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Archive for June, 2009

PSDtoWP – A Review on Blogging Pro

psdtowpRecently, I was given the ability to go crazy and get Blogging Pro redesigned. It was a task that I didn’t take lightly, but I knew which designer I wanted to use, as he had worked on my site, Branding David. James McDonald is an amazing designer, but he doesn’t do slicing and coding and he definitely doesn’t do WordPress theme coding, and so I had a choice to make: let him use one of the people he knows, or find one of my own.

I chose to find my own, and after asking around, I went with PSDtoWP, a company that recently went through a name change to comply with the WordPress trademark. They had done work on a few sites, and I knew the business owner, and so I handed over the PSD created by James, and let them get to work.

I have had notoriously bad experiences with having others change my PSD’s into WordPress themes before, as not all coders are good coders, and the design had some more “advanced” features than the typical theme. I wasn’t sure they’d be able to hangle my request, and do so with decent code.

3. What is involved in getting my design transformed into a WordPress Theme?

You upload the files, fill out the form and let us know what you would like to have done. After receiving 50% upfront, we can get started. Once we have coded your theme, we upload it to a demo server and allow you to have a look at what the finished product will be like. We make any necessary changes and send you the theme ready to upload to the destination server.

Much to my surprise, the code produced was clean and easy to use. The theme was ready to drop into the WordPress themes folder, and activate. There wasn’t much that needed to be done. They did miss two little design elements, but after mentioning this, they were quick to not only fix the error, but give me a list of changed files, so that I could upload only the changed files, thus keeping the changes I had already made after the fact (I never leave things the way people give them to me). They wrote the code for the features box, and implemented the box in the content area with the listing of the most commented posts.

I didn’t have the ability to use their recently coded Task Administration panel, but I hear that will help keep the person requesting the job more in the loop regarding the status. I just had to e-mail them, and I quickly received a response on how much longer it would be.

I was impressed with the professionalism, the speed, and while the cost is more than you’d pay on Digital Point Forums, the quality matches the price. I was very happy with my purchase, and would probably purchase from them again.

If you are looking to get a premium quality theme coded for a reasonable price, I’d suggest checking out PSDtoWP. If you would like $20 off your purchase, feel free to mention BLOGGINGPRO20 during the check-out. Prices start at $330 USD.

Note: I could have sliced and coded the theme myself, but the time it would have taken me to do it was more valuable to me spent elsewhere than the price I paid to have it coded. Also the code is much more organized than it would have been, had I done it all myself.

Categories: WordPress Themes

10 Plugins to Help Monetize Your WordPress Blog

I’ve been on a bit of a plugin kick lately it seems, so here’s yet another list of plugins you might find useful. This time it’s from tutorialblog.org, and it’s focused on monetization.

I’ve used most of the plugins at one time or another, and it’s a pretty good list for the most part. One thing I would probably change is swapping out CafePress for Spreadshirt, but that’s just personal preference really.

Categories: WordPress Plugins

WordPress 10,000 Tickets Closed

For those that enjoy WordPress development and community statistics, you might be interested to know that WordPress has seen over 10,000 tickets opened and closed in Trac.

This is a great milestone, and my congrats goes out to everyone involved.

Xavier Borderie was the person that mentioned this first on the WP-Testers and WP-Hackers mailing lists.

Categories: WordPress News

WordPress.org Going to WordPressMU?

It seems like interesting things are in store for the WordPress community. During WordCamp San Francisco there was a fairly unexpected and intriguing announcement during one of the presentations, which The Blog Herald talks about in a post earlier today.

Here’s a little snippet…

In his presentation, Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress, told the more than 700 attendees news about WordPress and its relatives under the Automattic umbrella, a form of stockholders report. He also announced that WordPress – the ORG part of WordPress – would be merged into WordPressMU.

Many, including Ozh of Planet Ozh, The Theme Lab, and Aaron Brazell were quick to announce their thoughts about the “merger of WordPress and WordPressMU,” misunderstanding the story they were getting across the live blogs and twit-stream from WordCamp San Francisco.

While I’m waiting confirmation, my understanding from Matt’s announcement is that the long time home of all things WordPress, known by many as the WordPress dot org site, will become a WordPressMU site, with nothing impacting the downloadable versions of WordPress.

Essentially, it seems as though WordPress.org will be moving into a WordPressMU environment, coupled with BBPress and with some BuddyPress action to seriously extend the site into the social media and community realm.

It could serve as a great large-scale testing ground for WordPressMU and BuddyPress features with such a large community already in place. Though I’m not exactly sure how everything will piece together, it sounds like it could be the start of something very interesting in the world of WordPress.org. Definitely something to keep an eye on as things get put into place.

*UPDATE* Things are more interesting than I thought, check out the comments over on the Blog Herald post for a lot more details and comments from Matt himself on the issue

Categories: WordPress News

New Theme and Issues

So, as I hope you can all see, Blogging Pro has received a design refresh. After launching our Blogging Pro theme a long time ago as a free to download theme, it seemed only wise to differentiate ourselves from those using that theme. If you are reading this site via a feed reader, it is time to come over and check out the new design.

I have been having some issues with the new theme that I am working on fixing, but they seem to be ingrained into WordPress, and so might take me a little while to rectify.

Other than one or two small issues, I am very impressed with both the design and implementation of this WordPress theme. Designed by James McDonald, the same person that did my site Branding David, James has done an amazing job with the revamp of Blogging Pro.

I am excited to hear what you think of this new design, and going forward, I hope you enjoy the refresh as well. I will talk about the coding process in an upcoming post.

Sidenote/Update: A huge thanks to Sivel in the WordPress IRC chat for helping me through a strange problem I was having.

Categories: BloggingPro News, Important
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41 Essential WordPress Plugins

Gyutae Park, of Winning the Web has a great list of WordPress plugins that they use on their site and consider “essential”. While I don’t agree with everything on the list personally, it is a massively helpful list for anyone looking for a little something to help them do a wide variety of things.

It’s got free plugins, it’s got pricey plugins, it’s got plugins that do things for just about every situation. It’s a damn fine list, and comes complete with full descriptions, and an occasional usage tip.

Here’s a small preview…

Breadcrumb Navigation XT
Adds a breadcrumb navigation showing the visitor’s path to his or her current location. I’m a huge fan of breadcrumbs (for both usability and SEO benefits) and highly recommend you implement this.

Force Word Wrapping
Prevents long words and URLs from horizontally stretching the page. Doesn’t it annoy you when a long URL messes up your template? This plugin prevents that from happening.

No Self Pings
Keeps WordPress from sending pings to your own site. This is pretty self explanatory. Why send pingbacks to your own posts?

At 41 plugins, with descriptions, it’s a bit of a read, but it’s well worth if you’re looking for a plugin that comes highly recommended by a successful blogger.

Categories: WordPress Plugins