Category Archives: Resources

A Guide to WordPress as a Web Application Platform

Wait, what?  WordPress as a SaaS (Software as a service) platform?  “But WordPress is just for blogging” they say.  It turns out, WordPress can do so much more.  Plus, Matt Mullenweg recently announced the focus of WordPress 3.7 will be modifications that make WordPress even better as a software platform.

WordPress already comes with many of the key functions needed for a SaaS web application.  It has a robust user management system, a secure administrative back end, and a scalable framework that can grow with your service.

The new WordPress will include some features that make it even better for SaaS.  This includes improved security and a full Application Programming Interface (API).  The latter will allow web apps to directly manipulate WordPress.  This will open up a whole world of WordPress-based SaaS.  I’m very excited to see what comes of this.

From what we know about the upcoming WordPress 3.7 and the existing features of WordPress 3.6, we can examine the opportunities for web apps built on WordPress.  The following is a guide and resource list for building web apps using WordPress as a platform.

Some light reading

  • A three part series from the folks that built HelloBar on a WordPress platform.  Start with Part 1.  The second part is particularly helpful for building a fast and scalable application.
  • The main Tut on using WordPress as a web application framework.

And a little watching

Some examples of WordPress as SaaS

  • A prime example as I mentioned above is HelloBar.  This is a great one to look at since you can read a companion series on how they built it with WordPress.
  • HappyTables is a service for restaurants.  They make websites at a free and paid membership tier.  It’s likely they are using the multi-site feature of WordPress (formerly WPMU) but I’m not sure.
  • ClickBank Powered is another example of websites as a service (WaaS).  Did I just make up a new phrase? #claimedit
  • It turns out, Automattic has seen this trend coming.  They’ve created some applications for folks who use  They include a Portfolio and Restaurant website service.

happy tables


So what exactly is the difference between WordPress as a blog, WordPress as a software platform, and just plain software?

WordPress as a blog is what we all picture when we think of WordPress.  Well, maybe not all of us.  But WordPress got it’s start as an easy and free tool for people to disseminate information.

WordPress as a software platform can best be described as a WordPress is the foundation.  The service being provided is built as added functionality.  As the above examples and readings describe, this usually combines existing plugins, custom themes and some custom coding.  The high end services include all three of these in order to create a seamless experience.  In the words of Digital Telepathy (the HelloBar people), in part due to security and in part due to user experience “we didn’t want users to even realize it was WordPress they were using, nor did we want to expose any administration interfaces that would take them out of the application’s simple and streamlined experience”.

Just plain software is almost a thing of the past.  With the exception of big bulky and robust software like Microsoft Office, most software applications are making the transition into the cloud.  Software CD sales are way way down and software as a service (cloud based SaaS) is way way up.  Generally, software has been installed on a local machine.  As I write this, it sound really antiquated, but I realized it was just 5 years ago this was the absolute gold standard and the norm.

The summary: get ready WordPress World.  You are about to see a whole slew of new applications built on the WordPress framework.  I’m excited to see what creativity the developer community brings forth.

Using WordPress to Fundraise

WordPress is a powerful community building tool, in addition to a blogging and public relations tool.  But did you know nonprofits/not-for-profits and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) use WordPress to cultivate millions in donations every year?  In fact, the amount of money raised by nonprofits in the U.S. alone is staggering.  Just online, nonprofits raised around $22 Billion in 2010.  That number is 3 years old and still huge.

Although there are many many ways to raise money online, WordPress makes it super easy.  Especially when a nonprofit is using WordPress to power their website, using these themes.  Integrating with a payment gateway is simple, secure and professional.  Some of the third party fundraising sites work well too, but since we are all about WordPress at Pingable, this post focuses on the different ways to integrate fundraising with WordPress.

1. Cash in on your existing network

If you already have a large network of supporters and website visitors, this is the fastest way to cash in.  But be warned, visitors do not always equal stakeholders.  You can’t buy useless traffic using ads if the visitors don’t convert to active participants in your cause.  However, nonprofits with an engaged following that care about the mission and relate to the personal stories you tell on the website can turn into a source of consistent financial support.  Consider this tutorial that covers creating a donate form on your website.  The aforementioned tutorial covers adding a pretty complex and native donate form using a premium forms plugin and Paypal integration.  For the more novice user, you can use a simple Paypal donate widget.

2. Go pro with a crowdsourcing plugin

Crowdsourcing is all the rage.  From Kickstarter to IndieGoGo, there are a million project-funding sites.  What they promise is the ability to raise funds quickly.  What they don’t say is that 90% of funds come from friends and family unless your project goes viral.  Crowdsourcing is primarily for non-business or individual projects.  However nonprofits can get in the game too.  Using the same platforms, nonprofits can raise funds and generate income tax deductions for their donors.

Using a premium plugin like IgnitionDeck is a great way to stand above the fray and raise money for your nonprofit.  A premium WordPress plugin, IgnitionDeck is a very smart crowdfunding tool.  In addition to accepting donations easily, you can set a smart target which automatically moves to the next tier when a goal has been reached.  For example, a nonprofit that uses it’s WordPress website to fund a community center might set a goal for a pool table, a goal for the renovations and a goal for purchasing the property.  When the community has contributed enough for the pool table, the renovations become the next goal.  Cool huh?  Never make success the barrier to more success!

Bonus: there are some premium themes available on ThemeForest (our fave) that seamlessly integrate IgnitionDeck.  Our personal favorite: FundingPress:


3. Get the community involved

Crowdfunding, by definition, is micro-donations or contributions that reach toward a larger goal.  Rather than seeking a large donor or investor, crowdfunded projects get lots of little support.  So in a way, this method is also crowdfunding like all of the above, however this one really leverages relationships and community.  Using a plugin called Personal Fundraiser, your nonprofit can allow stakeholders to create their own fundraising pages.  This way, they are encouraged through many different calls-to-action to get their own network involved.

By leveraging other people’s networks, you have the potential to not only raise more funds, but reach more people which can turn into other opportunities.  Never turn down a chance to discuss your mission with someone, you never know who they are.

WordPress as a Media Powerhouse

WordPress is a powerful blogging platform, this we know.  And blogging started as a means to distribute information quickly and easily.  Some might argue blogging changed the internet, and turned it into something useful to the non-nerd.  As both WordPress and the internet have evolved, they have become so much more than tools to disseminate text.  WordPress has evolved along with the web as a means of managing and distributing media.  If done right, WordPress can be as powerful as any custom-made or commercial solution for media management.  The following are tools and methods for building a media powerhouse on top of the WordPress framework.

1. Use the Core

WordPress has come with a pretty powerful media management tool built in since version 2.5 (and has evolved with each subsequent version, significantly so in version 3.0).  The media library lets you upload media, manage some of the descriptors and parameters, and attach it to content.  This is particularly useful for themes built around media display.

wordpress media library

2. Enhance the Core with a Plugin

The freely available Media Library Assistant Plugin artfully expands the functions of the core media library.  It adds some impressive features such as bulk editing, a powerful gallery, taxonomy support and other reporting.  This might be my next go-to plugin when building a media-driven WordPress site.  Some of these features could certainly be considered for a future version of the core, but in order to keep things slim, why not leave it to the plugin developers to keep it lively?

media library assistant

 3. Enhance with a Theme

WordPress themes have come so far over the years.  Head over to your favorite premium theme provider, we like Themeforest.  And pick out a premium quality theme that is built to manage and display media.  Some themes are built for static media like images, others for video and even audio.  Some select themes are good for displaying all types of media but choose them carefully to ensure they support your preferred media types.  Also be sure users with all different types of technology can enjoy your site.  (ie: tablets running safari vs. tablets running Chrome vs. laptops running Firefox)

wordpress media theme

4.  Integrate with media services

Most internet users manage, browse and share media from social networking sites like Facebook, and media sharing sites like Flickr.  WordPress has the capability to fully integrate with these services using third party plugins.  This is a two way street, if your site is focused on distributing media, you can use a plugin to share your media with sites like Flickr.  If your site relies on media from other sources, make sure it is easy to pull it in from outside.  The Media Manager Plus plugin lets you do just that, pull media in easily from sites like Flicker, 500px and Instagram.

media manager

5. Embed Media like a Pro

WordPress is very good at inserting static media.  Embedding videos and audio or streaming media can take more effort and not work consistently.  This pro plugin, called Cincopa, is built to make that process easier.  The basic version is free but limited, specifically around storage capacity and file size.  Cincopa lets you upload, edit (resize), encode, distribute, track and even skin video files via WordPress.  The company claims their easy to use wizard is intuitive and makes the process of managing video quick and easy.  They include support for the major media players which is nice to know.  They also let you display media in galleries easily, which WordPress does not do well (for video files) and does very well (for image files).  Cincopa comes prepackaged with 40 skins which should work for most, but not all.


Did I miss some key media management feature?  Please share it in the comments below.  We read every one!

We have 5 Copies of The Shock Bundle to Giveaway

The kind folks over at Themeshock have given us 5 copies of their “Shock Bundle” to give away to our readers. The Shock Bundle is a huge bundle that contains a lot of quality designs, this bundle includes all kind of resources with sources that any web designer would want for their next project, such as PSD and WordPress themes, multiple GUI elements, fantastic pixel perfect and realistic icons, handy photoshop actions, handwritten fonts, hundreds of logos, and many many others that can be seen at the product’s homepage. ThemeShock is a team behind some stunning projects like Jquery Slider Shock, one of the most flexible sliders on the web.






The rules of the giveaway are simple. just head over to Facebook and Like our page, and you will be in the draw. Then we will randomly select 5 lucky readers, who will get a license for the Shock Bundle valued at $39. You don’t have to be a new “like” to enter, all of the current fans of our page are already entered.

The competition will run for the month of May. Enter here.

Building a powerful social network with WordPress

WordPress is many things.  A blogging tool, a business tool, a constituent relationship manager (CRM), a community gathering place, even a social networking platform.  With the right plugins and powerful theme, WordPress can be given the tools to create a social networking platform that rivals the big boys.

Why build a social networking platform on WordPress?  There are lots of good answers to this question.  Not the least of which is the WordPress platform is one of the simplest, fastest and most secure platforms on which to build.  Additionally, WordPress comes to you lean and clean, without unnecessary add-ons.  (This is why I switched away from Joomla! years ago).  With WordPress, you can pick and choose the features you need, and leave the rest.  But I’m preaching to the choir here, aren’t I?

When building a social network on WordPress, you have several choices.

The all-in-one solution: BuddyPress


BuddyPress is a ready made collection of plugins that were built to work together.  The BuddyPress core enables the individual plugins and thus, is required.  Every other option is up to you.  The latest version is 1.7, released April 8th, 2013.  Known as “Totonno”, BuddyPress 1.7 brings some cool new features to the old BuddyPress.  The full feature list is available on the official Codex, but here are some of my favorite new and old features:

  • BuddyPress can now work seamlessly with almost any WordPress theme.  Previously, a WordPress admin would have to find a BuddyPress compatible theme, that problem is no more.
  • Rich group administration makes it easier to manage subgroups within your WordPress social network.
  • Installation is now much easier.  Previous versions of BuddyPress required quite a few steps for the admin, now the whole thing is automatic.  Suh-weet.

The options

BuddyPress has the capability to offer the following features for a social networking site:

  • Rich user registration
  • Customizable user profiles
  • Messages between users
  • Connectability between users (think Facebook friend function)
  • Full integration with bbPress, the forum designed by the creators of WordPress
  • User blogs, each user can write their own blog
  • And lots more with plugins for BuddyPress


BuddyPress also comes with a small collection of theme designers that are striving to make WordPress themes specifically for BuddyPress sites.  I’ve found the free stuff to not be worth it, but the premium BuddyPress themes at ThemeForest are really nice.  With Totonno, you can also use any other WordPress theme you love.

The analysis

BuddyPress seems to be the oldest project that adds social networking functionality to WordPress.  Age doesn’t guarantee the top choice, but it does lend itself to a more comprehensive solution.  But there are others you should consider before making a choice.

The minimalist solution: WP Mingle


The options

Mingle is newer and smaller, but has real promise.  It offers many of the core features of BuddyPress, with a vibrant community as well.  Features include:

  • User profiles
  • Friending between users
  • Profile posting and commenting
  • Member directory
  • Email notifications

WPMingle is very simple with a smaller but vibrant community of developers building plugins to support it.  It seems to be mainly supported by the primary developer, Blair Williams.  Blair is the genious behind Pretty Link, a heavily used WordPress link redirect and cloaking plugin.

Plugins developed for WPMingle include integration with AWeber, a forum, donation button and friend request widget.


Blair recommends Thesis Theme, because WPMingle has not been tested or developed to work with everything.  A serious drawback, but the theme shouldn’t be your only parameter when choosing a WordPress social networking option.

The Analysis

WP Mingle would be better if you just need the features listed above.  If you are looking to build a truly powerful social network, consider going with BuddyPress.  With any larger, more comprehensive plugin, you may loose some flexibility with customizations.

What did I miss?  Please comment below to make this article even better!

Best Places to get WordPress Support

WordPress is known for simplicity and ease of use.  Even people that don’t understand a lick of code can get WordPress up and running in about 5 minutes.  With the advent of 1-click installation, this became even easier.  Another great feature of WordPress is the foundation that allows you to build virtually any type of website on top of it.

Originally a pure blogging platform, WordPress has grown into a structure upon which one can build an online store, social network, magazine, business, even portfolio websites.  In building such advanced functionality, there comes a time when everyone needs a little help.

This help can come in form of community support, official support, paid support, or just a casual learning tool such as a tutorial.  In this post I outline some of the most common and reliable places to find WordPress support.

Official WordPress Support

The official WordPress support resource has to be the first one listed here, obviously.  From here you can access a vibrant support community in the forum, the official documentation (codex) and some handy WordPress tutorials.

Visit the WordPress forum.

The WordPress forum isn’t the most vibrant forum I’ve ever seen, but it is steadily and consistently accessed by some very smart WordPress admins that can answer questions quickly.

wordpress forum

Visit the WordPress Tutorials Section

These tutorials are basic, but helpful for the newbie that hasn’t spent a ton of time with WordPress yet.

wordpress tutorials

Unofficial Support

There are lots of unofficial support sites.  Some are dedicated WordPress support blogs,  but many are articles written by WordPress admins.  For me, this has come about when I’ve needed to learn something new about WordPress.  Often it seems sharing this new knowledge might be helpful to someone else so I write it up.

Some of the websites dedicated to providing WordPress support can be found here.  I decided not to share individual bloggers’ attempts at support because I can’t guarantee their consistency or accuracy as confidently as I can for these dedicated resources.


TutsPlus is part of the NetTuts (short for tutorials) empire.  They have quite a bit of free stuff, plus some paid content that is well worth the few bucks to access.

tutsplus wordpress support


I’ve not personally used WP101 but it presents itself as a premium WordPress support resource.  It is a video-based learning resource that you can access with a monthly, annual or lifetime membership fee.

wp101 support

Crowd Support

For these purposes, I considered crowd support to be any organized service that allows people to support each other.  Whether paid, or free, a service that connects people for the sole purpose of getting WordPress help.


My personal favorite.  I’ve answered many tough questions on this site.  Ask a question and offer a small monetary reward for the person that answers it.  Some people have made thousands on this site.

wpquestions wordpress support

Hire a pro for a little or lot of money depending on the scope of your needs.  I got my start with WordPress on this website 10 years ago.

guru wordpress support

Another pro-for-hire site.  I’ve spent a lot of time on this site and found some very inexpensive and fast help with WordPress.  Mainly custom plugins and themes.

odesk wordpress support


Individual providers

These are a couple individual WordPress support sites who’s skill level I cannot verify but seem pretty reputable.


In addition to custom themes and such, this WP expert offers one-on-one support and training.  Not something that is widely available.

mywpexpert wordpress support

WP boys 24/7 support

This is very cool.  Pay for 24 hour WordPress support.  Scenario: your client calls at 11pm, their site is down and you can’t figure out why.  Call the WP boys!

wp-boys wordpress support

If I missed a great resource for getting support with WordPress, please leave it as a comment.  I love to hear your suggestions that make Pingable a truly rich WordPress resource.

WordPress Theme Generators for 2012

Lubith WordPress Theme Generator (free & pro versions)

Lubith is pretty new to the theme generator frontier.  They have a nice looking interface (you need a free account to even play with it).  It is easy to drag/drop what you want in your theme.  This is pretty different compared to most theme generators that give you finite options for layout, background, etc. and you must choose among them.

It would be nice to see Lubith in action without signing up for an account.  If it’s that good, why not let the product speak for itself?

WordPress Theme Generator (free)

This one has been around a while, I call it “yo-shap” because that’s how I read the TLD it sits on.  I’m not sure if that’s the creators name or what, but it’s one of the original theme generators out there.  It is clean and quick, but doesn’t come with any flashy options.  Maybe that’s what you’re looking for.  It supports up to WordPress 3.1 as of the writing of this post.  If you just want a basic layout generator, this is the one for you.

 WP Theme Generator

A more all-inclusive WordPress theme generator, this one has countless options.  Again, you’re stuck with the options that are available, but it would be difficult to find one that did not work for your purposes.  My challenge with this type of generator is that the themes are not truly unique.  But I’ve yet to see a WordPress theme generator that will come up with something truly unique.


You’ll quickly gather from our previous review of Artisteer that it is all for show.  The interface is the best one available, it works as any other Microsoft Office program might, which is very nice… at first.  Then you realize Artisteer is just another pre-packaged WordPress theme generator with limited options.  If you want to churn out cheap themes quickly, this is the tool to use.  However each file is filled with Artisteer references so you can’t pass themes off as your own.


A very cool tool that I have admittedly not tried myself is ThemesPress. Unlike the others listed here, ThemesPress lets you turn HTML into a WordPress theme.  Why would this be helpful?  For several reasons: paying for a custom HTML design is cheaper than a full blown WordPress design.  Also, sometimes you’re given an HTML design by a client that you must convert.  It costs $10, but could be well worth the investment.


Resource: How to Display Ads to Search Visitors

Micro-targeting visitors is an incredibly powerful SEO tool.  Think about this.  You search for a particular keyword, visit a particular website from the results, and don’t quite find what you’re looking for.  If there is an embedded advertisement in the website with the exact keywords you searched for, you are much more likely to click that ad than if it were an ad reflecting the content on that page.

Micro-targeting can be done easily within WordPress.  There are a number of free plugins that allow you to specifically target search visitors and users of a particular social media service.  Here are just a few ways to micro-target your advertisements using WordPress plugins.

1. Plugin: Ad Injection | Download (free)

Ad Injection is a plugin that inserts adsense, or other advertising code into your WordPress site anywhere.  It also works with Amazon Affiliates and Clickbank.  You can set ad placements within the plugin or use template tags to insert them anywhere your heart desires.  The plugin allows you to randomly insert ads between paragraphs, and limit which posts have ads by post age, length or a number of other parameters.

The most important feature is the ability to restrict ads by referrer.  This allows you to require search engine referrals show particular ad sets.  For example, I might set the plugin to display adsense ads when is the referrer.

2. Plugin: WP Greetbox | Download (free)

I have been using WP Greetbox for a long time to display welcome messages or prompt users to follow my blog.  It inserts a small content box below the post title.  What’s great about this plugin is that you can customize it to display different messages based on the referrer.  For example, I might say “welcome facebook user, please like our facebook page by clicking here”.  This gives the illusion of a slightly personalized message which is hard to come by on a website.

For our purposes, you can identify a specific message for those come from Google.  The plugin uses the example of having Googlers follow your RSS feed.  But with the advent of Google+, you can have users add you to their circles.  Targeting for search engine traffic is just one way to micro-target.  The sky is the limit.

This is also one of the best looking free plugins I have ever used on my site.  It includes the option to close the box, adjust the placement, round the corners and even add a dropshadow.

3. Popup Social Media Follows | Download

If you want to boost your social media presence, this plugin will let you target search engine traffic by popping up right after the page is loaded.  Although sometimes annoying, these tools can be an effective method of generating social media traffic.  This plugin lets you push Facebook, Google+ and Twitter buttons at users with a stylish overlay.  You can allow users the option of closing the window, or make it time-delayed.  If your traffic supports this kind of conversion tool, and if your content is good enough to push through it, this could be a really handy plugin.



Premium Theme Provider Roundup

I have wanted to do this post for a long time.  There are lots of premium WordPress theme designers and I love browsing the good ones.  But has anyone put together a comprehensive list of them all?  I have seen some short lists, but nothing that covers everyone.  This is the beginning of what I hope will be an all-inclusive list of premium WordPress theme designers.  I need your help to find other providers though.  If you have a favorite, leave it as a comment below.  If they’re good, I will move them up to the main section of this post.


The first place I go to look for a new theme, hence it’s place in this list.  There are so many designers selling on the ThemeForest marketplace, you get a really eclectic selection of premium themes.  Some are junk, but most are vetted by their editors and therefore are of very high quality.  Support for these themes is up to the individual developers so read reviews and comments before buying.

Organic Themes

A relatively new (?) player to the premium theme game, Organic Themes has done a great job developing a core of high quality themes.  They are fresh (as their tagline suggests) and professional themes for multiple purposes.


I have been a member for years.  So long ago, I have a much less expensive grandfathered price.  These themes are not updated as frequently as others, but are very high quality and have lots of built-in features.  And for some reason, they have a different “feel” than other themes.  I can spot an Elegant Theme a mile away, even if I’ve never seen it before.


Besides have a very clever logo, they produce some very nice minimalist themes.  GPP knows how to do WordPress themes right.  These themes are great for media folks like photographers and videographers because the themes are light and fast.


A good old standby, WooThemes has been around a long time.  Just check out how many themes they produce!  You’ll see a new one each month consistently.  They have also gone into the framework business, producing their own ecommerce framework.


These are by far the most tricked-out themes I have ever seen.  When new technologies emerge for theme designers, they tend to show up in YooTheme stuff first.  Just browse their themes, there are features incorporated that the other players haven’t even begun to use yet.


I am a recovering Joomla! user.  Back in my J! days, I used Rockettheme consistently.  They produce really high quality themes for Drupal and Joomla!  A couple years back, they wised up and started created stuff for WordPress.  The rest, is history.

Premise (by CopyBlogger)

A themeshop with a very specific purpose: to create a versatile landing page theme.  They achieved this goal.  Is it an ethical way to clutter up the interweb?  Not so much.  But lots of people are making lots of money with themes like this.


WPShower, although an odd name, produces some of the nicest minimalist themes I have seen in a long time.  And they do so consistently and dependably.  Nice, clean style.


The copyblogger theme shop, StudioPress makes some pretty good stuff.  Some good real estate themes and other specific function themes come out of here.  No designs are “knock-your-socks-off” good.  But many are worth the price.

DIY Themes

They’re famous for one theme which is arguably a million themes in one.  The Thesis Framework was designed by DIY themes. Lots of people swear by this theme with allegedly amazing SEO.  Personally I think they reached fame and fortune with an aggressive affiliate program.


Templatic specializes in specialty themes.  Each one is designed with a specific purpose.  This is great for real estate professionals, wiki admins and shop owners.

Press 75

Simple, functional themes with nice styling.  Press75 designs great themes for professional media moguls -er- producers.  Photographers and artists rejoice!


Minimal themes with lifetime support.  WPZoom has some really nice stuff.

Who did we miss?  Either leave a comment or drop us a line with your favorite premium WordPress theme developer.


Great Resources to Learn WordPress

WordPress is simple, powerful and easy to learn.  But it still takes some time to learn to be a pro.  And you will never know everything there is to know about this amazing blogging platform.  As each version comes out, there are new features and structures to understand.  There is always a new trick or tip, no matter how long you have been working with WordPress.

These are a few excellent resources help you learn WordPress.  These are targeted to both experts and newbies.

1. The official documentation.  This is regularly updated by a slew of editors and developers.  Most often, if you Google a WordPress term, the documentation is one of the first results.  There’s a reason for that!

2. WordPress Lessons.  Another official resource, WordPress lessons are targeted towards newbies and intermediate users with specific tasks in mind.

3. WPQuestions.  A Fiverr style website where you can ask a question, name a small price, and people will answer it.  The site takes a cut and the answerer gets paid.  Some people are making a modest living on this site.

4. WP Apprentice.  They are a paid site with a lot of free videos as well.  They will teach you mainly simple tasks aimed at beginners.

5. Part of the TutsPlus and Envato network, this marketplace has lots of tutorials about WordPress.  Some are free, many are paid or part of a membership plan.  But you can guarantee you’ll get quality instruction on WordPress.