Web and WordPress News Roundup for April 2014

published on April 28, 2014

Hello spring, farewell winter. Time to get out of the house, grab a comfy chair, watch the snow melt and catch up on the most interesting news on the web today. Here are some of the most interesting posts and articles buzzing right now in the big www.



WordPress Music Themes April 2014

published on April 25, 2014

Music fan sites are a great way to bring together people who have a common interest in a specific musician, a music genre, bands, etc. If you are thinking of putting up a website for that type of audience, here are some of the latest music themes you can check out:

Dubstep – Premium Music WordPress Theme

Dubstep is a WordPress theme for bands, musicians, DJs, clubs and everyone involved in the music or entertainment business. This theme supports every post type that a music & entertainment theme would need such as: intuitive Events Management (ability to set date, time, venue, location, and map coordinates; provision for normal and recurring events, tickets support); Discography Management (ability to share your music with fans using either self hosted audio files using the powerful soundManager2 or embedded sounds from SoundCloud); Artists Management (display an infinite number of favorite artists, colleagues, or band members (their albums, tracks, or playlists) and categorize them easily; Media Management (share videos either self-hosted or from services like Youtube, Vimeo etc. and create endless interactive custom photo galleries from your events using templates or sliders).

SoundBlast – Music Band WordPress Theme

Sound Blast Premium WordPress Theme is a WooCommerce ready theme especially designed for bands and music websites. This easy to modify theme features include: Album + Track Management (options include Now Playing, Download, Play Only, and Buy Now), Slider Management, Event Management, Gallery Management, Sidebar Management, Powerful Theme Options + Page Builder, 2 pre-made color variations.

MusicVent – Premium Music & Event WordPress Theme

MUSICVENT Premium WordPress Theme is a modern, responsive, and a well-thought out HTML5 WordPress Theme for Music & Event related Personalities/Studios. The theme’s clean Lines & minimal design approach truly highlights the artist(s) and the work(s) showcased. Its unique design and streamlined navigation makes it easy for fans, music aficionados, potential producers, talent scouts, etc., to go through the website get the information needed and take the necessary action after. The 6 built-in page templates (Albums, Artists, Events, Gallery, Bloglist, Contact) are organized and give you or users everything that is needed. Transition and animation effects like black and white photos display their full colors when hovered over. It also includes 2 homepage layout options (fullscreen image slider and fullscreen video background) to choose from according to the audience you are targeting.

RockOn – Multipurpose Music WP Theme

RockOn! Premium WordPress Theme is a WooCommerce ready multipurpose music theme for singers, artists, music bands or musical events created using Twitter Bootstrap, with a responsive design which makes it a perfect fit for all devices. This theme includes features such as: Event Management using one of the best event management plugins – WP Event Manager, 100% responsive 3D Layer Slider, Sidebar Managerusing CrunchPress “CP” framework, WooCommerce Shop Catalog Grid OR Full Layout also Masonry (Filterable), and so many other features.

NOISE – Onepage DJs & Band WordPress Theme

NOISE Premium WordPress Theme is a cool, creative and modern theme perfect for musicians, DJs, bands and other music related professionals or businesses. Built with smooth and sleek CSS3 and AJAX animations including a unique spectrum analyzer to help you visualize music automatically on every single track. You can easily manage and display your artists, albums, audios, images, videos, events dates and sell your items (tickets etc.), allow users to rate music, and share instantly on their social networks. It also comes with 2 different players (SimplePlayer widget and Extended Player) to give users control over every single track played.

Music Club – Music/Band/Club/Party WordPress Theme

Music Club Premium WordPress Theme is the best WordPress theme for music, club, party, radio station, bands or even entertainment magazine. It comes with great features for music such as: a floating music player at the bottom of the page, a traditional boxed player for those who prefer something familiar, an Event post type that come with a ticket button with 5 tickets status, a Music Album feature which when clicked, automatically fetches all songs in an album to the floating player. Other outstanding features include a Page Builder, Revolution Slider, GoodLayers Importer, and other great music tools, to help you build a power music website users will truly enjoy.


One Page WordPress Themes April 2014

published on April 24, 2014

One Page WordPress themes are quite popular nowadays. Some like it for its low maintenance qualities, others like it for the speed, the fast-loading time and SEO benefits, while others enjoy it for the ease of use and the simplified navigation for both website owner and users as well.

Here are some of the latest One-Page WordPress themes in the market that might match the features and functions you need to create your own One-Page wonder website.

Candy Queen – Responsive One Page Theme

Candy Queen Responsive One Page Theme is a beautiful and clean responsive one page design theme for your candy boutique, florist design studio, or beauty salon. This premium theme is suitable for showcasing your product portfolio in a unique, feminine and playful way. This theme includes 3 ready color schemes (blue, lavender, and pink) that can be easily modified, SASS files, and layered PSD files including PSD files of sprites for easy theme modification.

Nivan – One Page / Multi Page WordPress Theme

Nivan – One Page Multi Page WordPress Theme is a fresh and refreshing portfolio theme for Agencies & Corporate websites, Artists, Creative Agencies, Collectors, or anyone who needs to showcase their work in a beautiful and elegant way. Its dynamic design, eye catching effects and animations, and flexible settings let you to make the most out of your theme and present a different and unique result for yourself or your client. Key features include: SPNOY exclusive gallery, Revolution Slider, Video Background (animation off), Multi-page option.

SimpleFlex – Flat One Page WordPress Theme

Simpleflex is an ultra-responsive, creative, and retina-ready flat-designed WordPress theme, that offers you one page and multi-page layouts with the latest and most powerful features. Its uniquely flat design, beautiful parallax effect and dynamically smooth animations provide you a simple and modern look on all devices. Built on the ThemeLuxe framework, SimpleFlex gives you the cleanest code with an advanced admin panel and an easy-to-use shortcode generator. also Simpleflex includes 2 versions of possible setups (Simple and Modern) no to mention even the PSD files to provide you with all the flexibility of customization you need to create the look that you want for your website.

Bubbles Parallax One Page WordPress Theme

Bubbles Parallax One Page WordPress Theme is a delightful, clean and modern one page parallax theme that can be used for companies, agencies, portfolios, product presentations, landing pages, and so much more. You have a choice of using a video background, a full screen slider background, or the popular Slider Revolution (in full screen or in custom size). This minimalist premium theme features amazing parallax features for that dynamic and animated look without being distracting.

Alpine – WordPress Responsive One Page Parallax

Alpine is a modern, professional, and flexible one page parallax multi-purpose WordPress theme, developed in Bootstrap framework. This responsive theme built with great attention to details can be used for any type of website: business, corporate, portfolio, products, marketing, etc. Modification and customization for: layout, styling, colors, etc., can be done directly and easily from within the admin backend. You have the opportunity to change layout settings for the whole site, for a particular section, or even both. You can also combine any of available elements to build beautiful Main Page, add more pages if needed, or create your own color scheme. Key features include: parallax sections, 4 home section versions, isotope portfolio, ajax project expander, font awesome integration, etc.


Web Design Trends WordPress Users Need To Know

published on April 22, 2014

WordPress is the most popular content management system existing today fetching 21.8% of the world’s total internet usage and capturing 60.3% of the market share as per W3tech’s latest market report. It comes as no surprise that the majority of the general web design trends predicted for 2014 are already common features available and/or integrated in most if not all WordPress themes being sold in the marketplace today. It makes you wonder whether WordPress is only a trend follower or it is actually THE trend setter to watch.

WordPress core developers, theme and plugin developers and authors, and the WordPress community in general are some of the most passionate people on the planet. With only ten years tucked into its belt, WordPress has emerged as one the most dynamic and cutting edge platforms today primarily because of the commitment of its community.

In a recent business article on eCommerce design trends for 2014, it lists trends that WordPress users already consider as familiar features. The trend list includes:

  • flat design
  • responsive design
  • less sliders
  • more user friendly navigation
  • more creative use of web fonts

These trends have actually appeared in most WordPress themes as common features in the last year or so. Even Forbes magazine, lists similar web design trends in an article that came out early this year. Although Forbes also adds “storytelling design” characterized by concise, compelling copy coupled with strong imagery as one of the significant web trends that will emerge in 2014. Guess what? A wonderful new WordPress plugin – Aesop Story Engine – in relation to the “storytelling” trend has already been generating a lot of interest lately.

For those who have been following the development path of the latest WordPress version that is to be released (April 16), there are several new features in WordPress 3.9 that could set off new “trends” in the web design world. WordPress 3.9 emphasizes more user friendly features and improved multimedia handling capabilities. A few of these significant features that are worth noting are listed below:

  • New features like live widget previews
  • a new theme installer
  • UI refinements when editing images and when working with media in the editor including the return of some of the advanced display settings for images.
  • audio and video playlists
  • new gallery support
  • The formatting function that turns straight quotes into smart quotes (among other things) underwent some changes to drastically speed it up.

More detailed features can be viewed on the WordPress core development website.

Having said all that, it is interesting to note that the thrust towards being more multimedia savvy while at the same time being more and more user friendly could be a significant WordPress feature that could set off a general web design trend. With WordPress gaining more and more influence over the whole internet population, it is possible that whatever developers, coders, designers, authors, etc. come up with to improve WordPress products and services could eventually be the standard that the web design community will use.

Who knows what WordPress will be like in the next 10 years. The innovations succeeding WordPress iterations will bring and the vast influence it will have in relation to the entire Internet population, mobile, tablet or what not together with the hardcore commitment of its core community will definitely create an impact on the way the world wide web looks and functions. Whatever it is, anything that goes on in WordPress is definitely going to be exciting and worth watching.


Three Things To Remember When Designing A Website

published on April 21, 2014

The state of your website can make your business or destroy it. Whether an ecommerce site, a business blog, or an informational site, it must have one central message that aligns with your marketing communication. With all of the bells and whistles available to Web designers, it is easy to lose the purpose of the site behind cute plugins and animated GIFs. Web design is pretty straight forward. Either the users click on your information or they do not. They either engage or they don’t. Functionality and easy navigation make a successful website, but those aren’t the only factors designers have to keep in mind:

Purpose

Images are a good way to quickly share a marketing idea while creating a visually appealing environment. Stock photos and footage allow a designer to use high quality, royalty-free content to boost user engagement and interest in your site. The more value a user sees on the site, the longer they stay. The longer on the site, the greater the possibility of the user retaining your marketing message.

Function

The IRS as an organization may have questionable effectiveness but the site’s webmaster definitely deserves kudos. Available in six languages with several thousand forms and countless financial calculators, the site has everything users would need and is indexed in a way that makes it all easily accessible.

If a person cannot quickly find what they are looking for, your site is not functional. During the design phase, keep the users’ technological strengths and challenges in mind. Some of your customers will be searching using a Windows-based PC while others will be on a mobile iOS device. Some of them will be 20-somethings who are comfortable with navigating even the most poorly designed sites while others might be less savvy and grateful for your simple layout.

Devices

Designing a website requires a look into the past and a prediction of the future. Technology is not stagnant and it does not penetrate the market all at once. A designer must consider user devices; it could be an older PC, the latest tablet, or a future system not yet developed. To do this, you need to go with a one-size-fits-all design or several different sites for each of the technological applications. If you have a robust site with ecommerce components, it may be best to have parallel sites for your desktop clients and your mobile device users. An educational site or a blog can be one site that has been optimized for different formats. A great website always keeps the user in mind when being designed.


15 WordPress User Errors That Make You Look Silly via Copyblogger

published on April 18, 2014

This infographic courtesy of Copyblogger is too good not to share. Whether you are a veteran blogger or just a beginner, we all make mistakes. The great news is that you don’t have to make the same mistakes anymore. Check out the errors below and see if you are guilty of any of them. We are curious to know your scores, so don’t be scared to share. Have fun!

15 WordPress User Errors That Make You Look Silly [Infographic]

Like this infographic? Get more WordPress publishing content from Copyblogger.


Heartbleed Could Affect Your WordPress Site

published on April 16, 2014

A critical OpenSSL vulnerability nicknamed “Heartbleed” was discovered recently and you need to know whether your information could be impacted. What is Heartbleed anyway?

What is Heartbleed

The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs). (source – Heartbleed.com)

Basic Things You Should Know About Heartbleed and OpenSSL

  • The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software.
  • OpenSSL is a library that provides cryptographic functionality to applications such as secure web servers. Be sure to read the documentation of the application you want to use. The INSTALL file explains how to install this library. OpenSSL is based on the SSLeay library developed by Eric A. Young and Tim J. Hudson and the OpenSSL toolkit is licensed under an Apache-style licence which basically means that you are free to get and use it for commercial and non-commercial purposes.
  • The Heartbleed bug compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content.
  • The Heartbleed bug allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.
  • The Heartbleed bug is not a design flaw in SSL/TLS protocol specification. It is an implementation problem, i.e. programming mistake in popular OpenSSL library that provides cryptographic services such as SSL/TLS to the applications and services.

Should You Be Concerned?

Encryption is the process of encoding messages or information in such a way that only authorized parties can read it. Encryption doesn’t prevent hacking but it reduces the likelihood that the hacker will be able to read the data that is encrypted. Encryption is used to protect secrets that may harm your privacy or security if they leak. This bug has compromised secrets in four categories:

  • The Heartbleed bug leaked primary key material – the crown jewels – the encryption keys themselves. Leaked secret keys allows the attacker to decrypt any past and future traffic to the protected services and to impersonate the service at will.
  • The Heartbleed bug leaked secondary key material – the user credentials (user names and passwords) used in the vulnerable services.
  • The Heartbleed bug leaked protected content – actual content like personal or financial details, private communication such as emails or instant messages, documents or anything seen worth protecting by encryption handled by the vulnerable services
  • The Heartbleed bug leaked collateral – Leaked collateral are other details that have been exposed to the attacker in the leaked memory content. These may contain technical details such as memory addresses and security measures such as canaries used to protect against overflow attacks. These have only contemporary value and will lose their value to the attacker when OpenSSL has been upgraded to a fixed version.

OpenSSL is the most popular open source cryptographic library and TLS (transport layer security) implementation used to encrypt traffic on the Internet. You may be directly or indirectly affected if your popular social site, your company’s site, commerce site, hobby site, site you install software from or even sites run by your government might be using vulnerable OpenSSL.

Users of OpenSSL versions 1.0.1 through 1.0.1f with the heartbeat extension enabled are affected. OpenSSL 1.0.1 through 1.0.1f (inclusive) are vulnerable

OpenSSL version 1.0.1g addresses the vulnerability, as well as OpenSSL instances compiled without the heartbeat extension.

What You Can Do

  • If you are not using OpenSSL on your servers (or are not hosted on one of our Shared hosting plans), you are not affected.
  • If you do use OpenSSL, identify which servers are running OpenSSL (versions 1.0.1 through 1.0.1f are affected).
  • Update to the latest patched version of the software (1.0.1g), or recompile OpenSSL without the heartbeat extension, if applicable.
  • Reissue any SSL certificates on affected web servers after moving to a patched version of OpenSSL.
  • Test your SSL installations. You can also test your site here: http://filippo.io/Heartbleed/
  • Revoke any certificates that were replaced. Please revoke AFTER the reissue has been completed and you have successfully installed it on your web server.
  • Consider resetting end-user passwords that may have been visible in a compromised server memory.

Helpful Resources regarding Heartbleed

It is wise to take all the necessary precautions but without allowing panic to come in. Learn all you can and act accordingly.


Social Tools For Better Blogging

published on April 8, 2014

Appealing to today’s readers means harnessing the power of social media. According to ShareThis, the amount of shared digital content increased ninefold from 2006 to 2011 globally, and is expected to grow exponentially. Use social media tools to your advantage and bring in the right readers at the right time.

Monitoring Your Online Presence

Free monitoring tools and specialized premium tools can help you understand and optimize your social media presence. A service like Brandwatch tracks mentions and conversations about your brand and competitors. Starting at $800/month, the service isn’t cheap, but the information can be used to improve customer service and marketing, like responding to an upset customer or discovering conversion opportunities.

If you’re a blogger, a free tool like Social Mention provides useful data like top keywords and hashtags found in queries. Furthermore, Tagboard tracks specific hashtags across the social networks and offers a basic account for individuals.

Attracting Subscribers, Followers and Fans

High quality, engaging content will always be the most effective and authentic method of earning traffic. If you are stuck for ideas, collaborate on copy and don’t just post for the sake of posting.

Sometimes great content is timely content. Comment and write about newsworthy topics and issues that matter to readers. Known as newsjacking for marketers, it’s just as effective for publishers. Find out what matters to your readers in the simplest of fashions — just ask. Polls and surveys will indicate what your audience looks like and how they act. Conversations through social media and comments will solidify authority on the given topic. For an ever deeper look, install Google analytics and an analytics service like Kissmetrics. Starting at $150/month, the service will track factors like:

  • Which traffic source or campaign people came from.
  • How many times they used a specific feature.
  • Which subscription plan they’re on or the last product category they purchased from.

Manage Your Social Platforms

Impeccable content and a proud online presence will do nothing if no one sees it. Social media management has turned into a career field and is big business for digital companies. Firms like Sprout Social and Hootsuite offer many of the tracking capabilities of other services but also offer automated posting and analysis. This is crucial for enterprise accounts, like payroll software company Intuit, that are active on social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and even YouTube.

Just as brands diversify their social sharing, bloggers should share their content across all platforms. Standards should include Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Other sites, like Pinterest, StumbleUpon and Reddit, should also be utilized often. Hootsuite automates five accounts for free and has an app directory for adding networks. However, bloggers should be careful of too much automation. The power of social is lost if you fail to engage with an interested reader in a timely fashion.

Get Mo-blog-ile

According to Kissmetrics, 51 percent of website visitors are more likely to do business with a company that has a mobile site. Just as businesses can expect more and more mobile visitors, bloggers also need to be prepared for a smartphone and tablet audience. A slow loading mobile blog can even be penalized by Google. The first step is to test your mobile website for compatibility. Google’s How to Go Mo offers multi-screen testing and analysis. Issues like too much scrolling, image sizing and load speed can all be discovered with proper testing. If you do notice issues, mobile website creation services like Dudamobile can help. A simpler solution is to use the plugin WPTouch for a mobile-friendly theme.