Coupon Creator 2.3 and Coupon Creator Pro 2.3!

Coupon Creator 2.3 and Coupon Creator Pro 2.3 are released with a refactor to the expiration and help systems along with adding quick and bulk edits.

Expiration Class
I have improved the old expiration system and method throughout the two plugins. Now the expiration system is now contained within two classes. This enables the Coupon Creator coding to turn to one source for all the expiration and counter information throughout the various areas it is used.

In the future, it will be easier to make improvements as the coding is all in one place and to add new expiration methods. For 2.3, a new method was added to expire a coupon in x days so if you visit a site, it will give you an expiration period of 1 month, 2 months, or a number of days you would like.

Help Class
The old help class needed to be revised in order to make improvements in the future. I changed it into a new class that is dynamic and easier to add resources and display them on specific tabs. Overall this provides one area to update this information in future releases and makes it easier to direct where to display.

Quick and Bulk Edits
This was an interesting challenge to add the Coupon Creator Pro. The goal here was to be able to edit expiration and counter fields per coupon or for a group of coupons in the admin list.

I found a great tutorial to begin this feature called Manage WordPress Posts Using Bulk Edit and Quick Edit. From there, I took pieces from the existing custom field class in Coupon Creator and merged them together. This made the system modular so it is easier to add fields without having to hard code each one in place.

SCSS
Finally the Coupon Creator is using scss to organize and manage the admin css with plans to use it in the future for all front end css.

Coupon Creator Pro 2.1 Released!

2.1 is out with border themes, recurring expiration, columns and rows inserter, and an update coupon inserter with search capabilities!

Coupon Border Examples

Coupon Creator Pro 2.1 Features and Updates:

  • Border themes, Dotted Border, Stitched Border, Saw Tooth Border (modern browsers and IE 10+), and None Option
  • Recurring Expiration; set an expiration for the end of the month and have it automatically change to the end of the next month
  • Recurring Expiration includes different patterns to recur as well as limits to how many times it does recur
  • Ability to insert columns and rows into the content editor. Options include, two column combinations, three column combinations, four columns, and rows
  • The new Pro Inserter has the ability to search coupons and categories in the dropdown
  • Hide the Click to Open in Print View link as a default for new coupons and disable per coupon
  • Added Option to choose Font Family and Font Weight for Print View text and headings.
  • All the details can be found in the plugin readme.txt or on the release notes blog

Check out the live coupon demo of these features an more.

Quick Answers – Interactive Site, SEO, and Marketing

Quick answers to complex questions I get asked all the time.

How can I make my site more interactive?
By creating content such as blog posts, articles, infographics, videos, etc…, but it takes effort to make content. Therefore, you have two choices to make your site more interactive: either do it yourself or pay someone to do it.

How can I rank higher in Google (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimization is done to something .So, you must create content, then optimize it And you are going to have to do at least as much work as your competitors, if not more.

How can marketing be effective?
Marketing is like working out. If you work out for the next month, you would feel good by the end of the month. If you stop after that month and do not work out for the next year, not only will you lose everything you did last month, but you will also be in worse shape than when you started. Marketing is the same way doing it for a month then stopping does not do anything to help sales (assuming your work out or marketing is effective). Marketing is Radio Ads, TV Ads, PPC, Blogging, Email, Website Content, Print Ads, etc…

Introduction to WordPress Child Themes, Filters, Actions, and Frameworks

July 2013 DC WordPress Meetup Presentation – Introduction to WordPress Child Themes, Filters, Actions, and Frameworks

Learn what a child theme is, how to make them, why they are best way to customize WordPress themes. Get an introduction to filters, actions, pluggable functions, frameworks, and everything else to get you started making your own custom child themes for WordPress.

Files:

WordPress DC Meetup Twenty Thirteen Child Theme
Twenty Thirteen Theme

Links:

How to Protect Your Property – Website, Domain, and Server

I took over a website for a small business owned by Jane (not her real name) who was being charged Two Thousand Dollars per month for hosting, updates, and maintenance. Two Thousand Dollars for an eight page website is crazy! Jane financed the website with her credit card. She ended up maxing out her credit card, leaving her with no additional funds to pay the overpriced website maintenance.  After informing the web developer her financial distress, the web developer responded by closing the hosting, removing the website, and he refused to give her access to the domain. This left Jane with nothing.

What could Jane (or you) do in the future to prevent this?

First, do your due diligence about the web developer and follow some these helpful tips in my Article “Hire a Web Developer like you Hire a Car Mechanic,” to find a reasonably price web developer.

Then, you can follow the tips below that can help protect your domain, hosting, and website.

Before I go any further, let me say this article is only informational and it is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult a licensed attorney.

Domain
Jane lost the domain because she did not have access to it. The web developer controlled the account and refused to give it up.  Jane decided that the legal costs would be too much. For a small business, a legal fight over a domain could be very costly and time consuming.

One way customers can avoid this from happening is by purchasing a domain under their account.

This can be done easily and in a cost effective manner. Websites such as  Namecheap.com(affiliate link) or GoDaddy(if you can stand the up selling) allow you to set up a domain in a few easy steps. You type in the domain you want, create an account, and pay for it. This service will cost you between $10 to $15 per year.

With the domain under your account, this protects you if any dispute arises. Now what about hosting?

Hosting
Hosting is where all the files  are stored  for your website. In Jane’s case, the web developer hosted the files.

There is nothing wrong with using a web developer’s hosting, but there can be risks involved such as the web developer shutting down the hosting or changing the account access.

However, there are numerous alternatives other than using a web developer for hosting which include: Shared Hosting, VPS, Dedicated Servers, Cloud Hosting, and more.

And with these options you control the hosting and pay for it directly.Therefore, if any dispute arises, you have the option of locking out the web developer.

Anyway you do hosting, you can add additional protection by having a written agreement.

Agreement
Why have an agreement? It is simple, memories change over time and oftentimes they change to benefit the person remembering them.

When agreements are put in writing, it gives you a resource to solve a dispute or something to present in a court of law if you decide to take legal action.

An agreement can include the following:

  • What you authorize the Web Developer access (usually the domain and hosting service)
  • Scope of the Work
  • Price for the Project
  • Payment Schedule
  • Point of Contact
  • A way to terminate the contract
  • Where to seek legal recourse if there is a dispute

With these protections in place, you can be confident that your property is under your control and if there is a dispute there is enough evidence on your side to prove the web developer has violated your agreement and you can take the proper recourse.

Most importantly, you will not end up paying Two Thousand Dollars a month to “rent” a website, like Jane did.

Hire a Web Developer like you Hire a Car Mechanic

A car, it takes you places, there are new models every year, there is maintenance to do, and there are mechanics to it.

Web Developer = Car Mechanic

Or Find a Web Developing Car Mechanic!

Websites are similar; it helps you reach a goal, there are new coding methods every year, there is upgrading to do, and there are web developers to do it.

A car and website can also both be used by someone that does not understand the inner machinery, but it is when you are looking to lengthen the life, fix problems, or improve upon either a website or a car a professional is needed to work on the inner machinery.

That inner machinery for websites can be divided into two areas, support and upgrades:

  1. A web developer can support your website, with coding improvements, maintenance and security updates to core files, bug fixes, server upgrades, etc…
  2. They can also, make upgrades with layout changes, new features, new themes, and more that will help you reach the goal of your web presence.

but there are also dangers..

A web developer just as a mechanic knows the inner machinery of the site better then you. So they can find problems that do not exist, they can suggest features that do not help you reach a goal and they can also not do what they say there are going to do and you might never know.

Therefore you should hire a Web Developer the same way you hire a mechanic and follow these steps:

  1. Find a Web Developer – First find a developer by asking friends, contacting websites you like the style of, search online for web developers, visit local meetups for developers, etc..
  2. Look at Their Work – Once you find a developer look over their projects and visit a sample of their websites and decide if you like it or not.
  3. Check References – Then contact the developer to get references or look at their portfolio and contact the owners of the sites for a reference.
  4. Google Them – At the same time, Google the Web Developer to see what is written about them, look for social media accounts, and find them on Linkedin.
  5. Try Out – Finally,if you think the web developer will work out, test them out with small updates or another small project for a couple months and see if you work well together before taking on bigger projects.

With those steps you should be able to determine if you want to work with the web developer and the web developer will deliver what you want. However, unlike a car where it is pretty clear you own it, websites ownership can get tricky with domains, hosting, and the website files.

Therefore, there are additional steps to take to protect your property from ownership of accounts to contracts for the work.

That is going to be the next post in “How to Protect Your Property – Website, Domain, and Server”

Welcome to the New Site!

A complete redesign that includes:

  • Mobile, Tablet, and Desktop Responsive Theme
  • 100% custom child theme of Genesis Framework
  • Retina Graphics
  • jQuery Rotate to move the Compass
  • Font Icons in the Nav
  • Custom WordPress Admin Settings Page for RSS, Sliders, Analytics, Colorbox, and more
  • Improved Security
  • And a Blog Geared towards non developers

2 Things to Know When Hiring a Web Developer

You would like a new website or want to update your website or just have questions about web design, but you do not know any web developers.

So what do you look for in a web developer that will help you meet your goal?

And that is point one.

Have a specific goal.

Having a website without a goal is like driving around in circles, at first the scenery is nice, but eventually you realize you not going anywhere.

When talking to a web developer have a goal in mind and use that as a way to judge the developers work. Asking yourself will this developer create a website that meets my goal?

What could that goal be? It could be a restaurant website that is designed to make a great impression with enough information to get visitors to make a reservation. Or maybe you want to increase conversion for your email newsletter. Or you want visitors to buy a product.

Whatever the goal is, specific beats general.

With a specific goal in mind you can judge the web developers work and ask yourself, will this person or company help me meet my goal now and as it changes in the future.

Reliability is the trait a web developer needs to meet the goal of your website.

A reliable web developer will be able to do three things: do what they say they are going to do, respond to you in a timely manner, and provide you with information to make good decisions about your wesite.

Therefore, test reliability by how long it takes to respond to your emails. If a web developer is taking a long time to respond to you then how long will they take once you have paid them?

Another part of reliably is giving you information in response to your questions, to help you make informed decisions. One question I received recently was, “Should I get a blog for my site, because someone told me a blog can increase traffic?”

A true statement, a blog can increase traffic, but….

I looked at the site, the niche the client was selling to, and found a small market for it. However, writing a blog does not magically increase traffic it takes a lot of work. Only 20% of a blog is making content the rest is promoting and sharing that content with relevant sites with interviews, guest posts, videos, etc….

I concluded that a blog could be useful, but only if the client was willingly to put in the time to make it succeed and I let them know that.

This way they could decide if they want to spend the money to get a blog and then more importantly spend the time to make the blog succeed.

Having a web developer that will answer your questions and not just say, “Lets Do it” will help you decide whether it is worth it to spend your time and money on different aspects of your website.

Once you have decided a web developer can meet your goal and is reliable there are steps to take to protect your investment and that is next in “How To Protect Your Wesite”