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How to use WordPress visual mode and text mode to write HTML

The WordPress visual mode and text mode can be a great shortcut for producing basic HTML.

This can be useful for adding links and other formatting to plain text widgets, announcement bars, excerpts or other places in WordPress that don’t support rich text formatting.

Steps:

  • Start a new post (or page)
  • Make sure you are in “Visual” mode
  • Add bold, italic, links or any other formatting
  • Switch to “text” mode to view the HTML – you can then copy and paste this code elsewhere
  • Once you are done remember to delete that post – otherwise you will end up with many messy “drafts”

 

Here’s a video with a brief demo:

Posted in WordPress | 1 Response

How to screenshot on Mac and iOS 11 – no software needed

How to take a MacOS screenshot
Two options:  capture entire screen or just a portion of it.

Where will the screenshot be?

Usually the screenshot is automatically saved to your desktop but if you installed Dropbox you may have a “Screenshots” folder in your Dropbox that files will appear in. Also, your screenshots may appear in your downloads folder.

How to take a screenshot of your entire screen

screenshot 3 full screen.JPG

  • Press Shift-Command (⌘) 3

How to take a screenshot of a selected portion of your screen

screenshot 4 all.JPG

  • Press Shift-Command-4. The pointer changes to a crosshair.
  • Move the crosshair to where you want to start the screenshot, then drag to select an area. (tip:  hold Option. Shift or Space to modify the way the selection moves.)
  • When you’ve selected the area you want, release your mouse or trackpad button. To cancel, press the Esc (Escape) key before you release the button.

crosshair: corsshairs.jpg

How to take a screenshot of a window

Press Shift-Command (⌘) 4 and note that your pointer changes to a crosshair. Press the Space bar and pointer changes to a camera. Move the cursoe over a window to highlight it. Click your mouse button to finish.

iOS 11 and screenshots

October 2017: taking a screenshot is just a bit different than in previous versions of iOS. Users initiate by pressing two buttons — they will still see the screen flash, but beyond that, you have many new editing options.

There is a new Screenshots album, and Screenshots floating interface.

Additionally, when you take a new screenshot (or series of screenshots in a short period of time), the snap minimizes itself in the bottom left corner of the screen. From here, you have four options:

  • swipe it off-screen to save it to your Photos
  • Leave it alone, and the thumbnail will simply be in Photos library after a few seconds
  • long-press on the thumbnail to send it as-is via the “Share Sheet”
  • tap on the thumbnail to enter Markup mode (edit mode)   — without saving it to your Photos library. (this is the most useful feature of the floating interface)

This video shows how to markup a screenshot:

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How to remove / deactivate buy button on WooCommerce

WooCommerce is the best eCommerce plugin for WordPress. All workflows are processed smoothly from backend to frontend. My team and I are able to adapt it to match the customized needs of my clients. Users generally find it easy to use.

But sometimes stores want to disable the purchase process (remove the cart and the buy button from the product page) — for a variety of scenarios:

  • I was migrating a site from one server to another and wanted to make sure no orders were “trapped” on the old server once I edited the DNS records to point to the new server.
  • For other kinds of test environments or site copies that might be seen in limited scenarios or edge cases.
  • Some stores  just want to display their products, as a display catalog and not for purchasing.  

You can use this code to remove the buy button from the product page:

remove_action( 'woocommerce_after_shop_loop_item', 'woocommerce_template_loop_add_to_cart' );
remove_action( 'woocommerce_single_product_summary', 'woocommerce_template_single_add_to_cart', 30 );

Place the code above in functions.php of your active theme.

Here’s a screenshot:

Before:

After:

This may not work with every theme and every setup. Learn more and see more complex code options at wordpress.stackexchange.com 

Posted in WordPress, WordPress WooCommerce | Leave a comment

Gravity forms – Notification Issues

Having email Notification issues with Gravity Forms?

It can be hard to find a root cause since many issues can be behind notifications not being sent or received, and perhaps you are experiencing an issue that is less common and will require the support of your server administrator to solve.

One possible solution: there is a issue related with notifications being received when using an email in the domain of Yahoo or AOL in the from address. This isn’t due to an issue with Gravity Forms or your server, it is due to how these providers have configured their domains DMARC records.

  new-yahoo-logo

The problem here is related to a new DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) “reject” policy advertised by Yahoo to third-party email servers.

With the new policy, when a Yahoo user sends an email to a mailing list, the list’s server distributes that message to all subscribers, changing the headers and breaking DMARC validation. List subscribers with email accounts on servers that perform DMARC checks, such as Gmail, Hotmail (Outlook.com), Comcast or Yahoo itself, will reject the original message and respond back to the list with automated DMARC error messages.

So users of Gmail, Hotmail and other DMARC-enabled providers will not only fail to receive messages sent to the mailing list by Yahoo users, but will flood the list with bounce messages, risking to be bounced off the list themselves.

Laura Tessmer Atkins is a client of mine and  co-founder of email anti-spam consultancy firm Word to the Wise based in Palo Alto, California, also confirmed and documented the issue in a blog post. She believes that Yahoo began advertising a “reject” policy because of a recent attack against Yahoo users that involved attackers compromising yahoo.com email accounts and sending unauthorized emails to their contacts.

aol_logo1

AOL imposed a stricter email-validation process aimed at stamping down a “spoofing” attack that plagued users a couple years ago. The policy change makes it easy for mailbox providers to determine which emails are fakes, but the situation is not always so obvious for email users.

Following a similar move by Yahoo, AOL changed its DMARC policy to “reject,” meaning that a line of text has been added to its DNS record instructing mailbox providers to reject any email allegedly associated with an AOL domain that didn’t originate from an AOL server. Although the header of a spoofed email has been specially crafted to make it appear the message originated from a specific AOL email address, it in fact never crosses AOL’s servers.

The change to the email authentication system came after days of users complaining of emails that appear to originate from AOL users that contain links to sites with often nefarious intentions such as spreading malware or peddling diet pills.

  • For more information on the Yahoo domain issue click here.
  • For more info on the AOL domain issue click here.
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Best third party Gravity Forms plugins

First make sure to review the mostly free plugins in the WordPress directory:

Start with the list of free add-ons by the people who make GF (with a dev license of GF): gravityforms.com/add-ons

…and their directory of 3rd party plugins: gravityhelp.com/other-resources

Gravity Perks
wide variety of add-ons including “Pay Per Word”; “Unique ID”; “Conditional Logic Dates”; “eCommerce Fields for Tax, Discounts, and Subtotal fields.”
http://gravitywiz.com

Gravity+
GravityPlus started with a stripe plugin (but now that is free from GF with a GF dev license). But they have added other useful plugins like “Gravity Forms Utility” (that one is free) and a new Salesforce integration tool. Also a “Gravity Forms User Registration Enhanced” plugin that allows users to both edit as well as add their accounts – so they don’t have to go into the WordPress admin area.
https://gravityplus.pro

GravityView
This tool lets you show and sort entries on the front end of your website.
https://gravityview.co
Lots of great demos like an Issue Tracker 

Gravity Forms Import Entries
Like the tile says – this fills in the one missing feature of the default Gravity forms import/export page (you can already import and export forms but by default only export entries).
https://gravityview.co/extensions/gravity-forms-entry-importer

GravityPDF
Automatically generate, email and download PDF documents: free with the option to pay for custom integrations like having Gravity Forms ifll in a preexisting PDF that you alredy have – like a Gift Certificate for example.
https://gravitypdf.com

GFchart
Chart and count information captured via Gravity Forms.
https://gfchart.com

GravityFlow
Feedback Loops & Process Branching; workflow steps turn forms into business processes.
https://gravityflow.io

Gravity Forms Image Choices: images as choices for Radio Buttons or Checkboxes (good for products too, both for product variations and for showing single images for products on order forms).
https://jetsloth.com/gravity-forms-image-choices

Posted in Product Reviews, WordPress | Leave a comment

A New Law to Protect Negative Yelp Reviews

Interesting development with Yelp — and other sites that allow public review. The “authenticity engine” and the consumer win again!

Last week, Congress passed a law that will make it illegal for companies to retaliate against U.S. consumers who post negative reviews online. Yes, soon you’ll be able to give a bad business one star without having to worry about being bullied or sued.

Source: This New Law Will Protect Your Negative Yelp Reviews

View my other posts about Yelp and negative reviews

Posted in Product Reviews, Web Design | Tagged | Leave a comment

The psychology of search

sf-search

The psychology of search – And defining the perfect keywords for AdWords

There are countless questions arising each time one starts a new AdWords campaign – “How do I best reach my customers?”, ”What is my target audience looking for?” and many more. Finding answers to these questions is the major challenge when planning a new campaign and often decides its success or failure.

Who uses Search Engines?

In general internet users can be roughly divided in 2 groups:

  • The Consumers (Social Media, Newsletter, Websites etc.)
  • The Searchers (Search Engines)

While the first group just browses the web to consume content, the latter has a question, a problem or an interest in something in particular. They then put it in a question that they hope the search engine will deliver the right answer to.

How do people use Search Engines?

Unfortunately, there is no standard format searchers use for their queries. This is because the human mind works in a totally different way than a search engine’s algorithm. Humans merge everything into concepts and ideas – concepts like flowers, colors, etc. – while search engines still heavily rely on categorization and classification through keywords.

When using a search engine, the user must first transfer his or her own conceptual thinking into a keyword based search query. And there is no way to exactly predict the outcome of that.

Here are some examples of possible queries, or outcomes of the above described process:
–   An actual question: Where do I find a plumber?

  • A description of the problem: Flooded basement
  • A description of problem’s origin/solution: Repair broken plumbing
  • A geo location: Plumber near my location

With each of these queries the user has certain expectations of the results. Is the search engine result page going to deliver?

That’s exactly where an AdWords campaign should be positioned. The ad has to be designed to meet the searcher’s expectations. For help with writing good ad copy, check out The six tips how to write successful AdWords ads.

And the landing page should of course be able to actually answer the searcher’s original question.

When creating a new AdWords ad it helps to answer the following questions up front:

  • What potential queries are there?
  • What expectations does a searcher have?
  • Does my page answer these questions?
    (Or is there another subpage that does a better job at answering a specific question)

Apart from the benefit of being able to answer multiple questions with different ads and landing pages, you also gain insight into what queries to ignore and not to advertise for, as they are likely to mount costs with no profit.

When you follow these steps and make both your ads and landing pages as relevant to the searchers intent as possible, chances are your ad won’t be seen as disturbing advertisement, but as helpful information. When that happens, you’ve won.

Because Advertising Isn’t Advertising When It’s Information!
Brad Geddes, Certified Knowledge

Posted in WordPress | 1 Response

WordPress event plug-ins

Important features to note for WordPress events plugins:

  • Feature: save events to users’ 3rd party event and calendar services
  • Integration with third party calendar tools (iCal, Google)
  • Responsiveness for mobile phones/tablets
  • Registration and ticketing 
  • Appearance customization
  • Layouts, views and filters
  • Recurring events – a wide range of support on this feature
  • Shortcodes and widgets for displaying events in content and sidebars
  • Importing and exporting event data

The best WordPress event plug-in is: The Events Calendar by Modern Tribe

Modern Tribe is a small Santa Cruz-based WordPress company that’s been growing in popularity. With contributions by several WordPress expert developers, including core developer Mark Jaquith). To create an event, go to Events / Add New. Add your copy in the editor, add all relevant info in the detail widget below. You can ignore any of the fields  checkboxes below so don’t be intimidated. Anything you leave blank will not show up.

I have also used All-In-One Events Calendar by Time.ly on many sites including The Roxie. Over the years that plugin has become more bloated and I don’t think it’s as robust as “The Events Calendar” but it offers more features for free out-of-the-box.

See also:

 

A big list of WordPress event plug-ins is: http://wordpress.org/

One feature I miss is the ability to add ‘event time’ to any blog post. So the blog post becomes the ‘more info’ listing and then can be viewed in various calendar formats. That is a different approach than making a new custom content type and is preferable if you want every event post to be part of the bigger blog feed.

 

There is one that is focused on the needs of a touring performance group:
http://gigpress.com/shows/
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/gigpress/

Or try this super simple option:
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/simple-event-list/
It just builds a widget showing blog entries with a custom field that give a time-out date.

Posted in Web Design, WordPress | 8 Responses

PayPal Here vs Square for “swipes” and “chips”

Lots of options these days for Credit Card processing—you can see their pricing is virtually identical. PayPal used to have per-item fixed fees and that adds alot for small transactions but now they both offer percentage-only fees.

paypal EMV reader

2016 PayPal Here

2.7% Per swipe (or “dip” of an EMV chip card)
3.5% + $0.15 to key in cards
square swipe chip and dip
 
square appl epay EMV

2016 Square

2.75% Per swipe  (or “dip” of an EMV chip card)
3.5% + 15¢ Per manually entered transaction
 
Reader Options
  • Both services offer a free or cheap “swipe only” little card reader
  • Stripe has a new (inexpensive) small  reader for “swipes” and “chips”
  • Both services offer a more expensive reader that takes Apple pay
 
PayPal offers a small “swipe” only reader
and a bigger unit that does all 3: “swipes” “chips” and apple pay
 
Square has a new small reader for “swipes” and “chips” (their old reader was for swipe only)
and a bigger reader for apple pay only
 
and also a new “RED” one that raises money for charity
square reader red
 
So for compactness, price and versatility, Square wins out with their super compact new reader. It doesn’t need batteries either.
 
Note that using swipe-only is fine for the next few years at least – but at some point new cards won’t have magnetic stripes.
 
Note also that setting up a Square account might take a while – they might run a credit check or something since it’s a new account and maybe there would be other delays since it is a business account. More people already have a PayPal account so it can be simpler to use that.
 

Accounting for Taxes

For either service, if you make $20,000 in payments AND at least 200 transactions then you will receive a 1099K form. This is a fairly new kind of 1099 and it means these services are reporting your income to the IRS.  For many this will be a convenient way to track and confirm their yearly income but for others it will cause issues since some small businesses will get the 1099k and also a 1099 “misc” from clients who are not clear that they should no longer issue 1099 “misc” since they are paying via a third party service. Also, if you use PayPal for non-income transactions – like someone paying you back for a purchase – then you need to be aware the IRS will think all you incoming money is taxable income.
 

Other kinds of fees

 
for sending invoices:
2016 PayPal Here: 2.9% + $0.30 to invoice
1% for cross-border transfers
you can enter checks into the mobile app also

2016 Square: 2.75% Per swipe (or paid Square Invoice)


Card readers for Stripe: If you use Stripe or other payment gateways

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How to set up Zoho Mail

Zoho provides a combination of clean, ad-free, minimalist interface and power features geared for business and professional use. Zoho also offers several free services, including 25 free mailboxes. But if you want more there are three other plans available:

screen_shot_2015-06-30_at_90659_pm

 

If you are interested in creating a free account, here it is what you need to do:

  1. Go to www.zoho.com/mail and click on “GET STARTED NOW”
  2. You’ll see the Pricing table from the picture above, choose your plan and click on “SIGN UP”
  3. You’ll go to this page:
    screen_shot_2015-06-30_at_90712_pm
    (this tutorial is about the free services)
    I’ll assume that you already have a domain, so you will just type your domain in the first field and click on “Add Domain”
  4. Next you’ll be asked to enter your personal information
  5. Now your account is set up and you’ll see the page below and receive an email with more instructions:
    screen_shot_2015-06-30_at_90949_pm
  6. The email will guide you through the following steps:
    • Step 1: Verify your domain
    • Step 2: Add/ Import users to the organization
    • Step 3: Start receiving emails – Change MX Records
    • Step 4: Email Migration to Zoho Mail

After following all those steps, you’ll be ready to go.

 

You can see all the features Zoho offers by clicking here: www.zoho.com/mail/features.html

Posted in Web Design | 2 Responses
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