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December 20 2013

15:35

29 Music & Band Related Themes

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The ultimate collection of music and band related themes.  Sell your music, play your music, and even provide touring dates for your fans.  With this collection of 29 music related themes, you’ll find the perfect theme to promote your musical talent.

1. JSN Neon – Joomla Music Theme & JomSocial

01

Demo & Download

2. Audiofolio Vol2 – Music Site Template

02

Demo & Download

3. Soundboard – a Premium Music WordPress Theme

03

Demo & Download

4. K-BOOM – Events & Music Responsive WordPress Theme

04

Demo & Download

5. Muzak – Music Premium WordPress theme

05

Demo & Download

6. Replay – Responsive Music WordPress Theme

06

Demo & Download

7. Eprom – Responsive Music Theme

07

Demo & Download

8. IronBand – Responsive Music & DJ WordPress Theme

08

Demo & Download

9. LA-BAND – Music Band Premium WordPress Theme

09

Demo & Download

10. Vibration – Responsive Music & Events Theme

10

Demo & Download

11. Strings Music and Art Magazine WordPress

11

Demo & Download

12. Musica – Responsive WordPress WooCommerce Theme

12

Demo & Download

13. Soundstage – WordPress Theme For Bands/Musicians

13

Demo & Download

14. Rock Palace – a Responsive Music WordPress Theme

14

Demo & Download

15. Remix – Music and Band HTML5 Template

15

Demo & Download

16. Nite Pop – Music Band/Artist WordPress Theme

16

Demo & Download

17. Metric: Music Band Responsive WordPress Theme

17

Demo & Download

18. SOUNDANIMAL complete entertainment wordpress theme

18

Demo & Download

19. SoundMaster – Premium Responsive WP Music Magazine

19

Demo & Download

20. Club88 – Premium Music WordPress Theme

20

Demo & Download

21. Raaga – Responsive Parallax Template for Bands

21

Demo & Download

22. Monkey-Music Band Responsive Template

22

Demo & Download

23. Beat – One-Page HTML5 Music & Band Template

23

Demo & Download

24. Spectra – Responsive DJ & Music Theme

24

Demo & Download

25. Rock Band – Awesome Music Template

25

Demo & Download

26. Tuned Balloon – Music WordPress Theme

26

Demo & Download

27. Applause -One-Page Responsive Music & DJ WP Theme

27

Demo & Download

28. RockOn – Multipurpose Music Events, Store Template

28

Demo & Download

29. Harmony Theme 

29

Demo & Download


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December 19 2013

06:05

Best Collection Of Free WordPress Plugins

This time we are presenting another great collection of some useful and best quality WordPress plugins that have been popular recently. WordPress Plugin Directory offers more than 28000+ plugins for free of cost that you can use to make your WordPress site or blog look more appealing as well as make it more functional. WordPress is the most extensively used and well accepted content management system (CMS) in existence at present.

Here, we are listing down some of the best and free WordPress plugins for you. We hope that these plugins will let you enhance your WordPress experience. We hope you like this collection. Full list after jump.

Uji Countdown

Uji Countdown allows you to display a countdown on your post or page. The easiest way to place your full customizable HTML5 Countdown Timer.

Track That Stat

View all of your traffic in real time. Analyze your visitors, search engine terms, referral traffic and more with our userfriendly interface.

WP-Statistics

A plugin for displaying Summary statistics of blog.

SEO Auto Linker

SEO Auto Linker allows you to automagically add links into your content. Great for internal linking!

User Switching

Instant switching between user accounts in WordPress.

Easy Automatic Newsletter Lite

Collect your blog posts for the past month and send them out at the top of a new month to subscribers. All automatically.

Jetpack

Supercharge your WordPress site with powerful features previously only available to WordPress.com users.

BuddyPress

Social networking in a box. Build a social network for your company, school, sports team or niche community.

Adsense Made Easy

Adsense Made Easy is a very simple plugin that allows the user to add Adsense to any widgetized area of the current theme.

Captcha

This plugin allows you to implement super security captcha form into web forms.

StatCounter – Free Real Time Visitor Stats

StatCounter.com powered real-time detailed stats about the visitors to your blog.

BMLT WordPress Plugin

This is a “satellite” plugin for the Basic Meeting List Toolbox (BMLT).

Treato WordPress Plugin

Treato travels around the Web to collect and analyze patient experiences written in forums and blog posts. Our patented semantic technology aggregates the posts to generate useful insights about users’ medications, diseases and symptoms – all from other patients.

Google AdSense Plugin

This plugin allows implementation of Google AdSense to your website.

Vertical marquee plugin

Use this vertical marquee plugin to make your text scroll upward or downwards.

WordPress File Monitor Plus

Monitor files under your WP installation for changes. When a change occurs, be notified via email. This plugin is a fork of WordPress File Monitor.

Aviberry WordPress Video Conversion Plugin

Get videos for your site converted fast and easy.

Localendar Calendar for WordPress

A powerful calendar with Month/Week/Day block and list views, “Today + Happening Soon”, and a mini-calendar widget. Fully customizable.

WP-CRM – Customer Relations Management for WordPress

This plugin is intended to significantly improve user management, easily create contact forms, and keep track of incoming shortcode form messages.

WordPress Portfolio Plugin (WP Portfolio)

A plugin that allows you to quickly and easily show off your portfolio of websites on your wordpress blog with automatically generated thumbnails.

myRepono WordPress Backup Plugin

Automate your WordPress, website & database backups using the myRepono remote website backup service.

Custom Search Plugin

This plugin allows you implementation of the search feature according to the custom types on your website.

Post Ratings

Simple, developer-friendly, straightforward post rating plugin. Relies on post meta to store avg. rating / vote count.

Pricing Table

WordPress Pricing Table plugin will help you to generate pricing table in the easitest and dynamic way.

Social Slider

This plugin adds links to your social networking sites’ profiles in a box floating at the left side of the screen.

WordPress IDX Plugin

WordPress IDX is the leading IDX / MLS real estate search plugin for WordPress sites. Elegant interface, great SEO and excellent lead capture.

SmugMug for WordPress

Create, Manage, and Show public and private SmugMug galleries on WordPress websites/blogs.

OCD Plugin Stats

An easy way to monitor your plugin download statistics.

Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus One social share buttons for WordPress

Customizable array of social share buttons for WordPress.

Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin

Redirect Pages/Posts to another page/post or external URL. Has edit box as well as global options. Specify the redirect Location and type. For PHP5+

Google Plus Stream Widget Plugin For WordPress

This plugin allows you to display the thread of your Google+ Stream right within your WordPress blog in just a few clicks.

Filterable jQuery Portfolio Plugin

This powerful portfolio plugin is highly suitable to showcase your work / portfolio and group them nicely under jQuery powered tabs.

Contact Form 7

Just another contact form plugin. Simple but flexible.

Poll one wp plugin

Poll one wp plug-in is simple Ajax based pool plug-in for WordPress. using this plug-in we can customize the pool in the website widget.

Ancient World Linked Data for WordPress

Adds functionality and visual elements to your WordPress site based on links to stable URIs relevant to the study of the Ancient World.

Fast Secure Contact Form

A super customizable contact form that lets your visitors send you email. Blocks all automated spammers. No templates to mess with.

Permalink Finder Plugin

Never get a 404 page not found again. If you have restructured or moved your blog, this plugin will find the right post or page every time.

Instagram for WordPress

Simple sidebar widget that shows Your latest instagr.am pictures and picture embedder.

Conclusion:
Here, we have presented some of the best and free WordPress plugins. With this collection, we aim to share with you some useful plugins that you can use with your WordPress blog or website. We hope that you will find these plugins useful for you. Do share this collection with your friends’ circle, and let us know your opinions via comment section below.

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December 18 2013

16:05

33 Versatile Landing Page Themes

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Whether you need a theme to showcase a product that hasn’t launched yet, or even if you have a product that is ready to launch, this collection of 33 themes will give you the selection you need for the optimal landing page.

1. JustLanded – WordPress Landing Page

01

Demo & Download

2. Flátro – Multipurpose Premium Landing Pages

02

Demo & Download

3. Neue – App Landing Page

03

Demo & Download

4. Lister – Premium Landing Page

04

Demo & Download

5. Ezyland – Responsive multipurpose landing page

05

Demo & Download

6. FlatBook – Flat Onepage WordPress Landing Page

06

Demo & Download

7. Gready – An Easy To Use App and Landing Page

07

Demo & Download

8. Appreative Responsive Landing Page Template

08

Demo & Download

9. Shoelace – Modern, Responsive Landing Page

09

Demo & Download

10. WDA – Creative Responsive Landing Page

10

Demo & Download

11. Landiin – Responsive Retina Landing Page

11

Demo & Download

12. Nostalgia – Responsive Landing Page

12

Demo & Download

13. Off the Shelf – Responsive E-Book Landing Page

13

Demo & Download

14. Cleaness Responsive Business Landing Page

14

Demo & Download

15. Petrichor – Responsive WordPress Landing Page

15

Demo & Download

16. Katemi – Clean Product and App Landing Page

16

Demo & Download

17. Lansing – App and Landing Page

17

Demo & Download

18. Flapp – One Page Responsive Landing Page

18

Demo & Download

19. BekkoQ MultiPurpose Landing Page Template

19

Demo & Download

20. Flading – An Easy To Use Responsive Landing Page

20

Demo & Download

21. Flat Landing – Responsive Product Landing Template

21

Demo & Download

22. Mist – functional multi-purpose landing page

22

Demo & Download

23. Light Landin Multipurpose Parallax Landing Page

23

Demo & Download

24. Conversion – Premium Landing Page

24

Demo & Download

25. Superawesome – Retina Bootstrap App Landing Page

25

Demo & Download

26. Rise Landing Page

26

Demo & Download

27. Apley – A mobile application landing page

27

Demo & Download

28. Studio – Responsive Landing Page

28

Demo & Download

29. Klix Landing Page

29

Demo & Download

30. Wazzup – Bootstrap Responsive Landing Page

30

Demo & Download

31. PROCount: Countdown Landing Page

31

Demo & Download

32. A1 App Landing Page

32

Demo & Download

33. Landina – Responsive Landing Page

33

Demo & Download


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December 16 2013

15:59

Choosing WordPress Hosting

Choosing the right host for a website can be a difficult decision, but it’s critical to the performance and stability of the site. When it comes to sites that are powered by WordPress, sometimes a few additional factors play into the decision of which host to choose. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the hosting options for WordPress-powered websites and blogs, and we’ll also look at some things to consider when you’re deciding which host would be right for you.

Basic Hosting Options

To start with, let’s take a look at the different options that are available when you’re looking for WordPress hosting.

Regular Hosting

WordPress can be used on just about any server with just about any host, so your options are quite vast. Using WordPress for your website doesn’t require you to choose a host that specifically serves the WordPress community.

Most hosts include Fantistico, Softaculous, or some other similar tool for easily installing CMSs and scripts on your server. This means that with most hosts you can easily install WordPress in a matter of just a few minutes without touching any code or doing any manual setup.

Two of the most popular companies for low-cost shared hosting are Bluehost and HostGator. Both offer easy WordPress installation and are good options if you are looking for low-cost shared hosting.

Bluehost

Managed WordPress Hosting

In recent years a number of companies have been created specifically to host WordPress-powered websites. These companies that provide managed WordPress hosting offer some additional benefits that you may not get with a traditional web host. The down side is that managed WordPress hosting tends to be significantly more costly than a traditional host like Bluehost or HostGator. We’ll take a look at the benefits, as well as some things to consider that will help you to make the right decision for your own situation.

Before we get into the benefits, let’s take a look at some of the leading providers of managed WordPress hosting. WPEngine is probably the most well-known provider. Page.ly is another leading provider and was actually the first of its kind. Another leader is Synthesis, part of Copyblogger Media along with StudioPress.

WPEngine

Another option that offers many of the benefits of managed WordPress hosting without the high price tag is SiteGround. They offer benefits like automatic upgrades of WordPress and plugins, fixes of global security issues at a server level, automatic caching, and support staff that have been trained on WordPress. Even with these benefits that you’ll typically only find with higher-priced WordPress hosts, SiteGround’s plans are more comparable to low-cost shared hosting.

Benefits of Managed WordPress Hosting

Servers Configured for WordPress

One of the biggest benefits is that since these hosts are specifically serving the WordPress community, their servers are set up and configured with WordPress in mind. Servers with traditional web hosts are used for websites powered by a variety of different content management systems, e-commerce platforms, and scripts. As a result, they are often not optimized very well for WordPress in particular, which leads to sub-par performance.

Security

Because WordPress is open source and extremely popular, it is also targeted frequently by hackers. Companies that offer managed WordPress hosting typically offer some security features that you may not get with another host. Because these companies work with WordPress constantly, they are able to stay up-to-date with any major security issues in the WordPress community, and they are proactive at taking steps to protect the sites on their servers.

Speed and Reliability

Because the servers are configured with WordPress in mind, the result is that pages typically load faster with managed WordPress hosting. There are also other factors involved in the speed improvements, like caching and CDNs. There are several popular free caching plugins that you can use with traditional hosting to decrease the load time of your pages, but with most managed WordPress hosts this is not necessary. They typically have some sort of caching feature or functionality built in, which means that you won’t have to mess with caching plugins that can sometimes be tricky to set up and configure. Additionally, depending on the host and the plan that you are choosing, you may benefit from the help of a content delivery network (CDN), which will serve files from various locations around the world in order to improve page speed

Expert WordPress Support

Because these hosts are targeting WordPress users, their tech support reps are typically WordPress experts that can help with some issues that a traditional host may not. If you are hosted with a traditional host and you have some issue that is related to WordPress, the tech support people may or may not be able to help you. In most cases they will try to help you, but some of these support people are not very familiar at all with WordPress. Hosts like WPEngine, Page.ly, and Synthesis offer help from support reps that genuinely know and understand WordPress. If you are a WordPress expert yourself, this may not be a major issue. However, most site owners need help with something WordPress related every now and then, and the improved support can be important.

Automatic Upgrades

Managed WordPress hosting also typically involves WordPress upgrades that are done automatically by the host. This means that you’ll need to spend less time managing upgrades yourself, and it can decrease security risk. If you’re a designer or developer looking for a host for your client, this also makes it easier on both you and the client with less of a need for on-going maintenance from you. The issue of automatic upgrades is slightly less important today than it was just a few weeks ago. As of WordPress 3.7, minor upgrades will be done automatically even if you are using a traditional host.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Host

If you’re looking for the right host for your WordPress-powered website, here are some things to consider.

Server Configuration

Having your site hosted on a server that is specifically set up and configured for WordPress can result in significant gains in load speed and reliability, so this is definitely something to consider. You’ll need to weigh this benefit with other factors to help you determine if managed WordPress hosting is something that you need. For small websites with low traffic, a low-cost shared hosting plan may be sufficient. For higher-traffic websites, you’ll need to give more consideration to optimum performance, and one way to improve performance is to choose a host that specifically serves WordPress users.

Easy Installation

WordPress can be installed manually without too much trouble, but for most people the easy installation is much preferred. Without the easy installation you’ll need to manually create a database and enter the credentials into the wp-config.php file. It’s not particularly time consuming or difficult, but many people won’t want to mess with it. Even if you are comfortable with the manual installation, easy one-click installations can save at least a few minutes out of your day. Before signing up with a host you should check to see what options they offer for installing WordPress. All of the hosts that have been mentioned on this page offer easy WordPress installations.

Ongoing Maintenance

How much maintenance are you able and willing to do on the website? Managed WordPress hosting can decrease the time that you need to dedicate to maintenance because of the automatic WordPress upgrades. The automatic upgrades are especially nice if you’re setting up the website for a client who may not be comfortable with doing the WordPress upgrades on their own.

Ability to Grow

Any time you are looking for a host I think it is important to consider what options will be available to you in the future. At the moment you may be able to get everything you need from a low-cost shared hosting account, but that may not be the case forever. If your traffic grows or your needs increase, does the web host offer sufficient plans that you can upgrade into, or will you be forced to move to another host? Bluehost, for example, only offered shared hosting in the past. However, they’ve added VPS and dedicated servers, which means their customers no longer have to leave when it comes time to upgrade to a more powerful hosting plan. All of the hosts that we’ve looked at in this article offer a number of different plans that would allow you to grow without needing to move to another host. Bluehost, HostGator, and SiteGround offer shared hosting as well as more robust options. Bluehost and HostGator offer VPS plans and dedicated servers, and SiteGround offers cloud hosting plans and dedicated servers. WPEngine, Page.ly and Synthesis base their plans on things like the number of visitors and needed features, but all allow room for growth.

Will You Need WordPress Support?

If it’s likely that you’ll need support related to WordPress or popular plugins, managed WordPress hosting may be a good choice. You’ll get better support for WordPress-related issues and the support staff of these companies will generally be more familiar with WordPress. This may not be important for everyone, but it is something to consider.

Do You Need 24/7 Support?

WPEngine, Page.ly, and Synthesis are much smaller companies than massive hosting companies like Bluehost and HostGator. Working with smaller companies does, of course, come with some benefits, but one of the major limitations of using a smaller host is the lack of 24/7 customer support. If having support available 24/7 is critical to you, you may need to go with another host.

Price

Of course, price is a factor when choosing a host. There are definitely some significant benefits to managed WordPress hosting, but most plans are also more costly than going with a traditional web host. You’ll need to look at the prices of the plans that suit your needs and see which host offers the best option for you. Although managed WordPress hosting may cost more than other hosting plans the price may include things like automated backups, a CDN, and auto upgrades that would otherwise cost you time and/or money. When you factor this in, the price looks a lot better.

How Many Sites Will You Host?

Most managed WordPress hosts will charge per site or per WordPress installation. With shared hosting at Bluehost, HostGator, or SiteGround, you can get low-cost plans that allow you to host multiple websites. If you have a number of different websites, managed WordPress hosting can quickly become very expensive. Low-cost shared hosting plans are generally preferred by people that have a number of small or low-traffic websites. For those with multiple higher-traffic sites, a VPS or dedicated server may be the best option.

A More In-Depth Look at the Options

Let’s take a look in more detail at each of the hosts that have been mentioned in this article. There are certainly plenty of other hosting options available, but this will cover many of the most popular hosts for WordPress users.

Bluehost

Bluehost is one of the largest and most popular hosting companies in the world. They offer shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated servers. All of their hosting plans come with 24/7 support by phone, email. or chat. Their shared hosting plans currently start at $4.95 per month with unlimited domains, unlimited diskspace, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited email accounts. Their VPS plans start at $29.99 per month and go up to $119.99 per month. Managed dedicated servers start at $149.99 and go up to $249.99 per month.

Bluehost

HostGator

HostGator is another huge hosting company, and is actually owned by the same parent company that is behind Bluehost. Like Bluehost, HostGator also offers shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated servers. They also offer 24/7 support by phone, email, and chat. Their shared hosting plans currently start at $3.96 per month, which allows for 1 domain with unlimited diskspace and bandwidth. Currently starting at $6.36 per month you can get a plan that also allows unlimited domains. VPS hosting plans currently range from $19.99 per month to $219.95 per month. Their managed dedicated server plans range from $174 per month to $374 per month.

HostGator

WPEngine

WPEngine offers managed WordPress hosting with the following benefits:

  • Managed WordPress upgrades
  • Daily backups
  • One-click restore points
  • EverCache technology, no caching plugins needed
  • Malware scanning
  • Expert WordPress support
  • CDN (on most plans)

All of these benefits mean that your WordPress site will perform better and will be more secure. Their pricing starts at $29 per month for 1 WordPress installation with up to 25,000 visitors per month and 10 GB of local storage. WPEngine offers support via a ticket system and by chat on all plans. Customers on plans starting at $99 per month can also receive support by phone. Their support hours are limited to 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Central.

WPEngine

Page.ly

Page.ly offers managed WordPress hosting with the following benefits:

  • Secure hosting with redundant firewalls, and DDoS protection
  • Expert WordPress support
  • Automatic WordPress and plugin updates
  • Nightly backups
  • Advanced caching with no plugin needed
  • CDN (additional charge of $9 per month)

Their plans currently start at $24 per month for sites with up to 25,000 visitors per month, 10 GB of bandwidth, and 5 GB of storage space. Support is available only through a ticket system and support hours are not listed.

Page.ly

Synthesis

Synthesis offers managed WordPress hosting with the following benefits:

  • Efficient NGINIX architecture for fast page loads
  • Enhance security with proactive monitoring and patching, including DDS/DDOS and brute force protection
  • Keyword and social media research
  • Content optimization guidance
  • Influencer outreach tools

Because Synthesis is part of Copyblogger Media, their service is unique in that it includes features intended to help you improve traffic to your website, not just to provide hosting for you. Their plans start at $27 per month for 1 domain with up to 2,500 daily pageviews, 50 GB of bandwidth, and 3 GB of storage. They offer support via a ticket system with no support hours listed (although they do mention 24/7 monitoring).

Synthesis

SiteGround

SiteGround has been included in this post because they offer many of the benefits of managed WordPress hosting, but at a price comparable to regular low-price shared hosting. You don’t have to use WordPress to host with SiteGround, but their hosting plans offer the following benefits to WordPress users:

  • Easy WordPress installation
  • Free WordPress migration
  • Automatic WordPress and plugin updates
  • Automatic caching, no plugin configuration required
  • CDN
  • Servers optimized for WordPress
  • WordPress-related support

Unlike WPEngine, Page.ly, and Synthesis, SiteGround offers 24/7 support by phone, email, and chat. They also offer email addresses at your domain, which is not offered by WPEngine, Page.ly, or Synthesis. Their shared hosting plans start at $3.95 for 1 domain with up to 10,000 visitors per month and 10 GB of storage. This plan does not include WordPress caching feature, but all other plans do include it. Currently for $7.95 per month you can get shared hosting for multiple websites up to 25,000 monthly visitors and 20 GB of storage. Cloud hosting plans currently range from $68.95 – $138.95 per month. Managed dedicated servers range from $229 – $429 per month.

SiteGround

What’s Your Experience?

Please feel free to share your experience with WordPress hosting in the comments.

Tags: WordPress

December 12 2013

19:28

Special Times: 18 Free WordPress Themes from November 2013 to Keep You Warm


  

Christmas is approaching fast. Is your blog still in that summer dress? We told you early enough to change that before winter breaks in. I don’t know what the weather is over at your spot of the globe. Over here we still have a little time to get our blogs winterproof. These themes we dug up lately will come in handy to achieve that. They were not specifically styled for the festive season, though. So they will still look good after New Year’s Day.

December 11 2013

19:00

Giveaway from Elegant Themes: A Gift of 3 Developer Subscriptions to Enjoy the New DIVI Theme

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1

 

Who is Elegant Themes?

Elegant Themes has wonderful themes to use in the making of WordPress websites – 87 precious gems, to be specific – all of which become available for the all-inclusive price of $39, and can be re-used for as many domains as you deem necessary. 200k users have already tried and loved Elegant Themes.

 

What is Divi?

Divi will blow your mind. The team at Elegant Themes kept this one in the oven for several months, to make sure that every little detail is perfect. Users had started to lose patience, because they’ve known about it and have been brimming with excitement since October. Behold, it’s here at last!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRVcsQm0I0c

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Two words define Divi best: adaptability and simplicity. The other themes can’t hold a candle to Divi, because it’s so ultra-responsive for cross-device display, and its Page Builder works like a breeze. If you need to set up an online store, a business website, or a portfolio, it’s never been easier: you can edit an established layout, or create one of your own by first designating horizontal sections, and then adding horizontal rows, and modules.

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The Prize!

If you participate, you may win a Developer Subscription – 3 are at stake. Thus, as an Elegant Themes member, you will get access to all themes and plugins, watch as every theme update takes effect the minute it is launched, ask for technical assistance whenever something feels off, and get layered Photoshop files – because you may like to customize a theme even further.

 

How to Participate

All we need from you is a comment where you write your opinion about Divi or Elegant Themes. It doesn’t matter how articulate you are, because the selection at the end of this campaign is going to be randomized. I wish you the best of luck in being one of the three winners of a Developer Subscription from Elegant Themes!

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Tags: WordPress
19:00

Elegant Themes Giveaway: Win One of 4 Developer Subscriptions for the Upcoming DIVI Theme

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1

What is Elegant Themes?

Elegant Themes deals in splendid themes for WordPress websites. More than 200k users have gained unrestricted access to all of the 86 drop-dead-gorgeous in existence for just $39 – to re-download at will and use in any number of domains and websites.

 

The New Divi Theme

Brace yourself for Divi, the most flexible and multipurpose WordPress theme known to man. The truth is that it got everyone on edge when the word first came out, and took a little while to launch because everything had to be perfect. And now it is! In fact, it has become the most wanted theme for WordPress websites, prior to it being actually launched – this speaks volumes about what it really has to offer.

With this state-of-the-art theme, you’re in for a Page Builder that simplifies how you piece various website components together – first the structure (horizontal section and rows), and then you apply modules. The sky’s the limit. Naturally, you can always edit already-made layouts, instead. Anyhow, the resulting layout for your portfolio, online store etc, is going to be highly responsive to any given display.

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The Prize

You can win one of the 4 Developer Subscriptions to Elegant Themes, which involve unlimited access to all themes and all plugins, top-class technical support, updates that are enacted as soon as they’re engineered, and layered Photoshop files for savvy users (kick-ass designers, that is) who want to further customize everything according to their taste. Any other day, a Developer Subscription costs $89 per year to activate, so to my mind this is one big fish you’ll want to catch!

 

What to Do

This is the easiest part. Just share your thoughts regarding Elegant Themes or its freshly issued Divi theme in a comment, and at the end of this campaign, the winners will be selected at random. Good luck!

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December 05 2013

09:30

Modifying Admin Post Lists In WordPress


  

Have you ever created a custom post type and then found that only the titles and dates of your posts are displayed in the admin lists? While WordPress will add taxonomies for you, that’s the most it can do. Adding relevant at-a-glance information is easy; in this article, we’ll look how to modify admin post lists with WordPress.

To make sure we’re on the same page, an admin list is the table of posts shown in the admin section when you click on “Posts,” “Pages” or another custom post type. Before we delve in, it is worth noting that admin tables are created using the WP_List_Table class. Jeremy Desvaux de Marigny has written a great article on native admin tables that explains how to make these from scratch.

We’ll focus in this article on how to extend existing tables. We’ll do this using an example from a theme that we recently built, named Rock Band. Rock Band includes event management, which means that we needed some custom event-specific interface elements and details to make the admin section more useful!

Creating A Custom Post Type

This process is fairly straightforward and is documented well in “The Complete Guide to Custom Post Types.” All we need is a definition of the labels that we’re going to use and a few settings. Open up your functions.php file and drop the following into it.

add_action( 'init', 'bs_post_types' );
function bs_post_types() {

	$labels = array(
		'name'                => __( 'Events', THEMENAME ),
		'singular_name'       => __( 'Event', THEMENAME ),
		'add_new'             => __( 'Add New', THEMENAME ),
		'add_new_item'        => __( 'Add New Event', THEMENAME ),
		'edit_item'           => __( 'Edit Event', THEMENAME ),
		'new_item'            => __( 'New Event', THEMENAME ),
		'all_items'           => __( 'All Event', THEMENAME ),
		'view_item'           => __( 'View Event', THEMENAME ),
		'search_items'        => __( 'Search Events', THEMENAME ),
		'not_found'           => __( 'No events found', THEMENAME ),
		'not_found_in_trash'  => __( 'No events found in Trash', THEMENAME ),
		'menu_name'           => __( 'Events', THEMENAME ),
	);

	$supports = array( 'title', 'editor' );

	$slug = get_theme_mod( 'event_permalink' );
	$slug = ( empty( $slug ) ) ? 'event' : $slug;

	$args = array(
		'labels'              => $labels,
		'public'              => true,
		'publicly_queryable'  => true,
		'show_ui'             => true,
		'show_in_menu'        => true,
		'query_var'           => true,
		'rewrite'             => array( 'slug' => $slug ),
		'capability_type'     => 'post',
		'has_archive'         => true,
		'hierarchical'        => false,
		'menu_position'       => null,
		'supports'            => $supports,
	);

	register_post_type( 'event', $args );

}

Quick Tip

By pulling the permalink from the theme settings, you can make sure that users of your theme are able to set their own permalinks. This is important for multilingual websites, on which administrators might want to make sure that URLs are readable by their users.

events_original

What we get is the post list above. It’s better than nothing, but it has no at-a-glance information at all. Event venue, start time and ticket status would be great additions, so let’s get cracking!

Adding Custom Table Headers

Throughout this whole process, we will never have to touch the WP_Lists_Table class directly. This is wonderful news! Because we’ll be doing everything with hooks, our code will be nice and modular, easily customizable.

Adding the header is as simple as modifying the value of an array. This sounds like a job for a filter!

add_filter('manage_event_posts_columns', 'bs_event_table_head');
function bs_event_table_head( $defaults ) {
    $defaults['event_date']  = 'Event Date';
    $defaults['ticket_status']    = 'Ticket Status';
    $defaults['venue']   = 'Venue';
    $defaults['author'] = 'Added By';
    return $defaults;
}

Note the name of the filter: It corresponds to the name of the post type we have created. This means you can modify the table of any post type, not only your custom ones. Just use manage_post_posts_columns to modify the columns for the table of regular posts.

Once this code has been placed in our functions file, you should see the four new table headers. The fields don’t have any content yet; it is for us to decide what goes in them.

Fill ’er Up!

Adding data for each column is about as “complex” as it was to create the columns.

add_action( 'manage_event_posts_custom_column', 'bs_event_table_content', 10, 2 );

function bs_event_table_content( $column_name, $post_id ) {
    if ($column_name == 'event_date') {
		$event_date = get_post_meta( $post_id, '_bs_meta_event_date', true );
			echo  date( _x( 'F d, Y', 'Event date format', 'textdomain' ), strtotime( $event_date ) );
    }
    if ($column_name == 'ticket_status') {
		$status = get_post_meta( $post_id, '_bs_meta_event_ticket_status', true );
		echo $status;
    }

    if ($column_name == 'venue') {
		echo get_post_meta( $post_id, '_bs_meta_event_venue', true );
    }

}

As is obvious from the structure of this function, it gets called separately for each column. Because of this, we need to check which column is currently being displayed and then spit out the corresponding data.

The data we need for this is stored in the postmeta table. Here’s how to do it:

  • The event’s date is stored using the _bs_meta_event_date key.
  • The ticket’s status uses the _bs_meta_event_ticket_status key.
  • The venue is stored using the _bs_meta_event_venue meta key.

Because these are all postmeta values, we just need to use the get_post_meta() function to retrieve them. With the exception of the date, we can echo these values right away.

This brings us to an important point. You are not restricted to showing individual snippets of data or showing links. Whatever you output will be shown. With sufficient time, you could attach a calendar to the dates, which would be shown on hover. You could create flyout menus that open up on click, and so on.

events_data

As you can see, this is much better. The event’s date, ticket status, venue and author can be seen, which makes this table actually informative, rather than just a way to get to edit pages. However, we can do more.

Ordering Columns

Enabling column ordering takes two steps but is fairly straightforward. First, use a filter to specify which of your columns should be sortable by adding it to an array. Then, create a filter for each column to modify the query when a user clicks to sorts the column.

add_filter( 'manage_edit-event_sortable_columns', 'bs_event_table_sorting' );
function bs_event_table_sorting( $columns ) {
	$columns['event_date'] = 'event_date';
	$columns['ticket_status'] = 'ticket_status';
	$columns['venue'] = 'venue';
	return $columns;
}

add_filter( 'request', 'bs_event_date_column_orderby' );
function bs_event_date_column_orderby( $vars ) {
    if ( isset( $vars['orderby'] ) && 'event_date' == $vars['orderby'] ) {
        $vars = array_merge( $vars, array(
            'meta_key' => '_bs_meta_event_date',
            'orderby' => 'meta_value'
        ) );
    }

    return $vars;
}

add_filter( 'request', 'bs_ticket_status_column_orderby' );
function bs_ticket_status_column_orderby( $vars ) {
    if ( isset( $vars['orderby'] ) && 'ticket_status' == $vars['orderby'] ) {
        $vars = array_merge( $vars, array(
            'meta_key' => '_bs_meta_event_ticket_status',
            'orderby' => 'meta_value'
        ) );
    }

    return $vars;
}

add_filter( 'request', 'bs_venue_column_orderby' );
function bs_venue_column_orderby( $vars ) {
    if ( isset( $vars['orderby'] ) && 'venue' == $vars['orderby'] ) {
        $vars = array_merge( $vars, array(
            'meta_key' => '_bs_meta_event_venue',
            'orderby' => 'meta_value'
        ) );
    }

    return $vars;
}

Here is what’s happening in each of these cases. Whenever posts are listed, an array of arguments is passed that determines what is shown — things like how many to show per page, which post type to display, and so on. WordPress knows how to construct the array of arguments for each of its built-in features.

When we say, “order by venue,” WordPress doesn’t know what this means. Results are ordered before they are displayed, not after the fact. Therefore, WordPress needs to know what order to pull posts in before it actually retrieves them. Thus, we tell WordPress which meta_key to filter by and how to treat the values (meta_value for strings, meta_value_num for integers).

As with displaying data, you can go nuts here. You can use all of the arguments that WP_Query takes to perform taxonomy filtering, meta field queries and so on.

By adding the code above, we can now click to order based on date, status and venue. We’re almost there. One more thing would help out a lot, especially when dealing with hundreds of events.

Data Filtering

Setting up the filters is analogous to setting up ordering. First, we tell WordPress which controls we want to use. Then, we need to make sure those controls actually do something. Let’s get started.

add_action( 'restrict_manage_posts', 'bs_event_table_filtering' );
function bs_event_table_filtering() {
	global $wpdb;
	if ( $screen->post_type == 'event' ) {

		$dates = $wpdb->get_results( "SELECT EXTRACT(YEAR FROM meta_value) as year,  EXTRACT( MONTH FROM meta_value ) as month FROM $wpdb->postmeta WHERE meta_key = '_bs_meta_event_date' AND post_id IN ( SELECT ID FROM $wpdb->posts WHERE post_type = 'event' AND post_status != 'trash' ) GROUP BY year, month " ) ;

		echo '';
			echo '' . __( 'Show all event dates', 'textdomain' ) . '';
		foreach( $dates as $date ) {
			$month = ( strlen( $date->month ) == 1 ) ? 0 . $date->month : $date->month;
			$value = $date->year . '-' . $month . '-' . '01 00:00:00';
			$name = date( 'F Y', strtotime( $value ) );

			$selected = ( !empty( $_GET['event_date'] ) AND $_GET['event_date'] == $value ) ? 'selected="select"' : '';
			echo '' . $name . '';
		}
		echo '';

		$ticket_statuses = get_ticket_statuses();
		echo '';
			echo '' . __( 'Show all ticket statuses', 'textdomain' ) . '';
		foreach( $ticket_statuses as $value => $name ) {
			$selected = ( !empty( $_GET['ticket_status'] ) AND $_GET['ticket_status'] == $value ) ? 'selected="selected"' : '';
			echo '' . $name . '';
		}
		echo '';

	}
}

I know, this is a bit scarier! Initially, all we are doing is making sure that we add filters to the right page. As you can see from the hook, this is not specific to the post’s type, so we need to check manually.

Once we’re sure that we’re on the events page, we add two controls: a selector for event dates and a selector for ticket statuses.

We have one custom function in there, get_ticket_statuses(), which is used to retrieve a list of ticket statuses. These are all defined by the user, so describing how it works would be overkill. Suffice it to say that it contains an array with the key-value pairs that we need for the selector.

events_final

Once this is done, the table will reach its final form. We now have our filters along the top, but they don’t work yet. Let’s fix that, shall we?

Filtering data is simply a matter of adding arguments to the query again. This time, instead of ordering our data, we’ll add parameters to narrow down or broaden our returned list of posts.

add_filter( 'parse_query','bs_event_table_filter' );
function bs_event_table_filter( $query ) {
	if( is_admin() AND $query->query['post_type'] == 'event' ) {
		$qv = &$query->query_vars;
		$qv['meta_query'] = array();


		if( !empty( $_GET['event_date'] ) ) {
			$start_time = strtotime( $_GET['event_date'] );
			$end_time = mktime( 0, 0, 0, date( 'n', $start_time ) + 1, date( 'j', $start_time ), date( 'Y', $start_time ) );
			$end_date = date( 'Y-m-d H:i:s', $end_time );
			$qv['meta_query'][] = array(
				'field' => '_bs_meta_event_date',
				'value' => array( $_GET['event_date'], $end_date ),
				'compare' => 'BETWEEN',
				'type' => 'DATETIME'
			);

		}

		if( !empty( $_GET['ticket_status'] ) ) {
			$qv['meta_query'][] = array(
				'field' => '_bs_meta_event_ticket_status',
				'value' => $_GET['ticket_status'],
				'compare' => '=',
				'type' => 'CHAR'
			);
		}

		if( !empty( $_GET['orderby'] ) AND $_GET['orderby'] == 'event_date' ) {
			$qv['orderby'] = 'meta_value';
			$qv['meta_key'] = '_bs_meta_event_date';
			$qv['order'] = strtoupper( $_GET['order'] );
		}

	}
}

For each filter, we need to add rules to the query. When we’re filtering for events, we need to add a meta_query. This will return only results for which the custom field key is _bs_meta_event_ticket_status and the value is the given ticket’s status.

Once this final piece of the puzzle is added, we will have a customized WordPress admin list, complete with filtering, ordering and custom data. Well done!

Overview

Adding custom data to a table is a great way to draw information to the attention of users. Plugin developers can hook their functionality into posts without touching any other functionality, and theme authors can add advanced information about custom post types and other things to relevant places.

Showing the right information in the right place can make a huge difference in the salability and likability of any product. That being said, don’t overexploit your newfound power. Don’t add fields just because you can, especially to WordPress’ main tables.

Don’t forget that others know about this, too, and many developers of SEO plugins and similar products already add their own columns to posts. If you’re going to add things to the default post types, I suggest including settings to enable and disable them.

If you’ve used these techniques in one of your products or are wondering how to show some tidbit of information in a table, let us know in the comments!

(al, il)


© Daniel Pataki for Smashing Magazine, 2013.

Tags: WordPress

December 04 2013

05:50

WordPress Bootcamp: A complete solution for web designers.

Advertise here with BSA


If I haven’t introduced you to LearnWebDevelopment.com’s WordPress Bootcamp yet, I would like to today. Here’s what you get:

- 42 complete WordPress training videos that you can download and watch again and again.

- Two live sessions with our WordPress experts to better understand what you’re learning and ask any questions you might have.

- Personal 1-on-1 support from LearnWebDevelopment.com’s experts so you’ll never be alone as you learn.

- $200 off if you purchase by Thursday, December 5th, 2013 at midnight.

If you’d like to quickly become an in-demand WordPress website designer, sign up here now.

Remember, all of LearnWebDevelopment.com’s WordPress Bootcamps come with a risk-free lifetime money-back guarantee. Get the details here.


Advertise here with BSA

Tags: Wordpress

December 03 2013

20:47
20:09

WordPress Bootcamp: A complete solution for web designer. (sponsored)

Advertise here with BSA


If I haven’t introduced you to LearnWebDevelopment.com’s WordPress Bootcamp yet, I would like to today. Here’s what you get:

- 42 complete WordPress training videos that you can download and watch again and again.

- Two live sessions with our WordPress experts to better understand what you’re learning and ask any questions you might have.

- Personal 1-on-1 support from LearnWebDevelopment.com’s experts so you’ll never be alone as you learn.

- $200 off if you purchase by Thursday, December 5th, 2013 at midnight.

If you’d like to quickly become an in-demand WordPress website designer, sign up here now.

Remember, all of LearnWebDevelopment.com’s WordPress Bootcamps come with a risk-free lifetime money-back guarantee. Get the details here.

Tags: WordPress
19:48

35 Stylish WordPress Themes With a Flat UI

Advertise here with BSA


I think it’s obvious by now that ‘flat’ is not just a new design trend or style that will go away next year. It’s here to stay and I think it’s great.

The idea behind what we call ‘flat design’ is to remove the noise. This means anything that is not necessary to a design. Things like heavy gradients, not-so-subtle drop shadows, 3d graphics, and the heavy use of skeuomorphism, can be replaced with more muted color schemes, solid colors, and a stronger focus on typography – a flat design focusses on the essentials.

In this post we have collected a total of 35 great WordPress themes that sport a flat design style. I hope you enjoy this post, feel free to chime in via the comment section!

Colangine

“Colangine

Flatsome

“Flat

Lorencia

“Lorencia

Rocco

“Rocco

Marble

“Marble

Coffee & Cream

“Coffee

Sketch

“Sketch

Omni

“Omni

Kumaon

“KUMAON,

Swatch

“Swatch

Vertex

“Vertex

Kyte

“Kyte

Glider

“Glider

Flat

“Flat:

Peddlar

“Peddlar

Blogist

“Blogist

Discover

“Discover

Hardy

“Hardy

Blogify

“Blogify

Satellite7

“Satellite7

Doctype

“Doctype

Falco

“Falco

Hayden

“Hayden

Keylight

“Keylight

Flatco

“Flatco

GoodInc

“GoodInc

FlatBook

“FlatBook

Flat

“Flat

Flat

“Flat

Hypertext

“Hypertext

Amada

“Amada

Alfie

“Alfie

Baylie

“Baylie

iMagPress

“iMagPress

Breathe

“Breathe

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.


Advertise here with BSA

16:22

Technical Details to Consider Before Starting a Membership Website

Membership websites are often considered one of the best approaches for making money online. The recurring revenue generated by a successful membership website is an obvious reason that these sites are so desirable, but the truth is that running a membership website is not easy. Many customers are hesitant to sign up for on-going payments, so you’ll need to offer something that makes the recurring fee a worthwhile expense for your members. And in order to keep members you’ll need to work to add new, and valuable, content on a regular basis.

While getting and keeping members is certainly a challenges, it’s the technical aspects of setting up a membership site that present the biggest problems for most entrepreneurs who are looking to go this route.

A membership website needs to be able to do a few key things:

  • Allow new members to sign up
  • Process payments at the time of sign up and any recurring payments
  • Integrate the member accounts with the appropriate payments
  • Restrict access to protected content for anyone other than active logged in members
  • Provide active logged in members with the appropriate access to protected content

There are obviously other functions as well, but these are the basics. So if you want to start a membership website, how do you go about getting this set up? Of course, you could use a custom solution, but that would be very costly and/or time consuming. For the vast majority of people setting up membership websites the best option is to use an existing script or plugin that provides all of the needed functionality.

Finding the right option to power your membership website can be a challenge, but the good news is that there are more quality options than there were just a few years ago. Here are some of the leading options:

aMember Pro – aMember is a powerful, feature-rich solution that can integrate with a wide variety of content management systems. It’s probably the most popular option, in large part because it can be used with WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, phpBB, vBulletin, and much more. The down side of aMember is that it can be a little complicated to set up and it can be much more than is needed for some projects. The current cost for aMember is $179.95 for lifetime access with 6 months of free updates.

aMember

Wishlist Member – Wishlist Member is a popular WordPress plugin that allows you to add membership functionality to a WordPress-powered website. Wishlist Member, like other WordPress membership plugins, makes it very quick and easy to get membership functionality added to your site. While Wishlist Member is probably the most popular WordPress membership plugin, it’s not my favorite. I’ve used it on client websites but I prefer a few of the other options that I’ll mention in just a minute. That being said, Wishlist Member can get the job done. The cost of Wishlist Member is $97 for a single site license with 1 year of updates and support.

Wishlist Member

Restrict Content Pro – Restrict Content Pro is another WordPress membership plugin, and it is one that I prefer for basic membership sites. I find it to be more user-friendly and to function a little better than Wishlist Member, from my experience. The cost of a single site license is $42.

Restrict Content Pro

Member Mouse – Member Mouse is a robust and feature-rich WordPress membership plugin. I have tested Member Mouse just to try it out, but haven’t used it on a live site. From the limited experience that I have with it I would recommend Member Mouse if the features and functionality are a good fit for your needs. It’s very user-friendly and includes some functionality that you won’t find in most other membership plugins. Member Mouse involves a monthly fee, starting at $19.95 for sites with up to 1,000 members.

Member Mouse

Cart66 Cloud – Cart66 is a WordPress e-commerce plugin that has been around for several years, but Cart66 Cloud was just released earlier this year. Cart66 Cloud is a combination of a WordPress plugin and a hosted shopping cart. It includes both standard e-commerce and membership functionality, and the checkout is hosted by Cart66, so you won’t have to worry about SSL or other security issues. I’ve used Cart66 Cloud for several months now and I recommend it for sites where you want to sell individual products as well as offer membership. It’s not easy to find a good system that can support membership and an e-commerce site in one, so Cart66 Cloud stands out. It currently costs $25 per month.

Cart66 Cloud

Which Membership Platform is Right for You?

In the rest of this article we’ll take a look at things that you need to consider before choosing a membership platform, and we’ll also look at how the different options listed above will fit with these technical details of your site. There are obviously more options aside from just the 5 covered in this article, but these are some of the more popular options and to keep it simple we’ll stick with them.

Things to Consider Before Starting Your Membership Website

It’s important to think about how you want the site to function before jumping into it. With membership websites there are some details that you might not think about right away if you don’t have experience with these types of sites, and that is what I want to address in this article. Of course, some things can be changed later on, but with membership sites more so than other types of sites, making changes in the future can be very time consuming, costly, or impossible. It’s critical that you take the time to set it up properly from the start. Things like moving to another platform or changing the details of how the membership works can prove to be quite cumbersome later.

What Type of Content Will You Be Publishing, And What Will You Need to Protect?

There are a lot of different possibilities for membership websites. Will your site be a members-only forum? A blog with members-only posts? A site with products that can only be downloaded by members? The type of site and the content that is published may be a factor in deciding which platform to use. For example, aMember can integrate with lots of different CMSs and scripts, but the other options that I mentioned are WordPress plugins, so of course they will need to be used only with WordPress-powered websites. WordPress is capable of being used for forums, but specific forum scripts will usually be a better choice if that is the type of site that you will be building. So in this case, aMember would probably be a better solution.

Will your membership site protect video content? Most websites will host videos at YouTube or Vimeo and embed them into the site or blog, but if you’re looking to protect your videos so that only members can access them, that adds complexity. In this case you’ll probably want to self-host the videos so that you have maximum control over who sees them and who doesn’t.

Will you protect full pages or categories? If you’re protecting certain content so that only members can see the protected content, you’ll have a few options. You can protect the entire page, post, or in some cases category so that only active members can access it. Or, you can make the page itself unprotected with only a certain part of the content protected. For example, you could leave the page unprotected so anyone can access it and read the intro to an article, but the main body of the article can be protected for members only.

Will you protect download links? In some cases your membership site may need to include links for members to download certain products or resources. If this is the case you’ll, of course, need to protect those links.

aMember integrates with a lot of different CMSs and scripts. See the list here. WordPress users can protect any complete page, post, or category from the aMember protection panel. Alternately, any specific content in a page (including download links and videos) can be protected by the use of a shortcode.

Wishlist Member, Restrict Content Pro, Member Mouse and Cart66 Cloud all allow you to protect any complete page or post. And you can use shortcodes within the page or post to protect anything like video, downloads, or specific sections of content.

What Content Will Be Unprotected?

Most membership websites protect specific content, but not the entire site. For example, at Vandelay Premier we protect download links for members only, but everything else is visible to anyone. Some other sites may offer an excerpt and then protect the full article.

Before setting up your membership site you’ll need to think about what you want to protect and what you want to be available to all visitors. Keep in mind that having certain content that is unprotected can help for attracting search engine traffic, and it will also impact visitors decisions about whether or not to sign up. For example, at Vandelay Premier we leave all of the content except download links unprotected for a reason. Visitors are able to see preview images of the products/resources, which is critical to getting new members to sign up. If people couldn’t see those preview images to know what products and resources they would get by signing up, they probably wouldn’t sign up.

The good news is that all of the options that are being covered in this post will give you a great deal of flexibility here. Because you can protect entire pages/posts or just use shortcodes to protect specific content, you can leave whatever you want as unprotected. If you want to leave images and/or excerpts to be visible by anyone, just leave the page unprotected and use a shortcode to protect the members-only content.

Will You Need Different Levels of Membership?

Some membership websites will have only one level of membership, but others may have multiple levels. The different levels can be used as an upsell to offer something additional to those who sign up for the higher-priced membership levels.

For example, a site may offer Silver, Gold, and Platinum membership levels. Silver members may get access to written content, Gold members may get access to written content and videos, and Platinum members may get access to written content, videos, and exclusive forums.

With most membership platforms you will be able to add new membership levels later if you decide to, but it’s helpful to think about this ahead of time for planning the types of content that you want to offer, and also how the site will be set up. You won’t want to remove access later, so think about it in advance. For example, if you set up the site with one membership level that includes access to written content and videos and you decide later that you want to add a second level at a higher price, you won’t want to remove the video access for your current members. So make sure that you think this through before setting up.

aMember, Wishlist Member, Restrict Content Pro, Member Mouse, and Cart66 Cloud all allow you to set up an unlimited number of membership levels.

Will Members Have Lifetime Access, or for a Limited Period of Time?

Membership websites generally involve recurring payments, but not always. Sometimes the member may make a payment when they sign up that gives them lifetime access. Obviously, before you start you’ll want to think about how you want to set up your site. Lifetime access is attractive to customers, but recurring payments are what can really make membership websites profitable for the site owner.

Part of this decision will probably come down to the type of content that you’re offering to members, and if you will be adding new content. For example, at Vandelay Premier we add new resources for members just about every day. If you’re adding new content it’s logical that members will need to make recurring payments in order to keep their membership active. If your membership site is selling access to a series of videos but it’s unlikely that you’ll add new videos or other content in the future, members may not be interested in paying recurring fees to keep that access, so lifetime access might make sense here.

Another option is to use different membership levels to offer a few options to members when they sign up. You could offer a lifetime membership at a higher price than the regular membership. For example, Elegant Themes offers Personal and Developer membership levels that involve annual recurring fees in order to maintain an active membership. They also offer a Lifetime membership that will always be active for a one-time fee that is equal to about 2.75 times the cost of an annual Developers membership.

aMember, Wishlist Member, Restrict Content Pro, Member Mouse, and Cart66 Cloud all allow you to create membership levels with lifetime access or to re-bill at specific intervals.

Will You Drip Content?

Membership sites sometimes “drip” content to members rather than allowing all of the protected content to be accessible as soon as a member signs up. For example, if you are selling access to an online course you could set it up so that different sections of the course, whether it be text or video content, only become accessible to members a certain number of days after they signed up. So at the time of signup they could get access to the first lesson, a day later they are able to access the second lesson, and so on.

Dripping content can be helpful with some types of membership sites, but it’s not necessary for all. It’s possible to use content drips to help retain members and encourage them to keep their membership, and it’s also helpful for preventing information overload if your site offers large amounts of content to members. However, members will often prefer to be able to get access to everything right away, so it’s something to consider on a case-by case basis.

aMember, Wishlist Member, Member Mouse, and Cart66 Cloud all offer the option to drip content, although they each do it their own way. aMember handles it basically as described above, but they refer to it as Incremental Content Delivery in their documentation. Wishlist Member allows for what they call Sequential Upgrades. To use this you will set up multiple membership levels and members will be automatically and sequentially upgraded from one membership level to another according to how you set it up. You control the details of the membership levels and the intervals, and then you’ll protect the content according to membership level so that the content is dripped. Member Mouse allows you to set up a “drip content schedule” that controls members’ access to content. Cart66 Cloud allows you to deny access for a specific number of days after the subscription starts. You’ll just enter the number of days in the protection settings or in the shortcode.

Restrict Content Pro does not offer content drip functionality.

Will You Offer a Free Trial or Limited Free Memberships?

Some membership sites use free trials of limited free memberships in order to get people to try it out and ultimately to increase paid signups. With a free trial you’ll be offering full membership access (or access limited to a specific level) for a specified period of time before a payment needs to be made. For example, you could offer a 7-day trial that gives users access to your basic membership level for free, and then there membership will be de-activated unless they pay to keep it active.

The other alternative is to set up a free membership level that will remain free for life, or for an extended period of time, but this membership level will not include all of the benefits or access of the level paying members would get. Either way, you can use the free access as a way to encourage people to try your site.

Of course, you don’t want to give away too much that the user will no longer have a need for a paid membership. Be careful with free trials that provide full access. These trials can be very effective with some types of websites but counterproductive with others. For example, if your membership site offers hundreds or thousands of hours of video content, there is no way that people would be able to watch the majority of it with just a one-day unlimited free trial. They would be able to get a taste for what the site has to offer, but they wouldn’t be able to watch enough of the content that they would have no need for the paid membership. On the other hand if your site offers unlimited downloads to members, offering even a one-day free trial with full access could allow people to use the free trial to go through the site and download everything. Then they would have no need for a paid membership. A better option here would be to use a free membership level that doesn’t expire, but it only gives access to download certain things.

Free membership levels can be created with aMember, Wishlist Member, Restrict Content Pro, Member Mouse, and Cart66 Cloud. Free trials are supported by aMember, Wishlist Member, Restrict Content Pro, and Member Mouse. Cart66 Cloud does not support free trials.

Will You Be Selling One-Off Products?

Some membership sites offer products for sale individually in addition to offering membership. Our Vandelay Premier is an example. At Vandelay Premier you can buy products individually or you can get a membership that provides unlimited access to all products. It’s not uncommon for sites to offer a combination of regular e-commerce purchases and membership, but finding a system to suit your needs can be a real challenge. With Vandelay Premier we use aMember to manage memberships and E-Junkie to process individual purchases. Using two different systems is not ideal, but at the time the site was launched there weren’t any good options that could do everything we needed.

With aMember you set up “products” that you may or may not use as actual memberships. For example, several WordPress theme shops, like ThemeFuse, use aMember to sell themes individually and to sell club membership that provides access to all themes. So it is possible to use aMember for things aside from traditional memberships, but it has been created specifically with memberships in mind. aMember would not be an ideal solution for a site that needs to sell hundreds or thousands of different products in addition to membership.

Member Mouse allows you to create products as well as memberships, and they also include some interesting features like 1-click upsells and save-the-sale downsells. However, like aMember, Member Mouse is primarily a membership platform. While it can be used to sell products in addition to membership it is not an ideal solution for a site that will have hundreds or thousands of products.

Cart66 Cloud is, in my opinion, easily the best option for most sites that want to sell products and memberships. It can be used for typical e-commerce sites and also also handles memberships and subscriptions. As far as the membership aspect is concerned, it doesn’t have every single feature that you might get with some of the options, but it does do all of the essential things like managing member accounts, recurring payments, and restricting access to content.

Wishlist Member and Restrict Content Pro strictly manage memberships and do not support the sale of other products.

What Payment Gateway Will You Use?

There are a lot of different options when it comes to payment gateways. Popular choices include PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, and 2Checkout. Each membership platform will integrate with different gateways, so be sure to consider this when deciding on a platform.

aMember integrates with a huge number of payment gateways, but not all of them support recurring billing. See the list at aMember’s site for details.

Wishlist Member currently integrates with PayPal, 1ShoppingCart, Clickbank, Infusionsoft, Premium Web Cart, QuickPayPro, and Red Oak Cart.

Restrict Content Pro uses PayPal for all payments. You can purchase add-on plugins to use PayPal Pro/Express and Stripe.

Member Mouse supports PayPal, Stripe, Clickbank, Authorize.net, and Braintree Payments, but not all features of Member Mouse are possible with each gateway. See this page for details.

Cart66 Cloud currently supports 48 different payment gateways. See the list here. Cart66 Cloud allows recurring payments with any of these supported gateways.

Will You Have an Affiliate Program?

One of the best ways to market your membership website and to increase signups and revenue is to offer an affiliate program. With an affiliate program other website owners and bloggers can promote your membership website for you, and they’ll be paid a commission for each sale that they refer.

aMember includes a built-in affiliate program that you can configure.

Wishlist Member can be integrated with iDevAffiliate to run an affiliate program. Alternatively, if you’re using Clickbank or 1ShoppingCart as the payment gateway for Wishlist Member they have built-in affiliate programs.

Restrict Content Pro offers a free add-on that allows you to integrate your membership site with the Affiliates plugin.

Member Mouse includes built-in affiliate tracking and also integrates with iDevAffiliate.

Cart66 Cloud easily integrates with iDevAffiliate.

Are You Looking for a Platform with One-Time Cost or a Monthly Cost?

One last thing to consider is the way that you want to pay for the membership platform. None of the options covered in this article are free, and each one has it’s own pricing details.

aMember costs $179.95 for lifetime access with 6 months of upgrades included. The lifetime access sounds nice, but in reality you will need to upgrade your installation of aMember for security purposes. You will need to purchase renewal licenses beyond that initial 6 month period when you need the upgrade.

Wishlist Member costs $97 for a single site license that comes with 1 year of support and upgrades. If you need upgrades after the initial year (which you will in order to keep your WordPress site up-to-date) you’ll pay $47 per year for those upgrades.

Restrict Content Pro costs $42 for a single-site license with 1 year of upgrades. You’ll need to purchase another license when you need an upgrade beyond that 1 year.

Member Mouse comes with a monthly fee rather than a one-time license fee. The starting price is $19.95 per month to support up to 1,000 members at your site (they offer a 14-day free trial).

Cart66 Cloud also charges a monthly fee, and it uses a hosted shopping cart, and the monthly fee is pretty typical for a hosted solution. The current price is $25 per month, and that is a flat price with no increased pricing if you have a high number of members or products.

Although pricing and licensing details are a factor that you’ll want to consider, the truth is that if you’re managing an active membership site you will have some ongoing costs for the membership platform with any of these options, especially if you are using WordPress. If you’re using Member Mouse or Cart66 Cloud you’ll obviously have the monthly fee, but even if you use aMember, Wishlist Member, of Restrict Content Pro you will eventually need to upgrade to a new version of the plugin and you’ll need to buy the license in order to do that. Since WordPress releases several new upgrades each year, the plugins will also have to release upgrades in order to maintain compatibility and possibly to support new features of WordPress. And of course, the plugins will also need to release upgrades for security patches and bug fixes. So don’t plan to buy a license and never pay again for the membership platform because you will need to pay to keep it up-to-date.

Paying a license fee will usually be preferred over a monthly fee, but there are benefits to using Member Mouse and Cart66 Cloud that make the monthly fee a justifiable expense. From the limited experience I had with Member Mouse I found the support to be very good and very fast. It also has some features that you won’t find with any of the other options, so although it is not right for everyone, it can be a good option even with the monthly fee.

Likewise, I’ve found the Cart66 Cloud support to be good, and with the other features and functionality that it offers I have no problem with a monthly fee. However, you’ll need to consider your own situation and your specific site.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Hopefully this article has helped you to think about some important details before starting your membership site. We’ve covered the details of 5 good options for managing your site, and here are a few conclusions. Keep in mind, this is just the opinion of one person who has used or tried these 5 options, your situation may be different.

Best Options for…

A non-WordPress website: aMember
If your membership website will be a forum of will use some CMS aside from WordPress, take a look at aMember. It integrates with a ton of different systems which makes it pretty versatile.

A site that is a combination of e-commerce and membership: Cart66 Cloud
No other option offers the same combination of features for a traditional e-commerce site and for membership. I currently use it on a site and I strongly prefer it to using separate systems for membership and individual purchases.

A membership site that doesn’t need a ton of features: Restrict Content Pro
This is a great option that works well and is user-friendly. It doesn’t offer all the features of some of the other plugins, but if you’re not going to use those features they can just cause bloat.

A large membership site that needs some advanced features: Member Mouse
The monthly price will turn off some people who don’t need all the features, but Member Mouse includes some functionality that can help to make a membership site highly profitable. Things like 1-click upsells, save-the-sale downsells, dripped content, and engagement statistics make it a great option for those who will put these features to good use.

Other Options:

These aren’t the only options for membership websites. Some other popular options include:

What’s your experience? Do you have any recommendations?

Please note: All of the information in this post is intended to be accurate, but things like features, functions, and prices can change any time, so please verify any information on your own before making a purchase.

November 28 2013

00:58

Why We Love WordPress (sponsored)

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LearnWebDevelopment.com is celebrating their 10th anniversary of training Successful Web Designers! The secret to their success is constant research of the best training for their students. Take a second and let us show you why we love WordPress and think it’s the best platform for you.

Also, the anniversary celebration is still going on and they are giving away party gifts each day! Get in on the action here.

Tags: WordPress

November 27 2013

04:15

How to Choose the Perfect Hosting Solution for your Needs

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Choosing a hosting company that suits your needs can be a daunting task. Anyone who’s ever switched from one host to another knows that it can be a tedious process and it’s just plain annoying to do. So, choosing the right hosting company from the get go, one you will possibly stick with for years, is critical.

All hosting providers are not created equal, some are better than others, some have features better suited for your needs, and some even a better reputation than others. Depending on what you intend to do with your hosting account or server, there’s a lot of questions to ask yourself before you settle on one:

  • How much traffic will you be getting?
  • How much bandwidth and storage will you need?
  • How many domains and/or sub-domains will you be hosting?
  • Will you host only your own sites or your client’s sites as well?
  • Ecommerce website? Do you need SSL?
  • Will you be reselling hosting to your clients?
  • Do you even need hosting? Would all-in-one solutions like SquareSpace, WordPress.com, Tumblr or Virb be enough for you?
  • Does the host offer any type of discount if you purchase hosting for multiple months or a year?
  • Do you need shell/ssh access?
  • Do you need a domain? Some hosts offer a free domain name when you purchase a hosting plan.
  • Do you need to be able to choose your OS? Linux or Windows?
  • Do you know what runs the HTTP server? Nginx, Litespeed, Apache, Lighttpd?
  • Does your website or project require you to deploy scripts like Ruby on Rails?
  • How comfortable are you updating your server? Should you go with a fully managed or an unmanaged solution?
  • Will you need to manage your hosting account on the go? Does the host offer a mobile app to manage your account?
  • Are you comfortable installing a CMS like WordPress yourself? If not, does the hosting company provide one-click installation?
  • Do they offer 24/7 support? Email, phone, support tickets, live chat?
  • Where do you want your server to be located? Do you need a CDN?
  • If you’re moving to a new host, will that new hosting provider help you move your files and databases over? Is there a fee?
  • If you choose a small plan to start, will your hosting company let you upgrade to a bigger plan or server? What are the costs associated with this?
  • Are there setup fees when you open a new account?
  • Does the web host offer some guarantee when it comes to uptime? What’s their check interval?

You obviously don’t need to answer all of those questions. But try to answer as many as you can, it should help paint a clearer picture as to what you might need to look for in a provider. If you don’t know what Apache, Ruby or SSL is, chances are an unmanaged dedicated server is not for you and you should probably aim for a cloud hosting solution or a managed VPS. Don’t forget to get in touch with the hosting company you’re looking to signup with and ask any question you may have, and test their level of support and responsiveness.

There’s a million hosting companies out there, so selecting the one you will give your business to is no easy task. Thankfully we’ve selected some of the top ones that have a focus on designers, developers and creatives, and we have all this right here in a handy list. Check out the features of each provider and then make your choice. I hope this post helps you make the daunting task of finding a hosting company easier.

MediaTemple

MediaTemple
MediaTemple is loved by many designers and developers and for good reasons. They offer plans ranging from cloud hosting, to VPS and managed or unmanaged dedicated servers. I can speak from experience when I say that MediaTemple’s support is quick and friendly. Here’s a quick rundown of the packages they offer:

  • Grid Hosting: $20/mo
  • Dedicated Virtual: starts at $50/mo for the managed solution, and $30/mo for DV Developer.
  • Dedicated Virtual Enterprise: $2000/mo and up

MediaTemple also offers a content delivery network service called ProCDN that starts at $20/mo, as well as some other great services like Move to MT, where they’ll move your site over to them for a small fee.

Eleven2

Eleven2
Eleven2 offers shared hosting plans starting at $44.55 per year, as well as reseller hosting, VPS plans and dedicated servers that are reasonably priced. They also offer their customers a great iPhone app for those of you who need to manage their account on the go.

WebFaction

WebFaction
WebFaction is definitely geared towards developers. You get full shell access and tons of tools pre-installed like Python, Ruby, Subversion and Git. Prices start at $9.50/mo, or $8.50/mo if you pay yearly.

Rackspace

Rackspace
Rackspace is more than just a cloud hosting provider. In fact I believe they offer the highest level of customization of all the hosting companies listed in this post. Cloud monitoring, load balancers, content delivery network, email hosting, managed colocation, and that’s just to name a few. Their support is unrivalled too.

They offer so many options via their website that finding a solution that suits your needs may not be such an easy task though – but get in touch with them and you’ll see why I praise their support so much.

WPEngine

WP Engine
WPEngine focusses on hosting WordPress-powered websites and they’re great at it. Their plans start at $29/mo. While they may not be the cheapest option around, if you’re using WordPress (the self-hosted version, of course) you cannot go wrong with WPEngine as they are 100% focussed and dedicated to WordPress. Their service even handles upgrading WordPress for you so you can go back to actually running your business rather than updating your installation.

KnownHost

KnownHost
KnownHost is not a cloud or shared hosting company. Their focus is on VPS and dedicated servers. But don’t let this fool you, you can actually get a VPS with KnownHost for about the same price as a well-featured shared hosting plan. Their VPS plans start at $25 per month and their dedicated servers at $179/mo. Oh, and if you do go with a VPS, you still get full root access.

HostNine

HostNine
HostNine is another provider that offers a broad range of plans and packages. Shared hosting plans start at $3.45/mo, VPS plans at $25/mo, and their dedicated packages start at $175 per month. Like a lot of other hosting companies they offer 1-click installation of popular apps like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and others.

Pixeno

Pixeno
Pixeno was founded by designers and that’s a good thing. Only designers can understand the needs of other designers and from what I’ve heard they “get it“. Their “personal plan” starts at £3.95/mo (around $5.35 USD per month). They also offer cloud servers that let you build your own plan – select the number of nodes you need, the amount of storage and how much RAM you need, and off you go!

WebHostingBuzz

WebHostingBuzz
WebHostingBuzz has some very inexpensive plans. Shared hosting plans start at $4.95/mo, VPS plans at $14.95/mo, and dedicated servers at $139/mo. When you signup with WebHostingBuzz you also get $100 worth of Google Adwords vouchers, which is always nice.

FlyWheel

FlyWheel
FlyWheel is another hosting provider that focusses on WordPress sites. Their control panel is elegant and their plans are well-featured as well. Basic packages start at $15/mo and include malware monitoring. They also have a CDN service that’s rather inexpensive, at $10 per month.

ThisWebHost

ThisWebHost
ThisWebHost has been a favorite of mine for a couple years now as far as shared hosting goes. I’ve hosted a lot of websites with them over the years (some with quite a lot of traffic) and their support staff is extremely responsive and friendly. Their shared hosting plans start at $3.95/mo and they also have semi-dedicated and dedicated plans that are very reasonably priced, too.

Digital Ocean

Digital Ocean
With Digital Ocean you can deploy an SSD cloud server in less than 55 seconds — no joke. They focus on cloud hosting plans starting at only $5 a month. One of the great features of Digital Ocean is that you can choose to be billed monthly or hourly, and you can easily scale things up or down with just a single clicks. Need more RAM? No problem.

Content Delivery Networks (CDN)

A CDN is a network or servers located around the world. The goal of a CDN is to serve content fast no matter where your end users may be located. Without a CDN, some of your content may be slower to load for users that are far away from your server. For example, if your server is located in New York City and a user in Australia tries to access your website it may load slower for them. A CDN is a great way to offload some of your static files and serve them faster to your users, no matter where they are in the world.

Some hosting providers offer a CDN service to their user, often at a reduced cost. Here are some great options:

  • EdgeCast / ProCDN: $20/mo for MediaTemple customers
  • Cloudflare: starts at $20/mo, free for MediaTemple customers
  • MaxCDN: starts at $9/mo for 100GB of bandwidth

What About Dropbox?

Do you have a Dropbox account? Did you know you can actually run a small website off your Dropbox account? Some content management systems even integrate very easily with Dropbox to serve your files. You’re already paying for your Dropbox account, why not use it to serve some files or even host a file-based CMS?

Here are some great CMS solutions that make great use of Dropbox:

If you don’t require a CMS you can even host full static websites using Dropbox and Github. But of course a real hosting company will be much more reliable, secure and will offer a lot more benefits (support, SSL, email addresses, easy management, etc…), but at least you have options.

Conclusion

I hope you this post useful. Do you have personal recommendations for hosting companies? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!


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November 26 2013

14:00

10+ WordPress Plugins to Boost Your Social and Organic Traffic

One of the best things about WordPress is the ability to extend the functionality of your WordPress installation with the use of plugins. You don’t have to mess around with the core files of WordPress since these plugins can easily achieve the same result and exist independent of the core WordPress files. At the time of writing this article there are over 27,000 plugins available via the official repository and many more in the form of premium WordPress plugins. I know how well the readers on 1stWebDesigner love their WordPress content, so I have decided to do a roundup of some of the very best WordPress plugins you can use on your site to attract more visitors via organic and social channels.

Put Your Best SEO Foot Forwardgetting the SEO basics covered

Social
Making sure you have a good permalink structure, adding a proper title and meta description for your posts, generating a valid sitemap, no-indexing pages you don’t want Google to show in the search result, having Google Authorship show up for your articles, and others are some of the things you would want your SEO plugin to handle, and thankfully there are quite a few WordPress plugins that will help you setup SEO on your WordPress site. There are many plugins out there that does very little or as much as you want when it comes to SEO, here are a few of them:

It’s important to have a sitemap for your website, this helps the search engines to discover content on your site. There are multiple sitemap options, if you use one of the plugins mentioned above you will get the option to generate a sitemap. Yoast has a video module that you can purchase to get video sitemaps, it also comes with Google+ Authorship, Web Master Tools verification and more. Premium SEO Pack offers a lot of additional features like integrated Google Analytics, monitor 404 pages, SEO slug optimizer, SEO friendly images, 301 link redirect, social stats, internal link generator, etc. So depending on which plugin you use you might not need to use these other plugins that can help you with SEO on your website.

  • Broken Link Checker – can be used to keep tabs on 404 pages and the plugin will send you an email. You can then go in and manually fix or redirect them.
  • SEO Friendly Images – If your images do not have the alt attribute, SEO Friendly Images will add them according the options you set.
  • Simple 301 Redirects – provides an easy way to add a 301 redirect for the posts, pages on your WordPress site. You can even set wildcard redirect rules using this plugin.
  • Automatic SEO Links – is quite useful to generate internal links from within your content. Set up your keywords and urls and the plugin will intelligently add the url to the keyword within your WordPress posts.

Content Optimizationbecause content is king

This is again something that some of the SEO plugins like Yoast and Premium SEO Pack can handle but if you need a standalone solution with specific set of features you might want to check out Scribe. It should be a good tool when you want to work on a content marketing strategy, it can help you with keyword research to finding good related content.

Related Contentyour users want MOAR

Related Post
Having related posts show up in your post is a great way to add some internal links to relevant content on your site. There are quite a few number of options on WordPress when it comes to related posts and here are a few of the best choices.

  • Zemanta Related Posts – Along with some great responsive related post layouts, this plugin offer stats about pageviews and clicks from the related content block.
  • SEO Auto Links & Related Posts – Like the Automatic SEO Links plugin this plugin can help you with internal links along with the ability to show related content to your visitors.
  • Outbrain – A related post plugin that comes with detailed stats, so you can see what related posts are working best for your content.
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) - Comes with a lot of features like cached related posts, adding related post in RSS feed , etc.

Time To Get Your Social Onincrease social sharing and audience

Social
Showing visitors your active social channels is a great way to get them to follow you. Most social networks has their own badges and buttons you can use to get this done but if you want to get something that stands out from the others you could try a plugin that lets you add social buttons to you site, Arqam – Retina Responsive WP Social Counter Plugin might be a good option if you have a responsive WordPress theme.

Premium SEO Pack and Yoast SEO plugin comes with the ability to add Facebook Meta data to your content. If you want to take it a step further and add support for Twitter Cards you can check out TCWP – Supercharged Twitter Card Management for WP. Do you want to allow your visitors to tweet out specific content from within your post? There is a plugin for that too.

One of my favorite social tool is Social Locker for WordPress. This plugin lets your visitors unlock content in exchange for a tweet, Facebook Share ( or like ) or Google + Share( or +1 ). I have had good success with it while used in moderation. You can see this plugin in action on a site that I run.

The Need For Speed – Improve the speed and performance of your website

The speed in which your website loads is one of the factors Google looks at when ranking a website and any webmaster can tell you how important it is to rank well in Google for your keywords. A faster website also means that your visitors don’t have to wait to see the content you offer. There are various options out there that you can use to speed up your WordPress installation. One of the best ways to do this is by using a caching plugin. This allows your content to be cached and you can serve them faster when there is a new request for that information.

Personally I have used W3 Total Cache in the past and can say it does a really good job (but there is a bit of learning curve to it and it needs to be set up properly).

Next up you could try minification of JavaScript and CSS on your site. There are multiple plugins you can use to achieve this. Personally I have stuck with W3 Total Cache which comes with JavaScript and CSS minify option, so in my case I didn’t use another plugin to get this done. If your preferred caching plugin does not have a minify option, then you can look into WP Minify, AssetsMinify or Better WordPress Minify.

Schema Microdatadon’t forget this in the grand scheme of things

Schema
Most major search engines have accepted schema.org microdata to better understand the content on a page and this enables them to show rich snippets in search results. There are various plugins that helps you add this information into your post. Some WordPress themes comes with these features built in to the theme. If your theme does not have that you can always use a plugin to get this up and running on your WordPress powered site. Some of the options you have for this are:

So there you have it, some of the best WordPress plugins that will help you with on page SEO and boost social interactions on your site. Let me know if your favorite plugin failed to make it to the list, just drop me a tweet or G+ post about the plugin and why you think it should be listed here.

November 22 2013

15:03

15 Free And Awesome Responsive WordPress Themes

In this round up, we are showcasing some fresh and awesome free responsive WordPress themes. WordPress is very well-accepted and well-known blogging platform that’s why millions of people are using it. With these WordPress themes, you will be provided with wonderful features which are very useful for your work. Furthermore, all these WordPress themes are easy to use and you can easily edit them depending on your needs or requirements.

So, make your website or blog look stunning with these WordPress themes. With the use of these responsive WordPress theme, you can make your website stand out from the rest as well as give a long lasting impression on your customers or website visitors. So, come and grab this amazing chance and start browsing through this fresh collection of WordPress themes.

Responsive

( Demo | Download )

Responsive Theme is a flexible foundation with fluid grid system that adapts your website to mobile devices and the desktop or any other viewing environment.

Designfolio

( Demo | Download )

Designfolio includes a responsive slider and portfolio, and it scales perfectly to fit any size screen on a computer or mobile device.

Yasmin

( Demo | Download )

Yasmin is a responsive wordpress theme. That means the theme will adjust itself to the screen size of various devices used to browse the web. Let that be your desktop, laptop, tablet or even your smart phone. You will not have to swipe and drag to see the content overflowing your small screen sized devices. It is not only the site layout that is responsive, even the media elements like images, slideshows and videos are responsive in this theme. This is based on the skeleton Framework.

Yoko

( Demo | Download )

Yoko is a blog theme that is well suited for larger magazines or blogs. The theme offers plenty of space for widgets in 2 right-aligned sidebars. For WordPress 3.1 +, also available on WordPress.com.

GoPress

( Demo | Download )

GoPress is a super minimal and lightweight free WordPress Theme by WPExplorer that is perfect for any magazine, news or blogging website. The theme has been created with a focus around the basic post format to keep things super simple and make it easier for you to transition from another theme to this one or vise-versa.

Luminus

( Demo | Download )

Responsive WordPress Theme built with twitter bootstrap

TBLOG

( Demo | Download )

TBLOG is a fully responsive – fluid WordPress theme for personal bloggers, furniture showcase sites, portfolio style websites.

TumblePress

( Demo | Download )

You take pictures, you write stories and opinions, you make videos, you link to cool sites all the time. Tumblr is perfect for that but there’s one flaw, you don’t get to control everything as easy as you would with WordPress. You’ve got no control over your database or server and you can’t even do anything with its SEO.

Meeta

( Demo | Download )

Meeta is a simple blogging theme, but packed with many premium features, like: unique widgets, custom templates. The theme is absolutely free!

Sampression Lite

( Demo | Download )

Sampression Lite is a minimalist, fully responsive, retina ready, translation ready, clean theme, perfect for blogging. It’s lightweight responsive design allows this theme to adapt across a range of screen sizes.

Tetris Free Masonry Tumblog WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

Tetris is a responsive Tumblog style WordPress theme created by AJ Clarke from WPExplorer.com. The theme features a masonry style homepage and archive pages to showcase your posts in a modern fashion and makes use of WordPress post formats so sharing different media types is extremely easy.

Customizr

( Demo | Download )

Enjoy designing your website live from the WP customizer screen. Choose your options : skin, logo, social profiles, slider, layout, home featured blocks… you can even customize your css live. And this is it! The clean and fully responsive design can be used for any type of website : corporate, portfolio, business, blog, landing page, etc.

Destro

( Demo | Download )

Responsive WordPress magazine theme with 3 home page layouts, 300×250 ads, 125×125 ads, 8 premade (Black, Blue, Red, brown, pink, white and Green) ready to use color schemes/skins, 2 page layouts including a full width page template, featured posts, social icons, twitter updates, threaded comments and widget support.

Respo Theme

( Demo | Download )

Respo is amazing WordPress theme with clean, sleek and customizable design. The theme is suitable for presonal blogs and/or online magazines. This is a responsive theme, able to adapt its layout to the screen size of your visitors. (try resizing the screen and see for yourself) The sliders for this theme is responsive too, which means it works super sleek on mobile device like ipad or iphone.

Adapt

( Demo | Download )

Adapt 2.0 is a free responsive business WordPress theme created right here at WPExplorer. The theme features a very clean and elegant business portfolio style design making it useful for small businesses, agencies, portfolios and more.

03:00

32 Well-Designed eCommerce WordPress Themes

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One of the amazing things about WordPress is its versatility. It is not just for blogging. It’s not just for portfolios. It’s not just for business/corporate websites. You can find a WordPress theme for almost any type of organization, from bands to restaurants to retail stores. In fact, eCommerce themes are one of the easiest themes to find, beside general purpose themes, and eCommerce layouts come in all shapes and sizes, with many being responsive themes as well.

But creative eCommerce WordPress themes aren’t always easy to find. Many seem to follow a certain format, very often with little visual stimulation…except for the collection below. In the following list, we have compiled some of our favorite well-designed eCommerce WordPress themes for your enjoyment and, perhaps, your benefit if one happens to be perfect for a project. Be sure to click on the Demo links since most of these themes come with more than one layout or extra skins. Have fun browsing!

1. StyleShop

Demo & Download

2. eStore

Demo & Download

3. Boutique

Demo & Download

4. Cance

Demo & Download

5. High Fashion

Demo & Download

6. Flatshop

Demo & Download

7. ClassicShop

Demo & Download

8. Responsive Prestashop

Demo & Download

9. Bistro Store

Demo & Download

10. Glamshop

Demo & Download

11. Moderns

Demo & Download

12. Beautyshop

Demo & Download

13. Autumn

Demo & Download

14. Trego

Demo & Download

15. R.Gen

Demo & Download

16. Shopper – Magento

Demo & Download

17. Alysum

Demo & Download

18. Warehouse

Demo & Download

19. Transformer

Demo & Download

20. Journal

Demo & Download

21. Nina Bobo

Demo & Download

22. Velvet Sky

Demo & Download

23. Legenda

Demo & Download

24. Agritourismo

Demo & Download

25. Agriculture

Demo & Download

26. 123Interior

Demo & Download

27. All Around

Demo & Download

28. Balita

Demo & Download

29. Merchant

29-ecommerce-wordpress-themes-merchant

Demo & Download

30. Clock Magazine

30-ecommerce-wordpress-themes-clock

Demo & Download

31. Handmade Two

31-ecommerce-wordpress-themes-handmade

Demo & Download

32. Sliding

32-ecommerce-wordpress-themes-sliding

Demo & Download


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November 21 2013

14:00

10 Free Beautiful WordPress Themes for Bloggers

WordPress is one of the most amazing blogging systems ever created. It’s easy to use and tinker around, which makes it very popular for bloggers, especially for most web designers. One of its awesome features is it’s easy to understand theme structure. Using basic PHP and some of WordPress functions, you will be gazing at the best theme that you could ever see in no time.

Below are 10 WordPress themes for bloggers that will make your eyes pop. They are well-designed and very easy to use.  These themes are directed towards web designers and bloggers alike. Web Designers can make the most out of these themes by ‘inspecting the elements’ of the design and somehow, adapting them to theirs. Bloggers can use these themes on their blogs so that they will be spared on finding or even coding their own themes. Either way, these themes will provide you with some sort of inspiration.  So, what are we waiting for? It’s time to look at these themes!

1. Best theme

10-Wordpress-Themes-Best

2. Respo theme

10-Wordpress-Themes-Respo

3. Aldehyde

10-Wordpress-Themes-Aldehyde

4. Flozo

10-Wordpress-Themes-Flozo

5. Sueva

10-Wordpress-Themes-Sueva

6. Respo-2

10-Wordpress-Themes-Respo2

7. Espressionista

10-Wordpress-Themes-Expressonista

8. Terrifico

10-Wordpress-Themes-Terrifico

9. Playbook

10-Wordpress-Themes-Playbook

10. Elegant Best Business Portfolio Theme

10-Wordpress-Themes-Elegant

These WordPress themes are made for your utilization. However, you are still entitled to do your own designs. In fact, I personally encourage you to do yours. Why? Well because for one thing, it will stretch your creativity and allow you to become a better blogger/web designer. These are just like training wheels to guide you, so that when you’re ready, you will face the real world of web design and blogging with your heads up.

13:59

Essential Features for Building a New WordPress 3.7 Theme

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When you sit down to develop a modern-day WordPress theme you’ll typically be following some design mockup, or at least an idea in your head. This can be a challenge at times when you don’t want to think much about the customizations. But any good WordPress theme should be comprised of a number of key points.

usb wordpress logo theming featured image

In October 2013 the newest WordPress 3.7 release was announced with plenty of new features. Not many updates will directly impact themes, yet it is a marvel seeing how far this platform has advanced since version 3.0. In this article I want to go over some of the core fundamentals you should think about including with every new WordPress theme. Especially for premium or free themes designated for commercial use by hundreds of different webmasters.

Getting Started

If you are unfamiliar with the core fundamentals of WordPress theming please check out their online documentation for more details. The bare minimum requirements should be a single index.php file along with a style.css stylesheet. Your CSS should begin with a comment block indicating the theme name, version, and other key metadata.

But this is quite literally the absolute least effort you could put into theming. Once you can start building in the functions.php file you’ll end up with a whole lot more customization. You can specify new custom post types, taxonomies, pretty much anything technical should be organized into functions and called in your theme file(s), or within the content as a shortcode.

Some of this terminology is newer to WordPress development beyond 3.0. If you are not sure how to build shortcodes or CPTs don’t worry! Plenty of guides online provide an easy-to-copy template of code which you could save as your own snippet for future development. Just be sure to familiarize yourself with these newer features to at least understand how they behave, and how they look in the WP Admin backend.

Theme Headers & Backgrounds

When you click on the “Appearance” link within the admin panel you find a number of sub-links which appear based on the currently active theme. One link says Header and this is very typical with newer WordPress themes. This settings page allows users to change out their header text for an image, or just update the link/background colors.

This is also true with custom backgrounds on the page. You can read more about custom headers & backgrounds which changed a bit during version 3.4. Basically you’d need to code an area for dynamic updates in the header, based on what the user selects. Both of these background/header functions can take an array of settings which determine the default state.

wordpress header custom settings wpadmin screenshot

Backgrounds are slightly trickier but definitely not impossible. Custom Background Extended is a free plugin which capitalizes on this functionality. You can install the plugin and go through the source code to see how it works, or even check out some other related articles online. When targeting a wide audience both of these features can dramatically improve the quality of your theme.

Active Widget Areas

WordPress widgets are another very popular topic that have been around since the early days. However the process for developing widgets gradually advanced over newer versions to achieve what we have today. If you’re not familiar with the process of widgetizing a theme then definitely check out the online documentation or follow along with great tutorials online.

The benefit to widgetizing your theme is not in the ability to create your own widget(although this is pretty cool). By simply coding a widgetized sidebar you are allowing the user to swap out different pre-built widgets to see what looks best on the site. Plugins may also create new widgets giving the user even more options to switch around.

It’s noteworthy that a widgetized area can be placed anywhere in your theme. You could place some in your footer, just after the content, or even at the very top of your layout(think advertising). To get more technical, it helps if you name the widget areas specifically for their intended purpose. Also consider if they are left empty what content should appear, if anything at all.

Once you get comfortable programming widgetized areas into your theme, it might incentivize you to learn how to actually build custom widgets. These can include anything you like from database queries, API data, login forms, and so forth.

Custom WP Nav Menus

This step is probably the other crucial piece to any WordPress theme. Custom headers, widgetized areas, and WP menus are the 3 key points you should always consider. Anything else is definitely beneficial but certainly not required for a successful release.

You can read up more about navigation menus and the wp_nav_menu() function directly on the WordPress codex. The point is to first code a nav menu with a unique name. Then you can implement this menu into your layout with wp_nav_menu() calling the unique name as a parameter. If the menu isn’t setup then it’ll display the typical navigation by default.

Anybody who is somewhat familiar in WordPress should know how to create a custom menu. The user can arrange links and sub-links which become auto-formatted into HTML lists. Then the user selects which menu should be used and it’s all set! Now you would see this user-created list attached to a dynamic menu section already in the theme.

Additional Theme Settings

When you download a new copy of WordPress none of the internal themes have an extra settings menu. This has to be coded manually using the Settings API. It will usually display another link under “Appearance” with any text you choose – it is specific to your theme.

On this new settings page you can practically structure the layout any way you’d like. It can include sliders, input fields, many buttons and even multiple tabbed sections. Plugin developers often need to create their own settings pages for handling user preferences. But themes do not always require such settings – it is often found in more premium products.

monster theme open source wordpress custom settings api

But that doesn’t mean you should be discouraged from the idea! One free theme Monster does a very simple yet elegant job with this feature. Once activated you’ll find a new link “Theme Options” that displays a list of icons. The only option a user may customize is the monster icon which displays at the top of the page. A very simple and almost unnecessary settings panel – however it’s just one working example among a plethora of ideas that you could build into a WordPress theme.

Using Shortcodes

I brought up shortcodes earlier and I want to point out that many themes do not include these by default. Many plugins choose to utilize shortcodes because it is easier for embedding PHP-driven content into the page. Other reasons might include formatting text styles like columns, horizontal rules, link buttons, tables, HTML5 video players, and so forth.

WordPress also has a documented section about their Shortcode API you should look into. The development process might remind you of building a widget. Although these two ideas are very fundamentally different because shortcodes will be added directly into post/page content using brackets. So a new video widget might look like this: [wpvideo src="/media/movie.mp4" width="640" height="480"][/wpvideo]

You have the freedom to name your tags anything you like, so long as it hasn’t already been taken by another plugin or a core WordPress feature. If you are brand new to making themes don’t stress about getting into shortcodes right away. Build something that you can be proud of and make sure it works properly with no bugs. From there you should try updating the v1.0 release to add some extra functionality – and maybe a bit of that functionality includes shortcodes.

Closing

Many of these ideas are commonly understood by folks who are familiar with WordPress. Keep in mind that not everyone wishes to be a developer. So the more you can get people interacting with the admin section and not the source code, the better your theme will scale. But it’s also true that development is messy and sometimes you just need to hack into the code! No matter how you decide to start building themes, just keep practicing and be sure to gauge feedback whenever possible.


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