September Design Pack: Welcome, Fall

Hello, friends. I don’t know about you, but where I live, its anything but feeling like Fall. But, that’s nothing unusual in the desert southwest. Our “Fall” makes a slight and surreptitious appearance each year and to be honest, I miss the changing colors, falling leaves and crisp air that this season brings!

Nonetheless, Fall is upon us, says the calendar. So for this month’s design pack, I’ve created a colorful set of graphics to welcome in the season, whether you’re experiencing it yet where you live, or not. Besides, if Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte says its time…its time.

September Digital Design Pack: Welcome, Fall

September Desktop Organizer September iPad Wallpaper September iPhone Wallpaper

This month’s printable is a set of lunch box notes. Do you have littles who would enjoy a message from you when they sit down to eat their lunch at school? Simply print out the PDF onto card stock and cut along crop marks. 

sept-lunch-box-notes-3 sept-lunch-box-notes-2 sept-lunch-box-notes-1

September Lunch Box Notes Printable - Digital Design Pack

You can purchase the pack here.

Enjoy, and happy Fall, All!

Quotable: Let Me Google That For You

I’m going to let me snarky show a bit with today’s Quotable. But don’t you just sometimes want to say…

Quotable - Let Me Google That for You

Me too. Thanks, I feel better now.

Feel free to share…

How Healthy Is Your WordPress Site?

How Healthy is YOUR WordPress Site? If you have a WordPress website or blog, did you know that WordPress comes out with regular updates? Along with core file updates, any WordPress theme or plugin you use will likely have updates on a regular basis as well?

And did you know that unless you purchase and set up a backup service with your host or another option like Vaultpress, you don’t have a backup of your site? Personally, I don’t know of any WordPress hosting plan that includes a backup feature by default, and new website owners don’t usually know this.

So let’s say Sally has a pretty new website and ignores those yellow bars across her WordPress dashboard telling her it’s time to update because she’s either too scared to do it or doesn’t think it’s important. Let’s also say she has no backup system set up…

It’s the stuff that keeps me up at night.

Not keeping WordPress core files, themes, and plugins up to date is the best way to leave your site vulnerable to hackers. And without a regular backup, you have the potential of losing everything you’ve worked so hard to build.

So how do you keep your WordPress site safe and running smoothly? In its simplest form, keep things up to date and keep it backed up. But for some, the dashboard or “backend” is time consuming and a little bit scary. Well if this is you, you’re in luck. I have a very affordable monthly service for that AND a little sale going on right now. Here are the juicy deets…

Wordpress Maintenance Service - Sale

Monthly WordPress maintenance is one of my most popular services and includes the following:

  • WordPress core files updates as they are released
  • Plugin updates as they are released
  • Initial Set up & Maintenance of Vaultpress, a daily backup of your entire site
  • Initial Set up of WordFence Security plugin that monitors, prevents and scans for malware
  • Spam comment deletion (and installation of Akismet, if needed)
  • “Harden” login credentials (usernames and password, if needed)
  • Priority response/support if a problem arises

Total: $25/month*

I will email you each month telling you exactly when I plan on performing the maintenance, on or around the 1st or 15th of the month (depending on sign up date). I make sure all the plugin updates play nicely together and after I’m done, I send you a mini maintenance report telling you just what I did. It’s simple to set up an automatic payment profile through PayPal for no-hassle billing.

Now for the fun part! Get a free month of service in two ways (even if you already use this service!)…

  • Sign up for new service - If you sign up before September 15th, 2014, you’ll get one month free! Simply set up a PayPal profile for automatic payments and your second month is free (because of the way PayPal works, this is the easiest way to do it, for both you and me). You can cancel anytime after the second month.
  • Refer a friend - Once you start using my service (or if you are a current user), refer it to someone else and get one month free! If your friend signs up before Sept. 15th, they will also get a month free as well.

There’s nothing to lose. If you decide its just not for you, any plugins I installed stay in tact, but future updates and backups via Vaultpress are discontinued.

Ready to get started? Simply set up your PayPal subscription here and I’ll be in touch right away. Have some questions first? Contact me and I’ll get right back to you.

Happy (and healthy!) blogging…

 

*Maintenance contract does not guarantee against virus and malware attacks, but the chances decrease dramatically with these precautions and consistent procedures. Likewise, if site is attacked, an estimate will be given for repair, if possible. I reserve the right to review and modify the monthly charge for sites with highly customizable plugins or a large number of plugins, such as small business sites, ecommerce sites, etc.

21 things I learned at type-a bootcamp AND disneyland

Type-A Bootcamp Disneyland

I know you’ve heard of Disneyland. And if you’re a blogger, I know you’ve heard of Type-A-Parent.

Recently, the two joined forces for a one-day social media bootcamp. The theme was growth, SEO and analytics so I was really interested in what the speakers and presenters had to offer.

My purpose in going to this, or any blog/social media conference, is probably a little different than most blogger’s. I blog, yes. But my real job is to support bloggers and businesses with their online presence, mainly through graphic and site development. Its good for me to keep up with the trends of what’s new, what’s changing, what’s working and what’s not. And the fact that it was somewhat close and at Disneyland? Well. Need I say more?

I was thrilled to get to see and pal around with some of my online friends, like the gals behind these blogs… My Crazy Good Life, Desert Chica, OC Mentor, Mom Endeavors, Clever Pink Pirate, Pink Cake Plate, All For the Boys, Mom’s Life Boat and Rockin’ Mama (who I met several years ago at my first BlogHer). It was loads of fun and I learned some new things. So I thought I’d put together a lighthearted list of 21 things I learned…not just at Type-A Bootcamp, but Disneyland as well. So here goes.

1. Driving to a conference 8 hours away is much cheaper in a fuel efficient Kia Soul. And they’re just so cute. Maybe not the most luxuriously comfortable, but spacious enough for three grown women and all their luggage, and definitely efficient.

Kia Soul

2. It’s so much more fun to go to a conference with friends.

3. Disneyland knows how to do the entertainment thing. Everything about the place is top notch, good taste, and has serious ‘wow’ factor.

Downtown Disney

4. When promoting your content through the various social networks, there is a right time to share, i.e. share late at night for tech news, Saturday mornings for craft news.

5. If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland soon, I highly recommend purchasing the Disney PhotoPass+ before hand. Its $69.95 and you get “magic shots” too. It adds a whole new dimension to your trip…after the trip!

disneyland-type-a-conference disneyland-type-a-conference-magic-shots disneyland-type-a-conference-pascal disneyland-type-a-conference-planes disneyland-type-a-conference-tower-of-terror disneyland-type-a-conference-minnie

6. Draw more attention to your blog post titles when sharing to Google Plus by adding * before and after the title (no spaces between the * and the first/last word). So, something like this: *21 Things I Learned at Type-A Bootcamp AND Disneyland*.

7. The Life360 app is an excellent way to keep track of your party when at a conference or theme park. It gives you real-time locations of each member in your circle, a panic/alert function if you get in an emergency situation, and a way to just ‘check in’ to let everyone know you’re ok and where you are. And, its free.

via techcrunch

8. Facebook likes to see a mixture of content when you’re engaging on your fan page. Post links to your blog post, share a photo, share link to another blog, etc.

9. A cell phone battery charger is vital at a conference. Being on the move and away from a wall charger is tough on a mobile device. My Ventev Power Case saved me several times during the weekend.

Ventev PowerCase Phone Charger

10. Bing holds 30% of the search engine market share, through Facebook search queries, mobile search queries and even Siri! Did you know that? I didn’t. Read on.

11. When planning search terms for the posts you really want good exposure for, consider using Ubersuggest. It suggests (…uberly) other terms you may want to include in your post. For instance, when promoting my new wedding websites, it suggested 251 other terms that people use most often when searching for wedding websites. Very helpful.

12. Diversify your income potential as a blogger. Consider writing an ebook, selling or recommending products related to your niche, etc.

13. If you do both parks in one day (Disneyland and California Adventure), it’s very likely that you will walk 10+ miles.

California Adventure Photo: One day in the parks. 10.6 miles walked. #tiredfeet #typeadl

via Becca Ludlum

14. Another great SEO planning tool is Soovle. It tells you what related search terms are being used, based on your entry, across different search engines.

15. If you’re “in the neighborhood”, you’ve got to head over to the OC Donut Bar in Fountain Valley. Its a mere 25 minute drive from Disneyland and you will leave with your crobar (croissant slash donut), salted caramel, strawberry split or cute character donut in hand and you will want to thank me so much that you send one or two or twelve my way. Oh, you’re so welcome…

OC Donut Bar OC Donut Bar Crobar from Donut Bar

16. Bing has its own webmaster tools. Much like Google Webmaster Tools, its a great idea to register and monitor your site with Bing Webmaster Tools.

17. Site loading slowly? Get great feedback on what is taking up precious load time with Pingdom.

18. Everything in Cars Land is inspired by something along Route 66. You can read all the deets in Becca’s post here.

disneyland-type-a-conference-carsland2 disneyland-type-a-conference-carsland

19. Brands are looking to work with moms of teenage boys. Its the hardest demographic for them to fill (according to the PR panel at Type-A). Ah, if only there were only (many) more hours in the day… But if you have a blog and teen boys, seek out some brands/pr agencies and let them know you’re there!

20. Disney photographers know how to use every camera/camera phone known to man, I do beleive. Are they trained? I think they might just be.

Disneyland Type-A Conference Tips Disneyland Type-A Conference Things I Learned  21. If you haven’t been to a blog conference and are looking for a non-overwhelming, inexpensive yet informative way to get your feet wet, I’d recommend checkout out a Type-A Bootcamp. Its a great way to make connections and learn some valuable insight into the crazy world of blogging.

Type-A Bootcamp Swag

Disneyland Type-A Conference Tips Disneyland Type-A Conference Tips Type-A Chocolate

Have you been to a Type-A bootcamp or conference?

august digital design pack: never stop learning

Hello! Im sorry this month’s design pack is a wee bit late. Its been a whirlwind of activity around here. Mostly good, some not so good (a root canal and subsequent infection…yeah, that happened).

Anywho, amidst all the hubbub, school has started here! We’re on a modified year round system so that means we start school around the middle of everyone else’s summer. But we get some nice breaks throughout the year. Love it. So to celebrate all things back-to-school, I created this month’s design pack to remind us all to never stop learning. Life is a classroom, isn’t it? If we embrace that as adults, its easier to model that to our children.

August Digital Design Pack: Never Stop Learning


august-desktop-sample august-iphone-sample august-ipad-sample Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 7.48.49 PM

This month’s printable is a bookmark with the simple message on it…never stop learning. Simply print out the PDF onto card stock and cut into 4 equal pieces. 

bookmarks1 bookmarks2

You can purchase the pack here.

Enjoy!

the pixel wedding websites

Here comes the bride!

Im so happy to unveil a new aspect of The Pixel Boutique, called The Pixel Wedding. Go on, check it out. I’ll be here when you’re done.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 8.39.49 PM

This is where I get to create website designs just for the happy couple.

The Pixel Wedding websites combine the ease of a template based, website generator with the customization and support of a personal website designer (…that’s me). Bride-to-be have 1,000s of details to manage and decisions to make. Rather than heap more on the plate, I get the site up and running with a few gather details. Will you find cheaper options? Yes. Will you find custom and unique designs and ongoing support for the same price? Probably not.

My goal is to make the process easy and seamless. There are several options available for each design and new design will be added regularly. I will gather the information necessary to get the site up and running. Once the site is finished, I send a walkthrough video that explains how to update and maintain the site after launch.

glitter wedding website

Sites are hosted on a secure server and for a small monthly fee, maintained for as long as the site is needed. I will also provide ongoing support should there be a question or problem. (Changes or additions made after launch and unrelated to technical issues will require additional fees).

To make things extra sweet, I’m partnering with RSVPify, the leader in online RSVPs to offer a free one-year Premier level membership with every site (read more about it here). That’s a $24.99 value and gives you complete control over your online RSVPs, seating arrangements and more.

lace wedding website The Pixel Wedding websites are built on the WordPress platform. Features include…

  • Free one-year Premier level membership to RSVPify (embedded into site)
  • Domain name (i.e. thepixelwedding.com/jackandjill)
  • Custom domain set up assistance, if needed (i.e. jackandjill.com)
  • Hosting on secure server
  • Several unique designs to choose from, more added regularly
  • All designs come with customization options
  • Mobile friendly theme
  • Gift registry page
  • Venue information page with Google map
  • Guest information page
  • Guest Book
  • Photo gallery
  • Instagram Feed available
  • Blog section
  • Password protected pages available
  • Unlimited pages
  • Website walkthrough video
  • Ongoing support
  • Special feature requests are available for additional fees

 All features are optional, so brides are able to customize the site to fit their unique needs.

snapshots wedding website To kick things off, I’m offering an introductory offer of $259 plus a $9.95 monthly hosting fee. Currently there are three designs to choose from, each with their own theme options to choose from. Have your own design in mind? We can do that too…

So if you are or know of a bride-to-be looking for a great way to share information and stay organized with your upcoming wedding, let’s get the ball rolling!