Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

WordPress Contact Form 7 Plugin – Special Mail Tags

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

I’m a big fan of the Contact Form 7 Plugin for WordPress. I’ve used some of the other form plugins for WordPress including the behemoth CForms, but I quickly turned back to the Contact Form 7 plugin. There’s something about just being a Contact Form that I like. I don’t usually need all the bells and whistles. I just want a contact form that will send me info.

Plus, I’ve been finding out that Contact Form 7 can actually do more than I even realized. One example of this is the Special Mail Tags. Basically, it’s a bunch of extra information you can include in the email you receive from your contact form.

I personally use the [_url] which sends me the “This tag will be replaced by the URL of the contact form.” This way I can track my landing pages based on the URL that someone used to fill out the form. It’s a great way for me to know which of my various ad campaigns is working the best.

I love small little tweaks like this that are very powerful. Plus, it’s what I love about the simple, but flexible WordPress plugins like Contact Form 7.

From Hobby to Full Time Blogger: Lessons Learned from 5 Years of Blogging

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Today I did a presentation at Las Vegas WordCamp called “From Hobby to Full Time Blogger: Lessons Learned from 5 Years of Blogging.” Looking at people’s comments on Twitter, it seems like people generally liked my presentation. I’m not sure how much you will get from the slides below, because as one person mentioned on Twitter: I do presentations the right way where the slides just hit the main points. I don’t ever just read the slides off to people. Either way, check it out. I had a lot of fun presenting my story.

Life and Perspective

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Life is really all about perspective. It’s really quite amazing how your perspective changes over time. For example, I remember when I used to get all sorts of pumped when my blog topped 100 pageviews in a day. That was HUGE for me at the time. Now, getting 5k pageviews is disappointing. What changed? My perspective.

The same is true for income on my blogs. $10 use to be a great day for my Google Ads. In fact, I remember how excited I was when I was finally able to get a check (or EFT) from Google Adsense every month. See, you have to make $100 in a month to get a check. I called it date money at the time and I really enjoyed the extra income.

Plus, my wife thought I was pretty cool to be making money on the internet. Now, it’s funny to compare how much I make in a day compared to when I first started. Kind of makes me laugh, but my perspective has changed.

I still LOVE people’s faces when they ask me what I do and I say blogging. Obviously, it’s a bit more complex than that, but at the end of the day I feed my family thanks to blogging. So, I can sit back and really enjoy people’s astonishment that not only can you make money blogging, but that you can make enough money blogging to actually feed a family of 5 (my wife stays home with the kids).

Of course, so far I’ve only talked about my successes. The opposite is also very true. If my pageviews drop to a certain level I get pretty disappointed. Sure, there still 100 times better than when I started, but that perspective doesn’t seem to matter as much as the new perspective that I’ve created.

Is this a problem? Not really. Unless you let it overwhelm your life. It’s just funny how perspectives can change so quickly. It’s kind of like time. Does it go fast or slow?

Good Backups Make Happy IT People

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Backups are such a pain. Mostly because you don’t ever need them until you need them and then you just hope that they work. Of course, they also hit you at a time when you’re least expecting them. You can be completely consistent checking and verifying your backups and then the week you decide to not test it (or just plain get busy and don’t do it) is the week that you end up needing it for real.

Luckily, I’m writing this post without an experience to share in this regard. Although, I am in an evening where I’m going through and adding some more backups to my various blogs. I’d say I do a reasonably good job with backups considering the data that I’m working with, but I could always do better.

The good part for bloggers is that there are a lot of plugins out there to help you with your backup needs. wp-db-backup is my favorite. Simple and just straight up works. It doesn’t get the files which is annoying on some sites, but most of my sites are content anyway, so for me it’s all about the DB backup.

Add the email backup it provides with gmail’s filters and space and it’s a pretty sweet backup solution.

Creative Commons Images

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

I’m always looking for good images that I can legally use for various website projects. However, it’s hard to find legal ones that I can use without feeling like I’m stealing someone else’s content.

Today I came across a Creative Commons search engine. Ok, it’s not actually a search engine. It’s just a way for you to use some of the major search engines that are able to search for content that’s licensed under the Creative Commons.

Pretty cool way to find good images that you likely can use. You do need to verify that it is indeed licensed under Creative Commons and that you follow the Creative Commons license, but that’s a good thing.

Enjoy the extra images!