Skip to main content

Mickey Mellen

Simple is hard

Making things simple isn’t as easy at it seems. Apple’s iPhone is often regarded as being a more simple alternative to Android, while maintaining many of the same features. Android typically is more powerful and has additional features, but Apple looks carefully at each new feature and spends a few years fine-tuning it to make it as intuitive as possible. You can find many sites that will list the features that Apple “stole” from Android, but in almost every case Apple did a better job of adding that feature. That’s why a company that only makes a handful of products needs to have nearly 100,000 employees — simple is hard. Google Another great example came via the comic strip xkcd recently: If you click through to the Google homepage and view the source code, as xkcd suggests — wow! If you understand HTML at all, you’ll quickly realize how insane […]

Read More

MeetUp: WordPress security and performance for the rest of us

Have you been hacked? Worried about protecting your data and your website? Carel Bekker from ClickHOST walks through creating a secure WordPress environment, including an overview of security plugins, and backup solutions. Carel also covers some introductory WordPress performance settings. This will not be a very technical or detailed overview, but will include tips and techniques that most WordPress users can follow to improve their site’s performance. Tools mentioned: LastPass Crashplan JetPack (Protect / Photon) <- read our post on all the JetPack features iThemes Security WordFence Securi Akismet Cloudflare AWS WAF Akamai MaxCDN Amazon Cloudfront W3 Total Cache SuperCache WPRocket Check out Carel’s slides while watching the video replay: If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or feel free to post in any of our online WordPress groups. Upcoming events December 10, 6:30 pm: Learning to Troubleshoot WordPress December 17, 11:30 am: All users: A Very Merry Meetup Other resources

Read More

Malware is getting worse, so keep your website secure

A popular form of malware on computers is known as “ransomware”. This malware will lock up all of your files and encrypt them, and the only way to get them back is to pay a few hundred dollars to get the “key” to unlock them. This kind of nasty malware is now attacking web servers; they encrypt your entire site (which knocks it offline) and demand money for you to get it back. To make matters worse, some variants of the malware messed up and deleted the key so there is literally no way to unlock it and your only hope is to restore from a backup. You should download a antivirus on your computer and on your phone, you can get antivirus for your phone at Zonealarm mobile Security. In the fight against spammers and hackers for virus removal, things are only getting tougher. Fortunately you (hopefully) have a solid […]

Read More

Don’t be too loyal to the brands you love

We all have brands that we love, whether it’s clothing, cars, electronics or any other area of life. There are reasons that we love those brands, but it can be dangerous to stick with one particular brand simply due to loyalty. “I’ll never leave” This post comes from two recent experiences. The first was at a meeting not long ago when someone I respect very much said they’d “never buy anything other than an iPhone again”. While they clearly love their iPhone, and it indeed is the best available phone for many people, pledging to stay loyal no matter what is just silly. I was a huge iPhone fan in the early days, because they were the best phones for me. Right now I’m loving Android because the Droid Turbo 2 is the best phone for me (similar to how the Droid Turbo was last year). In the future, who knows? […]

Read More

What is Slack?

You’ve probably heard of the service called Slack sometime in the past few months, as it’s growing rapidly. Case in point, I was out with the family at a movie last week and one of the pre-show ads was for Slack. Fun surprise! It was a neat ad, which you can watch here: While it’s a great ad, it doesn’t show you much about how you might use it. So, what is Slack? What is Slack? Slack is admittedly somewhat hard to define. It’s kind of a mix between an AOL chat room, Google Hangouts, and text messages. Since people already use Hangouts, iMessage, text messages and other platforms, Slack seems like overkill. I promise it’s not. That said, it’s one of those things that’s difficult to explain. When I shared it with our team and suggested we try it, they agreed that it didn’t really seem to have a […]

Read More

Moving back to Asana

Earlier this year, we switched away from Asana for our daily tasks over to Teamwork.com. Teamwork is an awesome platform, but we’ve ultimately decided to move back to Asana. The recent Asana redesign is beautiful, but more importantly it solved some of the issues we had previously and got us to look closely at it once again. Below are some reasons why we switched back to Asana, but also some reasons that kept us leaning toward Teamwork. It really comes down to a simple trade-off between the two; Teamwork is much deeper and more powerful, while Asana is easier to use. Bugs First off, I have to hand it to both programs for working as they say they should. We’ve all used software before that sounded great, but didn’t quite work the way it says it would. That’s not the case here — both have been virtually completely bug-free in our […]

Read More

MeetUp: PHP in WordPress – Part 2

PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. This month we’ll continue diving into PHP, and offer some practical examples of how you can make simple modifications to your WordPress website. Presented by Diana Nichols and Aaron Reimann. If you missed the Meetup, you can watch Periscope recording on YouTube: If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or feel free to post in any of our online WordPress groups. Upcoming events October 15, 11:30 am: Climbing to the top of Google: Action items for improving your SEO November 19, 11:30 am: WordPress security and performance for the rest of us   Other resources

Read More

How to change your WordPress username

For years, when you installed WordPress it would suggest that you set your username to “admin”. As a result, millions of WordPress sites have a user with the name “admin”, so hackers go after that quite a lot. If your site uses a different login username, you’re instantly protected from those kinds of attacks. Easy fix? Ok, so no problem — change your username. Except when you go in to WordPress to change it (under “Users” –> “Your Profile”), you find that it’s greyed out and can’t be edited… The real fix While there are plugins that can allow username changes, there’s a chance things could go wrong depending on your setup. Instead, we’ll create a new account with a better username and then move your content over. This should only take a few minutes, and here’s how to change it. Edit the email address on your existing account to […]

Read More

MeetUp: PHP in WordPress – Part 1

PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. This month, our MeetUp focuses on learning the basics of PHP as essential to developing WordPress. We’ll start with the basics, and then quickly get into some practical things you can do to modify your page templates and add useful functions to your functions.php file. Presented by Diana Nichols and Aaron Reimann. If you missed the Meetup, you can watch Periscope recording on YouTube: If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or feel free to post in any of our online WordPress groups. Upcoming events September 10, 6:30 pm: Introduction to WooCommerce – A Shopping Cart Option September 17, 11:30 am: Google Search Console and controlling the spam in Analytics October 8, 11:30 am: PHP in WordPress – Part 2   Other […]

Read More

Presidential hopefuls love WordPress

As you may know, we love WordPress and use it for the core of every site we build. We have our reasons for using it, but I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at the websites for some of the presidential hopefuls from both parties to see what technologies were behind them. We looked at 17 Republican candidates and five Democratic candidates (all listed at the bottom of this post). Of the 22 websites we looked at, 12 were using WordPress — 55%! Of the remaining 10, no single platform was used by more than one candidate. (side note: I was unable to determine the software behind some of the sites. See the table below and leave a comment if you can help fill in some holes.) Of those that are on WordPress, only three were running the latest version (4.3), but the rest were either on 4.2.4 […]

Read More

MeetUp: Email marketing and MailChimp

While it’s not as hot as social media and other messaging, email marketing remains one of the best ways to reach your customers. Atlanta-based MailChimp is one of the best services to use to manage your email marketing, so this month we’ll be digging into what they have to offer. Why to set up email marketing How to get started and the differences between MailChimp, Constant Contact, AWeber, HubSpot and others. Integrations for your website. Testing and improving your campaigns. Taking advantage of automation tools. While some of the finer points will focus directly on MailChimp, most of what we discuss will help you with your campaigns on any service. If you missed the Meetup, you can watch Periscope recording from our recent WordPress Meetup. Periscope only allows for vertical filming. Please forgive the view! Slides are below for your convenience.  Email Marketing and MailChimp from Mickey Mellen Thanks so […]

Read More

WordPress version 4.3 is here

WordPress version 4.3 has just been released (you can download it here) and includes a variety of nice additions. While there are quite a few enhancements behind the scenes, here are a few things you’ll notice as you start using it. Menu management now found in the customizer Starting with WordPress 4.3, you can edit your main navigation menu from within the customizer. While this feature was debated quite a bit among developers, moving it into the customizer helps make that area of the dashboard even more useful. Add update your favicon though the main settings panel Your site’s favicon (the small logo that appears near your web address in most browsers) is now much easier to add and update. Simply head into the main [Settings] –> [General] panel and upload it! Many password enhancements They’ve added quite a few changes to how passwords are created and handled. Re-work password […]

Read More

What is a custom post type?

When using WordPress, most people stick to the built-in “posts” and “pages”. However, WordPress also has a powerful feature available called “custom post types”. While they can be tricky to configure, they will make your life much easier as you work with your website. This short video will show you how custom post types work, and what makes them so powerful. In the video above, we created the custom post type by hand for optimal use and performance. However, there are great plugins such as the WP-Types Toolset that will give you a nice interface to build and implement your custom post types. I encourage you to consider a custom post type (or two or three) as you build out your next project. If you have any questions about when or why you might want to use a custom post type, please leave a comment below.

Read More

MeetUp: An Introduction to Classes in PHP

Many WordPress developers start out learning PHP from playing around with themes and then slowly pick up the language and start moving towards writing their own plugins.  However, it is common to find WordPress developers struggling to grasp the higher-level concepts and features of PHP. Fill the gaps between our self-learning and break through to the next level of PHP programming by learning what PHP classes are and how they can be used to make your code simpler, easier to read and easier maintain. If you missed the Meetup, you can watch Periscope recording from our recent WordPress Meetup. Guest speaker Micah Wood enlightened us all! If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or feel free to post in any of our online WordPress groups. Upcoming events August 13, 6:30 pm: Tips for Finding the Best WordPress Plugins August 27, 11:00 am: Email marketing and MailChimp   Other resources

Read More

Meetup: Supercharge your WordPress site with Jetpack

Chase Livingston is a Happiness Engineer at Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com) working on the very popular Jetpack plugin. Jetpack is a powerful plugin with many awesome features. During our recent Meetup, Chase shared a walkthrough of the plugin and how to use it if you’ve never used it before, and how to take it to the next level if you’re already loving it and using it on all of your sites. Below is the Periscope recording from our live stream: (Sorry for the vertical filming… at this time, Periscope does not support the “wide shot”) Below are Chase’s slides if you would like to follow along with the video presentation. Jetpack offers support for Markdown. You can download our Markdown cheatsheet here and be an expert in no time! Leave us a comment and let us know what your favorite Jetpack feature is. If you have any questions, please leave a comment […]

Read More