The Anatomy of Bit51 v2.0 – Tools and Services for Your Website (part 1)

The Anatomy of Bit51 v2There’s no doubt in my mind that redesigning Bit51 was one of the most challenging projects I’ve taken on in a long time. This isn’t because it’s too technically complex, rather it was one of those projects where every single detail could take a week of worry and testing to make sure it wasn’t just right but that it was perfect. Plugins changed, the theme changed, content changed, and just about everything that could be seen by either a user or developer was put under a microscope in an effort to make sure it wasn’t just done, but that it was done right and would provide as much value to my users as I possibly could.

Throughout the project the biggest change was, without a doubt, the tools and services that make up Bit51 including everything from the subscription services to plugin choices. I’ve learned a lot along the way and hopefully my rationale can help some of you shopping for your own site. That said, here is what I’ve used to put Bit51 together and to keep it growing. [Continue Reading...]

How To Translate Our Plugins

Translate Bit51 PluginsHave you ever thought about translating a Bit51 WordPress plugin to your own language? We’ve made it really easy to submit a translation to any of our plugins using a simple form. All you have to do is fill out it out with your working language files and not only will we include your work in the next version of the plugin but we will also give you full credit with a link back to your site everywhere the plugin is featured. We’ll even let you know by email every time the plugin language changes so you’ll be able to easily keep up with it as it grows and evolves.

This is a great way to give back to plugins you use all the time while getting a link to your own site on WordPress.org and other high traffic sites. Of course you’ll also be helping every single user of WordPress who shares your native tongue and making WordPress better for folks who don’t speak English as a first language.

Don’t know how to translate a plugin?

It’s easy. All the files you will need are already there in the plugin you want to translate (just take a look at the languages folder). For tips, instructions and guidance on actually creating the translation check out the help page on WordPress.org.

Submit your plugin translation today!

Plugins are Better With Partners

FooPluginsBit51 is excited to announce it has partnered with FooPlugins to help bring the best in plugins and plugin support to the WordPress community.

Better WP Security has come an awfully long way since I first put it in the WordPress.org plugin repository almost three years ago. I remember at the time thinking of how great it would be if it could just get to 100 downloads. Well, a few months later Better WP Security passed the 100 downloads mark at which point I thought well, it would be cool if it could get to 500 downloads. After 500 my target went to 1,000 then 5,000, and so on. Today Better WP Security sits at over 640,000 downloads and has become a bonafide source of revenue in making Bit51 self-sustainable.

As grateful as I am for Better WP Security’s success, fame has not come without its own problems. In particular, with so many folks using such a complex plugin the support queue has simply grown beyond what I have time to manage. I’ve tried to respond to this by letting the community handle the WordPress.org support forum (with some success) and by personally handling all email that comes to me. Despite the best of intentions however the time I spend supporting Better WP Security has simply grown to the point where it takes up more hours than I have each week resulting in a lot of annoyed people and almost no time to actually work on improving the plugin itself.

The fact is I’ve needed help managing the support and success of Better WP Security for quite some time and while Better WP Security has been successful it hasn’t been successful enough to hire help so instead I’ve done the next best thing, I’ve found a partner.

After months of searching for the right fit in some pretty awesome plugin shops I’ve decided to partner with Adam and Brad over at FooPlugins (home of the really awesome FooBox plugin). Together with Bit51 I believe FooPlugins has the right experience to help bring Better WP Security forward to a larger audience while helping to keep support and development in check resulting in a much improved experience for everyone.

So what does this mean?

In a nutshell it means more support and better plugins.

As of today folks will have a couple of sources for support on the Better WP Security plugin. First, with more time available you will see quite an improvement in the documentation offered here on Bit51 (something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time) to help with common issues. If that’s not enough the WordPress.org support forum will still be there to provide community based support sourced from 100s of thousands of users who actually use the plugin and generously offer their time and expertise helping others solve their own issues. Finally, for when you really get stuck Better WP Security will offer a premium support solution with a guaranteed 24 hour response provided Monday – Friday by FooPlugins. This will make sure folks who need support can get it, without question, as quickly as possible.

Better yet, now that support isn’t an issue I’ll have a lot more time to make Better WP Security better! While there will always be a free version on WordPress.org that will continue to be improved, starting this summer I am also pleased to announce a Pro version of Better WP Security with more features and more support to make your site more secure than ever.

 

Bit51 Is Back

Bit51.comIt’s been a long time coming but finally Bit51 is back! Last June I decided that the only way I was ever going to find the time to update the theme for this site was going to be if I took a break from writing. The rationale (however misguided) was that I would force myself to finish the major site updates if I wasn’t worried about coming up with new posts and worried instead about not having any new content. While my rationale actually proved correct in some ways, the time it took me to complete it given the craziness of the last year was simply something I didn’t expect. For those of you who have hung on through the months of plugin updates, thank you! There are a few improvements I think you will be happy to see. For those of you who are new, welcome! There is a lot of information already here and a lot more to come. [Continue Reading...]

Searching For The Perfect Theme

Bit51.comSo instead of writing this week I’ve been working behind the scenes on Bit51.com to update it with the perfect responsive theme. As I am graphically challenged this means that I need a theme that is almost ready to go out of the box. I don’t mind tweaking but I have no desire at all to develop the entire theme myself.

So far I’m looking at the updated Focus theme from Studiopress but I haven’t decided yet if that will fulfill the needs of this site or not. What do you think? Have any other suggestions for truly awesome responsive WordPress themes? I want something that is easy to read, fits at least loosely into the current architecture of this site and is fully mobile responsive.

Please leave any suggestions you have in the comments of this post.