New! Add On Themes for Prophoto4!

Yay! I am so happy to finally announce something new. I’m going to begin creating Add-On themes for Prophoto4 from ProPhotoBlogs.com. I’m really excited.

I’ve been doing a lot of work with some wonderful photographers and so many of them are switching their sites over to ProPhoto WordPress themes. The theme offers them exactly what they need- a great way to display photo galleries, easy to customize interface (for the do it myself kind) as well as an equally easy way to install pre-made themes. There’s so much built into the theme that you don’t even have to think about.

My work with these photographers and this wordpress theme has lead me to start creating some themes for quick sell. I’ve got the first one almost ready to go and I look forward to creating many more, as time allows anyway. I want to share a sneak peek at it, I’m still working on the sales page and process at the moment.

If you’re ready to take your website in a new direction, whether it’s photography or something else entirely, let’s chat. Prophoto is flexible enough to fit many different types, not just photography.

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My favorite WordPress Plugins

I’m in the process of setting up yet another WordPress install. I love WordPress. I haven’t found much I can’t do with WordPress. But anyhow, so I’m uploading the files right now and the next step, of course, is Plugins. I know there are a few that I automatically install with every WordPress site I build. So, here are my faves, in alphabetical order.

1. Contact-Form-7 :: Every site needs a method for users to contact the site owner. I’m not a fan of publishing email addresses on a website due to spam issues. I love forms. I can’t say I’ve tried every form plug in for WordPress, but I can say I’ve used this one repeatedly. Set up is easy, customization is easy. It’s a must have.

2. PHP Code Widget :: Sometimes you just need to toss some php into a sidebar widget.

3. Sexy Bookmarks :: If you’re going to have a blog or website, you need to allow your site visitors to easily share what they find on your site. Sexy makes it easy and it looks great at the same time.

4. TinyMCE Advanced :: The editor that WordPress supplies is nice, but sometimes you just need more control.

5. Twitter Tools :: Easily tweet your new blog posting. You can turn your tweets into blog posts and your blog posts into tweets. You can also display a sidebar widget of you latest tweets. Great way to integrate Twitter with your site.

6. Woopra :: A client actually introduced me to Woopra. You’ll need to register on the Woopra website, but with the plug in, you can monitor your site visitors and gather important date right from your WordPress dashboard. Woopra offers a few different levels of monitoring, but the free basic level is offers just enough.

Of course, there are more depending upon my needs. For one, I use one of a few plugins to style my log in/register pages, but those are dependent upon the site. These are the ones that I install first without even considering the type of site I’m doing. What are your favorite WordPress Plugins?

I should consult my own list and advice and get this blog up to date!

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Styling Pie-Register/Register-Plus

Sometimes you just need to collect information on your blog users. Collecting information can help you appeal to your visitors, the more you know, the more you can cater to them. The standard WordPress registration simply collects username and email. How about offering your users the ability the set their own password upon sign up? Enter Register-Plus and it’s sister app Pie-Register. It’s my understanding that Register-Plus is no longer being updated and Pie-Register is the new version. For that reason, I’m going to focus on Pie-Register here, though in my experience, both plug ins seem identical.

Download and install is fairly easy, as well as setting up the needed fields. I covered a lot of that in a previous post. Today we’re going to focus on matching up Pie-Register’s form fields with WP’s standard form fields. On initial install, you’ll find that the form field is on the left and the label is on the right. Standard forms are opposite that and now is not the time to break from standard and confuse your registrants!

The problem lies in the form set up in the file pie-register.php. You’re going to need an editor, I recommend Notepad++. You could use the WordPress built in editor, but it doesn’t show you line numbers. In that case, you’ll need to search to find the correct area to edit. A great editor will help you immensely for this part.

Open the file in your favorite editor and find the coding for the form. The form begins around line 1254. You’ll need to know a bit about form structure. Each form field should have a label and then it’s field.

Bad code:

   		<div style="clear:both"><label><?php _e('First Name:', 'piereg');?> <p><br /><br />
		<input autocomplete="off" name="firstname" id="firstname" size="25" value="<?php echo $_POST['firstname'];?>" type="text" tabindex="30" /></p></label><br /><br />
        </div>


Good code:

   		<div style="clear:both"><label><?php _e('First Name:', 'piereg');?></label> <br /><br />
		<input autocomplete="off" name="firstname" id="firstname" size="25" value="<?php echo $_POST['firstname'];?>" type="text" tabindex="30" class="formfield" /><br /><br />
        </div>

All I’ve done is move the </label> up where it should be, closing the label name. Then we remove the <p> and </p>, no need for paragraphs in a form. The final step is adding a class to the form field, class=”formfield” in this case, so we can style it as needed. In your css file, you can now add declarations for .formfield to get the styling that you need. You’ll need to do this for each form field in the file. In the end, you’ll be left with a registration form that looks nice and fits your website perfectly.

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Pie Register WordPress Plugin Setup

Sometimes you need more than the standard WordPress register page. What if you want to screen your users or verify them before allowing them to post. This was the case for one of my clients. Her WordPress based site was a directory using Apptheme’s Classipress and before users submitted listings, she wanted to screen them to make sure they were good enough. We needed a way to verify users before approving their registration.

In the past, I’ve used Register Plus on WordPress installs to force users to enter an invitation code upon registration. This is great for family or small group sites. However, Register Plus is no longer being supported and development ended in 2008. A new version of Register Plus has come into existence, Pie Register. Pie Register has all the same features and a few bugs.

Pie Register allows users to set their own password, an invitation code, visual verification code, extra registration fields and custom fields. We only needed the password, first and last name and website. This way she could check out her users and either approve or reject them. Remember, she’s only looking for the best.

Install of Pie Register is just as easy as any other WordPress plug in. Setup is fairly easy and self explanatory. Going down the set up page, we allowed registrations to set their own password. This way upon approval, when they return to the site, they wouldn’t need to go looking for the email containing a random password. Because we’re using Classipress, our log in and registration page are already themed to the site so there was no need to enable Custom Logo. We did need Admin Verification and enabled Simple CAPTCHA. The next thing we did is check Additional Profile Fields for First Name, Last Name and Website, and we required these fields upon registration.

Pie Registration allows you to customize your User Notification Email. This is the email received by the user upon registration. This was an important edit because the user needed to understand that there is a verification process and could take up to two days. I made sure that the email included username, password, user’s website and a link back to the site, as well as a little notice about the verification process. Here’s what our customized email looks like:


Next up was customizing the Admin Notification Email. This is the most important part. How will you screen users if you don’t have their information? It was very important to include the user’s website in this email. Any other important information that might be necessary for approval should also be included, like first and last name.

Now you’re all set up! There is an area here for custom CSS, however it doesn’t seem to work. I seemed to only get results by adding the css to my regular css file, in the case of Classipress, the custom.css. Don’t spend too much time and frustration trying to style your fields here. I have not tested this with a regular WordPress install, but since Classipress is simply a WordPress theme, it seems to be it wouldn’t work.

Next up, Styling Pie-Register Registration Fields.

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