From left to right: Pat C., Seth Adam, Jean Vaux, Nate Houstman, Mike Irvine, David Miessler-Kubanek (standing). Also in the room was Aaron Van Noy, Andrea Skeries, and Niki Soto.

Modern Website Design & Blogging, learn WordPress

Seth Adam of Dakota Softworks is showing how to migrate a WordPress website from PowWeb to DigitalOcean

WordPress Meetup November 2016

Aaron Van Noy talks about speed testing your site at tools.pingdom.com

Website Design with WordPress meetup on July 19th in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

WordPress Group in Cedar Rapids

WordPress conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa: June 2016

Members of the WordPress meetup group in Iowa

WordPress Child Theme Development using Integrated Development Environments (IDE) and Source Control Repository.

People at WordPress meeting at Gravitate in Des Moines, Iowa

Getting Started with WordPress REST API at Des Moines Meetup (WPDSM)

April 2016 WordPress meetup group in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Gravity Forms course at Cedar Rapids WordPress meetup group

I co-organize the Creative Corridor (Cedar Rapids & Iowa City) WordPress Meetup group in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. At this month’s event on Apr 19, 2016, I was able to get (kinda guilt tripped) Andrew Miller the owner of https://www.84em.com/ into giving us a detailed overview of what the plugin Gravity Forms can do for a WordPress admins. Tonight he covered topics like credit card integration, adding posts automatically to your website, integrating into the mySQL database, collecting emails/names/etc and many other powerful features that lots of people didn’t even know could be achieved via this plugin. The developer version expands this plugin’s abilities with multiple add ons plus advanced email routing features. One of Andrew’s most favorite add ons is Zapier (see video at 16:00). Zapier currently offers integration of 400+ apps. Integrate/connect apps you use on the web and easily move data between them is now easy with Zapier & Gravity Forms!  A full list of additional Gravity Forms add ons are listed here.

slack-Add-On

dropbox-Add-On

trello-Add-On

mailchimp-Add-On

 

coupon-Add-On

twilio-Add-On

zapier-Add-On

paypal-Add-On

Other topics discussed at WP event

BuiltWith logo I also shared with the group a website called BuiltWith technology lookup site. It’s design to find out what websites are built with! Use it to find what technologies are used in the creating of any website. The accuracy is quite astonishing!

WordPress Tavern logo

WP-Tavern logo with no textIf you aren’t a member of WordPress Tavern and the multiple discussions that are taking place about new features added to WordPress you are doing something wrong. Simply join using your own WordPress.com credentials. They will keep you abreast of new APIs, WordPress releases, WordCamps and much more!

Freemius logo Monetization Platform for WordPress Plugin Developers

We talked about Freemius for the WordPress plugin developers. They have created a way to start making revenues from your plugin in minutes, about ten to be exact. I’m not sure this is all that great for the WordPress ecosystem with a potential new flood of “freemium” plugins flooding the market. Most of the website designers I know tend to buy the full license upfront, but we all know how well the rental model has treated Adobe.

WP-Filebase Download ManagerAlso I recently was working on The Bluebird Dinner’s website, see my blog post about it, and I saw the WP-filebase plugin being used. It is shaping up to be quite powerful but a little bit on the convoluted side of things when you are new to it. It’s about the same as items in WooCommerce’s plugin where you create one item and select it using the WP-Filebase plugin to show it in a specified area. Over all (if there is continued support) it’s quite a viable plugin!

Let's Encrypt logoLet’s Encrypt is a new SSL Certificate Authority: It’s free, automated, and open. And it’s now out of beta as of April 12th, 2016. Special note:  wordpress.com and all of the subdomains that people are blogging on are now all under this Let’s Encrypt umbrella. So website security just got a bit better for the 22.6 billion pages that wordpress.com hosts for bloggers.

Monster Insights logoNo WP Admins, you were NOT hacked! Yes, your Yoast Google Analytics plugins just changed hands to Monster Insights (see Twitter). This plugin is being developed and managed by Syed Balkhi & Chris Christoff. They admit they didn’t give enough warning to Admins before the drastic change with the addition of the bright green monster in the admin panel. Since then the icon in the WordPress Admin panel has changed and now just reads “Insights” with the monster to the left of it. Read the full write up on WP-Tavern logo with no text.

Information about REST API in Des Moines, Iowa

The WordPress Des Moines meetup group is having a talk about REST APIs, how they work and how you can use them with your website. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, Jordan Julson, Arthur M. Smith (Art) and Andy Brudtkuhl will break down how to get started at our next WPDSM Meeting on April 25th. BBQ and beverages provided. Meeting taking place at Gravitate (206 6th Avenue, Des Moines, IA). I’m hoping to get several people together from our Creative Corridor WordPress Meetup group to carpool to this event! 

WordPress Meetup Des Moines, Iowa

WordPress Meetup Des Moines, Iowa

The after party at Tanners Bar and Grill (CR,IA)

Worked on the bluebird diner website with owner.

Website work for the owner of The Bluebird Diner in Iowa City, IA

WP-Filebase Download ManagerI’m sitting at Forbidden Planet enjoying my calzone and in comes the co-owner Tommy Connolly talking about how he is having troubles with updating one of his other company’s (The Bluebird Diner) websites that is based on WordPress. After one of the patrons of the restaurant jokingly Google’s “what is WordPress”, I chime in asking what would you like to know about it? I started off by saying lots of people think it’s just used for blogging, but also lots of large corporations use this technology to easily manage their website(s).

Needless to say Tommy realized that I work with WP full time and I even name-dropped that I’m the Co-Organizer/Event Host for the Cedar Rapids WordPress Meetup Group. Tommy has become a friend of mine over the years that I’ve been going to Forbidden Planet and I offered to help him out with getting the company logo with downloadable menu in a PDF file format to show up on the website.

Tommy logged into The Bluebird Dinner’s website and I navigated over to the Appearance > Widgets to update the right side widget area of the WP-Filebase logo in WordPress menuwebsite that was missing the logo with downloadable pdf menu. I noticed that the original website designer utilized a plugin called WP-Filebase, a plugin that I was not currently familiar with. I noticed while looking at the widgets area in the admin panel that the plugin was trying to autofill but it wasn’t currently on the correct setting of “menu_2”. The previous web designer didn’t make the selections all that clear, but I was able to dope it out quickly and get the logo with downloadable PDF up and running fast! It still needs some CSS work and maybe a line break to completely look good, but getting the Menu back up and running was key at this point.

A refill of my coffee and game tokens to play the pinball machines was all the payment I needed for this quick job and potential new customer in the future.

Inside the bluebird diner's wordpress dashboard with the owner by my side

Inside the bluebird diner’s wordpress dashboard with the owner by my side

From left to right: Aaron Frerichs, Mike Irvine, Seth Adam, Aaron Van Noy, Nate Houstman, Donna Conn and Donna's daughter Kathline Kay Conn at Oyama Sushi & Steakhouse.

Cedar Rapids WordPress meetup group at Oyama Sushi & Steakhouse

Our meetup group (Cedar Rapids WordPress Meetup Group) usually takes place at the Linn Area Community Credit Union/Business Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but maybe I was supposed to reserve the room? Don White I let you down. My first co-hosting of the wordpress meetup didn’t go as well as I had planned. But like I was trained to do, adapt, overcome, and conquer. And that is exactly what we did. So we all headed to Oyama Sushi & Steakhouse in Cedar Rapids and had the meeting there.

We ended up working on http://simplestrokesmassage.com owned by one of our unexpected guests tonight, Donna Conn, L.M.T. She is a new business owner and needed help with her WordPress website. Let’s just say I think her head was swimming with the pages of notes and information that were jotted down: SEO tips, Plugins to download, Widget help in the footer and Google Analytics was installed by me on that site. Plus much much more!

We always have a blast at these meetups no matter if we have a set plan or we just wing it (like we ended up doing tonight). I originally planned that we would go over the REST API and even posted a video of the REST api & a webinar on angular js andwp REST api on the meetup page. Often when someone comes in needing help we all help out and give them a crash course in what we know.

Side note: If you are looking for a WordPress Meetup in Des Moines, Iowa area be sure to check out the that slack channel. I’m also a member of that group but not a Co-Organizer of that group.