WordPress Plugin - Menu Social Icons

I’m loving this new plugin I recently discovered called Menu Social Icons. In a simple and elegant fashion it allows you to easily add icons to the major social networks directly into your WordPress menus. There has always been a multitude of plugins to let you add social icons to your widget areas, but sometimes there’s just not a widget area where you need one to be. So now you have the option of adding icons wherever you have a WordPress navigation menu. Read the rest of this entry »

Increase Conversions with Magic Action Box

Do any of these problems sound familiar to you?

1) You want to place a high impact email opt-in in key places such as your sidebar, or post footer
2) You want to make forms you’ve built with Gravity Forms or Contact Form 7 look more attractive
3) You are not a designer or developer and are stumped about how to do the above!

The solution:
Magic Action Box!

Magic Action Box is a wonderful plugin that will help you with all of the above. It allows you to create strong calls to action – typically an email subscription opt-in box, or a sales box that highlights a product – and place those calls to action at the top or bottom of your post/page content, or in a sidebar widget. It provides some built-in styles to choose from which look good, but if you want to get creative it also provides a way for you to customize the design, without needing to do any coding (but you can do that too if you know how). Read the rest of this entry »

Ad Management Plugins for WordPress

Running advertising on your WordPress site can get pretty complicated and so can the plugins available. This particular post is aimed at those whose needs are on the lower end so I’m only looking at free plugins here. If you’re really serious about advertising and need robust features, chances are you’ll need a fully featured paid plugin such as OIO Publisher or Adsanity.

For my situation, the criteria is:

  • The chosen plugin must be easy enough for my client to manage themselves
  • It must have a widget for easily displaying ads, or at least have an easy short code that will work in a widget
  • It must be able to handle either uploading a banner image, or pasting in ad code from a 3rd party such as Google AdSense, BlogHer, etc.

I tried out a bunch of plugins and below are the only ones worth mentioning.   Read the rest of this entry »

Flexible Posts Widget WordPress Plugin

Recently I had a client that needed to display a grid of images in a sidebar widget, each one of which would link to a different page. Previously they had hard coded all the images and links as HTML in a text widget but this was understandably a pain for the client to maintain and update.

I previously used Special Recent Posts as my go-to plugin for this type of thing (although I’m not sure it could handle Pages) but the free version is no longer being updated so I needed a new solution. Fortunately I found the Flexible Posts Widget plugin – the best featured posts widget I think you’ll ever need. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Need A Child Theme

Creating a child theme is generally the best practice  for modifying or customizing an existing theme. However in a couple of cases there may be another, easier way, especially for beginners and non-coders.

Why Use A Child Theme?

If you need to modify your WordPress theme by editing any of the code, a child theme provides a way for you to do this safely. By “safely” I mean that it enables you to keep all your modifications separate so that you can continue to update the main, or parent theme in the future.

Let’s break that down a little further.

A theme is a set of files that lives on your server. In the screenshot below, I’m using an FTP program to look at my server but you would see the same thing if you used the File Manager from inside your web hosting cpanel. Once you navigate to the
wp-content folder you will then see the themes folder. Within that you’ll see a folder for each theme you have installed. In the screenshot below you can see some of the files and folders that comprise the Twenty Thirteen theme: Read the rest of this entry »

WordPress.com or WordPress.org?

One of the most confusing things about WordPress is that there’s basically two ways you can use it and your decision will have a significant impact on what you can do with your website. You can use the WordPress.com service, or you can use the self-hosted version, also referred to as WordPress.org. If you want the quick n’ dirty feature comparison, you can check out this handy chart. Or read on for my take on the implications, and my recommendations.

What’s The Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

WordPress.com is a hosted platform meaning that you go to the website WordPress.com, sign up for a free account and they host your blog for you. You have to do very little set-up work. Initially they will give you a url for your new blog such as lucy.wordpress.com – there are ways to change that, but that’s your first indicator that your blog actually lives on the WordPress.com servers.

The other option is usually referred to as WordPress.org, or self-hosted WordPress. This is where you buy your own hosting plan and install the WordPress software on it. The software itself is ALWAYS free – you are paying a hosting company, not WordPress or Automattic (the parent company) themselves. You will need to buy a domain name to use WordPress this way, so your site will live at yourdomain.com – whatever you have chosen.  Read the rest of this entry »

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How I Can Help You

Hi! I'm Lucy Beer. I know that WordPress is liberating when you know how to use it, and bewildering when you don’t. I help individuals and businesses learn WordPress for their specific needs. I will accelerate your knowledge and cut your learning curve in half (at least!). Generic tutorials and videos only go so far - when you need specialized knowledge, or a real person to answer your questions, that's where I come in. I help non-techies understand and use the web to empower their personal or business mission.

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  • LucyBeer: Glad you found it useful!!! [...]
  • Adam Daniel: Just got your blast and clicked through… This plugin looks awesome. Thanks, Lucy! [...]
  • brennen: any way now to kick those over to the sidebar? i want the sub pages hidden until the password in en [...]
  • tara locklear: Ok sounds great. thought there might be more to it. thnx! [...]
  • LucyBeer: Hey there I had to do a little custom CSS to create the grid by floating the list elements left, as [...]