TaylorLovett

Pull Feed Content into Your WordPress Site

April 8, 2014 by Taylor Lovett

For the past year or so I’ve been using Automattic’s Syndication plugin to pull feed content into my WordPress plugin. Feeds that I designate are pulled in as posts using WordPress Cron. I decided while the plugin worked well for the most part, it wasn’t quite meeting my needs. This prompted me to build a new plugin called Feed Pull.

Here are some differences between the two plugins:

  • Feed Pull is a plugin for pulling content out of XML feeds. Syndication has feed pulling as well as content pushing features.
  • Feed Pull has a much friendlier feed management screen. Both Syndication and Feed Pull use the WordPress post edit, screen, however Feed Pull offers a much cleaner experience from the way options are presented to the instructions provided. At the moment Feed Pull does not have all the features of Syndication such as taxonomy and constant field mapping. However, Feed Pull probably has everything you need and is very extensible.
  • Feed Pull has far superior error logging to Syndication.
  • Feed Pull allows you to schedule content pulling in the future.
  • Feed Pull allows you to do manual pulls using AJAX rather than a sometimes frustrating one-time cron job.

Feed Pull contributions are always welcome on Github.

Safe Redirect Manager

January 8, 2013 by Taylor Lovett

Hey Everyone!

I wanted to let everyone know about a new WordPress plugin called Safe Redirect Manager. I am one of the main developers of this plugin, and it has just been released on WordPress.org along with WordPress.com VIP (which is quite a special honor).

So what is the difference between this plugin and all the other redirect management plugins? Well, this plugin is simple, safe, and straight to the point. Instead of using the WordPress options table to store redirects, it uses a custom post type; this is much more flexible and lighter on your server. The plugin has been tested and reviewed by multiple WordPress core contributors and is available on WordPress.com — in order for a plugin to be available on WordPress.com it must be extremely secure. Safe Redirect Manager also allows you to use regular expressions in your redirects (if you don’t know what this is, don’t worry it’s an optional feature).

Here is a screenshot:

Download here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/safe-redirect-manager

P.S: If you are a developer, Safe Redirect Manager is available to be forked on Github.

Edit: Thank you Branco Radenovich for the Slovak translation. This will be included in version 1.6.1 of the plugin.

10up.com

May 22, 2012 by Taylor Lovett

Hey guys,

I’m starting a full time job for 10up as a Web Design Engineer. Exciting! In light of the new job. I’ve decided to change up TaylorLovett.com and move the blog to the front page. Soon I am trying to completely redo this site as it has gotten a little outdated.

SEO Friendly Images WordPress Plugin

February 16, 2012 by Taylor Lovett

Hey guys, I wanted to let you know about a plugin I just started using. It’s called SEO Friendly Images.

SEO Friendly Images accomplishes a few tasks that will save you time, improve your HTML code, and ultimately add SEO value to your website. The plugin automatically adds alt and title attributes to all your images (unless they already have them). This provides substantial SEO value because it allows you to add more keywords throughout your website.

  • The alt attribute is important part of search engine optimization. It describes your images to search engines and when a user searches for a certain image this is a key determining factor for a match.
  • The title attribute plays a lesser role but is important for visitors as this text will automatically appear in the tooltip when a visitor hovers their mouse over the image.

By adding alt and title attributes to all images, the plugin in turn makes your images W3C compliment (this means your code is valid which is important to Google). This plugin is extremely easy to configure and I’ve added this plugin to all my websites. I recommend everyone does the same.

Download the Plugin

Critical Landing Page Software to Make You Money

December 22, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

If you’ve read any of my earlier posts on landing pages, you know the importance of utilizing landing pages in your online sales efforts. Every successful internet marketer I’ve ever talked to has told me that landing pages are absolutely critical in generating sales and/or leads.

Making landing pages from scratch is time consuming. If you aren’t a web designer who is proficient in HTML, creating a professional web page is almost impossible. Why waste time and money creating individual landing pages when you can have a WordPress plugin automatically create them for you? Let me introduce you to the MaxLanding plugin for WordPress.

Features:

  • Works with any WordPress theme
  • 12 landing page templates
  • Fully customizable with plenty of easy-to-use options
  • Includes clickthrough and lead generation templates
  • Options for embedded video and product images
  • Create unlimited number of landing pages
  • 1-click copy of an existing landing page
  • No need to know HTML or to edit code files
  • All landing pages come Search Engine Optimized

MaxLanding allows you to automatically create landing pages in WordPress. The plugin is extremely customizable. You can create 1 click-through and 2 click-through landing pages with ease. MaxLanding is proven to increase the amount of sales generated by landing pages. Also since this plugin works with WordPress, you can easily hook up your landing pages to Google Analytics so you can view minute-by-minute stats of your visitors!

I recommend that you definitely give this plugin a try. You have nothing to lose. It’s cheap and if you don’t like it, there is a 30-day money back guarantee.

Download MaxLanding WordPress Plugin

Custom Contact Forms Development Resumes Again

by Taylor Lovett

Hey guys, after another four month hiatus Custom Contact Form development is resuming. Version 4.7.0.5 will be released in the next couple days which will fix some E_NOTICE PHP bugs. Stay tuned!

Custom Contact Forms Development Is Underway

May 23, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that the development on Custom Contact Forms has started up again after a 4-5 month break. CCF has now been downloaded over 100,000 times and is still growing. Expect to see a new fixed field for dates (that uses datePicker jQuery) as well as a few other surprises in the next couple weeks!

Enjoy.

50,000 Downloads for Custom Contact Forms

January 31, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

In under 8 months, Custom Contact Forms has been downloaded 50,000 times! Can you believe it? Before creating CCF, we tried to use Contact Form 7 and Secure Fast Contact Form on our websites but there just wasn’t enough customization. We need our form submissions saved in the database and a style manager to customize every aspect of our forms.

Custom Contact Forms was created by website owners for website owners. We love when you guys send us feature requests and suggestions which we regularly incorporate in new versions. If you have any feedback, please email it to us!

We couldn’t be more proud of what Custom Contact Forms has become and we LOVE our loyal fans. Thanks to everyone who helped make CCF the most intuitive and customizable contact form plugin for WordPress!

WordPress Reference Guide for Developers

November 30, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

WordPress theme and plugin developers, I found something you might like. A women named Natalie from DBS Interactive emailed me informing me of there WordPress Reference Guide for Developers. I am a huge fan of the WordPress Codex but the reference guide they put together is much easier to use than the WP Codex. It’s like an encyclopedia for WordPress theme developers. This is definitely worth a bookmark:

WordPress Reference Guide for Developers

10,000 Downloads!

November 14, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Custom Contact Forms has been download over 10,000 times in it’s first 5 months. Thanks to everyone who has provided feedback and bug reports. 4.1.0 is in the works and hopefully will make Custom Contact Forms available to more types of server configurations. CCF has grown in to quite the plugin and is only gaining more features. In the future we hope to add lead capturing and internet marketing functionality. Thanks!

Download Custom Contact Forms

5 Tips for using AJAX with JQuery and PHP in WordPress

November 12, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Hey guys, I haven’t been posting as regularly as I like to be posting. Right now Custom Contact Forms 4.1.0 is in the works and I am doing a few freelance SEO/web development projects. While trying to debug the Custom Contact Forms admin JQuery/AJAX features I stumbled upon a great article.

If you write plugins for WordPress, this is a must-read. This article goes in to detail about a lot of the best practices for using Javascript with PHP in WordPress. 9/10 plugins are not using JQuery properly and thus cause havoc for other plugins (like mine!).

Check this out: 5 Tips for using AJAX with JQuery and PHP in WordPress

Custom Contact Forms 4.0.0

October 26, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Custom Contact Forms 4.0.0, the most intuitive and customizable contact form plugin for WordPress, is about to be released. Here is a short list of some of the new features being added:

  • Import/Export/Create Backups at the click of a button
  • New style options for your forms
  • Ability to add a different CSS class to each field
  • * All form submissions saved to database and displayed in administration panel in a visually appealing way. You can enable/disable the emailing of form submissions now.
  • * AJAX in the admin panel – now you can save, delete, and manage everything in the admin panel without refreshing the page. This will save you time.

Right now you can download the latest 4.0.0 beta version on the WordPress CCF Download page. Right now the only thing that is left to do is debug the new AJAX features. We need debuggers. Right now we are adding anyone who helps us with debugging to the WordPress page as a contributor with a link to the website of their choice. Email admin@taylorlovett.com if you’re interested.

Custom Contact Forms 3.0.0 and 3.1.0

August 31, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Custom Contact Forms 3.0.0 was released and shortly after so was 3.1.0. CCF has grown to be quite the plugin, packed with awesome features, many of which you will not find in any contact form plugin.

An interesting new feature is Custom Html Forms. This feature allows people who are skill with Html and Css to use CCF simply to process forms. Now you can write the Html for your forms using the code provided by this feature as a framework. This feature makes this plugin ideal for web developers.

CCF 3.1.0 also finally has a reusable widget. Create forms in the CCF admin page, then on the widgets page chose which form you want to display. As with all forms you can use the default style or create a custom style and attach it accordingly. The possibilities with this plugin are endless and, best of all, it is very easy to use and navigate.

A few other new features to mention:
Ability to not use Jquery – great if you want to keep your page load time down
Ability to use a custom thank you message and thank you message title individually for each form.
Ability to change the background color of text areas
Ability to include forms in your theme files via php code
Much more!

CCF 3.5.0 will boast the ability to add drop down and radio fields. A new manager will be added to the plugin, the Field Options Manager which allows you to create options for drop downs and radio fields.

Get excited!

Custom Contact Forms 2.2.4

August 18, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Custom Contact Forms 2.2.4 has been released.

This stable version features field instructions. Now you can add instructions to each of your fields so when someone highlights certain field a stylish JQuery popover is displayed showing the instruction. This will be the first of many fancy JQuery features to be added in the near future.

In the coming days there will be a few minor updates involving bug fixes and mail function updates. Enjoy!

WordPress Frameworks or Parent Themes

August 13, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

WordPress frameworks are the wave of the future for not only WordPress users but also developers.

What are WordPress frameworks?
Wordpress frameworks provide a structure for developers to build off of containing a ton of great functionality. WordPress frameworks are the definition of not recreating the wheel. The release of WordPress 2.7 beckoned a revolutionary new feature, child themes. Child themes sometimes contain as little as a single style sheet file and build off of a parent theme (duh). The parent theme, or the framework, contains a basic HTML framework, a default plain looking style sheet, and most importantly loads of great functionality: a completey widgetized header, footer, homepage, and sidebar, some great widgets included the frameworks theme function file, and a great configuration page for the template (allowing you to choose primary and secondary navigation menus, choose SEO settings, exclude categories from the blog page, and much, much more) among other things.

Why use a WordPress framework?
As previously stated, why reinvent the wheel? Developers turn their nose at already developed frameworks because they feel they can do it better. I assure you this is not true. The functionality of these frameworks provides a versatility to WordPress that would take a year for any programmer to develop. Also, many parent themes provide a plethora of beautiful child themes to spiced up your site.

Top WordPress Framworks
Genesis: Developed by Studiopress, this is my go to framework and I use it on most of my clients websites. There are enough professional child themes to suite anyones tastes and everything is extremely easy Ito customize. The Genesis widgets are amazing and come preinstalled: add twitter to your menu, featured pages and posts with preview images (that you can define within the page or post!) and more. The SEO capabilities of Genesis make plugins like SEO all in one redundant. Also Genesis is compatible with every 3rd party plugin that I’ve ever tried which is important. This is definitely my favorite WordPress framework and is very affordable.

Thesis: Another great WordPress framework. It has a host of nice child themes to spice up your site. This framework also has a great configuration page with many of the same features as Genesis. It lacks the custom widgets that Genesis has. A means to manage SEO is also included in this framework. Where this framework is lacking is customization from the standpoint of the developer. The code is documented poorly compared to Genesis making it a constant battle to change anything code-wise. Thesis is also a little more expensive.

There are other great frameworks out there such as Thematic, but Genesis is my preference.

Custom Contact Forms 1.0 Released

July 18, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

My new WordPress plugin, Custom Contact Forms 1.0, has finally be released.

Custom Contact Forms is a WordPress plugin for handling and displaying custom web forms; insert the provided code in any page, post, category, or archive in which you want a web form to show. This plugin allows you to create fields with a variety of options and to attach them to specific forms you create.

Definitely allows for more customization than any other WordPress contact form plugin out there today. The greatest part of this plugin is the comprehensive admin page which allows you to manage fields, forms, and tons of customizable options in one place! Also comes with a web form widget to drag-and-drop in to your sidebar. It has been tested on WordPress version 2.7.1 and up. Give it a try on your blog today; it’s free!

5 Essential Free Tools No Web Developer Should Be Without

July 6, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

I’ve been a programming in PHP and developing websites for 8 years and here are 5 free tools that no web developer should ever be without. Most if not all of these require that you use Mozilla Firefox.

1. Web Developer add-on for Mozilla Firefox

Of course number one assumes you are already using Mozilla Firefox browser. This addon creates a toolbar in your browser that allows you to accomplish a myriad of things much more easily than if you didn’t have the toolbar. Disable javascript, highlight css elements, edit CSS elements and view your changes live, view code source more easily, outline block level elements, find bad code, view image properties, validate your code, auto-fill in forms (this is incredibly useful when testing a form with many fields), manage your cookies, and much, much more. It goes without saying that this toolbar is a necessity for any web developer, PHP/Javascript programmer, or WordPress plugin developer.

2. IE Tab Plus add-on for Mozilla Firefox

This add-on allows you, the user, to switch the Firefox rendering engine to that of Internet Explorer’s. Simply right click on a page and click view in IE; this opens a new viewing tab in your browser that renders your current web page in IE’s engine. When building web pages, web developers often switch between Firefox and Internet Explorer (the two most popular browsers) to see how their website looks in each. Now with IE Tab, developers can stay in their current browser

3. Ubiquity for Mozilla Firefox

Another Firefox add-on big surprise huh?!? Ubiquity allows for dynamic commands to be entered by the user. Ubiquity allows for extended browser funcionality with dynamic commands. After installing Ubiquity, users can subscribe to commands that Ubiquity developers have created. Pressing CTRL+Space brings up a console that accepts commands which otherwise would take a few extra steps to do manually. To list a few commands: lookup artilces in wikipedia, search, translate current page, and much more.

4. Ubiquity: PHP Function Lookup

PHP function look up adds a PHP function lookup command to Ubiquity. PHP developers often need to look up functions for a variety of reasons. Not anyone can remember the order of parameters and return type for thousands of functions. Opening a new tab, going to PHP.net, and typing in a function takes time. Ubiquity’s PHP function look up command lets you do this by simply pressing CTRL+Space then typing “php your_function”. This will save any PHP programmer tons of time.

5. Ubiquity: WordPress Codex Lookup

WordPress Codex Lookup adds a command look up feature to Ubiquity allowing you to quickly search the WordPress codex for information. If you use WordPress, create WordPress plugins, or modify WordPress themes, this will save you some time. Press CTRL+Space, then type “wp codex_search” and Ubiquity will open a new tab in your browser with your WP codex search.

Password Protecting Directories in WordPress Tutorial

July 2, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Today I wanted to password protect a directory on my website. I needed a web directory to be 100% secure and the only way to do that is using an .htaccess file. However, since WordPress already has an htaccess file on my site, doing this became a tricky project. After following other .htacess password protection tutorials on the net, WordPress would give me a 404 error when I browsed to the protected folder. It took me a few hours to figure out how to fix get around this. Here is a tutorial for password protecting directories in WordPress.

1. In the folder you want to protect, create a .htaccess file; I created a directory called password/ and placed my .htaccess file in password/.htaccess. Some operating systems don’t let you name a file called .htaccess. One way to get around this is to create a file named htaccess.txt, upload it to your site, then rename it to .htaccess. We will edit this file later in the tutorial

2. Create a file named .htpasswd and upload it to your site. This file contains the username and password that the you will need to enter in order to access you password protected folder. I recommend putting this folder in a location that is not web accessible. For most hosts your web accessible files are stored in the www/ or htdocs/ folder. If you put this file below those folders it will be 100% safe. Again, we will edit this file later in the tutorial.

3. Put this code in your .htaccess file:

AuthUserFile /home/.htpasswd
AuthType Basic
AuthName "My Password Protected Folder"
require user USERNAME

4. The bolded parts of the code are what you will have to change. Replace USERNAME with the username you will use, for this tutorial my username will be taylor. Replace /home/.htpasswd with the absolute path to your .htpasswd file. My web files are stored in /home/www/ so by placing my .htpasswd file in the /home/ folder, it makes it impossible to view with a web browser. Make sure you replace /home/.htpasswd with an absolute path and not a url like http://www.taylorlovett.com/.htpasswd.

5. Put this code in your .htpasswd file

USERNAME:ENCRYPTED PASSWORD

6. Replace USERNAME with your username, I am using taylor for this tutorial. Replace ENCRYPTED PASSWORD with an encrypted password. There are many .htpasswd generators you can use on the web. My .htpasswd file looks like this:

taylor:zG/hsmO/lXxnM

7. The last steps of this tutorial are what makes everything work along side your WordPress installation; which is why other .htaccess password protection tutorials on the internet don’t work if you’re running WordPress. Open the .htaccess file in the base directory of your WordPress installation. On my site WordPress is installed in the root, so I opened the file located at http://www.taylorlovett.com/.htaccess

At the very top of the file add the following code (make sure you add this before # BEGIN WordPress:

ErrorDocument 401 /401.html

So your .htaccess file should look something like this:

ErrorDocument 401 /401.html
# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
</IfModule>
# END WordPress

8. Finally, create a file in the root of your site called 401.html. You can leave the file blank if you want. Now everything should be working smoothly!

Strange Google XML Sitemaps Error Fixed

June 24, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Today, I installed the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. I configured the plugin accordingly then directed my browser to http://taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml to see my newly built sitemap. I was confronted with the very ugly error:

Error loading stylesheet: An unknown error has occurred (805303f4)

http://www.taylorlovett.com/wp-content/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/sitemap.xsl

After some searching on Google, I found others having the same issue but no definite solution. It seemed that directing my browser to http://www.taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml worked fine but http://taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml did not. I figured out the problem was that in my General Settings page my WordPress address (URL) was set to http://www.taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml and my Site address (URL) was set to http://taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml. After changing them both to the exact same URL, the problem was solved!

Comment Template Customization in WordPress

by Taylor Lovett

Today I was working on my blog and started styling comments.php in my WordPress theme – this wasn’t too difficult but still took me a couple hours to sift through PHP/Wordpress jargon to find the HTML/CSS code I was looking for. Before long I wanted to style the actual comments posted by users. To my dismay I learned the code for user comments is not in the comments.php theme file but rather in the comments-template.php file in the WordPress wp-includes/ folder. Bummer.

Customizing the WordPress wp-includes/comments-template.php file is extremely complicated, even to a veteran PHP programmer, and after messing with it for 2 hours I started searching Google for a guide. I found out through various guides that the wp_list_comments() function called in comments.php can take a callback function as a parameter that will use a custom comment function as opposed to the WordPress default. By using the callback parameter to point to your own function, you can really take control of the WordPress comments style and structure.

I found a great guide that will take you step by step through creating your own comment function for the wp_list_comments() function to callback.

WordPress Comment Templates Customization

Also, for background information on wp_list_comments() and a full list of it’s parameters:

Function Reference for wp_list_comments()

The New 2010 Taylorlovett.com Homepage Is Up

June 12, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Welcome to the 2010 version of Taylorlovett.com. This mission of this website is to bring web development solutions to small businesses. Based in Rockville Maryland, I specialize in websites and blogs (usually WordPress based), search engine optimization, and Google Adwords consultation. Please see my affordable web development solutions for more information on how I can improve the functionality and overall “feel” of your website as well as increase your websites internet exposure. If you would like to see some fine examples of my work, please see my web development portfolio. Welcome to the new site!