TaylorLovett

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.

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 4.6.0.1 Fixes Major IE Bug

June 7, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

After discovering a bug in the admin panel some months ago, where when using the form, style, or field manager, the browser goes to a page showing a -1, we have finally fixed this bug. It turns out WordPress was loading an old version of the JQuery Forms plugin, the newest version had this bug fixed. CCF now includes it’s own version of the JQuery Forms plugin fixing this bug. Thanks to everyone who reported this!

Google Places is Critical to Search Engine Visibility

January 15, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

Hey Taylor L, I just wanted to let you know about something that someone of the SEO Pro’s have been chatting about lately.

Google Places is CRITICAL to search engine visibility. Google has begun to show an incredible number of Local-related results for nonspecific search phrases.

Google Places allows you to submit your business information (name, address, URL, basic service description). After submission, your website will show up under local Google Places results. Lets use the web development market as an example. Since TaylorLovett.com is listed in Google Places as a web development business in Maryland, it shows up higher under local searches for “web development” within Maryland. That means my website has an advantage with people searching for web development within Maryland as well as people searching the key phrase “web development Maryland”.

The secret that I am revealing is that even if your business does not have a specific location, you can still submit it to Google Places.The best way to move up in the Google rankings is to optimize your site for a specific location, and move outwards gradually. TaylorLovett.com first was optimized for a small town called “Rockville” (which is in Maryland), then moved to a bigger town called “Bethesda”, then took over Maryland. Now if you search “web developer Maryland”, you will seeTaylorLovett.com on the first page competing with multi-million dollar web development firms. Pretty neat, huh?

Also, I’m not sure if you heard about this or not, but Google just completely changed the way they display localized search results. What does this mean for you? While this may sound unimportant, it is actually a pretty big deal because it gives websites that use proper SEO techniques a huge leg up. Prior to this change, when you searched “web development Maryland”, local Maryland results were displayed (by Google Places) above the actual organic search results. Now those same Google places results are integrated in to the organic search results. The two algorithms have been merged. This change places even more importance on websites that are listed in Google Places. You have nothing to lose!

SEOMoz, a leading search engine optimization research site, put out an exclusive report which included some useful tips when creating your Google Places listing.

– In Places results, domain-wide link popularity factors seem more important than page-specific ones. We’ve heard that links aren’t as important in local/places and the data certainly suggest that’s accurate (see the full report to compare correlations), but they may not be completely useless, particularly on the domain level.

– Using the city and business type keyword in the page title and the listing name (when claiming/editing your business’s name in the results) may give a positive boost. Results using these keywords seem to frequently outrank their peers. Use the city/state you are targeting in your listing.

– More is almost always better when it comes to everything associated with your Places listing – more related maps, more reviews, more “about this place” results, etc. However, this metric doesn’t appear as powerful as we’d initially thought. It could be that the missing “consistency” metric is a big part of why the correlations here weren’t higher.

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

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

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 2.2.0

August 9, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Custom Contact Forms 2.2.0 has been released and sports a number of new useful features. A plugin news feed has been added to the administratin panel displaying the latest news, tips, and tricks concerning Custom Contact Forms. A form has been added to the admin page allowing anyone to report a bug as well as suggest new features. 

Custom Contact Forms is constantly being developed and these new features really allows blog owners to steer development in the direction of their best interest. Finally a plugin navigation menu has been included at the top of the admin page allowing users to more fluidly control their contact forms.

Suggest a feature has already provided us with some great ideas. Custom Contact Forms someday some may have a mailing list function allowing you to build a list for internet marketing. Excited yet? Custom Contact Forms is already the best contact forms WordPress plugin by far and is only getting better.

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!

Content Boxes and Rounded Corners with CSS

by Taylor Lovett

Rounding corners has become more and more popular as the internet has grown older. Even Google allows users to select options in Adsense to round corners. There are many ways to round corners some using 2 images and CSS, 3 images and CSS, 4 images and no CSS, purely Javascript, only CSS (CSS3 only unfortunately), and more. To me CSS and rounding corners is an art because there are an infinite amount of ways to accomplish this effect but some are more elegant than others. This Bethesda web developer Maryland WordPress expert found a great website explaining in detail (CSS, XHTML markup, and images included) 25 great ways to achieve rounded corners in your layout with minimal HTML markup. Here’s the link:

25 Rounded Corners Techniques with CSS