WordCamp Phoenix 2014 Resources

During my presentation this morning at WordCamp Phoenix 2014, I walked through the steps you should take before you even think about installing WordPress or searching for a theme.

I want to share some of the resources that came up during the session.


Style Board Template

The style board was inspired by Samantha Warren’s StyleTil.es concept, and it has changed the way I work with clients.

StyleBoard_TEMPLATE_PE2014Download PSD Styleboard Template

INK Sample Website Analysis

Evernote notes for Iris’s fictional PR site

Other Resources

Color Palette Design & Inspiration

Typography / Web Safe Fonts

Stock Images, Illustrations & Icons

Content Development

Image Editing & Resizing


Style Board Design

Cheat Sheet: Ecommerce Shopping Cart Plugins

For tonight’s Arizona WordPress Group meetup, I facilitated a panel discussion on Ecommerce with group members Brian Murphy of xpleo.com, Mindi Bear of WinkSoap.com, Brandy Lawson aka TekGrl, and Maura Teal of Positive Element. We discussed pros and cons of various payment processing options and the panelists experiences with different shopping cart plugins.

I also presented a slide with a handy cheat sheet, which I thought some of you folks might find useful. It’s based on an article over on Chris Lema’s blog that helps you make the right choice based on your own experience and site requirements. Enjoy!

Shopping Cart Plugin Cheatsheet


CloudFlare is our WordPress Superhero

In light of the current & ongoing brute force attack against WordPress sites worldwide, I just want to take a moment to thank CloudFlare for blocking this attack and protecting our sites.

This attack is widespread and powerful — at least 90,000 bots, or distinct computers, are apparently involved. Security monitoring firm Sucuri reported seeing 3 times the usual number of brute force login attempts.

CloudFlare reported that nearly every WordPress site in it’s network has seen evidence of some attack. But CloudFlare is blocking them…



From CloudFlare’s blog:

We just pushed a rule out through CloudFlare’s WAF that detects the signature of the attack and stops it. Rather than limiting this to only paying customers, CloudFlare is rolling it out the fix to all our customers automatically, including customers on our free plan.

If you are a WordPress user and you are using CloudFlare, you are now protected from this latest brute force attack.

So — thank you CloudFlare!

Protect Your Own WordPress Site

If you have a user called “admin,” change it immediately from “admin” to something else. While you are it, strengthen you passwords to pass-phrases.

  1. Log in and go to Users / Add New
  2. Enter info for new username — anything but “admin!”
  3. Set Strong PW and Administrator RoleBe sure to set a long, hard-to-guess pass-phrase.
  4. Set the Role to Administrator (very important!) and Save.
  5. Log out, and log back in with the new username.
  6. Return to Users.
  7. Delete the “admin” user.screenshot-delete-admin2
  8. When prompted, attribute existing posts to your new user. Confirm Deletion.

And, if you are not currently using CloudFlare, consider it!

Positive Element clients: contact Betsy to find out if you are protected by CloudFlare.

Why Every WordPress Site Needs a Support & Maintenance Plan

I’ve been trying to adapt my business model these past few months, and it’s been challenging to find the best direction for me and for my clients. But even more challenging than that is explaining to clients who have been paying $5/month to GoDaddy or Bluehost why I suddenly want them to pay me $99 or more each month instead.

Let me give you a little more back-story to put this into context: I’ve been feeling pressure for some time to adapt my business model, to take better care of clients after launch, and cover the important aspects of their sites that I’ve never focused on in the past, such as WordPress and server maintenance, security, site speed/performance, backups, etc.

Site owners may not see the value in a monthly support retainer at first, if they haven’t felt the need or benefit of maintenance services in the past. They wouldn’t have noticed these services as lacking, because some have been very lucky.

If they’ve made it this far with no malware attacks, or if they haven’t noticed when their site’s been painfully slow, or when it’s gone down for hours… If they didn’t notice these things, why would they want to pay more to prevent them?

I have definitely seen the impact for other clients, and some of it has been very painful — losing work, missing out on leads and revenue, hours spent troubleshooting server issues while GoDaddy and Bluehost support sends us in circles and wastes our time… In a couple of cases we’ve had to spend hours searching for the source of a recurring malware infection, or rebuilding something that was lost due to attacks, where we did not have of recent full backup to restore…

And no one is immune to hackers. You may think that they’d have no interest in your site, but there’s no rhyme or reason for the sites they choose to disrupt. I’ve been hacked, as have well-known (and not-so-well-known) author clients in my portfolio. Add a commercial real estate site and a law firm to that list, and that’s just among my own clientele.  I’ve heard countless stories from friends and colleagues as well.

We are all at risk.

So I have stepped up my game. I’m trying to protect my clients as best as I can —through prevention (secure servers, regular WP maintenance) and through measures to ensure that if it does happen, we can minimize downtime and cleanup costs (backups, security monitoring).

There’s time and costs involved in these measures, and I’m trying my best to contain them and make it affordable.

But I honestly believe that we will all have to pay the price one way or another: either in prevention, or in cleanup, rebuilding, and lost opportunities down the road.

Hopefully that helps you understand why we’re changing things up on you after months or years of working together.

WordPress for Authors Presentation @ WordCamp Phoenix 2013

I’m so grateful fo the positive feedback I received from my WordPress for Authors presentation at WordCamp Phoenix 2013. This was the first time I applied to speak at a tech conference. It was so much fun and I learned an incredible amount of info on some topics I already knew quite a bit about!

I’ll be posting more about the takeaways from the weekend, but for now, here are the slides from WordPress for Authors. I’m available for quick q’s here in the comments or  via Twitter @betsela.

WP 101: Pages, WYSIWYG and Images @ WordCamp Phoenix 2013

I had a great time at WordCamp Phoenix and I do plan to post about some of the hundreds of takeaways… but for now I’d like to share the slides from my WP 101 class that I led on Friday Jan 18th at 11am.  I’m happy to answer quick questions here in the post comments or via twitter @betsela.

Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback — I’ll use it to make my next presentation stronger. And better timed!

Gmail Signature Frustrations

I’m sure you’ve been there. You hit reply in your Gmail inbox, type a quick response, and hit send. Then the heel of your hand smacks into your forehead for the usual “Doh!” You forgot to move your signature from below the quoted text to where it belongs — just below your response.

After a few responses back and forth, you find that the bottom of your email thread is decorated with a staircase of 3, 4… who knows how many more instances of your signature. How annoying!

Today, while again wondering why Google lets this baffling behavior persist, I became convinced that someone must have solved this problem by now. A quick search, and I immediately found the solution.

Get it Done

Go to Gmail Settings to Add Signature Tweaks

Google Labs released “Signature Tweaks” — apparently more than 5 years ago. (Why is this still in Labs, and not part of core Gmail, I have no idea.)

  1. Go to your Gmail Settings, and click the link for Labs.
  2. Do a quick search. I only had to type 3 letters — “sig” — to find what I wanted.
  3. When you see Signature Tweaks, click Enable. Save Changes.

Add Signature Tweaks to Gmail to add Signature at TOP of reply

That is IT. From this point on, your signature will appear above the quoted text when you reply. Phew.