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.
Other topics discussed at WP event
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!
If 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!
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.
Also 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 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.
No 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 .
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!
The after party at Tanners Bar and Grill (CR,IA)
I’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 website 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.
Fantastic evening of sharing, learning and hanging out with fellow friends at the January 20th 2015 WordPress Meetup at Creative Corridor in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Tracking billable hours:
~50 pages worth of plugin recommendations:
Great web firewall service: Sucuri.net
Concatenate JS and files:
SEO blueprint that I use:
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Here’s a list of some theme creators that have good support. These themes are built on the Genesis Framework. You would need the base Genesis Framework from StudioPress to use these themes. ($60)
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