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Round Up

More eco (system), Less Ego – WP links I liked in May 2021

WordPress is an ecosystem. At times it however feels like an egosystem, like when Wix turned into Weaks.

Wix Or Weeks

Wix – the website builder – ran a marketing campaign comparing itself to WordPress. The campaign was snarky and offensive (but, do not tell anyone it was also funny). The folks over at WP Tavern have a rundown of the happenings here and here. That was in April. I however just saw a video from the Brainforce Storm (makers of the awesome Astra theme) do a response. It is very, very funny video.

In Stellar News No More iMonster iThemes

I have recently been calling the iThemes, iMonster. It has gobbled up many plugins, including WPComplete, Restricted Content Pro and The Events Calender. Most recently they bought GiveWP and WP Business Reviews. Now I know this is all not bought by iThemes, some are bought by Liquid Web, which bought iThemes.

To clear the confusion ( and maybe offer a hosted service with plugins) StellarWP has been created. I look forward to comparing this hosted service to Weaks. From the about page on StellaWP:

StellarWP is home to all of the ecommerce products and services who have joined us so far, which include some of the most beloved and dependable tools in the industry. Just like our users rely on us at Liquid Web for their managed WordPress hosting needs, we are confident that StellarWP will become the go-to resource for users in search of products that will take their sites and businesses to the next level.

Joe from StellarWP

I think a hosted service with plugins – kind of like a walled garden – could provide a solution for many entrepreneurs. I will miss calling it iMonster.

Genesis Undergoes Genesis

The word genesis means “the origin or mode of formation of something”. What an awesome name for one of the most loved and used themes and frameworks in WordPress. It is also the one I have never ever used. It was a bit pricey and a bit opinionated. But, the framework and the sample theme will now be free.

The entire business model is changed as a response to Full Site Editing (FSE), which is an acronym that we will hear more and more. Has Genesis moved too late to catch up with newer theme frameworks? Has Genesis got the the loyalty to stop users from switching? Time will tell.

But it is useful to think about the differences in strategy between WP Engine (which owns Genesis theme and StudioPress) and Liquid Web which is setting up StellaWP.

Build a Specialist Website … here is a guide

Philip Morgan has one of the most detailed and thoughtful articles on creating websites for specialised experts and companies who primarily sell expertise. Go read it, and implement it.

End

I promise you it will leave your website less weak.

Until next week, unless I am weak.

I could go on with this for another week.

Categories
Round Up

WordPress RoundUp 1 – We like Jamstack

Is it WordPress or Jamstack? Matt Billman (CEO of Netlify) and Matt Mullenwag debated the issues. Most people in the WordPress and Jamstack were confused as to why this level of disagreements exist. Richard MacManus from The New Stack provides an review of the origins and the state of the debate. It should really be WordPress AND Jamstack.

In acquisition news, iThemes has bought WPComplete. WPComplete provided a no-nonsense way for users in WordPress to mark articles and most anything else as complete. This is the second purchase from iThemes, following closely on the heels of acqusition of Restricted Content Pro.

WPBeginner has added PushEngage to its growing suite of plugins. PushEngage provides notices to users. The continued growth of Awesome Motive – the company behind the purchases is remarkable story.

FaceBook dropped support for Oembed. We discuss some options on WPossible.

The days of full site editing is here. Gutenberg everywhere. The theme is called Q.

If you have an announcement or a link that is relevant, please let us know.

Categories
Uncategorized

3 Ways to Fix Embeds For FaceBook and Instagram in WordPress

After the 24 October your routine of embedding Instagram photos to your WordPress blog will no longer be a simply copy and paste. From the 24 October 2020, FaceBook will not longer support the near universal approach to embedding content.

WordPress bloggers wanting to continue embedding content on their website have the option of (a) doing nothing (b) creating an app on FaceBook or (c) using one of the plugin solutions.

Whys is FaceBook removing embed functionality?

The web is meant for sharing stuff – especially memes. It makes sense that there would be a consistent way to embed content across websites. It is called the Oembed. FaceBook which owns Instagram (and about two hours of your attention daily) has decided to drop support for Oembed. It is a decision consistent with FaceBook strategy of keeping people on FaceBook.

FaceBook now requires website owners to use the API. That means one has to register a developer account and create an app on FaceBook. Here is the problem. WordPress cannot register as a developer nor claim ownership over the app. As a result many, WordPress website owners have a challenge.

Facebook no longer supports embeds
Credit Maurizio Pesce https://www.flickr.com/photos/pestoverde/34719563482

What happens on your website?

Should you not do anything, you will:

  • Not be able to embed content from FaceBook
  • Embeds currently on your site will stop working, but once you update permalinks

The impact on your site could be big or inconsequential depending on your website. However, embeds not working will impact on the user experience.

What should you do?

You have three options:

  1. Do nothing
  2. Register a developer account and create an app
  3. Use one of the plugins that provide support for continued embeds.

The following plugins are providing support for embeds.

1. Do Nothing

FaceBook is a large and dominate player and has been setting rules. Website owners need to assess the linkage between FaceBook and your website. Your website is what is described as as “owned asset”. An owned asset is

Any marketing content that your company creates and has complete control over it.

I like the idea of being less reliant on third-party sites, especially social media sites that seek to keep people more and more inside their sites.

facebook stops support for embeds

2. Create an App on FaceBook

This looks a bit complicated. Here is the link. The requirements are:

To be fair, the setup is not that complicated. And in addition provides you – the website owner – with a higher level of control. Overall, this is a complicated solution for most non-technical founders, but once it is setup it should not require much maintenance.

3. Plugins

There are several plugins that are available that provide a solution. My understanding is that these plugins are compliant with the new rules and use the FaceBook API.

OEmbed Plus

This plugin removes some of the friction for website owners not comfortable to tinkering with the website. Website owners will however need to setup a developer account

oEmbed Plus

oEmbed Plus

Adds support for embedding Facebook and Instagram posts in Block Editor (Gutenberg) and Classic Editor.

Ayesh Karunaratne

Smash Balloon

Smash Balloon has two plugins. One for Facebook and one for Instagram. In the announcment SmashBalloon – which is part of Awesome Motive indicates that:

Today, we’re super excited to announce the release of Custom Facebook Feed Pro 3.16 and Instagram Feed Pro 5.8 plugins! By using these latest versions, you can continue embedding Facebook or Instagram content on your website by pasting the post URL into your editor. Plus, your existing Facebook and Instagram embeds will keep working on your website. This way, you can continue making the most of your social media marketing to grow your business over time. Let’s take a closer look at how it all works.

SmashBalloon
Smash Balloon Social Post Feed

Smash Balloon Social Post Feed

Formerly “Custom Facebook Feed”. Display completely customizable Facebook feeds of a Facebook page or Group. Supports Facebook oEmbeds.

Smash Balloon

Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed

Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed

Formerly “Instagram Feed”. Display clean, customizable, and responsive Instagram feeds from multiple accounts. Supports Instagram oEmbeds.

Smash Balloon

JetPack

JetPack which is owned by Automattic reached a solution by working with FaceBook. The result is the same, a simple way to embed and older embeds remain active. JetPack in an email to subscribers motivated for its decision on our behalf as follows in an email to JetPack users:

We understand that many of you that run websites aren’t developers, so we wanted to find a way to simplify this transition for you. There’s no need to update any settings. Just by having Jetpack 9.0 or later installed, you can continue to embed links to Facebook and Instagram like usual. To update your version of Jetpack,

Jetpack – WP Security, Backup, Speed, & Growth

Jetpack – WP Security, Backup, Speed, & Growth

Improve your WP security with powerful one-click tools like backup and malware scan. Get essential free tools including stats, CDN and social sharing.

Automattic

Which options should you choose?

On WPossible we are simply updated to the newest version of JetPack. On this site I have no embeds from FaceBook and Instagram. For other sites, you will need to evaluate the options. Your choice will be guided by your level of skill and your experiences with the plugins on offer. But the most important criteria is that you must have a higher level of control over your website.

Categories
Uncategorized

WordPress For Makers: Video

Categories
Uncategorized

Testing and validating your ideas with WordPress

My presentation at WordCamp Johannesburg 2018.

Categories
Learning Lessons

Buying on ThemeForest and CodeCanyon: The Case Of The Lost Files

Buying on ThemeForest and CodeCanyon can be tricky, as I was to learn.

 

envato 1

Recently Envato – the company that runs ThemeForest and CodeCanyon – announced that authors of themes and plugins would be required to provide support for six months. The announcement is overdue and welcome. As this improvement rolls out, the assumption is that a theme or plugin will be available for at least six months.

Discovering Theme Forest was a delight. Discovering Code Canyon even more so. WordPress themes and plugins traded in a marketplace with comments and user ratings. More to the point, authors like Oman Clarke, Pippin Williamson and the dudes at Astoundify have always provided exceptional support. One day as I perused my account, I noticed that a plugin I had purchased was no longer available. So I wrote asking for a refund, which seemed reasonable.

Asking for refund, and learn the terms of sale

Categories
Learning Lessons

Locked Out Of WordPress editor?

One fine day, I discovered I was locked out of WordPress. At least, that is how I described it to myself.  Furiously, I blamed the new theme I had installed. I changed the theme and found the same problem. I could not access options available for several themes.  To be more accurate, I could access some of the options that were available in the live customiser, but not options available outside of the customiser. This was irritating (and before the recent changes to the customiser.)

I clicked through several plugins, and found that I could not access editor functions . I kept receiving error messages saying I did not have permission to do this.

I was know feeling extremely disempowered. I did not know enough to fix these issues, and most worryingly I knew not how deep the problem was. There was  however only one possible source to this problem.

I had hired a designer to make some chances to the site, and paid his premium hourly fee. And he was trying to take me for ride.  

Categories
Learning Lessons

WordPress 3.9 – Visual Editing Just Got Easier

Toggling between WordPress editor and preview screen has been painful, until now. WordPress 3.9 brings major improvements to visual editing.

 

Better Visual Editing in WordPress

 

So what is the big deal you may be wondering?

  1. Easier pasting from word processors: Software like Microsoft Word are great tools for writing. However when copying into WordPress, it takes a bit of time to ensure that styling matches. The new update improves this, and now pasting from Word should be easier.
  2. Easier  Image Management – I find dealing with images in WordPress a bit complicated. With 3.9, images are now resizeable in the editor screen. This is a huge time saver. Another feature is adding images by simply dropping and dragging.
  3. Preview Galleries –  The ability to preview galleries before publishing provides some encouragement for me to try this format out.
  4. Live preview just got widgetized: The theme customiser now includes your widget areas. This helpful feature helps to more fully test a theme before going live. There is also an improvement to resize header images.
  5. Playlists:  Adding playlists for video and audio, will prove extremely useful to podcasters.

The official announcement can be found by clicking here. 

(This article refers to self hosted WordPress installations.)

Categories
Learning Lessons

How I Removed 106 Broken Links In Two Hours

An interesting discussion ensued on WPTavern, on whether taking the time to fix broken links on websites was worth the effort. Long established blogs with lots of content would spend their time more productively in other areas than fixing broken links seemed to be the consensus. It got me curious as to broken links on Zapreneur – a South African entrepreneurship and small business blog. The end result was that I fixed 106 broken links in 2 hours.

Categories
Learning Lessons

w.org – Shortcut to WordPress.org

This is so useful. The domain w.org redirects to WordPress.org. Try it by clicking the link below:

http://w.org

or just type it into your browser. It is short enough!

(I cannot remember where I heard this first, so kudos to whomever highlighted this to me.)