Unofficial WordPress Plugin Rules

The internet, by and large, is still very much like the wild west. As in, nobody really has a handle on it, no one entity can control it. aka free-for-all.

me: started with wordpress – 2005

# of sites built? no idea, hundreds.

As a rule, less plugins is better. Choose ones that are absolutely beneficial to the scope of your project. Evaluate the rest based on workflow vs site efficiency.

When searching for plugins that will address your needs, Google is better than the wordpress.org search. Just be mindful that many of the search results are people/companies selling plugins. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but a paid/premium plugin is also not necessarily your best option.

Do the research.

Legitimate wordpress themes and plugins reside in the wordpress repository. The “Support” tab will give you a good idea of who’s maintaining their work and who isn’t.

Testing works.

If possible, set up a test site before going live. And, if possible keep a dev site operational to test new things in a safe environment. Especially for larger sites. If a testing/dev site is not an option (it always is, but whatever), put your site in maintenance mode, activate the new plugin, bounce around the site as an admin to see that everything works, and if nothing breaks, go for it.

Careful updates.

Don’t update automatically. We’re just not there yet. Some plugins will make major code changes which can effect the entire site. Look first at the log changes. Then go to the support section on wordpress.org for that plugin to see the issues that update caused.

 

That’s all for now. More later.

 

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Lost it – Got it back

i lost flatheadenterprises.com in april, 2015. just stupid.

i was using two webhosts at the time, 1&1 and wiredtree.

flatheadenterprises was the first website i had success with. it was the name of my company. it was my primary email address. never got around to transferring it to my (then)current registrar.

one day it stopped working.

i had allowed it to expire.

almost immediately my domain was purchased by another company

not only did emails stop coming in, but the multitude of accounts set up using that email became unresponsive. clicking the ‘forgot password’ link meant nothing.

i can only imagine how many i pissed off…

tried to get my domain back…one company returned my query stating that starting bid was $500.

fuck that.

..

waited 3 years.

domain came up. bought it back.

HERE’S THE WEIRD THING!!!!!

all my emails from the last 3 years came flooding back in.

 

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Current Favorite WP Plugins 01

Participation and interaction directly impacts the success or failure of a website. Providing content that impels, inspires or challenges people is the holy grail.

01.Gravity Forms

Highly configurable, lots of integrations, relatively easy to use. For the most part, Gravity forms plays well with others (third party plugins). It has the ability to be simple, but you also have the ability to create complex forms, which can send data to other wordpress applications, which is cool.  And support is good.

Working with Gravity Forms extensively these last several months, I’ve only touched the surface, but really appreciate the power of this plugin.

Let me know if you have any questions.

 

 

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#Hashtags – Tint vs Tagboard vs Twubs vs Postano vs Rebel Mouse

#Hashtag #Aggregators.

I call myself an “IT” guy…an “SEO” guy, yet somehow I almost completely missed this..

#Hashtags digitally connect us. When you include a #hashtag in a Twitter post, facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and a few others, the #hashtag serves as a subject matter identifier.  Searches can be made using #hashtags to give you results from others who have also used that particular #hashtag in their posts.

Red PaintAs an example, when you do a google search for “red paint”, you get Behr, Sherman-Williams, Home Depot and others that sell red paint.

If you do a #hashtag search on Twitter, instagram, facebook, etc., the results you receive are from the social media accounts of people who have used that particular #hashtag in their post, comment, whatever. So open up your Twitter account, go to “Discover” and search some #hashtags like; #tomhanks, #frozenmargaritas, #rosebowl, and see what happens.

What each of these #hashtag aggregators do is search for a specific #hashtag from several social media services and then feed the posts, comments, pictures and videos onto a webpage dynamically for you to see, often in real time.  

So I was hired to produce the live social media feed at the BCS tailgate party at the Rose Bowl on January 6th, 2014.  Since I was barely familiar with how cool #hashtags are, I launched my own research campaign on five different companies that aggregate and curate #hashtags.

Postano

I had heard about Postano, but didn’t realize there were so many others.  My first criteria was the ability to monitor the posts that come in, because we can’t have “Debbie does Dallas” on the screens.  Second was presentation. The look of the feed itself has to be classy, cool and engaging. Postano calls the presentation of their feeds “visualizations”.

Third, but extremely important was price.  Our approach was that this would be a onetime thing, it’s an amenity, meaning we’re not getting any money for it, so it has to be affordable.

Postano Visualization
Multiple visualizations for multiple screens

I talked to Postano first. I spoke to Cooper who walked me through a powerpoint presentation.  Great guy, great product, the “visualizations” as they call them, are great looking and they have the ability to create multiple visualizations for multiple screens at your event.  

However, I don’t need multiple visualizations and they were a bit more expensive then our budget allowed, plus they want you to buy into a year contract and that’s just not for us.

Twubs

Twubs is a totally free service that gives you the power to moderate. It also pulls #hashtags from the entire internet and posts them on a wall they create for you when you register a #hashtag. I love the totally Free and the control they give you, but I didn’t like the interface (see below).

twubs screenshot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next are Tagboard, Rebel Mouse and Tint.

 I put these three together because they all offer free options and the opportunity to upgrade for varying levels of functionality and control.

For each, the free option allows you to pull #hashtags from your own social media accounts and they are displayed on a dynamic webpage on their host under a subdomain that is created for you when you sign up.

I’m a WordPress fan and programmer. Rebel Mouse and Tint both have WordPress plugins, which is a major plus for me. They can be used in widgets, posts and pages.  So for my purposes, since I wasn’t exactly sure how I would be presenting the live social media feed, having the option to present on a WordPress blog took Tagboard off my list since there was no WordPress option.

The Two Finalists

Similarities exist between Tint and Rebel Mouse, however the clear winner for me was Tint. The presentation from Rebel Mouse is fine, however it’s very commercial and self-promoting. Besides that, it’s a little more expensive then Tint, and I’m always looking for a deal.

I knew immediately when viewing the wall that Tint produced, that it was perfect for what we were trying to accomplish. It fills up the entire screen real estate in a classy, engaging manner and there are no ads.

The Tint Interface
The Tint Interface

Additionally, Tint offers special promotions for bloggers. I’m not a whore. I won’t promote something or someone unless I believe in it.

Tint met all my criteria, period.

It really is a cool thing.

Cheers

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