or terms would they be using to find your offer, service or product?  Ask any present customers, family, friends, and associates what terms they would use. You might get some surprising answers that reveal valuable keyword phrases you would not have thought of.  Make a word game out of your search and add, subtract, and mix words up.

Research your competition. Do a search on a search engine using the keywords you have chosen and visit the sites from the results. You can view the source code of these sites to see what keywords they use in their Meta tags. To view source code, go to “View,” then “Source” in Internet Explorer, or “View,” then “Page Source” in Mozilla Firefox. You can then view a text document with the code with their Meta tags.