At February’s Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup event at Grand Circus, Deborah Edwards-Orono walked us through website accessibility and TJ List broke down the new WordPress default theme titled Twenty Fourteen. Here are my notes for their talks, 2014: A New Year, A New Theme & How To Improve the Accessibility of Your Site.
What is an accessible website?
- To be accessible a website must be able to be accessed by anybody, from all devices and with any disability.
- Visitors are accessing websites in a variety of different ways.
Tip #1 – Add meaningful link text
- No “Learn More”, “More Info”, “Click Here” or “Read More”.
- Use text that describes what is behind the button, i.e. “Download Financial Aid Application”.
Tip #2 – Add appropriate alternative text to images
- Add appropriate text when uploading media via WordPress’ dashboard.
- When hovering over an image in Post Edit screen, click top left icon to pull up Edit Image screen.
- Leave alternative text empty for placeholders
Tip #3 – Add captions and transcripts to videos
- Opens up the contents of the video to people that are blind/deaf, also increases SEO as search engines can index content
- Resources: Youtube, Amara, Cielo, Automatic Sync, 3PlayMedia ($1/min – $2.50/min)
- 1 hour of video = 6 hours of transcribing
New Year, New Theme
- Website demo for the Twenty Fourteen theme can be found at twentyfourteendemo.wordpress.com
- Time to redesign personal site, why not use Twenty Fourteen?
- Default homepage restricts content and is image heavy
- Large viewport: website is left justified
- Medium viewport: no background color/image, menu is hidden
- Small viewport: a lot of swiping is needed
- Featured content: can’t feature pages, display is limited to 6 posts
- Usability: limited options make it hard to break and/or customize
- Twenty Fourteen as a dress, looks great on a model on the runway
- Great for photography based websites
- Simple, clean and legible
- Beautiful yet not very practical for a business/corporate website
Detroit author and Metro Detroit WordPress member Sylvia Hubbard was our guest for the November meetup. Here are notes from her presentation.
Step 1: Have a website that’s easily found
Step 2: Provide all your contact information, website, physical address, email, phone number, social networks, evaluation forms
Step 3: Include a book page
Step 4: Include your biography
Step 5: Add a blog
Step 6: Use feeds
Step 7: Use easy to remember URLs
Tips from Sylvia
- The closer you get to the money, the closer you get to the sale.
- My social networks serve as breadcrumbs to my website.
- Intertwine other characters from other stories.
- Password protected stories: passwords are embedded in books they have to buy.
Rules for Writers
- Post regular updates
- Add pics/videos/audio
- Don’t always sell book
Love that WordPress allows Sylvia to post feeds. Google Calendar feeds right into the sidebar. Press This to post reviews on your own author site.
What WordPress Has Done Over the Past Year for Sylvia
- Increased my SEO
- Can easily add subscription services and forms I control (readers with most comments are rewarded with $25 gift card)
- Use Google Alerts to track mentions
- Increased stats, searches and stays
- Organized my literary world
- Understand what my readers want from me
Can’t find out marketing effort for three months, when the royalty check comes in.
Resources for Self-Publishing
- Use Amazon for publishing your works. Their resource center provides info you need to publish to Kindle, print or audio.
- Smashwords loads your book to all the ebook distributors. Smashwords takes a cut off the purchase price. They upload your book every two months to Apple Books.
- Dan Pointer – godfather of self-publishing. Great resource for all things related to writing your book, publishing, promoting, and running your book business.
- PayLoadz: Sylvia uses it for exclusive books. There’s no cost if you don’t sell over $100 in one month. Will charge client and send the book.
- E-Junkie: Another option for selling your books.
Every fall Sylvia organizes Annual Essence of Motown Literary Jam & Conference, a literary conference for writers in the metro Detroit area. This year she was able to get support from 360 Digital, a Michigan based publisher/printer that produced the conference program book, Awesome Detroit and the National Writers Union, which helped to pay for the conference.
Link to the notes from Chris’ presentation on October 13, 2013 for Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup, at Grand Circus, presented via Google Hangouts.
And here’s the video of Chris Wiegman’s remote presentation.
Last month we were blessed with Russell Fair visiting us from Atlanta, Georgia. He gave a very informative presentation covering topics like:
- WordPress multisite install
- Plugins from WordPress Directory
- WordPress multisite plugins
- WordPress Plugin Commander (plugin management plugin for multi-site mode)
- WP Multi Network plugin (turns single multisite install into many multisite networks with one user database)
- Custom Post Type plugins
- Genesis theme framework
Watch the video and take notes!
Today at our November meetup, we were delighted to have Russell Fair from Atlanta WordPress Developers & Designers Meetup Group and Atlanta WordPress Users Group. He covered a wide range of relatively new WordPress features with great examples from his past and current work.
Some useful sites/links that were mentioned during his presentation:
- The Richard Nixon Foundation (WordPress multisite install)
- Plugins from WordPress Directory
- BuddyPress example: StringCommunity.com (Ann Arbor-based music community that Russell worked on)
- Genesis theme framework (uses Child Theme)
- WordPress Answers
- Alltop WordPress topics
Video recording for his presentation will be published here soon & Russell will be sharing his notes later on.
You can subscribe to this blog from the sidebar “Email Subscription”, or follow us on Twitter @ferndalewp for updates!
The topic for Ferndale WordPress Meetup in October was e-Commerce (shopping cart) options for WordPress. Tim Aten presented on his experience with 2 major plugins, WP e-Commerce (also known as GetShopped) and Shopp.
Below is my quick notes from the presentation.
- One of the oldest WordPress e-Commerce plugins
- The plugin is free; paid upgrades and community plugins are also available for additional functionalities
- Paid upgrades: “Gold Cart”, affiliate management, CSV feed generator, enhanced store animation effect, FedEx shipping option, members only site, downloadable products, product gallery, etc.
- There are some third-party themes
- PayPal (incl. Pro), Google Checkout, Chronopay gateway and manual payment options for free version. Authorize.net and other gateways are available with the paid version (more info)
- Experienced slower and less frequent tech support compared to Shopp
- Very easy to setup
- Flash uploader does not always work 100%
- Paid plugin ($55 for single site or $299 for unlimited # of sites)
- Additional gateways: $25 for authorize.net, manual payment, PayPal Pro, etc.
- Very fast (1-2 hours) and better support overall
- Set up only takes 1-2 hours; professional looking out-of-the-box
- Some issues with download packaged item (hard to group them together)
- You can view receipts in the admin dashboard
- Shopping cart widget available
- Shipping address capture is required (not ideal for download product)
- Product editor = similar to WordPress post edit page
- Theme integration is relatively easy
I talked about theme template hierarchy and Todd J. List had a presentation on the new custom menu feature.
Links that were mentioned:
- Custom menus on Codex: Appearance > Menus subpanel / Navigation Menus
- wp_nav_menu function reference
- Custom Menus Tutorial on justintadlock.com
As we were waiting for WordPress 3.0 release, we talked about some new features especially the multisite feature. Devin from Austin, TX was visiting the area and joined us for the meetup. He shared a nice video on setting up multisite:
Links that were mentioned:
- WordPress MU Domain Mapping plugin
- Codex: Create a Network – full documentation on how to setup a multisite network
- Custom Post Types – check out the links at the bottom too.
- Custom Taxonomies
- Twenty Ten theme overview (WordPress.com blog post)
- Twenty Ten theme demo
(Yes, that’s right – this is for the April meetup. The post was sitting as a draft and I had left it for so long. Sorry for the delay!)