Tag Archives: plugin

An Introduction To Automated Testing Of WordPress Plugins With PHPUnit

WordPress is a popular content management system for building websites because it is easy to get started with and a ton of themes and plugins are available to extend its feature set. The main reason WordPress has a lot of plugins and themes is because it’s easy for developers of any level to start building one. Most of its developers are not experienced, and they do not write tests for their work, perhaps because of the following reasons:

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An Introduction To Automated Testing Of WordPress Plugins With PHPUnit

Quick Wins For Improving Performance And Security Of Your Website

When it comes to building and maintaining a website, one has to take a ton of things into consideration. However, in an era when people want to see results fast, while at the same time knowing that their information online is secure, all webmasters should strive for a) improving the performance of their website, and b) increasing their website’s security.

Quick Wins For Improving Performance And Security Of Your Website

Both of these goals are vital in order to run a successful website. So, we’ve put together a list of five technologies you should consider implementing to improve both the performance and security of your website.

The post Quick Wins For Improving Performance And Security Of Your Website appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Quick Wins For Improving Performance And Security Of Your Website

Jekyll For WordPress Developers

Jekyll is gaining popularity as a lightweight alternative to WordPress. It often gets pigeonholed as a tool developers use to build their personal blog. That’s just the tip of the iceberg — it’s capable of so much more!

Jekyll For WordPress Developers

In this article, we’ll take on the role of a web developer building a website for a fictional law firm. WordPress is an obvious choice for a website like this, but is it the only tool we should consider? Let’s look at a completely different way of building a website, using Jekyll.

The post Jekyll For WordPress Developers appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Jekyll For WordPress Developers

Enhancing Grid Design With GuideGuide, A Plugin For Photoshop And Illustrator

Almost five years ago, I had the honor of writing a post on Smashing Magazine about my Photoshop panel GuideGuide. Since then it has seen wild success as the most installed third-party Photoshop extension, an achievement I’m quite proud. In that time, I’ve added some powerful features and, most recently, expanded it to Illustrator. This post will give you a taste of how GuideGuide can change the way you use guides in Photoshop and Illustrator.

Enhancing Grid Design with GuideGuide, A Plugin For Photoshop And Illustrator

If you’re one of the many people who already use GuideGuide, please read on. You may discover some unconventional uses that are not immediately apparent. I’ll provide a overview of the major features, and then give some examples of advanced and unusual ways it can be used to make you a more efficient designer.

The post Enhancing Grid Design With GuideGuide, A Plugin For Photoshop And Illustrator appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Enhancing Grid Design With GuideGuide, A Plugin For Photoshop And Illustrator

WordPress Responsive Images With Art Direction

Support for responsive images was added to WordPress core in version 4.4 to address the use case for viewport-based image selection, where the browser requests the image size that best fits the layout for its particular viewport.
Images that are inserted within the text of a post automatically get the responsive treatment, while images that are handled by the theme or plugins — like featured images and image galleries — can be coded by developers using the new responsive image functions and filters.

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WordPress Responsive Images With Art Direction

Lessons Learned From WordPress Plugin Support

A year and a half ago I released my first premium WordPress plugin, Advanced Ads. It’s true that once the plugin was out, my most important task was support. Support is a crucial element that determines not only the success of the project, but also how happy everyone will be, me included.
With this in mind, I constantly optimized my approach to providing support. Let me share with you what I learned.

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Lessons Learned From WordPress Plugin Support

Eliminate Jargon on Your Landing Pages With Our Free Chrome Extension

What would you think if you wound up on this landing page?

jargon-filled-landing-page copy

Check out some of the terms being used:

“The Next Generation of Awesome”
“Bleeding edge solution”
“Age of disruption”
“World class features”

Might your BS detector start going off?

These words are superlatives — meaningless filler. The language is flowery (and not in a good way).

And while this is an extreme example, jargonistic, superlative-laden landing pages are everywhere.

They lack specificity and don’t drive home any message. They aren’t persuasive and their unique value proposition is a blur. They make people feel lost  — like they just crawled out of a fallout shelter for the first time in 35 years.

brendan-fraser-lost
Wait, where am I?

The worst part? You could have meaningless drivel on your landing page and not even know it.

No sweat. We created a Chrome extension that can help (props to Henneke Duistermaat who inspired this whole idea with her post 17 Words to Stop Using on Your Landing Pages).

Here’s how it works:

  1. Download and install Unbounce’s Dejargonator Chrome Extension
  2. Run it on any landing page or website — offending phrases will be highlighted in red. (You can test it on this extra sleazy page here.)
  3. Hover over the red text and see what’s wrong:
  4. dejargonator-screenshot-2

  5. Finally, update your page to be
    • Less sleazy and superlative-y
    • More specific (and thereby more persuasive)

Simple enough? Download the plugin below.

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Eliminate Jargon on Your Landing Pages With Our Free Chrome Extension

3 Approaches To Adding Configurable Fields To Your WordPress Plugin

Anyone who has created a WordPress plugin understands the need to create configurable fields to modify how the plugin works. There are countless uses for configurable options in a plugin, and nearly as many ways to implement said options. You see, WordPress allows plugin authors to create their own markup within their settings pages. As a side effect, settings pages can vary greatly between plugins.
In this article we are going to go over three common ways you can make your plugin configurable.

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3 Approaches To Adding Configurable Fields To Your WordPress Plugin

Three Approaches To Adding Configurable Fields To Your WordPress Plugin


Anyone who has created a WordPress plugin understands the need to create configurable fields to modify how the plugin works. There are countless uses for configurable options in a plugin, and nearly as many ways to implement said options. You see, WordPress allows plugin authors to create their own markup within their settings pages. As a side effect, settings pages can vary greatly between plugins.

In this article we are going to go over three common ways you can make your plugin configurable. We will start by creating a settings page and create our fields using the default WordPress Settings API. I will then walk you through how to set up your fields with a custom handler. Finally, I will show you how to integrate a great configurable fields plugin Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) into your own plugin.

The post Three Approaches To Adding Configurable Fields To Your WordPress Plugin appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Three Approaches To Adding Configurable Fields To Your WordPress Plugin

11 Ways to Accelerate Page Load Time Before Your Prospects Bounce

Science of Speed
This photo is called “Split second before motorcycle crash” — no joke. Image via Skitterphoto.

The creative is stellar.

Headline and value prop impactful. Hero image delightful.

But peeps ain’t converting.

Because the single biggest conversion killer is lurking behind the scenes, completely untouched.

Which is a shame, because speed (or lack thereof) often has a bigger impact on campaign conversions than any of that other stuff.

The impact of speed

Google experienced a 20% traffic drop years ago as a result of a 0.5 second delay — 0.5!

Think that’s bad? If an ecommerce page fails to load in under 3 seconds, it stands to lose nearly half its traffic. As a result, some of the savviest online brands now load in under a second. Less than one second!

The impact of speed only becomes exacerbated on mobile, where limited processing power and spotty connections are the norm. According to Kinsta’s excellent page speed guide74% of people on mobile would abandon if the page doesn’t load in 5 seconds.

Mobile data
Image via Kinsta.

And this is a world where mobile internet usage is fast outpacing desktop. Where a single conversion event isn’t limited to a single page.

The point? If pages aren’t loading, ain’t nobody converting.

Yes, your headline is important. The value prop needs to be clear. A beautiful page is nice to have. Social proof critical to adding credibility.

But if fast loading times aren’t happening, then landing page conversions aren’t either.

Here’s how to fix that.

(Please note that you’ll probably need some technical help to implement some of the following recommendations.)

Page speed TLDR

Accelerate your page load time with these 11 tips and tricks

Grab the 300-word summary of Brad Smith’s actionable post.
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1. Clean up your code

Tidy code doesn’t just make your developer happy, it makes pages load quicker, too.

Reducing the size of site files, especially front-end ones, can have a big impact. Even small issues like excess spaces, indentations, line breaks and superfluous tags can hurt your page load time.

JavaScript is fun. It allows you add little details, like that funny snake or tail that follows a user’s mouse pointer around the screen. Clever! (Sarcasm!) Often, though, JavaScript can be overkill on a landing page. Same with Ajax and other similar extravagances.

Instead, KISS. If you focus on simplicity, there’s (almost) no need for extra stuff.

But if you’re dead-set on keeping your precious scripts (read that in your best Gollum/Sméagol voice), at least load your above-the-fold content first, which is Google’s recommended method.

Gollum
Whoa, someone’s touchy about their scripts. Image via GIPHY.

Find out how your page’s JavaScript is loading with Varvy’s handy JavaScript Usage Tool, and then work on optimizing.

2. Minify HTML & CSS

Jumping on the reducing requests bandwagon, minifying HTML and CSS will help you to package and deliver page data in the most streamlined way possible.

Admittedly, we’re getting out of my comfort zone here. If you’re confident in your technical ability, check out this helpful article. Otherwise open up Google’s PageSpeed Insights, drop in your URL and then send the results to a trusted developer.

3. Utilize GZIP compression

GZIP compression deals with content encoding to again minimize server requests made by your browser. Ouch — that sentence made my brain hurt.

In non-technical terms, GZIP compression reduces your file sizes to enable faster load times. If a more detailed explanation piques your interest, here’s a helpful article.

Use GIDNetwork to see what the current compression on your site looks like now, as well as to get a few ideas of how it could be improved. (Insert helpful developer here.)

4. Minimize redirects

301 redirects are a standard SEO-friendly practice used to tell both search engines and visitors that a page has permanently moved to a new location. It’s a common best practice used when campaigns and sites evolve or change over time, and can help you cut down on broken links or 404 errors.

Computer error
404 errors make everyone angry. Image via Giphy.

Trouble is, too many redirects can also negatively impact speed. So the question is: How many? In typical fashion, Google’s answer is vague — they simply suggest minimizing or trying to eliminate them all together, because they cause extra network trips to verify data (which can be a killer on mobile devices especially).

Screaming Frog can help by quickly identifying all of the redirects currently on your site. In the example below, we found a little over 14% of Runnersworld.com pages contain a redirect. Ouch.

Screaming Frog
How do you get a frog to scream? Toad-al up your redirects.

The key is to dig deeper. What types of redirects are you seeing and why? What are they trying to accomplish? Looking at the example above, there seems to be a lot of temporary 302 redirects from social sharing platforms that can probably be cleaned up to avoid slowing page speed. Here’s a detailed guide from Varvy for more.

5. Relocate scripts

Believe it or not, even script placement can affect load times.

For example, if your tracking scripts are located above the fold or in the <head> of your landing page, your browser will have to download and deal with those scripts before getting to the stuff people actually come to see (like the page content).

It should also go without saying that having duplicate scripts (which is pretty common when multiple people are working on the same page) will slow things down a bit.

And do you really need five analytics packages on that landing page? Probably not. Like most things you’ve read so far, simplify and minimize to reduce the back-and-forth between browsers and servers.

6. Limit WordPress plugins

“Easy.” you say. “Obvious!” you exclaim.

If it’s really so easy, then open up WordPress right now and look at how many plugins your team has installed for simple things like social sharing or tracking. Things that can — and should — be done by a professional so you can completely avoid having to install these plugins in the first place.

The problem is: taking a bunch of third-party tools built by different people and shoehorning them into a Frankenstein-esque page is a recipe for disaster.

If you’d like to diagnose which plugins are worth keeping and which need to be deactivated immediately, you’re not going to like the answer… add another plugin!

P3 (or the Plugin Performance Profiler) will measure your site’s plugin performance and measure their impact on load times. At least you can rest assured knowing that this one will serve some utility while it’s installed.

7. Upgrade hosting

If you have plans to someday make money from your website (so probably everyone reading this blog), paying $3 per month for Godaddy hosting is not going to cut it.

One big reason is that many cheap hosting solutions are shared, meaning you’re sharing server space with many other sites (whose own performance might drag down yours).

That might also mean limited control over what you’re able to affect or change to improve things like site speed. This is especially true for ecommerce sites, which can experience sudden traffic jumps and contain many large media files. Simply put, hosting can make or break your campaign.

If you know what you’re doing, PCMag does a decent job ranking and rating dedicated web hosting services.

Best web hosting

If you’re less sure of what you’re doing or would simply like to not worry about it, a managed hosting option is preferable. This is especially true for WordPress websites — besides speed improvements you’re also getting extra security against external threats plus backups for internal mistakes. The aforementioned Kinsta, WP Engine and Pagely are some of the most popular choices.

8. Resize images

Death, taxes and people not resizing images before uploading them. These are universal truths you can always count on. Also, Mashable publishing terrible articles.

Tweet “Death, taxes & people not resizing images before uploading them. These are universal truths you can always count on.”

Asking browsers to automatically squeeze your original 1200px image down to 600px every time your landing page is loaded, multiplied across all visits for all pages and posts, creates a ton of unnecessary extra work. (Especially on mobile devices with limited processing power and relatively poor connectivity.)

Ideally, resize images before uploading them to the server. If that’s too much work (I ain’t judging, I’m lazy too), at least use WordPress’ built-in tool to resize images for you.

Image resizer

Taking this time-consuming, menial step helps you limit potential errors in mediocre browsers like Internet Explorer, because, well, everything causes errors in Internet Explorer (or whatever they’re calling it these days).

9. Compress images

After resizing your images, the next step should be to compress them to again reduce file size.

This is another often overlooked step, with an infographic from Radware claiming that 45%(!) of the top 100 ecommerce sites don’t compress images.

But optimizing your images can be a low-hanging-fruit approach to quickly speed up loading times, drastically reducing the amount of space — and work — they require.

There are a number of fast, free tools out there, like TinyJPG or Compressor.io, which can significantly reduce file size. The test seen below using Compressor.io resulted in a 73% reduction! Multiply that across all of your landing page images and we’re talking serious results.

Image compressor screenshot

10. Deliver Images with a CDN

See a pattern here yet?

Delivering images with a Content Delivery Network (or CDN) is like calling in reinforcements from servers located closer to your site’s visitors. That means it will try to use the closest ones first, using every trick in the book to cut down on the time and effort required to deliver content from server to a user’s browser.

Popular ones like CloudFlare and MaxCDN can drastically improve performance on highly visual sites.

Image CDN
Image via Cloudflare.

11. External Hosting

Another prudent option is to move large files, like images, audio or video, off of your servers entirely and use an external hosting platform like Imgur for images or Wistia for videos.

While we’ve beat the importance of image size to a metaphorical death already, bigger files like audio and video should almost always be hosted externally.

That’s critical, because rich media adoption is immense. It’s predicted that a whopping 74% of internet traffic in 2017 will be video.

Beyond the performance issues, external hosting providers also offer additional benefits like increased audience reach or features that increase interactions and conversions. Wistia founder Chris Savage lays out a few more reasons why external hosting is a good idea, if you’re interested.

Conclusion

74% of people would leave a site if it doesn’t load within 5 seconds. Which means that even if you’re leveraging all the best practices in the world to get those conversions, people won’t stick around long enough to actually see any of it.

Page speed improvements can range from the basic (upgrading your hosting and removing unnecessary plugins) to the more advanced (minifying files). But anything is certainly better than nothing. Even paying extra attention to how you’re uploading images can go a long way to improving performance.

Yes, implementing all of these changes will be a time-consuming process. No doubt. But it’s also the best way to give your landing pages a fighting chance to convert visitors.

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11 Ways to Accelerate Page Load Time Before Your Prospects Bounce