Category: Getting Started

The WordPress Customizer Sucks

I tried, really tried. I really wanted to like it. I even promoted it. The truth, though, is that the WordPress Customizer sucks. I know I’m being harsh but that is the truth. It has almost no value for a developer or designer and has minimal value for users.  I’m writing this because I just got done reading the article “Initial Customizer Survey Results Reveal Majority of Respondents Don’t Use It” on WPTavern and had an “it’s-not-me-it’s-you” moment.  I’ll tell you why regular users and DIYers have no real use for it.

The WordPress Customizer Sucks for regular users

If you took the steps to learn a bit of WP and bought yourself a theme, learned it and created a site for yourself you have absolutely no use for the Customizer.  Any theme that can call itself a theme has fields which you can customize it in. The Customizer (as is) is not open to just any kind of customization. This forces the developer to split the customizable elements of his design into ones that can be part of the Customizer and ones that cannot and have to be placed somewhere else. Why would a theme developer, who cares about the user experience of his customers, force the user to sift through (more then they already do!) the dashboard trying to figure out what controls what!  One day, when all components of a theme can be edited in the Customizer then we can start talking about a useful tool. But from the moment I have a theme which lets me edit the theme title and paragraphs in its own editor, why would I go to the Customizer to do that?

The WordPress Customizer Sucks even more for professionals

Besides the fact the we are being pressured to adapt our themes to having (certain) parts adapted to the Customizer, we have been introduced with many features that we don’t use.  When I first heard about being able to tinker with CSS and see results live in the Customizer  I was pretty excited.  The experience has been underwhelming to say the least.  Maybe for a quick mindless edit it is fine, but it pales in comparison to the FF, Chrome or Edge inspectors.  For example, editing in FF, with all its features, is worth the “extra effort” of copy-pasting code into your styles.css, as opposed to the ‘ease’ of typing the css into the Customizer. Which, when you think about it, the inspector already shows you the CSS which you can play around with. With the Customizer you end up going to one of the above browsers to see what the damn classes and ids you want to change have attributed to them.

I love WordPress and I want to have a great a great Customizer, but it looks like I might have to wait a while for that to happen.

 

WordPress – How to Set the Homepage

When you first create a WordPress site your homepage will display your latest posts.  Unless you will use your site only as a blogging platform you most likely will want a static homepage.  Here I will show you how to set the homepage to whatever you like.

Step 1 – Create two pages

Go to Pages –> Add New and make two pages.  You can name them as you like but for this example name one “Home” and the other “Blog”.  As the names imply, you will use “Home” as your static homepage and “Blog” will hold your posts.  NOTE: Even if you will not include a blog on your site, WordPress still needs a location to index posts, so you need to create this page.

Step 2 – Set the homepage

Go to Settings –> Reading

Set “Front Page Displays” to “A static page” and set the field “Front Page” to “Home” and “posts Page” to “Blog”.  Click on “Save Changes and you are done.

Set the Homepage

Step 3 – Permalinks

Once you have set the homepage go to Settings –> Permalinks and under the common settings select “Post Name”.  This will make your page cleaner looking your homepage address will appear as http://www.example.com and not http://www.example.com/?p=342.  It looks better, it is easier to remember and is also search engine friendly.

Step 4 – Add your homepage to the menu

Go to Appearances –> Menu.  If you don’t already have a menu, create a new one by clicking on “create new menu”.  Give it name and save it.

On the left of the screen you will notice “Pages” option, select “View All” and look for the page (or pages if you want to include the blog) that you created earlier. Select it and click “add to menu”.  One they have been added you can drag and drop and arrange the menu as you like.  Normally you set the homepage as the first menu item but that is up to you.  Click “Save Menu” and view your website.

Now we learned how to set the homepage in WordPress and the fun begins.  We can customize the front page and the choices are limitless from now on.

FURTHER READING

https://codex.wordpress.org/Creating_a_Static_Front_Page

 

 

 

 

 

Loop through specific pages in WordPress

Sometimes you might want specific pages to be displayed on your site. If you want to display specific posts you can place them into the same category and loop though them by cat.  However, you can’t do that with pages.  In order to solve that, this is what you have to do if you want to loop through specific pages:

Copy this code where you would like to use it and in the assignment of variable $args modify the array with the IDs of the pages you want to use. In case you don’t know how to find your page ID, simply open up the editor for the Page you want.  In the URL area you will see the page number mentioned in the http string.  It will look something like this: ‘post=74’. That is your page ID number.  Check out this guide for a visual on how to do this.

Next, add your own content inside the loop. Don’t forget to close out your php tags if your content will include html. For example:

That’s it really.  Here is an example of the code of a loop through specific pages that i created to make a mosaic of images that link to specific pages.

Enjoy, and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.

 

How to add a guest author’s name to your post

So, someone has agreed to write an article for your WordPress blog and you want their name to appear next to the article.  There are two ways to add a guest author’s name.  First, you could always create an account for them and they can post their own articles.  This works well, especially if they plan to write again in the future.  The second way does not involve the author at all.  You simply add some code to your functions.php file and add a custom field at the bottom of your post.  This method is ideal when you don’t want to bother the author with dealing with passwords, when they will only write one article, when they have simply sent you the text of an article and will not be going into the WP editor to create the post and for keeping your dashboard clutter free.  On to it then.

Add a guest author’s name to your post

1.  FTP to your site and open the functions.php file in an editor and paste in this code snippet.  If you need a general purpose editor, I recommend Notepad++  it is lightweight, simple to use and free.  Download it here.

2.  Now that you have entered the code, go to your post editor, go to “Screen Options” and make sure that “Custom Fields” are selected.

add a guest author's name
add a guest author’s name

3. Scroll past your post and in the section “Custom Fields” click on “Enter New”

add-a-guest-author's-name-2

4. After that type “guest-author” exactly as I have written it in the “Name” field and type in the name of the author in the “Value” field

add-a-guest-author's-name-3

5.  Enter the content of the post and publish.  The guest name will appear.

messi

For any other WordPress questions you might have or just to discuss things WordPress, drop me a line.

 

Add new email accounts in the Cpanel

Clients often ask me how to add new email accounts in the Cpanel.  We offer unlimited accounts and they deserve to have them!  Creating them is easy but with this quick guide it will be easier and you will probably never have to use it again after creating your first account.  The steps are as follows:

Add new email accounts in the Cpanel

1. Login to your cpanel.  You should have kept the login info somewhere safe when you subscribed, but if you didn’t, you can most likely find it in the introduction email we (or your current provider) sent you when you first subscribed to the hosting package.  The URL is http://www.YOUR_WEBSITE_NAME/cpanel ( For example http://www.barcelona-apartments.com/cpanel ).
Once you are in the cpanel click on Email Accounts.

Add-new-email-accounts-in-the-Cpanel

 

2. Enter the email username.
Add-new-email-accounts-in-the-Cpanel2

3. Use the password generator to create a secure password. Keep the new password in a safe place. Also set the Mailbox Quota to something according the amount of space you have in your contract. For example if you have 1GB of space contract don’t give your email account more than 200MB. If you are the one managing the site and the email address you dont have to worry about this setting, but you will have to make sure to clean out your inbox every now and then because inbox space counts as much as your website space when determining how much of your allocated storage space is being used.

Add-new-email-accounts-in-the-Cpanel3

4. Your new account should now appear below and you are ready to use it. From this new area you can edit or delete this email account.
Add new email accounts in the Cpanel

Hope this guide has been helpful and if you are interested in hearing about our design or hosting services or need any clarification on how to add new email accounts in the Cpanel, contact us here at Winzyweb today!

Customize the WordPress dashboard footer

After a long day of coding, apparently, I like to relax by trying to figure how how to customize the WordPress dashboard footer.  It’s just a little detail but when you add them up you see that they all matter.  I don’t always include a “built by Winzyweb” reference in my client’s webpages, and that is  a topic of debate between me, my partner and colleagues.  However, the inclusion of a discrete footer in the dashboard is a friendly reminder to your clients that you are around.  Some would say it is so discrete that they don’t even recall that there is a footer in the dashboard.  To remind you here it is:

 

footer-before

(HINT: It’s the part that says “Thank you for creating with WordPress”)

How to Customize the WordPress dashboard footer

There’s a plugin for it, but it is so simple there is no reason to take that route.  But if you really want one, I’ll include the link at the bottom of the post.  For the rest of you here are the easy steps:

1. FTP to your site and open the functions.php file.

2. Insert the following code:

3. Modify it for your business or your personal info.

4. Save and refresh the dashboard.

Here is what I put

Customize the WordPress dashboard footer

Hope you found this useful.

Personal admin footer Plugin

 

 

Web design for artists (Part I)

Artwork by Farida EL Gazzar
Artwork by Farida EL Gazzar

Web design for artists is a lot of fun. In this job you get to meet lots of people who do many different things, from bakers to tour agencies to fat loss pill manufacturers to piano tuners.  This is especially true here in Barcelona, where everyone is doing everything. However, creating a website for an artist is at the same time a humbling and tremendously exciting experience. You realize right away that web design is a craft, not an art, that first moment you enter a studio.

Web Design for ArtistsDesign-wise, you teach yourself to keep yourself out of the way. You don’t want the website viewer to say, “What a great website!” you want the user to say, “What great works of art!” That’s not to say you should just make a white website with no design. Doing that could get you a, “What great works of art, too bad the web site is horrible.”

You need the website design to be as simple as possible yet at the same time accent the work and have a concise UI to make sure the paths the artists wants the user to take, are taken. Here is what I consider the main things to pay extra care about when thinking about web design for artists.

IMAGES

The images must be perfect. Only top quality photos can be used. Unless you are also a photographer, I suggest you hire one. You need to have the lighting and white balance perfect. The framing might actually be easy in many cases but only go for it if you have very tight technical skills and very good equipment.

In addition, you need to consider the photo layout. That is where your personal style comes in. Personally, I prefer large thumbnails to go with a large images. The bigger the better. I put the descriptions right on the large images.

STRUCTURE  

There are certain elements a website for an artist must have, and these are:

BIO: The artist’s story told by someone else. This does not differ from most other personal websites.

ARTIST STATEMENT: This is the artist in his or her own words. This is where the artist can explain the art. A place to explain and support his work. For people in the art world, this is obvious, but for us designers, it is good to know this beforehand.

GALLERY: The reason the website exists, the gallery. What you have to think about is how you will structure the gallery. Will it be done by theme? By type of work (painting, sculpture etc)? Chronologically? All three? There is no right answer, but whatever you choose , pay extra care to have it follow a logical order.

EXHIBITIONS:  Where has the artist’s work been featured? List the galleries, provide as many links as you can. Highlight a special event that is important to the artist.

PRESS: If anything has been written about him, include it here.

CONTACT: A standard contact for is all you really need.

Read the continuation about web design for artists, I will get into how to deal with helping sell the artwork and how to deal with social media (it’s not as straightforward as it sounds).

 

 

 

Twitter API and Twitter Secret – How to get them

If you want to add a twitter feed to your WordPress site you will need what is called the Consumer Key (or Twitter API key) and the Consumer Secret (Twitter API Secret). This isn’t hard to do, just follow these easy steps:

1. Go to https://apps.twitter.com/app/new (you might need to sign in with your usual Twitter login and password).

2. Fill out the form with your details and submit it. I recommend you give it a memorable name such as “twitterFeedMyCompanyName” so that you remember what it is in the future.

Twitter API

3. Go to the “Keys and Access Tokens” tab.

4. Copy and paste the keys into your twitter feed widget.

Twitter API and Secret

There you have it, your feed should be working now.

 

Getting started in Barcelona

For me, Barcelona is the last stop of a 20 year tour of the continents. Great food, excellent weather, friendly people, incredible architecture. A trend setting city with great designers artists, chefs combined with an offbeat street vibe. It is no wonder so many people move here hoping to get away from the life they live in. And many of those who do, kill two birds with one stone. Statements such as “I’m moving to Barcelona AND I’m going to work for myself” have been said and followed through by many people, and many have succeeded. There are those who are afraid of starting in a foreign country but I always felt that entering a new culture is an advantage when starting business. You are not constrained by many of the social norms which, as a result, has you doing something that is not normally done but which works out well. People are generally interested in knowing foreigners and with a little effort you can make many local connections quickly. On the other side you can also meet many expats who are always willing to expand their circles.

You have made the decision to move here and start your business, or you already live here and your business is a reality. Like you, I came here to set up my business designing web pages and help build others do the same. Everyone knows that a good web design is a must. But there is more to it. A mobile first webpage is the future, so is a responsive site fully integrated with all relevant social media. I will talk about the various aspects of an online presence such as the costs of a web design in Barcelona and elsewhere, choices of whether to target local or expat customers, the importance of offline networking, design trends, the benefits of WordPress and many more topics of interest.

Are you ready for a new website?

Yes, let's start!