These are my notes from the October 29, 2012 OKC WordPress User’s Group meet up. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. (I arrived about 30 min late.)

Kristen Wright of iThemes was the first presenter of the evening, discussing ‘Custom Post Types – What They Are and Why You Might Want to Use Them.’

If you are entering specific kinds of products or items on a site, it can be helpful to use “custom post types” in WordPress. This creates new menu items in the sidebar of your WordPress

Easy Custom Content Types for WordPress” is a $30 plugin that works great for creating custom content types in WP.

Custom Post Type UI is a free WordPress plugin

Custom post types can be events, restaurants, products, or other things. These are called BLOCKS in iThemes Builder.

Loop Buddy provides a great way to control how you display your custom post types on your site. First you have to create the custom post types, then you have to setup how those posts are DISPLAYED.

Builder Block – Events is a plugin you can use for events
– it requires Builder to be installed first

ONE OF THE WEBSITES KRISTEN SHOWED TONIGHT ALSO HAD THE “FROLIC” PREMIUM THEME FOR WORDPRESS INSTALLED, WHICH IS AN ITHEMES SOCIAL MEDIA PLUGIN.

Our next presenter this evening is Tim Priebe, who is discussing Gravity Forms.

MY COMMENT: I LOVE GRAVITY FORMS! I’VE USED IT RECENTLY ON CLASSENSAS.COM (A NEWS WEBSITE CREATED FOR OUR SCHOOL PARENT-TEACHER-STUDENT ASSOCIATION) TO SETUP MODERATED, USER SUBMISSIONS OF BLOG POSTS INCLUDING IMAGES.
– SEE MY POST FOR ITHEMES EDUCATION ABOUT GRAVITY FORMS: “Solicit Moderated Contributions to a WordPress Blog Using Gravity Forms” (Sept 29)

Gravity Forms is more than just a contact form, like the free solution Contact Form 7
– the #1 problem or need this solves is a contact form, but you can capture more information with it like emails for a mailing list
– you can schedule a form if your contest ends at a particular time, also limit the number of entries (like if you’re doing a signup for a workshop or other event)
– nice feature is your contact form submissions are also archived as entries on your WordPress site (in addition to being emailed to recipients you specify when setting up the form)
– Pro (most expensive) Gravity Forms option provides option to include Mailchimp mailing list subscription link
– includes Authorize.net for donations to non-profits
– there are about 20 Gravity Forms add-ons

Besides Mailchimp, AWeber is another option for email newsletters
– MY COMMENT: CONSTANT CONTACT IS ANOTHER OPTION, BUT I PREFER MAILCHIMP

If you choose “double opt-in” then users will have to click an email

Mailchimp has a slight delay in showing new subscribers on the dashboard
– it’s a very good practice to use a Welcome message for your newsletter and encourage people to UNSUBSCRIBE if they don’t want to receive it
– that’s important so people don’t unsubscribe later and mark the reason as spam/never signed up, that will hurt your Mailchimp list rating and they can (worst case) investigate you and disable your list/account

Gravity Forms does require users to enter the “http://” for web addresses, they can’t omit that
– automatically detects what kind of credit card you’re using, based on the first four numbers

Authorize.net is a very good online payment system to consider instead of PayPal
– PayPal tends to always take the side of buyers if they say/claim there was a purchasing error
– PayPal can lock down / lock out all the funds you have with them in some cases (Authorize.net doesn’t do this)
– Authorize.net can also directly access your bank account, rather than going via PayPal
– there are security/hacking issues with PayPal as well to be wary of

Tim’s current favorite security plugin for WordPress: WordPress HTTPS (SSL)
– it is free
– requires that you purchase a SSL certificate from your web host (whoever that may be) that will cost somewhere between $50 and $100 per year
– this can let you update your WordPress site securely (using SSL tunneling so others can’t grab your login credentials on a public wifi hotspot with a tool like Firesheep) as well as conduct secure transactions for things like eCommerce

Gravity forms will let you create and use membership accounts (is a low-end way to do this, but it’s possible)

MY COMMENT: I’M CONSIDERING USING AMEMBER FOR A MEMBER WEBSITE WE’RE GOING TO CREATE SOON FOR STORYCHASERS AS WE MIGRATE FROM NING.COM

I’M SO GLAD I WAS ABLE TO ATTEND TONIGHT! NORMALLY I HAVE A CHURCH SESSION MEETING THE LAST MONDAY OF THE MONTH, BUT THIS MONTH IT WAS THE 4TH WEEK…

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