Category Archives: Uncategorized

Visitor Statistics in your WordPress Dashboard

Once you have your WordPress blog up and running, you’ll naturally want to know how many people come to visit you. Google Analytics is the gold standard of statistical information, of course, but that means opening another browser tab or window and signing in to a separate service.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have your visitor statistics right in your WordPress dashboard?

Here are three plugins that allow just that.

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Frugal Spending is In. What now?

Pinching penniesEverybody loves to save money, especially when times are lean, and many people choose to put off buying nonessential items or shop strictly on price. But you don’t have to be “the low-price leader” to benefit from frugal shoppers. A great opportunity to build customer loyalty, even in difficult times, is to offer discounts or special deals to your repeat customers.

If you send out regular newsletters (and if you don’t, why not?), your email list is one of your greatest assets. Let your subscribers know that they are special by offering “secret discounts” once or twice a year only to newsletter recipients. Your shopping cart software can be used to offer percent off coupons or special prices on a particular item or category of products. If you sell services, you can offer discount coupons through PayPal or your payment provider. We can help you set it up.

On your website, your newsletter signup form should include a teaser: “Want to be the first to hear about special deals and discounts? Sign up for our insiders’ newsletter and get advance notice of sales!”

Can you offer a small product or service at a specially-discounted price? Think of it as one bite-size taste of a product or service that might be seen as expensive enough to make a buyer pause. A bakery that normally sells cupcakes by the dozen or half-dozen might consider offering one especially luscious flavor at a discounted price. Coaches and service providers who charge by the hour could look at a half-hour session for an introductory price. Writers — put a short story on Kindle or the Apple bookstore at $0.99 to whet a reader’s appetite for your longer works. Even in frugal times, people feel the need to treat themselves, and if you give them a small way to do that, you’ve made sales you may not have gotten otherwise.

Make your customers feel special. They’ll love you for it… and your bottom line will show it!

Need help setting up your marketing plans to take advantage of these opportunities? Give me a call at 205-924-5146 or shoot me an email. I’m here and ready to help make 2012 your best year ever — despite challenges.

Fix the HTML Editor font in WordPress 3.3

This is a much more technical post than usual for WPbonbons, but I’ve spent a good bit of time figuring it out and wanted to share.

In version 3.2.1, the HTML editor font was changed from Verdana to Consolas, a monospaced font that (to my eyes and those of many others) is ugly and hard to read.

Ok, it’s a small thing. But it’s an annoyance.

To fix it in WordPress 3.2.1, you could add a few lines to your theme’s functions.php file, or you could install a simple plugin. WordPress 3.3 moved things around in the core code, which meant that neither of those methods worked any more. We woke up this morning after upgrading our WordPresses to find the Return of Dreaded Consolas.

After dinking around a bit, I found that the editor div class had been changed. I could change the stylesheet in /wp-includes/css/editor-buttons.css and make it work, but that would mean I’d have to remember to change it again with every subsequent upgrade of WordPress.

Here are two ways to fix it for WordPress 3.3.

Add lines to functions file

If you want to use Justin Tadlock’s method of adding lines to your theme’s function file, use this:

/* Set HTML edit screen font to Verdana*/

add_action( 'admin_head-post.php', 'devpress_fix_html_editor_font' );
add_action( 'admin_head-post-new.php', 'devpress_fix_html_editor_font' );

function devpress_fix_html_editor_font() { ?>

This works well if you are using a custom theme or a child theme. If you put these lines directly into a non-custom theme functions file, remember to add them again whenever the theme is updated.

Add a plugin

In your /wp-content/ folder, create a new folder called /mu-plugins/ . Create a new plain text document with the following code. Name it something like fix-editor.php, and upload into the /wp-content/mu-plugins/ directory.

Your HTML editor area will look like its old self again.

US Postal Rate increase – is your shopping cart ready?

On January 22, 2012, US Postal Service will raise rates on First Class and most package service classes. First-class mail rates are rising from 44 cents to 45 cents, so this might be a good time to stock up on Forever stamps. Buy them now and use them later, no matter what the rates are at the time you use them.

Review all the new rates on the USPS site and download a full description of the increases.

If your site has a shopping cart associated with it, you’ll want to be sure that it’s ready for the change as well.
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Help for the Holidays (especially for introverts)

Christmas Party at the Ohop Grange, 1926
Uh oh… the holidays.

That joyous time of year when we go to Grandma and Grampa’s house to “celebrate” with all those relatives we haven’t seen since last year.

Uncle George, who tells the same elk-hunting-in-the-mountains story every single year, ignoring all the family’s glazed eyes and sudden increase in alcohol consumption. (He only went hunting once, in 1972, nearly froze his tush off, and vowed never to set foot outside again. The antlers on the wall in his study? He bought them off eBay.)
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Free for a tweet? Ummmmm….

I’ve noticed a new marketing trend lately.

We’re all accustomed to marketers offering something free — an ebook, a white paper, a useful template or sales tool — in exchange for your email address on their mailing list. That technique is growing less useful for marketers; people have learned to sign up, get the freebie, and immediately unsubscribe from the list.

Recently, though, marketers are taking a new tack: the information is free to download if you send a tweet about it to your list or share it on Facebook.
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Optimizing WordPress: Why your host’s operating system is important

When you are choosing your hosting company, you’ll be presented with a number of options. Your biggest choice: Linux or Windows?

If you are running a Windows-based PC, you might think that you should also choose a Windows-based server for your hosting needs. But that’s not true. Think of it in this way: If you’re driving a Volvo, you don’t have to buy gasoline only from Sweden — your car will run just fine on fuel from anywhere in the world. It might run better on premium than on regular, but the underlying geography doesn’t matter.

So it is with server operating systems. You don’t need to worry about matching your own computer’s operating system to that of the server. But just as your car runs better on one grade of gasoline than another, so does your WordPress website.

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4GoodThings: June 18, 2011

Quick links to interesting articles I’ve found this week

Introverted man with paper bag over head

Ten Myths About Introverts

Introverts are often considered shy or socially inept people who don’t like other people, but this is not true. Introverts, who make up about 25-30% of the population, are defined as people who gain energy from being alone or with a small group of people. Extraverts*, on the other hand, need to be around other people; isolation saps their energy instead of feeding it.

Carl King discusses some of the common misconceptions about introverts, why they act as they do, and what you can do to ease interactions with them. Favorite quote:

“You cannot escape us, and to change us would lead to your demise.” <-- I made that up. I'm a screenwriter.

I’ve been intending for at least two years to write a review of The Introvert Advantage. Carl beat me to it. Go read his article instead.

*Derived from the Latin prefix extra-, meaning outside, but often spelled “extrovert” to match “introvert.” Both spellings are accepted as correct.

Disclosure: I’m a card-carrying introvert and everything he says is true from my point of view. I am not, however, a screenwriter.

Google logo

Google Launches Tool for Online Reputation Management

You don’t have to worry about your online reputation to use this new tool from Google. If you have alerts set up — possibly to keep tabs on whether your artwork shows up in unauthorized places — you can benefit from having one central place to check for new references. Set up your Google profile and activate your dashboard.

Finger Painting: How A Realist Painter Makes Art with the iPad

Amazing. And all I manage to do is get smudges on the screen of my iPad.

How fast does your website load?

Google’s page ranking algorithm is placing an increasing amount of weight on how fast your site loads. If all other factors are the same, the faster-loading site moves up and the slower one moves down. is a simple way to measure the speed of your site. Just type in the URL of the page and wait for the result. If the answer is about 2-3 seconds or less, you’re in pretty good shape.

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4GoodThings: June 11, 2011

Quick links to interesting articles I’ve found this week

Ten Ways to Improve Your Fiber Art Photography Now

The “fiber art” in these tips is primarily yarn and items made from yarn rather than quilts or fabric, but the same principles of good photography apply.

Better Image Management with WordPress

Concise and well-written explanation of how to upload and link images in WordPress, how to create galleries, and how to optimize your images for the best search engine results.

It does get technical in places, but it’s easy to skip over the parts with code. Even if you only read the first section on “Understanding And Using Images,” you’ll find much useful information.

Embroidery on Eggs

Embroidery. With thread. On real (empty and cleaned) hen’s eggs. Just amazing. Go take a look!

15 Best Websites To Find And Download eBooks

The 15 sites listed are aimed somewhat toward designers and information technology professionals, but there are many art- and marketing-related books available on these sites as well.

In addition, don’t forget the Amazon Kindle store. Their free offerings generally include fiction from newer authors and older, public-domain titles, but there is a wealth of free information you can have for the download. If you don’t own a Kindle, just grab the free Kindle app for your PC, Mac, iPhone, Android, or other device.

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