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3 June 2023

WordPress themes: What is a Child Theme & How to create one

WordPress themes are templates that determine the overall design, layout, and functionality of your WordPress website.

They provide a pre-designed appearance and style, allowing you to customize the look and feel of your site without the need for extensive coding. Themes control elements such as colors, fonts, page structure, and widget areas, allowing you to create a cohesive and visually appealing website.

A child theme, on the other hand, is a separate theme that inherits the styles and functionality of a parent theme. It allows you to make modifications to the parent theme without directly editing its files. Child themes are useful when you want to customize a theme while preserving the ability to update the parent theme without losing your changes.

This article is divided into 3 parts: the definition; why you should use child themes; and how to create one. Let’s go. Here are some key points about WordPress themes and child themes:

WordPress Themes

  • Appearance and Design: Themes define the visual presentation of your website, including layout, colors, typography, and overall style.
  • Functionality: Themes can include built-in functionality, such as custom post types, widgets, and page templates, which enhance the capabilities of your website.
  • Customization: You can customize themes through the WordPress Customizer, where you can modify settings related to colors, fonts, header, footer, and other visual elements.
  • Theme Installation: You can install themes directly from the WordPress Theme Directory or upload premium themes in the form of ZIP files.
  • Compatibility: Themes should be compatible with the version of WordPress you are using, and it’s important to choose themes from reputable sources to ensure security and compatibility.
  • Theme Updates: Developers regularly release updates for themes to fix bugs, introduce new features, and ensure compatibility with the latest version of WordPress.

Child Themes

  • Inheritance: Child themes inherit all the styles and functionality of the parent theme. Any modifications made to the child theme will override the corresponding elements in the parent theme.
  • Modification and Customization: Child themes provide a safe way to make changes to a theme without directly modifying its core files. You can add custom CSS, modify template files, and override specific functions.
  • Updates and Maintenance: Since modifications are made in the child theme, you can update the parent theme without losing your changes. This allows you to take advantage of bug fixes, new features, and security patches.
  • Creating a Child Theme: To create a child theme, you need to create a new folder, create a style.css file with specific information, and optionally create a functions.php file to enqueue styles or add custom functionality.
  • Activating the Child Theme: Once the child theme is created, you can activate it from the WordPress admin panel, and any modifications made in the child theme will be applied.

Using a combination of themes and child themes, you can create a unique and customized website that aligns with your brand or personal style. Themes provide a starting point, while child themes offer flexibility and a way to tailor the design and functionality to your specific needs.

Part 2:

Why should I use a Child Theme?

Using a child theme in WordPress offers several advantages and is recommended for the following reasons:

1. Preserve Parent Theme Updates

When you make modifications directly to the files of a parent theme, those changes can be overwritten when you update the theme. By using a child theme, you can safely update the parent theme without losing your customizations. This ensures that you can benefit from bug fixes, security patches, and new features without compromising your modifications.

2. Maintain Code Organization

Child themes allow you to keep your custom code separate from the parent theme’s files. This promotes better code organization and makes it easier to manage and troubleshoot your modifications. It also helps you understand and identify the specific changes you’ve made to the theme.

3. Avoid Compatibility Issues

If you directly modify the parent theme’s files, there’s a risk of introducing compatibility issues with future updates. As WordPress and its themes evolve, certain changes may conflict with your modifications. By using a child theme, you can isolate your customizations, reducing the likelihood of compatibility conflicts and making it easier to address any issues that arise.

4. Reusability and Portability

Child themes can be reusable across multiple websites. Once you’ve created a child theme with your desired modifications, you can use it as a foundation for other projects, saving time and effort. Additionally, child themes are portable, meaning you can easily transfer them from one WordPress installation to another, ensuring consistent branding and functionality across different sites.

5. Community Support and Resources

WordPress has a large and active community of developers who create child themes, offer support, and share resources. By using a child theme, you can leverage the existing resources, tutorials, and code snippets available for popular parent themes. This can significantly speed up your development process and help you troubleshoot any issues you encounter.

6. Experimentation and Safe Testing

Child themes provide a safe environment for experimenting with different design elements, functionalities, and customizations. You can try out new styles, layouts, or features without affecting your live site. This allows you to test and refine your changes before applying them to your main website.

Overall, using a child theme in WordPress gives you the flexibility to customize and extend the functionality of a parent theme while ensuring compatibility and easy maintenance. It’s a best practice that helps you protect your modifications, stay up to date with theme updates, and build a sustainable and scalable website.

Part 3:

How to create a Child Theme in WordPress in six simple steps

Creating a child theme in WordPress involves a few simple steps. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a child theme:

  1. Create a New Folder: Start by creating a new folder on your computer, and give it a unique name. This will be the name of your child theme.
  2. Create a Stylesheet File: Within the child theme folder, create a new file and name it `style.css`. This file will contain the CSS styles for your child theme.
  3. Add Required Information: Open the `style.css` file in a text editor and add the following required information at the top of the file:
/*
Theme Name: Your Child Theme Name
Theme URI: (Optional - URL of your child theme's website)
Description: (Optional - Description of your child theme)
Author: (Your Name or Company)
Author URI: (Optional - URL of your website)
Template: parent-theme-folder-name
Version: 1.0.0
*/

Replace “Your Child Theme Name” with the desired name for your child theme, and provide optional information such as the theme description, author name, and website URLs. Make sure to replace “parent-theme-folder-name” with the actual folder name of the parent theme.

4. Enqueue the Parent Theme Stylesheet: To ensure that your child theme inherits the parent theme’s styles, add the following code to the `functions.php` file of your child theme:

<?php
function enqueue_parent_theme_styles() {
wp_enqueue_style('parent-theme-styles', get_template_directory_uri() . '/style.css');
}
add_action('wp_enqueue_scripts', 'enqueue_parent_theme_styles');
?>

This code enqueues the parent theme’s stylesheet.

5. Save and Upload: Save the `style.css` and `functions.php` files within the child theme folder. Zip the entire folder, including these files.

6. Install and Activate the Child Theme: Log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to “Appearance” -> “Themes”. Click on the “Add New” button, then click on the “Upload Theme” option. Choose the zip file you created in the previous step, and click “Install Now”. Once the installation is complete, click “Activate” to activate the child theme.

Your child theme is now ready to use.

You can start customizing its styles in the `style.css` file and make further modifications to the template files as needed. Remember to only modify the files within the child theme folder to maintain the integrity of the parent theme.

By creating a child theme, you can safely make customizations to the appearance and functionality of your WordPress site without worrying about losing your changes when updating the parent theme.

Too much? We’ll help. Just shout.

3 June 2023

The Power of Conversation: Harnessing the Potential of WordPress Comments for Deeper Engagement

Engage Your Audience and Foster Community with Comments: Amplify Your Website’s Interactivity

Comments are a feature that allows visitors to engage in discussions and provide feedback on your WordPress website’s content. By default, WordPress enables comments on posts, pages, and other types of content, promoting interaction and community building.

Start here!

Let’s start with the basics. What are comments? Here’s some key information about WordPress comments:

Commenting System

WordPress provides a built-in commenting system that allows visitors to leave comments on your website’s posts. Visitors can share their thoughts, ask questions, and engage in conversations related to the content.

Comment Moderation

To maintain a healthy and respectful commenting environment, WordPress offers various moderation options. As the site administrator, you can moderate comments before they are published, ensuring they meet your site’s guidelines. You can also enable automatic comment approval for trusted commenters.

Comment Notifications

WordPress notifies site administrators via email whenever a new comment is submitted. This helps you stay updated on the comments and promptly respond to any inquiries or address any issues raised by visitors.

Gravatar Integration

WordPress integrates with Gravatar (Globally Recognized Avatar), a service that associates user comments with profile pictures. When visitors leave comments, their Gravatar image (based on their registered email address) can be displayed next to their comment.

Comment Hierarchy

WordPress supports a hierarchical comment structure, allowing replies to comments. This enables threaded conversations, where visitors can respond directly to specific comments, fostering deeper discussions.

Comment Spam Protection

WordPress includes built-in measures to combat comment spam. The Akismet plugin, which comes pre-installed with WordPress, automatically filters and blocks spam comments, helping to maintain the integrity of your comment section.

Comment Display Options

WordPress provides flexibility in displaying comments. You can choose to display comments in chronological order or customize the order based on criteria such as newest, oldest, or most popular comments. You can also choose how many comments are displayed per page.

Comment Settings

WordPress offers various settings to control the comment functionality. You can configure options such as enabling or disabling comments globally, setting comment moderation rules, determining who can comment (registered users, guest users, etc.), and specifying the comment form fields.

Comment Plugins

WordPress has a wide range of comment-related plugins available. These plugins offer additional functionalities such as social media login for commenting, real-time commenting, comment voting, and more. You can explore these plugins to enhance the comment experience on your site.

WordPress comments provide a means for visitors to engage with your content and create a sense of community on your website. By encouraging and moderating comments effectively, you can foster discussions, gather feedback, and build relationships with your audience.

How does comments help my website ranking better in Google?

WordPress comments can contribute to improving your website’s ranking in Google in several ways:

1. User Engagement

User engagement is a crucial factor in search engine rankings. When visitors actively participate in discussions through comments, it signals to search engines that your content is valuable and engaging. Increased user engagement can result in longer session durations, lower bounce rates, and more frequent return visits, all of which can positively impact your website’s ranking.

2. Fresh and Relevant Content

Each comment represents additional content on your website. When users leave comments, they provide unique perspectives, insights, and discussions related to your content. This user-generated content adds freshness to your website and signals to search engines that your site is actively updated and relevant. The continuous flow of new comments can improve your website’s crawl rate and indexing by search engines.

3. Keyword Optimization

Commenters may naturally use keywords relevant to your content while leaving their comments. This can expand the keyword footprint of your webpage, potentially attracting more organic traffic through a wider range of search queries. Additionally, when commenters engage in conversations related to your content, they may use long-tail keywords or specific phrases that can enhance the overall keyword relevance of your page.

4. Social Proof and Credibility

Positive comments and discussions can serve as social proof for your content. When visitors see active and meaningful conversations taking place in the comment section, it can increase their trust and credibility in your website and its content. This can result in more shares, backlinks, and referrals, which are important factors in search engine algorithms when determining the authority and relevance of your site.

5. Increased Indexing of Long-Tail Conversations

Comments often generate long-tail conversations that cover niche topics or address specific questions. These discussions can attract targeted organic traffic from users searching for those specific topics or questions. By providing valuable and informative responses within the comments section, you can position your website as a reliable source of information and potentially capture additional organic search traffic.

To leverage the SEO benefits of WordPress comments, it’s important to foster a positive commenting environment by actively moderating and encouraging meaningful discussions. Responding to comments, addressing user questions, and nurturing engagement can further enhance the SEO value of your comment section and contribute to better search engine rankings.

Antispam Bee

How can I avoid WordPress Comment Spam?

  1. Enable Comment Moderation: Set up comment moderation in WordPress to manually review and approve comments before they appear on your website. This allows you to filter out spam and ensure that only legitimate comments are published.
  2. Use Anti-Spam Plugins: Install and activate anti-spam plugins like Akismet or Anti-Spam Bee. These plugins analyze comments for spammy content and help block spam comments from appearing on your site.
  3. Implement CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA: Adding a CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA to your comment form can help verify that the commenter is a human and not a bot. This extra layer of security can deter automated spam submissions.
Also,
  • Limit Hyperlinks in Comments: By restricting the number of hyperlinks allowed in comments, you can discourage spammers who often include multiple links in their comments. You can modify the settings to allow a specific number of links or disable them altogether.
  • Disable Comments on Older Posts: Older posts tend to attract more spam comments. Consider disabling comments on posts that are past a certain age or have received a high volume of spam comments. This can help reduce the chances of spam infiltrating your comments section.
  • Regularly Update WordPress and Plugins: Keeping your WordPress installation and plugins up to date is crucial for security. Updates often include security patches that can help prevent vulnerabilities that spammers may exploit.
  • Utilize Honeypot Technique: Implement a honeypot technique by adding a hidden field to your comment form that only bots can see. If this field is filled out, you can automatically flag the comment as spam and prevent it from being published.
  • Moderate User Registration: If you allow user registration on your WordPress site, be sure to moderate new user registrations to prevent spam accounts from being created. Use strong password requirements and consider adding a double opt-in process to verify user registrations.

By implementing these measures, you can significantly reduce spam in your WordPress comments and maintain a clean and engaging commenting environment for your website visitors.

Comments giving you nightmares?
Or worse, do you have none at all?
Webandmore to the rescue!

3 June 2023

Boost Productivity with Scheduled Posts and Take Control of Your Publishing Schedule

Stay Ahead of the Curve: Use Scheduled Posts for Consistent and Timely Content

But first, What are scheduled posts?

Scheduled posts in WordPress allow you to plan and set a specific date and time for your blog posts to be published automatically. Instead of immediately publishing your content, you can schedule it to go live at a future date and time of your choosing. This feature is particularly useful when you want to create a content calendar, maintain a consistent publishing schedule, or prepare posts in advance. By utilizing scheduled posts, you can streamline your content creation process, maintain a regular posting frequency, and ensure that your blog stays active even when you’re not actively publishing in real-time.

How to create scheduled posts

To create scheduled posts in WordPress, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Go to the “Posts” section and click on “Add New” to create a new blog post.
  3. Write your blog post content as you normally would, including the title, text, images, and any other media.
  4. On the right-hand side of the editor screen, locate the “Publish” box.
  5. Click on the “Edit” link next to “Publish immediately.”
  6. Select the desired date and time for your post to be published. You can choose a future date and time when you want the post to go live.
  7. Once you have set the date and time, click the “OK” button.
  8. The “Publish” button will now change to “Schedule.” Click on the “Schedule” button.
  9. WordPress will confirm that your post has been scheduled, and the button will change to “Scheduled.”
  10. Make any final adjustments to your post if needed.
  11. When you are ready, click the “Schedule” button again to save your changes and schedule the post.

Your blog post is now scheduled to be published on the specified date and time. WordPress will automatically publish it according to the schedule you have set. You can view and manage your scheduled posts under the “Posts” section by clicking on “All Posts” and then selecting the “Scheduled” tab.

Note: Ensure that your WordPress site’s timezone is correctly set to avoid any confusion regarding the scheduled post’s publishing time. You can adjust the timezone settings under “Settings” > “General” in the WordPress dashboard.

Practical example: Using Scheduled Posts to Streamline Your Content Strategy

Effortless Efficiency.

This is what I have done before, with great success. We created daily cycling memes, for 365 days, a year in advance. All over a weekend. It was about cycling and it was fun. I loaded the scheduled posts to be released every morning. This shows fresh daily content on the website. Then I integrated it with Jetpack and social sharing to distribute it on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Lovely.

Do you want to do the same? Contact us!

2 June 2023

Why FreeCodeCamp (.org) is my new Best Friend

What is it?

FreeCodeCamp.org is an online learning platform that provides free coding courses and resources to help individuals learn and practice programming skills. It offers a comprehensive curriculum covering a wide range of topics, including web development, data structures, algorithms, front-end and back-end development, and more.

Learn to code for free!

Here are some key features and aspects of FreeCodeCamp.org:

Curriculum

FreeCodeCamp.org offers a structured curriculum with a series of challenges and projects designed to teach programming concepts and skills. The curriculum is divided into multiple certifications, including Responsive Web Design, JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures, Front End Development Libraries, and more.

Hands-on Learning

FreeCodeCamp.org emphasizes hands-on learning through coding challenges and projects. Learners are encouraged to apply their knowledge immediately by working on real-world projects, helping them gain practical experience and build a portfolio of work.

Community and Support

FreeCodeCamp.org has a large and active community of learners and volunteers. Learners can join forums, chat rooms, and local study groups to connect with peers, ask questions, and seek guidance. The community aspect fosters collaboration and provides support throughout the learning journey.

Nonprofit Organization

FreeCodeCamp.org operates as a nonprofit organization, dedicated to making education accessible to everyone. As a result, all the courses and resources on the platform are completely free, making it an inclusive learning platform for individuals regardless of their financial circumstances.

Projects and Certifications

FreeCodeCamp.org offers a series of projects that learners can complete to earn certifications. These certifications demonstrate proficiency in specific areas of programming and can be valuable additions to a learner’s resume or portfolio.

Open-Source Contributions

FreeCodeCamp.org encourages learners to contribute to open-source projects. Through the platform, learners can gain practical experience by working on real-world projects and collaborating with other developers.

FreeCodeCamp.org has gained popularity for its accessible and practical approach to coding education. It has helped thousands of individuals worldwide learn to code and transition into careers in the technology industry.

But wait, there’s more…

They have a staller YouTube channel. I don’t say this often, but do check out @freecodecamp. With some of our top picks below. Most of these are divided into complete courses with hours worth of watching.

Are you not entertained?

2 June 2023

CS50: Introduction to Computer Science

Well this reminds me of Turbo Pascal from back in my school days…

If you want to learn about Computer Science and Programming, start here.

CS50 is a renowned introductory computer science course offered by Harvard University. The course, officially known as “CS50 Introduction to Computer Science,” is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in computer science and programming concepts. CS50 covers a wide range of topics, including algorithms, data structures, software development, web development, databases, and more.

The course is popular for its engaging and interactive teaching style, with lectures delivered by Professor David J. Malan. CS50 aims to make computer science accessible to beginners by focusing on problem-solving, critical thinking, and hands-on programming exercises. It encourages students to think creatively and develop logical reasoning skills, preparing them for further studies in computer science or careers in the technology industry.

CS50 is offered both on-campus at Harvard University and online through the edX platform, allowing students from around the world to participate. The online version includes video lectures, problem sets, quizzes, and a vibrant online community where students can seek help and interact with fellow learners.

Over the years, CS50 has gained popularity and has been recognized for its high-quality curriculum and teaching methods. It has influenced many students to pursue computer science and has become a stepping stone for individuals interested in entering the field of technology.

Here it is++

More on pll.harvard.edu/course/cs50-introduction-computer-science. Below is 24hrs worth of lectures, compliments of Harvard (with a short introduction by freecodecamp.org)

What is the course outline?

The CS50 course covers a wide range of topics in computer science and programming. While the exact course outline may vary slightly depending on the specific offering and format (on-campus or online), here is a general overview of the topics typically covered in CS50:

  • Introduction to Computer Science: Binary representation of data // Algorithms and problem-solving // Introduction to C programming language
  • Data Structures and Algorithms: Arrays and strings // Memory management // Linked lists // Stacks and queues // Trees and tries // Hash tables // Searching and sorting algorithms
  • Memory: Pointers and dynamic memory allocation // Buffer overflows and security vulnerabilities // Memory allocation and deallocation
  • Software Development: Introduction to programming concepts // Modular programming and code organization // Debugging and testing // Version control with Git
  • Web Development: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript fundamentals // Front-end web development // Back-end web development using frameworks like Flask or Django
  • Databases: Structured Query Language (SQL) // Database design and normalization // Database management systems (DBMS)
  • Security and Cryptography: Cryptography fundamentals // Authentication and encryption // Web security
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (optional): Introduction to AI and machine learning concepts // Neural networks and deep learning

Throughout the course, students work on problem sets and programming assignments to apply the concepts learned. The assignments often involve building programs and applications that demonstrate proficiency in the covered topics. Students are encouraged to think critically, solve problems, and develop their programming skills through hands-on projects.

The CS50 course provides a comprehensive introduction to computer science and programming, equipping students with fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to pursue further studies in the field or embark on a career in technology.

What programming languages are covered in CS50?

In CS50, several programming languages are covered to provide students with a broad understanding of different programming paradigms and concepts. While the emphasis is primarily on the C programming language, the course also introduces other languages throughout the curriculum. Here are the main programming languages covered in CS50:

{And how to write ‘hello world’ in each — The code snippets below will output the text “Hello, World!” when executed in their respective programming languages. They serve as basic examples to introduce the syntax and structure of each language}

1. C

CS50 begins with an introduction to C, a foundational programming language known for its efficiency and low-level capabilities. Students learn fundamental concepts such as variables, loops, conditionals, functions, arrays, and pointers. C is used extensively in the early part of the course to build a solid understanding of programming fundamentals.

#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
printf("Hello, World!\n");
return 0;
}

2. Python

After establishing a foundation in C, CS50 introduces Python, a high-level and versatile programming language. Python is used to explore concepts such as data structures, algorithms, and web development. Students use Python to build applications and work on problem sets.

print("Hello, World!")

3. SQL

CS50 covers Structured Query Language (SQL) for working with databases. Students learn how to design, create, and query databases using SQL. This knowledge is essential for understanding data management and manipulation.

SELECT 'Hello, World!';

4. JavaScript

CS50 introduces JavaScript as a foundational language for web development. Students learn JavaScript alongside HTML and CSS to build interactive and dynamic web pages.

console.log("Hello, World!");

5. PHP

CS50 covers PHP, a popular server-side scripting language commonly used in web development. Students use PHP in conjunction with HTML and CSS to build dynamic web applications.

<?php
echo "Hello, World!";
?>

PS:

It’s important to note that while CS50 introduces multiple programming languages, the course emphasizes problem-solving, algorithms, and programming concepts that are transferable across languages. This approach allows students to develop a solid understanding of programming fundamentals while gaining exposure to different languages and their applications.

Enjoy!

2 June 2023

Shopify vs. WooCommerce: Choosing the Right E-commerce Platform for Your Business

Let’s compare the nuances between Shopify & WooCommerce

But first, what are they?

When it comes to building an online store, two prominent contenders stand out: Shopify and WooCommerce. These popular e-commerce platforms offer distinct approaches to setting up and managing your online business. While Shopify provides an all-in-one solution with a user-friendly interface, WooCommerce offers extensive customization options through its integration with WordPress. In this comparison, we will explore the key features, advantages, and considerations of both platforms, helping you make an informed decision about which one is best suited for your unique business needs. Whether you’re a small business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, understanding the differences between Shopify and WooCommerce will empower you to establish a successful online store.

Shopify, since 2006

Shopify was founded in 2006 by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake. The company’s origin dates back to Lütke’s attempt to build an online store for his snowboarding business, where he faced difficulties finding a suitable e-commerce platform. Unsatisfied with the available options, Lütke decided to develop his own solution using Ruby on Rails, which eventually became the foundation for Shopify.

Initially, Shopify started as an e-commerce platform for selling snowboard equipment. However, realizing the potential of their platform, the founders pivoted to focus exclusively on developing and refining Shopify as a full-fledged e-commerce solution for businesses of all sizes. In 2006, they officially launched Shopify as a cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) platform, providing businesses with an easy-to-use interface, reliable hosting, and essential e-commerce features.

Over the years, Shopify experienced significant growth and expanded its offerings. The company introduced a range of customizable themes, integrated payment solutions, and an app store to extend functionality. Shopify’s focus on user experience, scalability, and customer support contributed to its popularity among entrepreneurs and established businesses alike. In 2015, Shopify went public and became one of the leading e-commerce platforms, supporting over one million businesses worldwide.

WooCommerce, since 2008

WooCommerce traces its roots back to 2008 when WordPress developers Mark Forrester and Magnus Jepson joined forces with designer Adii Pienaar. They envisioned a solution that would integrate seamlessly with WordPress to empower users to transform their websites into fully functional online stores. In 2011, they officially launched WooCommerce as a plugin for WordPress.

WooCommerce gained rapid traction due to its integration with WordPress, which was already a widely popular content management system (CMS). The plugin capitalized on WordPress’s extensive user base and provided an accessible and flexible e-commerce solution. It allowed users to leverage WordPress’s powerful publishing capabilities and customize their online stores using themes, plugins, and extensions.

In 2015, WooCommerce was acquired by Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com. This acquisition further solidified WooCommerce’s position as a leading e-commerce platform, backed by the resources and expertise of Automattic.

Since its inception, WooCommerce has continued to evolve, adding new features and integrations to enhance its functionality. Its open-source nature has fostered a vibrant community of developers who contribute to its growth and provide support through plugins, extensions, and themes. Today, WooCommerce powers millions of online stores worldwide, catering to businesses of all sizes and industries.

Both Shopify and WooCommerce have made significant contributions to the e-commerce landscape, enabling businesses to establish and grow their online presence with powerful, user-friendly solutions.

Let’s compare!

Shopify and WooCommerce are two popular e-commerce platforms that enable businesses to create and manage online stores. Here is a comparison between the two:

(And we keep score after each round…)

1. Ease of Use

Shopify: Shopify is known for its user-friendly interface and intuitive setup process. It is a hosted platform, meaning you don’t have to worry about technical aspects like hosting and software updates.

WooCommerce: WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress, so it requires a bit more technical knowledge for initial setup. However, once installed, it integrates seamlessly with the WordPress dashboard and offers extensive customization options.

+1 for Shopify, as it is easier for beginners.

2. Customization and Flexibility

Shopify: Shopify provides a wide range of professionally designed themes, both free and paid, that can be easily customized using its drag-and-drop editor. It also offers an app store with numerous plugins to extend functionality.

WooCommerce: WooCommerce offers unlimited customization possibilities as it runs on WordPress, which is highly flexible and customizable. You have access to thousands of free and premium themes and a vast library of plugins to enhance your store’s functionality.

+1 for WooCommerce.

3. Costs

Shopify: Shopify operates on a subscription model, with various pricing plans available depending on your needs. The costs include hosting, security, and support. Additional expenses can arise from paid themes, apps, and transaction fees if you don’t use Shopify Payments.

WooCommerce: WooCommerce is free to use as it is an open-source plugin. However, you need to consider costs for domain registration, hosting, SSL certificate, and any premium themes or plugins you may want to purchase.

+1 for WooCommerce. Shopify generally costs more.

4. Scalability

Shopify: Shopify is known for its scalability, offering plans suitable for businesses of all sizes. It can handle high levels of traffic and provides robust infrastructure to ensure a smooth shopping experience.

WooCommerce: WooCommerce’s scalability depends on the hosting provider you choose. With the right hosting solution, WooCommerce can handle large-scale stores effectively.

+1 Each. For scalability, it’s a draw.

5. Payment Options

Shopify: Shopify provides its own payment gateway called Shopify Payments, along with support for third-party payment gateways. However, there may be transaction fees if you don’t use Shopify Payments.

WooCommerce: WooCommerce offers support for various payment gateways, including popular options like PayPal, Stripe, and many more. The choice of payment gateways is extensive and depends on the plugins you integrate.

+½ WooCommerce, based on #options+price.

6. Support and Community

Shopify: Shopify provides 24/7 customer support through various channels, including live chat, phone, and email. They also have an extensive knowledge base and an active community forum.

WooCommerce: WooCommerce doesn’t have dedicated customer support, but being a WordPress plugin, you can access the vast WordPress community for assistance. There are also numerous online resources, tutorials, and forums available.

+1 for Shopify.

What’s the verdict?

The final score was Shopify: 3 points and WooCommerce: 3½ points. In my humble opinion, and based on the points awarded above, WooCommerce is the clear winner. It competes with, or beats Shopify, in almost all categories — except for out-of-the-box ease of use for beginners. As always, consider the source.

Which will it be?

Ultimately, the choice between Shopify and WooCommerce depends on your specific requirements, technical skills, budget, and preference for customization. Shopify offers a user-friendly experience and all-in-one solution, while WooCommerce provides extensive customization options and integrates seamlessly with WordPress. Consider your business needs and long-term goals to determine which platform aligns best with your e-commerce vision.

Want a WooCommerce website?
Let’s get you started, today.

2 June 2023

Facebook: Have you been Zuckered?

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of using Facebook

Facebook is a prominent social media platform that has revolutionized the way people connect, communicate, and share information online. Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and his college roommates, Facebook has grown into a global phenomenon with billions of active users. It provides a virtual space where individuals can create personal profiles, connect with friends and family, join communities, and engage in various forms of content sharing.

Facebook’s features include status updates, photo and video sharing, messaging, events, and the ability to follow and interact with pages and groups of interest. With its widespread popularity and extensive reach, Facebook has become an integral part of modern social interaction, enabling users to stay connected, discover new content, and express themselves in a digital world.

Facebook by the numbers

Top Ten stats about Facebook? Certainly! Here are some key statistics and numbers related to Facebook:

  • Monthly Active Users (MAUs): As of the first quarter of 2023, Facebook has reached 2.85 billion monthly active users worldwide.
  • Daily Active Users (DAUs): Facebook boasts approximately 1.88 billion daily active users, showing the platform’s high engagement levels.
  • Revenue: In the first quarter of 2023, Facebook reported total revenue of $34.03 billion, reflecting its significant financial success.
  • Mobile Users: The majority of Facebook users access the platform through mobile devices. Mobile advertising revenue accounts for a substantial portion of Facebook’s overall revenue.
  • WhatsApp and Instagram: Facebook owns popular social media platforms, WhatsApp and Instagram. As of 2021, WhatsApp has over 2 billion monthly active users, and Instagram has surpassed 1 billion monthly active users.

Plus

  • Advertising Dominance: Facebook is one of the leading digital advertising platforms globally. In 2020, it held an 80.4% share of social media advertising revenue in the United States.
  • User Engagement: On average, Facebook users spend around 34 minutes per day on the platform, indicating its ability to capture and retain user attention.
  • Global Reach: Facebook’s user base extends across the globe, with notable concentrations in regions such as Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America.
  • Demographics: Facebook’s user demographics vary but generally encompass a broad range of age groups. However, it tends to have higher usage among younger demographics, particularly individuals between the ages of 18 and 34.
  • Community and Groups: Facebook hosts numerous communities and groups centered around diverse interests, enabling users to connect, share information, and engage in discussions.

These numbers demonstrate the massive scale and influence of Facebook as a leading social media platform, connecting billions of users worldwide and serving as a prominent space for communication, content sharing, and advertising.

Now, let’s consider two sides of the same coin…

Who is using Facebook? The perspective on using Facebook as an end user versus as a business can vary depending on individual experiences and goals. Here are some considerations:

End-Users

For end users, Facebook provides a platform for connecting with friends and family, sharing personal updates, photos, and videos, and engaging in online communities and interest groups.

Pros: Facebook for End Users

  1. Connection and Communication: Facebook provides a platform for staying connected with friends, family, and communities. It allows you to share updates, photos, and videos, and engage in conversations with others.
  2. Discovery and Information: Facebook offers a wide range of content, including news, articles, videos, and events. It can be a useful tool for discovering and accessing information on various topics of interest.
  3. Community Engagement: Facebook groups and pages facilitate community engagement, enabling you to join communities of like-minded individuals, participate in discussions, and find support networks.
  4. Entertainment and Personal Expression: Facebook provides entertainment value through various features like videos, live streams, games, and creative tools. It allows users to express themselves and share their interests and hobbies.

Cons: Facebook for End Users

  1. Privacy Concerns: Facebook has faced scrutiny over data privacy practices in the past. Users need to be mindful of their privacy settings and exercise caution regarding the information they share on the platform.
  2. Distraction and Time Consumption: Facebook can be addictive, leading to excessive time spent scrolling through the feed or engaging in endless notifications. This may impact productivity and well-being if not managed properly.
  3. Information Overload and Filter Bubbles: The abundance of content on Facebook can lead to information overload and the creation of filter bubbles, where users are exposed predominantly to content that aligns with their existing beliefs and opinions.

Businesses

Businesses, on the other hand, can utilize Facebook as a powerful marketing tool to reach and engage their target audience, promote products or services, build brand awareness, and drive traffic to their websites or physical stores through targeted advertising and content marketing strategies.

Pros: Facebook for Business

  1. Reach and Audience Targeting: Facebook provides a massive user base, allowing businesses to reach a wide audience. Advanced targeting options enable businesses to tailor their ads to specific demographics, interests, and behaviors.
  2. Brand Awareness and Engagement: Facebook enables businesses to build brand awareness by creating a presence through pages, sharing engaging content, and interacting with users. It provides tools for fostering customer engagement and loyalty.
  3. Advertising and Conversion Opportunities: Facebook Ads offer powerful advertising capabilities, helping businesses promote products or services and drive conversions. The platform provides valuable insights and analytics to optimize ad campaigns.
  4. Customer Support and Feedback: Facebook allows businesses to provide customer support, address inquiries, and gather feedback directly from customers. This can enhance customer satisfaction and improve business operations.

Cons: Facebook for Business

  1. Ad Costs and Competition: As Facebook advertising has gained popularity, competition has increased. This leads to higher ad costs in some cases. Businesses need to plan their budgets accordingly and develop effective strategies to stand out.
  2. Algorithm Changes and Organic Reach: Facebook’s algorithm updates can impact the organic reach of business posts. Maintaining visibility and reaching a significant portion of the audience may require paid advertising or content optimization.
  3. Dependence on the Platform: Relying heavily on Facebook as the primary marketing channel may leave businesses vulnerable to algorithm changes, policy updates, or potential risks associated with the platform’s reputation.

Ultimately, whether Facebook is considered good or bad as an end user or a business depends on personal preferences, goals, and how it is utilized. It is important for individuals and businesses to be aware of the platform’s benefits and risks. So you can make informed decisions based on your specific needs.

Spread the word. Or not.

2 June 2023

What’s the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org?

Most importantly: can you monetize your website?

WordPress.org and WordPress.com are two distinct platforms that offer different approaches to using WordPress. Here are the main differences between the two — including what are the Pros and Cons of each one?

WordPress.com

  1. Hosted Solution: WordPress.com provides a hosted solution where your website is hosted on WordPress.com servers. They take care of the technical aspects, including software updates, security, and backups.
  2. Simplicity and Ease of Use: WordPress.com offers a simplified interface and user-friendly setup process, making it easier for beginners to get started without technical expertise or the need to handle server management.
  3. Limited Customization: WordPress.com has limitations on theme and plugin customization options. You can choose from a selection of pre-approved themes and use only the available plugins offered in their plans, which may restrict some advanced functionality.
  4. Pricing and Monetization: While WordPress.com offers free plans, there are paid plans with additional features and customization options. However, monetization options, such as displaying third-party ads or using e-commerce plugins, are only available on higher-tier plans.

Pros & Cons: WordPress.com

For

  • Simplicity and ease of use, ideal for beginners.
  • Hassle-free setup and maintenance.
  • Offers free plans with upgrade options for additional features.
  • Suitable for personal blogs or basic websites without complex requirements.

Against

  • Limited customization options for themes and plugins.
  • Monetization options restricted to higher-tier plans.
  • You do not have full ownership and control over your website.
  • Less flexibility and scalability compared to self-hosted WordPress.org.

WordPress.org

  1. Self-Hosted Solution: With WordPress.org, you download the free WordPress software and host it on your own web server. This gives you complete control over your website, including its design, functionality, and customization options.
  2. Flexibility and Customization: WordPress.org allows you to install custom themes and plugins, giving you the freedom to create a unique website tailored to your specific needs. You can also access and modify the underlying code if you have coding knowledge or hire developers to make customizations.
  3. Costs and Scalability: While the WordPress software is free, hosting your website on your own server incurs costs for domain registration and web hosting. However, it offers scalability and the ability to choose hosting providers based on your requirements.
  4. Ownership and Control: With WordPress.org, you have full ownership and control over your website’s content and data. You can monetize your site through various methods like advertisements, e-commerce, or membership subscriptions.

Pros & Cons: WordPress.org

For

  • Complete control over design and functionality.
  • Extensive customization options through themes and plugins.
  • Scalability and freedom to choose your hosting provider.
  • Ability to monetize your website.

Against

  • Requires technical knowledge or hiring developers for customization.
  • Responsibility for maintenance, backups, and security falls on you.
  • Associated costs for domain registration and hosting.

So, WordPress.org allows you full control, plus there are FREE and PAID resources to help you // whereas WordPress.com starts as FREE, but with limited functionality and pesky ads unless you upgrade to certain PAID levels.

Ultimately, the choice between WordPress.org and WordPress.com depends on your specific needs, technical expertise, customization requirements, and long-term goals for your website.

Have trouble deciding? Contact us!

2 June 2023

20 Years of WordPress: Achievements over the last Two Decades

Featured image from https://www.facebook.com/WordPress/

Since its inception in 2003,

WordPress has achieved remarkable milestones and become one of the most influential and widely used content management systems (CMS) in the world. Here are some significant achievements of WordPress:

1. Popularity and Market Share

WordPress powers over 40% of all websites on the internet, making it the most dominant CMS. Its user-friendly interface, extensive plugin ecosystem, and customizable themes have contributed to its immense popularity.

2. Open-Source Community

WordPress is built on an open-source platform, fostering a vibrant and supportive community of developers, designers, and enthusiasts. This community has contributed to the continuous improvement and evolution of WordPress through regular updates, bug fixes, and the development of countless plugins and themes.

3. Plugin and Theme Repository

WordPress offers a vast repository of plugins and themes, providing users with a wide range of options to extend and customize their websites. With thousands of free and premium plugins and themes available, users can add functionality, enhance design, and tailor their websites to suit their specific needs.

There are now 10,860 free themes, and 60,485 free plugins on wordpress.org // and you can explore more than 700 million creative works on the openverse.org

4. Accessibility and Multilingual Support

WordPress has made significant strides in improving accessibility, making websites more inclusive and usable for people with disabilities. Additionally, the CMS supports multilingual functionality through plugins, allowing users to create websites in multiple languages and cater to a global audience.

5. Gutenberg Block Editor

The introduction of the Gutenberg block editor in WordPress 5.0 revolutionized the content creation experience. It introduced a block-based approach, empowering users to build and customize web pages using a drag-and-drop interface. This update enhanced the flexibility and ease of content creation for WordPress users.

6. Ecosystem of Businesses

WordPress has given rise to a thriving ecosystem of businesses that offer products and services tailored to the platform. From web hosting providers and development agencies to theme designers and plugin developers, a robust industry has emerged around WordPress, providing solutions and support to users worldwide.

7. WordPress.com and Automattic

WordPress.com, a hosted version of WordPress, was launched to simplify the process of creating and managing websites. Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com, has played a significant role in WordPress’s growth by offering various products and services, including Jetpack, WooCommerce, and WordPress VIP.

More on WooCommerce (The ecommerce platform that grows with you) and Automattic (passionate about making the web a better place).

8. Continuous Innovation

WordPress has embraced innovation and adaptability, constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of its users. With regular updates and new features, such as improved security, responsive design, and better performance optimization, WordPress remains at the forefront of the CMS landscape.

These achievements highlight WordPress’s impact on the web development industry, empowering millions of individuals, businesses, and organizations to create powerful and visually stunning websites with ease.

Are you ready yet?

2 June 2023

Success Story: A 74% Increase in ROI with Facebook for WooCommerce

Find out how you can do the same!

Are you looking to boost your online sales and maximize your business’s growth potential? Harnessing the power of social media is a game-changer. In today’s digital age, social media platforms offer an unparalleled opportunity to connect with a vast audience, build brand awareness, and ultimately increase online sales. By strategically leveraging social media channels, businesses can reach their target market, engage with potential customers, and drive conversions.

Have a look at what these guys have done and how you can do the same to enhance your visibility, and ultimately boost your online sales. Get ready to unlock the true potential of social media marketing and propel your business to new heights.

https://youtu.be/6TUtNajjUUQ

What is the Facebook Conversion API and how can I use it with WooCommerce to increase sales?

The Facebook Conversion API, also known as the Facebook Server-Side API, is a tool provided by Facebook. It allows you to send customer events directly from your server to Facebook. It enables you to track and optimize conversions, such as purchases or leads, without relying solely on the Facebook Pixel installed on your website.

Using the Facebook Conversion API with WooCommerce can help you increase sales by providing more accurate and reliable conversion tracking. It allows you to capture events and send them to Facebook, even if the user does not have cookies enabled or if they’re using ad blockers.

To use the Facebook Conversion API with WooCommerce, you’ll need to follow these general steps:

  1. Set up a Facebook Business Manager account and create a Facebook Pixel.
  2. Install and configure the Facebook for WooCommerce extension (official plugin by Facebook) on your WooCommerce store.
  3. Generate an access token from Facebook Business Manager that grants the necessary permissions for the Conversion API.
  4. Add the access token to the Facebook for WooCommerce extension settings in your WordPress dashboard.
  5. Configure the Conversion API parameters, such as mapping WooCommerce events to Facebook standard or custom events, to track the desired conversions accurately.
  6. Test and verify that the events are being sent successfully to Facebook.

By implementing the Facebook Conversion API, you’ll have more reliable conversion tracking. Which can help you better understand your customers’ behavior. So you you can optimize your advertising campaigns on Facebook. It provides a comprehensive view of your customers’ actions and can contribute to increased sales by enabling more precise targeting and ad optimization based on those events.

Remember to refer to Facebook’s official documentation for detailed instructions and any updates they may have made to the setup process.

LOST? Contact us, we’ll sort you out.