Evernote For Remembering Key Web Design Details

Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Photo by missyredboots@morguefile

Years ago, I worked for a paint company as marketing exec. In my office is a huge blue binder packed with nothing but corporate representation design details. It had a page detailing how the logo should be drawn, the height to width ratio and how it should be represented in black and white and color. On another page, there were Pantone and CMYK color codes for print. The web wasn’t big yet then or I’m sure they’d include that. Following that page, there were also more pages with perforated cards with color on one side and color codes on the other. You were supposed to tear these out to give to anyone you work with – printers, ad agencies, gift item people, t-shirt printers. And of course, being a paint company we even had pieces of metal painted in corporate colors with the exact mix to enter in the color mixing machine. I. LOVED. THIS. BINDER! It was my to go for everything and made my job so much easier. When I started designing websites, I quickly discovered key things that are always needed when working on a site such as… General opt-in form code Logo color codes Key website

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How To Check If Your Site Has Resolved

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
Moving

Among the dreaded things when moving web hosts is waiting for your domain to resolve. If you’re new to all this – it simply means it takes time for all the networks around the world to catch up to this change. It could be almost immediate for you but may take up to a day for someone else. The problem is, you can’t tell by visiting your site – if you are indeed viewing pages served by the new host or the old host. This is particularly true if you have not made any change whatsoever to your site. After moving hosts several times for myself and clients, I’ve gathered a few tricks up my sleeve. Small Changes After successfully moving the site, I would go into the site’s cPanel and manually edit the theme or a page with a small inconspicuous image or text. Nobody really knows or sees this unless they are looking for it. If this image/text is not present when I visit the site, I know I’m still being shown the site on the old web host and need to wait before working on it. This is simple and easily done but sometimes you want more

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What’s Eating Up Your Website Disk Space?

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
Overflowing

You’re trying to update your blog but something is not right. Maybe you can’t upload an image or your posts won’t save. You log in to your cPanel to find out you are out of web space. How can that be when you host all your heavy audios, videos and downloadable files on Amazon? Here’s what you should check. How many themes? It’s so easy to get carried away test driving themes – especially when you’re getting started. You settle on one and as time goes by, forget the rest. Individually they are not very large but upload many and watch your disk space fill up. All you need is your existing theme, it’s parent and one default theme as a fallback. Everything else is unnecessary. Unused plugins Same thing with plugins. Time to do some housekeeping of unused plugins. Catchall email, also known as default address Some hosts these days have this disabled but it’s still a good thing to check. I remember when I was a rookie webmaster, my web hosting account was full to the brim and there was nothing huge in my files. There wasn’t even any database or WordPress. The culprit was the catchall email.

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Paint brush

This week, I’m working on a new theme for one of our sites that have been using the same theme since 2008. Definitely time for a change. It’s not just a fresh design. I’m actually changing themes to Builder so I can have a radically different design on some pages and they must be responsive. Why? Let’s just say it has to do with an app I’m building Anyhow, a lot of themes now make heavy use of widgets and frankly I love it. Widgets are the best things because they make updating small portions of a site so easy. The problem with widgets is, not all of them carry over well to the new design. I’m not talking about sidebars those stay the same for the most part but in my designs, I use widgets to display member only links/content, on home pages and landing pages. Most times these widgets are created to fit the design. Thankfully, WordPress allows you to create your widgets ahead of time. Here’s what I did. Before loading the new theme, drag the widgets I’d need to use/create from the Available into the Inactive Widgets panel. Then, simply copy/paste your content, or configure your widgets

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manage-multiple-wp

When you have used WordPress for as long as we have – or manage sites for clients, it’s not uncommon to find yourself in a tangled mess of installations. Most times it’s not a problem until… you have to update the sites. Yikes! In-house, we have perhaps 20+ WordPress installs. I’ve already consolidated some of them into Multisite installs so I don’t have to manage so much but haven’t completed all of them and some are better left as standalone. That’s just us. Not including clients, but I’m not alone. I know of someone with 200+ WordPress sites. Even outsourcing costs a pretty penny. Thankfully, smart developers know that and now, we have options to alleviate the problem. Yay! First – ManageWP. This is the very first system I came across about maybe in 2010 and joined as a beta user. Loved it immediately. It went smoothly for the most part even during the beta. Like every system I did run into issues. One was when some servers (mostly client sites) wouldn’t let you update remotely. This is not their fault. I liked the familiar WordPress style to it, they are pretty responsive and it’s come a really long way.

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XRefresh graphical representation

We absolutely love writing plugins, hacking scripts, building themes and more. On the other hand, I’d be lying if I said some parts of it isn’t a little cumbersome. One of them is having to constantly refresh a page when you’re working on it. It isn’t that is it so difficult. People have asked me questions like, “How difficult can hitting F5 be?” or “Hitting F5 doesn’t take more than a second” Yes. I agree to both statements. However it is troublesome because you often have to switch windows to hit that F5 refresh button. When you’re in your editor, hitting F5 can (sometimes) lead to disastrous results. So there’s actually two things I have to do. Activate the browser window and then hit F5. If you’re doing small tweaks trying to get things *just right*, this can be repeated many times in a short frame of time. Then, I discovered XRefresh. It is a software that sits on your computer and every time I save my file with the edits, xRefresh will also refresh my browser. Since finding it, I’m hopelessly hooked. This is one of those things that you don’t really mind doing manually but when you have

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iThemes Builder Review

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
Builder Rows

Undoubtedly the WordPress theme space is much larger now than it was when we started using it. When we began all themes have to be tweaked manually and many still do but now, they are all over the board. Some have features so you can make editing a few things easier others are chock full of options. And then there are frameworks and things like Builder. How Builder Is Different At its core, Builder is still a theme but it behaves a lot more like a theme builder. The package comes with a default basic, blank child theme. From there, you can construct your very own layouts and each layout can be attached to a specific page. For example I can create one layout to use for the Home page – which is what I’ve done on this site. And then I can create one layout for blogs, archives and categories. Then I can create yet another layout for squeeze pages and sales pages. Once these layouts are created, I can apply them to the posts, Pages and categories I want to use them on. These are called ‘Views’ in Builder. This on its own is powerful. As someone who

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5 Ways To Conserve Web Space

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
scissors.jpg

New web site owners often ask me how much space they’d need for their blogs or pages. Generally, audio visual material and some PDF’s can take up lots of space. The good news is, most web hosts these days give you generous web space so it’s really not something you need to sweat right out of the gate. On the other hand, as your site and traffic grows, it can be quite easy to hit that limit. I’ve done that several times – the good news is, most of the time people hit that limit not because they need to fill all that space or outgrown it. Though that happens. Most of the time, it’s because of poor housekeeping. So if you find your web site getting bloated, here are some ways you can trim it back down. Clear out unused themes. No matter what you use be it WordPress or some other system, theme files can be huge because there’s so much in them. Some themes are leaner than others but if you have copies and copies of old themes you no longer use, no point keeping them around. Clear out unused plugins. Same thing with plugins. Most plugins

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Tutorial: How To Redirect Affiliate Links

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Last week, we talked about doing affiliate program audits. We briefly touched on the subject about redirecting affiliate links. In fact, Santa – a regular reader did an audit, found several programs that need updating. It’s good for him that his links are re-directed so he can just switch them out and minimize his losses. Great real world example of the benefits of redirecting affiliate links. I’ve done redirects for a long time and its become second nature. From feedback received, I also know many people get very confused how to do this. So here’s a 10 minute video tutorial how to do that. I show you two methods and in cPanel as well. Hope it helps. P/S: As mentioned in the video yes. You can do this even if your site is powered by WordPress. I do it on this and many other sites. [viddler id=eed33001&w=437&h=370] These are the codes used: PHP redirect <?php header("Location: http://www.example.com/"); /* Redirect browser */   /* Make sure that code below does not get executed when we redirect. */ exit; ?> Meta refresh method or just visit my affiliate center to generate the code. <html><head><meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="0;url=your affiliate url here"></head><body></body></html>

Who Moved My Post IDs?

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Ever since WordPress 2.5 debut, you can no longer go to the Admin Manage Posts or Manage Categories page to see the post, category or even link IDs. For developers who work a lot with themes or developing WordPress based content sites, this is a big pain in the butt. Why? Because there are a lot of really neat stuff you can do when you know the category, link, post and even author ID’s. Here’s an example. You could write a short piece of code to only show an image of an apple in the sidebar when the visitor is viewing pages categorized in the ‘Apples’ category. By the way – if you’d like to learn how to do cool things like that and much much more with WordPress, consider joining me at Blog Evangelists. I’m holding a Blog Theme Bootcamp there where I’ll help you build a WordPress theme from scratch. Back to category and post IDs… In order to figure out what category Apples is, WordPress relies on the ID. Now that you can no longer conveniently see the category ID, how do you find out what ID to put in your code? While there are plugins like

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