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WordPress hosting – collectively the favorite topic to talk about when you meet some fellow WordPress people at a conference. Or is it just me?

Anyway, the web is chock full of WordPress hosting reviews, comparisons, recommendations and whatnots. Everyone seems to have their favorite provider … as well as their least favorite one.

And that’s probably the main problem with hosting reviews. I mean, a piece of advice like, “hey, this hosting platform works for me, and therefore you should use it too” perhaps isn’t the most useful advice imaginable. And it’s surely not advice that is most likely to work for the majority of people.

So, even though we indeed have our favorites when it comes to WordPress hosting, and even more so, each individual member of our team has their own favorites too, we’ve decided to take a different path and give you – our readers – the spotlight:

TL;DR This is our third annual WordPress hosting survey. Scroll down to take part, as well as find out why we’re running it, why you should participate, and what’s the big idea anyway. 🙂

Join the independent 2018 #WordPress #hosting survey
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Announcing our WordPress hosting survey, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of WordPress Hosting” – 2018 edition
What’s the goal of this WordPress hosting survey?
In short, we really want to know how the popular hosting companies and their specific hosting plans/packages end up performing for people in the long run.

I mean, to some extent, reviewing WordPress hosting is like reviewing cars. For instance, Jeremy Clarkson can tell you all about powerrrrr and torque and price. But he won’t be able to tell you how it’s like to live with a certain car over the long haul, how it’s like to drive it every day, and so on.

It’s the same thing with hosting. At the end of the day, the best hosting company isn’t the one that has the best parameters on paper. It is the one that just works and does its job for months years without fail.

And this kind of info you just can’t obtain without doing a survey and getting real opinions from real people. That’s where this survey comes into play.

How does this survey work?
Simple, just click the start button and try getting through as many questions as you can. If you don’t have time to complete the whole survey (takes about 10 minutes), just scroll down and submit whatever answers you do have. That way your input will still count.
The results?
At the end of this whole thing, we will have a complete, data-driven comparison that should help us name the best hosting company all around (… for different price points, specific niches, plus lots of other interesting conclusions).

We’ll publish the results on this blog after we get minimum 500 results as we did in the past editions.

JOIN THE SURVEY HERE:


 Want to get the survey results delivered to you?  We’ll let you know – just leave your email below. As a bonus, you’ll also get our free crash course on speeding up your WordPress site (cut your loading time by even 50-80%):

Share with your friends:

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The post Announcing the 2018 WordPress Hosting Survey – Aka “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of WordPress Hosting” appeared first on CodeinWP Blog.

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Welcome to the 36th edition of the monthly transparency report (for January 2018). This is a series where I do my very best to talk about the important goings-on within the company, our plans, challenges, strategies, and how we go about executing them. Click here to see the previous reports.
First off, I’m not much of a “schedule-the-year-in-advance” kind of guy, so I’m afraid I don’t have a master plan for 2018 to share with you here. However, there’s still a lot going on in the business, with many new developments, so I’d like to talk about some of that with you today:

#Transparency #Report no.36 – Why ThemeIsle is undergoing a major #redesign
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Ninja management mode engaged! ⚔

Something that I realize now more than ever before is that if we want this company to keep growing, we should start building a better knowledge base, and do so deliberately.

I’m quite embarrassed to admit, but I did find myself doing the same (business) mistake more than once – simply because I either forgot to write down lessons learned or there were too many things going on at once or too much time has passed.

I did mention a while back that I would start working on a company handbook, but I still failed to pull the trigger on the project. I’ve finally realized that I would only keep postponing it further and further, so probably the best course of action would be to delegate the project to somebody else. So I finally did just that!

Apart from the fact that now Rodica is responsible for everything, we’ve also decided to organize one full day dedicated to building a knowledge base for our internal website. It’s going to house individual guides, guidelines, and maybe later on tools as well. A good example of this in practice is the handbook by Human Made.

It’s not my first attempt at introducing more clarity and better documenting our processes. Though, it’s certainly the biggest such initiative and the most thought through, so I hope this will be really helpful going forward.

ThemeIsle major redesign 🚀

Some time ago, I talked about my struggles when working with designers and about bringing more freelancers on board to help us with all-things-design…

Well, we’ve finally started moving in the right direction!

Around two weeks ago, we started working with John from AnalogWP. The objective: complete ThemeIsle redesign.

Why this extreme? A few reasons:

1. We need to redevelop things from scratch

What we know today is very different from what we knew four years ago when we started the company. Back them, ThemeIsle “wanted” to be just a theme club/store, and without any serious longterm plan. We were the new kid on the block.

We didn’t think about expanding the business in any way either, no plans to introduce plugins, subscriptions, or anything like that. But what we did do is run a lot of experiments on the site. We had a bbPress forum, for instance, and plenty of other scripts installed on the server.

The site structure has been suffering because of that, and it’s high time we get this fixed. It just needs to be redeveloped from scratch.

2. We need to unify and refresh the design

ThemeIsle currently is, and will remain to be, our home when it comes to the products we offer in the WordPress market. The blog is slowly getting more popular than the product site, we launched a free icons pack, and we started selling a bunch of awesome plugins.

We want the new design to express this and put significant focus on all the current elements of the business. We want to convey that we’re now a more mature business than four years ago, and that we have a lot more to offer than WordPress themes.

3. We want to be able to launch new initiatives easier

A good example of what I mean is the Delicious Brains redesign. While their main “Delicious Brains” brand is still the home base of their products, they allow room for each individual product brand to claim some more space and express itself more effectively.

In our case, products such as Zerif or Hestia have brands of their own, and they deserve to have their dedicated space that’s more than just a sub-page under ThemeIsle.com. For instance, in Zerif’s case, for a long time, its brand was more powerful by itself than “ThemeIsle”.

Here are some early mockups of the new design if you’re curious to take a peek. Keep in mind that this is still far from the final effect (and the reason I’m only publishing these small versions for now).


Elementor, Orbit Fox and Gutenberg 🏗

We organized ourselves a loooong brainstorming session to find some common ground when it comes to moving forward with the projects related to Elementor, Orbit Fox and Gutenberg.

We decided to use Composer in order to share modules across different plugins, and to make sure we can have both a short- and long-term strategy.

For example, a while ago, we acquired the Page Templater For Elementor plugin (I mentioned this in one of the previous reports). Later on, we decided to build a template library feature into Orbit Fox – meant to let users find templates that are ready to be imported into their sites and which are compatible with multiple page builder plugins.

However, in order to develop that feature in a way that will work with multiple themes, we first needed to create our own page templates, starting with Elementor. Hence, the new page templates module in Orbit Fox.

In a similar fashion, we also acquired the Elementor Addons & Widgets plugin. We wanted to add some extra widgets to it, along with a template directory – effectively making it the “all things Elementor” add-ons plugin.

To do that, we created a separate Composer module for “full-width page templates” and another one for the “template library.” Those modules can now be shared across multiple plugins.

In this way, if we want to change something or add compatibility with a particular theme, those changes can propagate across multiple products. Even though the products might have a different purpose, they can still share partial functionalities.

We took the same approach with a new content forms module that we developed to work with Beaver Builder, Elementor and Gutenberg (we might wrap this into a separate Gutenberg add-ons plugin, too).

Releasing these smaller, niche plugins while still working on a bigger, more general-purpose one is helpful for a lot of reasons. Chief of them is that it allows us to capitalize on the work we did prior, utilize it multiple times over, and build a more sustainable cashflow, while not jeopardizing our long-term strategy.

Themes for the win! 🥇

We’re ramping things up at ThemeIsle, with around 1-2 fairly big releases per month for almost a year now … making sure that every subscriber gets the value out of their membership fee.

For instance, lately, we managed to develop and launch a new child theme for Hestia, called Orfeo.

The launch strategy worked pretty smoothly, and the theme got 3,000 active installs in just around three weeks.

The partnership that we have with Creative Tim helped a big deal here. They do amazing design work, and since Hestia was built on top of their Material Pro Kit, it was quite easy for us to adapt another kit of theirs – Paper 2 – for Orfeo.

In the coming months, we’ll probably incorporate some of their other designs, too. This one, for example, seems like a great base for a new child theme.

Apart from all that, Hestia is still the theme that occupies a big chunk of our time, and that’s even despite the fact that we haven’t introduced any major changes to it. Properly maintaining and testing everything consumes a lot of time on its own.

Just quickly about my personal goals and challenges; I am planning to make some more headspace and take the time to rethink our strategy, planning, and help out with onboarding new team members.

Oh, and one more important thing, ThemeIsle got accepted as a media partner for WordCamp Europe 2018. This is a nice acknowledgement of the work we do in the WordPress community, and I couldn’t be more excited for the upcoming event!

#Transparency #Report no.36 – Why ThemeIsle is undergoing a major #redesign
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Okay, that’s all I have for you this month. As always, thanks for reading and for supporting us! Stay updated and get new reports delivered to you by subscribing here:

All edits and witty rewrites by Karol K.

The post Transparency Report #36 – Why ThemeIsle Is Undergoing a Major Redesign appeared first on CodeinWP Blog.

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Warning! This isn’t yet another “you need to set blog goals” -rant. This is more. Way more. First, the facts: blogs that set goals, measure, and stick to good goals, are way more effective than blogs with no goals, or blogs with ineffective goals. This post will tell you all about the specifics of that, explain how to set effective blog goals, and then how to make sure you stick to them.

The actual act of blogging isn’t an easy one. Whether you’re setting up a new blog, or developing an existing one, sitting down and telling yourself, “right, time to blog!” is about as helpful as sitting in front of a blank canvas and telling yourself “right, time to paint a picture!” Sure, for a very select number of people, such creative freedom might be both liberating and inspiring.

But, for the majority of us, this kind of directionless impulse can be overwhelming, and self-defeating. This is not a good place to be in, but this post can guide you from confusion to blogging success.

What separates great blogs from the rest isn’t necessarily the absolute quality of their ideas or writing, but rather the authors’ ability to visualize, direct, and develop them into a coherent vision, with long term aims and strategies. In other words, effective blog goals.

Your ultimate, put-in-practice guide to setting, measuring, and reaching #goals as a #blogger
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Humans are bad at thinking in terms of compound growth; we prefer to think linearly. This means we overestimate what we can achieve in the short term but underestimate the long term. Proper goal-setting allows you to tie in your grand ambitions with your day-to-day tactics, so you never get in over your head – but crucially, never sell yourself short, either.

In this post we’ll look at the methods you can employ today to take your blogging to the next level. We’ll examine the core components of workable goals, and techniques for forming and developing them. We’ll also look at implementation strategies: putting those goals into practice, sticking to them, and tracking your achievements. Finally we’ll cover some common roadblocks and how to overcome them.

Let’s start with the basics, and ask some tough questions about why you’re doing this.

How to form effective goals: start with why

The first question you need to ask yourself is also the hardest: why are you running this blog? What do you hope to achieve with it? Ask 5 different bloggers and you’ll get 5 different answers:

I want a platform to express our brand identity and distinguish ourselves from the competition
I want to give a behind-the-scenes look into our company
I want to build credibility
I want to connect personally with my fans
I want to build a an email list through great content
You could generate any number of specific, targeted goals for your own blog just from this list. But while these all sound like perfectly reasonable ideas, they actually don’t go far enough. That is, they don’t actually address the strategic aims that lie behind a successful blog.

What is the point of building an email list? What advantage will “building credibility” give you in your industry? How will giving insider insight actually help the development of your business? Before you go any further make sure you’ve got a concrete idea of what your blog is for and, if appropriate, how it will help your business.

But wait! It’s also important to bear in mind that simply setting blog goals for the sake of it won’t be rewarding. Don’t just rely on the “prevailing wisdom” in business. Where do you want your blog to be in a month? In a year? Five years? Envisage your ideal “success state” and think about how you might have got there, trying to work out short term goals that lead to your long term goals.

Although they seem initially compelling, there is no intrinsic value in any of the examples above unless they’re tied into your long-term vision for your blog. Blindly picking and choosing a goal will make it much harder for you to find the personal drive to be able to achieve it.

Take a few minutes. Grab a pen and paper. Jot down some ideas and outlines as to what you think the purpose of your blog is, and where you see it taking your business.

This image shows this exercise undertaken for one of my clients. Do take a couple of minutes to actually do this, and keep at it after you’ve covered off the obvious points. Once you’re done, we can proceed to look at how to turn those ideas into concrete, achievable goals.

Blog SMART for effective goals

With the whys and wherefores out of the way, let’s look at how to set manageable, effective goals for your blog. These will ensure you’re targeting specific, improvable areas, and setting yourself up for sustainable, long-term growth in key metrics.

The SMART framework is the golden standard when it comes to goal setting. You may have heard it all before, but it’s such a clear system that it really bears repeating here. SMART is a five-step checklist to make sure you reach your targets in the most efficient manner possible. SMART goals are:

Specific

Generalizations are notoriously unhelpful. “Improve my blog” is an essentially meaningless target with no definable parameters or endpoints. Narrowing down your plans to specific targets is the first step to success – otherwise you won’t know what it is you’re succeeding at!

Measurable

This is based on the idea that you need to be able to measure your goals in order for them to be effective. “Become a better writer” isn’t a measurable goal (how do you measure goodness?) – “write a post that gets 100 shares” is.

Achievable

Sure, one day you might want 100,000 people reading your blog. It may well happen, eventually. But that’s not going to happen in the first month. To get that you need 10,000, and before that, 1000, and so on. Focus on what’s possible, otherwise you’ll just end up disappointed.

Relevant

This comes back to our first point: make sure you’re setting goals that are relevant to the reason you’re running your blog in the first place. Accumulating just for the sake of it gives you the satisfying feeling of numbers ticking up, but doesn’t really help. Instead, try setting a goal such as “increase click-through rate to product page by 30%”, directly linked to your long-term revenue generation targets.

Time-bound

A sure-fire way to ignore something is to put no time constraint on it. The simple goal “write 10 blogs” has a markedly different impulse to “write 10 blogs by November”. Put hard limits on your time to ensure that you have a reason to get things done today.

So when you put all this together, what do SMART blogging goals look like? We can broadly split them up into three different types of goals:
Creation goals: these are about setting targets for your creative output:
  • “Write 500 words a day this week”.
  • “Create 3 new different blog concepts for your niche this quarter”.
  • “Publish in a new medium (video, podcast, etc) this month to reach a different key audience”.
Performance goals: these relate to how well your blog is doing:
  • “Increase blog traffic by 10% in four weeks”.
  • “Publish four more blogs this quarter than last quarter” .
  • “Increase email sign-up rate by 15% this quarter”.
Optimization goals: these relate to your own understanding of the goal process:
  • “Read and make notes on 4 key articles in the next two weeks”.
  • “Set up Google Analytics on the blog and check numbers once a week, updating the results in a spreadsheet”.
Go back to that list you made earlier. Hopefully by now you’re beginning to get a sense of how can you take those vague ideas and turn them into workable, SMART goals. Take each one of the ideas you initially wrote down, and try developing five concrete goals out of them.

It’s really worth spending the time on this: just like anything, setting goals for your blog gets easier with practice. When you’re done, come back here and we’ll look at how you can implement those goals.

How to stick to blog goals: ensuring you follow through on your blog

You should now have a feel for the kind of format you should be using to structure your goals in order to make them more effective, as well as picking up some ideas for your own blog. But what about the processes behind making and sticking to blog goals? What methods can you employ to actually achieve your long-term blog goals?

First, a couple of obvious points:

I. Don’t take on too many goals at once. It’s better to achieve a couple of blog goals than fail at ten. Aim to build on your successes and prioritize what’s workable, rather than trying to succeed at everything at the same time.
II. Writing your goals down somewhere prominent will keep them at the forefront of your mind. Your noticeboard; your notebook you always have handy; the good old post-it-note-stuck-to-your-screen; whatever works for you. Simply being constantly reminded of them will help you commit to your goals.
III. Work out what you’re not going to prioritize. Make clear boundaries that you’re not going to worry about while working on a specific set of goals. Focusing on building your overall site traffic? Don’t pay attention to the number of comments on each of your posts. Setting boundaries will remove “interference” that could otherwise lend a demoralizing sense of failure that you’re not achieving all the things at once.
IV. Make specific goal “triggers”. So, rather than telling yourself “write every week”, try setting the goal of “write every Tuesday after lunch” or similar. This comes back to the “time-bound” aspect of the SMART framework, and will help establish routine and concrete times for working on your blog goals.
Let’s look at one successful blogger’s strategies and break them down for a clear, simple, but powerful goal-setting structure that can take your blog to the next level.
Three level goal-setting / review process

One of the most effective ways I’ve come across of visualizing long term goals in the context of short term is a three level review process developed by Tiago Forte (Tiago is excellent on this topic, but this links to his paid-only Medium blog; a version of the same thing can be found here). In the review process, you pick and keep track of your most important daily / weekly / quarterly goals. This helps you set your smaller goals easily into the context of your overall blog goals, enabling you to work effectively on little tasks with the confidence that they’re all in service of your long-term vision.

The huge benefit of this system is it avoids the trap of responding to what’s urgent at any given time, instead of what’s important. I use this to help my clients prioritize their blog content, and even for my own task management day-to-day. It’s incredibly effective, and practical too – often these things are totally unrealistic in the amount of time they demand from you, but this process strikes a nice balance between time working on where you’re going, and time doing the work. So how does the three-step process, tweaked to fit blog goals, work?

  1. At the level of quarterly goal setting you should be working out 3 primary blog goals for next 13 weeks. Review your last quarter (through weekly reviews): your accomplishments, achievements, and failures. Try and visualize your ideal “success state”; do your long-term goals need adjusting / changing / throwing out? Come up with as many goals for the next quarter as you can. Then, narrow down that set. What would be the most exciting, most memorable goal for you to achieve? What would you do with your blog given unlimited time or resources? Keep working at it until you have three, clear, SMART blog goals for the next quarter.
  2. Weekly goal setting is broadly similar. Break your quarterly blog goals down into shorter periods (weeks 1-5, 6-10, etc), and work out goals on an increasingly micro level. This should take you a couple of minutes each week. I like to do this on a Monday morning, but Friday afternoons work better for some people. Each week, go through your quarterly goals, make sure they still make sense to you; review what you achieved on your blog in the last week, and then pick a new set of goals for the next week, tied to your quarterly goals.
  3. You’re probably not going to be working on your blog frequently enough to justify setting daily goals, but use the same principle whenever you are working during the week: tie the work you’re prioritizing to your weekly goals, rather than what’s urgent. Generating, for example, three to-dos when you sit down to work on your blog, based on your weekly goals, is a really effective way of forcing you to focus on what’s important. I find it helpful to also record in a document what I have done, so it’s easy to review at the end of the week.

In practice, if one of your goals is to increase traffic in order to increase lead generation for your product, you might find yourself spending more time doing promotion for your posts than you would have otherwise. This is good! A common problem with blogs that I see is that people spending ages writing them, but no time telling anyone about the content they’ve published! The little bit of validation from doing the extra promotion which brings in the extra visitors will also give you that extra motivation boost you need to keep working on your blog.

Tracking your blogging achievements: effective self-evaluation and accountability

Keeping track of all these goals, and your achievements, is super important. We’re not very good at holding lots of different streams of thought in our brains at once, but that’s okay; that’s why we invented writing! Making sure you’ve got your blog goals written down somewhere is not only hugely useful for organizational reasons, but also for your own personal motivation.

There’s nothing more satisfying than flicking through page after page of successfully completed tasks for a reminder that your goals are ultimately achievable.

Good old pen and paper is the simplest way; a simple spreadsheet can be effective, or there’s a wealth of productivity apps out there that were made with this in mind. Don’t be afraid to spend some time with a bunch of different ones to see what works for you.

Tracking your achievements is just one form of accountability – in this case, just to yourself. But one of the best ways of ensuring you stick to your goals is external accountability. Nothing is so motivational as the knowledge that someone else is going to check up on you and see how you’re doing!

This is a screenshot of keyword tracking I set up and monitored every week when I started my blog. You have to start somewhere!

There’s a number of ways you can try to make your blog goals externally accountable:
  • Discuss your goals with a friend or colleague once a week. Double points if you’re helping them towards their goals as well. I do this once a month with a friend who works in a totally different industry. The outside perspective is extremely helpful.
  • If you want to up personal stakes a little bit, you could try a service such as Beeminder or StickK. These are services that use the “nudge” theory of motivation to get you to stick to your promises. You put a certain amount of your own money on the line set against quantifiable goals. If you don’t achieve your targets (a certain amount of time spent writing, say) your money is donated to charity!
  • To be accountable to even more people you could commit to posting regular updates on your social media feeds about the state of progress towards your blog goals. WPShout, for example, has published a long article every Tuesday for the last four years. Readers expect to see new posts published to that timetable. That creates a huge accountability pressure, and the sheer quantity of the publishing streak is a major reason it hasn’t been broken in literally years.

You can make your own twist on any of the above. At CodeinWP we’ve long believed in the value of regular transparency reports (you can find all of ours here). These are a twist on two of the above points. We’ve found that they’re one of the best ways of visualizing, sticking to, and achieving our goals, as well as sharing with our readers the benefits of doing..

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Website building and maintenance is a complex area. Anyone creating websites for a living needs to cover a lot of bases to make them effective and beautiful. Various productivity tools for designers, developers, and WordPress users can help make that process more efficient.

To increase your hourly output and reduce your stress level, this article lists a number of useful tools that allow all web creatives to be more productive.

Below, you will find services, programs and plugins for that purpose. We will also talk about who they are suitable for and why you should use them.

Let’s get right to it:

Productivity tools for designers and WordPress users to improve your workflow

While the list below is far from complete (I actually want to hear your tips at the end), it does provide a good foundation. Pick what appeals to you and disregard what doesn’t. That way you will find the right tools for yourself.

15+ #productivity #tools for designers and #WordPress users to make you super effective
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#time-tracking

Toggl

Especially as a freelance web designer, your time is quite literally money. Since many designers work with fixed project fees, the quicker you can finish, the better your hourly rate will be.

To figure out which of your clients are the most lucrative or simply how you spend your time, Toggl is your best friend. It’s an awesome time tracking tool with a pleasant user interface that’s free to use for the basic version.

Track your time with a single click, assign time blocks to projects and clients, set estimates (to see if you are going over) and much more. It also has extensions that allow you to integrate the tool into many other services as well as your browser.

#time-tracking

The Pomodoro Technique

In case you haven’t heard the term before, Pomodoro is a productivity technique that has you working in sprints. The name stems from the tomato-shaped kitchen timer its inventor used when he came up with it.

The way it works is that you do a single task for a set amount of time (traditionally 25 minutes). When the time is up, take a break of 3-5 minutes, then repeat the process. After four intervals, you get to take a longer break of 15-30 minutes before starting all over again.

This technique is effective because it forces you to single task. It also has breaks built into it so you don’t burn yourself out. You can also use the Pomodoro technique together with Toggl. Since the time tracking service shows the elapsed time in the browser tab, it’s a perfect companion.

Alternatively, you can use a tool called E.gg Timer.

#documents #writing

Evernote

Next on our list of productivity tools for designers is Evernote. I like to refer to the service as my outside brain. It’s where I save and organize every bit of important information about my business, projects and private endeavors.

Basically, Evernote allows you to take notes (text, images, sound files and more) and organize them in collections. All your information is fully searchable (even handwriting in images) and syncs across your devices (two in the basic version). The company also offers a browser plugin that lets you add information from anywhere on the web.

The basic version of Evernote is free to use and has always been enough for me.

#documents #writing

Google Docs

Google offers a full fledged online office suite. Here you can create text files, spreadsheets and presentations from dozens of templates. Share them quickly with clients, collaborate with other creatives or download them in different formats.

The service is ideal for dealing with the paperwork involved in creative work. Plus, it’s free!

On top of that, you can also use Google Docs when creating content for your WordPress blog – it is now possible to import your content straight from Docs to WordPress.

#project-management

Trello

Trello is a team collaboration tool that allows you to organize projects easily. To quote our editor here at CodeinWP: “In case you haven’t used Trello before, let me just assure you that there’s basically no learning curve at all, and everything is really intuitive.” Right he is.

Trello allows you to organize anything with the help of lists, cards and boards. Users can add comments, interact with other team members and see the state of projects at a glance. Plus, it’s free, so there really is no argument not to try it out.

Editor’s note. Here at CodeinWP, we use Trello to manage all of our content-creation efforts. Each post or resource gets its own Trello card, and then all discussion happens under that card. The best part is that multiple people can interact simultaneously. Plus, Trello allows you to upload media and files to accompany your card. Awesome stuff, and no accident it is this high on our list of top productivity tools for designers!

#project-management #communication

Slack

Slack is another teamworking tool. It lets you organize your team communication across channels and keeps searchable archives of all your conversations. Many companies use it to eliminate internal emails.

In addition to that, Slack integrates with other services including Google Drive, Trello, Github and much more. Alternatives are Rocket Chat, Ryver and Stride.

#management

LastPass

Especially as a WordPress web designer taking care of several client sites, you often have to deal with loads of login information. That is, of course, in addition to your other passwords.

How about letting someone do it for you? LastPass saves all your login, payment and shipping details, memberships and other information for you. It also syncs them across your devices. That way, all you need to remember is your one password for the service itself. Here’s how LastPass works specifically.

#design

Sketch

One tool that web designers usually spend a lot of their time with is Adobe Photoshop. It’s the go-to design suite for all things print and digital.

However, Photoshop is not the only kid on the block. Sketch is a (Mac-only) alternative to the program that often gets rave reviews, especially for UI design, making it one of the top productivity tools for designers.

Sketch’s highlights are its simple and intuitive interface, the ability to reuse elements easily and integration with other apps and services. The software is also more affordable than Adobe’s solution.

#development

XAMPP

XAMPP is a useful productivity tool for designers because it allows you to set up WordPress websites locally on your computer. That way, you are not dependent on a live server to design and build your site but can do it anywhere and without anyone noticing when you screw up.

The program is open source and thus free. Plus, it’s pretty easy to set up. Learn about alternatives in our roundup of local development tools.

#development

Code editors

While code editors are often seen as the domain of web developers, they are absolutely necessary for designers who also implement their own work on websites.

You can choose from many different free offers:

#development

WProller

As a WordPress web designer, you often set up dozens of WordPress websites every year, month or even week. Including the time it takes to install the same standard plugins and themes, remove sample content, etc. this can be quite tedious.

To reduce the busywork, WProller allows you to create custom WordPress installation files including any plugins, themes and standard settings you want. Just configure what you need on the site and download your custom zip file. When you install it now, your site is ready to go. Plus, your configurations are reusable. It’s free, too!

#development

Duplicator

After you have built your site offline, how do you get it onto the live server? You can do it manually, however, an easier way is to use a migration plugin.

One of the most comfortable solutions is Duplicator. Just install and activate, zip up your site, upload it to the new server, execute the installer and follow the instructions, done. You can also use it to back up your site.

Alternatives are All-in-One WP Migration, UpdraftPlus and WP Clone by WP Academy.

#development

Browser Developer tools

These can be some of the most important productivity tools for designers. They allow you to look at the code behind pages, debug HTML, CSS and JavaScript as well as test live design changes.

In addition to that, they come with tools to simulate mobile environments and measure performance. Developer tools are included in all major browsers: Mozilla Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Edge.

#images

Unsplash

Visuals are part of web design. Designers often need images to populate websites and make them more engaging. A popular solution is to go for stock images or create your own.

To stay away from generic stock photos, Unsplash offers free, high-quality images with a different flavor. All their offerings also come with a CC0 license, so you are able to use them to your heart’s content. How awesome is that?

Alternative services are Pexels, MyStock.Photos, Pixabay and Death to Stock Photo.

#images

WPSmush

Optimizing images is important to increase the performance of your website as well as SEO. Part of that is making visuals as small as possible.

If you don’t want to do it offsite or fear that clients might forget to optimize images after the handover, there is WP Smush. It’s a handy WordPress plugin that automatically compresses images uploaded to WordPress without loss of quality. It can also optimize your existing image library and even resize images.

A similar solution is EWWW Image Optimizer.

#SEO

Yoast SEO

As a web designer, your realm is making a site look good so that visitors can enjoy it. However, they are not the only audience for websites. Search engines are, too.

If you are often working with projects that include content, Yoast SEO is the perfect solution to make sure they perform well in..

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Hey guys, how’s your day been so far? Cool? Not? In any case, let us entertain you a little bit. Today it’s time for yet another round of WordPress comics inspired by the (difficult) lives of WordPress developers, mixed in with some common and mundane everyday situations.

From making pizza, to supermarket queues, to simple telephone conversations with friends … oh yes, WordPress developers can find difficulties at every time of the day.

Cheers to our illustrator João Santos who helped us with this round of concepts and designs. Plus, some of the jokes also come from our creative and spontaneous colleagues, so cheers to them too. 🙂

If you want to see our previous roundups of WordPress comics, feel free to check the whole blog category here.

This is the February edition of WordPress comics with CodeinWP:

#WordPress #comics of the month – February 2018
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February 2018 WordPress Comics The altruistic developer

… If they didn’t take you for granted, they wouldn’t be your true friends.

The polite developer

… When you don’t find yourself compatible with everyday life.

It’s always the cache

… It’s nice to always have that one special something to blame when things go wrong.

The homeless of the future

… You still using fiat currency, bro?!

The clairvoyant of developers

… Even when skill, Coke, Google, and Stack Overflow don’t work anymore, there’s still hope.

So that’s our February 2018 roundup of WordPress comics! If you liked it (which we hope you did), please share it on social media so that others can enjoy the jokes too. Moreover, each comic strip can be shared individually when you hover over the image.

By the way, if you relate to any of the stories illustrated above, don’t hesitate to tell us more in the comments section below. Also, if you have suggestions for other topics that we can approach in the next roundups, let us know, and we will take them into consideration.

With that said, have a fun week ahead! Cheers!

#WordPress #comics of the month – February 2018
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Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

The post February 2018 WordPress Comics … w/ CodeinWP appeared first on CodeinWP Blog.

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 This is the February 2018 edition of “This Month in WordPress with CodeinWP.” 
Hi everybody, ready for some cool WordPress news? I monitored what happened in the last month and picked the most interesting stories and articles from around the web, which I hope you’ll enjoy.

In January, there was a lot of stuff going on and I had to narrow down the list a ton to end up with our usual 5-item format. So what are you going to read today? Birthday wishes for WordPress, a new security release and another one to come out very soon, a new bizarre tech-related newsletter, a toolkit that simplifies developers’ hassles with Gutenberg, users’ feedback about WordPress, plus many more interesting tutorials, guides, and tips from WordPress specialists in our community.

Welcome to the February 2018 edition of “This Month in WordPress with CodeinWP.”

This Month in #WordPress With CodeinWP – February 2018
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February 2018 WordPress News
WordPress Turns 15 Years Old

On January 25th, WordPress turned 15! Which is a lot if you look back and reflect on this from an outside perspective. It’s been 15 years of continuous evolution in terms of technology and community. And things keep moving fast, in a consistent way: the development goes on daily and people work hard to keep the adventure alive.

Let’s wish WordPress a happy birthday, but especially let’s say thanks to all the people that ever contributed to its growth of any kind. So happy birthday to us all!

By the way, if you’re curious to see the WordPress UI evolution from 2003 to 2018, we made a post about it here (it has pictures for each version).


WordPress 4.9.2 Security and Maintenance Release

A new security and maintenance release is available this month, which fixes a cross-site scripting vulnerability in the Flash fallback files. These files were located in the MediaElement library and were deleted for good because they were very rarely needed for use cases.

Yet, if you are one of those people who need access to the Flash fallback files, MediaElement built a plugin called MediaElement Flash Fallbacks, so feel free to use it with confidence.

Additionally, the recent release solved another 21 bugs, most notably JavaScript errors that prevented saving posts in Firefox and a fix on themes – from now on, switching themes will attempt to restore previous widget assignments, even if there is no sidebar on the map.

And by the way, keep an eye on WordPress 4.9.3, which was supposed to go live as I was writing but it got delayed to February 5th.


Bizarro Devs – A weekly newsletter with the bad stuff found on the internet

If you’re looking for a collection of great, comprehensive, funny, and weird articles – tech and WordPress-related – we just released Bizarro Devs, a project carefully curated by Chris Fitzgerald.

He does the hard work and you only get to see the result: a list of awesome stories right in your inbox, so you can have fun during job breaks or while waiting for the metro. We promise you won’t get the usual, popular links as we’re more into obscure yet cool stuff found on the internet.

If “Giant disco ball launched into space. Still not the worst crime of the disco era” sounds like something you would click on, then this newsletter is for you.


WordPress User Survey Data for 2015-2017

I remember filling out annual WordPress surveys but never seeing the results. Well, they’re here finally. To quickly get you up to speed, the WordPress annual survey is released to the community and anyone who has/had at least the shortest interaction with the platform can answer the questions and offer their feedback based on their experiences.

The feedback was being discussed live at WordCamp US during Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word, but now you can view all of the results for yourself online. The page contains all the data collected since 2015 to present. If you dig in, you can actually find some interesting stats. For instance, 47% of the respondents of last year said the best thing about WordPress is its easy, user-friendly interface.


Create Guten Block Toolkit: Launch, Introduction, Philosophy, & More!

Ahmad Awais, one of the WordPress core contributors, recently released a Guten Block Toolkit that allows developers to create Gutenberg blocks easier without configuration and lock-in, and using one single dependency.

“Developers told me that they built Gutenberg blocks with ES5 because the amount of time required to configure, set up, and learn tools like Babel, Webpack, ESLint, Prettier, etc. wasn’t worth it”, the author said. So he quickly went for a solution that you can use if you’re having the same issues.

It takes three steps to create the blocks with the toolkit: install Node (8 or higher) on a local server; run the create-guten-block command and give the plugin a name; run the NPM start command which runs the plugin in development mode.

Great Articles From Around The Web
A Collection of Gutenberg Conversations, Resources, and Videos

If you want to keep yourself up to date with what’s going on in the Gutenberg world, you should check out this roundup by WP Tavern. With Gutenberg Version 2.1 now released, there’s even more things to be excited about.

How to Accept Bitcoin on WordPress – Your Step-by-Step Guide

Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, blockchain… I bet these were the most popular words in 2018 so far. But is there any connection with WordPress? It could be because you can implement this new currency into your WordPress site or shop.

WordPress Web Design Trends You Need to Know for 2018

Ok, so cryptocurrency is THE big thing that’s happening right now. But what about design? What should we expect this year? “Adventurous color palettes, rule-breaking typography, hand-drawn graphics, augmented reality/virtual reality…”, says WPMU DEV.

Desktop Blogging Software, The Ultimate List

Writers often work from places other than their homes or offices. Sometimes, you start working on a piece but you don’t have the proper internet connection or the time to go online and face various other obstacles. You can simply turn on your laptop, open an app on your desktop, and start writing. It’s way simpler. Here are a few nice desktop blogging software options to begin with.

Pinterest Marketing Tips and Strategies for WordPress Users

Pinterest is not only a platform where you get engagement for your creative works. You can actually sell on Pinterest. But only if you know where to post your products and how to get exposed to a large audience. Here’s how to use the platform on your WordPress blog for marketing purposes.

Doing Keyword Research for Your WordPress Site [2018 Guide]

Here’s a comprehensive tutorial on how or where to look for the most relevant and efficient keywords to use on your site. If you don’t know much about this topic, this post has everything explained – metrics, tools, graphs, grouping, and strategy.

How to Create Email Drip Campaigns for WordPress

People never give up on email marketing, do they? I mean, every company uses newsletters to promote their products because email is used by all the people in the world (or at least it should be) and creates a bond between the brand and the client. Moreover, it’s easy to manage and afford. But this is not about why email is still a good solution for marketing but more about how to use it efficiently. So here’s WPExplorer advice on how to create email campaigns that work.

Dedicated IP Address vs Shared IP Address (Debunking Myths)

What’s the difference between a dedicated IP and a shared IP? Why there are two of them in the first place? Which leads to another question… Why do you need a shared IP when you already have one that’s only assigned to you? By reading Kinsta’s guide, you’ll be able to understand better.

Tutorial: Create a WooCommerce Restaurant Ordering System to Order Food Online

If you have a restaurant or catering service aiming for home delivery food, you can set everything up easily in WordPress using WooCommerce. If you read this tutorial, you will learn how to integrate the system.

5 Biggest Mistakes You Probably Make Managing Ads on WordPress

A lot of things can go wrong when you’re creating an ad without knowing much about how to do it: wrong keyword match and grouping, negative keywords omission, low-quality logos and images, wrong target audience… Give this article a look to prevent these things from happening.

Video SEO – What You Can Do Better

If you can do SEO for your blog content, you can do it for videos as well. Through the right tool, you can search for the keywords your competitors are using, the length of their videos, and useful analytics. But read the post above to find out more details.

Buiding Trust Online – 11 Reasons People Don’t Trust Your Site

Unless you’re a big national or global brand and you don’t need to take it from scratch, you should definitely build a website that speaks to your clients somehow. The online presence matters more than you think. If people see un-updated, old, and poor design and content, they will assume your services will be the same. So invest in your website first and then expect the clients to come in.

That’s it for February 2018. Anything we missed?

This Month in #WordPress With CodeinWP – February 2018
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Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:

The post February 2018 WordPress News – This Month in WordPress w/ CodeinWP appeared first on CodeinWP Blog.

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Codeinwp by Adelina Tuca - 1M ago

According to BuiltWith, Shopify is currently one of the leading e-commerce platforms when it comes to the number of websites using it. No wonder so many people are interested in finding the best Shopify themes for their stores.

What’s certain is that Shopify comes with tons of great designs, but there are still some things you can do to make your store stand out even more (and possibly convert better, too). This is where the best Shopify themes come into the picture.

We’ve done our research and compiled the following list of the top selections. This is a collection of the best Shopify themes in the market – the ones that stood out the most due to their appearance and the features they offer. Check them out and let us know which one is your pick.

Also, if you’re more of a WordPress+WooCommerce person when it comes to running an online store, don’t forget to browse through our list of the top WooCommerce themes.

Lastly, if you’re not yet certain which of the top 3 most popular e-commerce platforms is going to be the optimal one for you (WooCommerce, Magento, Shopify) then we have an infographic that might help.

20+ best @Shopify #themes for 2018
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20+ best Shopify themes for 2018 Narrative
  • Built for small catalogs.
  • Hero video.
  • Designed for visual storytelling.
  • Vertical slideshow.
  • Built-in styles and color palettes.
  • Mobile friendly.
  • Drop-down navigation support.
Furnitto
  • Fully responsive.
  • Product quick view.
  • Collections catalog.
  • Multi-currency support.
  • Sorting options.
  • Product carousel.
  • Image with text and image with text overlay supported.
Material
  • Material design theme.
  • Advanced filter module.
  • Video slider.
  • Quick product view supported.
  • Responsive and multipurpose design.
  • Lightbox effect.
  • Five mega menu styles.
Pacific
  • Fully responsive.
  • Homepage slideshow.
  • Integrated social feeds.
  • Multi-tiered sidebar menu.
  • Minimalist and clean design.
  • Four demo styles.
  • Optimized for large inventory stores.
Ap Sunglasses
  • Responsive and multipurpose.
  • Canvas mega menu.
  • Multiple shortcodes.
  • Six styles for the collections page.
  • Multiple Shopify apps included.
  • Various styles for blog and products pages.
  • Ajax cart.
Venice
  • Responsive and SEO friendly.
  • Customizable colors.
  • Ajax product filters by tags.
  • Variant image support.
  • Grid / blog-like product showcase.
  • Upright homepage header.
  • Image slideshow module.
Mobilia
  • Product page gallery and video.
  • Full-width homepage video.
  • Full-width Instagram feed.
  • Mobile friendly.
  • Built-in styles and color palettes.
  • Disqus integration for blog comments.
  • Multi-level menu.
Multifly
  • Responsive design.
  • Three different skins.
  • Multipurpose e-commerce design.
  • Parallax animation.
  • Multiple pre-loaded sections.
  • Multilingual and multi-currency.
  • Customizable homepage with 15 ready sections.
Handy
  • Responsive design with Bootstrap 3.
  • Ajax live search without Shopify apps.
  • Newsletter and EU privacy pop-ups.
  • Unlimited colors.
  • Product deal countdown timer.
  • Product hover and quick view.
  • Drag-and-drop layout builder.
Loft
  • Built for large catalogs.
  • Optimized for large images.
  • Custom promotion tiles.
  • Story-focused product pages.
  • Full-width Instagram feed.
  • Multi-level menu.
  • Multiple styles and colors.
Fashion Store
  • Responsive design.
  • Customizable homepage with ready sections.
  • Multi-currency.
  • Sorting options.
  • Homepage dominated by visuals.
  • Product carousels.
  • Google fonts included.
YourStore
  • 22+ pre-made layouts.
  • Premium plugins and extensions included for free.
  • Product and listing variations.
  • Nine headers and six footers.
  • Unlimited individual tabs for each product.
  • Google Rich Snippets.
  • Responsive and Retina ready.
Empire
  • Advanced filtering.
  • Customizable promotion tiles.
  • Sales-focused display options.
  • Built for large catalogs and high-volume stores.
  • Improved product reviews.
  • Highlighted discounts.
  • Mobile optimization.
Split
  • Optimized for large images.
  • Vertical slideshow.
  • Two menu options.
  • Social feed grid.
  • Built-in styles and colors.
  • Mobile friendly.
  • Modern and SEO optimized design.
Pencil
  • Built for fashion purposes.
  • Five pre-made unique demos.
  • Mega-menu and vertical mega-menu supported.
  • Responsive layouts.
  • Lots of widgets and modules included.
  • Product quick view.
  • Multiple skins and flexible layout.
Everest
  • Eight different demos.
  • Responsive design.
  • Font Awesome icons.
  • Layout variations.
  • Unlimited colors.
  • Off-canvas and drop-down menus.
  • Product-related Ajax effects.
Valu
  • Fully responsive.
  • Shopify apps.
  • Grid and list product view.
  • Powerful filtering system.
  • Product quick view with custom design.
  • Customized styles for shop pages.
  • Full-width and boxed layouts.
Vogue
  • Fully responsive.
  • Lookbook template.
  • Multi-tiered sidebar menu.
  • Retina ready.
  • Large photo galleries with large images.
  • Portfolio-like collections.
  • Multi-currency.
Flow
  • Homepage video.
  • Slide-out cart.
  • Unique product grid.
  • Collection page sidebar.
  • Promotional banner.
  • Multiple styles and colors.
  • Mobile-friendly.
Fastest
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