Category Archives: Plugins

TimThumb Plugin Contains Another Vulnerability, Websites at Risk

timthumbAccording to ArsTechnica and other sources, the WordPress plugin TimThumb had a “zero-day vulnerability” that “leaves many websites vulnerable to exploits that allow unauthorized attackers to execute malicious code.”

The vulnerability surfaced on June 24 and surrounded TimThumb, a plugin that helps you fiddle with web images. According to SECLists.org, TimThumb was “developed for use in the WordPress theme Mimbo Pro and since used in many other WordPress themes.” It’s widely used, which means plenty of sites could be at risk.

If you have the webshot option enabled, you’re reportedly at risk for an attack, ArsTechnica noted. The site gave the following words of advice to members of the WordPress community who were concerned that their websites would soon erupt into flames: “People who are unsure if their WordPress-enabled site is vulnerable should open the TimThumb file inside their theme or plugin directory, search for the text string ‘Webshot_Enabled,’ and ensure that it’s set to ‘False.'”

Your firewall, if you have one installed, might also help you combat the vulnerability, although ArsTechnica and other news sites recommended disabling the plugin until a fix was implemented. And, according to GrahamCluley.com, a fix was ultimately rolled out: “TimThumb Version 2.8.14 has now been released, fixing the vulnerability. It’s clear, however, that the developers are a little miffed that they weren’t informed about the vulnerability by the researchers who discovered it.”

A blog from Daniel Cid warned that hackers could do some serious damage on your system if the vulnerability is exploited. How? “With a simple command, an attacker can create, remove, and modify any files on your server,” Cid wrote. He promptly showed a command in which he removed a file and then created a new one.

An issue with TimThumb was reported in 2011 that involved “arbitrary file uploads,” according to David Dede. He explained, “Although this is a platform independent issue, it is specially an issue on WordPress, where a lot of theme authors choose to include scripts in themes without any extra security measures.” According to Softpedia, “thousands” of WordPress sites had issues related to TimThumb back in 2011, which probably left a rather salty taste in the mouths of many developers and website owners.

Whether the latest issue with TimThumb was exploited in any way remains to be seen, according to Softpedia. Besides, said the same site, the odds of the flaw resulting in any significant damage appeared to be slim: “Only administrators that activated it from the TimThumb script ran the risk of being plundered. Furthermore, even if enabled, executing the Webshot code requires two server-side extensions to be installed.”

all in one seo pack logoVulnerabilities related to WordPress are all too common. Take an issue found in recent weeks having to do with the All In One SEO Pack. What would happen if your account were infiltrated, you ask?

As PC World outlined at the time about the All In One issue, “One of the two flaws… can be exploited by a regular user, like an author or a subscriber, to modify a post’s SEO title, description, and keyword meta tags created by the plugin. If used maliciously, this could result in damage to a site’s search result ranking. However, the vulnerability can also be combined with a second flaw to inject malicious JavaScript code on the administrator control panel that would execute when the page is loaded.”

We can’t stress enough the importance of making sure all of your plugins, admin tools, and themes are as up to date as humanly possible. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on critical patches and fixes that will help protect you against malicious software and vulnerabilities. If you’re going to build a website, make sure to protect it

20 must have WordPress plugins for your cool blog

Maintaining a blog, no matter the traffic received, isn’t only about writing and publishing articles. No doubt, the quality of the posts is capital, but a good looking design is also very important. It’s said that the small details make the big difference and this statement is valid regarding the existence of a blog. The competition is very harsh amongst bloggers and each aspect must be treated seriously in order to have a decent number of visitors.
WordPress is the leading platform for blogging and it seems that its supremacy will last, at least, in the near future. The WordPress developers created amazing themes and plugins that allow enhancing any type of website. Practically, a theme and some plugins may completely change the destination and the functionality of a website.
Ironically, the huge number of themes and plugins put in trouble the WordPress users because it’s impossible to make a decent selection of the most beautiful and efficient solutions. Fortunately, we are aware about this situation and as a result we have published articles exhibiting the best themes, templates or plugins.
In this post we searched for various plugins that may be useful for maintaining a blog. These plugins are ideal for different issues, from search engine optimisation to adding nice image sliders. Definitely, the developers created more than 20 plugins for blog owners so we might have missed your favourite one. Please let us know which your favourites are and we will take this into consideration for a new article!

Monetize Now

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It’s not shameful to recognize that many blogs are created to bring an extra income to the owner. The monetization of a blog is a very complex and challenging task. Affiliate marketing is an attractive solution to monetize the blog and this plugin is the perfect solution for this activity. By installing it, the blog will become part of Envato Affiliate program and I guess that there is no need to mention what a huge brand Envato is.

nBar

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The Internet users developed a special sense; they may scan a website extremely fast. In this context, grabbing the attention of the users is mostly an art. This plugin helps the bloggers to add various notification bars into the headers/footers. Of course, the notification bars are very customisable.

Ad Flap Pro

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Another modality of obtaining the attention of the blog visitors is to use this interesting plugin, which is actually in charge with creating cool animated adverts. I really appreciate it because the messages aren’t obtrusive unlike other plugins that „intoxicate” the readers with huge pop up messages.

Mine Flip Book

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Some people are still very much in love with the classic format of a book and hate the digital format. This plugin is created in order to satisfy all the tastes: it creates a „book” and it has a feature that people will love: the files may be flipped similarly to a classic manuscript. It’s a really interesting experience and it will surely make the blog stand apart from other competitors.

LoopPress

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Almost every blogger adds various videos to his / her posts. Handling these is pretty difficult, but Looppress is a great plugin that makes this job simpler. If you are used to adding videos into your blog, then this plugin is ideal for you!

Fast Gallery

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Handling the images is another challenging task for a blog owner. Fast Gallery is a plugin that helps very much the blogger to arrange the images into galleries. The huge advantage of this plugin is the fact that it’s extremely simple to use…you can configure a gallery in less than a minute!

Buzzcomi

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Making people curious is another technique of obtaining traffic. This plugin is able to create a coming soon page with a very interesting countdown timer. The design is very pleasant and it’s very probable that it will make people interested in what is behind the countdown.

Nex

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Forms are apparently not very important items, but an experienced blogger knows that these are vital for the success of the blog. If you want to create your own cool forms, then this plugin is exactly what you need. It creates tons of form versions and it’s impossible not to be satisfied with a variant. I fell in love with the modern design of the forms. If I were a user, I would definitely spend some time just to complete such a wonderful form.

Premium SEO Pack

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A very interesting blog that isn’t search engine optimised is a lost project. Like it or not, the number of the visitors is very important; so a SEO plugin is mandatory for any blog. The market is full of various SEO plugins, but only a few of them are really useful. SEO Pack is one of these useful plugins and you shouldn’t miss it!

Smart SEO

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The previous plugin is a very powerful one, but it might happen not to satisfy your tastes. Smart SEO is another solution that should be taken into account!

Keyword Finder

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Finding the right keywords isn’t a very difficult task, but it takes valuable time that may be used for other more important activities. Keyword Finder is a plugin that should be used by the entire blogging community. As long as you post a title in the dashboard area, it will provide unlimited potential keywords; therefore your time is saved.

Uber Audio

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Many bloggers are writing about music topics and a good and reliable audio plugin is golden for their blogs. Uber Audio may be a solution because it allows people to listen to music from the post, page or sidebar. The playlists may be very easily customised and there is no limit regarding the number of tracks that may added into a playlist.

Calendarize

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A calendar is very important because it helps people get a constant flow of published articles. Calendarize is a great plugin that will simplify the work of an admin very much.

Banner Rotator

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Nowadays, the developers created amazing sliders that simply delight the users. Altogether, it’s quite difficult to find a standing apart slider. Banner Rotator is an original and customisable slider that will surely impress any user.

Posts Slider

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Posts Slider is another plugin that is created for adding sliders. The same as the previous one, it has many useful features and no doubt, it will add a high level of dynamism.

Share Locker

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Social media can’t be ignored by a serious blogger. The different social media appreciations (likes, tweets, shares, pins) are taken into account for the ranking of a website. This plugin hides the content of a post until the users share/like/tweet the respective post.

Social Box

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Social Box is another plugin almost mandatory for a modern blog. It allows the admin to add a social widget, which will let the visitors make an idea about the social media presence of the blog. Its sleek design will attract the eyes of the visitors; so you have all the reasons to use it.

About Me

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People prefer to engage with the ones that provide them interesting information. Having an „About me” section is highly recommended for any blogger – in this way the curious readers may find out who is behind the blog. Luckily, we have this plugin that creates a widget displaying an „About me” section and the latest tweets.

M7 Accordion Menus

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By installing this plugin, the admin has the possibility to create accordion menus in the widget area. As far as the admin is concerned, this is simple to install and use, while the users will have more possibilities to access the content- it’s a win-win situation and everyone should profit from it.

Tabs Widget

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This plugin creates a widget consisting of a tabbed panel that displays various types of content, from tweets to recent posts. It’s a simple method of showcasing a lot of information without annoying the visitors.
I hope that these plugins will be really helpful for the bloggers. Anyway, it will be great to share your favourite ones (from this list or from WordPress Repository) with us.

All In One SEO Pack Vulnerabilities Found, Upgrade Recommended

all in one seo pack logoIn news that popped up all over the web in recent days, the WordPress plugin All In One SEO Pack contains several security vulnerabilities that could put users’ sites at risk. Yes, SEO is very important, but so is keeping your website safe. Let’s take a look at what the issues are and what can be done to stop them.

Researchers from Sucuri, who were conducting a code audit when the problem popped up, were quoted in a PC World article from Monday as saying, “If your site has subscribers, authors, and non-admin users logging into wp-admin, you are at risk. If you have open registration, you are at risk, so you have to update the plugin now.” Not updating the plugin could prolong the security issues that exist.

The flaws are pretty major too. PC World said, “One of the two flaws discovered by Sucuri can be exploited by a regular user, like an author or a subscriber, to modify a post’s SEO title, description, and keyword meta tags created by the plugin. If used maliciously, this could result in damage to a site’s search result ranking. However, the vulnerability can also be combined with a second flaw to inject malicious JavaScript code on the administrator control panel that would execute when the page is loaded.”

When we checked the All In One SEO Pack’s download page on WordPress’ website, it was Version 2.1.6, which is the corrected version. The plugin as a whole has had an amazing 18.5 million downloads throughout its lifetime, including almost 4,000 on Monday alone and 26,000 the day the issue was exposed. You can see why security flaws in it could be so damning: the plugin is used by a bundle of sites across the internet.

If you’re not running Version 2.1.6, you should upgrade post-haste. According to PC World, the latest version was released on Sunday, so if you’ve downloaded it since then, you should be fine. The plugin’s overall features include XML sitemap support, Google Analytics support, SEO on WordPress e-commerce sites, and automatic optimization of titles for Google and other search engines. It’s a massively popular plugin.

In several news stories we checked out covering the All In One SEO Pack’s issues, users recommended the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin, which according to its website has been downloaded 10 million times. One user, for example, wrote, “This is just another in the long list of reasons why we advise our customers against using All In One SEO. While the plugin was great at one point, it has been lagging behind Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin for quite some time now. If you’re still using AIO, this is a great excuse to switch over to Yoast.” ThemeSquirrel has reviewed another option called Smart SEO.

timthumbWordPress’ widespread use makes it a major target for hacker attacks. One of the most prominent security issues popped up in 2011 via TimThumb. CNN explained, “In this attack, hackers exploit a security flaw in a popular file used by WordPress and other website-building platforms to crop and resize images (Timthumb.php, thus the name).”

CNN added, “Hackers use the security hole to install malicious code or files into a website or server. From there, they can launch spear phishing campaigns and denial-of-service attacks, where hackers overwhelm a website’s server by flooding it with requests, making the site unresponsive.” Google blacklisted some sites that suffered from the hack.

According to another article, TimThumb attacks continued for as long as a year after the problem was exposed, which is evidence why it’s important to update your WordPress plugins and programs as often as humanly possible.

We’ll continue to bring you the latest WordPress news right here on ThemeSquirrel.

20 WordPress plugins to improve your social media presence

Social media was a big hit two years ago but nowadays it seems that people have lost their enthusiasm. Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest still attract new users, but definitely the climax of social media was overtaken.
On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that neglecting social media is a good choice…by far, it’s a huge mistake. The social networks are inestimable for the huge brands because they help them stay connected with people. Being active on various social networks isn’t mandatory only for huge brands, but a good social presence is recommended for local businesses, bloggers or entrepreneurs also. In fact, websites without various social media buttons are very rare. Obviously, the content is the one that determines people to distribute it on social networks but an important role is played by the design. As a result, many designers spend much time searching for the best plugins and methods to improve the social media presence.
Luckily for you, we have collected 20 impressive WordPress plugins that will help you improve your social media presence. The selection was very time-consuming because many talented WordPress developers create brilliant plugins.

Social Fans

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Social Counter plugin lets the viewers make a brief opinion about the number of friends/followers/subscribers. The buttons are retina ready, based on Bootstrap. The plugin contains 21 buttons and four skins (Light, Dark, Colored, and Transparent) that may be customized for everybody’s needs and preferences.

Social Sidebar

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The huge majority of the WordPress plugins are very customizable, but very few ones benefit from a very clear explanation about how to do it. The developers of Social Sidebar noticed this fact and have created a wonderful and very clear preview. I think that it is better to visit it yourself and play around with the various customization options.

YouTube Grid Video Gallery

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If a good image is worth 100 or 1000 words, how many words is good video worth? Definitely, a lot! In conclusion, it’s highly recommendable to pay attention at the manner in which one can display videos and maintain a YouTube account. This plugin will help in handling the YouTube videos, so if you are in need YouTube Grid Video Gallery is a good solution.

Facebook Albums Grid

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The previous plugin was responsible for creating a video gallery; this one does the same, but it handles Facebook albums. Of course, it provides the same quality and easiness to install and use it.

Easy Facebook Contest

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The social networks are very dynamic and are famous for the high level of interactivity. Facebook contests are very much appreciated and they may produce a lot of buzz around the contest holder. This plugin will help in creating Facebook contests directly from the WordPress website and it may bring a considerable traffic increase.

Easy Social Locker

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The monetization of written content is a long and unresolved story. It’s improbable that people will pay for articles as long as the same ideas will appear few minutes later. Still, there is a solution to satisfy the readers and reward the writers/bloggers. A “Like”, “Tweet” or any other form of social media compensation may be the perfect reward for these people. Easy Social Locker is a plugin that once installed will lock the website and it will became accessible only by giving a social media reward.

Twitter Slider

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Twitter is a social network that can’t be neglected. This plugin is a great tool for displaying the Twitter feed; it allows displaying the feed in vertical or horizontal position.

Supercharged Twitter Card Management

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This plugin is another one that helps people manage their Twitter presence better. I think that it is more powerful than the precedent one so don’t ignore it!

SelectNShare

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SelectNShare is a great and very original plugin. I think that this plugin is very useful for blogs because once you install it the user will have the possibility to select a phrase/part of a text and share it via social networks. It is not a very used plugin, but it surely is a very interesting one. Don’t you think?

Twitter Timeline

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Sometimes, the social networks buttons are obtrusive and annoying. Altogether, it’s a huge mistake not to insert some of them. This plugin is a very good middle way solution- it hides the latest tweets into a slider. It’s very discrete and anyone that is interested in checking the Twitter activity is just a single click away.

Tweetdis

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Tweetdis is another WordPress plugin that helps the owner to improve his / her Twitter presence. It’s simple and useful- it allows the editor to select a phrase and make it “tweetable”. Actually it creates a “tweet” call to action: this means that the user will just have to click the button and voila, here is a new tweet in Twitterverse.

WP Smart Like

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WP Smart like is a plugin that consists in displaying the Facebook “likes” into very discrete but visually appealing buttons. At the same time it has inserted a “likes” counter and it’s very customizable, so you have all the reasons to consider adding it into your blog.

Instagram Photo Video

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I guess that a very small percentage of the overall number of websites don’t have photos inserted into the layouts. Displaying photos is a very challenging web design issue: these must be high quality, but their size must be very small not to negatively affect the loading time and of course, the images should be well rendered no matter the device used to navigate. Fortunately, this plugin is inestimable in managing the Instagram images.

My Social Counter

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This plugin makes a great job- it offers a counter for all the major social networks. My Social Counter plugin offers various schemes of displaying social network buttons in order to fit them better to the website design. Every button looks great, which means that the visitors will be delighted with them!

Facebook Likebox Slider

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If the previous plugin offered a bird view over the social media numerical situation, this one is useful in having a complete overview of the social media stream. More exactly, the plugin adds the website a discrete slider that presents the latest actions on the major social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Vimeo, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram).

Social Stream

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WordPress Social Stream is a very original plugin. It takes various social media streams and incorporates them all into a single WordPress powered website. The plugin is extremely customizable and it allows selecting any type of feeds from multiple networks into a layout that may be modified according to the user’s needs.

Twit Lite

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Usually, the bloggers and the website owners are very busy people and they are not able to handle their social presence well, since it is well known that maintaining a coherent social media stream is a time consuming activity. This plugin saves the time and automatically tweets any new post published. It is simple, but effective, isn’t it?

Ring Share

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Ring Share isn’t a very used plugin, but it must be treated seriously by the WordPress users. It gives the user the possibility to create a ring of social media icons on various areas on the layout while the visitors may share the page/image/text paragraph via various social networks.

Social Status

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This plugin doesn’t enhance the user experience, but it shouldn’t be missing from the arsenal of a serious WordPress user. It offers a very detailed situation of the social media hits and the dates are showcased using beautifully designed graphics.

WP Social RSS

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It was impossible not to mention a plugin that will allow you to better handle the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) options. It’s simple to use and it allows customizing the RSS buttons in order to attract more and more visitors.

The social networks are very important and either if you are willing or not, these will be very appreciated in the next years. These plugins are very efficient and any owner of a WordPress powered website must consider installing some of them. If you appreciate this post, don’t forget to share it with your friends!

How Vulnerable is Your WordPress Site?

hackingIt’s not every day that Forbes, a major media outlet, takes a look at WordPress. The subject: security of WordPress sites, focusing on what you can do to ensure your domain is impenetrable. After all, hacking a WordPress site can involve just a user name and password, so let’s see how you can refrain from falling victim.

One recommendation from Forbes was to back up your website “often.” How often is completely up to you, but the news site recommended at least one update a week. Several plug-ins are available to help you back up your site, including UpdraftPlus, which Forbes recommended. Others we found included BackUpWordPress and BackWPup. Some of these cost money and others didn’t, so check out a few to see which ones match your needs and wallet the best.

Forbes also recommended limiting login attempts rather than allow unlimited cracks at your user name and password. A plugin called Limit Login Attempts was recommended, which helps stop logins by tracking a person’s IP address. You can also keep tabs on attempts using Limit Login Attempts and even have them e-mailed to you.

Just like many computer users have an obvious login name, Forbes recommended, “Most hackers try to get your password by trying to brute-force your ‘admin’ username. If you change your user name to something else, that will protect your website immediately.” In other words, pick a user name that’s not “admin”. It’s amazing how simple security can be sometimes.

Similarly, use a password that’s not inanely obvious like “password” or “WordPress” or one you’ve used on a bunch of other websites. Try to come up with something original that would give hackers a headache to crack. No, your first name is not original.

One final recommendation was to “limit the IP addresses that are allowed to visit /wp-admin/ section of your website. The easiest way to do so is to block all entry except your own IP address with an htaccess file.”

We found a number of plugins that provided e-mail alerts when potential security breaches came to light. Take BulletProof Security, for example, which allows you to be notified whenever a user account is locked out, an administrator logs in, and any user logs in. Think about how much control and oversight you’d have if you were e-mailed when any of these actions occurred.

all in one wordpress securityThe All In One WordPress Security plugin (pictured) received rave reviews (113 reviews of five stars out of 119 submitted). According to its site, the plugin “reduces security risk by checking for vulnerabilities and by implementing and enforcing the latest recommended WordPress security practices and techniques. [The] All In One WP Security also uses an unprecedented security points grading system to measure how well you are protecting your site based on the security features you have activated.”

Not protecting your site can yield pretty grave consequences. Take an incident in mid-March that saw 162,000 WordPress sites launch a DDoS attack. Yes, 162,000 WordPress sites were part of the melee. As one observer put it, “Can you see how powerful it can be? One attacker can use thousands of popular and clean WordPress sites to perform their DDoS attack, while being hidden in the shadows, and that all happens with a simple ping back request to the XML-RPC file.” There’s a tool called WordPress DDOS Scanner you can use if you think your site might be at risk.

Users making comments in various articles about the DDoS attack reiterated the dangers of an “admin” user name. Others added that keeping your plugins and add-ons up-to-date is of paramount importance. Changing your password often is also advised.

Check out some of the other WordPress plugins that can help you be a lean, mean WordPress machine.

7 Reasons Why Your Website Has to Work on a Mobile Phone

pic1Being on the go is the way that most people operate today. Being on the go means that you will not always have the space that you would like to carry a large personal laptop. In lieu of a laptop, most people will carry around other devices. Some of these are mobile phones or tablets. Most smart phones and mobile devices were created to help access the Internet without needing a large screen. Website owners should be aware of the fact that everyone who attempts to access their website will not be accessing the site through a personal computer. The website will more than likely be accessed through a tablet or mobile phone regularly.

For website owners, this means optimizing the web page for mobile phone usage. Here are seven reasons why your website should work on a mobile phone.

1) Phones are more popular than computers

While there are still people who operate without having a personal computer inside of their home, it is rarer to find a person who does not have a cellular phone. The default cellular phone that is being released by manufacturers is a smart phone. Smart phones have internet access, and can access and load webpages as fast as many computers. So, while you may be building your website on a computer, you must build the site with mobile access in mind.

2) People Often Order on the Go

If you offer commodities on your website, having a website that can be accessed via a mobile phone can greatly increase your revenue. If you sell items, the website should be created as a mobile user friendly website. Allowing mobile phone customers to be able to browse, select items, and check out with little hassle can increase your revenue.

3) People Prefer Phones While Relaxing

When people tend to relax, they may not bring their personal laptop with them. This means that a person who is relaxing in bed, or in their living room may not take their computer, but they are likely to have their phone. A customer who is browsing may run across your website and decide to patronize your service.pic2

4) Mobile Friendly Sites are Easy to Build

There are website themes that are available to build websites. Some of these themes already operate as mobile friendly design. These designs translate well on a mobile phone and allow the buttons and screen scaling to match what you would like when it comes to mobile access.

5) It will be Easy for You to Access

Customers are not the only people who need to access the website on the go. Building a mobile friendly website will make it easy for you to access as well. If you wish to log into your website while on the go, with a mobile friendly site, you can log in an access the control panel of the website. During downtime in a commute or while caught in the city, you will be able to access your website and make changes or contact customers as you need to. As a business owner, being available in a number of different ways is necessary to best serve customers. A mobile friendly site will help you to serve them through your phone as well.

6) Bug Finding and Set Up is Easy

There is little reason to stall making the transition to a mobile friendly website. It is easy to make changes to a website in order to be more mobile friendly. Contrary to popular belief, bugs are not a major issue when making this kind of change to a website. BugFinders.com is a website that can help you sort out any bugs that may be found in your software. If there are any bugs found, you can get a quick fix in order to set up your website design properly.

7) Your Conversions may Increase

pic4When you go from a design that was not mobile friendly to a sign that is easily accessible via a smart phone, you may be able to keep customers on your website a little longer. Customers who access websites via their mobile phone and happen upon a design that is not mobile user friendly will often quickly click away and instead look for another site. After implementing a mobile friendly design, you may find that users come to the website and stay a longer time. This is likely to increase your sales and your repeat visitors.

Changing over to a mobile friendly design is a top priority for website owners. Make sure that you have the job done professionally, in order to make sure that the website is performance friendly. Once you have a new mobile design, watch closely to your stats and any sales increases.

5 Best BlackBerry Apps for Graphic Designers

New technologies are making life much simpler for graphic designers, and there are some great apps available for controlling your business, getting your life in order and succeeding in the graphic design field. It also can help build your brand. Here are the five best BlackBerry apps for graphic designers.

1. Palettes Lite

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Image via celestinacarmen.blogspot.com

Palettes Lite is the free version of the full software package, but it still has a huge amount of usability and is a more comprehensive tool than ColorRef. With Palettes Lite,  you will be able to create a color scheme with color codes, sliders, photos, or the color wheel.

The app is also shows complimentary colors and allows for new pallets to be created based on the merging of other colors. This great app also has a huge online palette sharing location where you can browse and download other user create color pallets.

2. ColorRef

colorref

Image via webdesign.about.com

ColorRef is a simple easy to use color scheme reference tool for graphic designers who like to match up color schemes while out and about. Sometimes in a moment of design inspiration you may want to check the compatibility of colors you are intending to use, and this is where ColorRef comes in.

The app can convert RGB, Hex or even CoreGraphics formatting, meaning that you can source colors from a variety of locations. There are some great online resources teaching about effective use of color schemes in web design if this is an area that you need more help with.

3. Evernote

Evernote

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Hands down one of the best organizational apps out there, Evernote is a comprehensive tool that can be accessed from any device, even newer ones like the BlackBerry Q10, making it ideal for graphic designers who are always on the go. Simply make notes and memos on whatever device you like and then once saved, you can retrieve anywhere anytime.

With a few little add-ons you can also save webpages, bookmarks and create reading lists to refer back to. The premium edition ofEvernote has some extremely useful features such as note and file sharing as well as many other tools.

4. SAP TimeSheet Lite

saap

Image via appfinder.lisisoft.com

If you are the kind of designer who needs help with time management, client rates and other office work, then this app will be a nice addition to your BlackBerry device. TimeSheet Lite is a free version to the full package, and it allows you to track time sheets, project details and client details so that you never have to worry about forgetting to log down your work again.

The full version has some really neat tools that will help to keep you on track up to date with clients.

5. Storage Made Easy

storagemadeeasy

Image via storagemadeeasy.com

Many graphic designers work from a variety of locations, which can lead to a messy trail of files, documents and media. Storage Made Easy consolidates your file storage into one central point so you can get access to it from whichever device you are using, meaning that whether you are at your desk or on the train, you will never be without your files.

Mobile devices makes life easier for graphic designers, and the fact that you can use these apps from any place makes them even more convenient for those working in various locations.

The complete guide of creating a selling WordPress theme

WordPress is just ten years old but it seems to be one of them most important entities of the Internet. There are so many websites based on this content management system (CMS) and so many themes available that the Internet may be considered as the realm of WordPress. The fascinating aspect is that its success seems it’s not reached its peak as long as the number of websites based on CMS is daily growing. The specialists tried to explain the success of the CMS and they identified lots of factors but the most important was the simplicity of using it. Someone said that everyone that is able to work with Microsoft Office Word will be able to handle a WordPress website…personally, I really believe in this statement.
In this context, it’s normal for any designer or developer to ask himself if it’s profitable to sell a WordPress theme. Unfortunately, by reading this post you won’t obtain a clear answer –“yeah, go for it” or “nope, it’s not for you”. The single clear statement is that yes, there are too many WordPress themes available, but definitely, there are way too few high quality ones. In conclusion, instead of wasting time to ask yourself if it’s good or not to create a WordPress theme, it’s better to create a really impressive theme and start making money by selling it.
Important: Many designers prefer to create only custom WordPress themes that are used by a single client. In this post we will not treat this aspect, we will debate only the matter of themes available for multiple sells.  In order to help you, here is a small, but complete guide to create selling WordPress themes. Obviously, it may be completed with the opinions or past experiences of the readers; we are waiting for your contributions, therefore use the comment form!

1. Decide the type of the theme

Before making the first scratch of a layout, it’s recommended to establish very clearly the type of the theme. In fact, there are two major solutions:

– a theme that may be suitable for multiple purposes. It’s characterized by general items, it has nothing very particular. The advantage of these themes is constituted by the large amount of potential buyers.
– a particularized theme that has a very clear destination, i.e. a layout for church or kindergarten website. These themes have less potential buyers, but the interested ones are better transformed into effective buyers.
It is up to the designer to select which solution work the best for him, clearly none of the above solutions is wrong or good. Anyway, it’s a good idea to follow a path from the beginning, else changing the concept in the middle of the design phase may represent a very bad decision.

2. A good design remains capital (yeah, it’s a deprecated piece of advice)

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I was in doubt about adding or not this tip into the article. I think that no blogger or designer will ever say that the design isn’t important. It’s such a common advice that will bore the readers. Altogether, an impressive number of themes are modest and the design simply has nothing to attract the eyes of the viewers. To conclude, any designer should think twice when creating the design of the layout. It should be original to attract people, but in the same time it should be accessible and usable. The design of a layout requires a lot of time and resources, but this by no means (time and resources) is mandatory to create a product that will be appreciated and bought.

3. A good design attracts clients, a good code maintains them loyal

A good design attracts clients, but selling more themes requires a complete strategy. The main idea is to create a loyal base of clients and definitely it is the basis of a long-term profitable affair. The first step in gaining the loyalty of the clients is to offer them very good products. As long as the design is a subjective matter and it may happen that a good looking theme will not be liked by some people, a clean and correct code is an objective thing. Even if the code is a more discrete presence, it doesn’t mean that coding may be ignored. There is nothing to add: pay close attention to the coding, any mistake affects the rating of the theme and implicitly, it will negatively affect the number of sales.

4. Give options to the users, but don’t let them recreate the theme

Another feature of WordPress that is much appreciated by users is the customization ability. It means that also the themes must be easily customizable and a successful one should have many options to personalize. Many WordPress developers are going too far and add too many options to custom and this situation confuse the clients. There is no recipe to determine which options are necessary and which ones are useless- it’s only the experience of the designer/developer.

5. Customer support is important no matter how high quality is a theme

I bet that even if a theme respects the laws of beautiful design and it’s impeccably coded, at least a client will need support for the respective theme. Customer support seems as an additional activity for WordPress theme creators, but the reality proved that it is very important. On short term perspective, not offering replies to the clients’ demands may not affect the sales, but on medium and long term perspective it is “the perfect solution” to failure.

6. Marketing is as important as coding and design

A common mistake of people selling WordPress themes is the lack of interest regarding the marketing of the theme. As I previously mentioned, the Internet is full of themes and it’s extremely difficult to make some buzz around a new one. The WordPress themes market is characterized by a paradoxical situation: it is full of themes, but very few are really qualitative and people are somehow prudent about a new theme. If the creator doesn’t care about the future of his work, by sure other people won’t either. The conclusion: marketing is a must. Willing or not, creating a selling WordPress theme supposes the next phases: designing, coding and marketing!
In the end, I hope that everyone interested in selling WordPress themes got some useful advices. Once again, I must warn that creating WordPress themes is a taught job, but the rewards are pretty motivating. What do you think, would you start creating and selling WordPress themes?

How To Compose SSL With Merchant Account?

It can be said that a merchant account is not a typical account like saving or any other account. It is however like a contract between you and your bank. Now people prefer to use credit or debit card payments instead of using hard cash. So if you also want to have the facility in your online or retail store then you can go for opening a merchant account. While generating the bank statement the name of your business along with a specified charge will appear on your customer’s credit card statement. Here the processing dimensions passes through every 7-14 days.

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It is not that you will have to work with one account as a business owner you are allowed to have more than one active of merchant accounts at the same time. Generally people go for over-the-counter (OTC) merchant account which is most useful for retail stores. The second types of merchant accounts are termed as Internet Merchant Accounts used by for eCommerce merchants for online webshops, it is though a very high risk Merchant Account associated with a few specific categories like gambling and adult, pharmacy, where there is a more chance of fraud. The next most common kind of merchant account is for the E-mail and telephone made orders account, which provides you services related to the regular Internet Merchant Account as well.

It is true that the common people think it is however difficult to go for a merchant account especially for new businesses as they have experienced that the customers turn away rate regarding payment processors is not up to as high as 98% for all merchants.

Apart from that the most important aspect for small business owners is the cost effectiveness. Though it is associated with many advantages for a business to run but the cost of accepting credit or debit cards for an online business is too high to afford for a small or new business. They can go with 3rd party merchant accounts like PayPal and 2CO as the processing fees here is less as compared to others. Moreover it is suitable for the business of any sizes or all types.

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Now it is the era of online business where everybody wants the ability to operate with credit or debit card payments, whether in a retail store or an eCommerce store on the internet. The user will feel comfortable using their cards and if you will be unable in providing them with this facility then you will most likely lose the customers.

SSL means Secure Socket Layer. It is a developing standard discovered by Netscape Communications to transfer important data and information across the Internet. It is however a reliable and secured way of data transfers. Through SSL your customer’s browser will be connected to your web site and can avail a transparent communication channel. After implementation of the connection you can securely exchange the credit card numbers over the web.

For this process you definitely need a verified “Merchant Account” from an accredited financial institution as all the actual processing of the credit card will be done through this. SSL does not use any software to process the credit card transactions, it also based on the Merchant Account for their transaction processing.

If you are making a web-based form of business where you are required to attract the traffic towards your website and need the visitor to enter data and submit the form online, then you can take the help of an SSL encryption service. This is especially helpful and secured way of exchanging sensitive information like entering credit card numbers.

The SSL service thus uses an encrypted form of information transfer technique. Once after receiving from the web server it is automatically decrypted which enable you to read, store and process the information as usual on the web server.

If you are having an SSL certificate previously then you don’t need to go for the whole process again. You can just send a backup file to renew the certificate that has been generated on the previous web server, along with the password associated with the certificate file. By this you can be able to use the facility over the web with a small setup fee.

About Author:
Mark Wilston is a Content Writer and marketing professional working with PixelCrayons (a reputed Web & Mobile Application development company). He loves to read and write different blogs related to web design and technologies. Contributing in a blog post aids him spreading the words online with a new set of people.

With 60 Million Websites, WordPress Is All Set to Rule CMS

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Image from here.

One word that can describes WordPress is “evolution.” WordPress has evolved from being a mere blogging tool to a comprehensive Content Management System (CMS) leaving behind its so-called, sophisticated counterparts like Drupal and Joomla. You might be shocked to know the fact WordPress powers nearly 60+ million websites across the globe and nearly 100,000 more pop up each day.

There is no denying that WordPress rules because it is versatile, easy to use, extensible, and above all it is absolutely free. I have developed many sites for my clients and nothing beats it in terms of simplicity. My clients particularly enjoy the fact that WordPress empowers them to easily customize website without requiring technical knowledge and requiring to code.

So what, you might ask? Does increasing popularity of WordPress makes it the best CMS? Should one just rely on statistics to zero down on a CMS? No. Your decision should be based on solid reasons and here are a few reasons to select WordPress:

#1 Non-geek friendly: WordPress wins the battle in terms of ease of use. Yes, you can create a website or blog in less than an hour with just a matter of few clicks. And this is why so many people are selecting this content management system. You don’t have to be a tech geek to maintain the site. Non-techies love this CMS for its downright simplicity which makes the site easy to maintain. Adding new content is not excruciatingly painful in WordPress as compared to other CMS. Users can almost instantly add new content to their website.

#2 Extensible: Plugins can extend WordPress to do almost anything you can imagine without coding and there are zillions of plugins available. Plugins allow seamless customization and enhancement to WordPress sites. It is cost-effective as you don’t have to hire developers for small features that you might want to add to your site. You can simply activate, upload and integrate plugin through the administration panel. Voilà, your site transforms from a simple blog to a cutting-edge site in a matter of few clicks.

#3 Booming Community: WordPress is growing at a phenomenal pace. There is no doubt that the WordPress community is one of the most active communities offering support on any information imaginable. The odds are really high that you will find what you are looking for and there will be very little need for custom development or design. The sheer number of themes, plugins, and resources available for WordPress outweigh the other CMS.

#4 Low overhead and training costs: Anyone with bare minimum instructions can use WordPress. There is a little a site owner might want to do that can’t be achieved with a point and click in WordPress. I’ve taught non-technical clients how to use some WordPress features or install plugins over the phone in half an hour flat. Low training overheads is one of the major advantages.

#5 Buit-in user roles: WordPress provides six built-in user roles: Super Admin, administrator, author editor, contributor and finally subscriber. This feature is very useful if you have different people updating your website. You can give predefined rights to different users instead of giving them full right to access your site. This feature minimizes potential threat to your site from multiple users at any given point of time.

Conclusion: Before you launch a blog or website, it’s crucial to figure out how you’re going to manage everything once it’s live, up and running. A good CMS will help you simplify all the activities associated with your site: publishing, editing and modifying content, SEO, as well as manage workflow. There is no denying that WordPress allows you to do all that you need from a CMS and much more.

Author Bio: Harriot Marks works with VITEB – a custom website Development company in India. She helps businesses develop their identities online. In spare time, she likes to research various trends relevant to her field and extensively write about them.