How to vet a plugin for add on development

Without plugins, many projects in WordPress would never have been possible. Almost all developers develop add-ons to modify existing plugins to fit a client’s needs.

But how do we choose vendor plugins to develop add-ons for? What makes a plugin extensible? What makes it reliable?

These are the questions that prompted me to create a checklist for vetting plugins. The checklist starts at presales and goes to code reviewing.

This is the checklist I shared during this talk. I also received a lot of great input from other developers during the talk and was able to improve the checklist as a result.

Checklist for vetting a plugin for add-on development

Before Downloading or Purchasing

  1. Does it have a good support culture?
  2. Does it have add-ons developed by third party developers?
  3. Does it have a strong community?
  4. Do they have clear, easy on the eyes, documentation?
  5. Do they embrace open source?

After Activation: Administrator UX

  1. Does it use the WordPress UI?
    • If not, is the changed UI creating a significantly better UX?
  2. Does it use nags tastefully?
  3. Does it take up minimal space for upsells?
  4. Does it allow for exports of user generated data?
    • Ex: Form submissions.

After Activation: Database Usage

  1. Does it stick to WP’s built-in tables?
  2. If it creates new tables are they absolutely needed?
  3. Does it add just a handful of rows in the wp_options table?
  4. Is everything prefixed?
    • New tables, meta keys, option keys, CPT or Custom taxonomy slugs etc…

After Activation: Performance

  1. Load the site up with a bunch of dummy content. I use WP-CLI, or FakerPress. The dummy content is important because you’ll only be able to see performances issues with content stressing the code.
  2. Use a profiler such as Query Monitor
    • You can use your preferred profiler for this
      Debug bar, blackfire.io. Browser Dev tools for Client side stuff.
  3. Check the Query Monitor output for red.
  4. Check for slow SQL queries, failing HTTP requests, or long running JS scripts.

After Activation: Uninstallation

  1. Does it give you the option to remove it’s data from the DB and Uploads directory? (credit to Brent Jett from the Beaver Builder Team)

Code Review: Clean Code

  1. Is it readable/easy to follow?
  2. Does it follow PHP and WP standards?

Code Review: Can you add Functionality?

  1. Grep do_action and apply_filters Are there a lot of them and are they all well documented in the code with a doc block?
  2. Does it provide a lot of actions?
  3. Does it allow you to filter data before saving?
  4. Does it allow you to filter data before it is output?

Code Review: Can you remove functionality?

  1. Does it use the hook pattern internally?
  2. Are the callbacks it adds to WP accessible?
    • Use Global Vars, static methods or Singletons.
      Bottom Line: Callbacks need to be accessible in some way.

Code Review: ShortCodes

  1. Does it allow you to filter the user input for shortcode attrs?
  2. Does it allow you to filter the allowable shortcode attrs?
  3. Does it allow you to filter shortcode HTML output?

Code Review: Internal API

  1. Does it have an internal API to access core functionality?
    • Check out WooCommerce (pre 3.0).

Code Review: Display Logic

  1. Does it have overridable templates?
  2. Does it enqueue scripts and styles?
  3. Does it use WordPress’ loop logic to output content?

Examples of good plugin design

  1. Gravity Forms- has a ton of filters to change submission data.
  2. WooCommerce- Overridable templates, great internal API.
  3. Beaver Builder- Best overridable Admin templates for module settings pages. Amazing communities of users and add-on developers.
  4. Ninja Forms- Breaks the rule about Admin UI design and greatly improves form creation UX as a result. An amazing community of add-on developers.
  5. Contact Form 7- really beautifully clean code, solid yet minimal plugin design, and amazingly extensible. Is symbolic of open source.
  6. CMB2- Great Developer’s meta box plugin

Slides


Useful Sources

Database Usage

  1. Which tables to use for what data
  2. What are the WP DB tables
  3. Problems with the options table
  4. Meta key best practices
  5. How to use post meta correctly
  6. How post meta gets abused
  7. A profiler for PHP, js, and mysql queries
  8. Versioning options arrays

Clean code

  1. PHP coding standards
  2. WP Coding standards
  3. Code mistakes in plugins
  4. Clean code in plugins
  5. Clean code in plugins
  6. File management in plugins

Can you remove functionality?

  1. Problems with not extensible plugins
  2. Orphan objects
  3. How to instantiate an accessible plugin

Display logic

  1. Overridable templates, filtered shortcodes and more

Admin UI

  1. Why use WP’s built in UI

WooConf Debrief and a Member Discussion

For two days store owners and WordPress developers interested in growing their knowledge of WooCommerce gathered in Austin for workshops and networking.

WooCommerce Ninjas shared tips and tricks with developers,and store owners had the opportunity to learn how to use the software to its full potential from eCommerce experts and other successful store owners.

Joshua Shipsey and Adrienne shared their impressions and take-aways from their WooConf experience. Joshua shared his impressions from a developer’s perspective and Adrienne talked about what she learbed as a  store owner who uses WooCommerce.

The last half of the meetup was a lively member discussion about what topics we would like the WooConference meetup to address during the next several months and if there any local WooCommerce presenters they would like the organizers to approach for talks or Workshops. We have a white board full of suggestions and will be posting the upcoming meeting agendas as soon as we can organize them and tap our targeted presenters.

Here are the links from Joshua’s slide deck:

WooConf site: https://wooconf.com/

Link to Peep Laja’s website and free ebook
http://conversionxl.com/

Link to an eBook by WP Engine, Crowd Favorite, and Chirs Lema distributed at WooConf

https://wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/WP-EBK-ScalingWooCommerce-v06-PUB.pdf

 

Guide to Writing a Winning Proposal

An on-going discussion about starting and building a successful, freelance WordPress business…

Last month we discussed finding clients for your Freelance business. At this month’s Deep Dive Discussion, Nick and Sandi Batik demonstrated tools and processes that help you write a winning proposal, even if you are an introvert.

Right-brained or left brained, creative or analytical, the Introverted Freelancer needs to suss out what problem your client is asking you to solve. The discussion focused on  defining the client’s problem and converting that problem statement into a proposal that defines how you will  meet the clients’ needs and help improve their bottom line.

There is the link to the notes and slide deck for the Austin WordPress Deep Dive Discussion Meetup April 11. 2016:

Freelancer’s Guide to Writing a Winning Proposal -1
https://handsonwp.com/freelancers-guide-writing-winning-proposal/

Freelancer’s Guide to Writing a Winning Proposal-2
https://handsonwp.com/introverted-freelancers-guide-writing-winning-proposal/

Finding Your Company’s Voice

The March WordPress Practitioner’s Meetup was the first in a series of “The Business of WordPress” topics our member’s have requested. Our WP Practitioners attendees are about evenly divided between business owners and mangers who use WordPress daily in their businesses, and WordPress Freelancers, Developers and Implementors who are building and maintaining WordPress sites for businesses. When the organizers read your topic requests, we approached small business specialist, Sarah Flaherty about presenting to our group.

Sarah’s tag line is, “Let me think outside the box for you,” illustrates her love for helping emerging businesses and her creativity. In today’s world, there is no unique business, there is only uniqueness. Finding your unique voice is the first and foremost need of a successful business or Freelancer.

Your firm’s voice is the single­most important business fundamental, and it is often ignored in our WordPress Community of Developers and Designers. Consumers no longer shop locally, they shop globally on their terms. This makes competition to get their attention, and keep it, fierce. You must be in constant communication with your clients in order to maintain sales and growth. However, you can’t achieve this through a great logo and a fabulous website. You must engage directly with your clients, and this requires you to have a curated voice; consumers flock to you and become your loyal evangelists when they hear and experience your care of them consistently ­ when they know your firm’s personality, what and why it’s passionate about, and what they can always count on.

Sarah C. Flaherty of LUV, LLC will briefly discuss the need to find your voice, how to shape it, and what to do with it once you’ve found it ­ with a focus on social media. This presentation will be followed by a group project that allows you to take a company from conception to initial client communication and will show you the importance of aligning your company’s mission statement with your visuals and content. This will help you better understand your need to content curate to find your firm’s unique voice and how to use it going forward.

With  some of Sarah’s tips and tricks you’ll find that not only will you better understand the hows and whys of what you want to do, but you’ll be better able to focus potential clients’ attention on your business, and keep it.  The WPATX Organizers want to thank Sarah Flaherty for a wonderful presentation and a fun workshop to demonstrate refining and channeling our business brand. Thanks to all our members who displayed amazing creativity and sense of humor -Sarah made learning fun!

Below please find a PDF of Sarah’s Slides and her contact info if you have any questions.

 

How to Find Your Company Voice

 

The Introverted Freelancer’s Guide to Finding Clients

March 14, 2016 Deep Dive Discussion about starting and building a successful  freelance business…

Last month we discussed the tools and processes that can help our members build an efficient, effective Freelance business. Several members contacted us and asked us to follow up that presentation with a straight forward conversation about how to find and build a profitable client base. So in  this month’s Deep Dive Discussion, Nick and Sandi Batik focused on how to find and on-board clients for your freelance business, even if you are an introvert.

Many of our WPATX members expressed that it can seem daunting to start a freelance WordPress Consulting business. We talked about where to  start; what specialized services you are best suited to offer;  and how to find clients. The goal for this month’s Deep Dive Discussion was to examine how to build a healthy freelance WordPress practice that supports you and delights your clients.

You can find “The Introverted Freelancer’s Guide to Finding Clients” notes and slides here: https://handsonwp.com/introverted-freelancers-guide-finding-clients/

The WordPress Freelancer’s Tool Box

Austin WordPress Deep Dive Discussion Meetup  February 08, 2016

Sandi Batik and Nick Batik lead this month’s Austin WordPress Deep Dive Discussion focused on what it takes to build a successful freelance WordPress business. The WPATX organizers have had numerous requests to devote more meetups to the “Business” of WordPress.  If this discussion topic proves popular, we will expand the topic into a more formal class for our WordPress Practitioners meetup, which is hosted in a larger venue.

Our attendees came prepared to talk about the tools and techniques they are currently using everyday in their WordPress businesses. We covered prospecting, marketing, proposal writing, client interviews / on-boarding, project management, client management, project close-out and invoicing client follow-up. It was a fast paced, interesting conversation about what was working and not working in our businesses.

To my mind the best part of the evening was the information exchange — each member introduced themselves, explained a little bit about their specific skill-set and their business. We were able to demonstrate that your next best resource or project partner might be sitting right next to you at the next Austin WordPress Meetup. Several folks exchanged cards and have the opportunity to work on jobs together. Helping each other succeed is the very ethos  of our Austin WordPress Community, and it was great to see that culture of mutual support in action during the meeting.

At it’s core, the successful Freelance Business is about being helpful and supportive.  Those ‘Solopreneurs’ who think in terms of collaborative partnership with their clients, and the other professions they team up with to delight that client are the pattern-card for a profitable, sustainable business.

Here is the link to our Deep Dive Discussion transcript and slide deck

WordPress.com for Business (and everything else)

Thanks to everyone who attended last night’s Beginner’s WordPress meetup and heard about the “other flavor” of WordPress: sites hosted on WordPress.com.

My slides:

http://wpaustin.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/wpcom4business.pdf

 

Requested links:

 

Contact:

Jackie Dana jackie @automattic.com

David Cole, david.cole @ automattic.com

Additional WordPress Plugins for Business Sites

In a lively Q &A at last night’s WordPress for Business some additional plugins were discussed as possible solutions for specific issues raised by attendees. As promised, we have noted the names and urls of those WordPress Plugins below.

Really Simple CAPTCHA

CAPTCHA | Contact Form 7

Stripe Checkout

WordPress Donation Plugin with Goals and Paypal IPN
by NonprofitCMS.org

FAQ Manager

Jetpack for WordPress

Wysija Newsletters

User Role Editor

Magic Members

WP-Members

VaultPress – WordPress Backup and Security

Relevanssi – A Better Search

 

 

 

 

Business Plugins for WordPress

Class Notes For:

WordPress for Business —  Central Location 03.11.13

and WordPress for Business — West Location 03.18.13

Business Plugins for WordPress

Business websites are tools for building relationships with clients, they are stores, branding tools, and content libraries for customers and employees alike. WordPress is so popular with the business community because it is a FREE, open source, powerful content marketing platform. There is a huge ecosystem of developers supporting it, adding features to the core functionality through regular updates and plugin development.

A basic WordPress install lacks some of the functionality needed to meet the expectations of business owners. With the right plugins, an easy to install, and managed WordPress site can turn into a stable, flexible content management solution for business owners and managers.

Plugins extend the functionality of WordPress business site without writing code. Installing these plugins will fill-in the majority of the gaps present in a basic WordPress install, and will assure that your small business website is ready to make you money online.

Most plugins are free, but the ever expanding use of WordPress for business has created a niche industry of very advanced plug-ins that provide even greater functionality at a very affordable price.

It’s easy to get excited about all the possibilities the WordPress Plugin Repository offers, but, it’s not always immediately obvious which plugins are truly beneficial for your business site. Since we use quite a few of these plug-ins on a regular basis, we thought we could save you hours of research and testing, and share the go-to-list of plugins we use when developing business websites.

Testimonial Management

This plugin lets you manage testimonials as a separate type of information in your WordPress blog, which makes it easier to include them in other blog posts and pages.

Business Hours PlugIn

The Business Hours Plugin allows you to post your daily working hours and show it to your visitors:

  • In a configurable and templatable widget.
  • In a page / post using shortcodes

You’ll be able to choose between showing only today’s working hours, or a collapsible table with the hours for each day of the week. If you want to show only today’s working hours, the plugin will check your time zone settings to calculate which day to show.

Connections Business Directory

You can use Connections to create a simple address book, maintain a staff directory and even run a business directory or link directory. Connections was built bottom up to be as configurable as possible while providing the features you need. Connections offers simplicity in design and function, and a  vast array of unique features and versatility.

Features

  • Seamless integration with the WordPress admin.
  • A Dashboard admin page where you can keep up to date with Connections related news, such as updates notices for templates and the pro addons. Also see at a glance today’s anniversaries and birthdays as well as any upcoming anniversaries and birthdays.
  • When inputting an entry there are multiple entry types from which to choose. They are individual, organization and family. The family entry type is unique to Connections. This entry type allows you to group individuals together as a family which makes Connections ideally suited for creating church directories.
  • You control which entries are viewable to the public and which entries are private, viewable for logged in users only. You can even have entries set as unlisted so only admins can view them.
  • Fields, fields and more fields… no other directory plugin offers more. There are fields for addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, IM, social networks, an image, a logo, bio, notes and more. Want more? Many fields, such as addresses and phone numbers, you can assign as many as you need. Wait, I’m not done yet… want to be able to list the business phone but keep that cell phone number private? You can do that, too. Most of the fields have selectable visibility. What this means is you can have an entry set as public but keep personal details private or even unlisted so only them admin can view it.
  • Connections is being used to manage directories which contain thousands of entries so the ability to manage them easily is a must- a task which Connections stands and delivers. You can filter the entries list by category, entry type and visibility. You can search for entries. You can even search within the filtered entries. Of course Connections doesn’t stop there, there are several bulk actions available to make changes a breeze.
  • Category support. This feature was modeled after the category feature for WordPress posts. So if you know how to add and manage categories for posts, you know how they work for Connections. Categories can be hierarchical and entries can be assigned to any number of categories.
  • Extensive role support. For your users that have access to the WordPress admin, there is extensive role support. You can define which roles can perform tasks to manage entries in Connections.
  • Unrivaled customability with templates. Connections comes with many basic templates to get you started. For many, these meet their needs. But if you need more than these basic templates provide, check out these great premium templates.
  • Displaying your entries on the front end is as simple as putting a shortcode on a page. Don’t let this simplicity fool you. The Connections shortcode provides almost a dizzying array of options that are just too numerous to list. But if you want to know more, you can find it here.
  • Even a bit of SEO was sprinkled in. Every entry outputs following the hCard spec.
  • One last item. Extensibility.

WP Customer Reviews 

WP Customer Reviews allows your customers and visitors to leave reviews or testimonials of your services.

WP Customer Reviews allows you to setup a specific page on your blog to receive customer testimonials for your business/service OR to write reviews about multiple products (using multiple pages).

  • WP Multisite and Multiuser (WPMU / WPMS / WordPress MU) compatible.
  • All submissions are moderated, which means that YOU choose which reviews get shown.
  • Reviews are displayed to visitors in a friendly format, but search engines see the hReview microformat.
  • Multiple anti-spam measures to prevent automated spambots from submitting reviews.
  • Provides a configurable Business hCard, to help identify all pages of your site as belonging to your business.
  • Completely customizable, including which fields to ask for, require, and show.
  • Shortcodes available for inserting reviews and review form on any page or widget.
  • Works with caching plugins and a majority of themes.
  • Includes an external stylesheet so you can modify it to better fit your theme.
  • Reviews can be edited by admin for content and date.
  • Admin responses can be made and shown under each review.
  • Support for adding your own custom fields.
  • The plugin can be used on more than one page, and can be used on posts.
  • Supports both Business and Product hReview types.
  • Shows aggregate reviews microformat (hReview-aggregate).
  • Fast and lightweight, even including the star rating image. This plugin will not slow down your blog.

Contact Us 

Contact Us adds the ability to enter business contact information, business hours, business location, etc and output the details in your posts, pages or templates. Contact Us adds the ability to enter business contact information, business hours, business location, etc and output the details in your posts, pages or templates.

Contact Form 7 

Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.

Docs & Support
You can find docs, FAQ and more detailed information about Contact Form 7 on contactform7.com. If you were unable to find the answer to your question on the FAQ or in any of the documentation, you should check the support forum on WordPress.org

Contact Form DB

Saves submitted form data to the database and provides short codes to display it. Captures data from Contact Form 7 and Fast Secure Contact Form.
This “CFDB” plugin saves contact form submissions to your WordPress database and provides short codes to retrieve and display the data.
By simply installing the plugin, it will automatically begin to capture submissions from:
•    JetPack Contact Form plugin
•    Contact Form 7 (CF7) plugin
•    Fast Secure Contact Form (FSCF) plugin
Other form submissions can be saved with the addition of the [cfdb-save-form-post] short code on the target submission page.
Contact form plugins are great but generally one thing…the ability to save and retrieve the form data to/from the database. If you get a lot of form submissions, then you end up sorting through a lot of email.
Looking at your data in the WP Admin Area

Acobot Live Chat Robot

This subscription plugin will enhance your WordPress with Acobot live chat robot in 3 minutes or less. Boost online sales like never before. It’s simple, easy and fast.

An Answer Beats a Thousand Web Pages! Go to the beach without worrying about your online business. This happy, chatty and clever robot will say Hello to the website visitors, answer their questions and turn them into paying customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Business Directory Plugin

Business Directory Plugin allows you to build local directories, business provider listings, Yellow-Pages style business directories, Yelp-like review sections. Increase interaction on your website, improve customer retention and a add revenue-generating section to your site with Business Directory Plugin. Business Directory Plugin allows you to build local directories, business provider listings, Yellow-Pages style business directories, Yelp-like review sections and more. You can add any kind of directory using Business Directory plugin.

Features:

  • Fully customizable form fields
  • Accept payment for listings OR have free listings
  • Allow for featured/sticky listings for an upgrade fee
  • Create multiple fee plans, which can be assigned to categories for posting
  • Support for reCAPTCHA to avoid spam listings
  • Users who post can edit listings without access to WP dashboard
  • Support for ratings (NEW!)
  • Support for Google Maps (NEW!)

All-in-One Event Calendar

If you have a regular schedule of events you need to broadcast to your audience, this calendar system combines a clean visual design, and a powerful set of features to create the most advanced calendar system available for WordPress. It’s completely free and also includes Facebook  Integration, and an interesting Posterboard View that displays events like a Pinterest board. The calendar system combines a clean visual design, solid architectural patterns and a powerful set of features to create the most advanced calendar system available for WordPress. Best of all: it’s completely free.

Calendar Features For Users

This plugin has many features we hope will prove useful to users, including:

  • Recurring events
  • Filtering by event category or tag
  • Easy sharing with Google Calendar, Apple iCal, MS Outlook and any other system that accepts iCalendar (.ics) feeds
  • Embedded Google Maps
  • Color-coded events based on category
  • Month, week, day and agenda views
  • Upcoming Events widget
  • Direct links to filtered calendar views

Woo Commerce 

We have tried many of the cart solutions out there and we settled on Woo Commerce. It delivers enterprise-level features all within the WordPress CMS. This robust system is based on a core plugin that provides the basic store functionality. It is then extended by a collection of modules that can be added to design the custom commerce experiences our customers need.

Features:

Security

WooCommerce 2.0+ has been fully security audited by the leading WordPress security firm Sucuri to ensure it meets the highest WordPress security standards possible.

Reporting

Get a birds-eye view of your stores performance or drill down to check out reports per month, per product category or even per individual product.

Intricate tax & Shipping options

Use WooCommerce various methods including shipping classes to create intricate shipping rules. Configure comprehensive tax settings with tax classes and local tax rates

Comprehensive Store Management

Easily manage your simple, digital and variable products in WooCommerce with our intuitive UI. Assign Store Managers to handle the day to day management of your stor

SEO

WooCommerce markup adheres to Schema vocabulary to fully assist your search engine rankings and is, of course written in fully semantic HTML5 markup.

 

WP-ecommerce

Whether you use your site for selling products, services or collecting fees this is a great plugin. This is especially helpful for sites where you are focusing on bands and record labels, selling clothing, crafts, artwork, books, or media, have membership opportunities or need ticketing capabilities.

Features:

WordPress Integration

  • Easy to install WordPress plugin
  • Works with any standards compliant WordPress theme
  • Plays well with other Plugins
  • Supports regular WordPress widgets, as well as a few snazzy ones of our own
  • Utilizes shortcodes and template tags (just like WordPress)
  • Works out-of-the-box with WordPress MU (make sure you use sub domains with your MU setup)

100% Customizable

  • A designers dream – use your own HTML & CSS and have complete control over the look and feel of your store
  • Easy to modify templates

Support

  • Lots of video tutorials
  • Guaranteed speedy response (through our premium forums)
  • Access to instant support from our community of users

Payment Gateways Integration

  • Manual Payment (checks/money orders) (included)
  • PayPal Payments Standard (included)
  • PayPal Payments Pro (included)
  • PayPal Express Checkout (included)
  • Google Checkout (Level 2) (included)
  • Chronopay (included)
  • PayPal Payflow Pro (available with Gold Cart)
  • Authorize.net (available with Gold Cart)
  • FirstData/LinkPoint (available with Gold Cart)
  • eWay Payment (available with Gold Cart)
  • iDEAL (available with Gold Cart)
  • BluePay (available with Gold Cart)
  • DPS (available with Gold Cart)
  • Paystation (available with Gold Cart)
  • SagePay (available with Gold Cart)
  • If you still aren’t happy, we provide you with the necessary info to write your payment gateway

Marketing

  • Flexible coupon/discount pricing rules
  • Product specific sales
  • Quantity discounts
  • Free shipping options
  • Multi-tier pricing for quantity discounts.
  • Search Engine Friendly URLs
  • New Products widget
  • Cross-sells on product pages (in 3.8 this is now available as a Plugin)
  • Google Site Map
  • Uses the popular “Share This” button for easily promoting your products on popular social networking sites
  • Integrates with Facebook Marketplace (Facebook Marketplace API has closed – we’re working on it)
  • Integrates with Google Base
  • Integrates with Campaign Monitor for advanced email marketing
  • Integrates with Intense Debate for shared comments
  • Mail Chimp integration coming soon

Search Engine Optimization

  • 100% Search Engine Friendly
  • Meta-information for products and categories
  • RSS feeds for products and categories
  • Integrates with Google (XML site maps and Google Merchant Centre)
  • Integrates with the All in One SEO plugin for WordPress (which includes Google Analytics)

Internationalization Support

  • Multi-lingual (the first Plugin to fully utilize and integrate with GlotPress)
  • Support for multiple currencies
  • Ability to target specific countries

Shipping

  • Integrates with UPS, USPS, Australia Post and Shipwire for real-time shipping rates
  • Flexible built-in shipping rate calculators
  • Domestic and global shipping rates
  • Flat rate shipping
  • Table rate shipping
  • Weight rate shipping

Checkout

  • One-Page Checkout or Stepped Checkout, whichever you prefer
  • SSL security support for orders on both front-end and back-end
  • Checkout without account/Guest Checkout
  • Shopping Cart with tax and shipping estimates
  • Option to create account at beginning of checkout
  • Fully customizable checkout page

Managing Orders

  • Admin dashboard for sales overview
  • Export orders and customers into CSV formats
  • Order history with labels for order processing status
  • Email notifications of orders
  • Print invoices and packing slips

Catalog Management

  • Single-page product data entry
  • Ability to duplicate products
  • Quickly edit your products from the store front (saving you heaps of time)
  • Smart Groups allow you to organize your products with hierarchical categories, as well as by brand.
  • Batch import/export of catalog
  • Google Base integration
  • Product variation management
  • Create attributes on the fly
  • Downloadable/Digital Products
  • Support for donations
  • Customer Personalized Products
  • Media Manager with automatic image resizing
  • Handles multiple product images with easy drag-and-drop sorting
  • support for Special Prices
  • Tax rates per location
  • Basic inventory control

Catalog Browsing

  • Live product search – mmm just like apple.com (available add on)
  • Cross-sells
  • Product listing in list format
  • Product listing in grid format (available with Gold Cart)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Product Image Zoom-in Capability
  • Stock Availability
  • Multiple Images Per Product (activated with Gold Cart)
  • Product comments
  • Filter by Product Tags
  • New Products widget
  • Features Products widget
  • Live updating shopping cart (put it wherever you want)

 

Editorial Calendar 

The Editorial Calendar makes it possible to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your blog. Did you remember to write a post for next Tuesday? What about the Tuesday after that? WordPress doesn’t make it easy to see when your posts are scheduled. The editorial calendar gives you an overview of your blog and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar, and manage your entire blog.

Features

See all of your posts and when they’ll be posted.
Drag and drop to change your post dates.
Manage your drafts with our new drafts drawer.
Quickedit post titles, contents, and times.
Publish posts or manage drafts.
Easily see the status of your posts.
Manage posts from multiple authors.

Events Calendar 

This is a free plugin, but also has a paid version if you need extra features. The Events Calendar is a nifty calendar plugin that allows your customers to see what events you are at and also what is happening with your business. You can advertise your own events or the ones you are going to. There are also extra plugins for this plugin (like woocommerce) that adds to the functionality of the plugin, such as connecting it to eventbrite.

Events-Calendar is a versatile replacement for the original calendar included with WordPress adding many useful functions to keep track of your events. The plugin has an easy to use admin section that displays a big readable calendar and lets you add and delete events.

The plugin is widget ready so you can easily add a small calendar to the main sidebar with the ability to roll over the highlighted event day to see a brief description of the event or click the day to get a full description of the event without ever leaving your current page.

The ability to add a large public calendar is available by posting a page and adding [events-calendar-large] to the page content to create a stand alone calendar page. Also, when entering an event from the admin section, you can check the box saying “Create Post for Event”, which will cause a post to be created with the event information.

Additional features will be added so make sure that you keep up to date on upcoming changes and new features by subscribing to the RSS feed on the Events Calendar site.

 

Job Manager 

Your business needs quality new employees and you want to make the process easier for yourself.  A job management board on your website. Ad job descriptions, potential employees apply from a form on your website. You can then review all the applicants straight from the dash board.

 

J Shortcodes 

 

This plugin allows you to easily create customized styled web elements like buttons, content boxes, tabs, accordion panels and more. It’s an easy way to help content stick out without having to know CSS or HTML.

Simple Business Manager

Simple Business Manager allows you to manage your company, track invoices and keep finances in order. Letter generator allows you to create letter templates and then send them to your customers. A Company report allows you to quickly see your company finances, expenses and deposits as well as the ability to track miles traveled.

 

Installing a Plugin

To install a plugin on your website all you have to do is click on plugins, search them and install them click through the steps and lastly activate the plugin.

 

WordPress for Business

 Successful Business Websites Start with a Plan

How information is organized and accessed is the difference between a successful site…and not so much

Haphazard, poorly conceived and executed sites are so common That any organized website is richly rewarded:

Visitors like easy to use, logical concise sites and are likely to become customers

Search engines reward well-planned sites with detailed indexing and better rankings.

The time invested in planning your WordPress website will net a successful website that meets clearly identified goals and provides compelling content that draws your audience to your site again and again.

In addition it will be easy to navigate and is attractively designed to complement the content.

Ten steps for planning a successful business site

  1. Define the purpose of your site
  2. Identify your goals for the website
  3. Identify your target audience
  4. Create a list of content topics and keywords that will attract your target audience
  5. Divide your keyword list into content categories
  6. Draw a flow chart of Pages with connecting links
  7. Create a navigation menu
  8. Develop a unified site design
  9. Design easy to follow action steps for site visitors
  10. Commit to treating your website as a business unit and follow a set schedule for updating content

1. Purpose of Site

  • Successful business projects always “Start with the end in mind.”
  • Why are you willing to commit time talent and treasure to building a site?
  • At the end of the day, what do you want this site to do for you?

2. Identify your goals for the website

Here are some sample goals you might have for you website:

  • Provide current or potential customers with information
  • Earn high page ranking in search engines
  • Generate new leads
  • Sell products

3. Identify your target audience

  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • What are they looking for when they come the site?
  • What do you want them to do when they get there  — what is the Action Step?

4. Create a list of content topics and keywords that will attract your target audience

  • Who would you consider your closest competitor?
  • What words or phases would you enter into Google to find the services or products that business/organization offers?

5. Divide your keyword list into content categories

  • Create a list of all of the content that you would like to include on your website that both achieves your goals and would be of interest to your audience.
  • At this point, just write whatever comes to mind — do not try to organize it.
  • Divide the List Into Post-it Notes
  • Now that you have this list of content, organize it into site-pages.

6. Draw a flow chart (site map) of Pages with connecting links

  • On a piece of paper and draw a box that represents each page of your website.
  • Draw lines between the boxes showing how you want the pages to connect to each other.
  • Draw a flow chart to show how you want users to navigate through the content.
  • Your flow chart shows the user’s experience — how he or she can navigate through the content.

7. Create a navigation menu

Navigation and Site Maps

  • Navigation is the organization of your website so you can make sure each page links to others.
  • Actually write out your sitemap and plan where the pages of your website will go and where they will link.
  • This avoids confusing connections that lead to visitors giving up and going away.
  • Visitors use your navigation menu to move to other pages on your website
  • Your menus need to be clear and consistent throughout your site.
  • Depending on your theme or personal preference the navigation menu can appear in the top or in either of the sidebars
  • Your top navigation bar should be limited to about eight links.

Navigation Checklist

  • Each page has an obvious link to the homepage
  • Each page can be summed up with a keyword or keyword phrase, and those keywords are your navigation labels
  • You have eight links or fewer in your navigation with “housekeeping: links like Privacy Policy at the button of the page (text link)
  • Every button is obvious and clearly labeled: the site navigation requires no explanation
  • The navigation buttons are either along the top or on the left-hand side of the page (visual tracking software indicates this is optimal positioning)
  • Your navigation is identical on every page
  • Turn off Flash images that slow or confuse visitors’ navigation of site
  • You have a sitemap for visitors and an XML Sitemap for search engines
  • For every page, you can answer these questions within 10-seconds:
  • Where am I?
  • Where have I been?
  • Where can I go?
  • How do I get to the home page?
  • Your site is searchable, so your users can opt to navigate your site via the search bar
  • If yours is an eCom site, all product images and descriptions link directly to the order form
  • All the links to content on other pages within your site work
  • Visitors don’t have to register to browse your site
  • The site logo is above the fold in the same place on every page and links back to the homepage
  • You give people several ways to get to the same place.
  • You don’t link to unfinished or ‘under construction’ pages – finish the page then link to it.

8. Site Plan

Producing A Plan for Your Site

  • On a piece of notebook paper, or using post-its describe your site.
    Answer the following questions:
  • What am I going to do with this?
  • Who is going to read this?
  • What kinds of information will I be posting?
  • Why am I doing this?
  • Who am I doing this for?
  • How often am I going to be posting and adding information?

Site Plan Summary

 

Compile this information into a paragraph so it looks like this:

This website will be dedicated to ______and ______,

and cover the topics of ______and _______.

The audience will be __________ ________________ _______.

I will be adding posts every _____________

about ________ _______ ______________.

I am doing this because _____________ _____________.

8. Develop a unified site design

 Create a Visual Theme that is Consistent 

Your visual theme creates the mood and atmosphere of your website.

  • A consistent set of colors and images creates an impression in peoples minds and imaginations.
  • Choose a combination of colors that you will use throughout your site.
  • Try to choose color combinations that are high contrast and easy on the eyes.
  • Choose a set of colors that are consistent with the atmosphere you are trying to create.

9. Design easy to follow action steps for site visitors

 

We Need
A BIG GREEN BUTTON

 

 

10. Your Website Is A Business Unit 

Commit to treating your website as a business unit and follow a set schedule for updating content

Make sure that your website reflects and supports both your business plan and the marketing strategy you have set for your business