I’m speaking at Genesis Camp


I’m honored and delighted to be speaking at the inaugural Genesis Camp, an online conference dedicated to the Genesis Framework. My #GenesisWP buddies had this idea to do a community event a while ago and the volunteers have put in lots of effort to make this conference happen.

Genesis Camp starts this weekend (2000 GMT on Saturday) and will go on for more than 24 hours. I am presenting alongside personalities (and personal heroes) like Chris Lema, David Decker, Bill Erickson and Jesse Petersen. My 2 sessions are:

  1. Keeping local, staging and production sites in sync (Sun 0500 GMT)
  2. Caching WordPress with the Transients API (Sun 1015 GMT)

While my topics are pretty technical, there are lots of business related sessions as well and I’m sure you’ll find something interesting from among all the sessions. Learn more about Genesis Camp, and register for it on Crowdcast.

5 Reasons To Move From WordPress.com To Self-Hosted WordPress


WordPress.com is a service that makes it incredibly easy to start a website or blog. Indeed, millions of people around the world use the service to publish their content to the web. In fact, you may have started your own blog on WordPress.com, as I did. And you may have also begun to bump up against the limits of WordPress.com.

Like myself and so many others, you may have come to realize that there are many things you can’t do on WordPress.com. As a serious blogger or publisher, you’ll inevitably wonder if your potential to grow your readership and ultimately make some money is being limited.

[Read more…]

Website Setup vs Theme Customization: Best options for new websites

Website Setup vs Website Customiization

If you’re building a website for the first time, it can be daunting to know where to start or even just understanding the available options. Your options for creating a website range from cheap do-it-yourself solutions to fully custom websites with all the bells and whistles. Somewhere in the middle of this spectrum of choices lie 2 popular options: website setup and website customization.

This article will explain these starter options so you can decide if this is the route you should go.


Website Setup

Website setups are the most basic option available and are a step up from building the website yourself. A typical website setup package will include a website developer installing the WordPress software, an off-the-shelf theme, and configuring all the important settings. This is a budget option, as there is minimal work for the developer because they are simply putting off-the-shelf components together and not writing any code for your site.

Website setup packages usually also include some personalization. For instance, you should be able to add your own logo, and change the colours to match your branding.

Because this option makes use of off-the-shelf components, it’s important to choose the right design and layout that will best get your message across at the outset. A photographer wanting to showcase their portfolio will likely want a very different look to a financial services firm. Knowing your goals, you must then choose a website theme (design) that has most or all of the features you need. The website developer will then create your website with the chosen theme. [Read more…]

Beaver Builder makes it easy to create unique page layouts with intuitive and clean WordPress integration


Beaver Builder is a WordPress page builder plugin that allows you to build complex page layouts in an intuitive drag-and-drop interface.

As WordPress evolves beyond the blog, building attractive sites with modern layouts have become an increasing challenge. Theme developers like StudioPress have attempted to solve this by using custom page templates with styled widget areas. For example, the Centric Pro and Agency Pro themes have home pages built entirely with widget.

But what if you need custom layouts for other pages? For example, a services page or product landing page? You’d have to make multiple page templates for each unique layout and your Widgets page would be overflowing.

Furthermore I argue that widgets are secondary content. Your pages are primary content and deserve a better solution. [Read more…]

6 tips from top bloggers for writing a great About Page


Editor’s note: In this post, Jade Craven from BloggersToWatch.com compiles the best tips to enhance your blog’s About Page

On nearly every website, the About Page is among the most visited pages. This one page can influence whether or not someone becomes a fan of your blog.

It is easy to write a mediocre About Page and slap it up on your blog. A compelling About Page can be difficult to write. It’s hard to know what information to include and what order to place it in.

In this post, I’ll walk through some of the ways you can make your About Page shine.

1. Tell them why they should care

All About Pages need a narrative. That much is a certain. However, many bloggers are so focused on telling their story that they forget to think about what the reader wants.

Share your story, but guess what it isn’t about you! Everything you tell them about you secretly must reveal something about them. Stand in the shoes of the person you’re talking to and tell them something that’s going to make them give a damn. Why might they care about this? If the connection between you and them isn’t clear, delete it.

Jane Copeland, How To Write A Killer About Page

This can be difficult if you aren’t a copywriter. Here are the top tips from my community:

  • Belinda, from Copywrite Matters, suggests that you link “all your expertise back to how you can help the reader with their particular issues.”
  • John Haydon recommends that you “speak to them – as if they’re sitting across from you at a coffee shop. This person sitting across from you – what questions will they have about who you are and what you do?”
  • Rae Hoffman says that this is “your chance to tell the reader what they can expect from your content and why they should want to read it on the regular. And why your blog is different than the hundreds or thousands of others out there on the same topic”

More ideas – Steve Kamb thanks new readers at Nerd Fitness before sharing his goal to help his community. Debs explains how her site can help readers of Learn with Play at Home by describing why she started her blog.

[Read more…]

Start the year on the right foot with this new year’s website checklist


Can you believe it’s a new year already? That means it’s time to make plans and get ready for the year ahead. Your website deserves a tune-up too, and we’ve put together a handy checklist for you to start off the year right.

1. Change your password

The start of the year is also a good time to update your passwords. You know that strong passwords should include lower and uppercase letters, numbers and symbols, but they’re always so hard to remember. Here’s a tip: Use random words with mixed capitalization, separated by symbols and numbers. Examples:

Because#Sand8Blimp — first letter capitalized
daylight>SPAGHETTI-1981 — 2nd word capitalized
2014pepsi?REEBOK\ — with names or brands

Isn’t that much easier to remember than 3lm3HO%9? This happens to be a weaker password too because there are only 8 characters in it. [Read more…]

3 options for your own professional [email protected] email address

My email address is ruining my life

“What’s your email address?”

That question may be even more important than, “What’s your website address?”

Your email address is how potential customers, business partners or employers will communicate with you. What will they think if it’s [email protected] or [email protected]?

No! You need a professional [email protected] email address. In this article, we’ll tell you the 3 options for your own personalized, professional email address.

Option 1: Self-hosted email

Web hosting companies typically include email hosting in their packages. If you already host your own website, you can also host your email there at no extra cost. The exception is managed hosting companies like WP Engine or Synthesis who don’t provide email hosting at all.

Self-hosted email - email is hosted on the server

When you host your own email, the web server for example.com also accepts emails to [email protected]. The user would then retrieve the email from the server. [Read more…]

[Poll] Will you activate automatic WordPress updates for your site?

WordPress 3.7 Background Updates
WordPress 3.7 introduces automatic background updates

One of the big new features in WordPress 3.7 is automatic updating of core files for minor releases. This means that updates to v3.7.1 and v3.7.2 will be applied automatically, but not for major releases e.g. v3.7.x to v3.8.

The WordPress development team has tested this feature extensively across lots of different hosting configurations and are confident that it will work without problems. However they have also provided a way for power users and developers to turn this off so they can manage updates by themselves.

Automatic updates is a great feature if they happen transparently and without failing. The Google Chrome browser is the star example of transparent auto-updates. iOS now also automatically apps on your iPhone or iPad. However WordPress automatic updates aren’t quite so transparent and will put the site in maintenance mode for a few seconds while the update is in progress.

Does that bother you at all? Will you be enabling automatic updates for your site?

If you’d like to share your thoughts for your answer, please leave a comment below. Thanks!

Is WordPress the right choice for your website?

For best results, use the right tools for the job
For best results, use the right tools for the job

There are a million ways to create a website, and WordPress is just one of those ways. Yet many people just choose WordPress because that’s what everyone is using or because they don’t know about the other options. The problem is that WordPress may not always be the right tool for the job.

Using the right tool for the job helps you complete the job quicker and with less risk of injury. This article explains why this holds true for building websites as well.

WordPress isn’t always the right choice

I make a living providing WordPress tech support, yet I wouldn’t recommend WordPress if… [Read more…]

Media-friendly WordPress 3.6 “Oscar” is here!

After several delays WordPress 3.6 was finally released on 1 August. Version 3.6 introduces a new default theme (Twenty Thirteen), enhancements to media embeds, auto-saves and more. The WordPress team put together a short video tour of the new features in WordPress 3.6.

As is their custom, this release is named after a jazz musician; this time the honor goes to pianist Oscar Peterson. As is our custom, here is a list of our favorite features.

Improved Autosave and Post Locking

Don’t you hate it when you lose a post? Especially something that you spent hours on! WordPress 3.6 wants to solve that by improving the autosave feature. Autosaves are much more reliable because post changes are now saved in your browser’s HTML5 offline storage as well as on the server. If you are interrupted in the middle of writing a post – bad internet connection, browser crash, etc – you can trust WordPress to autosave, even if you forget to explicitly save a draft. This was earmarked as an “all hands on deck” feature – read about it here. [Read more…]