Tag: WordPress.

views-imgRecently, I was introduced to a new plugin that I simply cannot live without as part of my WordPress development toolbox. I enjoy creating WordPress websites and blogs for clients, but what makes them unique and pleasing to the eye is something that comes from the client and what THEY want, not what I want. I do have some say-so in how I believe the client should lay out their website or blog, but ultimately, it’s up to the client in how they want their website to look, to flow and whether or not it’s suited to drive traffic to it. 

So what’s the plugin called? It’s the ‘Views’ plugin and it’s exactly what every WordPress developer or website designer needs to have when they are creating websites for clients. I highly recommend purchasing a copy of it.

In short, the Views plugin allows you to display content any way you want, regardless of the WordPress theme you decide to use on a website. As a matter of fact, you can build a complete website just by using the Views plugin. That’s just how good it is. This really opens up how some themes can be unflexible, but with the addition of adding views, you can expand the possibility of how you want elements to display on your site.

Let me show you just a couple of examples of how I was able to customize three pages on a recent client website I designed.

Below is an example of a blog summary page, but notice it only has one blog post on it, showing as an excerpt with a ‘read more’ link to the full blog, but also notice there is an hyperlinked button image that takes you to a blog archives page. But the blog archives page is two columns of blog titles that you can click on and get to the full article for each title. This is not standard for any blog directory where you assign a page to show your blog posts on. These are “views” I set up within the Views plugin and it allows me to embed the “view” into a regular page, so it shows exactly how the clients wants it to show.

blog-summary

blog-directory-links

Another example is how I was able to display the client testimonials on a page. Each testimonial is a blog post, but so that they do not show up in the recent posts, I made sure the testimonials category I created is not visible on the website, but just on the Testimonials page (screenshot below). Then in the “view” I set up, I created the testimonial posts, in two columns, so they only showed an excerpt with a read more link to the rest of the testimonial. Again, this is not standard with the theme the client chose for their website. Now there are ways to dig into the functions code of a WP theme, but unless you are an expert developer and you know what you’re doing, I suggest using the Views plugin and it takes out all the guess-work for you. 

testimonials-two-column

Note: I’m not an affiliate of the Views plugin, but just a happy end user of the product! This plugin got me out of a jam when my client requested special layouts for her website.

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Happy New Year! Welcome to 2014! I’m starting off January 1 with a full month of blog articles and it just so happens that it lands on my favorite themed day of the week called “WordPress Wednesday”. I am participating in the January Ultimate Blog Challenge once again so you will see blog posts coming from me for the next 30 days. As a fellow blogger (or blog reader), I encourage you to start off your blogging and blog marketing efforts by participating in some kind of challenge to jump-start your blog content generation. The more content you post and share, the better your chances of improving your SEO and the increase of traffic to your blog or website.

hangoutpluginimgcropSince it’s “WordPress Wednesday”, I want to share with you a dynamic and really cool WordPress plugin called the Hangout Plugin. If you have a WordPress site and you want to start hosting free or paid webinars for your business this year, then this is the must-have plugin you need installed on your site. (If you are not familiar with what a Google Hangout is, it’s a Google+ feature that allows you to host video calls for free.) Here’s why:

Five Reasons Why You Need the Google Hangout Plugin

  1. You can host webinars WITHOUT the expensive monthly fees – if you have previously subscribed to webinar platforms like GoToMeeting or GoToWebinar, then you pay way too much, especially if you do not host webinars on a regular basis. You can host an UNLIMITED number of webinars and invite as many participants as you want!
  2. You can host webinars directly on your own WordPress site and build your brand to give your business reputation a huge boost.
  3. Installation and configuration of the plugin is super-simple and you will be able to host a webinar in less than 10 minutes.
  4. You can easily collect registrations and opt-ins that can be integrated into your current email marketing platform. This will be a huge boost for your list-building efforts.
  5. You will have the convenience of sending reminders, follow-up emails and broadcast messages right from your dashboard.

I will be hosting a large amount of webinars this year, so I know I will be putting this plugin to good use. It’s well worth the $47.00 I spent. Later on this month, I will provide a quick training video and I will provide my own review of it in more detail.

If you have already purchased and you have been using this plugin, then feel free to share your experiences with it in the comments box at the bottom of this blog post.

Until tomorrow! (Day 2 of The Ultimate Blog Challenge)!

For the last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge (Day 31), I have the privilege of sharing with you a guest blog post from a wonderful VA colleague and friend that I met while being on this challenge.

Shawn SnyderRead on what Shawn Snyder of SRS Virtual Assistant had to share when “The Day My WordPress Site Was Hacked”. Then be sure you take her advice in protecting your own WordPress site.

hackedIt was Monday morning and I was on a call with a dozen others who are my peers. Each of us helps the small business owner with their businesses in one way or the other. It was at the end of the call and we were each sharing our websites and going over how to make little improvements here and there. Time was running out and there was just enough time for one more website review, I volunteered. As my site was coming up for all to see suddenly the screen turned a maroon red with an outline of a security officer with his hand stretched out and the words of “Don’t precede malware danger.” There was more, but I was too horrified to remember exactly what it said. I was concerned about my website that I had spent hours on being ruined plus humiliated that the people on the call had seen me so vulnerable.

Protect Yourself

My first step isn’t one you have to take, but it helped me. I had a good old fashion pity party. I cried and railed against the evil hackers (that where probably 13 and smarter then me.) And then I did what I should have done before I even started my website. And here is where I want you to start as well. Learn how to protect yourself before you get hacked. The beautiful thing about WordPress and why so many of us recommend it is because it is so easy to learn. Unfortunately, that can also be a detriment to the health of our sites. We have to learn how to add a security fence around our site.

Keep Updated

Here are some things I learned the week of coming back from being hacked. It can and will probably happen to you. I had gone five years on the internet without being hacked and got lazy. I had several domains being hosted together. I didn’t keep them all updated with the newest plug-ins and themes. There is such a thing called cross contamination of sites that share a hosting spot. And if your site has outdated items on it that becomes an opening for hackers and then it just spreads. I had a backup plug-in but when I went to check to see how to get the site back it didn’t cover all of the different areas of the website. It was worth the amount of money I paid for it. Zero.

Keep Informed

I was scared and didn’t know what I was going to do. I don’t know code how was I going to wade through lines upon lines of code finding the problems. I went looking for people who could clean my site and it was expensive. By this time I was frustrated and angry at myself. How could I let this happen to all the work I have done. And what was I going to do now. I remembered a year ago I went to a conference in Atlanta and meet a woman who worked helping other small business owners keep their WordPress sites safe. I contacted her on Facebook and was directed to a site called safewp.com. They give out weekly WordPress security reports, best WordPress security practices and best of all a weekly webinar which was going to run that night.

The webinar was on a plug-in called Wordfence Security. This WordPress plug-in is by Mark Maunder and to me it was nectar from the gods. This plug-in scans your site and looks for trojans, malware and viruses. It repairs themes and plug-ins. It shows the changes in the files that where infected, it scans for malware, it shows which traffic is human and which is crawlers.

There are two versions the free and paid members. I have the free version and that night after I loaded Wordfence onto my site I was blown away. It showed that I had 13 malware problems. But I am jumping ahead of the story.

After you have Wordfence activated, you will go down to the options setting. You put in your email and the API key you get. Scroll down to the alerts section, you can go with the default, Regina from safewp.com showed us some great alternatives as well.

There is a scan schedule, but that is only available for paid members. I can tell you I have ran the scan every night before I go to bed since I got all the issues fixed. It is such a comforting site to see a green prompt at the end of the scan. There is a country blocking area for paid members where you can block off whole countries from having access to your website.

There is a blocked IP address section as well. You can manually block IP’s, there is a section of IP’s that are locked out from the login and IP’s who were recently throttled for accessing the site to frequently. You also have the capability of clearing the IP’s.

The next setting is the live traffic setting. This is so interesting it lists all hits, and then it breaks it down into humans, registered users, crawlers, Google crawlers, pages not found, logins and logouts, top consumers and top 404s.

The next setting is the scan setting. This is where it goes over all the sections you checked in the options setting. It has a scan summary, a scan detailed activity and an issues section. The issues section is where I got my bad news of 13 malware problems. It tells you the issue and gives you several different things to do. My issues where many but thankfully it was an easy to fix problem that came from one outdated plug-in. I deactivated the plug in and the malware problem is gone.

So, that is my story of when my WordPress site got hacked. I hope you are able to learn from me and never get your site attacked or hacked. Each night, I run the scan on Wordfence and go to sleep with the green message telling me I have no security issues on my site.

Please feel free to leave a comment or question below for Shawn and I’ll be sure she receives your reply.

Until tomorrow… 🙂

Warmly,

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wp-pluginsAs an expert in using WordPress, I always like to share how this very popular CMS and blogging platform can be a powerhouse in showcasing your business in the form of a website or blog (or both!). I’ve been creating a lot of websites and blogs using WordPress over the years. It’s really easy to use once you have WordPress installed on your own domain name and hosting account. There are TONS of online training tutorials on how you can set up your blog, choosing a theme, adding your content and blogging. I know because I’m one of those that likes to provide these kinds of tutorials in the form of live training workshops and recorded videos. This will be the year you will find me preparing and marketing these kinds of live and recorded programs. Be on the lookout for my announcement very soon!

As part of my “mini” WordPress Video Training series posts, today’s video training tip covers how to choose the best plugins for your WordPress website or blog. I share with you in the video below my top starter plugins I install and configure on every new website or blog I create for my clients. I also show you how easy it is to install and configure one of the plugins on my plugin starter list. But you have to watch the video to see which one I demonstrate!

If you missed the Part One WordPress training video, you can find it HERE. I teach you how to create pages and posts…easy stuff!

Please take the next few minutes and watch this video on how to choose the best plugins for your WordPress site. I welcome your comments and suggestions below on what you find to be the best plugins that work for your website or blog. However, if you don’t have the time in your busy schedule to watch the video in its entirety, you can download my top starter plugins list HERE.

Until tomorrow (Day 18 of The Ultimate Blog Challenge)!

Warmly,

a-sig

Today’s Monday vblog demonstrates how to install two very popular social media plugins to your WordPress site. My video tutorial shows you how to install the new Facebook for WordPress plugin and the Twitter Widget Pro plugin…both of them being equally easy to set up and configure so that you have all of the Facebook features including the “Like” button, the “Send” button, the Comments box and the Recommendation Like box. And for Twitter, you can have your tweet activity right on the blog sidebar for your visitors to see how busy you are on Twitter. Very cool!

Enjoy!

After watching the video, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post your comment at the bottom of the post and I will be sure and respond back to you as quickly as possible.

Until tomorrow…