Papa’s got a brand new style

So I finally got some time to play around with the blog, update WP and so on. I’m now running the latest WP and Elemin, a beautifully crafted CSS3/HTML5 theme from Themify (many thanks to Nick for all the support). I think what I like best about this theme is the mobile device/fluid resolution design. Try making your browser window smaller or browsing on an iPad/iPhone, why isn’t this a standard across the web?

Elemin has great sense of typography, good white space balance, and minimal graphics. It is a piece of art crafted with modern technology — Google font, CSS3, Javascript and HTML5. WordPress post formats was incorporated which allows you to write about various post types such as photo, gallery, video, quote, etc. (very much like Tumblr). The design is completely fluid and responive. This means the layout automatically adapts based on the user’s viewport. The layout never breaks no matter of what screen resolution it is being viewed on. It works on all desktop and most mobile devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry. To see this in action, visit our demo site and resize your browser window or check it with a mobile phone.

I’ve also taken the time to update the lifestream – it’s now cleaned up and has Kivasupport, yay! There’s also support for comments now on lifestream posts, so that might be worth checking out as I normally share more across the web than I do here on the blog (e.g. my shared items in reader). I’ve taken on a monster-project to finally backup all of my images on Flickr, I expect to be done by 2015 or so.


Implement Twitter Connect with Twit Connect

Implement Twitter Connect, check. This is somewhat old news as Twitter Connect or “Sign in with Twitter” has been out for quite some time via the Twitter API. For some reason it has been slightly quiet about it, not your regular boom-blast and video tutorials that we saw with the Facebook Connect release. It’s understandable though, as Facebook handles a significant higher portion of (personal) data.

I tried the Twit Connect plugin for WordPress to do my implementation. I believe it’s the first of its kind, at least for WordPress, created by Shannon Whitley. He has also written a short tutorial on how you go about implementing Twit Connect on your WordPress site. Sebastien Couture wrote another one on the same topic.

Getting it to work properly is really easy and straight forward. All you need to do is register an application with Twitter to obtain your consumer key and consumer secret. You’ll need this for the plugin settings later. Once you’ve entered all necessary information on the settings page for Twit Connect, you’re good to go. How’s that for out-of-the-box? Oh, if you get a “Can’t open secret file” when you try to save your settings it’s because of the file permissions of the files in your twitconnect folder.

The only negative feedback I have is that it seems to be ‘early beta’ for Twit Connect. It works as intended, sure – but it’s quite messy if you want to modify it in any way. I’m no whizkid when it comes to CSS, and as it’s all integrated in the twitconnect.php – it makes it a bit of a hassle. I’d prefer a separate CSS for the next release! I also wonder if it would be possible to have a Twitter user’s comment tweeted out on Twitter? Similar to wall posting via FB-connect. That’d be neat too.

Anyway, you’ll notice the ‘Sign in with Twitter’-button right below the FB-connect dito in posts now. You can use both to sign in and make comments without entering your details. Try it out!

Facebook Connect, check

It’s about time I mention this, I’ve had a draft laying around for almost 3 months with the title ‘Social Connect’ which referred to the release of Google Connect. Since then, a lot of things have happened in the “open social world”, Facebook launched Facebook Connect, which lets you sign in to an external site using your Facebook identity. This is useful in many ways; obviously people with a Facebook account will never have to register for your site, but it also creates additional sharing (and caring) opportunities.

As an example, if you sign in on Oscar and Friends using your Facebook identity and then make a comment to a post, Facebook Connect will ask whether or not you’d like to publish this comment to your Facebook feed, displaying what you wrote here in your Facebook profile, handy.

This is all made possible thanks to a nifty Facebook engineer named Adam Hupp and his Facebook Connect plugin for WordPress. There’s also another popular WordPress plugin called Sociable! which does the same thing, Sociable! also adds more community effects to your site. I found that the basic (and somewhat official) one is the cleanest and does not interfere too much with your normal ‘business’. There has also been similar plugins developed for a lot of other platforms.

Try it out and publish it to your feed to see what it looks like!

WordPress 2.7 “Coltrane”, enhanced UI

Today I took the big step of upgrading WordPress to the latest version, entitled “Coltrane”. It holds some great improvements to the backend UI, mostly because this was something the community wanted most – WordPress developers led by Matt Mullenweg did indeed listen. The new dashboard have some really really useful additions, the drag-n-drop widgets is certainly one of them, it creates an instant snapshot – without a single click necessary – so all you lazy bloggers, this one’s for you.

I also noticed that has added a nifty showcase section. It showcases ‘the big guns’ (and some small) that use WordPress as the main tool for their site. Among these are I Love Typography, Ford (Global Auto Shows), and Playstation (Blog). As I’m a personal fan of the I Love Typography website, I was really happy to see the reception it has been given by the WordPress community.

Oh, and if you want to upgrade to Coltrane, just check out the extended upgrading guide, it has some easy step-by-step instructions on how to upgrade.

Track WordPress signups with Google Analytics

As most people know, Google Analytics is a very powerful tool to track visitors, page views and general behavior of your website audience. However as people get more familiar with Analytics they experiment more and also learn the importance of conversions (or website goals).

One of the most frequently used and most powerful Content Management Systems out there today is WordPress, this might be bias as I’m a true believer both of the idea of WordPress and also a big fan of its community base. As I’m tracking all of my WordPress sites with Google Analytics just for fun, I thought it was about time that I looked into the idea of using conversion goals and funnels for the biggest one of them.

The actual Analytics integration on your WordPress site is made super simple thanks to Joost de Valk who is the creator of the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin. What you need to do is install this little nifty plugin and then activate it for your WordPress site as you would with any other plugin. This enables the Analytics snippet on all relevant pages, cutting out tedious work in getting the snippet in all relevant files. Thanks!

After you’ve installed the plugin, you need to go to your Analytics account to set up the actual goal. This is done by going into your sites specific profile (edit profile) and then setting up a goal for G1 (Goal 1 logically). Step by step, you need to:

  • Activate the goal
  • Select the Match Type. This needs to be set to “Head Match” as WP-websites has dynamically generated content.
  • Set the Goal URL to “/wp-login.php?checkemail=registered”, this is the URL that users reach once they’ve submitted their Username and E-mail on the Register page.
  • Set the Goal name
  • Assign a Goal value. “Google Analytics uses an assigned goal value to calculate ROI, Average Score, and other metrics. If, for example, your sales team can close 10% of people who request to be contacted, and your average transaction is $500, you might assign $50 (i.e. 10% of $500) to your “Contact Me” goal. In contrast, if only 1% of mailing list signups result in a sale, you might only assign $5 to your “email sign-up” goal.” A good idea is to start with setting your Goal value to 1.0.

After this is done, you have tracking of the actual signup, but a good idea is to set up a funnel also. “A funnel is a series of pages leading up to to the Goal URL. For example, the funnel may include steps in your checkout process that lead to the thank you page (goal).” It’s made quite easy with WordPress as users needs to go through the register URL (clicking ‘Register’). This is how you set up a funnel for your goal:

  • Define the first step as /wp-login.php?action=register and tick the box that this is a required step.
  • Make sure it’s assigned to the same goal that you’ve just set up.

That’s it, enjoy!