Friday-Five-Blog-02-19

One page every website needs in a contact page. That contact page must include a contact form. I have seen several websites that put their phone and address out there and nothing else. It’s not hard to include a form. You must make it easy for your site visitors to reach out to you.

When I first started building websites there weren’t a lot of options for form builders. We have come a long way. With all of the options now available, there is no excuse for not having a form on your website!

Here are 5 contact form plugins to choose from:

  1. Gravity Forms
    My favorite, hands down. I haven’t found much that I couldn’t do with Gravity Forms. From contact form to popup optin, golf tournament registration,  and even a raffle ticket purchase. Gravity has yet to disappoint me. The drag and drop interface makes customizing form fields a breeze. Being able to personalize the confirmation page and notification emails adds a nice touch. If you only have one website you can get it for as low as $39/year.
  2. Quick Contact Form
    This is great for a beginner. Just drag and drop, add your email and you are good to go. A log of all messages sent through your form can be found in your admin area. Fully customizable to match your website.
  3. Ninja Forms
    Another great drag and drop builder that also keeps a log of your messages. There are many premium extensions you can purchase to extend the capabilities of your form.
  4. Contact Form 7
    This is where I started out before moving to Gravity Forms. This is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. CF7 gets the job done, but does not include a drag and drop interface. If you just want basics or now a little bit of html, this one is great and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.
  5. Jetpack
    I’m not a big fan of Jetpack, it’s just so packed full of options and if you’re only using one or two I feel it can be overkill. If you’re already using Jetpack, there is a contact form option that works really great. It’s easy to use and integrates nicely.

What do you use for your contact form?

It’s time for Friday Five! Each Friday I want to share FIVE things with you. It could be links, tips, secrets, resources, we’ll just have to see where it goes.

Since today IS Black Friday, I’m going to share 5 Black Friday sales with you! Obviously, there are more great more deals out than there this list only, duh. But here you’ll find 5 that I’ve found to be a great deal.

Disclaimer: In most instances these links are affiliate links. That means that if you click the link here and complete a purchase, I get paid. I thank you much for using my link. In most cases, the only affiliate links I use are for products/services that I have used myself. I only like to recommend what I know and trust.

  1. Namecheap
    Every hour on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday Namecheap will have two new deals for you! I have used Namecheap as my domain registrar for many years. Namecheap offers domain registration, hosting, SSL certs, everything you need. I’m going to try to come back throughout the day and list the actual deals here.
  2. S2Member
    Building a membership website? S2Member is the way to go. Today through the end of the month you can use code BLACK-A:3817 to save 40% on your purchase!
  3. HostGator
    Save 65% off all new hosting plans plus get $5.99 .com & .net domains at Hostgator. This sale lasts through Cyber Monday, but a different code is needed each day. Check back or message me for the needed code each day. Friday’s code is BF2015
    If you can’t see this link please disable adblock.
  4. Soliloquy
    Soliloquy is a great slider plugin for WordPress. You can save 35% with code
  5. Instanticity.com
    Not to be left out, I am opening my VIP Program again! Become my #1 client, for a limited time only! See the details here -> Instanticity VIP and sign up today. I don’t know how long I will keep this open and spots are limited so that you get my full attention.

Are you still running Prophoto3 on your website? Is your contact form working?

I went through the recommended Prophoto fixes to get the contact form displaying again and nothing was working. When switching the form to Simple Mode On as recommended all content disappeared, but clicking on the Contact link revealed an error.
[php]Warning: require_once(X:\Hosting\XXXXXXX\html\blog\wp-content/wp-load.php) [function.require-once]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in X:\Hosting\XXXXXXX\html\blog\wp-content\themes\prophoto3\prophoto3\includes\contact-form.php on line 3[/php]
From this I was able to determine where the issue was, contact-form.php, and what the issue was, loading wp-content.php. If you look at the WordPress directory structure, you’ll see that wp-load.php is not located in the wp-content folder which is where it was being called from.

Here’s a quick fix to get the contact form appearing again. This does require editing a file and I will take for granted that you know how to do that. Most of the time your host will have a file manager in your control panel that will allow for things like this. Otherwise, you can download the file, open it in Notepad and then re-upload it again. Or, contact me and I’ll get it done for you.

The file we are going to edit is contact-form.php. This file resides in
wp-content->themes->prophoto3->prophoto3->includes

Line 3 of this file reads
[code]require_once( dirname( dirname( dirname( dirname( dirname( __FILE__ ) ) ) ) ) . ‘/wp-load.php’ );[/code]

We are going to change that to read
[code]require_once( ABSPATH . ‘wp-load.php’);[/code]

The easiest way to edit a php file is to comment out the original line and add in the new line. This way if something goes wrong, you can easily (and quickly) reverse the change. To comment out a line you simply add // to the beginning.
The beginning lines of this file should now read:
[code]<?php
// Load WordPress environment
//require_once( dirname( dirname( dirname( dirname( dirname( __FILE__ ) ) ) ) ) . ‘/wp-load.php’ );
require_once( ABSPATH . ‘wp-load.php’);
do_action( ‘p3_pre_contact_form’ );[/code]
Now in your WordPress Admin, navigate to Appearance-> P3 Customize. Click the Contact tab, scroll to the bottom and you’ll see an option for Loading Simple Mode, set that to on and you should be all set. Hop over to your site and test your contact form to ensure it’s loading properly.

p3-contact-form

If you’re running Prophoto 3 and you’re happy with it, by all means stay there. But, I highly recommend P5! The new options are so very much worth the upgrade. Use this link -> Prophoto.com <- and save $10! While you’re thinking about that, is it time for a new, fresh look for your business?

WordPress 3.9, the newest version of WordPress. Bleh. Don’t get me wrong, I still love WordPress and I’ll still use it, but that was one major update with some changes that really threw me. I took a bit of time tonight to outline some of the new WordPress 3.9 Features and a work around to fix an issue that has been bugging me since the update.

Admin Styling

The new interface? Love it. I love the color options for the admin area. ( Users -> Your Profile) Coffee and Ocean are my favorites. The look feels nice and clean and easy to use.

wordpress3-9admin

Images and Media

Editing Images

WordPress has brought you the ability to edit photos right on your site. Once you upload an image, you can rotate it, crop it, and scale it. You can apply your changes to all image sizes, just the thumbnail or all image sizes except the thumbnail. (When you upload an image, WordPress automagically creates a few different sizes of that image for you.) These edits can be done in the Media area or in the posting box while you’re writing a post.

Uploading Images

You can now drag and drop images right into your blog post! They’ll uploaded to your site. Instead of using the insert image button, just drag the image, or images, straight from your folder into the box.

wordpress3-9imageedit

Gallery

I don’t create many galleries in default WordPress, but if you do, you’ll love this. Instead of just a placeholder for your gallery, you’ll see a gallery preview. This is, of course, if you aren’t using a gallery plugin or a theme that supports galleries such as ProPhotoBlogs. No more guessing or hitting edit just to see what you may have included in your gallery.

wordpress3-9gallery

Old on left, new on right.

Playlists

Here’s a feature that seems neat, but I don’t know that it would be widely used. When you upload videos and audio files, you can now create playlists and insert that into your posts and pages. I highly recommend that you use Youtube for your video files, for SEO reasons and to save space on your own website. I am one of those that gets very irritated at audio on webpages so I don’t recommend  you do any auto play audio files. And, of course, you have to consider copyright issues. But, if you created your own audio files and want to share your own playlist, you have that ability now. You won’t see this feature unless you upload audio or video.

Annoyances

You know something has to be bad. Not everything in life is perfect in every way. What do I miss most about the new WordPress? This right here, the ability to edit images settings in the posting screen.

wordpress3-9imagesettings

New on left, old on right.

 

In the old version on the right, you click edit on an image in the posting screen, click over to the Advanced Settings and you can add a border, add space between images, resize the image, just about everything you need to get your image looking good within your post. Ok, so you couldn’t crop, but does anyone really upload an image that needs cropped?!

One of my clients had some issues with font sizes. She likes to easily change the size of some text within her posts. To be fair, she was using a plugin for that feature and didn’t realize it 😉 In her case, I simply needed to go in and redo some settings in the plugin. Which is when I found the fix for my little issue.

I’m about to recommend you install the same plugin. Why? Because it has helped in formatting posts and if you add one little feature you will get the ability to add border and spacing to your images returned. Yay! What’s the plugin? TinyMCE Advanced.

Install and activate that little plugin then go to Settings -> TinyMCE Advanced. This little plugin allows you to add, remove and rearrange all of the little buttons on your editor. All you do is drag and drop the buttons you want. Drag and drop. Easy.

First, if you like using different sized fonts, drag the Font Sizes button where you want it. Next, drag up the Edit Image button (my favorite)! You’ll see there are a lot more options you can play with. Remember to keep it simple, you don’t need all of those. I personally feel Text Background color looks tacky, you don’t need it. I also doubt you’ll need a print button. I don’t know why you would print your own blog post.

I’m going to leave it at this. What have you found that you love/hate with the new WordPress? Writing this post, I used the drag and drop feature for images. I don’t normally keep my image folder open, but if I did, I can see where this would be a nice feature. If I could remember to stop closing the folder. Give me your frustrations and let’s see if we can find a work around for you like I did with the images for me.

wordpress all in one seoSeveral of my clients are running the plugin All in One SEO on their wordpress sites. You are probably one of them! While I have set up this plugin for you, it’s important that you take the extra steps when writing your posts and pages to put this plugin into use.

After writing your post, before publishing, you need to scroll down to the All in One SEO box and fill in the meta-goodness that Google needs to rank your site. You should try to use a keyword or phrase in your page title, description and even in the first paragraph of your post. Remember not to keyword stuff, use words and phrases relevant to your content that your site visitors will use to find, not your website, but this particular page of your website.

This video is a simple guide to show you what you need to do while using All in One SEO. I hope to get another video made about the default settings of AIOSEO very soon!

WPsmbutton-greyI’m a little late writing this, but at least that’s due to being busy and not being lazy 😉

A few weeks ago word got out about WordPress being hacked. The short version- attacks were/are being made on WordPress based sites that have a user with the username ‘admin’. They scan the web, find a site, use the username admin and try tons of passwords in order to get into your account. This is why strong passwords are highly recommended over easy to remember stuff.

Are you vulnerable? Let’s find out and get you fixed right away. Log into your admin area and click on Users. You may or may not have a lot of users on your website depending on your set up, if you do, just click on Administrators to narrow things down.

users-screen

Now look at the usernames, do you see ‘admin’? If not, you are safe! If you do, follow the steps below right away before something happens.

1. Create a new user and give that user admin rights. You will need to use an alternate email address, but you can switch that back after all is said and done.
2. Log in as new user
3. Delete the account associated with ‘admin’, when you do this WordPress will ask what to do with all of the content. Choose to attribute the post/pages to your new admin account.
4. Relax. You are now safe

I love ProPhoto Blogs! Prophoto is a WordPress theme built with photographers in mind. But, it doesn’t end there, Prophoto can be used by anyone in any line of business.

What I love most about Prophoto is the ease of customizing the theme. Prophoto allows me to work faster to get your site up and running, but it also easily allows you to make little changes if you want once your site is live.

There are several add-on themes available for purchase, including my own- Lillian Kate theme. I hope to create more add-on themes for sale soon. Add-on themes can be used as is or they can usually be tweaked a bit to give a more personal look.

Prophoto comes with a built in mobile theme, one less thing for you to worry about. It also has Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest already integrated. For photographers, slideshows, galleries and watermarks are right there ready to be used. A built in contact form means one less plugin to install and of course, the use of widgets is included through out the theme.

Don’t take my word for it, watch this little tour and decide for yourself:

When you’re ready to purchase your Prophoto theme, use this coupon code to save $10- SPLE9733 Then, come back over here and I’ll get your theme installed for you or help you with a custom look.

Yay! I am so happy to finally announce something new. I’m going to begin creating Add-On themes for Prophoto4 from ProPhotoBlogs.com. I’m really excited.

I’ve been doing a lot of work with some wonderful photographers and so many of them are switching their sites over to ProPhoto WordPress themes. The theme offers them exactly what they need- a great way to display photo galleries, easy to customize interface (for the do it myself kind) as well as an equally easy way to install pre-made themes. There’s so much built into the theme that you don’t even have to think about.

My work with these photographers and this wordpress theme has lead me to start creating some themes for quick sell. I’ve got the first one almost ready to go and I look forward to creating many more, as time allows anyway. I want to share a sneak peek at it, I’m still working on the sales page and process at the moment.

If you’re ready to take your website in a new direction, whether it’s photography or something else entirely, let’s chat. Prophoto is flexible enough to fit many different types, not just photography.

Oh, the joy of hackers. I know I’ve expressed my dislike of them plenty of times. Of course, with WordPress being so popular, they’re going to target it. I just read this message from WordPress today and I want to pass it on. Please reset your WordPress password regardless of whether you use the mentioned plugins. Take a moment to read the below article.

For my clients, if I have a wordpress log in on your site, I will be going in today to reset the password.

Password Reset via WordPress.org

I’m having a lot of fun redoing my site. I decided I wanted to transition the entire site over to WordPress instead of running a separate blog. I pretty much turn to WordPress for any site I need to do, I should run my site entirely on WordPress right?! I still have some work to do, but I love how it’s turning out. Once I get everything done style-wise, I’ll have to move all my webpages over. Then I get to style my “Cityhall” area where all purchases and billing, etc takes place.