Our Blog

the_content filter vs. wpautop function

Mike Selander

In WordPress it's very common to use the wpautop() function. It's a very handy function for converting plain text into paragraphed & semi-formatted content. However, if you're using this function alone you could be missing out on a lot of functionality that you could easily get simply by applying the_content filter instead. To show why the_content filter is so much better, let's take a quick look at what both of these do.

wpautop()

This function is very straightforward - it wraps your line-broken string text in <p> tags. From the repository:
Changes double line-breaks in the text into HTML paragraphs (<p>...</p>).
Pretty basic, right? It helps you to display your string content in very organized fashion.

apply_filter( 'the_content' )

This filter runs the content that you feed it through several functions:

wptexturize - Converts special characters such as ... into the proper html display
convert_smilies - Converts text such as :) into...

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Avoiding Online Spammers: Web Listings, Inc. Letters Circulating

Kerrie Luginbill

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Spam. It's an internet marketers worst nightmare.

By definition, spam is when a person, business or organization sends the same message indiscriminately to large numbers of recipients on the Internet. Usually these letters are to either trick you into paying for something you don't need or to sell you something you don't understand.

This morning in the mail, Old Town Media received the following fake invoice (which I am sure many, many other people also received):

We usually know when these letters, made to look like invoices, start circulating because our clients will pick up the phone and call us to confirm their legitimacy.

While it looks like it might be a legitimate invoice, if you read closely it reads, "This Website Listing offer is provided to millions of websites throughout the United States to enhance their website exposure. THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION."

Companies and solicitations such as this one from Web Listings Inc. hurt the reputation ...

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Facebook Continues to Change Algorithm

Kayti Christian

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In recent months, Facebook has announced more changes to its algorithm. If you manage a Facebook brand or business page, here are the changes you will want to be aware of:

 

1. According to Information Week, "The newest changes to Facebook's algorithm will prioritize posts based on whether the topic is trending and when -- instead of how many -- people like, share, or comment on it...

...If a friend or a Page you are connected to posts something that others are talking about, for example, Facebook will now show you that post near the top your news feed, the social network said."

Facebook is telling businesses to watch engagement metrics, claiming that Pages may see high engagement for timely posts that then drops off once the topic is no longer trending. 

Solution: Use hashtags and post “as it happens.” For example, #ThrowbackThursday is a trending hashtag every Thursday and could contribute to hig...

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Scrolling Is Not Evil

Mike Selander

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Scrolling vs. Clicking has been debated for years in the web community. The decision to use multiple clicks or use longer page lengths to present long pieces of content is an important one in deciding how your site flows. For many years in the late 1990s and early 2000s clicking was the clear winner in this battle. The web was still in its UX infancy and people weren't yet used to looking "below the fold" for content.

However, web users have evolved as technology has further molded our mindsets and use presets. Smartphones and tablets are never ending scroll oasis' and websites with large amounts of content pop up with more regularity. For example Matter, a long-form news journal regularly has articles that take 20-30 minutes to read on a single page and most users read them the whole way through. Single-page checkout pages win over multi-page ones by up to 21%! Here's why you should use scrolling in your website instead of extra clicks

Scrolling is a continuation, clicking is ...

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LinkedIn Launches New Feature

Aditi Datta

 

Last week, LinkedIn announced a new feature that enables users to access more information about why someone viewed his or her profile. This new addition to the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature shows what actions a user took that led to them viewing your profile. Actions can include updating a profile or joining a new LinkedIn group.

The LinkedIn announcement explains, “Layering who is looking at your profile over the actions you have taken lets you focus on the actions that are most relevant to your professional goals, maximizing the engagement your profile receives. In turn, this increased engagement can lead to more opportunities for you.”

LinkedIn is growing increasingly more important for businesses since it is continuously improving insight tools to help you better understand your new and potential clients. The new feature can provide numbers such as: profile views, viewers from specific cities, viewers from a specific industry and number of viewer...

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Meet the Office Dogs

Vallene Kailburn

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Any given day visiting the our office, there is a pretty good chance you will meet one of the many dogs that 'work' at Old Town Media.

Meet Pumpkin Spice:

She's a Maltese Yorkie mix (a Morkie!) She belongs to Kerrie and she is a huge Broncos fan (and yes, she is named after Pumpkin Spice Lattes). Pumpkin thinks she runs the office and will always run out to say hi if you come and visit.

Meet Kya:

She's is a Husky Mix and she belongs to Kayti. Kya is always up to play and loves taking walks around City Park, along with sneaking out of Kayti's office to greet clients and staff members.

Meet Lily:

She is one of 3 Bulldogs belonging to Miles and Val. She is the most athletic and will hunt any squirrel in City Park if she is given a chance.

Meet Mattie:

She is the newest edition to the Kailburn Bulldog club. She is a rescue Bulldog and is definitely the protective mama over the other two.

Meet Brutus:

Brutus ...

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Why You Shouldn’t Update Your WordPress

Mike Selander

You shouldn't update your own WordPress install or plugins.

Most people will update their WordPress install every time that a new plugin or core update comes along - and generally this won't cause problems. However, when it does cause problems it could take down your entire site without the option to even login or kill a particularly useful custom functionality you integrated. The result is that your site could easily become useless due to an errant function or call.

Now, that isn't to say you should never update your plugins or have someone else do it - it should just be done in a controlled environment where you're making off-site backups, have a test sandbox, and have your developer ready if something goes wrong with the upgrade.

What could go wrong?

The main problem with doing your own updates is that there's a certain chance of messing up custom functionality. If you have custom functionality (especially if you're running an eCommerce store) your whole website cou...

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How to Add a Facebook Manager

Kayti Christian

facebook manager

While you may get in trouble for being on Facebook or Instagram at work, spending time on social media is a part of my job description. Whether it's creating posts, "liking" pages or updating cover photos, social media is a big part of the marketing department at Old Town Media.

When we first begin a social media management relationship with clients, we need access to the Facebook Business Page. To add a manager to your Facebook page, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: On your Facebook Business Page, select Settings from the admin dashboard.

 

Step 2: On the Settings tab, select Page Roles from the sidebar.

 

Step 3: Enter the email address of the person you are granting access (it must be associated with their personal Facebook account). Use the drop down menu to select their page role. Click Save and Facebook will give you a pop-up to enter in your personal Facebook password for verification.

 

 ...

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WooCommerce 2.2 – Prowling Pangolin

Miles Kailburn

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On September 10, WooThemes released their latest version of WooCommerce, version 2.2.  Version 2.2 is a larger upgrade and should be scheduled for upgrade at your convenience.  Most of the changes are features but there are some bug fixes including a coupon calculation bug that we submitted that has been resolved.  Some notes about the major features are:

Refunds: Ability to refund customers from within Woocommerce.  Many payment gateways support this now directly from within WooCommerce, otherwise its just a few clicks.  Payment gateway integrations are being updated quite frequently to support this feature so if your gateway does not support it at the moment, chances are it will soon!
Language: Non-english language support has improved significantly for customers who run their stores in languages other than English.
...

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The Underrated Power of Visual Content

Aditi Datta

Have you ever wondered why we love infographics so much at Old Town Media?

First of all, an infographic is simply a “graphic visual representation of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.” That being said, it’s pretty obvious that it’s much more fun to look at engaging pictures or to watch an exciting video rather than just read plain text. Frobes explains that visual information, when presented clearly, trumps textual information by tenfold.

But why are humans so conditioned to love pretty pictures? Scientifically speaking, it takes far less effort to digest visual content and images are much more conducive to short attention spans. And lets face it -we all have minimal attention spans on Monday mornings.

Data visualization is clearly effective, which is why we encourage clients to consider using infographics to get some well-deserved attention for their great content and extraordinary knowledge. Done correctly,...

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