Overview of VCC

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working on updating this with links and more info about the “why” of the items

Tools used:

Zoom – got it for just one month. May have biweekly meetings on another platform like Meet or Teams. There is a coupon, so a year would be $120

Gmail/Google – along with the obvious, it’s used by the wordpress site to send email. Helpful since I can see issues with things like bounced emails. Since there are limits that a busy wordpress site will run into, may have to make a change. Another issue is that youtube takes 24+ hours to enable live streaming permissions. Fortunately I discovered that 36 hours before the live event.

Vector Grove – source of vector clip art. I got a year subscription during last year’s black friday special, was about $20 via https://stacksocial.com/. Very well worth it, have used the art on various projects. Imported it into Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo (both were on sale for $25 each, now they are $50)

Linkagogo this is the ultimate bookmark manager. I love love love this, every feature I could imagine is implemented. When I did suggest a major feature, the developer had it working in a couple of weeks. Sadly it never took off the way others had, and is basically on maintenance mode. Once a week it emails me my bookmarks so that if linkagogo disappears, most I could lose is a week’s worth of data.

Streak CRM – while I was using hubspot, this new CRM is great. Since it’s a single user, it’s free. Works totally within gmail. “snippets” are great for form emails. It also makes mail merge very easy. And unlimited email tracking so I know if I’m just shouting into the void or merely being ignored.

Namecheap Shared Hosting – VCC is on the first/cheapest plan. Lots of good tools in CPanel, if you are new to dealing with hosting worth checking out. AWStats is good for seeing site visitors

WordPress (and Bitnami) – while learning WP and testing plugins it’s possible to screw things up quite badly. Bitnami allows us to run WP on the desktop, and have one directory that can be backed up. I found one plugin that made WP totally inaccessible when activated. Was quick to just close bitnami, and copy the backup into the live directory. 2 minutes and I was back up. Would have been hours on the hosted site.

WordPress Plugins

BuddyBoss Platform – this is how we have the community features, groups, forums etc. This is a fork of buddypress, is well supported by the buddyboss company. It really should be paired with the Buddyboss theme, but I can’t yet justify the cost. Since 10 sites are about $330 yearly cost, if a group of 5 of us went in on it, a split of $66 would be reasonable.

BuddyX Theme – VCC is using the free paid version. Yes, there are formatting limitations that may are be solved with the paid version, but given the choice I would probably go with buddyboss theme, just because it’s the same company as the platform. – update – decent Black Friday sale on wbcom convinced me to buy it. Sorta not sure yet if it was worth it. Did have a header variation that I’m now using. Mainly did it to show and get support.

Conference Scheduler – best plugin I could find for posting the schedule. Will make a page for it. Free version was good for this first event, but there may be issues with multiple events. I had a bit of trouble wrapping my head around the logic of sessions, but that was me not the plugin. I hope Shane Warner will join us for a talk.

Theme My Login – wordpress login is kinda jarring, as it does not match the site. This fixes that. It’s free, and they sell extensions. Am considering the mailchimp one and the social login one. Not having social logins is annoying to me as a user.

BP Redirect – depending on user role, it redirects to a page. Funny thing, since I always log in as admin, I forgot that regular users see the “what’s up” page when they log in. Troubleshooting something else reminded me to add the zoom link to that page. Plugin is free from a company that makes a lot of commercial Buddypress plugins.

Countdown Builder – was free, recently updated, and pretty enough to use

WP Meta and Date Remover – theme did not allow me to disable the meta info. While there are a few plugins to do this, this one is being kept up to date. (as of November 2020)

Editor’s Kit – this does a lot, main use for me is making blocks (text) visible or not depending on if someone is logged into the site. So the Zoom link was only displayed if the person was logged in. I had another plugin that required the text block to be within it, switched because Editor’s Kit was cleaner. Both plugins do NOT work with Conference Scheduler.

Caldera Forms – compared to others, this seemed to do the most without having to pay for the pro version. Not sure how reliable it is. Easy to export the info. shallow learning curve

AddToAny Share Buttons – seeing the site https://www.snoball.events/ and getting their demo inspired me to install this. Snoball service starts at $5K. Need to also use:

SEOPress – does a lot to add things that improve SEO. Seems to be the hot new thing to use. Main reason I got it was to set up the site for sharing on Facebook and Twitter. Able to add an image that is not visible on the page, and custom text. Need I say that it’s the free version in use?

WP Mail SMTP – using the free version. This allows another email service to be used, so the built in wordpress email can be bypassed. VCC is using the gmail account to send out mail. This may be an issue in the future as gmail’s limits are reached.

W3 Total Cache – this is popular, figured it could help. Am not using any premium features, looks like it would help add a CDN, which in addition to speed could help if hosting goes down. But that would cost. Major issue is that it caused a crash when I tried to delete a user, might also be related to the interaction with Buddyboss.

Updraft Plus – backup program. Good free version. Hope to never need it. Has a paid migrator option.

There’s a few other plugins in use but these ones above are the main ones

more plugins:

WordPress Users & WooCommerce Customers Import Export(BASIC) – used to export user list so that I can email. Using the free version

Atomic Blocks – It adds more formatting possibilities. Using the “profile box” on the speaker’s page. Possibly using the “accordion” to hide and display transcripts. They were just bought out so it’s now a different company/name

CoBlocks – I may be using this, can’t remember. It adds more formatting possibilities. Possibly using the “accordion” to hide and display transcripts.

Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg – I may be using this, can’t remember. It adds more formatting possibilities. Possibly using the “accordion” to hide and display transcripts. From the company that makes the “Astra” theme used by over 1M sites, but was temporarily banned by WordPress for scuzzy business practices.

Child Theme Configurator – best practice is to use a child theme before messing with the guts of wordpress. I ended up only using plug-ins so this was not necessary.

Loginizer – helps you fight against bruteforce attack by blocking login for the IP after it reaches maximum retries allowed. You can blacklist or whitelist IPs for login using Loginizer. I had to change the settings to make it a bit less strict after I blanked out on the site password, which brings me to:

Keepass – saves all my passwords. Works a lot better when you remember to enter them in this. Datafile is encrypted, so I keep it on my Google Drive so it can be accessed anywhere. Lastpass is a good free web based password service. I prefer keepass because a company won’t be able to screw with it in the future.

Sitekit by Google – get insights into visitors

Facebook Pixel – advertising tracking. I did spend $20 on a facebook ad for the November 2020 event. ($10 was a credit) – only resulted in 8 clicks. Will make a group for marketing.

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