Basic WordPress Terminology: What the Layperson Should Know

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WordPress proudly touts its user first design for ease of use, but on other end of the spectrum are the website owners. Even the owner of a simple website is instantly barraged with the seeming jumble of terms, acronyms, and phrases that make up a typical WordPress installation. An experienced WordPress website owner may not give a second thought to this jungle of words, but a new WordPress website owner may be daunted by terms like ‘taxonomy’ and ‘shortcode.’

Here at WebDevStudios, we commonly work with newcomers to WordPress and non-technical stakeholders that do not have time to trek through the jungle of jargon, so we have put together a helpful list of some of the most common terms a website owner may run into.

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Leading Your Team To Success

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A leader is someone who demonstrates what’s possible.

-Mark Yarnell

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Can you describe a great leader in your life? You may be thinking of someone who is a super intelligent, strategic, captivating genius. That’s what makes a good leader, right? Not…well, not always. Demonstrating leadership can be achieved through just a few key elements: clear guidance, communication, accountability and most importantly, trust.

Any and every company, team, and project, benefits from a strong leader. Leadership guides the project from initiation to completion, and acts as the glue that keeps the team unified. So what core leadership skills lead to success?

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Using Storytelling for Better User Experience

Friends around campfire

Storytelling has been around before the first word was ever penned on a piece of parchment. It has evolved with us and influenced the culture around us. Stories are consumed in a myriad of different ways, and the digital age just gives us more options–from long blog posts to 140 character tweets; old photo albums to fifteen second snapchats.

Storytelling can also be used on your website to connect with users and increase engagement. A website with a well–thought out hierarchy, carefully crafted content, and user-first approach to design can tell a story that people will remember and share with others. Do you remember the first time you watched a video on YouTube? You probably couldn’t wait to share the experience of watching hilarious cat videos with your friends! YouTube had created a method for people to share their stories, and contained that inside their own storytelling framework. With a net worth of over 70 billion dollars, I’d venture that this tactic is still working out for them. Before we dive into how to use this strategy on your own site, let’s look at why it’s so successful.

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Monotasking: Stay Focused by Doing One Thing at a Time

MONOTASKING

There are a lot of benefits of working from home. Your commute is really easy, often you can make your own hours, you have a lot more flexibility in your day-to-day schedule if (and when) emergencies come up, and it’s perfect for self-motivated individuals who don’t want or need someone looking over their shoulder and checking up on them to make sure they are keeping on task.

When I worked an office job doing Windows Server phone support for a major grocery chain, there were two primary applications I had open and that’s it. One of them was Outlook that only received work email and when I left work, I had no way of accessing that email (outside of a company-issued Blackberry that I only used when I was on call). The other application was a ticketing system where issues were sent to my team for us to address. My day-to-day job generally involved going through submitted tickets, calling stores, and connecting to servers to investigate the issue, and going to occasional meetings with my team or the office. There wasn’t a whole lot of email usage, but what there was was usually relevant to my job.

When working from home, there’s a lot more bleeding between work and life. It’s much harder to leave work at work when your office is in your house. I quit that office job eight years ago and have been working from home ever since. I have to be honest, it can be a challenge. It’s still difficult navigating work and life when emergencies come up, like when my car broke down on a trip to California and I had to deal with a mechanic in Nevada for three weeks before having to figure out a way to get it shipped back to Utah for repair. But, despite the difficulties, it can be done, and I’d like to share a single tip that I use to stay focused. It’s called monotasking.

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Out of Office (Sorta): WDS Camp starts next week!

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WebDevStudios’ HQ is in Philly, but our team is internationally distributed and every single member of our team is a telecommuter. We’re a virtual office! That means that although we all talk to each other often, we don’t see each other much–in fact, some of us have never even met face to face. Despite that, we have a pretty tight crew (we’ve even been taken to task for our inside jokes all over Twitter); one of the things that is so crucial to our team creating great work is that we all kinda dig each other!

Next week we’re doing our annual retreat, WDS Camp, where everyone is congregating to meet, eat, drink, and have a damn good time and regroup for the next year of WebDevStudios badassery. 

What does that mean for you?

We’re going to be operating on a skeleton crew for the next week, but, generally speaking, things should be operating as they always do. If you’re a client, we’ve already been in touch. If you’re a prospective client or otherwise inquiring about something or other, we wanna make sure that you know that we will be responding to emails, but there may be a slight delay. You’ll still be seeing some awesome content and updates from us (and will probably be seeing a LOT of WDS Camp silliness over @webdevstudios). 

We’re using this week as an opportunity to collect ourselves, do some bonding, and make our team even stronger so that we can serve our clients better and plot our next moves…for world WordPress domination. See you on the other side, and if you need to get in touch, you know how.

Dre Armeda Becomes a Partner at WebDevStudios!

Leadership Team

A little over one year ago, taco fanatic and stellar beard owner Dre Armeda joined the WebDevStudios team as our VP of Operations. In that time, Dre has done what he does best: kick ass, take names, and make things happen. As a result, we are excited to announce that he will be stepping into a bigger role in the years to come as an executive partner on the WebDevStudios team, as well as moving into a new role as Chief Marketing Officer.

Why are we telling you?

This is huge news! Since the last year since Dre came on, we’ve moved from twenty something employees to thirty five. With the swift and steady growth we’ve had, it is more important than ever for us to use our operational resources intelligently; formalizing our marketing and sales resources with concentrated leadership is one way for us to do that. Plus, Dre has been killin’ it and it deserves a public shout out.

What does this mean for the future?

One of our core company values has always been to serve as an educational and community resource. This change can help us do that in that in bigger and better ways as we get bigger and better too. You’ll be seeing us at more events (and in bigger numbers! #WDSPARTY!), continued incredible content from our team, and continued partnerships with amazing organizations that help folks out like Happy Joe.

This is a step toward building a team that exclusively focuses on our marketing and sales, too! We want to elevate the level of engagement, communication, and support for our clients. We want to make our support team and messaging as powerful as our technical team (which packs quite the punch, if we may say so ourselves!).

We’re excited for you to join us on this new venture! Join us in sending a congrats to Dre over @dremeda, too!

 

A Few Friday Announcements!

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HAPPY FRIDAY, FRIENDS!

Zach Stepek, Maintainn, WebDevStudios, WordPress developer, hire a developer, hire a web designer, hire a graphic designerFirst of all, please join us in welcoming yet ANOTHER DEVELOPER to WebDevStudios, and, more specifically, the Maintainn team!

Zach Stepek is the newest member of our goofy and talented group! Pop over to the Maintainn blog to find out more about him and make sure you follow him over @zstepek!

Second of all, if you’re looking for a smart and informative way to keep yourself entertained on Friday afternoon (are you ready for the weekend? We sure are!), listen to Brian on the Conscious Millionaire podcast! He talks about how to create a big brand with WordPress–wise words from a wise man, so listen up!

Third of all, have a fantastic weekend!

Comic courtesy of xkcd

The Future of JavaScript: ECMAScript 6 and You

ES6 Sample

Today, JavaScript fills every aspect of our online lives: it checks your e-mail in the background, it guides your online shopping cart, and it even autosaves your blog post as you write. From the client to the server, JavaScript is everywhere. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that this wasn’t always the case.

When I started writing basic web pages in the late 90’s, “DHTML” was the acronym describing the use of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS; the “D” stood for “Dynamic.” DHTML sites were heavy and sluggish, yet they showcased the power of JavaScript (or JScript, depending on who you asked). They also served as a reminder of why many developers shied away from JavaScript at the time: it was resource-intensive, and implementations varied from browser to browser. At the time, I only knew a handful of people who did any kind of web development–we were, after all, more concerned with the issues of how much AP courses “sucked” and whether or not we could get tickets to see Blink 182. For us, the consensus was that JavaScript was for show, and any website could do what it needed to do without it.

JavaScript has now made a name for itself as the go-to for interactive sites. Gone are the days of full-page Flash applications, Shockwave Player, and Java as a general “necessity” for the web. JavaScript has even found it’s way onto the server with projects such as Node.js. Automation of screenshots, converting web pages to PDF, or headless testing can all be achieved from the command link using PhantomJS, a headless implementation of the WebKit engine. On the wider web, JavaScript gives us the little spinner that eventually leads to a table of search results populating without a page reload, or dragging-and-dropping an image to upload it to Imgur. Even some of the apps on the smartphones in pockets around the world use JavaScript. It’s no longer just for hobbyists or experimentation – knowing JavaScript is a part of the job.

Which brings us to ECMAScript 6, or ES6. JavaScript is an implementation of ECMAScript, which also covers languages such as ActionScript, JScript, QtScript, and many others. ES6, codenamed “Harmony,” has been in the works since 2008 and periodic drafts have been published since 2011. This month, June 2015, ECMAScript 6 was formally announced and released and includes a lot of new and interesting tidbits for developers of the modern web.

Below I hope to cover some of the new features, but by no means all of them, as that would be far beyond the scope of this post. For more information, you can check out the full specification PDF to get a look at all of the stuff coming to a browser near you.

Author’s note: the following will include some code examples – some modern browsers may still not recognize certain keywords or agree with their use. For instance, Chrome requires “use strict” to make use of the “let” keyword.

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WebDevStudios Partners with Happy Joe

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A few weeks ago, we did our monthly non-profit spotlight featuring Happy Joe, an amazing non-profit that provides job training and opportunities to veterans in an effort to combat the employment struggles that many of our nation’s vets experience after their service. It was an honor for them to take the time to let us feature them, and now, we’re proud to say we’re taking it a step further: WebDevStudios is becoming a Hero Partner with Happy Joe!

What does that mean?

It means that we’re going to be putting our money where our mouth is, and taking our support beyond the blog by financially backing Happy Joe. As I said in the non-profit spotlight, our team is made up of veterans and family members of veterans, so the issue is close to the heart of WDS. We want to give our support back to those who gave their service and are still in need, and we believe that Happy Joe is doing incredible work that will make that happen.

Wait, that’s not all!

Happy Joe is hosting WP BootCamps, classes that teach crucial business know-how and WordPress savvy, across the US, and our executive team is going to be volunteering their time to jump in! They will be serving as teachers and mentors to the veterans who attend the events, and will be joining the rest of the Happy Joe WP BootCamp team to help students advance their skills and successfully transition into a new industry that needs well-trained, hard-working, intelligent folks.

We couldn’t be more excited to be a Hero Partner, and we hope that you’ll join us in supporting Happy Joe and their admirable efforts to serve those who have served.

WebDevStudios is hiring!

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You read it right! The WebDevStudios and Maintainn teams are continuing to expand, and we need YOUR help!

Maybe you’ve gotten to know some of us through meeting us at events, through Twitter, through here on our blog, or heck, maybe you’ve worked with some of our folks through previous/independent collaborations. If we have had the pleasure of meeting, you already know that the folks on the WDS team are a rambunctious, hard-working, clever bunch (if we may say so ourselves), and we’re looking to add people to the mix.

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