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Archive for the ‘Extras’ Category

With all the unforeseeable fluctuations in traffic and download rate, websites either sink or they swim.

As far as you’re concerned, it’s important that your site “stays afloat” regardless of how many readers are drawn to your articles at any specific point in time.

Actually, you want as many visitors as possible, so when your wish does come true, those visitors better not be waiting too long or staring at a temporarily offline page and an apology note – the anticlimax may steer them away for good!

It is now common knowledge that a fast site loading time is the heaviest argument for a good SERP (search engine ranking position), because anything over 3 seconds kills the visitor’s interest.

A Content Delivery Network takes a lot of weight off the frail shoulders of your web host’s server, and this usually happens for a far more affordable price than the instance where you upgrade the existing hosting plan.

Basically, one such service gives you the chance to store images, CSS, and Java Script on its own hardware, and then insert links that the CDN generates straight into your articles. Hence, your articles can be accessed from anywhere in the world – it will always load lightning-fast.

MaxCDN

MaxCDN Network

MaxCDN has earned the reputation of being a five-star CDN, as data centers are spread in around 90 countries worldwide, and complements WordPress websites perfectly (integrated with W3 Total Cache/ WP Super Cache). It is so easy to use:

  • Takes little over 5 minutes to install
  • Users can operate their charming control panel on-the-go (from an iPad)
  • Ask for help anytime, via chat, email, or ticket system – 24/7
maxCDN Dashboard
MaxCDN Stats

Here’s what you get from having MaxCDN on your side:

  • Speed is the operative word – watch as your website performance skyrockets to well over 300%. Since you entrust their servers with the static files of your ever-expanding content, your server will have no problem whatsoever in making your website perform at its best potential
  • It provides caching of databases, posts, pages, and RSS feeds;
  • With the Gzipping feature, you may compress files and thus save more space
MaxCDN Pricing

In terms of pricing, MaxCDN stands out by means of its affordability and cost-effectiveness.

A set of five plans are available on a monthly or an annual basis with the guarantee of 100%SLA and with the opportunity to change your mind during the first 30 days.

The most popular plan is ‘plus’, which includes 500 GB/month and 3 websites (zones) for a price of $39 per month.

Coupons can cut a lot off the standard prices – presently, there is an offer which enables a 20% discount by using code “max20”.

I don’t have any idea how long this offer is available and is definitely a good opportunity in case you want to add CDN support to your sites.

DynoSRC is a module for Nodejs apps that enables us to minimize HTTP requests by removing the need to serve JavaScript files.

The library loads the JavaScript files inline in HTML and stores them with localStorage so that they won’t be re-requested until a change happens.

DynoSRC

And, if the contents of a JavaScript file is changed, only the changes are served which is again a gain in the file size.

Also, it is possible to serve DynoSRC itself inline and no requests will be made for JS files.

MightyDeals LogoWordPress is a beautiful CMS with all the simplicity, plugins, themes and community.

However, there are still areas that it can be improved.

MightyDeals is offering a discount on MotoPress, a plugin that transforms the WordPress content editor into a more flexible one.

MotoPress WordPress plugin

It allows creating and editing content with drag ‘n drops and with support for images, galleries, videos, custom codes and more.

The editor is responsive and works in all resolutions. Also, there is support for custom post types and extending it further with shortcodes.

MotoPress is normally priced $29 but it is discounted to $9 which is a good deal to anyone looking for a different-yet-powerful content editor.

mightySlider is a premium jQuery plugin that provides everything you need to build an awesome slider.

The plugin can be used for simple-to-advanced scenarios like a slideshow, gallery, content-rotator, carousel, video gallery and more.

mightySlider

It adapts well to responsive layouts (down-to-mobile) and works in all major browsers including mobile (there is touch support).

mightySlider is SEO-friendly with a semantic markup and deep-linking which makes each slide bookmarkable as well.

Any type of content can be displayed, vertically or horizontally, and it can even pull content from 500px, Flickr and Instagram.

mightySlider - Video

With the help of a powerful API (and detailed docs), mightySlider‘s functionality can be completely customized. Also, a slider generator exists for performing this customization easily.

When it comes to browsing through the slides, there are all the options on the table: prev-next, bullet-navigation, keyboard and touch.

Some other features of the plugin are auto-play, native fullscreen mode, smart lazy loading and the ability to use multiple instances on the same page.

mightySlider Carousel

GPU-accelerated CSS3 transitions are used and it is optimized for a smooth experience with max performance.

The slider is priced $12 and it is definitely worth what it offers in exchange.

Easy Digital Downloads is a free WordPress plugin that simplifies selling digital stuff.

The setup is almost plug ‘n’ play; just define the products + payment details and the system is ready to go.

WordPress Easy Digital Downloads

It can be customized through the hooks and filters provided, there is built-in support for discounts and many paid plugins exist for extending it further.

Major payment providers like PayPal or Stripe work perfectly with it, data can be analyzed with the reporting features and can be exported too.

Once, Flash was the standard to serve audio + video through web and a single format was enough to display them nicely.

Right now, HTML5 is the standard and browsers + devices expect different file formats.

Encoding.com, a professional encoding service, simplifies converting media from one type to another and it supports video, audio and images.

Encoding.com

With the help of an API or web interface, we can send our encoding requests and get the converted files very quickly. We can even define where those files will be placed (like Amazon or Rackspace clouds).

There is no need to know which formats are required for a specific job. There are presets for popular use cases (for mobile, HTML5 browsers, Flash, etc.) and Encoding.com can handle the rest.

The service is also capable of editing the media like adding watermarks, split screen, picture-in-picture, resizing or cropping them.

Encoding.com - HTML5 Ready

Encoding.com also integrates tightly with their “universal video URL” service Vid.ly which simplifies things even more for some uses.

This is a very handy service for “any size usage” whether there is a batch or single job to be processed and there are plans for all, including a free plan.

P.S. This post is a sponsored review.

On every website, there are 3rd party scripts that track us (for serving ads, generating stats, displaying content, etc.).

Ghostery is a free browser extension that informs us about these scripts on every page.

And, besides informing, it allows us to block them too and this can be made categorically or item-by-item.

Ghostery

As a web user, such a plugin is so nice. And, as a web developer, it is great as we can instantly see which website uses which scripts or enable/disable them to see how sites behave for debugging purposes.

Ghostery is available for all major browsers and even for mobile.

TemplateMonster LogoTemplateMonster, the popular website templates company, is running an exciting discount for WordPress fans.

They are offering a 50% discount on all their WordPress themes (1500+) until 26 November which is a good deal for anyone planning to get a WP-powered site.

It is pretty easy to browse through this large repository with the ability to filtering them via category or color.

Template Monster WordPress Theme

Lately, the company is developing all new themes using the open source Cherry Framework (created by them) which is built on top of Bootstrap.

So, these themes are all responsive and comes with an improved, easier-to-use WordPress admin panel.

P.S. Here is the official announcement for the discount.

Crowdfunding is a getting popular way of providing the initial/startup funds for a project or idea.

There are platforms for hosting a crowdfunding plaform like Kickstarter and IndieGogo which take a percentage of the collected amount (which is fair).

Alternatively, it is possible to host your own campaign to have the full control, pay no fees and overcome some limitations (like Kickstarter projects being available to only selected countries).

Crowdhoster

This is where Crowdhoster comes as it is a professional yet free and open source crowdfunding page for self-hosting campaigns.

It has an admin panel for setting up the campaign(s), defining reward levels and managing the pre-orders.

Also, there are multiple ready-to-use themes and an API to fetch the data collected.

Markdown is a widely used HTML markup language which is easier to write for non-HTML users. And, it is mostly preferred in discussions-based UIs (comments, forums..).

Once a Markdown input is stored, it should be formatted to HTML for displaying it and Parsedown PHP does nicely.

Markdown PHP Parser

The parser divides texts into blocks, looks how they start + relate to each other and looks for special characters to identify inline elements.

It is fast, stable and very easy to implement.

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