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

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.  

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.)

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.

Learning Lessons – Shortcut to

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

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.)

Learning Lessons

Beautiful GPL WordPress on Theme Forest

I have started a collection of WordPress themes that in my opinion have excellent designs. Please visit the collection and suggest other themes for inclusion.

Learning Lessons

The D.U.M.B Guide Black Friday / Cyber Monday Sales For StartUps (Hint: Do not buy)

It seems that days like Black Friday/ Cyber Monday are targeted at me. After all, I am a bootstrapped entrepreneur with a lots of insecurities, and a ton of questions that I need to answer. So every conceivable product and every conceivable service is making an offer, that I must learn to refuse. I created the D.U.M.B as a counter to marketing onslaught in my inbox, on my tablet and on my cellphone. Yes, Black Friday has arrived in South Africa, and has been in my Inbox for years. This year I am buying nothing unless it passes the D.U.M.B test.

Learning Lessons

Why WordPress? 7 Reasons Why I Choose WordPress

Why WordPress?

Dependent on your requirements, the answer will differ. My answer is written from the perspective of a non-technical founder, who knows just a little bit about code.  This post is also written as each year I do a review of everything, and this year I have included an item called “WordPress”.

1. WordPress = Inexpensive Failures and Scalable Success

Learning Lessons

WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal vs CMS Hamster

WordPress vs Joomla vs Drupal – Is this really an important question?

CMS Hamster

At one point I thought this the most important question, but now it is unimportant. In fact, answering this question may lead to analysis paralysis or what I call becoming a “CMS Hamster”.

I was chuffed that I could engage in the relative merits of various content construction kits and at a push would venture an opinion on the granular control capabilities of each system. In the process of investigating each of these content management systems (and others as well) I became a CMS hamster.

How do you recognise a CMS Hamster?

(Note: For a longtime, I just needed to look into the mirror to answer this question)