My name is Neil Matthews and I’m the owner of NeilMatthews.co. Get WordPress Help and technical support from Neil Matthews.I’m a WordPress consultant and I specialise in fixing those annoying technical issues that break on WordPress sites. 80% of running a WordPress site is none technical it’s that final 20% where things break, if you are hacked, if you need custom code that’s where I..
Shutterstock is another service I have used for royalty paid images.
Shutterstock has thousands of images for you to browse and buy if they match you needs. There are photos, vector drawings, logos, icons and videos to choose from.
You can buy a subscription which varies by the number of images you download or you can buy a pre-paid image pack for X downloads which is a one off payments. I don’t use that many images so I go for this method. Here’s a link to their current pricing.
I’ve already stated at the start of this post that I’m not a graphic designer, but Canva comes with loads of great templates to use, so you can drop in an image from Shutterstock or Compfight and lie text and other decoration over the top.
I’ve used this for Facebook page graphics, ads, YouTube thumbnails and a couple of blog post images.
I wrote a detailed blog post about Canva so I’ll not go into too much depth, check out my Canva Review
What If You Need Something Custom
If you don’t know a graphic designer to create custom images for you, here are a couple of service you can use to get a custom design
99designs – get designers to compete for your business with a design competition
fiverr – get a logo designed at very reasonable prices.
Personally I’ve been able to get everything I need with a combination of Compfight, Shutterstock and Canva, this is where I get images for my site.
Wrap Up – Where I Get Images For My Site
Lack of graphic design skills does not mean you need to have poor quality imagery on your site, check out these resources to pep up the look and feel of your WordPress site.
Here’s the image attribution link I was talking about.
In this post I want to take you through a case study of plotting WordPress data on a Google map. I took data from the WordPress back end which contained location information and used it on a map.
I was engaged by a client of mine called Gary Milton (who is an excellent designer over at Harvest Design) to transform a website design he created for his client into a working WordPress site. I love this type of job I get to take an ephemeral design and transform it into a working WordPress site.
His client is Strongvox Homes a high end property developer based in the South West of England. The site we built together is Strongvox.co.uk.
Part of the project was to map the location of property developments across the South East of the country so potential buyers can see where the new builds are located.
The maps are on the home page, the main developments page and there is a cut down map on individual development pages.
Single Development – https://www.strongvox.co.uk/development/expression/
A quick explanation of the terminology I’m going to use. A development is a collection of new houses that are built by a property developer, I think that it called a subdivision in the US, and individual properties on that development are know as plots.
England and America are two countries separated by the same language – Winston Churchill
Custom Post Types And Taxonomies
I created a custom post type called a house which contains details of all the plots being built by Strongvox. These houses were then grouped together into a custom taxonomy called a development.
I created the custom post type and custom taxonomy using a plugin called Types
The development custom taxonomy (think of it like a category for blog posts) had additional data associate with it such as the development logo, a custom colour used for each development, images from the site and google map location. I added this additional data to the taxonomy using the Advanced custom fields plugin.
The Pro version of ACF allows us to add a custom field type that is a Google Maps field. so on the back end of the website when creating a new development there is a field where we can type in the address and it is plotted on a map, saving the longitude and latitude details of that location.
Google has opened up it’s maps feature and allows developers to plot their own data points using their API or application programming interface.
To do this we need to output a script and pass our data into that script.
Run the function development_get_devs to get all the developments based on the filter.
We loop through that query getting location data from the Google maps field
The code in read is the important thing, we output a list of markers with longitude and latitude data
The google maps API takes that data and translates it into map marker points. The helper script knows to look for the DIV acf-map and transform the data there into a map.
You probably noticed the icons are also customised. The colour of the marker changes depending upon the status of the development, so I also check another ACF field called status and set the $icon variable depending upon that status.
The code outputs the developments based upon an availability filter, click on the current button about the map and only the developments who’s status is current are shown.
Maps Are Linked
If you click on a map marker you are linked to a data card popup which in turn is linked to the single development, all of this data is dynamically pulled in from the query.
I used the same technique on single development pages but only pulled back the location data for a single developments address. Plotting WordPress data on a Google map works for single pieces of data too.
Whoa That Was A Bit Techie!
I can hear you shouting “that’s too technical for me Neil!”, but if you want a custom Google map you can also use plugins like the one below to manually plot data points on a map and use it in your posts and pages.
You only need custom code if you want to dynamically add and adjust data on a map.
How can you know if that new plugin you are about to install is of a high quality? How can you setup some kind of plugin quality control process to ensure all new plugins that are added to your site won’t break things?
In this video post I’ll show you how to check the quality of any plugins you are about to use.
Anyone can create a plugin an upload it to the WordPress plugin, there are approval processes but there is no rigorous checking of the codes compatibility with themes and other plugins, so sadly it’s a very common thing that I see that a plugin will crash a site.
Use the techniques in my video to create some plugin quality control.
Plugin Quality Control - YouTube
Install from the WordPress dashboard, their search rules out a lot of plugins that are not being actively developed.
Visit the plugin page on WordPress.org to get a full list of stats.
Check last update to ensure the plugin is actively developed, plugins not actively developed can hold vulnerabilities or bugs.
Check the plugin is tested to your version of WordPress, check the plugin is compatible with your version if you are using an older version of WordPress.
Review the ratings avoid all 5 stars and lots of 1 & 2 stars. Look at the reviews to see what people are complaining about.
Look at the support forum ensure the plugin developer is actively engaging in support, avoid plugins where there are zero replies.