Behind every successful client website project is a great project manager. Behind every successful project manager is a great set of tools! Here are the ones we use at WebDevStudios.
Behind every successful website project is a great project manager. Behind every successful project manager is a great set of project management tools. Project managers are essential to the life cycle of projects. They ensure that the projects stay on time and on budget from the moment the team kicks off development of a website through the end of the support phase.
Just like a carpenter cannot build without a hammer, we are not able to manage projects without our project management tools. They allow us to track tasks, timelines and budgets and communicate with our team and our clients. Here’s what we have in our tool box at WebDevStudios.
Communication is key to any project. Project managers are responsible for communicating timelines, requirements and deliverables to both the team and our clients. We communicate with our clients using Confluence, part of the Atlassian suite.
We are able to effectively share and collaborate on status updates, call agendas and meeting notes. We also use Zoom for conference calls with or without the camera on, based on our clients’ preference.
Internally, project managers communicate with their teams throughout the day, every
Part 1 of Notes on the topics covered in the WCPHX keynote I gave recently. Full video is embedded.
Effectively competing in a marketplace means you seek out blue oceans.
On the importance of optimizing and measuring your page cache hit rates. Ignore or whitelist unique cookies, URL parameters.
Are there Rough waters ahead? Be strategic about competing 2019 - your agility and speed is an asset.
Let’s first sum up our collective feelings regarding 2018 Now looking to 2019 - The fallout of messy Brexit negotiations, US–China Trade Tariffs, slumping global stock markets, an apparent housing slowdown here in the US, privacy breaches on Facebook, the current US government shutdown—these are just a sampling of the major 2018 events that seem to have caused fits and uncertainty for B2B providers and customers. By in large macro-level events like these are out of our hands.
History has shown that through every slump or downturn on the macro-economic scale, fortunes are, and can still be, made by scrappy entrepreneurs. Thus, the trick becomes to focus on what we can control. Inside our businesses and communities we can set the stage to capitalize on changing tastes, new market dynamics, and advances in technology.
Companies react to downturns in different ways. Manufacturers typically ride out an economic rough patch by dumping poorly performing products and laying off workers. Lifestyle/luxury firms typically increase their investment in marketing and advertising to make the most of a dwindling supply of ready buyers. Some make bets to lock in low pricing for consumables
A very much tongue-in-cheek look at what will happen this year. Nothing will be the same!
2019 is upon us and it has me thinking big. And since everyone else out there is telling you what will happen in the new year, I’m going to do the same thing: But with a twist. You see, this isn’t any old set of predictions. No, these will be more like trekking up a mountain to see a soothsayer. But only way better, since you won’t suffer from the fatigue of having to climb thousands of feet just to hear my thoughts.
This old grumpy designer has read literally tens of these “predict the year ahead” types of articles. And I’ve discovered that, although they mean well, they’re neither very fun or useful. So, I’m here to change the narrative.
But before we begin, just a word of warning. These predictions are absolutely huge. Like you’ve never seen before. And they are completely tongue-in-cheek, so don’t wager anything of value on them.
If you want to know what 2019 will bring, you’ve come to the right place. So, settle in with a cup of your favorite beverage and prepare to be dazzled.
I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t take full credit for this one. Back in
Sharing a few lessons learned in nearly 10yrs of Managed WordPress. TL;DR; Longevity = Mastery
12 years ago, my talented wife and I had an idea for something known today as “Managed WordPress Hosting.” Yes, I’m half of the inventor of managed WordPress hosting, which is now a multi-billion dollar hosting channel, and you’ve likely never heard of me.
That’s because Pagely, the managed WordPress company I co-founded isn’t venture funded, and it’s not on Fortune’s list of billion-dollar unicorns. We were then, and still are very much today - Indie Hackers.
While the lack of fame and community back-pats can get under my skin, it has far from deterred me, because Pagely is very much an anomaly, in the sense that the business employs dozens of highly skilled and engaged employees and spins off ample cash -- from real paying customers.
My wife and I own 85% of the company and the other 15% is optioned to our employees. We’re also debt free, and we’re proud to say revenue has grown year-over-year (YoY) since launch.
So if you’re looking for a post about growth hacking your way to TechCrunch (closest we ever got to TC was a 1 sentence mention in a competitor’s featured PR gush piece) or securing millions in outside
In this episode Carrie talks about: - How being yourself and embracing who you are is the way to provide a great experience for clients. - Working in a cube farm and feeling the soul sucking drain from days spent working in an environment that wasn’t challenging her. - Building something for one audience and having another one show up. - Writing an opinionated book that shows the real world of freelancing.
Today’s guest is Carrie Dils. Carrie is a freelancer, podcaster, writer, educator, and web developer. She runs a very popular blog where she shares her experiences as a business owner and teaches others how to build their own freelance businesses. Carrie didn’t start out as a developer. She came to it from a far more traditional business – a local coffee shop.
When Carrie left the corporate world early in her career, she visited a coffee shop that she fell in love with, and decided to recreate the experience in her home town.
After almost a decade working at Starbucks trying to build experience, she realized she wanted nothing to do with owning a coffee shop. Still, she was able to glean a lot of the details of running a business from the experience.
She first realized she was in love with freelancing when a radio station paid her $20/hr to make banner ads. She could work when she wanted, from wherever she wanted, and that was enough to get her hooked.
Despite the loving the freelance life, Carrie often found herself in situations where her clients wanted to hire her. However, it was through taking some of these opportunities that she realized just how much it meant
Big Data companies are abusing the trust of their users/customers. Is GDPR enough to reign in these bad actors?
“I’m sorry, so sorry.” In the 1960s, it was a hit song by the 15-year old American singer Brenda Lee, crooning about unrequited love. In the 21st century, “sorry, so sorry” has become the tragic modus operandi for banks, businesses and social media behemoths. Time and time again, mega companies exploit customer data for nefarious reasons, walk away with a slap on the wrist — and occasionally a hefty fine or two — and spit out a “we’ll do better” PR campaign. “Today, we’re renewing our commitment to you — and working to earn back your trust,” Wells Fargo wrote in an ad caption after being busted for opening millions of customer bank accounts without permission.
“From now on, [we’ll] do more to keep you safe and protect your privacy,” Facebook declared after a spree of bad press, tanking stocks, and public backlash over its handling of fake news and selling user information.
The reasons companies lie are obvious. The first is financial pressure: Stock prices and investors don’t always respond well to transparency. Second, ego. With no incentive to admit errors, businesses are sticking
OptinMonster now offers a free plan. Capture up to 100 leads/mo., 5,000 pageviews per month. Downside is it just comes with very basic features & targeting.
If you're not used to working from home, it can be a challenge. Here are some tips for making the best of it.
Web designers have the ability to work from just about anywhere. Still, just because something is technically possible doesn’t mean it’s easy. If you suddenly find yourself working remotely on a full-time basis, it can be a big adjustment. The situation is quite different from putting in a few extra hours from home here and there. And it’s miles away from reporting to a physical office each day.
To put it nicely: your entire work life has been thrown off-balance. In order to gain some level of comfort, you’ll need to adjust. But how?
Here’s some advice for those of you who have been unexpectedly forced into working from home.
First, Understand That This Will Be Different
The first part of this requires a bit of acceptance. Your routine has been tossed out the window, and you’re dealing with an unprecedented worldwide crisis. So, no – it’s not normal and it’s not what you’re used to. The sooner you can accept that fact, the better chance you’ll have to succeed.
Therefore, forget about creating an exact replica of life back in the office. Things like your work hours, available hardware and software, along with your overall
A few ideas on how web professionals can use their skills to help during a time of need.
As I write this, the lives of potentially billions of people have been altered in one way or another. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an untold amount of changes – both big and small – not to mention tragic. To be sure, this is a crisis on a global scale. But this isn’t the only event that can disrupt our lives. True, most may not be this widespread. Yet, for those affected, it can seem that way.
It got me thinking about the role web designers and developers can play in times like these. Whether it’s a pandemic, a natural disaster or some other unforeseen challenge, the web is often a great source of information.
It has the potential to bring together communities of all sizes – and quickly. This can literally be the difference in whether someone is safe or in danger. Or simply knowing what resources are available to them during a difficult time.
So, how do we help with all of this? Let’s take a look at some ways web professionals can pitch in.
Help Clients Spread the Word
A crisis can really wreak havoc on all sorts of different businesses. In the case of COVID-19, everything from mom and pop restaurants to massive sporting leagues have been temporarily
GravityForms is likely the most successful independently run plugin for WordPress. This case study goes into the 8 challenges Pagely helped solve GF solve to scale/grow their business.
Interesting comparison of how other CMSs implement content blocks. With Gutenberg on its way, I found this very interesting.
Imagine a very simple blog. Blog posts are just a title and a paragraph or three. In that case, having a CMS where you enter the title and those paragraphs and hit publish is perfect. Perhaps some metadata like the date and author come along for the ride. I'm gonna stick my neck out here and say that title-and-content fields only is a CMS anti-pattern. It's powerful in its flexibility but causes long-term pain in lack of control through abstraction. Let's not have a conversation about CMS's as a whole though, let's scope this down to just that content area issue.
Now imagine we have a site with a bit more variety. We're trying to use our CMS to build all sorts of pages. Perhaps some of it is bloggish. Some of it more like landing pages. These pages are constructed from chunks of text but also different components. Maps! Sliders! Advertising! Pull quotes!
Here are four different examples, so you can see exactly what I mean:
I bet that kind of thing looks familiar.
You can absolutely pull this off by putting all those blocks into a single content field. Hey, it's just HTML! Put the HTML you need for all these blocks right into that content field and it'll do what you want.
There's a couple
Part of a developer's job often involves integrating 3rd party services. But now it looks as though some of those providers are changing the game on us.
For years, web designers have relied on free tools from the likes of Google, Facebook and other large companies to enhance the things we build. We have happily used these offerings to analyze site statistics, serve up fonts and integrate social media. Just about any type of high-end functionality these companies have to offer has been readily available to us – usually without any upfront monetary cost. But things are changing. Google, for one, is now requiring us to add billing information to our accounts if we want to continue to use their Maps API. And the recent revelations of the whole Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal have shaken the very foundation of trust when it comes to securing user data.
Of course, those aren’t the only examples of the changing landscape that one can find. But they do represent a sort of bait-and-switch of the ideals that these companies like to preach. And it leaves a sour taste in the mouth of those of us who have helped to spread this technology in our web projects.
There Was Always a Catch
Whether or not we realized it at the time, many of these “free” services we have added to websites had a cost attached to them. The companies
Brian Krogsgard is announcing CommerceNotebook, which will follow a similar-ish model of PostStatus.
Commerce Notebook is a new site aimed to inform, educate, and provide resources for eCommerce professionals, store owners, and enthusiasts. Welcome to Commerce Notebook!
The goal for this project is to cater to people that know and love eCommerce, so they can do what they do better and more informed.
Who’s behind Commerce Notebook?
Commerce Notebook is brought to you by the same team that’s behind Post Status — a preeminent website geared specifically for WordPress professionals.
My name is Brian Krogsgard (here’s my personal website and Twitter, where I share most stuff). I’m a writer, developer, eCommerce store owner, and entrepreneur. With this site, I’ll share the stories of others in the trenches of eCommerce, as well as my own journeys.
Prior to running my own content-centric business, I was a developer and web consultant. My first eCommerce website build was in 2011. I have worked on — in some capacity or another — a few dozen eCommerce stores since.
Post Status launched on January 21st, 2013 — four years to the day prior to Commerce Notebook. I cover eCommerce within the WordPress landscape on Post Status, and will continue
Jason shares a few good reasons NOT to include a sidebar next to your blogs. I'm curious if anyone else has tested this and is willing to share some conversion metrics.
Sidebars can have their purposes, but in most cases there is probably a better way to give your users the same functionality and create better conversions. The post + sidebar layout is fairly common across WordPress themes. With widgetized areas allowing site owners the ability to add all kinds of functionality, ads, Twitter feeds, and more along the side of their site.
Often times at the expense of pulling the users attention away from the content they landed on the site to view in the first place.
Typically sidebars are used to drive users to additional content or serve up ads, if that’s your revenue stream. But you also want users to view your content. Not bounce off to a third-party advertiser, right?
Sidebars distract users from your content
Most sidebars are going to be laid out at the top of your page alongside the beginning of your content. Best case scenario: Someone reads your entire article and scrolls back up to view your sidebar.
Just kidding. That doesn’t happen.
So rather than showing your user related posts in a sidebar before they’ve even read the current post, you can add them after your post when a user is ready to move on. Or you can include a link
The largest and most rated Addons for popular Page builder Elementor is Essential Addons, they just released, what they are calling a very dramatic 3.0, which optimize and make Elementor website a lot faster. Read more and test to learn more.
After reaching 1 Million downloads in WordPress.org, our team decided to go all in on a single idea and commit to something bigger and better than we had ever built before. We decided to release Essential Addons 3.0 to reinventing how addons for Elementor works, reinventing ourselves in a way that would change the page building experiences for our customers. Today, we are incredibly delighted to announce the release of Essential Addons 3.0. We firmly believe this new release is going to be an absolute game changer by providing incredible site-wide performance improvements.
After hitting 1 Million Downloads, we promised that we will be bringing something big in the coming future. Thanks to the constant support & feedback from our around 200K+ active users, the moment you all have been waiting for has finally arrived. To summarize, we have completely overhauled our entire plugin & took it to a completely new level. So without further ado, let's get into more details on what you can expect from Essential Addons 3.0.
Experience Blazing Fast Speed
Imagine getting lightning fast speed on your website? Well, that's exactly what Essential Addons 3.0 is offering by optimizing the overall
With left-pad removed from NPM, applications and widely used bits of open-source infrastructure were unable to obtain the dependency, and thus fell over. Thousands, worldwide. Left-pad was fetched 2,486,696 downloads in just the last month, according to NPM. It was that popular. To 'fix the Internet', Laurie Voss, CTO and cofounder of NPM, took the unprecedented step of restoring the unpublished left-pad 0.0.3 that apps required.
And so the internet broke.
People confirmed their biases:
And people got angry:
Everyone involved here has my sympathy. The situation sucks for everyone, not least Azer (who owes none of you ingrates a damn thing!). But reading the GitHub thread should leave you thoroughly exasperated, because this problem is very easily solved.
Bundle your code, even if it’s not for the browser
Just to recap:
left-pad was unpublished
Babel uses fixed versions of its dependencies, one of which (transitively) was left-pad
When you install Babel, you also install all its dependencies (and their dependencies)
Therefore all old versions of Babel were hosed (until left-pad was un-unpublished)
People blame Azer
The key item here is number 3. Suppose that instead of listing all those dependencies in package.json,
I am currently building SaaS product for WP with JS and this article represents 99% of my feelings while choosing a framework — the one which will be there once the project is complete.
Hey, I got this new web project, but to be honest I haven’t coded much web in a few years and I’ve heard the landscape changed a bit. You are the most up-to date web dev around here right?
-The actual term is Front End engineer, but yeah, I’m the right guy. I do web in 2016. Visualisations, music players, flying drones that play football, you name it. I just came back from JsConf and ReactConf, so I know the latest technologies to create web apps.
Cool. I need to create a page that displays the latest activity from the users, so I just need to get the data from the REST endpoint and display it in some sort of filterable table, and update it if anything changes in the server. I was thinking maybe using jQuery to fetch and display the data?
Ready made templates to use with your client. Remember, your time should be worth much more than a cup of coffee.
If you’ve been in the design business for a while, you’ve likely heard this from potential clients before, “you’re too expensive!” or something to that effect, anyhow. So what do you do?
You’ve got a few options! Here are some handy-dandy email scripts I’ve created that you can copy+paste, and tweak to send to those potential clients!
Note: These scripts are not intended to be used verbatim, but to be edited to fit your own situation and level of professionalism. Use these scripts as a starting point, but tweak them to work for you!
Option One – Educate Her on Why You’re Awesome
I realize that this is a large investment, but I can assure you that I am delivering top-notch service that you won’t receive with a low-cost alternative. My clients have seen results such as ____ and ____ because I work with you to really make sure that you’re receiving a design that works for you and your brand. I’m not just creating a _____, I’m helping you achieve your goals.
If you don’t have the funds available at this time, I understand. Please keep me in mind for the future. If you are able and willing to invest
A sister project to VersionPress is coming in July. It is a fully hosted platform with great staging, speed and developer UX.
I’m happy to announce that VersionPress is getting a sister project: VersionPress.com. It is a hosted WordPress platform (a managed WordPress host if you will) that takes the best ideas from VersionPress and packages them in an easy to use interface and adds things like backups, security and world-class infrastructure. It has full compatibility with WordPress plugins and doesn’t require Git so it’s a perfect place to host almost any WordPress site. The platform will fully launch in July 2017 with pre-orders available today. Go check it out at https://preview.versionpress.com/.
We started working on VersionPress in 2014 to bring full version-control to WordPress. The benefits if this is achieved are immense: undo button for everything, the possibility to merge databases between environments (staging <-> live, developers between themselves, etc.), keeping track of who did what and many others. It feels almost magical.
We also learned that there will be two major challenges:
WordPress plugins. They can do almost anything to the database and boy they do. Even those well-written must be explicitly supported and while we’re building an infrastructure
A funny take on all the pitfalls of client communication, wrapped up in a pirate infographic. What's not to like? :)
You can’t blame your clients for not knowing that negative space is supposed to be empty, or that comic sans is an abomination. But you can't forgive them for assuming that your time is free. Here is our rundown of the worst offenders:
How do you protect yourself against these fiendish customers? Because your time is your most precious resource, you need to track every minute to see where it's going.
Toggl was actually built for doing just that - just follow this link to sign up and give it a try. You'll like it (and your accountant will too).
Once you've got an idea of where your time is really going, you'll be in a much better position to deal with clients who try to steal it.
Below, we've picked out some common client problems agencies run into, and a few solutions we’ve learned along the way.
So who's giving you trouble?
My client won’t stop calling/emailing/talking to me
My client thinks everything is urgent
My client is asking for impossible things
1. My client is really good at haggling!
Every argument they make seems like it's coming from a Harvard economist (and probably is), while your arguments come off as “I like money”.
The reason why people
James Laws, founder of Ninja Forms, shares data on the impact auto-renewals have had on his business. Even after only two weeks he sees an obvious spike and improvement. Valuable data for any plugin shop or business owner.
140 characters isn’t enough to reply to the inquiries about the impact of automatic renewals on our business. Because of this I thought I would write-up a quick post with the backstory, how we’ve implemented automatic renewals, and perhaps some closing thoughts. Let me be clear. Automatic renewals are not some sort of new business technique that I’m sharing with you. I’m not under some sort of delusion that I am revealing some little known revenue boosting secret. The fact of the matter is that WordPress businesses, like my own, have been behind the curve in a lot of commonly held practices. This is just one of many.
How it all began
A little over three years ago I was at Pressnomics 2 with my business partner. It was our first ever business conference and we went to it with absolutely no agenda. When we got there we heard about all the people who were trying to make deals and partnerships and felt like we were really unprepared for such conversations. That was all during the first day, but by evening we had regrouped and started thinking a little more strategically. The pursuit of the big thing was in full swing and I can honestly tell you that there are relationships