WordPress announces the Twenty Seventeen theme

From Make.WordPress:

Twenty Seventeen will focus on providing a seamless initial theme setup so anyone can set up a website for themselves or their business with minimal hassle.

I’ve been a fan of both twenty-fifteen and twenty-sixteen and I like the direction of adding video headers, but I’d really to see them create a super minimal theme one year without a focus on big bold images. The hunt for post images is such a huge time sink.

Get The Most Popular Posts From The WordPress API

As of right now the WordPress plugin directory holds 40,367 plugins. Finding the one you need is typically pretty easy with the hardest part choosing which one suits your needs the best.

In my particular use case, I am building a new section on a site that will be completely outside of WordPress. Even though it’s outside WordPress, I still wanted to pull in a list of the most popular posts.

Searching for most popular in the plugin directory returned 614 different plugins, but I couldn’t find any that would work in this context. A lot of them do their calculations by literally storing views for each visit. I see no reason to fill up my database with this data when an external system is already logging it. That is when I remembered WordPress has it’s own API and can be utilized directly from the Stats package.

I went on a mission to implement this and wanted to share how to do it. Continue reading Get The Most Popular Posts From The WordPress API

How to setup WordPress with Forge and DigitalOcean

Laravel Forge is a service that handles creating servers on popular cloud hosting providers. I use it to host my WordPress sites with DigitalOcean and to handle auto deployments from a git push.

Installing WordPress on a cloud server you need to plan for failure. Typically there is no guarantee that you will not wake up one morning and find the server just gone. I’ve personally ran into that with AWS in the past and now I always plan for it. Continue reading How to setup WordPress with Forge and DigitalOcean

WordPress Total Words Counter

As the year is coming to a close a lot of sites are creating year in review style posts. I love these because I find it interesting how my stuff compares to them and I try to find little nuggets of information on what I should be doing better.

Alex King has been doing this for the past 9 years and has created a little gist for generating a lot of useful stats.

To take this a step further I wanted to count the total words I published for the year and I put together a little script if you’d like to do the same:

Granted this method is simple and the php function str_word_count is not entirely accurate. If you’d like to get fancy a Word Stats plugin does exist but I found that it wouldn’t work at all with the current version.

Minimal Genesis: New WordPress Theme

I’m happy to announce my first ever WordPress theme which is modeled after a previous design of this site. It’s simple, clean, with a focus on typography and includes several post formats to make your site unique.

Theme Example
Theme Example

The theme came to life earlier this year when I wanted to rebuild this site. I am constantly changing the design and finally decided that I had spent way to much time looking for a perfect theme. All the theme markets focus on designs with lots of images and complexity. I wanted to go back to basics and have something that would look nice without images.

Minimal Genesis Theme Features

This is a child theme for the popular Genesis framework. The parent theme is a requirement and it is commercial. Genesis is widely used and has tons of nice features for your site.

This theme features everything included with Genesis as well as:

  • Post formats – Linked, Quote, Image, and Standard
  • All WordPress common features
  • Search Engine Friendly
  • Clean and Minimal

Post Formats

I view personal blogging as a journal. As such your theme should have the ability to support long-form posts, quotes, and links.

Link Post

Link Post
Link Post

I believe a link post should have the title linked to the actual site you are writing about. You can set this style up by selecting the “link format” in the post sidebar and then adding an extra field named “link” with the value of the url. Here is a screenshot of the custom field setting:

Quote Post

Quote Post
Quote Post

This is an example quote style post format. To set this up select the quote format in the post edit sidebar. Then have the quote as the first part of the content. To style the author name set the name to bold or em.

Featured Image

Featured Image
Featured Image

Featured images are supported and will appear above the title and be the full size of the post box.

Buy It Now

If you like this theme you can buy it now at Creative Market. If you’d like to give it a test drive check out the theme demo.

Using WordPress to Create a Newsletter

On my Laravel News site I send out a weekly digest newsletter and I decided very early that I didn’t want some automated system of just grabbing all this weeks posts and sending those. However, I did want to automate as much as I could and in this tutorial I want to share how I setup WordPress to handle the creation of each weeks mailing. Continue reading Using WordPress to Create a Newsletter