Pro-tip: Care Less What Others Think About You

Unlike my usual self, I don't have an elegant way to enter into this thought, that you should care less what others think of you, so let's dive in with the belief assumptions of my content's stance. I'm not talking about your integrity or public opinion about what kind of person you are. This is about assumptions and first impressions of the superficial sort. Money is a tool. It buys things. If you put more into it than that, I believe you're putting too much into it. The love of money is the root of evil. See above. To strive for money (wealth, reserve, margin) as a tool to serve your family, friends, and those in need is not "love of money." Generosity is a muscle. Children are wonderful givers. Most of them. Every time our son gets more than one of something, and sometimes when it's only one thing, he wants to give it to me or his mom. Stickers, candy, or money. It doesn't matter. We lose this as adults unless it's encouraged or exercised. You can't help those in financial need unless you have margin. Time and/or wealth is needed. Notice "The Good Samaritan" rented a room for the injured man and told the innkeeper to provide everything needed. He was good for it. He … [Read more...]

Two Things You Need to Do to Your Genesis 2.2 Theme

If you've updated to Genesis 2.2, there are new accessibility (a11y) items that have been introduced into Genesis 2.2. You need two snippets to activate it for people with disabilities and then make the markup clean for sighted people. The first snippet activates the a11y items. You put this in the child theme's functions.php file, preferably in the same area as the other theme support items, because that's just best practices. Note: copy and paste the entire block, the overflow code will be included in the clipboard. add_theme_support( 'genesis-accessibility', array( 'headings', 'drop-down-menu', 'search-form', 'skip-links', 'rems' ) ); The second snippet removes them from normal browser visibility but leaves them in the markup for screen readers. This block goes in the child theme's style.css, preferably in the areas before specific areas of the site. Defaults, Common Classes, or as a new area before Site Header are all good options. I put it after Plugins in my Sass starter theme that is a fork of BG Mobile First, BG Mobile First JP Sass, available for free on GitHub. In the case of Sass, I gave it its own partial. /* ## Screen reader … [Read more...]

Never Stop Learning Because Knowledge Is Power

For years I've been preaching about being an expert, not a jack of all trades. There are several reasons for this to run down quickly. Experts are called when no one else can fix or build something, so they command higher pay. Experts stay booked if they also do quality work and know how to keep clients happy, so long as their niche can support a full schedule. Even as relatively rare as nuclear power plants are, the best nuclear machinist engineers are called all over the world for their trade. Jacks of all trades can do lots of work, but as soon as something gets complex, they either tap out or disappoint their clients. I get those projects more than should ever happen to good people. One of the key ways to jump to the next level is to keep learning. Hone your skills in an area until you are confident and efficient. What I've done for years is learning at the school of hard knocks by solving client problems. Hunting for snippets or StackExchange solutions has sufficed for me so far, but recently, I've needed to fill in the gaps that method created. a quick story I started school in Ohio in one of the state's highest-ranking K-12 schools. My Algebra teacher was a … [Read more...]

A Response to the WordPress Customizer Expansion: Removal

With the proposal and subsequent announcement of plans to bring the menu system into the WordPress Customizer in core starting in version 4.3, the community responded swiftly and in overwhelming majority numbers against this trajectory. Between the WP Tavern article and the post, I've never seen such a swift response, despite the long history of WP drama when major moves have been proposed. I don't know if Twitter was just on point that day or what, but putting the menu in Customizer set people off. The trend of Customizer is an answer to the user interfaces of services like Squarespace. WordPress is definitely losing some current users to Squarespace over usability for inexperienced publishers like shop owners who just want a site, so Customizer allows for previewing changes before setting anything in stone. This we don't have any problem with because there is the way we've always done it and Customizer, so old school users don't need to use Customizer, but they can if they want to. what the plan is The current track for the Customizer menu plugin is to merge with core in 4.3, which means it has to meet all of WordPress's own standards for accessibility, … [Read more...]

Setting up YOURLS for Your Shortlinks to Stop Using Bitly

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It was recently uncovered that Bitly is possibly monetarily gaining from your affiliate shortlinks with the affiliate tool, Viglink. What it comes down to, again, like it has for Disqus and many services like it is who owns your content? You don't host your links, Bitly does. They can manipulate and track and, yes, monetize your data. So as I read these articles a couple of days ago while our son was being way too loud in the bathtub, the camel's back got downright broken. I've tried to setup YOURLS twice before and given up. I don't know if I'm that much smarter now or if I was that much more driven, but I got it setup today in a couple of hours while doing client and social media stuff. What to do Here's what I did. I went to and downloaded the .zip file locally and followed the directions here: (that link is on the Github page) I use ServerPilot on my DigitalOcean droplet, so I created a new app for the domain I wanted to use shortening on: The next step was to configure the file in /user like it says to in the document and add all of the database and domain info that was just setup in … [Read more...]

WordCamp Slides 004: Communication


To recap the opening premise for this series, when presenting in front of a "live studio audience," I always feel the gaze of a sniper with a finger on the trigger if I pause or stumble, so I keep right on going and frequently skip cool stories or points. Also, after 4 WordCamps, I've yet to have a presentation without a technical issue. Each affected my notes or ability to go to the next slide remotely. This is Slide 4 from WordCamp Orlando 2014: Being More Profitable in WordPress. At WordCamp Tampa a couple of months ago, my friend, John Hawkins from 9seeds, told us a story about when he failed a client by solving a problem over the course of a couple hours early one morning. His transparency reminded me of a couple of failures I'd had over the years. A client had emailed the company early one morning that something was down, so John set to the task of diagnosing and fixing it, and then he'd be the hero when he replied and CC'd everyone that he'd fixed the problem with no further questions or issues... but the client didn't know anyone was working on the problem. "Did you see the email from Bill and Ted this morning?" I like to make up names. "Yeah! I'm on it … [Read more...]

WordCamp Slides 003: Pricing


To recap the opening premise for this series, when presenting in front of a "live studio audience," I always feel the gaze of a sniper with a finger on the trigger if I pause or stumble, so I keep right on going and frequently skip cool stories or points. Also, after 4 WordCamps, I've yet to have a presentation without a technical issue. Each affected my notes or ability to go to the next slide remotely. This is Slide 3 from WordCamp Orlando 2014: Being More Profitable in WordPress. Time ≠ Value In no case with custom work or expert support does time equal value. Period. I hope I'm not being unclear on that point. Value = Value What something is worth with our industry is strictly determined by what someone will pay for it. It doesn't matter what we say something is worth if we can't find anyone to sell to. A Bugatti Veyron is only worth over $1,000,000 if people will pay that much, but material goods - physical goods - are at least worth the value of the material used. A sure thing: taxes Each year, I don't really care how much time it takes for my CPA to prepare our taxes for the IRS. We spend time filling out his forms and sending his packet back, but after … [Read more...]

New Roles: Stop Working IN Your Business


Sometimes life moves at a crazy pace for the better, though that sort of activity can be detrimental to your life and health if you don't have a plan. Thankfully, I have a plan! Ever since we made the decision to team up with Mason James' team at The WP Valet, I've been forced to make plans. What work will I be doing for PMG now? What work will I be doing for WPV? How will we structure compensation? What does the future look like? For too long, I've been working IN my business instead of working ON my business. Sure, I have days or weekends - like every WordCamp - that makes me think outside of my very limiting box. But then life gets back into stride when the next week begins (or the week after that because of the funk of data-induced paralysis). I'll implement a new service, remove a batch of clients, or change some major tool. But unless I did work, work didn't get done. Money didn't come in. I owned my job. When I started having CEO lunches with Mason, I still remember his personal shift about 3 lunches in. He started to think about strategy, writing posts, and delegate more duties. There I was, a proud solopreneur sitting on the other side of the booth thinking … [Read more...]

WordCamp Slide 002: Know Your Client

Know Your Clients

In case you missed the first article in the series, visit WordCamp Slide 001: Know Thyself to start at the beginning. This is actually Slide 2 from WordCamp Orlando 2014: Being Profitable in WP (SpeakerDeck link). My first WordPress job was as Support Manager for a theme shop and 99% of my customer interaction was on the forums. The number of calls I got on could easily be counted on one hand. Then I started moonlighting and started my business and the whole client interaction game started to change. I didn't want to get on Skype as one of the first interactions because I was afraid they'd ask me a question I didn't know the answer to. Before too long, I learned a new phrase, which you can feel free to steal: "I don't know, but I'll find out and get back with you." Simple, I know! It took me far longer than most to realize this point, I'm sure, because I'm a blockhead, but a call after a couple of email exchanges to ensure the contact has decent communication skills and isn't completely crazy quickly can build rapport. Rapport is like currency in this industry. Rapport = leverage Need more time to complete something? Do you think you'll get more time with … [Read more...]

WordCamp Slide 001: Know Thyself

Know Thyself

Welcome to the inaugural article of WordCamp Slide! In these long-form articles, I'm going to break down each slide from my WordCamp presentations the way I wanted to present them. I've always left something out when the pressure hits, so here is a chance to say it all. You see, combined with impostor syndrome (video), I also feel like I'm talking at triple speed and that if I pause for a moment, someone in the audience is going to shoot me and take over without hesitation. Being told no fewer than four times yesterday that there were proper pauses, I'm just going to have to believe that to be true. Ridiculous, I know, but after four WordCamp presentations, I'm pretty sure that feeling is never going away. Hopefully this format is more valuable with everything I intended to convey live. There will also be a video edition for each of these coming along after each article. This slide is from WordCamp Orlando 2014: Being Profitable in WP (SpeakerDeck link) Before you can be profitable in anything, not even restricted to monetary profit, someone must know themselves. If you don't know who you are, you really don't know anything of value. Do you know what makes you … [Read more...]