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WordPress and SSL images in WPv4.4

By Matt Adams on March 29th, 2016

Responsive images became the new standard in WordPress 4.4, released in December 2015. One major issue is sites that run SSL full time. Having that green secure lock in the browser bar is important. It’s good for security, required for online transactions, and adds a great deal of credibility to the site.

With WP 4.4 out of the box, you may find your site looking like it has a lot of broken images. Turns out that featured images in WP 4.4 still load as HTTP. With out the https, the users browser will block any resource that is unsecured.

So we have a small patch for this.

Using the following code in your functions file.

add_filter('wp_get_attachment_image_attributes', function($attr) {
    if (isset($attr['sizes'])) unset($attr['sizes']);
    if (isset($attr['srcset'])) unset($attr['srcset']);
    return $attr;
}, PHP_INT_MAX);
add_filter('wp_calculate_image_sizes', '__return_false', PHP_INT_MAX);
add_filter('wp_calculate_image_srcset', '__return_false', PHP_INT_MAX);
remove_filter('the_content', 'wp_make_content_images_responsive');

Okay so the code above actually disables WP 4.4 responsive images feature from running. So while yes you wont have that new 4.4 feature, a site built to be responsive will still load fine.

This should be fixed in WP 4.4.2, but we are still seeing a few sites with the issue, so for now this is the best fix to keep your WordPress site running in full SSL mode.

Hackers Point Large Botnet At WordPress Sites

By Matt Adams on April 15th, 2013

Are you using wordpress for your website content management system or blogging platform? If so you need to read this.

In recent news over the last few days, hackers have been targeting and sucessfully gaining access to wordpress admin panels by brute force. The most common issue is out of date plugins / wordpress files, and simple dictionary based passwords.

So what do you do?

4 easy steps to keep your site secure

  1. Stop using ADMIN as the username.
    If you are using admin, login, create a new user with full admin rights. Then logout as admin, and in as your new user. Delete the old admin username, and assign all posts, content and pages to your new user.
  2. Use secure passwords
    8 – 12 characters long, with upper, lower case letters as well as a number. Using names, birthdays and uniqe spellings can help. Like Thom@s1198 would be secure.
  3. Keep WP and all plugins up to date.
    WP makes this process pretty easy. Regular updates should not take long, and are usually pretty painless. In your apperence > Plugins screen you will see which plugins need updated. And WP core can be updated from the dashboard home screen. Be sure you have a recent database backup before doing these updates.
  4. Avoid using too many plugins.
    Yes, there is always an app for that. There are 100k+ plugins for wordpress. Anyone can write a plugin. Often plugins can leave security holes and cause a drain on the server. Remove any and all unused plugins, and always check the plugin reviews before installing.

Need Assistance?

Factor1 members: We’ll do this for you automatically. We do these checks often, but will make a special effort this week to keep your site secure.

Not a member? We can perform a full site security scan, which includes a database back up, run all WP core and plugin updates, evaluate all user logins, and remove any and all issues we find. We have a one time fee of $50.

5 tips to planning a website that works

By Matt Adams on August 1st, 2012

Planning a website can be a big task. All the content, users, ideas, and don’t forget the SEO and images.

Pretend your friend Tom just remodeled his house. An amazing kitchen, knocked out down wall and turned a spare bedroom into space for the master bathroom and closet.

Now you see how happy they are, and you want the same thing! Great, you tell your contractor to copy it, and you will be happy. So now you are done, but you remember you don’t need that much closet space, and now you no longer have a home office. And since you would rather just eat out, this bigger kitchen makes coffee and pours a mean bowl of cereal, but thats all it gets used for.

Sure the construction and materials may be top notch, but if the function doesn’t meet your needs who cares, you needed your own solution. It could be made with the finest materials in the world, it still won’t work any better for you.

So don’t approach your website with the same approach. Let’s start with some fresh thinking.

Who uses this site?
Silly question maybe, but really ask WHO. What are your visitors here for? Checking through your site traffic logs may identify key pages and where people spend their time. Maybe it’s research on a product or service, maybe it’s finding your locations, or maybe its to browse and buy your product directly online. Identify the top functions your site must do and do well.

Whats wrong with the old site.
By stepping back and identifying the issues, the pitfalls and things you need changed will help identify HOW they get addressed on the new site. Is it hard to manage? Are the gaps in content and shopping experience? Maybe it’s just out dated and dying.

Knowing the wrong will help identify the right fix.

How should your site work?
Don’t worry about the technical details. How do you think a user should find your site, navigate, and walk away with? Now look at your best customers, what did they do? Did they buy 5 products because the related product widget suggested it? Or did they view your entire portfolio before calling you? This is a harder questions because you may not have specific data to back it up, but knowing what worked for a good customer vs the way you think it should work is key.

How can you simplify?
No one wants to make something more complicated. Adding functions and features often leads to complexity. So in what ways can you expedite the site to fully meet the users needs with less clicks, less searching and less confusion?

Where can we be the best?
Not where can we do what that other site is doing, but where can you be the leader? So often we are asked to simply do what the other guy is doing. This rarely works out well. Recently we had a project for an organization here in Tempe, and they really broke down how their site would be the best site for their mission, vision and audience. They had clear answers on where their site would be the easiest and best communication tool for their organization. This was refreshing. The site is still in development and will be live soon, but its already a great site because they wanted to be the best they could be.

Now that you have some of the first 5 things to work on, you are on your way to crafting a better website.

Want to talk about these questions with a pro? We are here to help.

Your business does not need a phone app

By Matt Adams on October 21st, 2011

You heard me. Your business does not need a phone app in the apple or android app stores. More than likely.

Last week, a client of ours was super excited to tell me all about this new web app they are “creating”. By creating I mean they paid some phone app company a set up fee (usually $250 – 500) and $50 a month for. When I asked what the app would do, they rattled off all the amazing features. Features like a home page, news, about us, contact, directions, and product info. So I asked to clarify, that this is indeed an “app”, Yes, they proclaimed! It will be free in the apple and android app stores.

Here is my giant issue. Please hear me very clearly here.

If your app is no more than basic content found on your site, its a waste of time, money and your efforts.

Yes apps are all the rage. All the cool kids are talking about apps. Trust me, no one is going to be browsing the app store, and think to themselves, “sweet! a company I have never heard of has an app about their company / service / product, and its free!”. No, no one will think that.

Save your money, time and app lust. I have a fix for you. Build a site that is mobile friendly. We have a few ways of doing this. One is responsive. Take our site for example. Resize your browser window smaller. Bam! It re-organizes itself to fit the screen size. Navigations get touch friendly, fonts remain clear and readable. Another alternative is a seperate mobile site with the core info, that we have an auto detect script set up on. Basically if the visitor screen size is less than 640px wide, send them to the mobile site. Give them an option back to the main full site. Yes, you can still use a QR barcode to direct people to your mobile site. They can call you, map your location, and learn more all from the mobile web, with no need for an app.

You may have a need for an app. If your idea is functional, helps a user, provides them a beneficial resource for planning, searching, researching, or tracking something. Great, go for it! Verizon has a great app to track my minutes used on my iPhone.  Starbucks has a store locator, with info on menus, amenities, and wifi. E-trade has an app to search, research and watch over your trades. Catch my drift here?

Make it useful, keep it relevant, and make it a benefit to your users (not just you). Or dont do it at all.

iPad accounts for 97 percent of US tablet web browsing

By Matt Adams on June 24th, 2011

So we all know I am a geek, and love all things apple. I still give a lot of respect to the others out there. When chatting about tablets, it’s hard NOT to talk about the ipad, but there are plenty of others. A few great android tablets and the HP & Blackberry are pretty solid competitors as well.

So I assumed that the iPad would lose some market share. But per comScore’s May 2011 report, the apple iPad is 97% of tablet web traffic. 97%!!!!! Thats great. I love my ipad, and i know i love surfing on it. But I was really shocked to see the numbers where they are.

So as we push forward with sites we develop, more and more are 100% iPad friendly. Of course we still want to make the others can play nice too, but for sure reaching 97% of the tablet web surfers is our goal.

Is your website tablet friendly? Anyone out there use a non ipad tablet?

Placing value on quality

By Matt Adams on August 30th, 2010

Where do you stand where quality counts?

Oxford suits is the only company left in america today that still makes its suits by hand. Seriously by hand. No machines. Can you imagine the hours to sew a single suit?

Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlX9pcBOqT0

Quality, attention to detail, pride in your work. they all matter.

using html5 for video

By Matt Adams on June 24th, 2010

HTML5 is going to be the new norm here soon. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, dont worry about it too much. Its the background structure / protocol running web pages. Firefox, Safari, Opera & Google Chrome are all HTML5 ready on some level. IE 6, 7, 8 are not. Rumor is the IE 9 will be. But I’m not holding my breath.

One of the big new laws in html 5 is the way a website can interact with video. We can now use a more native video format, that streams better on browsers and mobile devices. YES ipad & iphone (and other mobiles) can use the new HTML5 video.

HTML5 video will eliminate the need for flash on most devices.

So lets create a smooth video splash page for a product or service promotion. We’ll start with a simple design, and then move onto the video part.

Design

Sticking with a simple design. We want to center our video, and give it a nice frame.

The Base Html:





  
  HTML5 Video Player

  




          

Video Demo

Enter site

and our basic css:


body {
	margin: 0; 
	padding: 0; 
	font-family: Helvetica, Arial, Sans-serif; 
	background: url(bg_body.jpg) repeat-x #111; 
	color: #ccc;}
	
#wrapper {
	width:680px; 
	margin: 0 auto; 
	padding: 20px;
	text-align: center;}
	
#video {
	width: 640px;
	height: 300px;
	}
	
a, a:visited {
	color: #22daff;}
	
a:hover {
	color: #d1d1d1;}
	
	h1 {text-shadow: 1px 2px 1px #111; color: #eee; font-size: 4em;}
	



Video conversion

Here is my biggest gripe against html5 video. Each browser has their own video type. Safari: mp4, Firefox, OGV, and Chrome: WebM. Kind of a pain to convert your video to 3 formats, but in general it is a better experience for the end user right? so we’ll suck it up and deal with it.

So whats the easiest way to convert to these file types? I have tried a few ways, and thus far has been Miro Video Converter. Works on both mac and PC. mirovideoconverter.com. And best of all, its free. I used this to convert all of my videos.

Video player options

Sure html5 can take the new video symantic tag. But it doesnt leave the most consistent user experience. Then what about those lowly IE users? we can’t ignore them. We may want to, but we can’t.

There are a handful of opensource javascript and css players. They players make it nice and easy to auto detect the browser type, and deliver the best video possible. Some even offer a flash drop out for the worst case IE users.

Some options include:
Video for everybody: http://camendesign.com/code/video_for_everybody
Video JS: http://videojs.com
Sublime: http://jilion.com/sublime/video
Projekktor: http://www.projekktor.com/

Each essentially adds a layer of functionality and style to the html5 video tag. I liked Video JS for this use.

Prepping you server for the video

This is a super important step. Not all servers will recognize the mime types of videos. Using a simple htaccess file, we can add these three simple lines to indicate the file mime types.

AddType video/ogg .ogv
AddType video/mp4 .mp4
AddType video/webm .webm

Pulling it together

1. Download the Video JS codes, and upload the files to your server.
2. Insert the necessary codes for the CSS and JS into your files head tag.
3. insert their player codes into your video div
4. Modify the file paths to your videos for each file type.
5. update the flash var source for the back up video, making sure you use a absolute full url.

Save and test!

Here is my final result, http://proofs.factor1studios.com/mediasalt/video/ with the videos playing in native formats for Firefox, Safari, and Chrome, with IE dropping to a flash swf fall back.

So now you don’t have an excuse to not be producing great video splash pages or video on your site, with full support for all browsers, and mobile devises.

the premium product

By Matt Adams on June 24th, 2010

In almost every industry you will find a premium product, and several tiers of brands or services falling in rank there after. Their order doesn’t matter. What matters is the premium, and the non premium.

Here is what I like. Premium sets the bar, the gold standard, and the price. The market and industry of that premium product depends on these factors, for the smaller fish to survive.

But here is the catch. You can’t expect to compete with the big dogs, yet offer value on one of the key factors (quality, price, service, etc). An amazing car, but at sacrifice on service wont work. Ask the 1996 Car and Driver best luxury car of the year Mazda Millennia. Rated better than the lexus, mercedes and BMW in the class, but failed to deliver the customer service. And it did poor in sales. Mazda stunk at pampering its customers.

There are other similar stories I’m sure, but here is my point. If you cant compete on all levels, and win at the expectations placed on the premium, then dont. Find a way to better compete with the smaller fish.

Nothing wrong with being the biggest medium fish possible. Let the big fish pay for infrastructure, R&D, market research, and so on. You keep up, push the limits where you can, and focus on the ways you are different. There are a lot of cars sold in the middle to low range. Far more volume than the top cars.

Add value before all else

By Matt Adams on April 13th, 2010

Dont get me wrong, I’ll be the first to look at a new idea and ask if we can make money from it. Where are the expenses, and where is the profit. But I need to remind myself and others often, to have value first.

Try not to become a person of success but a person of value. ~Albert Einstein

Lets take a look at twitter’s newly announced plans of advertising in twitter for a great example. This week twitter announced how it will be selling ads within twitter. Its a pretty unique method. But lets step back for a second.

Twitter was free of ads, and free to users for a few years. They built up a customer base, and refined their systems. They kept it lean and mean by only offering one core service—updates. No photos, elaborate profiles, member pages, or other things that have hurt others in the past. Just updates, and a way to follow others. This added a large value to its base, and probably one key factor to its growth.

So back to present day. Twitter built value, and a customer base as its first goal, income streams came later. Did they always have plans for a revenue stream, I hope so! Sure it may have been a rough outline or a few sketchy ideas, but I am sure they did, and their investors saw it too.

Here are some simple questions to answer as you launch a new business, new product, service, or idea.

  1. Who is my customer for this product & what is their need?
  2. How will this address their needs?
  3. Where is my competition on this new product?
  4. Where can this under promise, and over deliver?
  5. What is the opportunity for growth after we launch it?
  6. Where do we see this product in 1, 2, and 5 years?
  7. How are we going to make sure we keep up on the times
    (value now, with outdated needs in a year is no value!)
  8. What if we fail to offer value now, can we innovate and change? or is the product dead?
  9. How will we gauge & measure the value created?
    (It’s not always sales numbers, especially early on)

We at factor1 are always coming up with new things to help our clients. We clearly outline the goals, benefits, costs, target customer, and where the money is. We often will beta test and give out some freebies to make sure the value is where we expect it.

What tools do you use to measure your value?
Who do you turn to for advice on your new products, service, or ideas?

Just Add Hard Work

By Matt Adams on March 15th, 2010

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

— Thomas Edison

Not everyone can come up with killer ideas, and execute. We are all different. Some people love the ideas, but fail to follow through. Others stink at being creative, but are great at getting it done. Weekly, we will share great ideas for marketing, business, creativity, strategy, and maybe some other random ideas that will help you in your organization. All you have to do is Just Add Hard Work