Adding Meta Boxes to WordPress Websites

From the beginning of WordPress, custom fields have been used in different versions of WP, but then they added metabox support in version 2.5, where users can add extra data to any post or page.  Because you (as a developer or advanced user) can add unlimited number of data fields, it’s a very handy feature.  Imagine having a real estate listing as a post in WP.  There is a requirement to add all the info about a property – adding metaboxes for property size, year, image, and location is the ideal solution!  You don’t have to fiddle in adding these time-consuming details in as part of post body and then styling them with CSS.

 

Adding Your Own Custom Fields

It’s possible to develop and add your own custom fields, the documentation is available on the official WordPress documentation website.  Here you will also find a number of other tutorials.

 

Using Plugins

But using a plugin is way easier and faster. Some plugins give you a possibility to add custom meta boxes via admin UI.

  • If you are a developer and don’t want to have extra widgets or settings floating around in the dashboard then I recommend using CMB2 plugin. I’ve used this framework for 2-3 years and it’s been very reliable, very well documented and easy to use.

CMB2 plugin adds metabox framework, which you can extend in your own plugin or theme. I recommend creating your own plugin, require CMB2 plugin as a dependency and just add all necessary metaboxes. Below you will find step-by-step directions.

 

Directions

Step 1. Install CMB2 plugin and activate it.

 

Step 2. Create new folder inside wp-content/plugins. For example ndm-plugin and then create index.php inside this folder.

Insert this code (change meta info to your name), this initiates new plugin and requires CMB2 to be installed and active.

 

Step 3. Create post-metabox.php file inside your new plugin folder and add all your metaboxes there. (sample code which you can copy and change is inside wp-content/cmb2/example-metaboxes.php).

 

Step 4. Create as many files inside your plugin folder as you want, for example you can add metaboxes for pages (or specific page), so your file name would be home-metaboxes.php pages-metaboxes.php and then require this file(s) in your index.php.

 

This is just simple introduction how to easily and quickly add metaboxes to your theme and keep them around even when you change your theme in the future.

New Dynamic Media sponsored SEO and WordPress Meetup at Stamford

For immediate release – March 28, 2012

Stamford – Team members from New Dynamic Media attended a SEO and WordPress Meetup, which was held in Stamford, CT on March 19, 2012. Event was organized by Clint Warren, a freelance WordPress developer, and New Dynamic Media.

Alex Miranda, Editor-in Chief of PRUndeground spoke on how to optimize website for search engines using WordPress. He covered such topics as:
– SEO Basics
– WordPress SEO Plugins
– Google Analytics and Webmaster Tool
– The hidden WordPress SEO
– Features most people miss exposure on bookmarking sites and social media
– How to optimize for competitive search terms

SEO and WordPress Meetup Stamford CT

The SEO and WordPress meetup in Stamford was 7th event organized by WordPress Stamford Meetup Group. Past events covered such topics as:
– Custom Post Types
– Business Models for WordPress Designers & Developers
– Getting started with theme customization and custom themes
– WordPress Theme, templates.
You can find full list at Meetup.com.

Upcoming Meetup will be held at UCONN, Stamford, CT on April 19, 2012. Alex Bachuk and Clint Warren will discuss how to protect and maintain WordPress website. For more information, visit WordPress Stamford Meetup.

About Alex Miranda

Editor-in Chief at a cutting edge social media press release company PRUndreground. Company distributes press releases that reach every social media outlet also gives its clients free SEO reviews, recommendations and exceptional customer service.

About Clint Warren

Professional website designer and developer, with focus on custom content management systems for small to midsize businesses. Extensive experience with Search Engine Optimization strategies and tactics with demonstrable results.

About New Dynamic Media

New Dynamic Media is full service web design company located in Stamford, CT specializing in custom WordPress development. For more details, visit NewDynamicMedia.com.

Backup your WordPress site

Your files, documents, photos are important! Because they are stored on your local computer, you need to create additional copy (backup), just in case something will happen to your computer or hard drive will die. Same applies to any website, which is stored on similar computer (server), which may contain hundreds of other websites. Every time you edit something, install new plugins or update your WordPress website, there is a risk that something can go wrong. There are many reasons why this can happen – server failure, corrupted database, bad plugin, etc. And don’t forget about hackers, another good reason why any website needs to be backed up.

So, here is the good reason for you to use WordPress, where core team is very good at keeping the core software secure and up to date. If you miss an update – chances are your website may be hacked, and if there is no backup – you may need to start all over again with design and development. And that’s why backup is crucial. How do I backup my site? Simple – export SQL database in PhpMyAdmin and copy files over FTP. Sounds too technical? Ok, WordPress has got plugin(s) for that, here are some of the best ones tested on WordPress 3.2.1

1. Backup Buddy

– the most complete backup of a WordPress site

2. WordPress backup to Dropbox

– complete website backup, excellent if you use DropBox

3. Snapshot backup

– has scheduling available, backs up to your FTP server in zip file

4. WP-DB-Backup

– simple plugin that backs up just database, has scheduling available via email

5. EZPZ One click backup

– real one click backup, both manual and automated backups are available

Basic tips for your website security

Its not a secret – without the proper web security, web site data and files can easily be damaged, changed or stolen. The integrity of your company or your name can be compromised. Your money as well as consumer identities, credit card information (if you have e-commerce web site) are put in jeopardy when protection of a web site and the server isn’t given the top priority.

Website security is a fundamental part of the success of your online business. Making it a priority is critical to your credibility as well as the protection of you and your customers. If you use “password” as your password for everything and have three-year old antivirus software, you are very attractive target to hackers. To protect your business’s reputation and your customers’ information, here are some basic tips for you to consider:

1. Password Should Be Difficult!

One of the simplest ways to improve security is to use strong password and use different ones for your email, banking info, your cPanel,social media accounts and your FTP accounts. When selecting passwords, use both lowercase and uppercase letters, include at least one number. Use at least 7 characters, anything less is considered far too easy to hack. You can increase your password security even more by adding a punctuation character. Just don’t make it too difficult to type or too long to remember. “Password1” is obvious and very easy to guess, as well as using your name or “username” as your password. “$bmMB9889” is very secure, while still being memorable. This kind of password will be very difficult to crack than your pet’s name or your birth date.

2. Change Passwords Often.

After a developer has finished your project ALWAYS change your passwords. It is completely up to you how often you want to change your passwords, but do it at least once in 6 months (some experts advise changing all passwords every 30 days!).

3. Keep Your Software Up-To-Date.

Make applications or website just tough enough to brake by downloading the newest versions and updates of WordPress, Windows and your antivirus platform. This includes any plugins, themes and extensions that accompany scripts. Don’t forget to update your software! Your computer can become an easy target for unscrupulous security crackers if you ignore security updates for too long.

4. Backup! Backup! Backup!

One of the most important ways of protecting yourself from disaster is to back up your data. Without data backup you are running the risk of losing your data. The last thing you want to find when you’ve been attacked and need to re-install your blog is that you don’t have a current database backup. Make it a habit to backup your site regularly!
Having a backup handy will save you time, money and sleepless nights. There could be hundreds of scenarios where you would need a backup.

5. Don’t trust public networks!

You probably love to hang out at you local coffee shop, but do you trust your coffee shop? Of course, you can use a wireless network there if you are smart and careful about security. Try to avoid connecting from networks with unknown or uncertain security characteristics or from those with known poor security. This is especially important whenever you must log in to Web site or the server for some purposes or otherwise access secure resources.

6. Closer look at your links.

One of the main causes for attacks that are perpetrated through browsers are so-called “open redirects”. Do you really know what kind of site you’re linking to from your site? Putting bad links on you site is always a bad idea. Make sure any site you link to is completely trustworthy.

7. Any good hosting out there?

Not all hosts are the same when it comes to ensuring your website’s security. Not all of them can offer round-the-clock active server monitoring. Choose a host that takes your security seriously! It is always better to have some-one to call in case of emergency, so look for hosting with 24/7 support. That way you can contact the support team to get your problem resolved any time of day (or night). Some protection is NOT cheap and can cost you an arm (+leg) so shop around and do some research.
Hostgator

8. Be Smart!

Make your site secure by regularly scanning your log files for code that doesn’t belong. Don’t allow anonymous comments with suspicious links on your blog. Do not install suspicious WordPress plugins and be aware of what’s going on inside your site.

9. Don’t share your login!

Shared login credentials can cause a lot of problems for security. Someone can change the password and not tell you and lock you out. The more login credentials are shared, the greater the number of problems you can be having. Do not keep your password taped to the screen of your computer or laptop! Always log out of any confidential systems or sign off the system completely after you are finished working with it.

Make it a habit to keep an eye on things and keep everything up to date. If you are committed to protecting your data, hackers will have a much harder time to brake your web site and hopefully won’t be able to succeed. Many people are just unaware of their own vulnerability, hackers play with enough websites and eventually they find a vulnerable one to exploit. That web site doesn’t have to be yours!

Why Your Website Doesnt Need Flash

Flash looks cool. It certainly catches your attention (the first time you go to the site at least), and it’s perfect if you are selling online games or multimedia services. Otherwise, put it out of your mind. You don’t need it.

Flash animation makes your website slow and inefficient, and besides that, doesn’t work on iPads. It is a great platform for the RIGHT type of project or element on a website. Don’t know what it is? Think websites that begin with floating objects and music, then you need to click ‘enter’.

Appropriate Uses for Flash

“Flash is a multimedia platform used to add animation, video, and interactivity to web pages. It is owned by Adobe Inc.” (Wikipedia).

Flash is a great tool to build complicated animations, online games and stream video. But at the same time I have to say that Flash just SLOW and inefficient. The most appropriate use for Flash is interactive kinds of websites, like http://www.transformersmovie.com or http://www.dietcoke.com. This platform has a lot of disadvantages, one of which, and by far the most important for me, is that it’s not open source.

Open Source vs. Proprietary

As web have evolved, we’ve separated content from markup, which is a good thing. So, in modern web site development we have content (stored in a database), style (CSS) and markup (HTML) and software that connects all three. This software is what we call CMS, or content management system, for example WordPress or Drupal. By using a proprietary tool like iWeb or Adobe Flash to build your site, you are locked into that platform, because it uses its own eco-system that no other program can understand. Websites built by tools like this may be easy and fast to build, but they are not portable. If this “convenient” program is no longer supported, you are out of luck. Websites built with iWeb (by Apple) experienced this problem and you, the website owner, can only hope that some startup will invent a tool that converts your website to a more widely used standard (like HTML/CSS). If not – then the only option would be to re-build your website completely. Another example is Microsoft’s FrontPage which was around only for 6 years (1997 to 2003) and then the company decided to discontinue the product.
Flash intros block search engines

Intro pages with animations powered by Flash are blocking search engines from entering your site. If you care to be found on Google or Bing – this is not a very good idea. It may look cool and interactive but the truth is your Flash intro page is making your visitors wait or make extra effort to get to the page they came to see. Flash elements on a website usually slow entire site down. If your website is entirely built on Flash – you can’t bookmark internal pages and share it on social media. Nowadays more and more users are browsing the web from mobile devices – and Flash is not really optimized for touch screen and gestures even on devices that support Flash.

But I want a cool site!

“But I want to have pretty website with animations, the website that doesn’t look like it was build in Excel or Word. What do I do?” That’s what I hear from clients when I say I won’t build them a flash site. The answer? A lot of “flashy” animations can be achieved with HTML5, CSS3 and JS. Fortunately, the biggest tech companies are supporting web standards, (Google, Apple, and even Adobe).

Is HTML5 the Answer?

Adobe helps to convert an existing Flash website to HTML5 with the tool (still in beta) Wallaby and is releasing a tool called “Edge” for animations utilizing the latest open source web standards like HTML/HTML5, JavaScript and CSS. Who knows how long Flash will be around if tools like this one will gain popularity and will be a success for the company.

Google recently launched a similar experimental tool, Swiffy.

The Big A

Apple is a big HTML5 advocate and doesn’t allow Flash on any of their iOS devices. They even put out an HTML5 demo on their website to prove that you can do pretty good animation with HTML5 http://www.apple.com/html5/ .
As of the beginning of June 2011 Apple has sold 200.000.000 iOS devices . 25.000.000 of them are iPads. According to ComScore, iOS is leading in the US market with a penetration of 44%. Android goes second with 28% and RIM takes third spot with 19%. And if you don’t want to lose 44% of potentials mobile visitors – you need to reconsider use of Flash or intro page.

Just Say No

A few years ago Flash based websites for restaurants was a normal thing, but now it’s losing clients for restaurants that haven’t updated. Most sites like these are viewed on mobile devices to find nearby diners or coffee shops, so if a visitor happened to be an iPhone owner (the chances are 44%) — the restaurant won’t provide much information and the visitor will move on to a competitor.So the conclusion is: if you don’t need Flash on your website – don’t use it! A lot of “flashy” animations can be achieved with web standards such as HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. And your website will be more SEO friendly, faster, maintainable and viewable on all devices

Why You Need To Have A Web Presence

In total there are 2 billion global internet users, in North America alone there are over 250 million people online, meaning it is a huge market just waiting to be tapped into. It does not matter if you are a shop keeper or a hair dresser in a competitive market or a quiet niche, having a web presence for your business is vital for growth and success, but why?

Offline business relies on customers finding you by walking into your store by chance, finding your phone number and ringing you up or just by word of mouth, in other words the buyer always comes to you and it’s never as straight forward for the potential purchaser as you’d want it to be.
Online businesses can simply target customers by posting on forums or chat rooms related to their business, it’s simple, easy and highly targeted, oh and it’s 100% free.

Another reason why you should have a web presence is for the simple ease of communication with passing clients. Instead of telling them your businesses actual address, you can just tell them your website’s address, it is a lot more modern and a lot easier.
The main advantage of having a web presence is the sheer number of clients and customers you can connect with, conventional offline businesses can only makes sales for their products or services from their local customer base.

A website can connect with people from all four corners of the world, meaning you can reach millions of people instantly. It’s simple business; more customers means a lot more sales, which can only ever be a good thing.
If your business still doesn’t have a web presence then it’s down to either two things, you think you don’t need a site online or you don’t know how to set up a website. Both schools of thought are blocking you from reaping huge rewards by marketing your business online.
In New York there are hundreds of web design companies that can cater for your online needs, so many in fact that it’s extremely hard to find the right one suited to your business.

It doesn’t matter if you live in the centre of New York or Stamford, CT, you can always find the designer perfectly suited to your business, whether it’s a local or non-local designer.
With a local web designer, they will be able to build a web presence whilst informed on the local area so they make the site feel authentic and genuine. However a non-local designer can bring in creativity and originality that could separate you from other generic local businesses.
At New Dynamic Media, we recently designed a website for a small construction business that still didn’t have a web presence after years of trade. Once their website was up and running they were able to network more effectively and efficiently with clients. They have since seen noticeable improvements in gaining clients and an increase profits.
Don’t let customers and sales slip through your fingers, get a web presence today.

WordPress 3 custom search

Sometimes there is a need to limit WordPress search to one category. WordPress uses searchform.php template, if your theme doesn’t have this template – generic search form is pulled from WordPress core. In this case you need to create searchform.php file in your theme and insert following

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<div class="customsearch>
     <form method="get" id="searchform" action="<?php bloginfo('home'); ?>/">
           <div class="searchinput>
                  <input type="text" value="<?php echo wp_specialchars($s, 1); ?>" name="s" id="s" />
                      <?php if ( is_page('22') || in_category('19') || post_is_in_descendant_category( get_term_by( 'name','video','category' ) ) ) { ?>
                 <input type="hidden" name="cat" value="19" />
                     <?php } else {} ?>
                  <input type="submit" id="searchsubmit" value="Search" />
            </div><!--endsearchinput-->
     </form>
</div><!--end customsearch-->

In this case we have page (ID=22) which displays parent category “video” with ID 19, and we need to search only this category and all child categories. Just replace IDs.