Speckyboy Design Magazine » WordPress http://speckyboy.com Web Design News, Resources & Inspiration Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:52:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 12 Obscure WordPress Plugins You’ll Lovehttp://speckyboy.com/2014/03/26/obscure-wordpress-plugins/ http://speckyboy.com/2014/03/26/obscure-wordpress-plugins/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 15:56:24 +0000 http://speckyboy.com/?p=47672

Running your own WordPress website can be quite a chore. The internet’s premiere blogging platform has plenty of functionality built in, but to add something extra, you will have to be prepared to put in...


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Running your own WordPress website can be quite a chore. The internet’s premiere blogging platform has plenty of functionality built in, but to add something extra, you will have to be prepared to put in a lot of extra legwork. Luckily, an enthusiastic community of open source contributors consistently brings you new ways to simplify your WordPress troubles on a pretty consistent basis.

Whether you lean toward social blogging and personal enjoyment, or you’re strictly in it for the ecommerce profits, WordPress plugins have everything you need to optimize your experience. Although with nearly 30,000 different plugin options to wade through, some of the most useful remain fairly unknown.

Once you uncover these hidden gems your web-life will never be the same. Let’s examine a few of the best.

Ad Codes Widget

Ad Codes Widget drag-and-drop banner ads sidebar plugin wordpress

Adding ads to your WordPress blog couldn’t be easier with this intensely intuitive widget. Use Ad Codes Widgets simple drag-and-drop system to place the banner ads of your choice into your sidebar. Not only that, but you can paste HTML, PHP, JavaScript, and iframes into this widget with zero fuss. Quick, easy, and capitalistically inclined: my favorite kind of module.

Crazy Egg Heat Map

Crazy Egg Heat Map tool plugin wordpress

The Crazy Egg Heat Map plugin is a heat mapping tool that tracks the most frequented areas on your web pages, allowing you to visualize where your visitors click. This can be super helpful
when trying to determine which elements of your page are hindering your conversion scores. Crazy Egg markets itself as a conversion optimization tool that takes over where Google Analytics leaves off.

It has tons of extra functions like an overlay tool that shows what percentage of your visitors are clicking certain elements. It also has a very interesting function called the Confetti tool. Confetti connects individual user behavior to the traffic source. So you can specifically design on page elements for targeted segment groups.

YOURLS

YOURLS shortened URL plugin wordpress

Once your site is up and running, YOURLS is a must-use addition to your plugin collection. It provides a service comparable to Bitly. Inspired by the various character limitations attached to sites like Twitter, YOURLS allows you to customize a shortened URL link that otherwise wouldn’t actually offer any additional information about the page being linked to.

Using YOURLS your links will have access to both identity and economy. For WordPress business sites, packaging your site link in a smaller, recognizable format has obvious advantages. Try an acronym or a catchy nickname and enjoy your lack of anonymity.

ShareYourCart

ShareYourCart discounts products ecommerce plugin wordpress

ShareYourCart is a fascinating plugin that automatically discounts products on your ecommerce site whenever customers share their purchases on a social media platform. Thus you encourage your customers to buy your products, and spread your brand with social shares. A brilliant marketing tactic and an ambassador of goodwill among your buyers as well.

Sharing Buttons and Analytics

Sharing Buttons Analytics buttons plugin wordpress

A complimentary social sharing tool that complements ShareYourCart. Sharing Buttons and Analytics will equip your WordPress site with social sharing buttons that allow your customers to easily share your products, content, or their purchases.

As an added bonus, it tracks the shares along with a number of other social media metrics that you can use to better understand content/product performance.

You get comprehensive data from users who shared your product link including the number of impressions, clicks, and also the amount of revenue you get from each. It also displays information on which social mediaplatforms the links are shared the most.

Q3W2 Fix Widget

Q3W2 Fix Widget fix the position of your widgets on your page plugin wordpress

This is one of those solutions that’s so simple, it makes you wonder why no one thought of it sooner. And now that it is available, you have to wonder even more why it’s not extremely well-known. Q3W2 allows you to fix the position of your widgets on your page. This way, if you scroll down, up, or side to side your widget will always be visible and immediately accessible. You also have the option to fix multiple widgets into your sidebars.

Take a look at this YouTube Demo to get a better idea of how this plugin might work.

Magic Action Box

Magic Action Box plugin wordpress

Another excellent ecommerce offering, Magic Action Box allows you to create an attention grabbing customer magnet in the form of a boxed in headline and offering. You can use it to create highly professional opt-in forms, feature boxes, CTA’s, or whatever the occasion calls for. The boxes you can make are highly customizable withmultiple preset designs available, or you can create your own.

Mingle

If you’re a Facebook addict, check out the Mingle plugin. It’s brand new, and though not fully tested, preliminary assessments are promising. Without going into too much technical detail, Mingle essentially converts your WordPress page into a standalone social media outlet. Among other things, it offers options for a personal profile, posting, and comments; friending/friend activity elements, custom avatar uploads, user tagging, even private messaging. Mingle on WordPress combines business and social opportunities on the same convenient platform

Comment Redirect

The whole point of a blog is to drive visitor engagement. The Comment Redirect plugin allows you to encourage commenter interaction in a more creative and different way than you might be used to. It works by redirecting commenters who’ve submitted their first comment to whatever landing page you choose. This allows you to give them follow-up questions, offers, or CTA’s, until your heart’s content. You can ask for subscriptions, present a survey, request social shares/likes/retweets, the options are nearly endless.

WPFront

WPFront customizable notification bar plugin wordpress

WPFront is a customizable notification bar that pops up after a predetermined number of seconds in order to advertise a specific promotion, news item, or what have you. Helpful for informing your visitors of breaking developments in your business or personal life, as the case may be. The plugin allows you to create a message and an optional button that can redirect the visitor to a different page.

Plugins Garbage Collector

Who wants to add a little bit of speed to their WordPress site? Plugins Garbage Collector can rev up your page load RPMs by cleaning up the mess left in your database by old disregarded plugins. It has a clean and easy to read interface that color codes the vital processes from the trash. If you want your website running at optimum power, picking up this plugin is a no-brainer.

Explanatory Dictionary

Explanatory Dictionary plugin wordpress

The Explanatory Dictionary lets you develop pages with concise content for the well-informed, while attaching explanatory notes to key words or phrases for those noobs who need a bit more information to fully understand. Readers can simply glide the pointer over highlighted portions, and let confusion dissipate.

Concluding

And there you have it. A dozen undiscovered and undoubtedly advantageous plugins sure to bring your WordPress prowess to the next level. Go download a few and achieve your web goals ASAP.


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30 New and Free Responsive WordPress Themeshttp://speckyboy.com/2014/03/10/free-responsive-wordpress-themes/ http://speckyboy.com/2014/03/10/free-responsive-wordpress-themes/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 11:58:57 +0000 http://speckyboy.com/?p=47339

Despite being free of charge, the free responsive WordPress themes we have for you today all have a premium quality to them. All are responsive, so they will adapt to various screen sizes straight out-of-the-box....


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Despite being free of charge, the free responsive WordPress themes we have for you today all have a premium quality to them. All are responsive, so they will adapt to various screen sizes straight out-of-the-box. They have all been built with modern design trends in mind, so plenty of flat designs, large typography and parallax scrolling. All are jam-packed full of useful features and little extras that helps makes each theme that little bit more unique.

As always, the themes will work perfectly well for you as is, but the real fun is using them as a base for further development and customisation. Here they are:

Free Responsive WordPress Themes

DW Timeline (Timeline-style blogging theme)

new  responsive free WordPress themes DW Timeline

DW Timeline Download Page →

Hemingway (Two-column theme for blogging)

new  responsive free WordPress themes blogging

Hemingway Download Page →

Wilson (Blogging theme)

new free responsive WordPress themes Wilson blogging

Wilson Download Page →

Nova (Tumblog-style theme)

freebies designers web Nova WordPress Theme Tumblog-style

Nova Download Page →

Fullby (Grid-based blogging theme)

Fullby WordPress Theme freebies designers Grid-based

Fullby Download Page →

Required (Blogging theme)

Required free WordPress Blogging theme

Required Download Page →

Split Me (Minimal blogging theme)

Minimal blogging Split Me WordPress Theme freebies designers

Split Me Download Page →

Lingonberry (Blogging theme)

Blogging Lingonberry  responsive free WordPress themes

Lingonberry Download Page →

Asteria Lite (Multi-purpose theme)

Multi-purpose new free responsive WordPress themes Asteria Lite

Asteria Lite Download Page →

Yoarts Flat Theme (Blogging Bootstrap theme)

Blogging Bootstrap new  responsive free WordPress themes Yoarts

Yoarts Download Page →

Lefty (Left-aligned theme)

Left-aligned new free responsive WordPress themes Lefty

Lefty Download Page →

Sugar and Spice (Feminine blogging theme)

new free Feminine blogging wordpress theme Sugar and Spice

Sugar and Spice Download Page →

Flatty (Multi-purpose Bootstrap theme)

Multi-purpose Bootstrap new  responsive free WordPress themes Flatty

Flatty Download Page →

Onesie (Landing page theme)

Landing page new free responsive WordPress themes Onesie

Onesie Download Page →

Euclid (Two-column blogging theme)

Two-column blogging new  responsive free WordPress themes Euclid

Euclid Download Page →

Pieces (Grid-based blogging/portfolio theme)

Grid-based blogging portfolio new free responsive WordPress themes Pieces

Pieces Download Page →

Wallpress (Grid-based magazine theme)

Grid-based magazine new  responsive free WordPress themes Wallpress

Wallpress Download Page →

WPChimp Countdown (Coming soon theme)

Coming soon new free responsive WordPress themes WPChimp Countdown

WPChimp Countdown Download Page →

Arcade (Business theme)

Business new  responsive free WordPress themes Arcade

Arcade Download Page →

Cubby (Business theme)

Business new free responsive WordPress themes Cubby

Cubby Download Page →

Socialize Lite (Blogging theme)

Blogging new  responsive free WordPress themes Socialize Lite

Socialize Lite Download Page →

Flato (Blogging theme)

Blogging new free responsive WordPress themes Flato

Flato Download Page →

The Landing Page (Landing page theme)

Landing page new  responsive free WordPress themes The Landing Page

The Landing Page Download Page →

Hexa (Blogging theme)

Blogging new free responsive WordPress themes Hexa

Hexa Download Page →

Ceramics (Blogging theme)

Blogging new  responsive free WordPress themes Ceramics

Ceramics Download Page →

Matheson (Business theme)

Business new free responsive WordPress themes Matheson

Matheson Download Page →

Crates (Tumblog-style theme)

Tumblog-style new  responsive free WordPress themes Crates

Crates Download Page →

Sorbet (Blogging theme)

Blogging new free responsive WordPress themes Sorbet

Sorbet Download Page →

Undiscovered (Blogging theme)

Blogging new  responsive free WordPress themes Undiscovered

Undiscovered Download Page →

BigFoot (Blogging/portfolio theme)

Blogging portfolio new free responsive WordPress themes BigFoot

BigFoot Download Page →

Fullscreen (One-column photography theme)

One-column photography new  responsive free WordPress themes Fullscreen

Fullscreen Download Page →


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WordPress 3.8 Has Been Released this Weekhttp://speckyboy.com/2013/12/14/wordpress-3-8-released-week/ http://speckyboy.com/2013/12/14/wordpress-3-8-released-week/#comments Sat, 14 Dec 2013 08:50:59 +0000 http://speckyboy.com/?p=46000

Named “Parker” in memory of Jazz saxophonist Charles Parker, WordPress 3.8 has been released. This new version of WordPress brings many interesting features to the table, such as the redesigned admin interface and new admin...


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Named “Parker” in memory of Jazz saxophonist Charles Parker, WordPress 3.8 has been released.

This new version of WordPress brings many interesting features to the table, such as the redesigned admin interface and new admin color schemes (eight of them in total). The admin interface is now responsive, and sports Open Sans as the new font.

Beyond that, the Theme Management section has also been revamped, and it now shows bigger thumbnails and screenshots, to help you preview themes easily. Widget management too has been improved, and eight Dashboard widgets have been cut down to just four.

WordPress 3.8 also comes with a new flagship theme, Twenty Fourteen, which comes with a magazine style design including a grid and homepage slider.

However, this new release was not without its share of drama. Matt Mullenweg seemed not very happy with the efforts of the Accessibility team after it was learned that keyboard navigation did not work as expected in the Theme Management section.

That said, WP 3.8 has been released just two months after version 3.7, which shows progress towards a rapid development cycle for WordPress. In that case, WP 3.9 too might be out sooner than expected!

Have you updated to WP 3.8 yet? If so, what are your thoughts? Share them with us using the comments below!


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How WordPress Custom Post Types Makes Updating Easier for your Clientshttp://speckyboy.com/2013/10/24/wordpress-custom-post-types/ http://speckyboy.com/2013/10/24/wordpress-custom-post-types/#comments Thu, 24 Oct 2013 06:43:16 +0000 http://speckyboy.com/?p=44771

A great challenge for any WordPress developer is ensuring that when the time comes to launch your new project, your clients will be able to make basic updates as needed. While there are many steps...


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A great challenge for any WordPress developer is ensuring that when the time comes to launch your new project, your clients will be able to make basic updates as needed. While there are many steps you can take to customize the WordPress admin area, this article will focus on one of the most important: WordPress Custom Post Types. If you’re not familiar with what they are, I recommend reading Konstantin Kovshenin’s post introducing them.

A Custom Post Type is a great way to organize any specialized content on your website. It’s especially effective when you have a client that will be maintaining their own site. It provides a more direct and visual interface for users. In short, they won’t have to search around for the content they wish to update.

In this simple example, I’ll show you how it helped one of my clients easily update a little area of their site.

The Challenge

My client owns her own Yoga studio. For many years, she had an old school static HTML website. Thankfully, she saw the light and decided it was time to convert to WordPress. She was looking for a way to quickly display important information on the website’s home page. Specifically, she wanted to display weather-related cancellation notices.

The (Old) Solution

Back in the day, I might have decided to create a new WordPress category and set the site’s theme up to automatically display any weather-related information. While this would have worked just fine on the front end of the site, it more than likely would have confused my client when making updates in the back end. She would have had to login, click on Posts, add a new post and remember to select the correct category when publishing. Not the hardest thing in the world to do. But, thanks to Custom Post Types, it would have been more steps than necessary and a little more difficult to remember.

The Custom Post Type Solution

Instead of going the old-fashioned route, I decided to simply create a new post type called Weather Alerts. That way, all the client would need to remember to do is login, click on Weather Alerts and edit the single post inside. Much simpler, no?

Here’s how it’s done:

1. Create it on the Back End
There are a couple of different ways to go about creating your own Custom Post Type. You can either paste some code into your theme’s functions.php file:

add_action( ‘init’, ‘create_post_type’ );
function create_post_type() {
register_post_type( ‘weather_alert’,
array(
‘labels’ => array(
‘name’ => __( ‘Weather Alerts’ ),
‘singular_name’ => __( ‘Weather Alerts’ )
),
‘public’ => true,
‘has_archive’ => false,
‘rewrite’ => array(‘slug’ => ‘weather’)
)
);
}

Or, there’s a really nice plugin available called Custom Post Type UI. It gives you a nice and simple way to create and edit posts types inside the WordPress admin area. You can easily configure post types with a number of different options such as whether there should be an archive of posts, is there a hierarchy, should it be included in the site’s search, etc. Taxonomies can also be created and edited.

Plus, when you’ve created your post type, the plugin will even give you code to copy and paste in your theme’s functions.php file. That’s great if you want to disable the plugin at some point while still keeping any custom post types you have created.

Either way is simple enough. The plugin just gives you a simpler WYSIWYG method for getting things done.

2. Display it on the Front End
In this example, we just wanted to show the Weather Alerts post type in a little spot on the site’s home page. For that, it was a matter of creating that spot in the site’s theme and pasting in this code:

<?php
global $post;
$args = array( ‘numberposts’ => 1, post_type => ‘weather_alert’ );
$myposts = get_posts( $args );
foreach( $myposts as $post ) :     setup_postdata($post); ?>
<div class="weathertext">
<?php the_content(); ?>
</div>
<?php endforeach; ?>

<?php wp_reset_query(); ?>

Of course, if you’re creating a post type that will be used to keep a running archive of posts, that can be setup rather easily as well. And, if you wanted to create a custom page template for that post type, simply create a template in your theme (archive-post-type-name.php for the archive page and single-post-type-name.php for a single post).

Custom Post Types give us a really nice way to separate important content. Your clients will greatly appreciate the extra effort you made to make their lives that little bit easier.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg. Custom post types can be used in so many creative ways. I encourage you to dig in and find ways to incorporate them into your WordPress projects.


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Is There a Wordcamp Near You?http://speckyboy.com/2013/09/30/wordcamp/ http://speckyboy.com/2013/09/30/wordcamp/#comments Mon, 30 Sep 2013 07:49:40 +0000 http://speckyboy.com/?p=44070

WordCamps are local/regional/international get-togethers where designers, developers and users meet to share their knowledge. Sure, lots of different software platforms, etc. have their own dedicated conferences. But attending a WordCamp is really not the same...


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WordCamps are local/regional/international get-togethers where designers, developers and users meet to share their knowledge. Sure, lots of different software platforms, etc. have their own dedicated conferences. But attending a WordCamp is really not the same as attending a traditional conference.

First of all, attending a WordCamp in your area is fairly cheap compared to other conferences, with tickets usually around $20 USD. For that, you’ll get a day packed full of learning opportunities, a chance to meet like-minded devs, and a pretty cool t-shirt. How many other events offer all of that value for just $20?

wordcamp wordpress conference

Sometimes, traditional conferences can feel a bit formal and stuffy. WordCamp is nothing like that. There are a lot of creative people in attendance and everyone is encouraged to relax and be themselves. No need to wear a suit or evening gown. In 2012, I spoke at WordCamp Baltimore wearing jeans and a WordPress t-shirt. It felt right at home.

Another important contrast compared to other conferences is that you don’t need to be a WordPress expert to be welcomed and accepted at a WordCamp. In fact, most camps have tracks specifically for users that have little or no experience of WordPress. They are great for getting your questions answered and for learning the basics of the platform.

If you are an advanced designer or developer, there are sessions geared towards helping you learn how to take advantage of the latest and most powerful features from WordPress. I can personally attest to having gained knowledge on many important subjects such as security, custom post types, responsive design and version control. Many sessions will whet your appetite for knowledge and provide a great starting point on your quest to gaining new skills.

WordCamp sessions provide you with not only a diverse subject matter, but a diverse group of presenters as well. You’ll have the chance to learn from expert coders, designers, bloggers, marketers, and quite often, a lead session with someone that contributes to the WordPress Core. Here is Matt Mullenweg speaking at this years San Francisco WordCamp:

That learning diversity is a beautiful thing. Listening and interacting with speakers from different backgrounds, varied specialties and experience levels can have such a positive effect on your own skill-set that it leads you to think outside of your comfort zone and push your WP knowledge ever-further.

Last but not least, you are bound to meet some very cool people who share a passion for their work. You might gain some new friendships and resources for learning even more about your favorite CMS.

Is there a Wordcamp near you? Chances are there will be. You can check the Wordcamp schedule here.


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