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a-idea studio https://a-idea.studio WordPress development and design Mon, 24 Jun 2019 20:12:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.1 Plugins discontinued https://a-idea.studio/2019/06/24/plugins-discontinued/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=plugins-discontinued https://a-idea.studio/2019/06/24/plugins-discontinued/#respond Mon, 24 Jun 2019 20:11:59 +0000 https://a-idea.studio/?p=2576 It’s sad, but true: we discontinue the development of our three plugins: a-folio, a-staff and a-boxes (a.k.a. WP Slide-up Box). The reason behind this decision is that we simply don’t have the time for it. We had extensive number of client projects in the past 1 year and expect to have even more of them…

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It’s sad, but true: we discontinue the development of our three plugins: a-folio, a-staff and a-boxes (a.k.a. WP Slide-up Box).

The reason behind this decision is that we simply don’t have the time for it. We had extensive number of client projects in the past 1 year and expect to have even more of them in the next few years.

So plugin development has become a very low priority for a-idea studio. Actually I have been oscillationg over whether to really cancel the development of these plugins or only put them on hold for a while…

Well, they have been put on hold for more than 6 months now and I still didn’t have the time to add a line of code to them. So decided to shut down our plugin-dev projects.

I am actively using it, what kind of fate awaits me then?

Well, you can use them as long as you’d like to and as long as they are compatible with your WordPress version.

The documentations for all 3 plugins will be available on this site for a while into the future. But once I realize there is no-one using them, I’ll just remove them as that content won’t be relevant any longer.

Hey, I am a developer and love your plugins, can I take over the development?

Absolutely. And I would be more than happy if someone continued the journey. It would mean that all the hard work I’ve put into them won’t be just trashed.

In this case please drop me a message using our contact page.

For all the existing users of the plugins – thank you for your support so far. It is a bit sad day for me too, but I have some more important things to do at the moment, so had to make this hard decision.

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a-staff Team showcase plugin 1.2 – now with Gutenberg support! https://a-idea.studio/2018/10/07/team-showcase-plugin-gutenberg-support/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=team-showcase-plugin-gutenberg-support https://a-idea.studio/2018/10/07/team-showcase-plugin-gutenberg-support/#respond Sun, 07 Oct 2018 18:38:57 +0000 https://a-idea.studio/?p=2139 This week a new version was released of our team showcase plugin for WordPress, called a-staff. The main focus of this new version was to make it compatible with the new WordPress post editor, Gutenberg. However, beside adding our Gutenberg blocks to a-staff there are several other new improvements, too… The Gutenberg blocks a-staff 1.2…

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a-staff. The main focus of this new version was to make it compatible with the new WordPress post editor, Gutenberg. However, beside adding our Gutenberg blocks to a-staff there are several other new improvements, too…

The Gutenberg blocks

a-staff 1.2 has two new blocks:
  • a-staff Loop block: does the same thing as the [a-staff] shortcode, but uses Gutenberg’s user interface. This way instead of typing shortcode parameters you can set them up using visual tools like drop-downs, text input fields, etc.
  • a-staff Team Member block: shows only one team member’s box. It’s useful when you want to show a short bio of one of your team members as an addition to your post or page.
a-staff Blocks in the new block tool

You can add the a-staff blocks to your Gutenberg pages just like any other block. Currently they reside in the Widgets tab of the block selector tool.

Read more about the a-staff Gutenberg blocks in the plugin’s documentation.

Pro version

From a-staff 1.2 we provide two separate versions of the plugin:
  • Free version: the traditional version of the plugin that you can download from the wordpress.org plugin directory or from our site
  • Pro version: it contains some additional features for the plugin and enables its users to get priority support from us. Currently its only extra feature is the Departments part, but we are planning several new goodies for the upcoming versions.
We are using the Freemius SDK for maintaining the Free and the Pro code. Currently to Upgrade to the Pro version you have to:
  1. Install the Free version after Downloading it from here or from the wordpress.org plugin repository.
  2. Activate it.
  3. After activation find the a-staff » Upgrade menu item in your WP-Admin
  4. Follow the instructions there (make the payment, download the Pro version and install it). Learn more on the plugin’s documentation pages.

Departments (Pro version only)

One of our users has recently requested that it would be great if they could separate their members on their team page by the departments they are working in. It was obvious that it had to be implemented in v1.2 as it can be a useful feature for bigger companies, organizations and sports clubs as well. Now you can filter for departments using the department=”department-name” parameter inside the shortcode or with the Inspector sidebar if you are using Gutenberg. Want to show all departments except one? That’s also possible as of v1.2 with the exclude-department=”department-name” parameter.
Filter by department

Filter by departments in the a-staff Loop block

Design revamp

The plugin’s banner and icon were revamped and got a more modern look.
The new banner with the new icon

The new banner with the new icon

Sorting options

Another request from one of our clients was to add more options for sorting member boxes inside the a-staff Loop. From v1.2 you can set the default ordering in the a-staff Plugin Settings in your WP-Admin. The current version supports sorting the boxes by these options:
  • Member name
  • Date added
  • Menu order (custom number you can set up individually for each member)
However, we are planning to add new sorting options in the next versions.
Do you want to add an Our Team (or similar) page to your WordPress site? Download the a-staff plugin and install it. If you face any issues or difficulties with it, please report them to us: our goal is to make this plugin as user-friendly as possible and your feedback is always valuable for us.

Download a-staff

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Gutenberg: first impressions as a user https://a-idea.studio/2018/08/07/gutenberg-first-impressions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gutenberg-first-impressions https://a-idea.studio/2018/08/07/gutenberg-first-impressions/#comments Tue, 07 Aug 2018 15:35:23 +0000 https://a-idea.studio/?p=2040 Gutenberg will be the default editor of WordPress 5.0, which is likely to be released during the 2nd half of 2018 (maybe as early as in August, according to Matt Mullenweg’s announcement at WordCamp EU 2018). To be honest, up till this month Gutenberg has been a pretty grey area for me. I know, yes, that…

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Gutenberg will be the default editor of WordPress 5.0, which is likely to be released during the 2nd half of 2018 (maybe as early as in August, according to Matt Mullenweg’s announcement at WordCamp EU 2018).

To be honest, up till this month Gutenberg has been a pretty grey area for me. I know, yes, that we all have to learn it as this tool is designated to be the future of WordPress. But I was always like “Hey, it doesn’t really look like something that’s gonna be released soon, so better not worry about it yet”.

However, Matt’s announcement has made it clear: the release date of WP 5.0 with Gutenberg is imminent. So I’d better dive into it as quickly as possible…

My first project with Gutenberg

It was fortunate that I had an ongoing project that needed some page building stuff. So I thought I would try doing the job using Gutenberg — why not? I was thinking like if it’s going to be implemented in WordPress Core soon, then it must already be usable for an average page building task.

Well, first I was a bit afraid of using Gutenberg — seeing the really bad ratings it got in the WordPress Plugin repository. Fortunately, the situation is not that bad as how the commenters describe there (isn’t it interesting? When a new paradigm is coming into our world, most of the people are against it. Then, after a while they get used to it). However, it is obvious that Gutenberg is not a mature system yet: there is still a long way to go to make it perfect comfortably usable. But if we don’t really bother about some annoying bugs and its immaturity in usability, then I can say that Gutenberg is a promising system with great potentials.

I’m not going to write about what Gutenberg is and how to use it in this article. I will instead show you what my first impressions were:

  • how usable I found it,
  • what were its biggest shortcomings
  • and where it could be improved in terms of usability.

I’m writing here about Gutenberg 3.4.0. Hopefully these child’s illnesses will be addressed in the future versions.

First sight

After I installed the Gutenberg plugin I went on to edit an existing post. Here is what I saw:

Gutenberg Editor for WordPress

As you can see it, the old content is put inside a Classic block. In my opinion this is a great idea, because it keeps your previous formattings. This way it’s not likely that Gutenberg will ruin your previous contents and layouts (however, it may as there are millions of different WordPress setups out there). Also, I really like its look and feel, writing using Gutenberg has more like a feeling of “Creating”.

The new editor area is a lot narrower than in the old (Classic) one. This is comfortable as it’s easier to write if the 2 ends of a row are not miles away from each other. However, this narrowness was really annoying when I tried to make a multi-column layout.

Columns, yeah!

I really like this feature. I can create multi-column sections that usually can only be found in premium page builders. However, it’s not yet as advanced as WP Bakery’s page builder nor as SiteOrigin or Elementor. Actually, it had a feeling like I’m playing around with a child’s Lego after using some real tools before.

While columns is a must-have tool in 2018, it feels that it’s still very much in the Beta stage in Gutenberg (at least the Gutenberg creators added a beta sign to it – thankfully). The main issues with the current setup are:

  • If you increase the number of columns, then everything is OK. If you decrease it, the last column simply gets erased, without warning. OK, you can undo things, but shouldn’t it be more usable if it went into a new row where I could erase it when I wanted to?
  • There is no way to have only 1 column. However, it would be really useful if I wanted to put several elements below each other inside a container.
  • It’s really difficult to position your mouse pointer in a way to focus on the columns container. I had to find those 1-2 pixels where it became active… Which is really annoying – especially if you think about web accessibility (not everyone is capable of positioning precisely with a mouse!)
  • Narrowness of the editor, again. I have a 1920px wide screen but had to edit everything in a 600px wide box. I know, there is a way to adjust it somehow in functions.php, but I’m writing this article from a power user’s point of view… It would be so great to have a setting for it inside WP-Admin!

HTML markup: why I really love Gutenberg

Code Editor in the MenuUnlike the premium page builders which use either shortcodes or a complicated markup to build up page structures, Gutenberg keeps the markup as simple as possible. This is good because it gives your content higher level of portability when switching between themes.

Instead of shortcodes, Gutenberg uses HTML comment tags to detect the special settings for the different blocks. You can view this markup if you click on the Three Dots (More) button in the top right corner of the editor and select the Code Editor option.

After this switch you can see the page’s actual markup, which is something like this:

Gutenberg Code Editor

As you can see, there are the wp:heading and the wp:paragraph HTML comments around the Gutenberg blocks, while the real markup is kept as simple as possible.

Using your old shorcodes

Gutenberg has a block for inserting good old shortcodes into your pages. However, I found this block type quite useless in its current state. It is a way better option to just create a custom HTML block and put your shortcode there, because that way you can encapsulate the shortcode in container elements — making it possible to add extra formatting or ID anchors to them.

Cover Images

Cover Image is a really great block type. Many modern web pages use the feature to have a wide image block with some heading text on them that separate the different sections of a page.

However, the current version in Gutenberg has 2 big shortcomings:

  • The text on the image uses a P (paragraph) HTML element. In most cases these sections contain important titles, so it would be a lot better option to have the possibility to use H1 .. H6 headings in these sections – for the sake of SEO.
  • No ID tag / HTML anchor possibility. This is a very big weakness of the Cover Image block (and almost all other block types in Gutenberg). In the everyday practice this kind of element is often used for separating different sections of a document. So not having an option to add an ID attribute significantly reduces its usability.

HTML editing the blocks

Fortunately if you are not satisfied with a block’s HTML output, you have the option to edit its output as HTML:

Gutenberg block edit as HTML

OK, let’s try to add an ID attribute to it in the old-fashioned way:

Editing an ID of a block

I though first that I was smart and managed to add my anchorable ID this way successfully. However, the next thing I saw was this – right after clicking outside the HTML block editor:

Externally modified Gutenberg block

If I chose Convert to Blocks, my block was converted to a simple Paragraph block. So Gutenberg forgot that I was originally editing a Cover Image block. Moreover, it didn’t maintain my custom ID attribute, so it wasn’t a good option to convert back into a block.

The other option was to Keep it as HTML. In this case I lost the improved UI of the block. It’s not a good idea if I ever want to give the editing of this page into the hands of my client as he doesn’t know how to code HTML.

So if you want to add HTML ID attributes to your elements, most of the current Gutenberg blocks aren’t your friends.

Conclusion

Gutenberg was good enough to do what I wanted to achieve with it. But in some places I had to use very hacky solutions which were very far from what our end clients expect in terms of usability. And I’m not sure that I would be able to replicate all the page layouts with Gutenberg that I had built before with more mature page building tools.

For the current version I would give Gutenberg 3/5 points, but it can easily improve if the creators fix the following things:

  • Enabling the ID attribute for all block types
  • Making it possible to use 1-column layout with the columns element
  • Ironing out the usability glitches – like the need of 1-2px precise positioning to reach some elements with the mouse
  • Better portability of HTML elements between the visual and the HTML editor mode (even if I add some custom attributes in HTML mode)

Hopefully we’ll see great improvements in the next versions, because Gutenberg looks like an editor with great potentials. However, I have a feeling that we are going to switch back to the Classic Editor often after WordPress 5.0 is released…

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

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News: site update and plugin updates https://a-idea.studio/2018/07/10/news-site-update-and-plugin-updates/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=news-site-update-and-plugin-updates https://a-idea.studio/2018/07/10/news-site-update-and-plugin-updates/#respond Tue, 10 Jul 2018 10:15:57 +0000 https://a-idea.studio/?p=2010 This is just a short update. Although our site wasn’t updated in the past 4 months, there had been a lot of stuff going on behind the curtains. Bye, bye, Adriatica! After a long idle period we decided to dump our non-released theme, Adriatica. It was a simple business decision. It would have needed too…

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This is just a short update. Although our site wasn’t updated in the past 4 months, there had been a lot of stuff going on behind the curtains.

Bye, bye, Adriatica!

After a long idle period we decided to dump our non-released theme, Adriatica. It was a simple business decision. It would have needed too much efforts to make it good enough while the competition on the market is tough and our time is very limited.

At least, we’ll have more time to focus on our plugins from now.

Site update

We have rebuilt the a-idea site from the basics. While the changes are small in the front end, there had been lot of changes in the back end. The change was necessary as the old version was running on Adriatica, so we had no choice but to move away from our discontinued theme.

However, we made the new site’s look very similar to the old one – with some fine-tuning. So the branding and the look&feel is the same here as before…

Plugin updates

All our plugins got a new update today. For a-folio and a-staff plugins this was a backend update only: we have updated the only TPL Framework that works behind these plugins.

WP Slide-up box goes a-boxes

For our oldest plugin, WP Slide-up box it was a big change. First of all, the plugin’s name was changed to a-boxes to better fit into our plugin branding line. However, we will use the old and the new names beside each other for a while to make the transition easier.

The Shortcode Generator has got a preview mode. So now you can see the changes right inside the Shortcode Generator screen, without leaving wp-admin.

The new Shortcode Generator with the visual Preview

Another bigger improvement is that now you can use default values for the shortcodes, making it easier to create similar sliding boxes using a-boxes 1.0. For the full list of new features and bugfixes, please have a look at the plugin’s changelog.

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What is Codeable, who is it for and how can it help you https://a-idea.studio/2018/03/01/what-is-codeable/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-is-codeable https://a-idea.studio/2018/03/01/what-is-codeable/#respond Thu, 01 Mar 2018 12:08:45 +0000 https://a-idea.studio/?p=1742 In a previous post I’ve written that I was selected as a Codeable Expert. Now let’s see what this website – codeable.io – is about. Was it made for you? If yes, how can it help you and how to use it. What is Codeable? Codeable is a web portal that collects the best WordPress…

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In a previous post I’ve written that I was selected as a Codeable Expert. Now let’s see what this website – codeable.io – is about. Was it made for you? If yes, how can it help you and how to use it.

What is Codeable?

Codeable is a web portal that collects the best WordPress Experts: developers, site builders, SEO Experts and designers – and connects them with clients. However, Codeable is more than just yet another freelancer site. To become a Codeable Expert, a developer has to go through a long entry process. At the end only the top 2% of the applicants are approved. This is how they assure the quality of their service.

This process involves checking the applicants’ technical skills as well as checking their communication skills, too. My opinion is that it’s a very good approach from Codeable. The code quality itself is essential in resolving web development issues. However, what makes clients really happy is often the fact how it is communicated, how they are treated.

And communication doesn’t only mean “talking nicely”. Not at all! It’s more like listening to your client’s real needs and assuring them that they are in the best possible hands. It’s also an attitude that you want to give them value: top quality solution in top quality packing.

Like Per Esbensen (Codeable CEO) told me once:

“Imagine that you in an official Mercedes-Benz service. It’s not like a no-name car service in a distant street. In the official Mercedes service everything is neat and tidy, everything is well designed, and the front end people are always kind with you. You get premium quality solution, and they give you warranty on the job they do. Of course, it has a price tag, but this is why it’s an official Mercedes service and not a no-name one.”

Codeable is aiming to be the “Mercedes service of WordPress development”. Where clients can come with their projects, tasks, problems and they can be sure that they will be served in premium quality and extra care. Something that is not always provided at cheaper outsourcing websites.

Who is Codeable for?

Well, while there is a statement that “Codeable is for everyone” on the service’s home page, I would argue with it (sorry, mates 🙂 ). Codeable is generally for people and businesses who own a WordPress based website or want to have one.

If you are one of them, then Codeable can give the perfect solution for you. Their 300 WordPress developers, designers and site builders have a high level of knowledge in the industry. If you browse through their profiles, you rarely can find anyone who has less than 5 years experience in WordPress development. So you can be sure you’re not dealing here with amateurs.

What can Codeable experts do for you?

Generally everything that is related to WordPress, but let’s see some of the typical cases:

  • You need a unique WordPress theme
  • You have a bug on your site and want it fixed asap.
  • You need some plugins installed and configured
  • You need modifications to a plugin or a theme, but you can’t do it yourself
  • You are the leader of a webdesign agency and is in lack of capacity, but don’t want to turn down that project
  • You are fed up with your current hosting and want to migrate your site to another one
  • You need a WooCommerce-based online store
  • You need a well-configured online booking on your website
  • You need ongoing maintenance for your WordPress website(s)
  • Just need a consultation to figure out how difficult it would be to build up your website
  • etc.

… and who it isn’t for?

Let’s have a look at the other side. There are definitely groups of people for whom Codeable is not the perfect match:

  • Who need a website build on other system than WordPress. Codeable is the place of WordPress experts. We (Codeable experts) have traveled different professional journeys until we ended up on Codeable, and some of us know Drupal, Laravel, Joomla, etc., too. However, it is not a standard thing on Codeable. While you can still publish projects like these on the portal, it’s not 100% guaranteed that you’ll find a suitable expert.
  • Who wants to get it done as cheap as possible. A complete web store for $200? Maybe possible, but not on Codeable. And most probably not in a good quality. On Codeable, the hourly rates start at $60/h (USD). But in change for the higher price tag, you are connected with the best experts out there. And hey, it’s still more affordable than lot of expensive agencies!
  • Who likes to see developers underbidding each other for his/her project. On Codeable the final price is the average of the estimations of the experts who have applied for your project. So if Dev A would do it for $800 and Dev B would do it for $1,000, then your final price tag will be $900.

How does Codeable work

OK, let’s say you need a small improvement to your WordPress website. How can you get it done using Codeable’s services?

#1: Visit Codeable.io

First you’ll have to visit Codeable.io. Be aware that there is .io at the end of the domain, not .com!

#2: Have a look

If you are absolutely new to this website, I recommend you to look around first. Read what’s on the front page, browse the list of the developers and browse through the articles in the blog to become more familiar with the site. You can also have a look at the FAQ pages, so you can have a peek into how the app works once you are inside.

Codeable Home page

This is how the Codeable home page looks like when writing this article

#3: Your first project

OK, now we are ready to jump into it after scraping the surface for a while… Let’s create our first project at Codeable! To do so, you can use this link, or press the GET STARTED NOW button on Codeable.io

#4: Select Project Type

The next screen you can see is the Project Type selector. At the moment you can select between the following categories:

  • Install & Configure
  • Customize
  • Fix
  • Develeop & Design
  • Migrate

and their sub-categories.

There is also a possibility to start a 1-hour consultation with a WordPress expert. Here you can discuss what you need inside the frames of your project and you can get important and useful advices for them. Anyway, if you don’t have any clues what to do here, just reach out to the support with the Intercom icon in the right bottom corner of the screen. They will help you within minutes.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s say that you need an improvement to your WP theme, so you select the “Customize / Theme” category and click on the START button.

The project type selector

The project type selector

#5: The project details form

Here you’ll have to fill in a simple form. By submitting it, your project will be online inside the Codeable app. Let’s see how you should fill it in to get the best possible service as fast as possible…

  • Project title: should not be too long, but should be specific enough to give a rough idea about what it is about. Let’s say, you need the customization for an Avada child theme, and what you need is a new blog layout. Then the title should be something like “Avada child theme needs new blog layout”. Try not to be too generic (like “I need help with my website”) here – however, I’m sure you’ll get help even in these cases, too.
  • Preferred experts: if you have someone on Codeable’s experts list who’d you like to work with then you can add his/her name to this field. You can add up to 5 experts in this field. Of course, if you leave this field empty, your project will be visible for all experts.
    • Tip: if you’d like to work with us, simply add my name, “Ervin Domonkos” to this field
  • How soon do you need it? This setting here is not a deadline! It just gives the experts a hint about how urgent the project is for you. The deadline finally will be what you agree about later.
  • Describe your project: this is the most important part. Some tips how a good description looks like:
    • It’s a good rule of thumb to start with describing what your website is about, what you’d like to achieve. Then you can describe the current situation, then describe how the desired situation would be different from it.
    • If the work has to be done on an existing website, always include the URL in the description. Anyway, this will be the first thing the experts ask for if you forget to add it.
    • If there are more things to be done during the project, use bullet points. It’s always easier to realize what needs to be done this way than trying to figure it out of a block of text.
    • If a new process needs to be implemented on your site, then try describing it as steps – like:
      • Step 1 – user clicks here
      • Step 2 – the popup jumps up with the form
      • Step 3 – user fills it out
      • Step 4 – Clicks on the Submit button
      • Step 5 – confirmation email sent
    • If you have any material (images, videos, documents) that can help understanding your project, then please include a link to them or upload them to the project.
  • Upload files: here is where you can upload anything that can be useful for completing the project. If your project is a bigger one, then it’s strongly recommended to write a Brief Document in which you try to describe all the aspects of the project.
  • Budget: estimates are based on the scope, complexity and urgency of a project. However, if you specify your budget size, the experts will know better how complex solution should they offer to you. E.g. in a bigger budget project there is always more space to pay attention to small but important nuances. A low budget one can usually only afford a “works ok, but nothing special” solution most of the times. It’s up to you which one makes you satisfied.

If everything is ready, please read through everything once again, and then you can Publish your project.

What to do if I want to modify something after the project was published?

Don’t worry, you can modify it later. It can even happen that some experts will ask you to add some more information to it. So it’s not a bad thing if your project description is not perfect at the beginning.

#6: After publishing

After publishing it, your project will appear in the Codeable app. Inside the app the Codeable experts will see your project, and someone will reply to it typically in a few hours.

Of course if you chose some Preferred experts in the previous step, then only those people will see your project.

What to do if no-one responds to my project?

There can be more reasons why it happened:

  • Your brief wasn’t concrete enough
  • Your budget was too low compared to what you’d like to achieve
  • Simply everyone was a bit busy when you posted it.

If you feel like there has too much time elapsed since you posted your project, you can always reach out to the support (bottom right corner of Codeable’s screen) asking to help you find a suitable expert.

#7: Conversation about your project

On Codeable your project’s page is called a Workroom. As the experts start answering to your project intro, a conversation starts between you and them. The experts will ask you questions about your project in order to make it crystal clear what needs to be done. If it’s an improvement to an existing site, then they might ask for your wp-admin credentials as well – in order to have a look “under the hood”.

Important! When you share your admin password with them, please don’t add it directly to the Project’s conversation, as it is visible to all experts at this time. Use Codeable’s Credential Vault instead, which is a secure way of sharing passwords and sensitive data. And in the Vault you can choose whom you’d like to share it with.

#8: Estimating

Once everything is crystal clear, one or a few experts will add their estimations for your project. You’ll see the average value of their estimations in the right sidebar as the Estimated Price. And this will eventually be your project’s price.

By estimating, the expert also states that he/she possesses the knowledge and has availability to do your project.

#9: Hiring

If you are satisfied with the price, you can hire one of the experts who have made an estimation for your project by clicking on the HIRE XY button on the right hand side.

After clicking on the button you’ll be asked to pay for the project upfront. Your money will be kept on Codeable’s escrow account until the expert delivers the solution.

#10: Ongoing project

Your project room will become a private workroom after the payment. From now on only you and the hired expert can see its contents.

A Codeable workroom

A Codeable workroom

As the next thing, the expert will start working on your project. Once done, they will ask you to review the work done.

When you are satisfied, you can press the COMPLETE button.

#11: Completed project

After you mark the project complete, the project’s status will change to Completed and the money you paid upfront is transferred to the expert’s account.

Although the project is completed, you can re-visit it any time to check your previous conversations and to download the project files in the future.

If you happen to need help in the future on the same website and you’d like to use the same expert’s services, you can write them in this same workroom. So you can make sure only you and he/she can see the new task (and you can add the new task as an additional task).


Thank you for reading this article. Hope we’ll meet on Codeable someday!

 

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What design means to me https://a-idea.studio/2017/12/03/good-design/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=good-design https://a-idea.studio/2017/12/03/good-design/#respond Sun, 03 Dec 2017 11:56:52 +0000 https://a-idea.studio/?p=1706 I have seen so many websites that won web design awards, but failed financially. I think that’s because they had NICE design, but not GOOD design. Let’s see what the difference is between real design and simple aesthetics. Nice Design vs. Good Design Nice Design Good Design Visually appealing Easy to use Visitors say: “Wow,…

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I have seen so many websites that won web design awards, but failed financially. I think that’s because they had NICE design, but not GOOD design. Let’s see what the difference is between real design and simple aesthetics.

Nice Design vs. Good Design

Nice Design Good Design
Visually appealing Easy to use
Visitors say: “Wow, looks amazing!” Helps visitors do what the website owner wants them to do
Uses contemporary, trendy colors, shapes, effects Uses best marketing and usability practices that are proven to be effective
It’s concept was thought out by the website owner and a graphic designer It’s concept is often planned together by the website owner, an online marketing expert, the graphic designer and an expert developer

You may ask: where is the real contrast between them? I can’t see why a Good Design couldn’t be Nice as well… And you are absolutely right.

All bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs

In this case it means, that nice design (or in other words, aesthetics) should be part of your whole design package. However, your design should be more than just pure aesthetics.

Unfortunately many people mix it up and that’s the cause why so many nice websites fail financially.

Before you run to your web designer with your ideas, please STOP!

It shouldn’t be your graphic designer who you should meet first with your web project (unless he/she is really good at marketing and UX). If you approach the project thinking that design = aesthetics, then your web design and development process will most probably look like one of the following scenarios:

Scenario 1A: working with unique design

  1. You approach the designer with your idea: “I want a new website and please design one for me”
  2. Once the PSD files, design guides are ready you go to the developer who does the programming part
  3. You or someone else fills up the content on the site

Scenario 1B: working with themes

  1. You hear that you can save a lot of money if you start with a website theme. So you jump on ThemeForest, buy a nice theme that is suitable for your business.
  2. You find someone to set it up for you on a server and customize it for you
  3. You or someone else fills up the content on the site

In Scenario 1A you spent a lot of money on something that will or will not bring you success. To be honest, it sounds to me like “I am going to buy a new car. I will spend a lot of money on it without knowing in advance if it will be able to take me from Location A to Location B”.

In Scenario 1B the results will most probably be the same. The only difference is that you’ve spent less money on the thing (like buying a used car that you still are not sure about if it works or not).

How can I start with better chances for success?

Spending a few hundred dollars on planning your site with the help of the right experts has 2 big advantages:

  • can save you thousands during the development phase (as several things can be optimized before writing a single line of code)
  • and it can increase the income made by your website significantly (simply because you can design the site this way around a specific business goal)

So the ideal workflow to a more successful process would include a massive planning process

Scenario 2: doing it with discovery and planning phases

  1. You think strongly about what the REAL GOAL of your website should be
  2. You look around how your competitors’ websites look like. Many people make the mistake here that they want something similar to them. No, you’ll have to make something different and/or better than what they have!
  3. Find someone who is an expert in online marketing, website / UX planning and web development – and ask for a 1-2 hour consultation. Don’t worry, there are experts who are familiar with all these territories, so most probably you’ll need to consult with only one (max. 2) person. Unless you are familiar with all these fields, they are the people who can tell you what the best practices and the best available tools are for achieving your goal. Together with what results you can expect and what is technically doable within your budget.
  4. On an initial consultation they learn about your business, your website goals, will look around your competitors’ sites, etc. They will ask you lots of questions about what role the new site will have in your marketing flows. Maybe they’ll even ask you to show them your existing materials like ads, flyers, business cards, etc. They will also come up with some initial ideas about what direction you could go towards: Should you have a blog? Should you involve paid ads? Should you have multi-step or single-step sales model on your site? etc.
  5. After that the website planning expert creates you the initial version of the plan. It will generally be a simple text document outlining what happens after what, how the visitor is converted into a buyer / subscriber / user / etc. How the different tools are used on the site, etc. It can involve some basic wireframes as well if it helps understanding the user flows better.
  6. Now you can give some feedback to the expert if you agree with the plans or you’d like modifications to it. It’s really easy and cost-efficient to make modifications to the user flows at this stage as no real designs are made yet, nor any line of code written.
  7. Based on your feedback the excerpt works out the website plans that include:
    1. Wireframes for page templates, tools and user flows – where it is sensible. (Btw. have you heard about Balsamiq? It’s an excellent tool for creating these wireframes!)
    2. User journeys documented: what happens to the users in this and that case. How can we help the user to do the desired action, etc.
    3. Measurement points that will help you in identifying the weak points of your website (which will be necessary for conversion optimizations later)
    4. Any additional information that is important for the site. E.g. your company’s style guides, any content assets that your site should include, etc.
  8. At this point the expert will require another feedback from you to make sure you both are on the same page. It might require several modifications to reach the final plans. But once again: it’s a lot cheaper to make modifications at this stage than after the design and development processes have started. Like when you are building a house: it’s very expensive (if not impossible) to modify things after some walls are already raised up.
  9. Once everything is ready, you’ll have your well-documented project brief. The next step is creating the price estimations for the project. All experts involved in the project should take part in this step. Once the estimations are created, they can be added to the plan document together with the deadlines. If it’s a bigger project, an experienced expert would advise at this point to break the project into milestones. This way you can mitigate the risks for all involved parties and can control the progress more efficiently.
  10. The result is a Website Plan document with all the things that the designer and the developer have to know to make an excellent piece of work for you.
  11. This is the point where you go to the graphic designer with your plan document. Based on the wireframes and the style guides (if there’s any – don’t worry, she can create one for you if it’s a brand new brand 🙂 ) she can create the graphic / aesthetics part of the work. The result of this step is typically some PSD / PNG / AI / PDF / etc. files, maybe with some documentation if needed.
  12. When the end of the design process approaches, it’s a good idea to involve your developer into the task. Just to check everything is doable and that the designer didn’t do anything that makes things too difficult or (nearly) impossible to code.
  13. Once the design files are approved, you can send them to your developer, who will do the coding part of the things.

The result? A website that serves your business goals AND looks aesthetically good. And while you spent some extra money at the beginning on planning it thoroughly, you avoided some big mistakes at an early stage.

As our new motto says it: “discover. plan. do.”. The longer the name of the step, the more effect it will have on your final results and the cheaper it is to make changes on it…

To sum up

A good design is not equal to good aesthetics. While the latter cares only about the look (which definitely is an important part of the design), a real design has business goals and marketing flows behind it. And helps making your visitors do what you want them to do.


Would you like us to help you planning your next website? Start a consultation with us on Codeable!

Let’s start it!

Learn more about what Codeable is.

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What is the REAL GOAL of your website? https://a-idea.studio/2017/11/09/website-real-goal/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=website-real-goal https://a-idea.studio/2017/11/09/website-real-goal/#respond Thu, 09 Nov 2017 08:33:13 +0000 https://a-idea.studio/?p=1669 There is one step in the website development process that is the cheapest step of all, but not investing in it can cause you tremendous issues. This step is defining: “What is the REAL GOAL of my website?” I can’t emphasize it enough – and that’s why I wrote it with full capitals. If you…

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There is one step in the website development process that is the cheapest step of all, but not investing in it can cause you tremendous issues. This step is defining: “What is the REAL GOAL of my website?”

I can’t emphasize it enough – and that’s why I wrote it with full capitals. If you don’t know what your website’s goal is then:

  • you might miss a lot of income that you could otherwise make online
  • your visitors won’t be sure if they are on the right place or not
  • you’ll always be less confident about why your site is not producing the expected results
  • it will be more difficult to decide what to add next your website
  • you can’t really think about conversion funnels (you know, the methodology online marketers always talk about) while you don’t have a crystal-clear goal
  • your blog posts will most probably won’t have the effect that they could if you had an exact goal

But how can you find or decide what your site’s REAL GOAL is? I’ll try to help you in this article.

There are several theories and practices about setting up website goals on the web. One of the most popular is the SMART Criteria. However there are lot of criticism about this methodology, an interesting one is the DUMB Goals theory by Michael D. Pollock…

Well, to make things simpler, I’ll add here my own method, which consists of only 3 criteria (easier than the 5-step and 4-step methods above, heh? 🙂 ).

1. A Good Website Goal doesn’t have a letter “s” in it

Yes, a good goal is only one goal, not 5 goals, not 3 goals and not even 2 goals. Only one goal, no “s” at the end!

Why is it so bad to have more goals?

If you have 5 different goals, how will you measure them? How will you track if you change something on your site, what effect it has on all 5 goals? Maybe big corporations can deal with the task, but you as a small business owner, will you have the capacity to track and analyze all the changes?

Hey, but I want my site do this and this and that. Should I wipe out 75% of the functionalities from my plans?

No, you don’t have to. But having only one website goal will help you to prioritize between them. It will be easier to figure out which functions, design elements, content parts are important and which are not.

Thus, you can save a lot of time and money by building those parts first that are most relevant for your goal. You’ll most probably be able to launch your site with a smaller, but more important set of elements, then build the rest based on the user feedbacks.

The result?

Your site’s initial version can be built up from less money, and it can also serve your users’ needs better.

Having a clear goal also helps you building up your content. You can write your textual content and choose your visual content in a way that it can serve your website goal. You’ll have more confidence about what to write next in your blog – as you can ask yourself:.

2. A Good Website Goal serves your business

A business website is not a l’art pour l’art thing. You can get your site redesigned and the new version can look a lot better than the old one. It can even win a webdesign award.

But who cares if it doesn’t make your business more successful? If it doesn’t bring you – directly or indirectly – more revenue?

This is often a common mistake made by offline businesses who can do business well in the brick-n-mortar world, but are less experienced online. They see that some of their competitors already have nice websites, so they decide: “OK, I need a nice website, too”. Then they pay a few thousand bucks to designers and developers to build it for them.

They are satisfied at the beginning – the boss shows to his relatives and colleagues how nice the new site is – and life goes on. They never get to know if it was a good investment or just some sunk cost. Maybe just a few years later…

Never let your website development out of your control! Always know how it will help your business and how you can check if you are on the right track…

3. A Good Website Goal is measurable

We are in the world of internet. We have Google Analytics. We have cookies. We have thousands of WordPress plugins. It has never been as easy as today to measure where you are with your goal. You can follow it in real-time!

E.g. let’s say your goal is to have 10 new quote requests via your website’s contact form each month. Based on your previous experience you know that you can convert 50% of them to be your clients. And 5 new clients on monthly basis could help you having a healthy business.

If you have now 100 visitors monthly and 2 of them fills in your quote request form, then you can have 2 great ideas right away:

  • increase the number of monthly visitors: you can achieve by developing your site’s content to attract more direct visits or advertise your site
  • and/or increase the site’s conversion rate: you can start experimenting with your site’s content and structure to see if it brings you better results

So you can set up a plan, work on it and check next month if you got closer to your goal or not.

Is my website’s goal good enough?

Let’s have a look at the most common questions and mistakes about setting up website goals:

  • Building up the website itself is not a goal. It should be the consequence of a business goal/need. Find that business goal first!
  • It has to be measurable – even if the site’s goal is to contact you offline. E.g. your website’s goal is that the visitors call you by phone. In this case you have to ask them during the call where they found your phone number. Or even better: have a separate phone for the calls from the website only – so you can track the conversions in your call log.
  • A goal like “I need my site to work better.” is not exact enough. In which sense do you want it to be better? What’s that you don’t like about it? What are the current results it produces and what are the results you’d like to see? (you can answer these only if you know what you want from your site)
  • “I would like more readers on my blog.” How many exactly on monthly basis? Who is your target audience? Where and how can you find them? You should always specify what you’d like to reach exactly.
  • “I don’t know if the goal I have in my mind is good enough.” A good starting point is to think about your business: Do you need more customers? Do you want them to return to you more often? Do you feel like you are spending too much time with non-buyers? What is the inner issue of your business that you’d like to solve?

To sum up

Well, yes… before you start spending time and money on planning and building your website, it’s a must-have step to think about what you really want to achieve with the site. What kind of problem will it solve for your business?

It should be the very first step in the process, and it’s only you who can really think about it. If still confused, don’t worry: if you are not an expert in online marketing or website building, there are experts out there who can help you. At least by asking you the right questions and showing you the possibilities.


Would you like a consultation with me about your website goals?

Let’s do a consultation on Codeable

Learn more about what Codeable is.


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Site building Glossary for WordPress https://a-idea.studio/2017/10/25/site-building-glossary-wordpress/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=site-building-glossary-wordpress https://a-idea.studio/2017/10/25/site-building-glossary-wordpress/#comments Wed, 25 Oct 2017 04:37:01 +0000 https://a-idea.studio/?p=1591 Now I will attempt to create a glossary that explains to clients who would like to have a WordPress-based website, what the different terms and acronyms mean in the WordPress ecosystem. This article can also be useful for site builders and developers. Just send this article’s link to your clients, so they can learn what…

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Now I will attempt to create a glossary that explains to clients who would like to have a WordPress-based website, what the different terms and acronyms mean in the WordPress ecosystem.

This article can also be useful for site builders and developers. Just send this article’s link to your clients, so they can learn what you are talking about when you say: CPT, Ajax, ACF or similar things.

I’ll try to regularly update this article. However, if you miss a term from the list, just drop me a comment at the bottom – and I’ll add it with the next update.

Site building Glossary for WordPress

AccessibilityWeb Accessibility is the collection of practices that are done in order to make the information of the website accessible by everyone (especially people with disabilities).
ACFAdvanced Custom Fields. A plugin for WordPress that allows you to add extra information to your posts and pages that shouldn't be directly added to your post content. A widely used plugin, you can learn more about it here.
AJAXAsynchronous JavaScript And XML. This is the method that makes it possible to load new content without reloading the whole page.

E.g. you must have seen on e-commerce sites that after you click on the "Add to Cart" button, the page doesn't reload, but a spinner icon appears, maybe with the text "Adding to cart...". In these and similar cases an "AJAX call" is running in the background.

What really happens is that the JavaScript code on your website loads some information based on some settings from the server, and then it modifies the current page based on the received results.
BriefA document that describes your project. The more detailed your brief is the easier it is for the developer or agency to make an estimation for it and to finally deliver you what you really needed.

Here is an article about how to write great briefs for a WordPress development project.
CategoryA built-in taxonomy in WordPress used by Posts by default. With categories you can create different groups of posts. Categories can be hierarchical.
CMSContent Management System. In the world of websites a CMS is a software that lets you edit your website data using an admin dashboard and displays it in the front end using templates. WordPress itself is a CMS.
ConversionAn event on a website when the visitor does the desired action and thus is promoted to the next level of the sales process.

Examples of conversions:
  • A new visitor on your site subscribes to your mailing list.
  • A member of your mailing list buys your product.
  • A visitor clicks on an affiliate link
  • A visitor registers.
Conversion RateThe percentage of the users who have promoted from the previous level of the sales process to the current one (= number of conversions / size of the previous level group).

E.g. if you had 100 unique visitors on your website in the previous month and 6 of them subscribed to your mailing list, then your Conversion Rate was 6%.
CPTCustom Post Type. By default, when you log into wp-admin, you can see 2 post types: Posts and Pages (there are others, too, but it's easier to undersand this way...).
However, if you need a new type of content (e.g. Products, Portfolio items, Cars, Appartments, etc. - based on what your business needs), you can add them as a new Custom Post Type (CPT).

Custom Post Types work the best when they have a corresponding template in your WordPress Theme. E.g. if you have a look at WooCommerce, it adds Products as a CPT, and it has its own template for displaying products.
CronA server-side program on Unix-like systems that is responsible for running othe programs automatically. With cron you can set up to run a script e.g. daily, in the 37th minute of every hour or on the 4th day of each month, etc.
CSSCascading Style Sheets. A programming language that is used to describe how the HTML elements on your website should look. This is where you define the colors, the sizes, the backgrounds, borders, etc. Learn more about CSS here.
CTACall to Action. Usually a visual element, a button or a form on your website that helps the visitor do a desired action. A CTA often triggers a conversion event.

E.g. a "Click here to register" button is a typical CTA element.
GDPRGeneral Data Protection Regulation. A new data protection law on its way to take effect on 25th May 2018. It raises strict rules for storing personal data (like name, address, IP-address, email, etc.) of EU citizens.

It raises the need of almost all companies to review how they store user's data and make changes if needed - as fines for breaking these rules can be immense. Read more about GDPR here and here is an article that collects what we can do with our WordPress site to become GDPR-compliant.
GitGit is a Version Control System (VCS). See Version Control.
GridSome web page layouts are built up using a so-called Grid System. A grid usually splits the web page into 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 or 16 columns, then while building up the page from different items you can specify how many columns the current item should use.

E.g. in a 12-column grid system a 8-column + 4-column set up can be used to have a main content area of 2/3 width and a sidebar of 1/3 width.

Another advantage of grid systems is that they help a lot in making your website responsive.
GutenbergGutenberg is the project name of the new WordPress post and page editor that is expected to be released in WordPress 5.0. Until then it can be downloaded as a plugin.
HTMLHypertext Markup Language. The basic language that defines the website's elements. If you click on "Inspect element" or "View source" in your browser, you can see the page's HTML source. You can learn more about it on W3Schools.
HTTPHypertext Transfer Protocol. Describes how the web pages are transmitted between a server and a client computer. Every time you load a file for a webpage (HTML, CSS, JS, image files, etc.), a new HTTP request is sent to the server, and it responds with the requested data or an error message.
HTTPSHTTP Secure or HTTP over TLS/SSL. The secure version of the HTTP protocol, where the data is sent encrypted over the internet. Not too long ago Google made using HTTPS instead of HTTP is a ranking factor in Google Search.

If you are about to switch from HTTP to HTTPS, this article can be a good starting point.
JavaScriptFront end programing language that can manipulate the web page after it's loaded.

E.g. if you can see a calculator on a page or elements that move on different user actions are usually done with JavaScript. However, this programming language knows a lot more...
JSSee JavaScript
MockupUsed in website planning for planning the layout of the pages. It is not really the design itself, just a simplified presentation of the look and feel.
MultisiteFormerly called WPMU. Multisite is a special WordPress installation that can host multiple sub-sites.

It is useful when you need a network of sites that are very similar to each other, e.g. regional sites of the same company that should use the same theme.
MVPMinimum Viable Product. When designing a web app, it's a good idea to think of what the minimal functionality is that the app can be launched with. It has 2 major advantages:

A) You can come up with a working version earlier, so you can get feedback faster.
B) You can develop the further versions based on the initial feedback - so don't have to put too much effort into something that is not important for your users.
Online MarketingOnline Marketing is a collection of methods with an aim to sell your services or products on the internet. It is a quite broad notion, contains all activities done on your website, in your email marketing, on other sites in order to attract more visitors to your site, etc.
PHPA server-side programming language. WordPress is written mainly in this language.

How it works in a nutshell: the web server runs the PHP code that creates an output, which is often the HTML code of the webpage. This way, with PHP you can create pages that can have different content based on the circumstances / settings (dynamic web pages).
PluginBy default, WordPress is capable of building only simple websites: a few static pages + a blog. If you want to extend it's functionality (e.g. add contact forms, add eCommerce functionality, discussion forum, etc.), you have to install plugins (a.k.a extensions for WordPress).

To install a plugin, just go to Plugins » Add new in wp-admin, and follow the instructions.
PostIn the WordPress ecosystem a "post" usually means a blog post.
ResponsiveA website is responsive if it reacts to the screen size and navigation methods of the device it is viewed on.

E.g. a responsive website can be optimized to be 1200 pixels wide on a laptop screen, while on a small cell phone screen it can rearrange its elements to be only e.g. 400 pixels wide (together with optimizing it for touch events). This way the site can keep an optimized user experience regardless of what it is viewed with.
Server (hardware)A powerful computer that should be always on and that hosts (runs on demand) web pages (and/or other data).
Server (software)A memory-resident program that listens to requests from the network. If a request comes in that it can serve, then it runs the necessary code / commands.

E.g. a web server (like Apache or Nginx) listens to HTTP requests. And if one comes in, it returns the requested page to the user (or an error if the page was not found).
SidebarA sidebar is a template part that is usually displayed on the left or right hand side of the main content area. In WP development it's often a synonym for widget areas.
SliderA visual element on a website that changes the displayed image (or other elements) with a visual effect. Usually the change is triggered when a specific time is elapsed (e.g. change the images every 10 seconds) or a user action is performed (e.g. click on navigation arrows).

The most popular slider plugins in the WordPress ecosystem are Slider Revolution and LayerSlider.
Speed OptimizationThe faster a website is the better it is. 2 main factors, why:
  • User experience: your users will be more satisfied with your website if they are served quickly.
  • Google ranking: site speed is a ranking factor in Google Search.

The most popular tools for checking how quickly your website loads: Pingdom Tools, GTMetrix, Google PageSpeed Insights.
SEOSearch Engine Optimization. A collection of methods and activities that are done in order to achieve the best possible positions in search engines like Google Search, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

Can be split into 2 parts:
  • On-site SEO: done on the website itself. Includes making the content, the code and the structure of the site as search engine friendly as possible. A best practice tool for WordPress on-site SEO is the Yoast SEO plugin.
  • Off-site SEO: done outside the website. Generally means creating / collecting good quality links pointing to your website.


If you want to have the best results, you should work on both on-site and off-site parts of Search Engine Optimization.
Sub-siteA child site of a Multisite installation.
Super AdminA special administartion level on WP Multisite installations. A Super admin can see the wp-admin of all subsites.
TagA built-in taxonomy in WordPress used by Posts by default. It is mainly used to mark the post with some useful keywords that can be used later e.g. in tag clouds.
Tag CloudA visual representation of tags connected to posts, where usually the more frequent tags are emphasized with bigger fonts or stronger colors.

The default WordPress package has a Tag Cloud widget.
TaxonomyIn WP, a taxonomy is an entity that can be connected to different post types. It helps grouping the posts based on different aspects.

E.g. on a news site you can easily group articles by adding categories to them like "politics", "economy", "sports", "arts", etc.
TemplateIn WordPress a template is a PHP file that displays a post or a page. To find out which template will display which page, have a look at the WordPress Template Hierarchy.
ThemeA collection of template (PHP) files, CSS stylesheets and optionally JavaScript and other files that describe how your posts and pages should be displayed in the front end.
Changing the theme can display the same data with a completely different look.

The best places for looking for WordPress themes are the WP Theme Directory and ThemeForest.
UIUser Interface. The visual part of an application that makes it possible for the user to interact with the app or with other users. It's a perpetual challenge of software planning to make the UI as easy to use and intuitive as possible.
URL Uniform Resource Locator. Generally this is a web address. Everything that can be seen in the browser's address bar are URLs. It starts usually with http:// or https://.
User FlowSee User Journey.
User JourneyPlanning your user journeys should be part of the planning phase of each of your projects. It's generally writing down what can happen to the visitors after landing on your site. The bigger your site is the more number of user journeys you'll probably have.
UXUser Experience. How your users will feel on your site and how easy it is for them to find/do the desired things.

It is highly recommended that you plan your User Experience before you start to create the site.
Version ControlWhen a bigger project is being done in programming, it's recommended to track the changes of its source code with a Version Control System. This way it can be tracked who changed what and when in the code.
WidgetA small tool / visual element that can be placed in sidebars / widget areas. Some widgets are shipped with the WordPress Core, while others can be added by plugins.
Widget areaA special space in WordPress templates where you can drop widgets. You can add widgets to them in WP-Admin » Appearance » Widgets.
WooCommerceThe most popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress is WooComerce, used by more than 3 million people.
WordPress CoreA pure WordPress installation, without any plugins or extra themes. In WP development when developers mention it, they usually mean the files inside the /wp-includes, /wp-admin and the WP root directory.

It is a "deadly sin" in the WP world to modify these files, as your modification will be overwritten by the next WordPress update (making the site maintenance a nightmare).
WPWordPress 🙂
WP-AdminThe admin dashboard of WordPress where you can set up everything about your WordPress site. You can reach it if you put /wp-admin after your home page's URL.
E.g. www.example.com » www.example.com/wp-admin
WP-CronWordPress' own implementation of Cron.

It is a limited functionality cron, which means that it needs a page load process to trigger the automatic run event.
WPMUSee Multisite


If you feel like something is missing from the list, please drop me a message below in the comments section:

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Big dilemma of web agencies: in-house or outsource https://a-idea.studio/2017/10/17/dilemma-web-agencies-employee-freelancer/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dilemma-web-agencies-employee-freelancer https://a-idea.studio/2017/10/17/dilemma-web-agencies-employee-freelancer/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:41:20 +0000 https://a-idea.studio/?p=1576 During my career I’ve worked in different situations: as a quasi-employee of an agency as a contractor of an agency as a freelancer working with several agencies A constant dilemma I’ve met talking to leaders of the different agencies was whether it’s a better idea to employ a web developer as a full-time employee or…

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During my career I’ve worked in different situations:

  • as a quasi-employee of an agency
  • as a contractor of an agency
  • as a freelancer working with several agencies

A constant dilemma I’ve met talking to leaders of the different agencies was whether it’s a better idea to employ a web developer as a full-time employee or outsource the projects to freelancers.

The question is not easy at all. Lot of advantages and disadvantages are listed on both sides – let’s have a closer look at them…

A web developer as an employee

Positive side

  • Works for lower hourly rates. E.g. in Europe a web developer typically earns $10-$40 hourly, while a freelancer usually works for lot higher rates (cca. $25-$200 / hour)
  • Available in his/her working hours exclusively for the employer. No need to worry about refusing your project, because of working on someone else’s project at the moment
  • More flexibility about what they do during their working hours. E.g. if a project became more urgent than other projects, you can simply tell your employees to focus on this now instead of the other things they were working on
  • More control over what’s happening: especially if you are working in the same office physically – you can always check on them what they are doing. It can be important to those who like to practice close control over what is happening

Negative side

  • You have to pay the developers’ wages even if you don’t have enough projects to work on. This is a very big risk, because if you don’t have enough income, your finances can go into negative – that can put your whole business at risk
  • The second one correlates with the previous point: you can’t fire them easily. There are laws in every country that protect employees and set minimal terms of notice, etc. So generally you can’t just tell your employee: you don’t have to come in tomorrow – but you won’t get any money for it, though.
  • It can easily happen that your developer is a pro in one field, but isn’t super-good in an other territory. E.g. maybe she can plan good UX solutions, but isn’t that good with database planning. In this case you’ll need to hire someone else for that task.

Employee working at his desk


Outsourcing web development to a freelancer

Positive side

  • You can hire the expert for as many hours as you’d like to. As the developer is not your employee, if your project needs only 10 hours of work, you have to pay him/her only the 10 hours of work, not the whole month’s wage.
  • You can select which expert you’d like to hire: if you need a database pro, you hire one. If you need a design pro, you hire one. So you can always hire the person who is the most suitable for the job.
  • Smaller risk: if your freelancer is not as good as expected, you can hire someone else for your next project. With an employee who is just not good enough, it would be more difficult to do a switch…

Negative side

  • Higher hourly rates. Freelancer experts have to calculate in their own risks, so they have to charge you higher hourly rates. However, you usually hire a freelancer expert when the size of the project doesn’t require a full-time employee – or when you need a very special knowledge that you may not find in-house. So in many cases a freelancer means lower risk for you even at higher rates.
  • Risk that the expert disappears: while this is a very rare case, everyone has heard about stories when the freelancer developer has disappeared in the middle of the project and no-one knows where he’s gone since then. It often raises the need of some warranties that make sure:
    • the expert won’t disappear
    • if he/she disappears anyway, someone else can take over the job quickly
  • Looser control: as you can’t see every movement of the expert, you have to trust them that your project will end with the desired results. This is why it’s extremely important that the expert can communicate with you clearly, and has the attitude of “asking something before doing it wrong”.
    • A method of addressing this risk is if the developer uploads the source code real-time or at least once daily. This way the client can see how the project progresses and can step in if something goes in a wrong direction.

a freelancer with his client


Is there a way in between?

It often happens with agencies that they keep the strategic positions in-house, like project management, account management, lead development, UX design, etc. In the same time they reach out to freelancers for completing the specific projects. So their workflows look like:

  1. the project manager communicates with the client and the freelancer(s)
  2. the UX designer puts together the brief with the client and the project manager
  3. they calculate the costs and the feasibility together with the freelancer

Which is the good way for me?

It really depends on your business. You’ll have to make lot of calculations. If you can gather enough projects that will fill in an employee’s full work time, then it may be a better idea to hire someone in-house. If you tend to have variable number and size of projects, maybe it’s a better idea to hire a freelancer on-demand.

Also, some tasks may need some special knowledge that you need a special expert for. While employing someone to do a task or send one of your employees to learn it would be an overkill, you can hire a freelancer expert for the specific project.

Another case when a freelancer may temporarily extend an agency's team is when you have a peak in workforce need, but you are not sure that the next periods will have the same amount of work.

Thanks for reading, if you’d like to add your thoughts, use the comment form below…

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We are on Codeable! https://a-idea.studio/2017/04/29/we-are-on-codeable/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=we-are-on-codeable https://a-idea.studio/2017/04/29/we-are-on-codeable/#comments Sat, 29 Apr 2017 08:16:06 +0000 https://a-idea.studio/?p=1524 It’s been a long time since my last blog post. To be honest, I had so many things to do that I didn’t really have the time… Website Update One big thing that we’ve completed in the past few weeks was a major update to our website. While in the front end the changes may…

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It’s been a long time since my last blog post. To be honest, I had so many things to do that I didn’t really have the time…

Website Update

One big thing that we’ve completed in the past few weeks was a major update to our website. While in the front end the changes may look small, we’ve completely rebuilt its backend, creating a single site from our previous multisite installation…

However, we kept all the URLs the same where it was possible, so if you linked to our site before, it probably still works.

I became a Codeable Expert last month

Codeable WordPress Expert Certificate

My Codeable WordPress Expert Certificate

It’s a very huge step forward in the life of our studio, because from now on we’ll have the chance to work with some very good clients in the future.

What is Codeable?

Codeable logoCodeable is a network of individual WordPress Developers and clients (website owners, agencies, etc.) who need a WordPress job done in the best possible quality. You may say it’s just another outsourcing network, but I can tell you, it’s different.

While on other outsourcing networks developers are bidding for projects they don’t even understand correctly, leading to reckless price-wars, Codeable uses a completely different approach. Let’s see why it is different:

  • Only 2-3% of the applicants are granted the Codeable Expert status. Yes, I had to go through their rigorous entry exams, and it wasn’t an easy ride. But I am now inside, you can find my profile on the Codeable.io site.
  • Clients and Developers can discuss the project before it starts. For example, on Upwork the biggest disadvantage was that I wasn’t able to talk to the client before the project started, which is nonsense. How would I know how much I had to estimate when the brief is not crystal-clear? On Codeable we have plenty of possibilities to discuss the project before we apply for it. Furthermore, we are not allowed to apply for anything we are not 100% sure we can do.
  • One of the best customer supports I’ve ever met.
  • Codeable.io is exclusively for WordPress projects. Better focus and everybody is speaking the same language.
  • Almost 99% of the projects are rated 5/5. Maybe this number is the result of the strict pre-selection of WordPress Experts.
  • Communication, communication and communication: these are 3 fields every expert on Codeable is required to be professional in 🙂

Can I hire you there for your next project?

Of course, you can! I advise you to have a look around the Codeable.io site first and decide if it’s for you. You can post a project directly for me on Codeable if you’d like to – using this link: Hire Ervin on Codeable. I am happy to help you.

In case of any questions, please ask me in a comment below.

UPDATE!

Here is a new, more comprehensive article on what Codeable is, who it is for and how to use it.

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