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July 25, 2014

WPTavern: WordPress.com Moves to Standardize Theme Support for Site Logos

WordPress.com introduced a new site logo feature today with the goal of standardizing the way themes present logo upload. When it comes to data portability, you’re usually out of luck with logos. Ordinarily, when you change to a new theme, you lose your logo. Each theme developer has a different way of incorporating logo upload, but it’s not portable across themes.

The new site logo feature allows you to optionally display the site’s title and tagline along with the logo, which will automatically appear on any of WordPress.com’s supported themes. All future themes will come with the site logo feature and WordPress.com developers are working to add support to previously released themes.

site-logo

As WordPress.com moves to standardize theme support for site logos, the rest of the WordPress ecosystem may soon follow suit. The Jetpack team is considering adding the site logos feature into the mix after getting it running on WordPress.com, making it possible for self-hosted WordPress sites to enjoy logo portability. The availability of a standardized site logo plugin would improve data portability across the board, whether it comes through Jetpack or another community-supported plugin. It would also help theme developers everywhere to be more efficient when building products.

Brian Krogsgard recently published a piece proposing that WordPress.com and Jetpack should lead the way toward standardizing custom post types so that users can easily move from theme to theme without losing data.

But if you have a post type for a portfolio, or testimonials, or staff bios, or something more generic, it could be a great thing to standardize so that different themes could support the same post type, which would result in better transitions for users from theme to theme.

Standardizing CPTs also helps theme developers create designs that can be used with any number of third-party extensions. Two plugins may use the same prefix to create testimonials and the user has the option the select the one he thinks is best.

Standardizing theme support for logos is in that same vein. If you hope to be able to use this feature with self-hosted WordPress themes, keep an eye on Automattic’s site logos repo to see where it goes. If theme developers can make it easier for users to move from theme to theme, they’re likely to stick with WordPress and redesign more often.

by Sarah Gooding at July 25, 2014 02:16 AM under data portability

July 24, 2014

WPTavern: Hashcash.io Adds Support for Comabating BuddyPress Spam

buddypress-wallpapers

It’s no secret that BuddyPress sites attract a serious amount of registration spam. Plugins such as BuddyPress reCAPTCHA, BuddyPress Security Check, SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam, and BuddyPress Honeypot are either ineffective, inconvenient, or not well maintained. The often-recommended, though unfortunately named, WangGuard plugin is moderately successful at stopping BuddyPress spam, but is linked up to a commercial service.

When a new plugin comes along with support for combating BuddyPress spam, community managers take note. This week we’ve been following the Hashcash.io WordPress plugin, which utilizes a unique approach to eliminating spam on registration, login, and comment forms. Pavel Karoukin, the project’s creator, has a strategy to capitalizing on spammers by using the proof-of-work concept in combination with open technologies to generate Dogecoin profits for site admins.

In the latest 1.0.6 release of the Hashcash plugin, Karoukin added support for BuddyPress and sites that use Thesis themes. The update adds the Hashcash unlock switch to the BuddyPress signup form, which uses a different registration process than the regular WordPress form.

registration

The Hashcash plugin enables BuddyPress site admins to protect their registration forms in addition to login and comment forms. Keys for Hashcash.io are automatically generated within the WordPress admin, making it quick and easy to set up.

Essentially, Hashcash.io stops spammers by forcing the user’s browser to do math. Hashcash plugin users have complained about the painfully slow mobile experience. Karoukin is currently working on an idea where calculations will be happening in the background, so that in most cases users will not be waiting on the browser. “Yesterday I brainstormed some ideas on how to make it even less painful for users (including mobile users.) The concept will stay the same, but UX will be different,” he said.

As far as BuddyPress spam-blocking plugins go, Hashcash is a fairly simple and relatively unobtrusive way to ensure that no bots register for your network. It also has excellent support for accessibility guidelines. The developer is very responsive to feedback and is continually evolving the plugin to become a truly painless solution on the human user end.

If the project succeeds at reaching the critical mass required to make it profitable for website owners, BuddyPress site admins will be in a good position to capitalize on the steady onslaught of registration spam. In the meantime, the Hashcash plugin provides a decent method of deterring spam, even without the cash feature.

by Sarah Gooding at July 24, 2014 06:58 PM under wordpress spam plugins

WPTavern: WPBeginner Reaches Funding Goal To Build Two New Schools

Earlier this month, WPBeginner hosted a huge giveaway to celebrate its 5th birthday. Alongside the giveaway, Syed Balkhi wanted to build two schools this year in Guatemala through the Pencils of Promise charity. To do so, he needed $50,000. He ended up with $50,584. Once the schools are built, Balkhi will travel to Guatemala to take photos and videos.

WPBeginner Funding Goal ReachedWPBeginner Funding Goal Reached

When asked if he was surprised by how well the campaign did, Balkhi said, “Yes I was really surprised that we had such a good turn around from the community compared to last year.” I also asked him what he plans to do for next years charity event, “the goal for next year is to build 3 schools.”

Three schools equals $75,000 which will require more companies to become platinum sponsors. However, Balkhi is not worried for two reasons. There will be more WordPress companies this time next year and existing ones will likely be larger.

The event is becoming an annual tradition with each year promising to be bigger than the last. The success of this charitable event is another indication of how the WordPress community can rally together to support a great cause.

by Jeff Chandler at July 24, 2014 04:50 PM under wpbeginner

WPTavern: Brian Richards Leaves WebDevStudios To Work On WPSessions Full-Time

After nearly two years at WebDevStudios acting as a development lead, Brian Richards is stepping down to spend more time on his side project, WPSessions. Richards is the lead developer of the Startbox theme framework and is one of the organizers of WordCamp Grand Rapids set to take place August 15-17, 2014.

WPSessions Logo

WPSessions was launched in 2013 and provides high quality content to help train the greater WordPress community. Richards pays presenters for their expertise and time to give high quality presentations on an ongoing basis. Since the launch, there have been sessions on how to be a better presenter at WordCamps, working with BuddyPress, and security for developers.

The success of the site has even surprised Richards, “I had no idea WPSessions would catch on like it has. I thought it would just be a fun little thing for me to do on the side and learn lots of cool things.” The site generates revenue by selling tickets to each session. The majority of sessions are priced at $30. However, the site offers a VIP membership account that allows members to download the entire library of sessions, participate in the community, and learn directly from professionals. VIP membership is $24.75/mo, making it cheaper than purchasing tickets to each session.

A Chance To Win A Trip To WordCamp San Francisco 2014

The Big WPSessions GiveawayThe Big Giveaway

To thank VIP members that have supported the site, Richards is hosting an incredible give away. He will give one lucky VIP Member a $2,000 USD cash prize specifically so they can join him at WordCamp San Francisco 2014. Richards describes his first time at WordCamp San Francisco as “beyond amazing” and wants to pass on the opportunity to someone else. He’ll also purchase three VIP’s a full-year membership to any other training site of their choice, up to $350 per membership.

The giveaway is exclusively for VIP members. WPSessions has a maximum of 100 VIP accounts available. Richards told the Tavern, “only half of those are filled.” Even if all the VIP slots are filled, the odds of winning a prize are 1 in 25.

The drawing takes place on August 1st but everyone who registers as a VIP Member by 11:59pm PST on July 31st, 2014 is eligible to win.

The Future Of WPSessions

WPSessions continues to evolve and will soon offer courses. “So far, most presenters have been almost as excited about this as I am,” Richards said. The first of these courses is Writing Your First Plugin by Pippin Willamson. In the future, a members only forum will be created to discuss courses, sessions, and client work. It will also be used to generate ideas and provide insight into what type of material members want to see. There’s also a members only discount section in the works.

When asked what he thinks is his competition, Richards said, “I don’t know if I have any competition, to be honest. I think of WPSessions as more of a compliment to things like WebDesign.com, BobWP, WP101, etc, not a competitor.” The site has the support of several thought leaders in the WordPress community such as Chris Lema.

WPSessions has a simple focus – to educate you by bringing incredible talent together to focus on specific topics you need to know. They could charge much, much more, but their focus isn’t on money as much as it is education.

Richards left a senior position at one of the most well-known WordPress development firms to focus on WPSessions. Despite not making the same amount of income, he’s committed to making sure the site becomes the best education resource for new WordPress users and developers alike. What started out as an experiment is turning into an opportunity for Richards to achieve one of his lifelong dreams.

by Jeff Chandler at July 24, 2014 03:21 PM under wpsessions

WordPress.tv: Walter Ebert: Die .htaccess richtig nutzen


Walter Ebert: Die .htaccess richtig nutzen

by WordPress.tv at July 24, 2014 03:19 PM under configuration

WordPress.tv: Josh Broton: You Don’t Need jQuery


Josh Broton: You Don’t Need jQuery

by WordPress.tv at July 24, 2014 03:13 PM under JavaScript

WordPress.tv: Dietrich Koch: Pages als Lieferanten für Widgets


Dietrich Koch: Pages als Lieferanten für Widgets

by WordPress.tv at July 24, 2014 03:10 PM under widgets

Matt: Smaller Temples

What caused the problem with movie theaters is not Netflix, but YouTube. What is making the old temples crumble is not smaller temples, but it’s rather this kind of polytheism — you know, you make your own gods.

Paola Antonelli, a curator of the MoMA and apparently their first web designer, quoted in Megan Garber’s article The Most Modern Curator.

by Matt Mullenweg at July 24, 2014 03:01 PM under Asides

WP iPhone: Version 2.9 of WordPress for Android

The WordPress for Android 2.9 release is now available in the Google Play Store. This release includes some exciting new features, enhancements, and bug fixes.

Blog Discovery

Blog discovery is a new feature in the Reader that lets you:

  • Find new blogs (based on recommendations).
  • Preview a blog and read posts before following it.
  • Manage your tags and blog subscriptions.

blog-discovery-feature

Publish Icon Button

We replaced the publish icon button with a contextual text button. Whether you’re saving a draft, publishing or scheduling a post, or updating one, this new button will display your action, depending on your current task.

How Quick Photo works.

Faster Notifications and Stats Refresh

We updated the Notifications feature to use Simperium technology, which will sync your notifications quickly and efficiently.

We also know you love viewing your Stats, so we improved them to refresh faster than ever before.

Interface Improvements

  • Reintroduction of the refresh button in all refreshable views, along with the pull-to-refresh gesture.
  • Pull-to-refresh tip bar has been replaced by a less aggressive, self-hiding message.
  • Save dialog has been removed, and all posts are now auto-saved when you close the edit post view.
  • Reblogging interface redesign in the Reader.
  • Sharing image, video, text, or link via WordPress for Android now remembers the previous choice.

General Changes

  • Posts and pages auto-save feature has been improved.
  • Fixed bugs related to statistics (only affecting Jetpack users) and image handling.
  • Reader improvements to fill gaps in time between two syncs.
  • As we announced earlier, we dropped Android 2.3 support. Current (2.9) and later versions need Android 4.0 or later.
  • New translations: Hebrew and Basque.
  • SNI (Server Name Indication) support.
  • Minor bug fixes.

What’s Next?

A big thanks to all of the contributors who worked on this release: @beaucollins, @daniloercoli, @maxme, @nbradbury, @roundhill, and @sendhil! You can keep up with the development progress at http://make.wordpress.org/mobile and can also follow the app on Twitter @WPAndroid. If you need support or want to send us suggestions, please visit our forums.

by Maxime at July 24, 2014 12:15 PM under Releases

WP iPhone: WordPress for Android: No Longer Paying the Gingerbread Tax

gingerbread-manWay back in 2011 Google released Android 4.0 (“Ice Cream Sandwich”), a major update that substantially improved the platform both for developers and for end users. This left developers with a problem: how do they take advantage of all the new features without leaving users of older devices stranded?

For most developers the answer has been to support both older and newer devices. This requires a lot of work, but it’s worth it when it means many more people can use your software.

The downside is this approach slows development, resulting in longer delays between releases. It also means developers sometimes don’t take advantage of the latest Android features, because doing so requires more time and testing to make sure the app continues to work on older devices.

We’ve followed this approach for quite a while with WordPress for Android, supporting everything from the latest devices to ones running Android 2.3 (“Gingerbread”). At the same time we’ve been seeing the usage of our app decline on Gingerbread, to the point that it’s now less than 10%.

This means over 90% of our users are paying a “Gingerbread tax” – waiting longer for new versions and not seeing features that take advantage of their phones – so that we can continue supporting older devices.

We’ve decided to abolish this tax. Starting with version 2.9 of WordPress for Android – due later this month – new versions will only support devices running Android 4.0 or later. If you’re using an older phone, the previous version of our app will still appear in Google Play and you’ll still be able to use it.

We’ll be honest: our developers – including myself – are happy about this because it’ll make us more productive. But the thing we’re the happiest about is that it will result in a faster, smaller, better app for the large majority of our users.

by Nick Bradbury at July 24, 2014 12:15 PM under WordPress

WP iPhone: WordPress for Android 2.8

We’re pleased to bring you WordPress for Android Version 2.8, which offers the following improvements:

What’s new

  • App startup time has been reduced, and the Statistics screen will load faster.
  • The app is now available in Turkish, English (UK), and offers improved support for Traditional Chinese.
  • Samsung users will now be able to use the app in multi-window.
  • Notification and Comment screens have been reworked to enhance the user experience on small tablets.

Check out the GitHub milestone for more info.

Download

Download it now from Google Play.

Thanks

A huge thank you to the contributors who helped make this release happen:
@anirudh24seven, @daniloercoli, @maxme, @mixpanelsteve, @nbradbury, @roundhill, @sendhil

Be sure to follow WPAndroid for all of the latest updates.

by Maxime at July 24, 2014 12:15 PM under WordPress for Android

WP iPhone: Pull-to-Refresh and More Added in Latest Update

The latest update of WordPress for Android is now available. Version 2.7 brings some great new features along with it. Read on to find out more!

Pull-to-Refresh

Pull to Refresh
You can now refresh content in the app by using the familiar pull-to-refresh gesture. Just swipe down on any screen in the app and you’ll get the freshest content available for that screen.

Performance Improvements

We also worked hard on making the app perform faster and more efficiently behind the scenes:

  • Your stats have been optimized to load and scroll faster than ever before.
  • Posts and Pages now support infinite scroll so you can easily load more content.
  • Media upgrades let you see content faster and scroll more smoothly.
  • We improved the post editor — it now uses less of your device’s memory when adding media to a post.

Much More

This release includes many more small enhancements and fixes. Curious what they are? Check out the GitHub milestone for more info.

Excited for the update? Download it now from Google Play.

Contributor Thanks & What’s Next

We owe a big thanks to the contributors who helped make this release happen: @nbradbury, @maxme, @roundhill, @daniloercoli and @aagam-shah

Up next, we want to focus on post drafts and even better media management.

Be sure to follow WPAndroid for all of the latest updates.

by Dan at July 24, 2014 12:15 PM under wordpress app

WP iPhone: Now Available: New Reader, Easier Setup and Improved UI

WordPress for Android 2.6

The latest update to WordPress for Android includes a new reading and setup experience, as well as significant updates to the user interface. Here are some of the highlights of this release.

New Reader

The app Reader has been completely redesigned, and now provides a much-improved, native reading experience. You’ll definitely notice its speed — posts appear in a snap, and images fade in as they load. You can also view users that have commented or liked posts, as well as edit the list of tags that you follow. We’ve revamped the like, reblog, and comment interfaces to make it easier than ever to respond to posts that strike your fancy.

Redesigned Blog Setup

When signing in to the app or creating an account on WordPress.com, you’ll notice a brand new user interface that makes it super-simple to start blogging. If you keep multiple blogs on your account, they will all be automatically added for you. You can also hide whichever blogs you don’t wish to work on in the app.

UI Improvements

We’ve given the app a facelift, including a new color scheme, a refined navigation drawer layout, and sharp-looking lists in notifications, posts, pages and comments.

You’ll also notice some changes to the post editor, with larger images and a new Post Settings area where you’ll manage post data such as status, post formats, and categories, among others. The post content area will now go full screen while you are editing, to give you maximum space to focus on your content. Give the app a try here:

Download the update today from Google Play.

What’s next?

A big thanks to all of the contributors who worked so hard on this release: aerych, daniloercoli, Jason-Chen, maxme, nbradbury and roundhill!

The mobile team isn’t stopping here! We have pretty big plans for the months to come and the rest of 2014. You can keep up with the development progress over at http://make.wordpress.org/mobile. You can also follow the app on twitter @WPAndroid.

by Dan at July 24, 2014 12:15 PM under WordPress

Post Status: WordPress.com and Jetpack should lead the way toward standardizing custom post types

themefoundry-bailey

Two themes were released in the last few days by a couple of theme shops I hugely respect: Bailey by The Theme Foundry (above) and Designer by Array (below).

array-designer

Both themes are for portfolio websites, and both themes use a custom post type for the portfolio.

What’s interesting, is that both themes are offering support for a common portfolio custom post type: the one on WordPress.com and the one coming soon to Jetpack 3.1.

For years we’ve been talking about the importance of not “locking in” users to CPTs bundled with themes. At some point, that gained decent adoption, but people still tended to just package the same code that was in their theme and put it in a separate plugin — a fine practice for sure. But it’s not a practice that makes it much easier to go from one portfolio theme to another; rather it’s a good way to be able to keep your content and support it with custom templates in some new theme.

What does it mean to standardize custom post types?

At its core, a custom post type requires a registration name. It’s common practice to prefix custom post type names, just like is best for any other WordPress thing. For example, if you have two eCommerce plugins installed (because people do strange things), it wouldn’t be ideal for both to register a post type named “product”, because a conflict could exist.

However, for many things, standard post type names make for better portability between themes. If you’re running eCommerce, it’s pretty specific to a particular eCommerce plugin. But if you have a post type for a portfolio, or testimonials, or staff bios, or something more generic, it could be a great thing to standardize so that different themes could support the same post type, which would result in better transitions for users from theme to theme.

WordPress.com and Jetpack can lead the way

WordPress.com and Jetpack have a great opportunity on this front. WordPress.com has a ton of websites and is a significant player in the theme market; most WordPress.com theme makers also release their themes for self-hosted installs.

As more WordPress.com themes begin to support more than blog-style content, WordPress.com is slowly enabling support for more custom post types. This means that WordPress.com — and Jetpack, it’s WordPress.org bridge — can lead the way in establishing some standardized custom post types for WordPress.

Bailey and Designer are great examples of this in action. Forefront, a business theme by Automattic, also has support for testimonials, which would work for their self-hosted version as well.

Current support for standard custom post types

Currently, Jetpack and WordPress.com support four post types:

  • Testimonials
  • Food menus
  • Comics
  • Portfolios (coming in the next version)

Really only portfolios and testimonials are mainstream styles of content. The other two were pretty theme specific add-ons, which Jetpack really just supported to aid transitions of .com users moving to .org.

There are many common post types that Jetpack and WordPress.com could continue to enable, including but not limited to the following:

  • Locations
  • FAQs
  • Services
  • Staff / Bios

There are many relatively common types of custom post types. And I’m beginning to think that some just don’t need prefixes, which would make them more transportable.

This is the kind of common support that is easy to make global, or non-prefixed, and also easy for developers to opt out of. If, for some reason, a developer had a common CPT use case that wouldn’t work well ported elsewhere, they could still use a separate plugin with a prefixed post type, and theme users could account for that when they decide to use the theme.

But for many common post types, I think not prefixing could be the way of the future; and I think Jetpack and WordPress.com are in a good place to support that.

What about metadata?

One of the concerns for this proposal is around meta data and custom fields. A custom post type often requires custom meta data fields to be registered, which are pretty core to the heart of the post type.

Barring a more structured core meta data api, this is a tricky issue. Different plugins name, store, and handle meta data much differently from one another, even if the field is relatively similar. For instance, a “job title” custom field could be handled many different ways from one implementation to the next, making common support for a custom field tough.

I don’t really have the answer to this. Do we prioritize what is important to standardize versus what is not? So, is the post type important to save but the metadata not so? I don’t know, and I lean towards not believing that. So maybe this dream of mine is limited to the most basic of fields in CPTs, or maybe Jetpack could strong arm the custom field naming conventions too. I’m not sure.

Build for the majority

No matter how we determine the specifics of standardization, it’s important to remember that we work for the majority. We need to make this easy on the end user, and as seamless between different themes and plugins as possible. That’s why I like what The Theme Foundry and Array have done with their new themes. They are making their stuff “just work” whether their user is on .com, .org, or moves from one to the other. Or, you could even go from one of their themes to the other, and it will work.

I talked to Jetpack team lead at Automattic, George Stephanis, and he says their reasons for the support are mostly practical:

The main reason that we’re shipping the CPTs that we are is for compatibility with WordPress.com.  If there’s a CPT we use on WordPress.com, it’s going to be abstracted out of the theme it’s meant for, so that other themes can use it as well, so we try to get them shipped in Jetpack for users that want to move seamlessly between the self-hosted and WordPress.com ecosystems.

I talked to Mike McAlister about my concept, and he agrees as well:

I agree with this argument. If they [Jetpack] don’t, no one will and we continue down the road of non-standardization.

And I also asked Corey McKrill — developer at The Theme Foundry — about the details of their integration, and they took it a step further, by using the Jetpack CPT but not requiring it:

We believe the theme should “just work”, so we didn’t want it to require the full Jetpack plugin as a dependency. However, if the user does have Jetpack installed, the theme will use the code from the plugin, rather than the internal version. (We did something similar with the Infinite Scroll functionality in our Oxford theme.) And of course, in terms of content portability, if a user creates a portfolio with Bailey and then switches to a different theme, they can install Jetpack to continue having access to their projects.

Corey also makes the good point that this notion of building on plugin functionality isn’t limited to custom post types; they did the same for infinite scroll in Jetpack. It does make me a little nervous to have CPT registration in the theme; but since it’s not locking the user in, this decision does make life easier on the user and give the most flexibility.

More thinking to do

There are details to work out; perhaps we need to create some best practices and standards around registering common post types. I sort of like the concept of adding common names to the reserved post types list, but basically in the opposite sense — like recommended post type names.

I don’t think this is a standard where there’s a huge role for WordPress core to play. I think it’s mostly a decision that can be made by the market, and the biggest players in it. Obviously, Jetpack carries huge weight, but they aren’t the only ones. I’m interested in what other theme and plugin makers think, and also what developers think about chaining functionality to plugins like this.

by Brian Krogsgard at July 24, 2014 04:50 AM under Developers

July 23, 2014

WPTavern: A Facebook Group Dedicated To Advanced WordPress Topics

Cloudways has a great article profiling the Advanced WordPress Facebook group. Written by Matt Cromwell, who is one of the group administrators, it explains how the group was formed and what its purpose is.

Being a web developer or a designer (or both) can be stand-alone job for some individuals. Even if you work in an office environment, you’re probably the only one in your department that does what you do. That’s why so many people look for interaction and a sense of community online in groups like the Advanced WordPress Facebook group.

In order to participate, you need to be approved by a moderator. Advanced WordPress is a closed group so posts will stay within the group. With over 20 administrators and 7,400 members, the discussions are lively and well moderated. I’ve been a member for a few months and have really enjoyed the variety of topics and conversations. I’ve even managed to help solve a few problems for people.

There’s only one problem I have with the group. It’s hard to locate past discussions without having to wade through the entire archive to find them. Unlike a forum that contains a structured way of navigating past conversations, the Facebook group does not.

Other Places To Discuss Advanced WordPress Topics

If you’re looking for other places to hangout and discuss advanced WordPress topics, there is the WP Hackers Mailing list which is still active and the WordPress Development section of Stack Exchange. There’s also the WordPress subreddit. I unsubscribed to the mailing list a few years ago due to the number of discussions that turned into arguments. However, it appears as though the list is populated with a new group of active members, so the number of bike shed arguments may no longer be a problem.

Are you a member of the WordPress Advanced Facebook group? If so, what sort of value have you obtained out of being a member? What other places exist to discuss advanced WordPress topics?

by Jeff Chandler at July 23, 2014 11:25 PM under wp hackers

WPTavern: Automattic’s Planned Gravatar App Morphs Into a Selfies App for Android

selfies

Earlier this year, Automattic’s Toni Schneider asked Gravatar users what platform should be first to receive the Gravatar mobile app. No details on the purpose of the Gravatar app were revealed at the time but it turns out that the team has been busy developing a photo app.

While working on the Gravatar app, they realized that people don’t want to change their gravatars every day, so they decided to put their efforts toward an app that is likely to be used more often. According to Schneider, the planned Gravatar app “morphed into a Selfies app,” which is now available for Android featuring the tagline “Put Your Selfie Out There.”

We noticed that taking pictures of ourselves to update our Gravatars was something we only wanted to do every month or so, but then we started taking selfies and sharing them with each other and that became a daily and very fun habit. So our Gravatar app morphed into a Selfies app, and it’s now ready for the world to play with!

The app was not built using the WordPress API or the WordPress.com API but is powered by a yet-to-be released Gravatar API, according to Automattic employee Marcus Kazmierczak.

For those who don’t have an Android device, the Selfie app opens with an invitation to take a selfie, which you can then filter and share to a public stream.

selfie

Users can authenticate via Google in order to easily create an account. The Selfie app has a social aspect built in that allows users to post reactions as a caption or photo response, designed to create “mini stories.”

The release post, titled “Something Funny Happened” gives the impression that creation of the Selfies app was something akin to a happy accident. Automattic says the app is still in its infancy and has not yet confirmed when the intended Gravatar app will be available. Reaction has been mixed. While some see it as an interesting experiment on mobile, others wonder why Automattic is using its highly skilled talent to “democratize selfies.”

Selfies is an interesting choice for Automattic to release, as their app experiments are usually tightly integrated with its core products and services or built to showcase WordPress as an application framework. From the sidelines, this app appears to do neither, although it certainly has the fun factor built in. If you want to test the Selfies app, you can download it from Google Play and leave feedback on the app’s P2 blog.

by Sarah Gooding at July 23, 2014 10:18 PM under gravatar

WPTavern: Hashcash.io Reveals Strategy for Capitalizing on Spammers

Hashcash.io recently released a WordPress plugin with a unique method of deterring spammers that forces the user’s browser to solve math before unlocking login, registration and comment forms. The project site hints at a coming soon cash feature wherein users can “Make Bots Work For You.”

This week Hashcash.io creator Pavel Karoukin elaborated on plans to help users make some cash while stopping spammers. The cash feature will combine Dogecoin (an open source cryptocurrency), hashcash.org and the proof-of-work concept.

My idea was to bring what hashcash.org offered for email spam to web applications, i.e. make it slightly expensive for a browser to submit an actual form by calculating proof of work. Except I wanted this proof of work to do something meaningful.

Karoukin first explored the idea of mining bitcoins with browsers but shortly thereafter GPUs took over the task and in-browser mining was no longer an option. “Later a new altcoin was introduced – Litecoin based on scrypt algorithm, which was harder to parallelize on the GPU,” he said. “That’s where I started looking into implementing miner into client-side Javascript.”

Karoukin used emscripten to compile the scrypt version of cpuminer into asm.js code, wrapped it in Web Workers and some API, and Hashcash.io was born. After using it on a few of his websites, he found that “100% of spam and bot-registered accounts were eliminated.”

His concept of making bots work for you is an entirely new take on the problem of combating spam. It’s less about detecting spammers and more akin to the concept of throttling. “The idea is not to differentiate between bots or humans, but rather make posts cost money and time (i.e. wait until it is done.),” Karoukin commented on our recent article. “Think about it as a throttling rather than if () {} else {} thingy.”

The Problem With CAPTCHAs

CAPTCHAs have long been the impenetrable standard for sites that are serious about keeping spammers out, and are still used on many major sites such as Google and Yahoo. Unfortunately, internet users almost universally despise CAPTCHAs, especially reCAPTCHA. Karoukin notes that Google actually uses you to service its own business objectives by manipulating reCAPTCHAs to make you decode street numbers, digitize content for Google Books and the Google News archives.

The Hashcash.io project turns this on its head and aims to saddle the burden of work onto the spammer, instead of actual human users. Karoukin hopes that website owners will one day be able to profit from the spammers that visit their websites:

So the grand vision of this project is to eventually make it possible for a website admin to get paid for each proof-of-work solved on his site. So even if spammers eventually start solving these, at least website admin will get paid. But for this to happen the pool needs to acquire a critical mass of websites using it to successfully generate shares in a reasonable amount of time. Right now this is not possible. And this is another reason there is nothing behind login form – there are no revenue as of now to share with website admins.

The project is still in the very early stages of development and Karoukin is currently working to create painless integration with Drupal, WordPress, Django, and jQuery. Once the project generates a single dogecoin at address DMGQ5Ah5D7FSBL2uKiugwHQneGdugnvZfP, Karoukin will start working on the next phase to include a dashboard and revenue sharing.

Hashcash.io’s unique strategy of tackling comment spam may have a promising future if it is able to reach the critical mass required to make it profitable for website owners. Otherwise, it’s just another unjustifiable inconvenience on login, registration and comment forms.

Karoukin needs more sites using it in order to get there, as well as feedback from developers. Find out more about the WordPress plugin in our recent review where Karoukin expounds on the finer points of the technology in the comments. Do you think the idea of making some cash while stopping spammers is a viable concept?

by Sarah Gooding at July 23, 2014 08:01 PM under wordpress spam plugin

WP iPhone: WordPress for iOS 4.0.3 Released

WordPress for iOS 4.0.3 has been released and is available to download from the App Store.

The major changes in this release are:
- Adjusted user interface for media management to allow for faster insertion of images.
- Improved accessibility of the stats interface.
- Launched live chat support on a limited rollout.
- Fixed many miscellaneous bugs.

We are hard at work on the next major version of the app (4.1) where we will continue to overhaul media management along with improvements to the post editor.

Many thanks to the contributors who worked on this release: @aerych, @astralbodies, @irbrad, @koke, @sendhil

Have feedback? Leave a comment below or tweet us @WordPressiOS

by Brad at July 23, 2014 07:00 PM under News

WP iPhone: WordPress for iOS 4.0.1 Released

WordPress for iOS 4.0.1 is out and now available to download from the App Store.

Some of the updates included are:

  • Improved the performance of stats.
  • Made the “Options” page easier to locate and access.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the app to freeze when you tried to update a post’s settings.
  • Fixed a bug that stopped you from moving the cursor to the end of a line.
  • Fixed a bug that broke the UI when you inserted a link in the post editor.
  • Fixed a bug that crashed the app when you added a featured image to a post.
  • Increased the minimum required version of WordPress to 3.6.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the post editor to malfunction if you inserted a link.

What’s Next?

We’re hard at work on the next major version of the app (4.1), where we’re working through your feedback to make big improvements to working with media. The post editor is getting better media management features, including the ability to easily attach media that’s already been uploaded to your blog. For a sneak peek, take a look  here.

A huge thanks to our contributors who worked on this release: @itsaboutcode, @koke, @astralbodies, @aerych, @sendhil.

Have feedback? Leave a comment below or tweet us @WordPressiOS

by Sendhil at July 23, 2014 07:00 PM under News

WP iPhone: WordPress for iOS 4.0 Released

stats-2

New and improved stats

WordPress for iOS 4.0 is out today and available to download from the App Store. For this release, we focused on improving a favorite feature among our users: stats. We’ve reimagined your stats view, converting it from a traditional web view to a completely native component. Simply put, your stats are now faster and more stable, and in time we’ll add more bells and whistles to make your stats more dynamic and even better. As this is a work-in-progress, you’re still able to access your old stats view, so you won’t miss out on anything.

What’s next

Our team is currently focused on 4.0.1, a janitorial/cleanup release that will focus on fixing bugs and making minor tweaks. Once finished, we’ll shift to 4.1, which will focus on media management within the app. We’re really excited about these upcoming changes and can’t wait to release them!

A huge thanks to the contributors who worked on this release: @aerych, @dannylagrouw, @ric2z, @roundhill, @astralbodies, @sendhil, @bummytime, @irbrad, @koke, @maxme, and @itsaboutcode.

If you’d like to get involved with WordPress for iOS development, drop us a line at make.wordpress.org/mobile and grab a copy of the code at github.com/wordpress-mobile/WordPress-iOS.

Do you have feedback? Leave a comment below or tweet us @WordPressiOS.

by Sendhil at July 23, 2014 07:00 PM under News

Gravatar: Something funny happened

On the way to building a Gravatar app, we noticed that taking pictures of ourselves to update our Gravatars was something we only wanted to do every month or so, but then we started taking selfies and sharing them with each other and that became a daily and very fun habit. So our Gravatar app morphed into a Selfies app, and it’s now ready for the world to play with! You can read more about the app here. We hope you become one of the first brave souls to try it out, and let us know what you think.


by Toni Schneider at July 23, 2014 06:41 PM under Selfies

Joseph: Free 5 Day Trial of VaultPress via Jetpack

If you already have Jetpack on your WordPress site and connected to a WordPress.com account you are only moments away from starting a free 5 day trial of VaultPress.

instantly-connect-through-jetpack

We’ve been looking at ways we could make it easier for people to start using VaultPress, this is a big step in that direction.

Details of the process are at the VaultPress.com blog.

by Joseph Scott at July 23, 2014 05:25 PM under WordPress

WordPress.tv: James Barrett: Wireframing Essentials


James Barrett: Wireframing Essentials

by WordPress.tv at July 23, 2014 03:41 PM under wireframe

WordPress.tv: Speed as a Feature – Getting a Handle on Page Load Time


Zack Tollman: Speed as a Feature – Getting a Handle on Page Load Time

by WordPress.tv at July 23, 2014 03:35 PM under performance

WordPress.tv: Joe Dolson: Accessibility Ready – Theming for a Larger Audience


Joe Dolson: Accessibility Ready – Theming for a Larger Audience

by WordPress.tv at July 23, 2014 03:26 PM under accessibility

Matt: Attention Minutes

Grist.org, the environmental journalism non-profit I’m on the board of, has received a Knight Foundation grant to “allow newsrooms to better measure audience engagement, beyond clicks and page views, by creating an open-source WordPress plugin that will measure ‘attention minutes’ to determine how long users are interacting with content.” I’m excited to see what they come up with, and that it will be open source, perhaps it’s something we can incorporate into Jetpack down the line. If hacking on that sort of thing and saving the planet is interesting to you, Grist is hiring WordPress developers.

by Matt Mullenweg at July 23, 2014 12:30 PM under Asides

WPTavern: 3 Things To Remember If You Start a Site About WordPress

Oli Dale has an article on WPLift that describes what subject matter he’d focus on if he started a site devoted to WordPress today. Throughout the article, he mentions niches that are already well covered such as WordPress news and tutorials. He concludes the article suggesting that new sites about WordPress be narrowly focused on a niche, such as Church blogs or freelancing/product owners.

I’d Still Write About Whatever Interests Me

After reading his post, I started thinking about what I would write about if I started a WordPress site today. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I wouldn’t be able to limit myself to just one topic of interest. Writing about whatever interests me is what makes the process of blogging enjoyable. Over the years, I’ve learned that one of the hardest things to do is write about something I have no interest in.

Repeat Banannaphoto credit: Sister72cc

Before deciding on whether to start a new site about WordPress, consider whether you’ll be doing it for fun or for profit. This decision will help determine which types of content you write. It’s also easier to monetize a site up front rather than making the change at the height of the site’s success.

When I launched the Tavern, it was a labor of love more so than an opportunity to make a buck. However, there came a time when the light bulb went off and I discovered I could combine my love for writing about WordPress and make money doing it. It also helped that I had the support of my audience to make that decision.

People Want To Know About The Business Of WordPress

For my day job, I read a lot of material about WordPress from all over the web. One of the topics I’ve noticed that people have an insatiable appetite for is the business of WordPress. Five to six years ago, there were fewer businesses and consultancy agencies around WordPress.

Today, it feels like there are a ton of 1-5 person shops ready to grow their business and are looking for mentors to provide the information they need to make informed decisions. The business of WordPress is definitely an area that could use more content written by experienced and professional consultants, agencies, and enterprise level companies.

Showcase Sites and Products That Give WordPress That WOW Factor

A very narrow niche that could be tapped into is showcasing websites or products that give WordPress that WOW factor. There are so many sites built with WordPress, that it would be nice to see a site devoted to the cream of the crop. Sure, there is the WordPress showcase but it doesn’t tell you all of the juicy details that were involved in the making of the site. A site in this niche could focus on case studies, interviews with decision makers, etc.

One of the reasons I think a site devoted to this niche could be successful is this feeling that WordPress has reached a point where it’s boring. We know that WordPress is used to build websites, large and small, and that it’s capable of doing much more.

But there is not one site that I know of acting as a living archive that showcases how people are pushing the boundaries of the software. Common terms being used today to describe WordPress are, platform, application framework, and development framework. What does any of that mean and what are some concrete examples that define those terms?

Using WordPress For eCommerce Is Growing In Popularity

eCommerce is a WordPress vertical that continues to grow in popularity. I almost feel as though you could do no wrong by starting a website devoted to the eCommerce space. Although I haven’t come across one just yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are sites dedicated to the WooCommerce ecosystem. WooCommerce has turned into a cottage industry and there are always interesting things happening in the space. Not to mention there are plenty of affiliate program opportunities with several of the popular eCommerce systems.

Three Pieces Of Advice

WordPress as an open source software project is 11 years old. It’s used on nearly 23% of the web. There are plenty of podcasts, watering holes, and sites devoted to it. Don’t be discouraged by the fact that there may be one or more people covering a niche. Determine what sets you apart from everyone else and go for it. It’s possible to make a dent in the WordPress sphere of influence, Chris Lema is living proof. In early 2012, Lema was an unknown in the WordPress community. Thanks to his hard work, consistency, and ability to educate readers using the power of story telling, he’s become an influential voice. This is why I jokingly say he “came out of nowhere“.

If you decide to start your journey today, I have three pieces of advice. Be yourself, share your experiences so others can learn, and try to help others. It’s amazing how far these three things can take you.

What other verticals or topics are under exposed in the WordPress community? What additional types of content would you like to see on the Tavern?

by Jeff Chandler at July 23, 2014 06:31 AM under wplift

July 22, 2014

Matt: Canvas Fingerprinting & AddThis

Propublica has a piece on canvas fingerprinting done by the ad service that uses the trojan horse of sharing buttons, AddThis: Meet the Online Tracking Device That is Virtually Impossible to Block. Regardless of the usefulness of this particular technique, which seems to not be effective enough to stick around, services like AddThis and ShareThis will always spy on and tag your audience when you use their widgets, and you should avoid them if you care about that sort of thing. That’s why we put sharing buttons into Jetpack that are much more privacy (and performance) friendly.

by Matt Mullenweg at July 22, 2014 09:54 PM under Asides

WPTavern: GavickPro Abandons Theme Framework in Favor of WordPress Customizer

GavickPro is a unique theme shop that creates both Joomla and WordPress themes. Each theme they produce is developed for both platforms. The shop was first established in the Joomla community and then branched out into WordPress.

Up until recently, every WordPress theme GavickPro created was based on the GavernWP Framework, which was designed to match its Joomla counterpart in functionality while providing WordPress-specific options. Consequently, the framework had a difficult time gaining traction and was confusing to WordPress users.

Lee Batten, head of consumer support at GavickPro, announced today that they will be abandoning the GavernWP Framework in favor of using the WordPress customizer:

The widget-heavy design of our themes made installation frustrating for inexperienced users. For this reason, we have decided to abandon the GavernWP Framework as the baseline for our future themes, and instead move away from frameworks altogether.

Batten said that the team will now opt for using the native customizer for handling options and settings in their future theme releases. “Things such as slideshow images, colors, backgrounds, fonts and more will be selectable within the theme customizer area of the WordPress backend with live changes visible as you make them, for a more comfortable and visual creation experience,” he said. The team will also be scaling back the number of widgets required to make their themes operational.

Perfetta: A Free Blogging Theme That Relies Solely on the Customizer

To demonstrate the new shift toward the customizer, GavickPro is releasing Perfetta, a free WordPress blogging theme. Perfetta makes use of the customizer to provide an easy way to select fonts, colors, layouts, background images, and additional features.

perfetta-theme

GavickPro is next in line to follow the folks at ThemeFurnace, Array, and other theme shops in ditching custom options frameworks and betting heavy on the WordPress customizer. One of the major benefits to going this route is that themes utilizing the customizer don’t require as much documentation, as WordPress users are generally familiar with this feature.

Customers have so far responded positively to the change. “Any proprietary framework seems rather clunky compared to the built-in WordPress customization system,” one commenter remarked in response to the announcement. In this highly competitive WordPress theme market, it doesn’t matter how beautiful your theme designs are or how many pages of documentation you create. Customers will resist your product if it feels clunky to customize. The team at GavickPro will be completely revamping product documentation in the coming days to reflect the changes and to help users more easily customize their websites.

by Sarah Gooding at July 22, 2014 08:43 PM under wordpress customizer

Post Status: The case for doing small website projects

small-web-projectsLast week I posted about how much custom WordPress websites should cost. If you read that post, you know that it depends. Generally the feedback was fantastic, but many readers took from that post that they should raise their prices.

I disagree.

I mentioned in the post that I’ve worked on web projects ranging from $1,000 to $100,000. What I didn’t note is that I’ve made just as much — or more — profit per hour on $1,000 websites as I have on much more expensive projects.

Revenue is not the same as profit

Projects that cost a lot of money can break you just as easily as they can make you. We should consider the value of our projects based on not only the revenue, but the profit potential.

If I can perform a $1,000 project in 5 hours, including project management, I’ll do it. Every. Day.

Who doesn’t want to make $200 an hour? That’s a pretty great rate. I would rather do ten of those projects versus one $10,000 project that gets out of hand and takes 400 hours — 10 full time weeks isn’t that crazy of a number — where I end up making $25 per hour. It’s obvious, right?

Now think back to some of your projects. Have you created websites for $1,000? $3,000? $10,000? $30,000? More? And at what price point did you find yourself to be most profitable? What made it so?

Qualities of profitable (small) web projects

In the last post on pricing, I talked about the client multiplier for project management. It was mostly well received, and I got a lot of “Oh, man, I need to do that.”

And that’s probably because people could relate to projects that get out of hand and end up being expensive.

Great Project management

So, project management is obviously a huge factor for making projects successful. But project management isn’t something that only the client can screw up. We — as consultants — can very easily bungle a project. And it’s our responsibility to make “easy” and “difficult” clients successful parts of our web projects.

Either way, we need to make sure to keep project management a minimum. We can do this by automating tasks — check out Jennifer Bourn’s interview on WP Elevation for some great tips on this — and ensure our client isn’t going to require a lot of hand holding.

For a $2,500 project, if you’re charging $100 per hour, keep project management to fewer than 5 of those 25 hours. If you can’t do that, charge more or turn down the project.

Onboarding

This morning I listened to the latest episode of Businessology — a fantastic podcast if you’re into posts like this — and they started their series on onboarding clients.

Onboarding clients well is hugely important. Unfortunately, it’s costly. It takes time, and if you don’t price the client until after you onboard them, then that’s sunk cost into your business.

So you either need to price onboarding into every project that makes up for the projects you lose, or you need to charge for that time.

Proper onboarding for small web projects can be pretty simple. Essentially, you need to “lay down the law” and set expectations very, very early. I’m going to use a $2,500 budget for my example onboarding. That could go something like this:

Hi,

I’m really excited about the opportunity to help you for this project. Unfortunately, your budget is quite low for what you’re hoping to achieve, so we’ll need to do as much as we can for the limited amount of time we have. So, I’ll set some ground rules and you can let me know whether you are okay with these limitations:

  • I require 50% down before we start and 50% once the work is complete. When you launch is up to you, but I’ll need final payment once development is complete.
  • We will have a 1 hour kickoff. At this kickoff, I’ll expect you have some things ready for me to review. I’ll send you that list soon. We’ll talk on the phone and do a screenshare, and the call will be recorded.
  • I will present the design to you in three to four days. We cannot delay this meeting. The presentation will be on the phone and will last about 30 minutes. You’ll have time to make requests for changes only. You’ll have to trust me for the overall direction the project is taking. If you choose you cannot accept the designs, you can cancel the remainder of the project and not be obligated for the second payment.
  • We will perform the development within 2 weeks. Once we are done, we will deliver it to you via a staging website on our firm’s server, with the content you have pre-delivered to us as a base. You will then have 1 week to alter that content and request changes that are within the scope of the project.
  • If you have not completed your end by that time, we’ll request the final payment and can deliver the database and files to a location of your choice.
  • If you are ready for your website to launch at this stage, we’ll launch it for you on any pre-approved host (we have some we can’t work with), or we can send you the database and files so that you or your internal team can launch the new website.
  • The final 50% of the payment is due before launch or file delivery. We cannot do either unless we’ve been paid for the finished work.

I understand these may sound like tight restrictions. However, if we do this, I’ll be able to deliver a lot of value for your budget. If you’re not okay with this setup, we can alter it to fit something that works better for you and your organization, but we’ll need to adjust the budget to account for the changes.

If this doesn’t work for you, then we understand completely and appreciate you contacting us anyway.

Have a great day.

So what did we do here? We set the standard. This standard may change for you and your deliverables and the price may change, but you should be able to get the picture.

Authority

One thing I hope you noted is that the email (hopefully) has an air of authority attached. The client should know that they’re playing by our rules, unless they want to pay more. I’ll happily play by a client’s rules if they’re prepared to pay me to play that way.

However, authority should not require rudeness or lack of respect. The goal is to establish authority while sounding like a considerate professional.

Get it in, get it out

Nothing is more costly than a project that drags on. Even if you don’t work on it as it drags on, the cost of it being on your books and not getting final payment is significant to the point of making it unprofitable.

When working on a small project, it’s enormously important to make sure the client understands the limitations on the timeline. You must set a schedule, hold the client to it, and stick to it yourself.

If you let a small project drag on, you’ll start to dislike it as a project, you’ll hate it being in your spreadsheet or other project traffic software, you’ll start to forget the details and scope, the client will lose patience and start demanding more, and it’ll drain your organization.

If the client takes a long time to decide to work with you after initial contact, that’s a red flag. If the client has multiple stakeholders for approval in their organization, that’s a red flag. If the client clearly has poor assets and content on their current marketing materials (print or web), that’s a red flag.

All of these things will affect your timeline. Adjust prices accordingly, even if it means you lose the job.

Finally, do the job in the time you said it would take. Nothing good will come from delaying. Make sure you have the resources to complete the small project in the amount of time you said you would, and do it.

Manage Scope

Your agreement for the amount and kind of work you’re going to do for a small project is paramount. No loose ends are allowed, because if one falls through the cracks your profitability is gone. Be very careful to use your experience to your advantage here. Remember some of the same kinds of things as last time:

  • Is there an existing site that needs content migration to the new site?
  • Does the client have the ability to recognize “good” design from “bad” design.
  • Do they want you and are ready to do what it takes to work with you, or are they just shopping for price?
  • Is the proposed new website relatively small, and can the types of content be easily quantified? Do you already know how you’ll achieve the technical parts within budget? If not, either figure it out or charge more.

There may be more things, but just be sure to look out for things that could affect your limited scope.

And if changes come once papers have been signed, require signed change orders, even if you decide to do the change for free. I also learned this from Businessology, and Dan learned it from Happy Cog, if I recall correctly. This establishes to the client that changes are significant and deserve highlighting. It creates “scope change equity” if you will.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

For small web projects, you need to keep the tasks to those where you are not reinventing the wheel.

Need an events calendar? Fine, but use a pre-built plugin that requires little to no custom development or design added. The same goes for any other type of content. Make sure you have the code in your own toolbox or know where to get it.

With a 25 hour project, you don’t have much time for potential rabbit holes.

The other way to not reinvent the wheel is to only target small websites within specific niches. I’ve done this myself. One of my friends is a political consultant. He asked me if I could help. I was wary, but I decided to help him. In the end, we decided to charge his clients $1,500 each and split it in half.

So I accepted a job where I was only getting paid $750 per website. That’s ridiculous, you say. And you’re right. It is, if I didn’t take precautions.

But in this case, I never spoke to a single client (he did all the direct contact since he was already advising them), and I built the same functionality and repeated it for 6 different websites. Then I customized the styles to fit the client’s brand, and we launched it on a single hosting platform, where the variables were known.

So I was able to build websites for $750 that were quite respectable hourly rates for me.

Always be closing

My coworker, Pete Mall, always jokes (except he’s totally serious) by saying “ABC”. ABC stands for Always Be Closing. It’s purposefully not Always Be Selling.

Selling is expensive, and closing is good. This is especially important for small web projects.

If you only do small web projects, you need to be able to keep a steady stream of incoming clients, and you need processes for managing these relationships.

If you’re looking for great people to learn from for managing projects like this, I definitely recommend learning from Bill Erickson, who has done a lot of systemizing in this arena.

Do it for free

When you charge someone money for a website, the mindset changes: you are serving them, and you have an obligation to do so. There’s nothing wrong with this mindset. The problem is , even if the client is your friend, this person now values you for whatever you’re charging them.

So let’s say you take this $2,500 sample project of ours and do it for $500 because you care about the website in question, or the stakeholder behind it. You may have just made a big mistake.

If you quote them $500 for something worth $2,500, you just told them that your exceptional service is only worth $500.

Instead, I learned a trick from Dan Mall (or I think it was Dan). What you should do is put the $2,500 price on the invoice, and then discount it to $500. Now their mindset has shifted, and know they are getting a great deal, and they are more likely to treat you like you deserve to be treated.

My other note on this is that you could also do it for free.

With certain non-profits or friends of mine, I’ve opted to do it this way. Now the expectations are that there are no expectations. I tell them I’ll do it for free and that I’m the decider and they can take it or leave it; and people don’t turn down free, no matter the limitations.

If I do a project for free, I still like to say what my services are worth in similar situations. And when I do this, I typically strengthen my relationship and get a great testimonial (that are great for paying projects!) because they are so happy to receive my services.

Small projects aren’t bad

Small projects aren’t bad. Unprofitable ones are.

When you’re quoting work, you may decide you just don’t want to do projects under a certain price — and that’s totally fine. I actually think that it’s generally easier to sell lower priced projects, and harder to manage them effectively. It’s just so much easier to use your buffer in small projects and go into the red. Whereas you have more room for error with large projects, but they are harder to sell.

Personally, every now and then I want to be able to do a small project if it’s something I think I’ll enjoy or can have a great impact on.

For these scenarios, it’s important that we don’t give away our services for less than they are worth, but it doesn’t mean that we have to say no.

by Brian Krogsgard at July 22, 2014 06:24 PM under Business owners