Month: January 2016

e-Commerce 101–PayPal Primer

Paypal. This company has been around since 1998 and has been the leading online payment processor for most of those years. It promotes a safe way to do business online, and makes it easier for everyone to transfer money for goods and services. However, even in 2016, there is still some confusion about it. There are so many questions that people have, that I can’t answer all of them here. I have some answers for the most common questions that I encounter, though. Do I have to have a Paypal account to send money? The short answer is no, you do not. The seller can specify options (or at least used to be able to) to require that their customers be registered or even verified Paypal users, but by default this is not a requirement and you can process payment as a guest user using only your credit/debit card. I am a business, what options do I have for accepting payments? Paypal has many options for business, a short list is as follows: Standard Paypal payments Virtual Terminal (credit card processor merchant account) IPN (API Integration) Paypal Here (mobile credit card reader) I am a non-profit, what options do I have for accepting payments? Technically speaking, you could use all the same things as a business. I would also like to point out that Paypal does have its own...

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Customizing the Heck out of WordPress, Part 1 (Admin Dashboard)

One of the greatest tasks one can take on in developing a WordPress site for end users, is customizing it. You see, customization adds a very professional touch to your work and takes it above the notch from just being a site you built a fancy front-end for. With the right customizations you can make your clients feel they truly bought a custom application (well, they really did) and make it a great experience for all involved. The place we are starting today with is the Dashboard. The steps are: Install AG Custom Admin plugin Customize the Dashboard Export for future usage Installation Installation is pretty straightforward, it’s easiest to install it from the dashboard. You can also manually install it by downloading the plugin from the Repository and uploading  via FTP. Customizing the Dashboard Once the plugin is installed, you’ll notice an Admin Themes link in your admin bar. Clicking that will take you to a page where you can buy or download existing themes. NOTE: You do NOT have to purchase any themes or use premade themes to use this plugin!!! There are other menu options, such as Admin Bar, Login Page, and Colorizer, that you can use to tweak various aspects of your dashboard. This is an example of one I created for use with my own clients. It matches the corporate colors and is easy...

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Email included with hosting? Reasons to avoid!!

Nearly every web host offers email services with their hosting plans. With great prices and usually unlimited space for everything, why wouldn’t you use this? Actually, there are a lot of reasons this is a bad idea. Web Hosts are just that- Web Hosts Email is an application that, if you are using it for business, has many considerations that a web host does not usually cover. In fact, you should view the email service with your host as an extra perk, and not something to rely on for business. Lack of Clustering/Redundancy Limited Archiving, if even available Single point of failure (see lack of redundancy) Limited Spam Filtering, if available Let me explain these in more detail. Consider too there are other reasons but that will be for another day. Lack of Redundancy When using web hosting email, 9 times out of 10, the same server that hosts your website is also hosting your email. This is a very big problem if you think that your site could go down, and if it does you lose your email functionality too. You can also experience outages if there are any billing issues (which is why you should always use a third party DNS provider, such as CloudFlare). Your business likely cannot tolerate not having its email.  This is why redundancy is part of every proper hosted email solution, like...

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Using Open Live Writer to Write to your Blog

While the normal way to edit your site content is via the WordPress Dashboard, there are a few other ways to do it, including an official mobile app for both Android and iOS. But what about desktop clients? For a few years, Windows Live Writer has been available, but in December of 2015 this application went open source! You can check this tool out at OpenLiveWriter.org and it is a small 5.2MB download. In fact I am using it right now to make this post and it is very handy, especially if you are on a slow internet connection. Using it is really easy, its wizard-driven interface takes you through all the steps you need, it downloads your blog categories and settings, and it even downloads part of the theme so you can preview what your post will look like after posting. This is a really nice feature that even the dashboard lacks in. It works for other platforms like Blogger and Typepad, as well as others. However I have not personally tested them, as the only use I have for it is to manage my self-hosted blog. I won’t be going through a walkthrough of its use because it seriously is as easy as installing, going through the wizard, and GO!!! You’ll be up and blogging in the same amount of time as you did the day you...

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