WordPress.com

Hey! Chris here, with a big thanks to WordPress, for not just their sponsorship here the last few months, but for being a great product for so many sites I’ve worked on over the years. I’ve been a web designer and developer for the better part of two decades, and it’s been a great career for me.

I’m all about learning. The more you know, the more you’re capable of doing and the more doors open for you, so to speak, for getting things done as a web worker. And yet it’s a dance. Just because you know how to do particular things doesn’t mean that you always should. Part of this job is knowing what you should do yourself and what you should outsource or rely on for a trustworthy service.

With that in mind, I think if you can build a site with WordPress.com, you should build your site on WordPress.com. Allow me to ellaborate.

Do I know how to build a functional contact form from absolute scratch? I do! I can design the form, I can build the form with HTML and style it with CSS, I can enhance the form with JavaScript, I can process the form with a backend language and send the data where I need it. It’s a tremendous amount of work, which is fine, because hey, that’s the job sometimes. But it’s rare that I actually do all of that work.

Instead of doing everything from scratch when I need a form on a site I’m building, I often choose a form building service that does most of this work for me and leaves me with just the job of designing the form and telling it where I want the data collected to go. Or I might build the form myself but use some sort of library for processing the data. Or I might use a form framework on the front end but handle the data processing myself. It depends on the project! I want to make sure whatever time I spend working on it is the most valuable it can be &mdash not doing something rote.

Part of the trick is understanding how to evaluate technology and choose things that serve your needs best. You’ll get that with experience. It’s also different for everyone. We all have different needs and different skills, so the technology choices you make will likely be different than what choices I make.

Here’s one choice that I found to be in many people’s best interest: if you don’t have to deal with hosting, security, and upgrading all the underlying software that powers a website…don’t! In other words, as I said, if you can use WordPress.com, do use WordPress.com.

This is an often-quoted fact, but it bears repeating: WordPress powers about a third of the Internet, which is a staggering feature. There are an awful lot of people that are happily running their sites on WordPress and that number wouldn’t be nearly so high if WordPress wasn’t flexible and very usable.

There are some sites that WordPress.com isn’t a good match for. Say you’re going to build the next big Fantasy Football app with real-time scores, charts and graphs on dashboards, and live chat rooms. That’s custom development work probably suited for different technology.

But say you want to have a personal portfolio site with a blog. Can WordPress.com do that? Heck yes, that’s bread and butter stuff. What if you want to sell products? Sure. What if you want to have a showcase for your photography? Absolutely. How about the homepage for a laundromat, restaurant, bakery, or coffeeshop? Check, check, check and check. A website for your conference? A place to publish a book chapter by chapter? A mini-site for your family? A road trip blog? Yes to all.

So, if you can build your site on WordPress.com, then I’m saying that you should because what you’re doing is saving time, saving money, and most importantly, saving a heaping pile of technical debt. You don’t deal with hosting, your site will be fast without you ever having to think about it. You don’t deal with any software upgrades or weird incompatibilities. You just get a reliable system.

The longer I work in design and development, the more weight I put on just how valuable that reliability is and how dangerous technical debt is. I’ve seen too many sites fall off the face of the Earth because the people taking care of them couldn’t deal with the technical debt. Do yourself, your client and, heck, me a favor (seriously, I’ll sleep better) and build your site on WordPress.com.

The post WordPress.com appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

The industry’s best open API

(This is a sponsored post.)

With our robust SDK, super clean dashboard, detailed documentation, and world-class support, HelloSign API is one of the most flexible and powerful APIs on the market. Start building for free today.

Direct Link to Article — Permalink

The post The industry’s best open API appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

Netlify

(This is a sponsored post.)

It’s always fun to watch developers discover Netlify for the first time. It’s so easy. One way to do it is to just literally drag and drop a folder onto them and it will be online. Even better, connect a Git repo to a Netlify site and tell it what branch you want to watch, then any commits to that branch will automatically go live, even running your site’s build as it does it. I heard one developer say, “It’s like someone actually designed hosting and deployment.”

That lends itself nicely to static sites, but don’t think that static sites are only for certain types of sites or limiting in some way. That’s what the JAMstack is all about! Wanna learn more about that? Come to JAMstack_conf!

Netlify does a ton to help you power your JAMstack site as well. They’ll process your forms. They’ll help you with authentication. They’ll do your A/B testing. They’ll even run your cloud functions. Pretty incredible, really.

Direct Link to Article — Permalink

The post Netlify appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

Test out the cloud platform developers love for free with a $100 credit

(This is a sponsored post.)

DigitalOcean invites you to experience a better, faster and simpler cloud platform designed to scale based on your needs. Get started for free with a $100 credit toward your first project and discover why the most innovative companies are already hosting on DigitalOcean.

Direct Link to Article — Permalink

The post Test out the cloud platform developers love for free with a $100 credit appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

Level up your hosting. Get started on DigitalOcean with $100.

(This is a sponsored post.)

Tired of slow, unreliable web hosting? See how easy it is to self-host your next project on DigitalOcean’s cloud platform. Build and manage ultra-fast websites, blogs, and other static web pages using our user-friendly control panel or simple API, all with a 99.99% uptime SLA. Save time using our One-Click install apps for WordPress, Ghost and Discourse. Never worry about running out of storage space again with Spaces — highly scalable, affordable object storage.

Sign up today with a free $100 credit for CSS-Tricks readers.

Direct Link to Article — Permalink

The post Level up your hosting. Get started on DigitalOcean with $100. appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

A Basic WooCommerce Setup to Sell T-Shirts

WooCommerce is a powerful eCommerce solution for WordPress sites. If you’re like me, and like working with WordPress and have WordPress-powered sites already, WooCommerce is a no-brainer for helping you sell things online on those sites. But even if you don’t already have a WordPress site, WooCommerce is so good I think it would make sense to spin up a WordPress site so you could use it for your eCommerce solution.

Personally, I’ve used WooCommerce a number of times to sell things. Most recently, I’ve used it to sell T-Shirts (and hats) over on CodePen. We use WordPress already to power our blog, documentation, and podcast. Makes perfect sense to use WordPress for the store as well!

What I think is notable about our WooCommerce installation at CodePen is how painless it was, while doing everything we need it to do. I’d say it was a half-day job with maybe a half-day of maintenance every few months, partially based on us wanting to change something.

The first step is installing the plugin, and immediately you get a Products post type you can use to add new products. We’re selling a T-Shirt, so that looks like this:

Note the variations in use for size. We even track inventory at the size level so our T-Shirt printing company knows when to re-print different sizes.

What is somewhat astounding about WooCommerce is that you might need to do very little else. You could set a price, flip on the basic PayPal integration and enter your email, publish the product, and start taking orders.

Or, you could start customizing things and do as much or as little as you want:

  • You could add as many different payment processors as you like. We like using Stripe for credit card processing at CodePen, but also offer PayPal.
  • You could customize the template of every different page involved, or just use the defaults. At CodePen we have very lightly customized templates for the store homepage and product page.
  • You could get very detailed with calculating shipping costs, or use flat rates. We use a flat rate shipping cost at CodePen almost as marketing: same shipping cost anywhere in the world!
  • You could get into integrations, like connecting it with your MailChimp account for further email marketing or Slack account to notify your team of sales.

If you can dream it, you can do it with WooCommerce.

At CodePen, we work with a company called RealThread that actually prints and ships the T-Shirts.

They work great with WooCommerce of course, and the way we set that up is that we use the ShipStation integration and blast the orders into their account there and they handle all the fulfillment from there. There are all sorts of shipping method plugins though for anything you can think of.

Within WooCommerce, we have a dashboard of all the orders, their status, and even tracking information should we need to look something up.

So essentially:

  1. We use WooCommerce
  2. We use the Stripe plugin to take our credit card payments that way
  3. We use the PayPal plugin to take PayPal payments over Braintree
  4. We use the ShipStation plugin to send orders to that system for our fulfillment company to handle

It was quite easy to set up and works great, and it’s comforting to know that we could do tons more with it if we needed to and support is there to help.

The post A Basic WooCommerce Setup to Sell T-Shirts appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

​Task management has never been easier

(This is a sponsored post.)

monday.com is a team management tool that is exceptionally suitable for any industry sector and by any sized team. It will perfectly serve a team of two or a team of hundreds spread around the globe, and it can manage multiple projects at once.

monday.com promotes effortless collaboration and transparency, it’s “cheetah fast,” it displays status in as many as 20 different colors, and its status board can be customized to fit your needs and your workflow.

It serves as an excellent alternative to having to force fit your work to meet the demands of your project management tools or systems.

Direct Link to Article — Permalink

The post ​Task management has never been easier appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

​Experience a Simpler Cloud Computing Platform with DigitalOcean

(This is a sponsored post.)

From deploying static sites and blogging platforms to managing multiple client websites, DigitalOcean provides a flexible platform for developers and their teams to deliver an unparalleled end-user experience with a lightning-fast network, pre-configured applications, and a 99.99% uptime SLA. Simply let us know your needs and our solutions engineers will provide the best options available.

Direct Link to Article — Permalink

The post ​Experience a Simpler Cloud Computing Platform with DigitalOcean appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

Visual. Intuitive. Unlike Anything Else.

(This is a sponsored post.)

monday.com is a team management tool that’s found favor with more than 34,000 teams, including teams of two to teams of 2,000+, teams working for startups, and teams working on projects for Fortune 500 companies like AOL, Adidas, Samsung, and the Discovery Channel to name several.

monday.com is so easy to use, and its dashboard displays make such a superb use of color that it’s every bit as popular with non-tech oriented teams as it is with their tech oriented counterparts. In fact, roughly 70% of this team management tool’s users can be classified as non-tech users.

Direct Link to Article — Permalink

The post Visual. Intuitive. Unlike Anything Else. appeared first on CSS-Tricks.

​The State of Headless CMS Market

(This is a sponsored post.)

In March and April 2018, Kentico conducted the first global report about the state of headless CMS market. We surveyed 986 CMS practitioners in 85 countries about their opinions, adoption, and plans for using headless CMS. The survey contains valuable industry insights into topics such headless CMS awareness, preferred headless CMS models, current and future uptake of the headless CMS approach, and much more, from leading industry players.

Download your complimentary copy of the full report now.

Direct Link to Article — Permalink

The post ​The State of Headless CMS Market appeared first on CSS-Tricks.