MIGHTYminnow’s Favorite WordPress Plugins: Widget Context

MIGHTYminnow's Favorite Plugins: Widget ContextOur next stop in MIGHTYminnow’s favorite WordPress plugins is Widget Context. This plugin allows you to specify exactly where your widgets do and don’t show up. Using widget context, you can tell a widget to only appear on a certain page, in a specific section (e.g. all pages under About Us), or everywhere on your site except for in certain circumstances (like excluding posts from 2008). We use Widget Context on just about every site we build to do things like the following:

  • showing related blog posts only on blog pages
  • adding page-specific related content
  • showing other event links on event pages
  • adding related testimonials for page-specific products or services

MIGHTYminnow's Favorite Plugins: Widget ContextOne of the big perks of Widget Context is that it adds controls right onto your existing widgets, which means you don’t have to navigate away from your Widgets panel to make changes. These added controls are where the magic happens, allowing you to choose a “context” for your widget in one of two ways:

  1. Checkboxes
    Choose from some common selections like Front Page, All Posts, 404 Error, etc
  2. Target by URL
    Specify a URL pattern (yes, you can use wildcards!) to match

Depending on how many pages you want the widget on your sidebar to show up, you either choose to show or hide the widget on selected posts/pages that match the criteria you’ve selected. If you know that you want the widget on all blog related content, you might choose the Show on Selected drop-down option and check the boxes for Blog Index, All Posts, and All Archives.

The URL targeting feature is pretty handy as well, allowing you to target a specific page, a page and all of it’s sub-pages, and much more. To target a specific page, you use the UNIQUE part of the URL. For example:

  • A single page:
    To add a widget just to this page: http://www.mysite.com/services/, you would include “services” (without the quotes) in the “target by URL” box.
  • Child pages:
    To add a widget to all child pages of services, but NOT services itself, you would add “services/*” (without the quotes) in the “target by URL” box.
  • A site section including parent and child pages:
    To add a widget to the services page and all its children, you would add “services*” (without the quotes and without the slash from the example above) in the “target by URL” box.

Notes:

  • When entering multiple pages to target, each page goes on one line and you don’t want to have a blank line after the last one.
  • The URLs for pages you target can be complex – adding widgets to a deeply nested page or section works the same as the above, just include the complete string for the unique part of the URL, like: “services/web/hourly”, “services/web/hourly*” or “services/web/hourly/*”

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? As always, we love to hear from you. Check out the comments section below.

MIGHTYminnow’s Favorite WordPress Plugins: Events Manager

Events ManagerIf you are an organization that hosts frequent events (like we do), Events Manager / Events Manager Pro is a must have. This is a free WordPress plugin, with an optional “Pro” upgrade if you need to take payments. Events Manager offers a robust array of settings and features, which makes it really easy to create and display events, registration forms, and much more.

(Free) Features We Love:

  • Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 2.08.24 PMTemplates & widgets
    Events Manager makes it extremely simple to output your events in a bunch of different ways. The plugin comes with great default templates for events list, calendar, and widget views – plus you have the ability to set up your own templates using simple placeholder tags (e.g. #_EVENTTITLE)
  • Google integration
    Google Maps are seamlessly integrated, meaning your guests can see a map of each event location, and can even look up directions from their location – all from within the page they are viewing. Events Manager also integrates with Google calendars and iCal, so your guests can add your events to their personal calendars in one click.
  • Categories and tags
    Just like WordPress’ Posts, you can categorize and tag your events. Additionally, you can output custom lists of particular categories and tags.
  • Create multiple tickets
    If your event has separate prices for members and non-members, or if you have different levels of entry (1-day pass vs. conference pass), you can create different tickets for these groups.
  • Timing and recurring events
    Events Manager really shines when it comes to scheduling your events. The plugin places a huge number of possibilities at your fingertips, including the ability to custom schedule recurring events. Whether your event is all day, 7-9pm, or recurs every Thursday at noon – you’ll easily be able to set it up in Events Manager.

(Pro) Features We Love:

  • Coupon Codes
    You can set up multiple coupon codes for specific discounts (fixed-price or percentage). You can also limit the number of coupons available and/or set an expiration date.
  • Online Payments
    Probably the #1 pro feature is the ability to take payments through PayPal, Authorize.net, and other offline payment methods. We use Events Manager Pro on the MIGHTYminnow site to facilitate class registrations through our payment gateway.

MIGHTYminnow is looking for a new minnow!

MIGHTyminnow is looking for a half time (20 hours a week) marketing and general office assistant. The hours are Monday through Friday from 1-5pm, although some flexibility is required. This is a great opportunity to get hands-on experience working on a wide range of duties and projects. Ideally, we would like to find someone who is interested in web development, marketing or graphic design. Here is a general description of the position.

Duties:

Office Management

  • Making Coffee for the morning
  • Greeting visitors of the office, making sure they have water/tea/coffee and snacks if they want
  • Answering the telephone and directing it to the appropriate person
  • Keeping up with weekly and biweekly fruit and water delivery
  • Placing orders to keep kitchen and office supplies stocked
  • Running errands to the grocery, bank, post office, etc.
  • Filing mail, receipts, etc.

Marketing

  • Create email newsletters to send out bimonthly
  • Ensure that weekly blogs are written, published, and promoted
  • Post to our social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn) daily
  • Write monthly reports on the analytics of MIGHTYminnow’s website

Requirements:

  • Must come in to our Downtown Oakland Office (Located 1/2 block from 12th St./City Center BART station)
  • Must have experience in social media, blogging, Google analytics, etc.
  • Must have experience with Adobe Creative Suite – specifically Photoshop
  • Must be very organized and keep the rest of the office organized
  • Must be deadline-driven and keep others in office on top of deadlines and tasks
  • Must be attentive to detail
  • Integrity and passion for your work is a must
  • Excellent communication skills both verbal and written
  • Strong time management skills
  • Ability to work independently with guidance from manager

Bonus:

  • Experience with WordPress
  • Experience with Mailchimp
If you feel you would be a good candidate for this position, please contact us so we can get your resume and cover letter. If you know anyone who would be interested, please pass our information along!

Chrome Extension: User-Agent Switcher

If you don’t live close enough to MIGHTYminnow HQ to visit our device lab for testing, there’s a handy alternative: User Agent Switcher. With this nifty Chrome extension you can quickly and easily switch between user-agent strings, meaning you don’t have to have a mobile phone or tablet to do your device testing!

That said, remember: there is no substitute for real hands-on device testing, but User Agent Switcher is a close second.

Free training for unemployed developers/designers

Thanks to Dave from Fire on the Bay, we recently learned of a new web-y, design-y program for those struggling in the current economy.

If you are unemployed and looking for ways to improve your skill set, Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) is offering a 16 week intensive training program to help improve your skills. BAVC is a Bay Area non profit that was asked by the city of San Francisco to head up their TechSF initiative to help technologists and multimedia artists back to work. If you qualify after filling out the application, the training is free.

The new training session, called Digital Directions, starts next week and offers 16 weeks of training of Adobe CS6 workflow in Illustrator and Photoshop as well as basic UX, typography, and more. The latter part of the training will be spend working for a client.

There are some eligibility requirements so be sure to read them before applying.

We thought this opportunity was worth passing on.

MIGHTYminnow: Web Studio, School, and now Sewing Lab!

Sarah's SewingWe are lucky to have lots of great space at MIGHTYminnow headquarters and we love letting our coworkers use that space for building their businesses as well as for fun side projects. This weekend, our coworker Sarah of Support Labs turned our classroom into a giant sewing lab for her t-shirt blanket!

tshirt quiltLet us know if you have a project you want to work on but need a larger space to complete it. We love accommodating projects of all sizes from projects like Sarah’s that take a few hours to the folks at Workshop Weekend that use our space for the weekend. We can’t wait to see the completed blanket!

Another Successful Website Weekend!

mugsyLast Weekend, the minnows gathered with 8 eager students to take on the challenging but exciting task of creating websites for each student over the weekend! We feel that it was a great success and we’re excited that this was the third Website Weekend in a row to sell out. With it came some great new projects (case studies coming soon!) and some amazing new relationships. We love this workshop and the opportunity it gives us to empower our students to take control of their web presence and build new businesses online.

raven bike

We also had a very special student this weekend, Mugsy! Not all dogs are a good fit for a workshop like this, but Mugsy is an absolute gentleman and he was a great addition to the class.

I really enjoyed the class–I found it fascinating, and it gave me new insight into why it’s so expensive to build a website! I can’t believe how much I learned. I thought you did a fantastic job teaching the class, and splitting up your time with the different students. Not an easy task… I am really pleased with the site too. I think it looks very professional, which is what I was going for. I will enjoy tinkering with it, adding the photos and more text… Pretty amazing, that I could find you just by a Google search and come away with such a great product. I will be in touch for sure. And, I will highly recommend you to everyone I know!

Lisa L.Website Weekend Student

Our Favorite Plugins: Post Thumbnail Editor

WordPress uses thumbnail images for lots of things, including to accompany blog posts as on our blog page. These images are automatically cropped from whatever larger image you upload, so that they are all a uniform shape. This is great, except when it isn’t. Sometimes cutting a square out of the middle of an image gives you a useful and compelling snippet, but sometimes it ends up being a part of the image that can’t stand alone (like just a picture of someone’s butt, for example). In the media library, you can go into edit the image, and apply whatever changes you make just to the thumbnail, and this is useful. But it only takes you so far. A lot of themes have many additional image sizes specified in the theme files, and the built in image editor in WordPress doesn’t allow you to treat each image size as a separate case and to crop them independently. Enter our newfound favorite plugin: Post Thumbnail Editor. It allows you to quickly and easily crop any and all sizes of images in your media library, and each of the crops can be tailored to the dimensions of the image. Sweet! post thumbnail editor

Two amazing tools to find and edit images

In our most recent weekly team meeting, one of our minnows pointed out to the team two very awesome tools that will make our lives and our clients’ lives much easier. The first is an image search tool and the second is an image editing tool. Both are online, fast, and best of all – free!

Creative Commons Search

Creative Commons Search is a tool that allows you to search through various image search engines and look for images with licenses that allow you to use them commercially and/or modify, adapt, or build on to them. This is such a great alternative to Google Images because you know that these can be used on your website, for free, and do not have to worry about getting in trouble. Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 10.26.13 AM

Clipping Magic

One technique that is often used when we are building websites is taking an image and removing the background. Clipping Magic is an alternative to the expensive, often confusing to navigate, Photoshop. Simply mark the area that you would like to keep with green and the area you would like to remove with red and in live time, this tool will allow you to take out the background!Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 10.09.48 AM

Our Favorite WordPress Plugins Part 1

As you may know, WordPress has some core features included in every WordPress installation, but you can add additional features to WordPress sites by installing “Plugins”. We have decided to compile a list of some of our favorite plugins – those that have proved especially helpful (super time savers or things that help us sleep at night). We have installed these plugins on many a WordPress website and can say with great confidence (at time of publishing) that these plugins are pretty awesome. All most are free, some have premium (or paid) versions that add extra features. We will be making this a 10 (or more?) part series. First up: Black Studio TinyMCE

Black Studio TinyMCE Widget

What would we do without the “Black Studio TinyMCE Widget” plugin? We would hand-write a lot more HTML, that’s for sure! And we’d have a harder time making the sidebars on our websites easy for our (non-HTML-savvy) clients to maintain. Black Studio’s enhanced text widget that adds a WYSIWYG editor option as an alternative with TinyMCE buttons up top for inserting images, making links, adding lists and setting headings. Now you can add rich content to your sidebars as easily as you can add it to your posts and pages. The most advantageous thing about this plugin – to us – is that this plugin allows for our clients and students to be able to interact and maintain their widget content without having to know HTML. We know how to code by hand if needed, but we don’t expect that our clients (or students) should need to. We <3 this plugin. Example of Black Studio TinyMCE widget