WordPress 3.2 is going to be released very soon, and we want you to be ready! Take note: the minimum requirements are changing.

PHP and MySQL

As of 3.2, you’ll need to be running PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0. As we mentioned almost a year ago when we announced that this change was coming, the percentage of people running older versions of PHP and MySQL is relatively low. With more than 45 million people using WordPress, though, even a small percentage can mean a lot of people! Don’t caught with your pants dashboard down — make sure you’re running compatible versions of PHP and MySQL before you update tomorrow when WordPress 3.2 is released.

Log in to your hosting account, and check to make sure you have at least  PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0. Most of the major hosts already default to these or newer versions, but there are some exceptions. Check to see which versions you are running, and if you’re still on an older version, it should be as simple as changing a dropdown menu and clicking Save to get up to date.

If you don’t know how to find this information in your hosting account or you don’t even know how to access your hosting control panel because someone else manages that for you, don’t fret. You can find out if you’re ready for 3.2 with the Health Check plugin. In your dashboard, go to Plugins → Add New and search for “health check” (it should be the first result). Install it, activate it, and it will tell you if you need to update anything.

If you need more help, contact your host’s customer service and use this email template to ask them to help you.

Hi there. I host my domain [example.com] with you, and I run WordPress on my site. The minimum requirements are changing to PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0, and I would appreciate your help in confirming that my site’s setup meets these requirements. If I’m currently running an older version of PHP or MySQL, could you update it for me, or tell me how to do it? Thanks so much!

If your host replies that they can’t update to these versions, it might be time to look for a new host.

IE6 and Outdated Browsers

With 3.2, we’re also dropping support for Internet Explorer 6, a 10-years-old outdated browser that even Microsoft is ready to leave behind. From now on, if you access your WordPress dashboard from an outdated browser, we’ll let you know. Why? Because as web technology improves, so does WordPress, as we build features to take advantage of these improvements. If you’re using an out-of-date browser, chances are you’re missing out.

If your browser is out of date, you’ll see a friendly orangey-yellow box in your dashboard letting you know you a newer version is available (which you can dismiss, of course). If you’re using IE6, though, the box will be red, and your dashboard will not function properly. If you’re stuck on IE6 because the computer you use is maintained by a business, library, school, or the like, and you are not able to download a newer browser, here’s a sample email you can use to ask your boss/administrator/IT guys to update the browser.

Hi there. The computer I use at [where you use the computer] is equipped with an out-of-date web browser. Internet Explorer 6 was created 10 years ago, before modern web standards, and does not support modern web applications. More and more sites and applications are dropping support for IE6, including the new version of WordPress. Even Microsoft, the makers of IE6, are counting down until IE6 goes the way of the dinosaur (see http://www.ie6countdown.com/ for more information). Can you please install an updated version of IE or any modern browser (see http://browsehappy.com for more information) on the available computers? Thank you very much.

Welcome to the future!

 

 

Hiring someone new is always a high-impact activity in terms of business. And there are many ways of finding valuable employees. Posting job descriptions on Craigslist is one idea. Relying on word of mouth and recommendations is another. But the online world these days offers a lot more solutions. Hence the list of 16 top websites where you can hire someone without losing your shirt. Check out my guest post at Christine.biz:

Top 16 Places Where You Can Hire Someone Without Losing Your Shirt

Now I have a bonus for you. A place where you can go to find a business partner.

Build It With Me

This site is a little different. It’s not exactly meant to be a place where you can simply hire someone. But rather a place where you can find a partner who can help you with developing your tool, app, or any other software. When you visit the site you’ll see that there are already tens of people looking for developers or designers to help them to put their app-ideas to life. You can easily join this community and post your own entry. The site doesn’t cover any legal aspects of possible partnerships, it’s just a discovery tool.

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Progress on the new SFC continues. Added a new plugin to it this morning: Photos. It’s a simple little plugin, and not pretty yet, but it does work. :)

Here’s a couple of example screenshots:

Facebook Images

The selection screen (not pretty, but functional)

Example of the result

Example of the result


The plugin itself turns out actually to be quite simple. It turns out that adding to the media tabs is fairly straightforward with the existing WordPress functionality, and making links that insert things into the post code is not nearly as difficult as I thought it might be.

You can use the SFC beta version if you like. There’s a copy in the WordPress SVN directories. However, it’s buggy and unfinished and doesn’t have all the same functionality. But most of it works okay. Still needs polish before releasing it.

Note that all development on the old SFC 0.25 has ceased. I’m not making any further patches to it. If you want to upgrade now to the 0.999 beta version, feel free. Also, patches welcome.

WordPress 3.1.4 is available now and is a maintenance and security update for all previous versions.

This release fixes an issue that could allow a malicious Editor-level user to gain further access to the site. Thanks K. Gudinavicius of SEC Consult for bringing this to our attention. Version 3.1.4 also incorporates several other security fixes and hardening measures thanks to the work of WordPress developers Alexander Concha and Jon Cave of our security team. Consult the change log for more details.

Download WordPress 3.1.4 or update immediately from the Dashboard → Updates menu in your site’s admin area.

WordPress 3.2 Release Candidate 3

This release was about all that stood in the way of a final release of WordPress 3.2. So we’re also announcing the third release candidate for 3.2, which contains all of the fixes in 3.1.4; few minor RTL, JavaScript, and user interface fixes; and ensures graceful failures if 3.2 is run on PHP4. As a reminder, we’ve bumped our minimum requirements for version 3.2 to PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0.

To test WordPress 3.2, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”). Or you can download the release candidate here (zip). At this stage, plugin authors should be doing final tests to ensure compatibility.

Bonus: For more on what to test and what to do if you find an issue, please read our Beta 1 post.

The Parrot PlaceThe Parrot place is an online pet shop, offering pet supplies, fish food, and specialising in supplies for birds.

It is WordPress-driven, and uses the E-commerce plugin for online sales.

Urban Legend web was contracted to create the collapsible menus on the left side of the site, and to make changes to the backend of the E-commerce plugin to clarify the display of categories. We also helped with some minor styling tweaks to the main menus.

Marblehead GalleryMarble Head Galley is a restaurant in Marblehead, Ohio, USA.

Urban Legend web was contracted to provide a calendar application which let the site owners enter daily dinner specials by month. We used an existing WordPress plugin, calendar, and incorporated it into the slider mechanism used on the front page of the site.

We customised the calendar plugin so that the current week’s specials only were shown, with a link to the full calendar month.  We helped to style the calendar, but weren’t involved in the design of the site itself.

Howdy! The second release candidate for WordPress 3.2 is now available. If you haven’t tested WordPress 3.2 yet, now is the time — please though, not on your live site unless you’re extra adventurous.

We’ve handled a number of issues since RC1, including additional Twenty Eleven tweaks, a new theme support option for defaulting to randomized headers, and various RTL fixes.

Plugin and theme authors, please test your plugins and themes now, so that if there is a compatibility issue, we can figure it out before the final release. Users are also encouraged to test things out. If you find problems, let your plugin/theme authors know so they can figure out the cause. If you are testing the release candidate and think you’ve found a bug, there are a few ways to let us know:

To test WordPress 3.2, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”). Or you can download the release candidate here (zip).

If any known issues crop up, you’ll be able to find them here. If you’d like to know which levers to pull in your testing, check out a list of features in our Beta 1 post.

scoreboardIs there a way to calculate productivity? If so, then I’m the perfect person to tell you about it (not to toot my own horn here, of course). You see, it’s late night here in Poland and yet I’m still sitting here, writing this short post, and feeling productive.

To calculate productivity, using my method, you have to follow a simple 6-step productivity scoreboard.

But first, let’s set one thing straight. Before you can start tracking your points you need to learn the difference between being productive and being busy. As there are no points for being busy.

Being productive is a goal-oriented activity. It’s when you’re doing something that brings you closer to your goals, closer to what you want to achieve. It’s doing the high-leverage activities only.

Being busy is a labor-oriented activity. It’s when you’re doing something just for the sake of doing something. It’s doing the low-leverage activities and not being aware that they will probably get you nowhere.

So stay productive, not busy!

Now, the 6-step productivity scoreboard:

First of all, there’s no maximum amount of points you can get each day. This means there are no limitations and that you can be breaking your personal records every day.

Step #1 – setting deadlines

Take a list of all the tasks you want to do and set a deadline for each one of them.

Also, set a reward for completing each task. Something small. Like eating a donut, or having a drink, or whatever.

No points yet, just bear with me.

Step #2 – focusing for 5 minutes

It’s impossible to stay in the “work” state of mind for a longer period of time. We all have our up- and down-times. Whenever a down-time happens just acknowledge it, be aware of it, and immediately after try to return to work by promising yourself that you’re just going to focus for 5 minutes.

Chances are that if you can focus for 5 minutes you will end up focusing for a significantly longer period of time.

Every time you can force yourself to focus for 5 minutes after a down-time +1 point for you.

Step #3 – satisfaction

Feeling some satisfaction after you’ve finished a piece of work is nothing unusual. But feeling it immediately after starting the work is another story.

Try to feel satisfaction right from the get-go, during the first minute of your work routine.

Every time you do that +1 point for you.

Step #4 – no multitasking!

Multitasking is more harmful to your brain than smoking weed (proven fact). So don’t do it no matter what!

You get +1 point for each hour you’re not multitasking. You get -2 for each hour you are.

Step #5 – quick decision making

Whenever you stop and hesitate because you’re not comfortable with making a decision you’re losing time and breaking your productive mindset.

So if you feel that you won’t get any additional data that can help you with the decision then just go ahead and make it immediately.

Every time you do that +1 point for you.

Step #6 – reviewing your work

Go back to the deadlines you’ve set in step #1. Did you manage to get the work done in time?

You get +1 point for every task done on time.

That’s it. I encourage you to calculate productivity, your own productivity, that is. Treat it as a cool quiz, something that’s perfect for a slow Friday at work.


Here’s a list of articles you may also enjoy:

Related Posts:

Earlier today the WordPress team noticed suspicious commits to several popular plugins (AddThis, WPtouch, and W3 Total Cache) containing cleverly disguised backdoors. We determined the commits were not from the authors, rolled them back, pushed updates to the plugins, and shut down access to the plugin repository while we looked for anything else unsavory.

We’re still investigating what happened, but as a prophylactic measure we’ve decided to force-reset all passwords on WordPress.org. To use the forums, trac, or commit to a plugin or theme, you’ll need to reset your password to a new one. (Same for bbPress.org and BuddyPress.org.)

As a user, make sure to never use the same password for two different services, and we encourage you not to reset your password to be the same as your old one.

Second, if you use AddThis, WPtouch, or W3 Total Cache and there’s a possibility you could have updated in the past day, make sure to visit your updates page and upgrade each to the latest version.

Meet Steven.

steven

Steven is 28 years old and he wants to know how to set up an online business. You know, he’s been reading a lot of articles on the internet, hearing a lot of success stories, and now he wants in! He wants a big fat piece of this mysterious internet-lifestyle pie.

Unfortunately, he can’t simply skip some steps and go straight to relaxing at the beach while everything is done on autopilot. Before he can do that, he has to put a number of elements in place.

First and foremost, he has to have the right …

Mindset

Having the right mindset is the most important thing no matter what we do. Whether it’s setting up an online business or learning to play table tennis.

To be honest, when someone wants to know how to set up an online business it can be a lot more difficult for them than mastering some traditional activities (like sports, for example). That’s because not everyone knows what an online business is (in oppose to table tennis), and what the exact steps that need to be taken are. Hence:

Online business – It’s every business venture where the internet is the main vehicle of: attracting customers, marketing, advertising, processing payments, delivering products (usually), and managing other vital business components.

…How do you like my definition? Anyway, back to the topic… Online business is very different from his offline older brother. You can find out why here: Why Running an ONLINE Business is so Utterly Different Than Running an OFFLINE One.

Now that Steven knows what the difference between online and traditional offline business is, he needs to realize one more thing since we’re talking mindset. And that is: What Mind-Shift You Need to Take When Starting Your First Business. It’s not strictly an online business thing, although it touches upon business in general.

mindset

“There’s a lot to think about” – says Steven – “I don’t know if this whole online business thing is for me after all.” Don’t worry, Steven! It will all become clear in a moment, but for now here’re some entrepreneurial quotes to keep you motivated: 12 Quotations on Success That Are Sure to Change Your Life.

The Roadmap

First stop – finding a niche

Steven suspects that he needs to focus his efforts on a specific market. He has some passions but he doesn’t know if he’s going to be able to monetize them, so he’s kind of stuck here.

Indeed, selecting a niche is the most important thing to do. You can be a slash, there’s nothing wrong with that, but your online business should focus on one thing and one thing only, at least at the beginning stages of its existence.

There’re many ways of finding a perfect niche, here’s a good starting point: 12 Creative Ways to Find Your Niche. Steven doesn’t look like a ninja but in case he wants to put his wise guy hat on, here’s a more cunning tactic: Can’t Find a Niche? Create a Fake One!

2nd stop – finding out if there’s an audience and some competition

Deciding upon a niche is not sufficient if you want to say that you’re all set to go, Steven. Sorry…

You need some solid data about your future audience and competition. The best place to obtain it from is Google.

Since you already have some niche ideas you can put them into Google Keyword Tool and find out if there’s anyone interested in it. Here’s how. Just visit the tool and input your desired niche (for example, Steven’s favorite thing in the whole wide world – “medieval swords”). In return Google will give you some data on the number of global searches done every month.

At the time of writing this, “medieval swords” receives 9,900 monthly global searches, which is 330 a day. I would advise to aim for results between 50,000 and 10,000 a month, so our medieval swords niche almost makes it.

Now it’s time to find out how big the competition is. In order to do that just go to Google and input “medieval swords” as your search term (including the quotation marks). Then note the number of results. Right now there are 524,000 competing sites, which is a big number. I would advise to aim at numbers lower than 300,000. In the end, it seems it’s “back to the drawing board” for Steven to find a new niche.

3rd stop – domain and hosting

Ok, Steven’s back, he’s selected a niche that fits perfectly within the advised amounts of searches and size of competition, unfortunately he doesn’t want to share this niche with me. Anyway, it’s time to get him some online real-estate.

There’s no online business without a domain and a hosting account. So pay attention Steven because it’s a vital step if you want to learn how to set up an online business.

First, you have to realize that there are 3 main types of domain names and there are 6 important factors when choosing a domain name. Once you have some ideas lined up you can proceed to a tool like Domain Typer to find out what’s available.

Registering an actual domain is not difficult at all. Just go to GoDaddy and you will have a new shiny one in no time. When it comes to hosting I recommend a company called HostGator – they’re both affordable and reliable. Now how to put it all together (connecting your domain to your hosting and everything)… well, it’s too boring for me to write about, so show me some dedication and Google it on your own.

4th stop – setting up a website

website

Steven hasn’t been sitting under a rock for the past decade, so he knows that everything you need these days is a WordPress blog. Point for you, Steven!

WordPress is a great platform. You can use it to launch your website in minutes, and you don’t have to be a programming specialist or anything.

I won’t describe in detail how to install WordPress because again, it’s boring and there are hundreds of resources online, so you’re on your own, but I do have two pieces of advice for you.

Here’s a little WordPress glossary to help you understand all those strange WordPress terms. And here’s a set of must-have WordPress plugins.

Of course, using a standard WordPress theme is lame. So you want to get something more interesting and better looking. If you don’t have much money to spend on a professional designer (which is totally fine) you can get a cheaper theme from a place like WooThemes (you can even get some free themes there too). The themes are beautifully designed and well engineered. Highly recommended.

5th stop – signing up for an email delivery service

This might not make much sense to you right now, but trust me. Email is the most effective way of promotion and marketing on the internet. To be able to use it fully you need to sign up for an email delivery service.

Such a service takes care of delivering emails to your customers or prospects. What I’m using, and what I advise you to use as well is MailChimp. Not only are they one of the leaders on the market but they also provide a free account – a perfect starting point.

To be honest, in my opinion, their website is one of the most user friendly websites on the internet. The number of exceptional training videos they provide is just incredible. Just go there, sign up for a free account and see for yourself.

6th stop – content is king (sorry for the cliché)

Once you have your website set up you need that mysterious quality content. Why do I call it mysterious? It seems like every day I stumble upon a post that tells me to produce quality content all the time. However, no one can explain what this quality content is exactly.

And you know what? I don’t have a clue too. The truth is that there’s no one-size-fits-all kind of a solution. It all depends on your niche, type of audience you’re attracting, your personal style of writing and so on. All of this means only one thing – quality content is not something that happens overnight, it’s something that evolves over the months or years of your blog’s existence. You need to keep producing what you consider being valuable and monitor the impact it has on your audience. Measure the response and you will be on the right path to improving your content.

And yes, every website needs good content. Especially when you’re in a niche market trying to kick-start your online business.

If you need some advice on how to get started check out these posts:

7th stop – traffic and promotion/marketing

If you build it they won’t come.

no traffic

…sorry to be the one to break this to you, but it’s true in the online world. It’s one of the most important things if you want to learn how to set up an online business.

If you want to attract some real traffic to your website then there are two main paths: the free path, and the paid path. The free path requires more time to see any results, while the paid path requires money to see any results.

There are many possible sources of traffic. In one of my posts I present a list of more than 9,200,000 blog traffic sources. Feel free to check it out.

If you want quick results you can start advertising your business online and get traffic within minutes. There is one thing to understand though – people essentially hate advertisements and sometimes it’s not easy to get pass this.

Google AdWords is probably the best place to begin your advertising career. But be careful, it’s not that easy to use as Google says it is. You need to learn the basics first if you don’t want to lose your shirt. Like for example: How Does This Little Money-Sucking Machine Work? or 3 Facts About Setting Up Your Google AdWords Campaign Which Google Is Not Telling You and 4 Common Mistakes People Make While Managing Their AdWords Campaigns.

8th stop – networking and being a part of a community

networking

Sitting in a closed room and speaking to no one probably won’t get you very far in terms of business. You need to go out there and be a part of a community.

What’s the easiest place to start? Join a forum within your niche. Browse some threads, ask questions, answer questions, participate in discussions… simply engage.

But wait, there’s more! Comment on blogs within your niche. Engage in twitter conversations. Join a LinkedIn group. Join a Flickr group. Join a Facebook group. Make some friends on StumbleUpon and YouTube. Just get out there and be visible.

Networking can be fun. But you need to know exactly what you’re doing. Finding out how to email important people might be a good idea.

9th stop – monetization

You’ve all been waiting for this, haven’t you? It’s what we’re here for.

There’s a number of ways to monetize a website. The most common ones are:

  • Selling ebooks or other digital content (like audios, videos, apps, etc.).
  • Charging for membership to a service or a VIP section of a website.
  • Selling in-depth online courses.
  • Running ads on the website (selling them individually or being a part of a larger ad network like BuySellAds or AdSense).
  • Offering consulting or freelancing services.
  • Offering speaking engagements on conferences.
  • Selling physical products (like books, t-shirts, posters, etc.)
  • Being an affiliate and selling other people’s products for a commission.

Selling your own products is often quoted as the most profitable approach. Unfortunately, it’s much more complicated than being an affiliate. Apart from the marketing side (by the way, did you know that you can learn marketing while sunbathing?) you also need to take care of the product creation and customer management side. Skills like copywriting and upselling come handy as well.

Being a super affiliate is usually seen as the holy grail of generating passive income. When in fact it requires much work to achieve any kind of results. So don’t get excited. Every path requires a big amount of work.

(To be frank, the desired passive income does not happen by itself unless you devote some serious time to working on it. “Working on passive income” … it barely makes sense, doesn’t it?)

10th stop – grow and improve

grow

Running an online business is a never-ending journey, and it starts right after you learn how to set up an online business and actually apply this knowledge. You need to be learning new things, improving your skills and growing your business constantly. If you’re not growing you’re dying.

If you want to improve anything about your website, first you need to learn how to use Google Analytics. Installing it on your website is not difficult, and Google provides some simple how to guides on how to get it done in no time.

But remember that not every metric is important, and not everything is worth tracking. One of the first steps to improvement is learning what is a conversion and what it means to your business.

The next step is doing some split testing. You can get started by creating some tests in a tool called Google Website Optimizer. This is not surprising but Google provides some great training videos here too.

One more thing that’s usually overlooked by many marketers – the importance of statistical significance of an A/B split test. Sounds fancy, but actually it’s not that difficult to grasp. Here’s a quick explanation: How to Check the Significance of an A/B Split Test.

This concludes this guide. As you can see there’s a lot of work to do if you want to learn how to set up an online business and be an overnight success… You shouldn’t get discouraged though. Just start by believing in yourself and you should be just about fine…

“Whether you think you can or you can’t either way you are right.” –Henry Ford

What’s your advice? Feel free to share your own ideas or experiences regarding setting up an online business.

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