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Balanced WordPress Web Design:
Greetings from Allan at MindVisionMedia.net, I hope this post finds you all well. I get a lot of questions about why a particular business website isn’t doing well so I thought I would write this quick post to explain some basics that I feel are very important. Today’s business website needs a combination of design principles incorporated to be effective and compete with the 644,000,000 active websites on the Internet right now.
Three very important aspects you’ll want to utilize besides clear, concise content and effective navigation are, social media marketing, search engine optimization and imagery or visual stimulation. WordPress is the choice for business websites with over 40% of businesses choosing WP for their content management system and combining these principles will help make you competitive and get you the attention you seek.
Social Media Marketing:
Compared to the cost of advertising for a brick and mortar business, a website offers almost unlimited advertising in a variety of ways that are extremely cost-effective if not free all together. Of course you can still apply some of the same print marketing techniques for your site as you do with a regular business, but social media marketing is a powerful and effective approach that doesn’t cost anything except some of your time. Connecting your website to various social media channels and publishing detailed content about your goods and services will generate as much traffic or more than regular advertising. It helps to spread the word about your business and attracts followers and word-of-mouth interest.
Search Engine Optimization:
Search engine optimization is becoming more understandable and accessible to the average site owner thanks to a variety of popular SEO plugins. This allows you to not only automate but also optimize your site for most search engines primarily Google. A knowledge of Google Analytics and Web Master Tools helps to fine tune your site even more for specific target markets and demographics.
In today’s visually inspired society, visual content is expected by end users. Whether it involves images of your products, graphics that help explain your services, video commercials, training or presentations, the average end-user will be more engaged if your site has visual appeal. Statistics show that our society reads less and gets most of their cues and information from visual aids. the old saying that a picture speaks a thousand words is more true now than in the past with the high use of digital mediums in everyday life. Sites that don’t have a visual advantage are often left out because the information requires more time to analyze and decipher. Using a combination of text and visual stimuli helps the modern brain to process and determine the message quicker. It also helps the user to navigate quickly to information that relates to what they seek.
Effectively combining these elements in a balanced fashion into your site and message will help you drive more traffic and clients to your business. Balance is the key, the right mix of text, imagery, marketing and optimization makes for a good site that is well equipped to compete in today’s high-tech world. If you are not managing or designing your own business site, be sure your designer or webmaster is effective in implementing all of the above aspects into your design process.
Embedded Video Best Practices | Video Volume
Greetings from Allan at MindVisionMedia.net, I hope this post finds you well. With embedded media, specifically video and advertising being used frequently on websites, it is important to understand some simple rules of courtesy that will make your user’s experience pleasant and enjoyable. How many times this past year have you visited a site or clicked on a video link only to arrive at the page or video that begins playing at live concert sound levels? Or how many advertising videos have you encountered that don’t have controls at all and have volume levels that your neighbors down the street can hear? Embedded video volume best practices seem to have been abandoned when it comes to marketing these days.
I don’t know about you but I have been shocked out of my chair several times by some of these videos and advertisements that start playing at maximum sound volume. It is very annoying and in my opinion, disrespectful. If you have other people in your home or office, this can be quite intrusive and distracting. It happens quite frequently on big sites like Yahoo, YouTube and other sites including news sites too when you click on a news story, article or video. When did the web become so inconsiderate? I’m not sure but I don’t recall it being that extreme prior to the last year or two.
I remember not too long ago there was a campaign to stop TV and Cable stations from blasting loud commercials that were 2-3 times the volume level of the program you were watching but the concept or rather consideration hasn’t been upheld and doesn’t include the web. It is so inconvenient to keep adjusting your speaker volume on every web page you visit or to have an advertisement start playing out of nowhere while you are reading an article, then to have to scroll down the page to find where the embedded video or ad is located which often doesn’t even have any volume or player controls at all.
What is up with that I have to ask? Trickery is not a best practice in web design nor is placing media on your page that the user can’t control or opt-out of listening to. Even with your computer volume set to a low-level, some of these sites, especially the big guys with all of their advertising just explode with loud intrusive volume levels that are mind-boggling and you are forced to listen to or watch before you can see, read or watch what you came there for in the first place.
As a designer who has to build, upload and test a lot, I frequently do a lot of work during off-peak hours while many are sleep and bandwidth is plentiful. There’s nothing like doing research or visiting a website at 2 in the morning and the website you visit has video or advertising at volume level 1000 that scares everybody including your neighbors out of a deep sleep.
To me it is just common sense, common courtesy to adjust volume at a respectful level or to leave the option to the user to turn volume on or skip your ad altogether. But advertisers especially want you to hear their commercial even if you are down the street from your house at the gas station or walking your dog around the corner, unbelievable!
So this post is to remind designers to be respectful, be considerate and always embed your media with low or no volume. Or at least give your users the option to play the media or not with clear direction. Never, never, never put a video at the bottom of your page that starts automatically with high volume and your visitors must scroll down or look for the source of annoying noise or check other open browser tabs and windows to see where the sound is coming from, that is just plain rude and projects a sneaky methodology and purpose.
To be safe in general, I recommend just having the video set to not autoplay and allow your visitors to select the media to play it at their convenience.
YouTube Embedded Player Parameters and API
If you’re tired of advertising and video from websites, especially the big boys and News sites blasting uncontrollable advertising videos with inconsiderate volume levels and no player controls to opt-out, help spread the word on social media, write a post about it and start the conversation in your circles. Maybe the FCC and these sites will get wind of the issue and start to pay attention, thanks!
MindVisionMedia.net offers local Static and Dynamic Web Design Services in the Bakersfield California area. Whether you need a personal or small business website, get reliable trust-worthy design services at reasonable prices to suit your needs. Specializing in Dynamic WordPress design, MVM can help establish your web presence and or improve your search engine ranking using the latest best practices and techniques. Contact MVM now for more information and to discuss your needs.
Social Media Integration
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Greetings from Allan at MindVisionmedia.net and I hope this post finds you all well!
Recent revelations have disclosed that with WordPress reaching record numbers in popularity, the threat of hackers and those who have nothing better to do than infringe and impose on the hard work of others has increased.
Over 75 million websites now use WordPress, that’s pretty impressive for an open-source development project that started out as a tool for Blogger’s!
In a recent article by Imperva, WordPress sites are attacked almost 25% more than any other CMS. Why is that you may be asking, part of the reason is because it is a free tool accessible to not just fortune 500 companies and high-level entertainers, but also to the everyday Joe and Jane who know nothing about websites and may not be Internet savvy enough to know the dangers of starting a website or Blog.
Of course its safe for the most part, but there are hidden dangers lurking just behind all those cute little pictures, graphics and stories on your website or Blog.
Anybody can copy and paste some images or install a plugin to put up a website. But far too many users don’t research or know what the risks are once you open up your life and the life of your visitors and users to the world. Self-proclaimed webmasters often think they have it all down pat, that they don’t need to know anything other than copy and paste, that they don’t need advice or skills beyond that but many have learned the hard way and continue to do so.
According to research, alerts and articles from companies like Imperva and Wordfence, attacks are on the rise partly because of the relaxed, comfort mentality many feel once they set up a website. I am here to tell you there’s more to a WordPress website than having a pretty site with bells and whistles. Not only do you need to know about other skills like HTML, CSS and PHP as well as server-side functions and settings, but having a broad knowledge of security is a must in today’s Internet driven society. Otherwise it’s not a matter of if, but when you will be compromised.
WP experiences 60% more XSS incidents which is a type of security vulnerability which allows attacker’s to inject external client-side code on a website. 48% of all attacks are against retail-type applications, Blogs with many users and login functionality suffer almost 60% of these attacks and more than 60% suffer an SQL attack. Comment spam remains a major thorn in many a side too these days and it can be a nightmare to get rid of if it infects your database and user tables.
What can you do? For one, I used to create passwords that I could remember, but now with so many accounts for this and that, it has become almost impossible for me to remember all of them. Now with experience in matters of site security and helping others with the same, I create passwords that are impossible for me to remember let alone a hacker to figure out, called “strong passwords“.
This helps a great deal but it doesn’t stop there. Changing that strong password periodically helps as well as having good reputable security plugins and themes installed. Old themes and plugins leave cracks in your security so always update right away if the update won’t break your site or have major conflicts with the normal function of your site that is. If so, search for an alternative but know that occasionally it may be best to eliminate that conflicting plugin altogether.
Always research the update to know before hand if a conflict is expected, check the log files and change log of that plugin or theme to see exactly what they changed. In some cases as with the popular Responsive Theme in recent updates, an update can break your site and cause all types of problems. Also, install an SSL certificate if you do a lot of e-commerce or user registration, this will help protect valuable personal information from you and your customers and registered users.
Your web host should be reliable and accessible 24/7 to address issues with security and also provide updates and notices about current threats. They should provide you with information about their efforts to fight such threats openly and in a timely manner. After all, one site can infect an entire server so it is in their best interest to educate and work with their clients to ensure everyone is protected.
And don’t forget, keeping your personal computer safe is part of maintaining a website too, an often overlooked aspect of site security. if your computer is infected and you are uploading files to and from your site, guess what, you’re spreading the infection! Other than that, always keep a recent backup of your site and database in case of the worst scenario.
Greetings from Allan at MindVisionMedia.net, I hope this post finds you well.
With technology and all of the do-it-yourself software and resources, many people are designing their own websites, graphics, videos and the like these days. Others rely on professionals to do these tasks because of various reasons. A lack of time is usually the main reason because there is allot to consider, do and maintain, then comes the learning curve and not knowing what or how to accomplish and maintain what is involved with designing a functional website.
There are some things you should watch out for when choosing a webmaster however. I can’t even tell you how many people I have helped with their websites after hiring a webmaster, a site they can’t even access themselves. They have no information on the site, they have no login or password information, they can’t update their site or make changes without contacting the webmaster who often times can’t be found or contacted after they received payment. It sounds crazy but it happens quite a bit to people who aren’t in the know.
Some of the things you should look for in a webmaster are trustworthiness validated by positive references, testimonials or comments, patience and good listening skills which are required to receive and conceive your vision and bring it to fruition. A variety of skills including visual design, web design and or programming, use of the latest tools like WordPress and methods used on the Internet and in graphic element design such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash development tools etc.
The title “webmaster” evokes a lot of stereotypes and bad experiences in some people. There are so many crooks and scammer’s out there that it often makes it difficult for people like me to gain the trust of potential clients.
Your webmaster should be social media savvy so they can incorporate the various social channels into your site and allow you to connect them all in a way that maximizes your publishing and creation outreach to your social network. They must have good communication skills and multiple ways to be contacted (they should not be mysterious, hard to find or difficult to contact.)
They should share everything with you as the process unfolds that pertains to your hosting server, your website or blog, your content and the design/development process. They should have allowed you to sign up for and register your own domain name and hosting package offering you help to complete the process. They should be willing to give you copies of anything that pertains to your website and answer questions willingly. Finally they should be capable of implementing some form of SEO for your site to help promote your web presence to Google and other search engines.
Also, there are many places offering free domain names and free web hosting that attract a lot of people but many don’t realize what they are getting in to. As most of us have heard at one time or another, nothing in life is free and this applies to designing websites, domain names and hosting services as well. Predominantly when they say “free”, there are hidden aspects that catch many off guard. Free domain names usually have hidden fees that show up later and are often owned by someone else, you’re basically just renting the domain name.
Free hosting usually comes with the companies obtrusive ads being placed all over your site in exchange for “free” hosting. There are also limitations on storage, bandwidth and customizations. They use your site or web presence to promote products of their choice to generate profits in exchange for your free hosting account.
The problem with this is that you can’t control the ads or choose which ones show up and you get no profit from any sales either.
Even new WordPress users experience some of this when choosing between independent hosting using WordPress.org as opposed to choosing WordPress.com. WordPress.com is free and makes it very simple to get started, but it has many limitations. WordPress.org on the other hand has no limitations and allows you full control and unlimited options but you must pay for your hosting service separately. In the long run and if you are serious about your WordPress site or Blog, this is the preferred option.
These are just some of the main characteristics and skills to look for in a webmaster and just some of the options to consider when choosing a web host or domain name to ensure that your website or blog will be built and hosted properly and with minimal issue or conflict down the line.
Hello from Allan at MindVisionMedia.net and I hope this post finds you all well!
I get asked a lot from people who are just starting with web design and wanting to put up a website, “What should my website be about?”. Over time my answer has gotten shorter and shorter because it’s really up to you, skies the limit. Now you do want to have a website that attracts people based on something they need or want or have an interest in but in this vast world and with so many people, you can hardly go wrong these days.
Many people think that if it’s already out there, it can’t be done, or they think that if someone else has already thought of their idea, they have to find something else. So I often give what I like to call, “My Hamburger and Gasoline Philosophy for Web Design” speech. This deals with a fact of society that we often overlook or take for granted. The next time you are at an intersection waiting on a red light, take look at all four corners of the intersection, more often than not, there will be 2-3 fast food places or commonly, hamburger joints, or there will be 2-3 sometimes 4 gas stations at the same intersection.
Most fast food restaurants sell hamburgers, yet even if they are all in close proximity to each other, they are all making money selling the same “product”, why? Because not everyone will like hamburger #1 from one place and prefer to buy hamburger #2 from another place right across the street and so on. This is simply called freedom choice or to each his or her own. They are all selling a common product or providing a common service that has much in common but not everything in common. Hamburger #1 might fry theirs while hamburger #2 might grill theirs and use a special spice combination which makes them uniquely different thus appealing to a different demographic of the same market, people who like hamburgers!
This in my opinion applies to everything in life. One person could look at somebody and see the most beautiful person they have ever seen, while another person looks at the same person and see the most hideous person they have ever seen, I think we have all experienced that at one time or another, LOL. And so it is with everything, what you like is not always going to be liked by the next person for whatever reason.
Uniqueness is what sets us apart and this is essential to understand when deciding to create a venture of any kind. How many hamburger joints can you think of right now off of the top of your head? We all know the giants and most popular, but think of all the mom and pop hamburger joints in between who are providing their own unique version of the same product. The common denominator is, they are all making money!
Now lets look at gas stations, they all sell gasoline for our vehicles right? Yet there are gas stations everywhere, commonly at intersections and you will see cars getting gas at each one. Not everybody will buy gas station A and prefer to use gas station B instead. I think we all have our favorites or preference that we try to adhere to and sometimes, if you are poor like me, you’ll get gas whenever or wherever you can based on price, which is a “unique” characteristic that appeals to me and those frugal like me. Some gas has a better reputation than others when it comes to performance or additives that help your vehicle run better, some high-end cars are even required to use only a certain type of gas or you will end up with poor performance, etc.
I use this Hamburger and Gasoline Theory for web design lecture if you will, to encourage people not to worry if someone has already thought of your idea. Don’t worry that there are hundreds, sometimes thousands of other sites doing what you wan to do or selling what you want to sell or providing the service you want to provide, none of them will do it the way you do it. Your individual uniqueness will set you apart and appeal to a portion of the same market.
So when you are discouraged because you find out that there are other sites doing what you wanted to do with your site, push forward and use your God-given uniqueness to do it your way, not theirs. Look inside your creative self and make a way for your site to be unique in some way that will set you apart. It doesn’t matter with 7 billion people on the planet and websites capable of reaching an international market that is not restricted to using just one product or service. Of course if your site is geographically specific, the global market isn’t a factor but still, you can set yourself apart from the guy down the street and even across the street, this is capitalism and why it can work for each of us.
So dig that idea you just threw away out of the trash and un-wrinkle that piece of paper or draft and look at it from a now different perspective. Build it and they will come. Concentrate on how you are different from the other guy or gal, know that someone will like your site and not like the others because there is room for everybody on the world-wide web, that’s the beauty I think, on a brick and mortar job, the competition is or can be fierce, but on the Internet, skies the limit! Good luck and do your best to be the best at whatever you decide and forget about the competition.
Just remember, My Hamburgers and Gasoline Philosophy for Web Design and you’ll do fine!
Greetings to all of my subscribers, visitors and loyal followers from Allan , may this post find you all well.
Have you ever gone to see a movie when it first premieres for the first time (opening night) only to find out it was a dud or not what you thought based on the excitement generated by the advertising? I have and I tend to wait a few days or maybe longer to get some response or feedback before I waste my time and my dime these days.
I tend to have this same approach when other things first come out as well. Haste makes waste as most of us older folks know from experience.
The new WordPress 3.9 update is no exception. Not that it is a dud, a waste of time or the reviews are horribly bad but with major changes to the core, many are reporting broken sites, themes and or plugins as soon as they update. According to various WP open source developers and forum reports, these issues in over 90% of the cases are due to themes and or plugins not being up to date and there are a lot of these floating around, especially when it comes to the free stuff. For me, there is a lot of risks involved so I just think it’s a good idea to let some of the wrinkles get ironed out before taking the chance of experiencing down-time on my site or others I manage, especially if it is a business site.
Premium theme and plugin developers tend to keep their products updated and in accordance with each update in WordPress. But there are free themes and plugins that are behind in this process and they need time to get with the program or risk being left out of the market as more and more WP users become very intimately familiarized with the development and update process involved with the worlds most popular CMS in recent weeks and months. users are not just going to go “willy nilly” on downloading themes, plugins and updates without considering the risks now a days. The web WP community is being given a crash course in how complicated the open source project is and the relentless efforts developers take to ensure we all have a dependable experience.
Since I have and manage large sites that would require extensive updates, patches and fixes being applied and the replacement of potentially incompatible plugins that are not compliant with the new update, I’m using caution when approaching such major updates and overhauls to the CMS core. This not to say I won’t update, it only means I will wait and give plugins especially, time to catch up and address these conflicts before I just click update.
You may want to exercise the same caution when it comes to the latest releases to avoid major overhauls of your site especially as mentioned if it is a large site or blog that relies heavily on plugins (which is kind of hard to avoid since everything in WP is handled by plugins) and sites or blogs with 20+ pages of heavily modified content. I have heard of some pretty scary nightmares happening out there and there is even a request from WP on their forums to please not make your forum posts personal and hostile.
To read about some of the issues and conflicts being experienced by users, go to the WordPress Codex site and other forums to see what is going on and what people have to do to fix these issues. Nobody wants downtime on their site if they depend on it for income as many do these days with a bad economy still looming and fluctuating and not enough jobs still impacting millions in America and the Internet becoming a source of much-needed income more and more. report bugs here: https://core.trac.wordpress.org/newticket
I can’t wait to take my first test run with all of the great new features. Thank you WordPress Developers for all of your HARD work!!!
Check out these links here to get an idea of what is going on and being done to get everything running smooth again:
I’ve added a new Plugin to my favorites list, it’s called Easy Google Fonts and I just did a video on how to use it here:
It is one of the easiest plugins to set up and use and you will love the choice of available fonts it provides. WP is known for its clean easy to read look but sometimes you just want a different font other than the default used in most themes and this plugin will grant you the option without hassle.
Email me at my website with your request and when I get enough requests, I’ll produce a tutorial video on that topic, theme or customization method!
Check out my MVM Products Page for NEW details and pricing. Get private One-on-One training or support, Site Editing or Full Design Services at reasonable prices that beat the competition!
Thanks for reading the Latest WordPress News from MindVisionMedia.net. Until next time
Peace and blessings,
Hello from Allan at MindVisionMedia.net and I hope this post finds you all well.
If 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.
Hello from Allan at MindVisionmedia.net and I hope this quick post finds you all well.
Building a Dynamic WordPress or a Static HTML website is a visual venture that requires images one way or another, especially if you are producing content , ads, etc. In this post I will reveal The Best Stock Photo Solution for 2014. As you probably have already found out, the price of stock photos to use on your website can sometimes cost just as much or more than your site cost to set up which is a deterrent as well as a mystery for many. Well do I have a solution for you that will not only blow the high-end competition completely out of the water but save you BIG bucks in the process while offering you the same quality of images you would expect from the big expensive guys who change and arm, two legs and a spleen to purchase as few as 2 images.
Its called the Dollar Photo Club and they are revolutionizing the Stock Image industry with an emphasis on making these images available to users at a tremendous savings while still offering the quality we all want.
The big boy’s as mentioned, can charge as much as $50-$100 dollars for a single image and that can add up when you have a site that needs more than a few images to convey your message, create banners and ad’s etc. This photo resource site has become my favorite and I will never, and I repeat never go back to the big guys like iStock Photo, ShutterStock or Getty Images. When I think of the money my clients and I have spent using these services over the years, it makes me kinda sad, that money could have been used for other aspects of the design process, marketing campaigns or many other options and add-ons involved in the site implementation process.
Now, I get nothing but praise from the Internet community I expose this information to, they are elated to save big money and still get the images they want for their project without committing to lengthy terms, memberships and high over-priced images.
And no, I am not getting paid by Dollar Photo Club, I just love their approach and want to help rid the Internet of over-priced stock images all together. Do yourself a favor and go on over to Dollar Photo Club at http://www.dollarphotoclub.com/ and see for yourself, and do tell a friend, you’ll be a hero in your own circles, I guarantee it! Enjoy
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.
The 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.
You 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.
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.
Greetings to all from Allan at MindVisionMedia.net and I hope this post find you well!
My name is Allan, and I use WordPress everyday. There are a few things I keep wishing WordPress had built in to the new design. This post examines a few ideas I have for the awesome development team at WordPress.
Add Comment Settings to Media File Parameters: Please give us an option to set this while already setting parameters for the media file. By default, WordPress sets comments to on for media files. You must manually turn them off as they are not turned off in the Discussion settings along with pages and posts.
Seeing comments when you turned them off can be confusing to most. But this little know back door that allows comments (especially comment spam) to enter unobstructed.
Having an option to quickly turn comments on or off for media files while looking at and setting the main parameters for the image anyway would be super convenient.
Personally I had to go back and turn them off individually for over 100 images. Unfortunately there is no bulk editing feature to edit multiple media files at once. You can do this for pages and posts but not media files. This would be another great addition to the media section while you’re adding the above-mentioned comments option guy’s, add extended bulk media file actions (hint)…
Add Updated User Count to Dashboard: It would be nice to have an updated user count when logging in or “hovering” over the User link in the Dashboard.You can quickly notice if you have gained or lost users when you log in to your WordPress Dashboard.
This gives you the ability to prioritize your time in the Dashboard by knowing right away if you need to do User Management during this session. Lets say I have 132 users when I log out, but the next time I log in, I have 148 Users, now I know that I need to do some User management right away to check the roles for these new users and any management tasks I have set up for my members.
It can be visible already or appear when you hover over the user link as with some of the other Dashboard menu items. Of course its just a bell or whistle, but it sure would be a handy quick reference when I first log in to my Dashboard.
Hopefully I’m not the only user who sees a use for this and it would be relatively simple to add this particular convenience feature to an already elegant and user-friendly interface.
I think it would help quite a few people who run membership sites and it would look pretty cool if the colors matched the selected profile colors.
Add Settings for Revisions: Oh boy, this one holds a special place in my WordPress heart. Please give us a setting to turn revisions on or off, or at least restrict how many we want to save on an individual post basis. Having every single edit saved is not practical for non-editorial, article or Blog-style sites.
And for some websites who challenge their allotted query limit on their database, this is a factor that can make or break a site. I shaved over 12MB off of my database recently just from unneeded revisions.
The feature is necessary but not in its present configuration. I’m hopeful that enough threads are on this topic to get the attention of WordPress so they add this much needed feature in the next update. I use a plugin to manage my revisions but if WordPress or Jetpack would add a feature, that would take a big burden off of the end user and add even more power and control to this amazing CMS.
Imagine how this could help a giant corporation using WordPress to manage resources on their VPS or Dedicated Servers that rely on lean running databases.
Chime in folks, let WordPress know your thoughts and ideas. It is an Open-Source Project that can’t continue to grow and dominate without real-time feedback for some its most frequent users…
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!
If 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.
Go 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.
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:
The 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!
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 188.8.131.52 (old) and version 184.108.40.206 (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
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 220.127.116.11 update has many people scratching their heads.
It reminds me of the old adage, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…..
Don’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 (18.104.22.168). 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 “22.214.171.124 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 126.96.36.199 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 188.8.131.52 from version 184.108.40.206, 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 220.127.116.11 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
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.
If 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.
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 18.104.22.168 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:
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 22.214.171.124. 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.
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.
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.