February 2016 Developer Code Share / Show and Tell

Attendees seated waiting for meetup to begin

For our February 2016 developer code share/show and tell, four Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup members shared their tips and insights on WordPress development.

Start-to-Finish Marketing Automation

Jordan Skole presenting, monitor showing marketing automation process

Jordan Skole runs a WordPress site for his wife’s photography business, Heather Reed Photography. Jordan uses several automation processes, mostly through a CRM called Active Campaign, that puts new customer leads into a pipeline where they download pricing information.

Leads can receive several follow-up emails, and eventually sign up for an RSS feed via MailChimp.

The journey from new lead generation to post-photo production is a long, complicated one. But Jordan says lots of up-front planning makes for a smooth process.

“Start as simple as possible. Start with a two-email chain… then build on that,” Skole said.

Gulp for Web Development

Aisha Blake, presenting Intro to Gulp

Aisha Blake, who co-leads Detroit chapter of Girl Develop It, and is Grand Circus teacher assistant, gave an overview of Gulp, a task runner application that can automate many things.

Developers — WordPress and otherwise — handle thousands of tasks in a day. Task runners take care of the many menial tasks associated with writing code that aren’t actually writing code.

The “gulp-concat” plugin, for instance, can combine any number of files into one and then pipe it into a destination folder. Simply run $ gulp into your command line, then require Gulp itself into your project.

Once a module has been set up, you can pass arguments to the .task() method, which will be the name given to the task, e.g., gulp.task(‘styles’);.

You can also add an optional array of dependencies to further customize your task runners.

Advanced Custom Fields

Norm Euker

Norm Euker demoed how he uses the Advanced Custom Fields plugin in his work and shared code examples.

The Advanced Custom Fields plugin acts as a GUI (graphic user interface) layer for custom fields, adding a more user-friendly interface for adding/editing content.

There are free, personal ($20) and pro ($100) versions. This plugin is great for making quick, clean-looking layouts that feature a jumbotron image, photo galleries and column layouts.

Template creation, Euker says, is the most time-consuming aspect.

Real Estate Website Build

Alex Adam

Alex Adam, who’s new to WordPress developement, also uses Advanced Custom Fields and PHP to create custom fields for WordPress sites he develops for a real estate web site.

This provides flexibility for adding new business, with custom fields for down payments, business types, etc.

Advanced Custom Fields also allows for certain drop-downs to populate differently based on certain criteria, as well as custom validations.

Special thanks to our volunteers who helped out this week. Shoutout to Mike Sandula who took notes during the meeting. Thanks to Jessica Koss for capturing photos of our speakers. And thanks to Aubrie Glennon who greeted our members.

Shoutout to our sponsors, Grand Circus and A2 Hosting, for their support of Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup.

January 2016 WordPress Q & A Workshop Recap

At last night’s Q & A workshop, we had lots of great questions about WordPress, how to use it, set it up, configure plugins, style, and troubleshoot issues.

Glad to see so many new faces interested in learning about WordPress!

I spoke with six different people about their sites, plans for websites, hosting, plugins, security and answered different questions about working with WordPress.

Since we all learn WordPress from each others, I wanted to recap some of the top items we discussed.

Were you at last night’s meetup? Feel free to add what you learned or discussed in the comments.

I’m a WordPress Beginner. Where Do I Start?

Start small. Identify what you want to do.

Will your site be a blog for your writing or photographs, your next business adventure, band site to highlight your upcoming concerts, or are you selling something?

Think about what you expect visitors to do when they come to your site. And what will make your WordPress site a success.

Maybe you have an idea of a site with lots of features and functionality. Can you break it into smaller phases that come out in June, October, or even next year?

If you’re not technical, and don’t want to figure out hosting, how to install WordPress, and which one of the 40,000 plugins you want on your site, I recommend starting with WordPress.com.

WordPress.com allows you to:

  • Set up a blog or website for free (using a WordPress.com subdomain)
  • Use your own domain name ($18/year)
  • Choose from over 300 different themes
  • Upgrade to $99 Premium plan or $299 Business plan for more customizations and features

WordPress.com (which hosts WordPress for you), means you don’t have to worry about installing and upgrading WordPress, adding/updating plugins (there aren’t any), dealing with security, spam, or backups. It’s all done for you.

If your goal is to blog regularly, WordPress.com is a great way to start. And you can easily export your content to other blogging platforms (including self-hosted WordPress) when you want to move on to more features.

First Self-Hosted WordPress Site

Where do I start looking for hosting? Our Metro Detroit WordPress group is sponsored by A2 Hosting in Ann Arbor, who have graciously offered our members a discount for web hosting. Check out their hosting plans.

With hundreds of web hosts, talking with fellow members about their experiences with web hosts is helpful.

Also, check out Chris Lema’s 10 questions to ask when choosing a web host.

My Self-Hosted Site is Live, Now What?

Once the site is live, you’ll want to make sure your site is kept up-to-date and current.

Keep your WordPress installation, themes, and plugins updated with the latest version.

You’ll also want to take care of:

In addition to security, backup, and anti-spam, setting up two-factor authentication can help tighten your website security.

If Your Web Developer Did This, Find Another Developer

If your developer is hacking WordPress core files, find a different developer.

If you have a problem on your site (not related to a security issue), and your developer needs to overwrite the wp-admin or wp-includes folders to fix it, that means core WordPress files were hacked.

That’s not good. Core files in WordPress are not to be modified.

Hacking core files introduces all kinds of problems, including:

  • Security vulnerabilities
  • Compatibility problems
  • Future updating issues

Don’t hack core!

Keep Mobile Users in Mind

When you choose a theme, check how the menu displays on mobile devices. Sometimes the menu disappears and is replaced with hard-to-select dots on the mobile screen.

Adding photos, PDFs, or Word documents to your site?

Optimize the files so they’re a smaller file download. (Ten megabyte files can chew up bandwidth on a smartphone fast!).

When you link to a PDF or Word document, include the type of file and size of file in parenthesis For example, download our latest white paper about search engine optimization (PDF: 350K).

Nobody on a smartphone wants to select a link on a web page, thinking they’re going to a new page, only to discover they’re downloading a five megabyte PDF.

Recap: WordPress Show & Tell – MON 15/09/14

RECAP: September 2015 WordPress Show & Tell

Monday, September 14, 2015 – 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

 First National Building | 660 Woodward Ave. Suite 1400, Detroit, MI

Metro Detroit WordPress MeetupMEETING FACILITATORS

MEETUP THEME: What Members are working on with WordPress

Speakers had about 15 minutes to share plugins, sites, code, something they’ve been doing with WordPress.

SPEAKER 1: PREMA QADIR - Photo by Prema Qadir
SPEAKER 1: PREMA QADIR – Photo by Prema Qadir


Prema Qadir – How to Copy Pages, Posts & Portfolios (SLIDESHOW)

Prema talked about simple ways to use duplicate posts and pages.



Anthony Montalbano – WP Config File (SLIDESHOW)

The wp-config.php file is one of, if not, the most important file in your WordPress website. Learn ways to optimize and configure the only file you should touch outside of the wp-content/ folder!

SPEAKER 3: ERIC MALCOLM - Photo by Prema Qadir
SPEAKER 3: ERIC MALCOLM – Photo by Prema Qadir


Eric Malcolm – Custom Ecommerce/Membership Website

Eric talked about a recent website that he built utilizing WooCommerce, Membership Pro, Stripe Integration, MailChimp Integration and More.

SPEAKER 4: BENJAMIN COOL - Photo by Prema Qadir
SPEAKER 4: BENJAMIN COOL – Photo by Prema Qadir


Benjamin Cool – Speeding up WordPress with A2 Optimized

A2 Optimized is a plugin with One-click configuration of caching systems for the average WordPress user.

SPEAKER 5: JASON - Photo by Prema Qadir
SPEAKER 5: JASON – Photo by Prema Qadir


Jason – WP Controllers (WordPress development for the Object-Oriented Programmer)

This was one for the developers. WP Controllers were developed by a developer for developers. It’s an attempt to take the base objects in WordPress (posts, terms, users, etc.) and give a class for each one.





  • OCT 12 – Q & A (Gather your questions)
  • NOV 09 – Livestream with InMotion Hosting

If you want to volunteer to assist with the meetings, please contact eric@e-digitaldesign.com or message Eric on Meetup.

  • LIVE Webinars, Video Production, Broadcast TV Productions, Website Design
  • email: WEBVDO@gmail.com
  • Mobile: 808-987-3559



Recap: WordPress Social Media & Security Basics

April’s Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup at United Way – Campus Martius included a pair of presentations on two popular WordPress-related topics; security and social media. Eric Malcolm delivered a crash course titled, “WordPress Security Basics” where he dove into the finer details of the iThemes Security Plugin. Following Eric, Angela Samuels explained how to take charge of social media with WordPress in her talk titled, “WordPress, Social Media and How it All Fits Together”. Here are my notes from those two talks, WordPress Social Media & Security Basics. Continue reading “Recap: WordPress Social Media & Security Basics”

Recap: WordPress Presents! How to Boost (or Even Replace) PowerPoint With WordPress

In his talk for Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup at United Way – Campus Martius, Jim Luke walked us through several different methods for embedding and displaying slide presentations in WordPress. Here are my notes from his talk, WordPress Presents! How to Boost (or Even Replace) PowerPoint with WordPress. Continue reading “Recap: WordPress Presents! How to Boost (or Even Replace) PowerPoint With WordPress”

What’s New with WordPress 4.1 and the Twenty Fifteen Theme – January 2015 Meetup

Monday, January 12, 2015
6:30 PM to 8:00 PM

For our January meetup, we’re taking a look at the recent WordPress 4.1 release and the new Twenty Fifteen default theme. Join us as our Metro Detroit WordPress leaders give an overview of the features and updates you can expect to find in WordPress 4.1 at the first meetup of 2015. Continue reading “What’s New with WordPress 4.1 and the Twenty Fifteen Theme – January 2015 Meetup”

Recap: VaultPress – A Plugin for Your Backup Needs

In her talk for Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup at Grand Circus, Jacklyn Stachurski, a happiness engineer at Automattic, walked through the history and details of the VaultPress plugin and how it compares to similar solutions on the market. Here are my notes from her talk on VaultPress: A plugin for your backup needs: Continue reading “Recap: VaultPress – A Plugin for Your Backup Needs”

Recap: The RESTful Future of WordPress

In his talk for Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup at Grand Circus, Hasani Rogers demystified key terms and discussed how WordPress’ new REST API is key for WordPress to survive the advent of Web 3.0, the semantic Web. Here are my notes from his talk, The RESTful Future of WordPress. Continue reading “Recap: The RESTful Future of WordPress”

Recap: 2014: A New Year, A New Theme & How To Improve the Accessibility of Your Site

At February’s Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup event at Grand Circus, Deborah Edwards-Onoro 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. Continue reading “Recap: 2014: A New Year, A New Theme & How To Improve the Accessibility of Your Site”

Recap: How an Author Uses WordPress to Grow Readership and Sell Books

Sylvia Hubbard

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.

Attendees at November 2013 meetup

Rules for Writers

  1. Post regular updates
  2. Add pics/videos/audio
  3. 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

  1. Increased my SEO
  2. Can easily add subscription services and forms I control (readers with most comments are rewarded with $25 gift card)
  3. Use Google Alerts to track mentions
  4. Increased stats, searches and stays
  5. Organized my literary world
  6. Understand what my readers want from me

Marketing Efforts

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.