I’m speaking at WordCamp San Diego

This coming weekend (March 28-29) I’ll be speaking at WordCamp San Diego  , and I am super excited!

WordCamp is one of my absolute favorite events to go to, and this year, I am honored to be a part of WordCamp San Diego as a speaker.

What is WordCamp ?“,  you ask….

Well, according to WordPress Central, WordCamp is…

WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress.
WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other.

Since the very first WordCamp that took place in San Francisco in 2006, hundreds of WordCamp events have been held all over the world, attracting WordPress users and developers.

WordCamps are pure educational events where you get to attend multiple WordPress-related sessions in one weekend. The quality of the speakers and content I’ve seen is just superb, so you can imagine how thrilled I am to have been invited to speak at WordCamp San Diego this year.

My presentation is entitled, “Simple Solutions for WordPress Backups.  Over the years, I learned (the hard way) the importance of making backups and how to backup WordPress sites easily and painlessly. I can’t wait to share my discoveries with all the WordPress lovers during my session.

If you are already coming to the event this weekend, be sure to stop by and say hello. And if aren’t, I highly recommend you check to see if a WordCamp is coming to your area. Whether you are a WordPress developer or a beginner, I know you’ll love it!

My Top 7 Free Stock Photo Resources

photographerWe all want our websites to be pretty and professional, don’t we?

The quickest way to make your website look attractive is to use great images. They also help set the tone of your site, grab your website visitors’ attention, emphasize your points, and do so much more.

While there are many services that you can purchase great professional stock photos for a fee, the cost could add up if you need to purchase lots of images.

Thankfully, I’ve started seeing more and more free stock photo services. Below, I’ve listed my top 7 FREE stock photo resources. Hope this list will help you find the perfect images you’ve been looking for!

1. Morguefile (http://www.morguefile.com/)

    Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 3.29.42 PM 

Their photo collection is quite big, and I also like the easy search function. When you click on a photo, you’ll also see the terms of use very clearly.

2. Pexels (http://www.pexels.com/)

pexels

They don’t seem to supply their own photos, but pull in variety of free photos from various sites. Each photo clearly shows the original source along with the usage term, which is very handy.

3. Pixabay (http://pixabay.com/en/)

pixabay

Pixabay’s photo collection at this point doesn’t seem as big as Morguefile, but the quality of many of their photos make it worth to visit their site when you are looking for “wow” images.

4. Wikimedia Commons (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page)

wiki-commons

Mentioned a celebrity in your blog post? It’s normally very difficult to find an image of famous people/celebrity that’s not tightly protected by copyright. This is a great place to go to find such image that you can use (often with attribution).

5. Unsplash (https://unsplash.com/)

unsplash

Although they don’t provide any easy way to search for a photo, their photos are gorgeous and great to browser through for inspiration. All photos are in high-resolution. All public domain images.

6. 1 Million Free Pictures (http://www.1millionfreepictures.com/)

1million-free-pics

Another place where I often come across with very unique, artsy images. All public domain photos!

7. Stocksnap (https://stocksnap.io/)

stocksnap

Easy to search, and when there are many images that fit your search term, you can use handy sort tools they provide. All public domain images.

(Always remember to check the terms of any website to see how they allow you to use the images provided)

Please feel free to share your favorite resources in the comment section below!

Here’s to your creativity!

 

How to Schedule Your Clients with WordPress

booknowFollowing in the heals of last week’s article on Google Calendar, I wanted to give you some resources for scheduling your clients for private one-on-one sessions, either in person or on the phone.

Scheduling an appointment via email or phone could be very time-consuming with lots of going back and forth to find the best time to work for both parties. Furthermore, if you offer services that require your customers to make an appointment in advance (like consultations or in person healing services  ), it’s critical that you offer a way for your website visitors to do so quickly and smoothly.

There are two main methods of taking appointments online if you have a WordPress site:

  1. Use a scheduling/appointment plugin, and take appointments right on your site.
  2. Sign up for an online scheduling/appointment tool, and simply include a link on your website to the appointment page that you get from that service.

I personally like the online scheduling tool, Timetrade, for my private consultations because it integrates with Google Calendar.  (There is a free version as well as paid versions of it.)

But there are (of course) many WordPress plugins that might work well for you, too. I’ve listed 3 options for you below.

Free WordPress Scheduling Plugins

Booking Calendar
bookingcalendar

WP Simple Booking Calendar
wpsimplebookingcalendar

BirchPress Scheduler
birchpress

 

Online Scheduling Tools

In general, these tools offer more functionalities and require less maintenance work than the above plugins, but most plans are not free.

 Just to clarify how this is different from  embedding a Google Calendar on your WordPress Site is that with a Google Calendar, you are displaying YOUR events.  With these online tools you allow visitors to schedule a private appointment with you.

Please do you due diligence to decide which plugins or services will work the best for you and your business.  Then go ahead and include your online booking and watch how much easier it is for you and your clients!

Do you have any favorite scheduling plugins/tools? Please share in the comment below!

 

Why I don’t Use Calendar Plugins

“Christina, what calendar plugin do you recommend?”

I get this question all the time as many of my students are interested in using a plugin to show event dates or program schedule on their WordPress sites. And there are many calendar plugins with lots of features available out there, so it can be hard to pick one.

However, my answer to this question is, “You know, I don’t use a plugin to display calendars on my sites.

Yes, you heard me correctly. As much as I love playing with WordPress plugins, this is one area I’ve decided not to use a plugin. Instead, I embed a Google Calendar.

clubcalendar(The above example is from my Website Creation Workshop Club membership site.)

Here is why:

  1.  I only want to keep track of ONE calendar in ONE place.  I use Google Calendar for all my personal events, and my company events.
  2. It’s easier for other people to quickly add the calendar events to their OWN Google Calendar)

Embedding a Google Calendar works really well for anyone using Google Calendar for their personal calendaring. It’s easy to set up various Google Calendars for my different programs and to have them show up with my personal calendar in Google Calendar. All calendars are always up-to-date seamlessly and are helping me and my team to be more productive.

And here is the calendar for my Website Creation Workshop Club program (it’s a program for people who already know the basics of WordPress and want monthly coaching and support)

If you are looking for a way to show a simple calendar on your website, you might want to consider using Google Calendar as well. Check out this post to learn step by step how to embed a Google Calendar