Win An Elegant Themes Membership!

Win An Elegant Themes Membership

UPDATE: Donna Fontenot is the lucky winner of a Developer account at Elegant Themes!

Looking for a fancy new theme for your WordPress site? Today might be your lucky day. Elegant Themes has been kind enough to let me give away some developer memberships. I have 3 to give away in total and I plan on doing multiple contests. This is part one in which I will give away 1 of the 3 memberships. So if you don’t win this one, you’ll have more chances in the future. Read on for the details.

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How To Collect User-Submitted Testimonials On Your WordPress Site

Gravity Forms, Testimonials Widget

Just recently I’ve worked on two sites that needed a way to display testimonials and a way to collect them from clients via the website itself. With WordPress there are several ways you could achieve this, this is just the method I happened to come up with recently.

Most of the time, for testimonials I end up using the Testimonials Widget plugin. Mostly I like the widget that comes with it which rotates individual testimonials. It’s pretty user friendly to get up and running with as well.

Since I use Gravity Forms (cupcake, AKA affiliate link ) on pretty much all my client sites, it made sense to put the two plugins together to create the submission system. Gravity Forms comes built-in with the ability to have a user submit a form which gets saved in your WordPress site as a post. The Testimonials Widget plugin uses Custom Post Types to create a customized edit screen for adding new Testimonials. Fortunately there is a free plugin for Gravity Forms which extends that capability of saving form entries as posts,  to custom post types as well. It’s appropriately named Gravity Forms + Custom Post Types. Once the plugin is activated it integrates seamlessly with the usual Gravity Forms creation process. 

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4 WordPress Podcasts To Help You Sharpen Your Skills

WordPress Podcasts

Seems like podcasts, especially of the video variety, are having revival at the moment. Here’s a few WordPress-related ones worth checking out. They are all feature some very smart developers and other members of the WordPress community so it’s a great way to learn about best practices and generally what the latest trends are within the community.

WP Watercooler

This weekly WordPress-centric Google Hangout is the brainchild of my friend and WP multimedia expert Jason Tucker. Every Monday at 11am PST, up to 10 WordPress developers, designers and consultants gather on Google Hangout to discuss a WordPress topic. Sometimes they even stay on topic ;) Hilarity and wisdom ensue.The hangout is streamed to YouTube so you can watch live or catch the archived episodes on WPWatercooler.com. If you prefer audio you can subscribe to the audio-only version via iTunes and Stitcher.

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You are not 9 years old, or…how people REALLY learn WordPress

How People Really Learn WordPress

While on the Facebook recently I was targeted with an ad that told me that if a certain 9 year old child can make WordPress websites, I should be able to as well.

It’s not the first time I’ve seen such marketing messages that tout WordPress to be so easy that a kid can do it. Even putting aside (which trust me, was reeeaaally hard for me to do!) the fact that the product seems to have been made by some cheeseball internet-marketing-bandwagon-jumper-type and that it’s all possibly fake anyway, this approach to selling WordPress irritates the bejesus out of me for a couple of reasons.

First, when you tell me I should be able to do something a kid can do, it makes me feel kind of dumb and it also makes me feel like you are being condescending to me.

Way to set the tone. (And I’m someone that does know how to make websites. So imagine how that feels to someone that has found it difficult to learn WordPress!)

Of course, I get the point they are making – WordPress isn’t rocket science so get over yourself and build that site you’ve been talking about. Fair enough. And yes, a child could quite feasibly set up and manage a blog.

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Alternatives to The Social Media Widget Plugin

Alternatives to the Social Media Widget Plugin

Last updated: April 2013

Another recent WordPress security scare  involved the popular plugin, Social Media Widget. This was one of my favorite plugins and was dismayed to hear it had been compromised and could inject malware into a website. As soon as WordPress.org found out about the problem an update to the plugin was issued to correct it, and it was yanked from the repository so it could no longer be installed. Since then, the developer of the plugin has profoundly apologized (scroll down the thread to read his response) and explained that he hired some programmers to work on it and they committed the evil deed without his knowledge. The safe version of the plugin is now back in the WordPress repository and available for use. However this has left many people skeptical about using it, and therefore looking for alternatives.

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How To Remove The WordPress Admin User Account

WordPress Secuirty - Delete Admin Account

If you’ve been on the internet in the past week or so, you’ve probably heard about the spate of “brute force” attacks that have been made on WordPress sites, specifically targeting accounts with the username “admin.” It has always been a security best practice to not use this username, or any other similarly generic one but the recent attacks have highlighted the issue to the masses, which is really the silver lining here.

The reason “admin” is the target is because it is the default username that is assigned upon installation of WordPress. If you install WordPress through your hosting control panel, you are usually, but not always, given a chance to change that before installation, but many unsuspecting folks, especially new users, may not see a reason to change it. So now a hacker has 50% of the information that he needs to get into your site. Since most people use extremely weak i.e. simple, passwords, hackers can automate the submission of zillions of attempts at guessing your password. If your password isn’t strong, they have a good chance of gaining access.

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