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Archive of posts with the topic

Oxford: Preferred WordPress Theme of the US Embassy, United Kingdom

By Drew Strojny on December 22, 2014

Image from Website Using Oxford Theme

“Well-meaning British friends advised me not to use the term “special relationship” before I came to London. They said it was hackneyed, worn out, a cliché. I listened – then quickly realized when I got here that they were wrong. The US-UK partnership really is exceptional.”

–Matthew Barzun, United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom

It’s always a pleasure to see someone benefiting from one of our themes. And when it’s clear we’re really helping a small business enhance communication with its audience, seeing one of our themes in action is more than just a pleasure; it’s an honor as well.

On other occasions, we’re totally blown away that a certain person or organization has chosen to use one of our designs – and that’s exactly how we feel about this user: the United States Embassy in the United Kingdom.

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Key performance indicators (KPIs) for Google Analytics

By Drew Strojny on November 20, 2014

Google Analytics offers a multitude of data-related features for websites serving nearly any imaginable purpose and targeting all kinds of audiences. And best of all, you can start using it today, free of charge!

There are numerous helpful tutorials on the Web that show you how to use the different tools in Google Analytics. At the end of this post, we’ll direct you to some Google Analytics-related articles that we think are relevant and practical for WordPress users.

But before you start perusing the pie charts, line graphs, and spreadsheets available in the application’s UI, it’s important to figure out what to monitor. Otherwise, you could face information overload – not to mention a lot of time tracking metrics that have little to do with your goals.

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We’re hiring a Community Manager!

By Drew Strojny on November 12, 2014

Update: Applications are now closed.

If you love helping others learn and are an all-around enthusiastic, accountable, motivated communicator, come work for us!

The Theme Foundry is hiring a full-time Community Manager. You’ll work as part of a small, distributed team that’s deeply committed to building beautiful, functional products for WordPress users. At The Theme Foundry, we’re focused on learning, discussion, and clarity – especially in writing! Our Community Manager will value these things, too.

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To choose a custom WordPress theme… or not.

By Drew Strojny on October 23, 2014

Earlier this year, we published a post about how to find the best WordPress themes, whether free or premium. That post speaks to some of the issues you’re likely to encounter as you scour the Web for themes. It provides guidance on subjects like:

  • where to search for free themes and how to identify the highest quality (and most secure) choices among them
  • the difference between theme marketplaces and independent theme shops
  • how to gauge the quality of a WordPress theme provider

However, one thing we don’t cover in that post is why you might prefer a readymade free or premium theme to a custom WordPress design, or vice versa. There’s the obvious response to that question – that everyone would prefer a custom theme if they could afford it – but we think the initial cost difference isn’t the only issue. There’s so much more to the story!

Whether to invest in custom design is a question many bloggers, freelancers, and small businesses using WordPress wrestle with. Let’s look beyond upfront cost and consider all of the factors that should influence this important decision.

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Building blocks of responsive website design

By Drew Strojny on July 10, 2014

Building blocks of responsive website design

By now, few can deny the benefits of responsive website design. The web follows us everywhere, and responsive websites help publishers connect with readers on a variety of devices.

But what constitutes quality responsive design? Adapting content width to screen size is one thing, but providing a seamless, consistent experience across platforms is quite another. With an eye toward how we design responsive WordPress themes at The Theme Foundry, let’s examine some primary building blocks of effective responsive websites.

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Is managed WordPress hosting worth the extra cost?

By Drew Strojny on July 1, 2014

Managed WordPress hosting

Given WordPress’s status as the web’s most popular self-hosted blogging platform, it’s no surprise that the managed WordPress hosting business is booming.

For a monthly fee up to seven times the cost of shared hosting, many providers offer feature-rich hosting packages built especially for WordPress users. The question, of course, is whether extra features warrant the extra cost.

Here, we’ll discuss why you might opt for managed WordPress hosting. We’ll also look at some popular shared hosts, compare their plans to WordPress-centric alternatives, and help you determine which hosting arrangement best suits your needs.

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Create a custom WordPress sidebar with Widget Logic

By Drew Strojny on June 27, 2014

Custom WordPress sidebar

If creating a custom WordPress sidebar sounds difficult, baffling, or all-out impossible, we’re here to destroy your apprehensions. There is a plugin called Widget Logic that gives you precise control over your WordPress sidebar widgets.

Widget Logic lets you display specific widgets on an individual page or group of pages. For example, if you want to display links to your social media profiles alongside individual posts but not on your “About” page, Widget Logic can make it happen. There’s a catch, though. Widget Logic requires you to add conditional tags to every widget – and adding conditional tags means learning a little PHP. If you don’t mind learning a little PHP, or already know how to edit code, keep reading.

If you don’t feel like learning PHP, or have no interest in code, take a look at our Make WordPress theme. Make features a powerful drag and drop page builder, and when you upgrade to Make Plus, you’ll also get on demand widget areas and per page sidebar controls. Once you start using Make with Make Plus, you’ll have all the precise sidebar control you could ever wish for.

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Widget areas in Make Plus

By Drew Strojny on June 19, 2014

Widget area

Our latest theme, Make, features a simple drag and drop page builder interface. It gives you the power to build a professional and responsive website by arranging sections and columns on your page.

We wanted to make the page builder even more flexible by adding support for widget areas in Make Plus. Widget areas unlock all kinds of interesting options. Popular plugins often add custom widgets to WordPress. These widgets can be placed almost anywhere on the page when you’re using the Widget areas that come with Make Plus. Some quick examples of what you can do with widget areas:

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5 simple ways to speed up WordPress

By Drew Strojny on June 17, 2014

Speed up WordPress

A faster website can help you attract readers, retain them, and improve SEO. And if you’re using WordPress, incorporating a few simple administrative practices – and changing some publishing habits – could be just what you need to speed up WordPress.

Let’s explore several ways small publishers can make WordPress faster. These tips are for coders and non-coders alike, so anybody can use them to improve website performance.

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Should you use a third-party WordPress commenting system?

By Drew Strojny on June 11, 2014

Choosing WordPress commenting system

Many popular blogs use third-party commenting systems. From social sign in to support for rich media, comment management systems like Disqus and Livefyre bring an array of features to online conversations. Read through these brands’ marketing literature, and you might be convinced that native WordPress commenting is dull and outmoded by comparison.

Yet in spite of the impressive feature suites these two wellheeled organizations bring to the table, WordPress comments still have a lot to offer. In fact, the WordPress comment system provides at least one extremely useful feature for small publishers – a feature neither Disqus nor Livefyre can touch.

Let’s consider that feature and others as we explore the advantages of WordPress native comments and alternative comment applications alike. We’ll begin with the option many of us already know well: the built-in WordPress commenting system.

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