Tag Archives: wordpress tutorial

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WordPress

Responsive Theme Free Time Saving Tips

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Hello from Allan at MindVisionMedia.net and I hope this post finds you all well.

Responsive ThemeIf you are using the CyberChimps Responsive Theme free version, there are a few things you need to know that will save you a lot of headache. I get so many users rejected from the forums asking for really simple instruction on where to locate files and perform simple tasks such as changing a font or title size and many other changes that I thought I would write this quickly to help clear up some of the confusion and clarify a few things.

Many around the world are using earlier versions of this great theme and are not familiar with many of the changes that have taken place just in the last few weeks and months. This short post includes some valuable tips for old and new versions.

The 2 major changes that will affect users of older versions who update are,

1. The old home.php file is now called the front-page.php file

2. The style.css file is no longer visible in the dashboard under theme editor, it is now located and accessible on your server at the following path: wp-content>themes>responsive>core>css>style.css.

When it comes to modifying the theme there is more than one method and or option available to you as follows,

1. You can use the built-in custom css panel under Theme Options>CSS Styles to add css code snippets that will over-ride the themes parent style

2. You can set up a child theme and add those modified css codes to the child theme which will over-ride the parent css style

3. Or you can activate Jetpack in your WordPress dashboard and use the Custom CSS feature (can be used for any WordPress Theme modifications, not just the Responsive Theme)

As more Responsive Free users seek help, these simple tips will help make your Responsive Theme journey a little less cumbersome. To know more about how to identify and find the css code snippets you will need to make these style modifications you can watch my video tutorials on How to Edit WordPress with Firefox part #1 and #2, these WordPress video tutorials will give you the power and confidence to make changes without the wasted time and rejection found in the free forums.

As always, use a child theme (watch my video tutorial on Child Themes Update for 2014 on YouTube) or at the very least, make a copy of the files you plan to edit using a text editor such as Notepad or Notepad ++ (not Microsoft Word) so you can always fall back if you break the code or experience a problem.

By
Allan Whitney
Owner/Administrator
MindVisionMedia.net


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WordPress Your Sitemap and Google | MindVisionMedia.net

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WordPress Your Sitemap and Google | MindVisionMedia.net:

Hello to all from Allan at MindVisionMedia.net and I hope this post finds you well.

Few realize the importance of your sitemap when it comes to Google. The sitemap, for those who are not familiar, is a file that tells Google or some other company, what pages to “fetch” or scan on your website from time to time and it represents a tree or directory to the pages most important in your site to your visitors. This file has(usually XML) ahs more than one purpose, it assists in updating the search engines and helps people find you based on your content. This process involves repeated scans or “fetches” by Google which are set at an interval you can modify if needed.

sitemap3The other purpose of directing your visitors to the pages they want or your sites map, is performed by the same file but displays in a browsers window as the result of a link or button being pressed. One function performs behind the scenes with Google and the other performs on screen as a tool or guide to find your content.

There are many sitemap Plugins that zip out a sitemap for your site or Blog, but you’ll want to edit or take the time before-hand to set up some limits before creating the sitemap. The most common form is an XML file but some programs offer a choice of XML or HTML. I use an HTML version for my site visitors and an XML version for Google.

The power of the sitemap is in adding instructions that tell the search engine when and how to check for updates in your content, by date, frequency, by category, by specific page or post, etc. The point here is to make sure you are not including pages that don’t relate to your target market directly and maximize the intent of the sitemap to make these Google fetches targeted and effective.

sitemap2You don’t want Google indexing your contact page, image galleries, pages not complete yet or made public, or your privacy statements when there are other more pertinent pages or posts that directly relate to your target niche. Look at these scans by Google as wasted because Google scanned  unnecessary content for nothing, Nada, zilch, of zero benefit to you or I or more importantly, our site.  This includes any information (pages, posts, media file pages, etc) that don’t help your search ranking or your seekers find you for the information they need.

Another negative affect to having Google fetch a bunch of extra pages or every page in your site is the impact on your sites resources! That’s right, each fetch generates queries in your database. Your query limits could possibly be affected, compiling any other burdens on the database currently by having a bloated sitemap in combination with a high fetch rate. You may be faced with a slow loading or inaccessible site as a result and in some cases for large sites, you will have to adjust the fetch rate for Google’s Bots, to reduce the time between automatic fetches and minimize the burden on your resources.

A good sitemap will only have the pages or posts most relevant to the content, keyword, niche combination, thus maximizing Google’s efforts to index your relevant content which will in turn improve your relevancy in searches. It really is a science, a symbiotic thing when it all works together and for the big guy’s, who have marketing firms, web development companies or teams working on site refinement, SEO and Analytics, the end result is amazing, we see their presence everyday. But for the small guy or gal managing their web presence alone, it can be daunting and time consuming. Just when you think you’re done, there is something else you need to do to refine your site even more to compete.

Best Practice:

  • Always edit and maintain sitemap to give clear instructions to Google Bot
  • Target your niche in searches and only add relevant content in sitemap that you want indexed
  • Adjust Google fetch rate according to your update frequency and available resources.

So don’t neglect, or entrust your sitemap to some free plugin entirely, examine your site’s map and you will often notice references on there that are not needed. A little refinement goes a long way and has several benefits as you can see.

By
Allan Whitney
Owner/Administrator
MindVisionMedia.net


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WordPress – Still Getting Comments – Here's Why!

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WordPress has established itself as the most popular CMS available today! Used by fortune 500 companies, celebrities, municipalities, major news organizations and the little guy or gal, it offers robust features, versatility and social media integration. But it has it’s vulnerabilities also and one must be diligent to prevent WordPress from becoming a hackers dream.

When it comes to comments, unless you are running a Blog and are willing to moderate and manage the numerous comments and maintain a good level of security against comment spam, you’ll want to disable comments on your pages and posts. This is accomplished easily by going to the Discussion settings  under the Dashboard label of Settings, and de-selecting the first 3 check boxes. Typically this works pretty good, but you may not be done!

screen-optionsIf you do this after the fact, there could be pages and posts in your site or Blog that may have already been created that have comments enabled. This setting located in each individual page or post as you create it, overrides the settings under the Discussion menu.  to see this option as create a new page pr post, click on the screen options tab at the top of the page or post editor and check the box for “Discussion”. This will show options at the bottom of your posts to either allow Comments or not. You can now make sure that comments are turned off for that particular post.

There is a quick way to do this, especially if you have a lot of pages. Click on “Pages” in your Dashboard, this will bring up a list of all of your pages (the same applies to posts), click the top check box above the list next to the word Title to select all, click the bulk actions box and choose Edit from the drop down, then click apply. A new window will open allowing you to select options for the entire page list you selected at once. Disable comment, and Trackbacks and Pingbacks if desired and save your settings. you just disabled comments on all pages you selected with one click.

select-all-postsGo to the next page, select all again and do the same thing until you have disabled all comments on all pages and posts in your list. Now you have absolutely turned off comments and no individual page will override the main settings. Looking good so far, but wait theres more! Few people know or notice, that WordPress, by default enables comments on all of your Media files you upload to WordPress. Thats right, after all we’ve done so far to disable them, there is still a “Back Door” vulnerability in WordPress to receive comments.

Unfortunately, there is no bulk actions option when dealing with media files. Why they didn’t put this ability or option in the newest version I’ll never know. But you will have to manually edit each media file to turn off comments. A tedious task if you have a lot of images. I recently discovered this back door vulnerability and experienced some comment spam on my site. Now I have truly disabled ALL comments on my site for pages, posts and media files and the comments have finally stopped. Of course there are some plugins out there to help but I wanted to make sure they were all turned off myself.

Be aware that when you create a new page (or post) or add new media files, you’ll have to double check to make sure there are no options set to allow comments. there are ways to edit the core files and turn them off from the core, but that is an extreme measure if you are not sure you won’t want comments at a future date. I didn’t haver to go that route and I am happy with the results from doing it the way I described above.

WordPress will never be free of hackers, spammers and the like, so again, if you don’t want to deal with comments because you are just too busy (like me) or you are not running a blog or discussion site, use the methods described to put a stop to it, once and for all, but with the option of turning them back on if you desire later on.

By
Allan Whitney
Owner/Administrator
MindVisionMedia.net


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WordPress 3.8.1 Revisions feature causes Database problems!

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WordPress 3.8.1 Revisions feature causes Database issues!

Hello from Allan at MindVisionMedia.net, I hope this post finds you well.

I love the new WordPress versions, they are full of nice changes and features but I recently started having serious issues with my WordPress website. Load time for everything was beyond forever and most of the time whatever I was trying to accomplish timed out. Logging in was a nightmare, trying to edit a page or post was a nightmare, and dealing with my hosting company over the issues was a nightmare.

In the end here’s what I learned:

WordPress-3-8-1-upgrade-550x349-435x349The new versions (3.8.1) of WordPress have built-in a revisions feature that is great in theory, but in reality, we don’t need a copy being saved every minute and we definitely don’t need our hosting company trying to charge us for more database space because we have reached our quota which is what I had to deal with in my case. I was exceeding my database quota several times a day and as a result, I could not log in or get any work done, extremely frustrating to say the least.

After going around and around with my hosting company who apparently didn’t have a clue when it came to my database, I started doing my own research and discovered that the “revisions” feature is causing problems everywhere. Especially for larger sites or sites with lots of posts or pages such as mine. I then researched some database plugins and settled on 2, “Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions” and also “Revision Removal”, both plugins helped me accomplish my goal of deleting all revisions, setting the max revisions to (2) and optimizing the database after reducing its size to less than half its previous size! If you use WordPress, then you are familiar with these words: “Thank God for plugins”

While researching I found numerous people suffering the same issues with their database and there are tons of Google topics on the subject of reducing the database size because of the “revisions” feature in the latest version of WordPress. I am hopeful that WordPress developers will reduce the capability of the revisions feature and limit the revisions to 3-5 max. It appears that no thought was given to the impact of saving so many revisions on the database and I would expect them to correct this very soon.

We all like having a backup copy of our work and the security of knowing that if something happened like a power failure, we would have a revision to fall back on, but in one case I had 115 revisions to just one page alone! Multiply that times 30-40 pages on a site or blog and you end up with hundreds of revisions eating up your database. With so many great features added to the new version, I can’t figure out why they overlooked this flaw. After a week of headaches and frustration, hours on the phone and support chat with my hosting company and hours of my own trying to research and solve my slow-loading and hanging problem, I am finally back to normal thanks to those 2 plugins.

So for anybody else experiencing slow page load, slow log in, slow page or post editing, check your revisions, if the numbers are high, it could be that the number of revisions you have is slowing down your database and site and could cause you to be dead in the water as far as getting any work done. So far I love everything about the new WordPress except for the “revisions” feature, it is too much (over-kill) so please WordPress Developers, add options or limit the number of revisions that are saved as well as the time between revisions being saved, and add some built-in controls to delete revisions or set how many revisions you want to keep.

We all need to give our feedback to WordPress so they can resolve this issue ASAP so please chime in on this subject and let them know. Thanks!

By
Allan Whitney
Owner/Administrator
MindVisionMedia.net


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CyberChimps changes support for Responsive Free

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cyberchimps-supportCyberChimps changes support for Responsive Free as of February 1st, 2014. Hello everyone, I hope this post finds you well. CyberChimps will no longer be providing pro level support for the Responsive Theme Free version and will limit whatever support they do give. You will need to sign up for a paid monthly support service or upgrade to the Responsive Pro theme which comes with support. This means that users will no longer be able to get help with customization issues regarding CyberChimps Themes, in particular the Responsive Theme formally of ThemeID.

Sites like MindVisionMedia.net and Allan’s YouTube Channel that have filled a niche for support, help and training for WordPress and the Responsive Theme even before the transition from ThemeID are a valuable resource for the web, WordPress and Responsive Theme user communities. Users from all over the world take advantage of the resources and free training available from sites like MindVisionMedia.net and its sister channel (MindVisionMedia Tips) on YouTube .

The Responsive Theme is one of the most downloaded and used free themes among WordPress users today. Finding help with this theme or should I say not finding help with this theme is part of what motivated the creation of this site and the series of training videos it provides. So if you use the FREE Responsive Theme from CyberChimps and need support or help customizing your theme, checkout the free resources at www.mindvisionmedia.net and also the free training videos at MVM on YouTube!

CyberChimps is doing a great job turning the company in to a competitor on the market and they have some great themes. But there still remains a large free theme-user community that needs help and guidance. For those who would like to read the announcement from CyberChimps, click here. It is understandable that a company would need to streamline its resources and focus on profit and making every minute count. This is another opportunity for the open-source community to step up and provide the needed guidance for those who aspire to be a part of this wonderful thing called the Internet.

By
Allan Whitney
Owner/Administrator
MindVisionMedia.net

 


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Responsive Theme Home PHP vs Front-Page PHP

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WordPress Responsive Theme Home PHP vs Front-Page PHP:

Hello all, I hope this post finds you well. In recent months I have received several emails about conflicts using methods I demonstrate on some of my tutorial videos with the old and new theme files. When CyberChimps took over the Responsive Theme from ThemeID, changes to the theme soon followed. One of the changes was the file name change of the home.php file. The newer versions of the theme called it front-page.php instead. this caused some confusion from people watching some of my older tutorials that dealt with the file name home php. You can watch the video below.

I try to make it a habit never to teach or upload a method or tutorial that has not been tested over and over by myself and others as well but to ensure that there were not any issues with the methods I was and still are using in my video tutorials, I decided to test each version of the Responsive Theme with these editing methods. I decided to make this a video tutorial as well so that it could help clear up some of the confusion regarding the  files, home.php and front-page.php.

Both files handle the main page content, the title, sub title, the main content and call to action button, and on the right side the featured content (image, video, etc). the newer file does have some slightly different code in it but that is because the code has been improved and made compliant with new web standards. All of the instructions for the content on the home page of the responsive theme are still there in both files. Any additional, modified or missing code in the new file should just be ignored as edits are made to the file in a child theme or on a copy as they do not apply to the modification being made.

My Full Width Slider Tutorial on YouTube has drawn attention to this issue as some have stated that it doesn’t work on the new file. Please watch the video as I test the methods on 2 versions (very old and very new) and discover that if applied correctly, these methods will allow you to modify your Responsive Theme easily and with satisfaction.

Each file is compared in a side-by-side and the differences and similarities are discussed on video, then 2 versions of the Responsive theme are tested with the methods, version 1.8.9.3 (old) and version 1.9.4.9 (new). the results indicate that the methods do work and are proven and tested on both older and newer versions of the Responsive Theme. these methods not only work on the Responsive Theme from CyberChimps but other WordPress themes as well. Care must be taken when working with any code however whether it be on a child theme, the original file, a copy, etc. Even one character of code left out or added to the equation will break the code and cause problems.

If you are new to dealing with CSS and PHP, please take your time when editing the code, copying and pasting the code, cutting out code (removing), etc. Be sure to work off of a child theme or a copy of the original file as recommended in all of my video tutorials. That way you have a backup copy of your work to fall back on in case you make a mistake or break the code. Visit my Website or YouTube Channel for more information

MindVisionMedia.net

MVM on YouTube

By
Allan Whitney
Owner/Administrator
MindVisionMedia.net


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2014 WordPress Responsive Video Tutorials

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New 2014 Learning Material:

Hello to all and I hope this post finds you well. This year is going to be full of new powerful tutorials from MindVisionmedia dealing with the Responsive Theme and many others.

There are 5 brand new WordPress Video Tutorials on YouTube right now that will help you enhance your Responsive Theme from CyberChimps to new levels. YT-channel-ThumbThese easy to follow videos are made with the beginner in mind. There are plenty of rushed, fast-paced videos on YouTube already, I try to consider those who are learning web design as well as WordPress.

So far the feedback for the MVM site and YouTube Channel has been great both nationally and internationally. I wish at times I had a full staff to assist me with all of the feedback, questions, comments and suggestions.

This whole thing started out with me just wanting to help others through the frustration of learning WordPress and in particular the Responsive Theme from then ThemeID. Now I have over a thousand followers and over 80,000 views with hundreds of hours of tutorial lessons viewed. It has become more than I expected and the demand is still there for content like this.

To see these new 2014 video tutorial releases and more, visit my YouTube Channel at MindVisionMedia Tips

 


 Coming Soon!

2014ThemeA new video tutorial series on the new 2014 Theme from WordPress. This is a powerful theme that will be sure to please just like its predecessors, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The new 2014 theme is packed with features and is aesthetically superior in my opinion to the previous updates with its magazine style format and layout options. With all of the theme competition out there, this default theme will definitely give the big boys a run for their money, figuratively speaking since the theme is completely free.

I can see their won’t be much that needs to be done for this theme in the way of appearance, they’ve done a good job of that already. The layout options can serve so many genres which makes it a very versatile theme. The test I’ve run on it so far show it to be smooth and robust. Some users may find it hard to modify though because their doesn’t seem to be many options as with some other themes. But once you know how to navigate the themes available options and apply some different methods and plugins, I think everyone will be happy with this version in the end.

By
Allan Whitney
Owner/Administrator
MindVisionMedia.net


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Responsive Theme Transparent Pages Tutorial

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Have you ever wanted transparent pages for your Responsive Theme from CyberChimps? Well let me show you how simple it is in this tutorial using some CSS and a little patience. Within minutes you’ll have the look and feel you want with see through pages on top of a background image. Watch this easy WordPress video tutorial now!

Using Firebug to capture some simple code snippets (rule declarations) and the available Custom CSS option in the theme options section, you can tell your site to display alpha transparency. Not many people realize what you can do with the Custom CSS panel inside the theme. It’s almost like having a mini child theme inside the Responsive Theme. Whatever you put in that section, overrides the style sheet on your child theme or parent theme, pretty handy!

You can even download the codes I use that make it very easy to modify your site, just sign up for my Newsletter and gain access to the Members section with exclusive access to downloads and resources!

Sign up here!

By
Allan Whitney
Owner/Administrator
MindVisionMedia.net

 


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Responsive Theme Update 1.9.3.5

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Hello all, I hope this post finds you well.

Have you noticed how this once moderately simple theme is getting more and more complicated? Has your Responsive Child Theme stopped working after the update? Have you tried to find information on the latest update and you keep getting bounced around from link to link and page to page? Me too! The Responsive Theme version 1.9.3.5 update has many people scratching their heads.

It reminds me of the old adage, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…..

RT-beforeDon’t get me wrong I love this theme, I understand progression and improvement, it is the natural order of things in our world, especially technology. The web is changing and so must the methods used to present content on the web. But really guy’s? The transition form ThemeID to CyberChimps was not a smooth one to begin with. And now the updates are getting very difficult and laborious for folks to understand let alone implement. I have been getting tons of request regarding errors after upgrading and a lack of simple to follow information on the changelog for this new update (1.9.3.5). There appears to be this assumption from the developers perspective, that everyone is an expert in WordPress, PHP, CSS and the use of child themes which is obviously not the case as reflected by the overwhelming request I and others are getting for help.

Upon checking the forum at the WordPress Theme Directory as of July 31st, 2013 , only 9 of 91 support request have been addressed for this theme! The new update is daunting for the beginner and even the moderately capable after they have just now finally got the hang of the previous update which changed specific key file names like home PHP to front-page PHP which threw a lot of people off. Now when you try to see what has changed for the new update by following the “get details” link provided, you get bounced around and have to actually explore the forums and support request to get any idea and the threads are confusing to say the least.

As I stated, I understand change and respect the knowledge and abilities these coders possess, but make that change something everybody can understand and implement, not just coders. When you click on the “1.9.3.5 details” link, it doesn’t take you to the normal simple update details window, instead you are taken to the WordPress Themes Directory page where you get an introduction to the Responsive Theme. Then you have to click on support and start looking for what changes have been made specific to the new update and how it will effect your site. The only thread that says anything about update 1.9.3.5 says something about “child theme not working after update“. When you click on that thread, the person is typically bounced to another forum thread and it states, “they don’t check these forums”. Eventually you find something about child themes and a reference to the CSS “@import used in child themes to call the parent theme CSS as a reference for the standard layout. They suggest changing to a <link> tag to call the external stylesheets.

When you click on that link, you are taken to yet another thread that has one post with a link to another page that finally has information about the update but don’t get exited yet, you get bounced again to GTMetrix for a quick lesson on CSS Rule summaries and page load times. Still no detailed information on the actual update and how it will impact your site with simple instructions on how to transition. As of July 31st, a link is provided for an example of the new updated child theme CSS rule’s use and that link takes you to a blank page. The link to the so-called changelog details at GitHub also takes you to a blank page.

In the beginning I got very little help out of the forums for the Responsive Theme (I won’t get in to the reasons I suspect) and noticed that only certain people received detailed, patient responses from the developers and forum moderators. Thusly I took matters in my own hands and dissected the theme, and started my site (http://www.mindvisionmedia.net) and and my corresponding YouTube channel filled with FREE specific Responsive Theme tutorials to help others get the simple and direct answers to many questions they sought in the forums. The response (no pun intended) has been amazing and I have had hundreds of people from all over the world contacting me for clear, unbiased assistance with the Responsive Theme. I have provided over 120,000 minutes of training and explanation for over 20,000 viewers worldwide since March of this year.

I am not boasting or bragging because those numbers are not that much in the scheme of things, but rather validating this post. Although this theme is still very popular, the developers have taken a lot for granted as it relates to the common man and woman who like this theme and they assume everybody is an expert in WordPress, PHP and CSS. A simple question about font size of changing color is often unanswered or the request is bounced around to many other forums and threads to no avail. Thats where I have come in to the picture, little old me, someone who came from static HTML with no formal WordPress, PHP or CSS coding experience yet I have helped so many people and get the most amazing comments and accolades from my viewers it is unbelievable.

All this to say, for those now faced with the daunting tasks of updating the Responsive Theme once again to version 1.9.3.5 from version 1.9.3.4, be cautious and take your time. The update is recommended, not mandatory. It is always a good idea to update to avoid hackers, security vulnerabilities as well as adding new features but be very careful with this update. Previously updating your theme didn’t effect your child theme modifications most of the time and this was the whole reason for using a child theme in the first place. But update 1.9.3.4 impacted child themes by changing the name of the home PHP file, this update apparently will directly impacts your child theme’s load time and may cause your child theme to stop working according to the support thread mentioned above.

I am currently working on a tutorial that will hopefully take the fear out of the update process for my viewers and those who have put in a lot of work and time on their sites already who may be worried. My time is limited but this update effects me as well so I am doing my best to complete a video addressing some of the update issues that are being discussed. I selected the Responsive Theme as my choice in the beginning and despite less than adequate support, I stayed with it, I have promoted its use hundreds if not thousands of times, given props to the developers and will continue to do so. But for those who need clear, patient, simple direction or answers, can they expect to get it at CyberChimps? Probably not if you are using any of the FREE themes. You’ll have to upgrade or get a support contract for that. But you can get free support and answers to a lot of your questions regarding the responsive theme at MindVisionMedia.net

By
Allan Whitney
Owner/Administrator
MindVisionMedia.net

 


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WordPress Basics – Advice for beginners

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WordPress Basics – Advice for beginners!

New to WordPress? Here’s a bit of friendly advice: Take your Time and be Patient!

If you come from static HTML design, be prepared for a few surprises. Be prepared to learn best practices for backing up files and working with PHP and CSS. To accomplish what was easily accessible in Dreamweaver or another WYSIWYG web program, you’ll have to install and use plugins to accomplish the same thing in WordPress.

file0002062790027If you are totally new to WordPress, just be patient. Haste definitely makes waste when it comes to WP. It can be very exciting designing your first website and seeing your idea come to life on the screen. The tendency is to rush and make changes right away without having the right perspective or a basic understanding of what WordPress is and what building a website consist of. Take a step back and digest each change, think about what the user will need and want, not so much what you want. After all, your visitors will visit your site more than you.

Creating a plan is something I recommend in my video tutorials and on my site, especially for beginners. You’ll want to have an idea of where you want to go with layout and design before you start installing and editing anything. Mistakes and regrets run high for first-timers with WordPress. Doing a little research, taking a look inside the forums and watching some tutorials is a good way to see what you will be getting yourself into with this powerful and popular CMS.

Research the Theme you plan to use because themes and theme options vary widely. Use your plan or vision to search for a good theme that will suit your needs, rather than trying to later modify a theme that doesn’t suit your needs well in terms of layout and functionality. Is the theme child-theme friendly? Is it popular and does it have good feedback from other users? Does it leave room for expansion and adjustments?

There’s no use trying to create a three column layout from a two column layout when there are tons of three column layout themes available to begin with. There are thousands of themes, both free and paid to choose from and most beginners are not aware of this. The WP theme dashboard gives you some really good search criteria when searching the built-in theme depository from within WP.

Forget about design in the beginning (at least the physical part) and concentrate on administration first. Get your WP installation setup correctly and with the right settings and the right tools first. This will allow you to build your site with minimal risks and counter-productive efforts. Research plugins for images, video, social media, e-commerce and backing up your site or blog.

Setting up a secure user name and strong password, adjusting your site for blog or static representation and choosing your discussion settings should be among the first tasks you complete. All of your time and effort will be lost if your site is vulnerable to hackers and there are plenty of hackers looking for vulnerable WordPress websites. Because WP installs all have the same user-name and log-in by default, if you don’t set these options right away, you could leave yourself wide open to hackers, spam and other intrusions.

Research child themes, starter themes and premium themes.

So my word of the day is “patience”, take your time. Do a little research, gather a little insight before you jump in and start deleting and changing code. Research the available themes and pick the one closest to the layout you want to minimize the amount of work you’ll have to do. A little preparation will boost your confidence and save a lot of time and perhaps spare you from a headache or two.

For a good introduction to the Responsive WordPress Theme from ThemeID and CyberChimps, visit my website. There you will find basic information on web design, WordPress, Blogging and Internet Entrepreneurship. I even show you how to make money online with your new website.

The methods, plugins and concepts demonstrated in my tutorials can be applied to other WP themes as well. So even if you are not using the Responsive Theme, you can still learn valuable skills.

By
Allan Whitney
Owner/Administrator
MindVisionMedia.net


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Responsive WordPress Applying a Child Theme and Updating an Old Theme

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Responsive WordPress Applying a Child Theme and Updating an Old Theme:

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Are you new to the Responsive Theme from ThemeID and CyberChimps? Have you already edited or modified your Responsive Parent Theme files without creating a child theme? In this post, I’ll share with you how I updated my already modified Responsive Theme.

When I first got into WordPress, I like many of you was drawn to the Responsive Theme. At the time it was version 1.8.7. I had never heard of child themes before I started editing and modifying the site and theme. By the time I did hear about child themes and understood what their purpose was, it was very late in the game for my site. I made all kinds of modifications to the CSS and home page files including the widgets and there were two updates available for the theme by the time I woke up.

With the nature of my site and venture, my issue began as ignorance and quickly moved to time as the factor for fixing this issue. I wasn’t sure if I had to start over and do all of that work again or if there was a way to transition into the child theme smoothly somehow. For whatever reason I never got the child theme indoctrination every new user should get. So I started changing things and customizing my site as needed based on research and samples on the web.

I came from a static, HTML WYSIWYG environment so I was already familiar with web design but WordPress, with its dynamic capabilities is quite different. More and more the time that was supposed to be dedicated towards updating my own site, was instead going towards helping people with Responsive WordPress and solving problems. The thought of updating and creating a child theme was always on my mind and I was intimidated by the potential for mishap and losing all of my work.

How long will this take I asked myself over and over. My time is spent creating video tutorials and written learning materials for WP and providing Virtual IT for Responsive WordPress beginners. My site can’t be down even one day and if I mess up, I’m screwed I thought to myself. With version 1.9.3.3 now available for the Responsive Theme (vs my old 1.8.7 version) it was imperative that I do something quick. The older a theme is the more vulnerable it is to hackers. Not updating to the latest version puts you at risks so I decided to jump in head first and tackle this neglected chore.

Now I’d like to share what I did and how it turned out.

First I used my local installation of WordPress and the Responsive Theme to compare versions and files. This was very useful to determine what files have been added or changed in the latest version compared to the older version. I found that 7 files were added and one file was changed in the Responsive Theme as follows:

Changed Files:

  • home.php

Added Files:

  • post-meta.php
  • post-meta-page.php
  • post-data.php
  • loop-no-posts.php
  • loop-nav.php
  • loop-header.php
  • front-page.php

Two files directly impacted my situation, the home.php and the new front-page.php files. The previous version used the “home.php” file to handle the main and featured content on the home page. In the new version, the “front-page.php” file now handles the featured content on the home page. The new home.php file tells the page what classes and hooks to load but doesn’t contain the actual featured and main content, CTA Button, Colophon for the footers Copyright and Powered By information anymore as did the old version.

Once I finished identifying the files that would affect my site, I then created a child theme based on my old modified Responsive Parent theme(v1.8.7). I included copies of all of the PHP files I changed and modified in my child theme directory. Next I tested my child theme to make sure it worked and of course, it did 🙂 To be safe, I backed up my entire site before going to the next step.

I then changed the name of the old home.php file to the new name and syntax, front-page.php. I double checked everything and activated the Parent Responsive Theme (1.8.7), then selected the long overdue update. Once the update was complete and I re-assigned my custom menus, I checked my site for issues with the update. As expected, my customizations were gone but everything else looked fine.

Now it was time to apply the child theme to the new version 1.9.3.3. To my surprise (not really) it worked like a charm. All modifications were there although I had to reassign some widgets and content for my sidebars. Now everything is back to the way I had it and my Responsive Theme is updated to the latest version. Now I can follow the best practice of using a child theme and updating the parent theme as needed without worry.

So in summary, the files to be concerned with are the home.php file, the front-page.php file as well as making a copy of the new home.php file for your child theme if you need it. I placed copies of both home and front-page.php in my child theme directory for future edit. That’s it, creating a child theme and then updating your old, old version of your theme can be done without a disaster unfolding. Care must be taken to examine what files you are dealing with respectively and making a backup is important.

The bottom line, if you are late in creating a child theme or you are working on an older theme version and are reluctant to update for fear of loosing all of your work, try this method. With patience and planning, you can get through it without a glitch.

I will be creating a basic video tutorial overview of the process soon so stay tuned.

By
Allan Whitney
Owner/Administrator
MindVisionMedia.net

 


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WordPress Widgets

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WordPress Widgets

WP-widgets

It is no secret that WordPress is almost unlimited in power and functionality. WordPress Widgets help make adding content a snap while offering choices in layout and placement. All WordPress themes come with widgets, some more than others but there are some really good plugins that can be installed to enhance or “widgetize” your site or blog too. My favorites are “Widgetized Pages Light”, Sidebars and Widget Manager” and “Custom Widgets”.

These plugins give me unlimited widgets and choices for laying out my content that I wouldn’t want to do without. They have become standard and essential tools for all of my WordPress sites.

What is a Widget?

A Widget is a container that can hold various types of content and be placed inside pages or posts by the use of “shortcodes” or default options. There are the typical vertical widgets and horizontal widgets available and the code for the widgets can also be modified. Widgets can be added via plugin or via code. The widget code can be duplicated, copied and pasted and modified in various ways to customize a page or post.

I have modified many WordPress pages by adding additional widgets using both methods and it is a common request for the “home” page of most themes. There just never seems to be enough widgets and I find that people want more and more help adding, deleting and modifying them for various themes.

Standard widgets don’t offer much in the way of formatting and you must use HTML to format the content. But plugins like the “Black Studio TinyMCE Widget” give you all the formatting options available in your page or post editor which can greatly expand your choices for content and more importantly, make your WordPress life a little easier and save you some time.

The beauty of widgets are that they act just like tables and cells constraining your content and helping with layout and placement without the issues commonly associated with using tables for web design across different browser platforms. So if you need widgets, give the above mentioned widget plugins a try with your WordPress theme and see if your ability to manage your content isn’t made easier.

By
Allan Whitney
Owner/Administrator
MindVisionmedia.net

 

 


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How do I use WordPress?

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How do I use WordPress?

WP-How-do-I

WordPress has gained so much popularity in recent years and its growth is exponential. But many first-time users are struggling with what to do with it. It is familiar in some ways and in others its not. There are a lot of word processor and image handling steps in WordPress that are  common to most but connecting the dots to create a blog or website is still daunting to some within the WordPress API.

For most, including myself, the realization that it takes some work to get WordPress set up and running the way you want it to was a surprise. Coming from a WYSIWYG world of web design, I found it strange that I had to install plugins to accomplish what was easily accessible in a static web design program like Dreamweaver.

Once I accepted that fact and got familiar with the options and settings areas (which change from theme to theme), I was able to visualize my plan and how to go about putting my site together. For those who are trying to figure out how to use WordPress, here’s a simple explanation.

WordPress is a powerful dynamic content management system (CMS). It is used for building blog’s as well as Websites both big and small. It is extremely versatile and very capable in how it handles content (text, images, video) and presents it on the web.  Its dynamic nature allows your content to be presented in a variety of ways based on such criteria as date, time, category, etc.

How to use WordPress:

  1. To use WordPress you need a web host and a domain name as with any other website or blog. The hosting service should offer free installation of WordPress and be running the latest Apache servers and PHP scripts. That out of the way, it should be very simple to install wordpress typically with one click.
  2. Once you have it installed you’ll want to check your settings in the admin panel. You want to create a unique user name and password to protect your new WordPress installation.
  3. Next you want to choose a theme from the default themes included or do a search for an appropriate and accommodating theme (for your content and vision)
  4. Once you have a theme activated, you’ll need to explore the themes settings and options to determine what else you will need in the way of plugins. Media and sidebar or widget plugins are essential to add functionality to WordPress so you will want to install those ahead of time. there are plenty of tutorials out there to help use and customize your WordPress site or blog. I offer quite a few on my YouTube channel.
  5. Now you can add content as you would in a Word document or static WYSIWYG editor. There are page templates and formatting available within WordPress to help you design a blog or website style page and customize when to publish it and how it is accessed by viewers.
  6. With WordPress it is a best practice to back up everything very well. Your hosting service should provide backups for the WordPress databases that will be created behind the scenes in WordPress and there are also plugins available to back up your blog or site as well.
  7. Content management is the same as with any website with blog’s requiring a bit more involvement to create and update content on a regular basis.
  8. Extending WordPress is again made easy with plugins for things like social media interaction and SEO
  9. What is left is to promote and continuously refine your content to your niche and the search engines for optimum traffic and validation.

Beginners who are not familiar with web design or WordPress often think WordPress is an out of the box- ready to go thing and in some rare cases it is. But most will want to modify something about the layout of functionality of the theme they are using which requires getting your hands a little dirty with code.  This is where a lot of intimidation comes in. I was intimidated at first as PHP and CSS was new to me. But fear not, you don’t have to know code, you just have to know how to copy and paste it correctly in most cases. The more time and knowledge you invest, the better your site or blog will be. Once I show people how simple some tasks are and what to do to protect yourself and your site or blog, they are free from all fear of changing something or experimenting with WordPress in their own creative way.

I have fallen in love with WordPress from a developer stand point and probably will never use anything else despite having expensive site building tools at my disposal. Don’t be afraid or intimidated because you will soon see that once you learn your way around the WordPress interface and realize you have an entire community of support behind you, there is nothing you won’t be able to do. All I can say to those who are curious is come on in, the water is fine.

By
Allan Whitney
Owner/Administrator
MindVisionMedia.net


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Twenty Eleven Theme Tutorial

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Responsive WordPress Twenty Eleven Theme Tutorial:

Hello all, I hope this post finds you well.

2011-screenshotI just finished a Responsive WordPress video tutorial series part#1 and part #2 on editing the Twenty Eleven Theme. I demonstrate some cool tips for this simple but reliable theme. Mostly used for blog’s, this older theme is also useful as a website with features that are great for the beginner and those new to WordPress or who just want a simple blog.

I also show how to add tons of added options and settings to this theme using simple plugins so you can make it look like your own.  Have full control over the colors and essence of your Twenty Eleven site in just a few clicks. Add video and media content to your widgets with ease and express content more dynamically. Make the simple changes to your site or blog without editing the code!

As an added bonus, I show how to create a child theme for Twenty Eleven, activate and use it as well as what specific plugins to use to enhance your blog or site. I have other great tutorials on WordPress and my videos are geared towards the newbie or beginner so you get detailed information that is not rushed like a lot of videos out there. Do visit my channel and site for more great Tips Tools and Tutorials form Allan at MindVisionMedia.net, you won’t be sorry!

Watch WordPress Twenty Eleven Theme Tutorial Part#1 Now:


 By
Allan Whitney
Owner/Administrator
MindVisionMedia.net

 

 


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WordPress Child Themes Update

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sunday 015Not all Themes Support Child Themes!

Hello all, I hope you are well. I wanted to do a quick post to clear up some questions with regard to child themes. The method(s) used to create a child theme are universal and can be applied to most WordPress themes. The exception is when the theme (parent) doesn’t support child themes. Not all theme developers are child theme friendly and do not put that capability in their design. You have to make sure your theme supports child theme development and support.

There are two things I look for when selecting a theme, whether it is “responsive” and whether it is child theme friendly. These days with so many resources and so much creative inspiration, having a stock WordPress install is almost unheard of. You will want to modify your theme to make it stand out from among the rest. After all, thousands of people have access to the same themes.

The advantages are that all of your modifications to the child theme will be preserved if the parent theme is updated. The work-around is to make copies of the original file before and after to preserve changes and the default code.. I like the fact that I can copy any template file I want to my child theme folder from the parent theme and edit away. Or just copy sections or details that pertain to the changes I want to make. With the exception of the “functions php” file, this file should not be copied over to the child theme directory but rather a new functions php file should be created inside the child theme to interact with the parent functions file.

A quick note: If you find yourself spending a lot of time modifying your theme, you may want to consider searching the themes depository for a theme that better suits your needs. There are thousands of themes available, both free and paid with a multitude of layouts and options for modification. You may be wasting considerable time forcing and trying to fit your content or design idea into a theme rather than fitting the right theme to your content.

I have made several child theme tutorials for YouTube but have recently updated those based on general feedback. My NEW child theme tutorials part #1 and part #2 are available now on YouTube. These updated tutorials are simplified and condensed to provide a simple course to follow for setting up your child theme, activating it and using it. I use the Responsive Theme from ThemeID in this tutorial but you can use any WordPress Theme you want that again, supports child themes.

Follow the links below to watch the new updated child theme tutorials and to download my “simple child theme instruction file” which includes the code you need to set up a child theme along with some simple instructions. I put this simplified child theme file together so you don’t have to be on the Internet to get instruction. You can place it on a flash drive and take it with you. if you have any questions regarding child themes, I’ll be happy to assist, just contact me via my website.

For versions 1.9.3 and earlier!

Watch Child Theme Tutorial Part#1 here:

Download Child Theme Code Here:

By
Allan Whitney
Owner/Administrator
MindVisionMedia.net


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Child Themes – You gotta love em!

Tags : 

Allan-childChild Themes – You gotta love em!

WordPress Child Themes, the nemesis or nightmare of every WordPress beginner and some intermediate and advance users a s well. I know I was intimidated by them when I began working with WordPress. It seemed like a bunch of hard coding or something and I put off exploring and learning about them.

What is a Child Theme? How do I create one? What can I do with it? Do I have to create one? I answer all of these questions in my latest Responsive WordPress Video Tutorial: ” Responsive WordPress Child Themes COMPLETE! Updated Version part 1 and 2 on YouTube now.

This tutorial series on Child Themes covers setting up a child theme and using it within your WordPress Dashboard. See what a child theme does and how it effects your website as well as the benefits and advantages to using one. The Responsive Theme from ThemeID which is child-theme-friendly is used for this demonstration.

The purpose of a child theme is simple, for editing purposes, it allows you to modify the theme files without actually changing the “parent” files of the theme. The Child Theme talks to the browser and tells it to look at it before the parent theme files thus overriding any files in the parent theme folder (directory). This is a good practice because any modifications made to a parent theme will be lost during any update being applied to the theme. So for example if I modify the style CSS  file of the parent theme and then update to the latest version, my modifications will be lost.

If I am using a child theme, my modifications are on the copy not the parent so when I update, only the parent is updated (99% of the time that is) leaving my mod’s in place safe inside the child themes directory. In rare cases a theme may be updated and changed so much in an update that it will require you to make some or all modifications over again. That is why I stress in my tutorials to always make a copy of your CSS or PHP files in a text editor and save them (both the before edit  and after edit copy!) in case of something goes wrong, and we all know about “Murphy’s law”.

If you are unsure about child themes, intimidated by them or need to get one put together quickly and properly, then check out my latest tutorial part 1 and 2.

I also recommend installing “Instant WordPress” on to your computer (PC). This will give you a personal copy of WordPress on your computer (not server) that you can experiment with and learn before going live with plugins or modifications. You can practice on your local installation and only edit the things you are sure of on your live WordPress site located on your server. Developers including myself use this method to try things out first before we start editing the live installation. This prevents you from making mistakes with your live website. Theres nothing worse than someone going to your web address and your site is down or broken.

Once your child theme is up and running you can have way at editing pretty much all the files inside the themes parent folder by making copies of or creating all new files. this is where the power of WordPress is unleashed for those who don’t know. i can’t stress enough to my subscribers that if you are going to be using WordPress, you will have to deal with handling code, not necessarily coding, but handling code. There will be a lot of copying and pasting thats for sure.

Let me know what you think about the tutorial and if it helps. I try to be complete because a lot of the videos I researched when learn were too fast and vague in how the child theme actually works. And yes, thats lil ol me as a child in the picture… 😆

Watch “Child Themes UPDATED” here:

Sign Up to get the Child Theme code and instructions on how to use it here:

By
Allan Whitney
Owner/Administrator
MindVisionMedia.net

 


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