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 make.wordpress.org 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

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 10.38.54 AM

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 https://github.com/YOURLS/YOURLS and downloaded the .zip file locally and followed the directions here: http://yourls.org (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: jdub.co 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

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

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

working

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...]

Just Ship

Are you busy? I'm busy. When I get busy, I have the horrible habit of taking on even more things. Here I am writing instead of coding or reviewing my presentation for WordCamp Orlando this weekend. In reality, though, I should be writing every day or few anyway. Writing is good for my soul and a few people (I won't name names) have told me they enjoy the content. The problem I have today is that I just shipped a lot of stuff. Scotch is for shippers, so I'm three sheets to... no, but that would be rewarding. Since I shipped, I'm in the "what to do next" moment. Of course, I need to recite my presentation aloud to see how long it is since I hit the road tomorrow at lunch. The rest of the afternoon will probably be spent on a couple of emails for some more December revenue and starting the next project in my queue. I told her my goal was to be done by the 18th. This is what happens when you set goals. You find a way to meet them and you can't be concerned about every little detail or you'll never ship and never get paid, move on, drink scotch, etc. So get going and finish something, cross it off your list, and move on to the next thing.   This post? It's not … [Read more...]

Doing the Unexpected: Joining a Team

Shocked Face

It's true! Shocker. I know what some of you who have known me for two to six years are saying, "but you said you'd never give up working for yourself for less than $1,000,000!" You're right... and you're wrong. I also said I wouldn't fault anyone for taking a job that's best for their family, and what is coming next fits that bill and was far from a hasty move on anyone's part. First: the News As of today, I'm fully-engaged partnering with WP Valet as Mr. Genesis (for now) and equipping the team to support and develop Genesis sites in the best possible marrying of our core values and abilities. Our cool arrangement has created new Genesis Service Plans and a reputable Genesis Specialized Sites segment within an agency already established as a big deal, white glove company. A lot of people still haven't heard of WP Valet, but that's because they're not after the whole market. They are very selective because you don't find service like this offered on every corner, just how I've always made myself hard to get and have constantly raised prices to offer my best to the best - the serious site owners. We let Brian Gardner in on the news ahead of time and he's graciously given us … [Read more...]

Never Give Up

Have you ever given something everything you had and wondered when life was going to get easier? It's easy to get discouraged when you are working so hard and every day feels like you're suiting up for battle and going to bed exhausted and waking up just as tired. I've been there. Thankfully, we're in the middle of our best month ever and each day (well, maybe not my inbox on Mondays) is way more fun when things are clicking. I think I've almost thrown in the towel and looked for a job or tried to go back to my last office job at least three times in the past nearly six years. Each time was because I was not being a good businessman in one way or another and that caused money and stress problems. The two were never independent and were always an unhappy couple. Here's some encouragement to not give up in the form of a list of tips: Wake up at the same time every day. Your body will get used to that, no matter what time you went to bed, so be kind to your body and don't stay up too late. My alarm is set for 5:03 every day. Every day. 5:03 because 5am would be too early! Exercise, even if it's a walk. Moving around releases happy chemicals in your brain and you'll feel … [Read more...]