Button It Up version 1.2 released

With the release of my first public WordPress plugin last month I received encouraging nods and tweets from the community, as well as some constructive feedback. One user requested a very specific set of changes:


Thanks for making this plugin! After reading your article a while ago, I went and wrote this exact plugin but luckily found yours before I submitted it to the repository. No need for more than one of these.

I checked out the plugin and discovered one bug and a few ideas 🙂

The Bug

  • You’re styling the div#wp-content-media-buttons rather than a#content-add_media. That leads to ALL media buttons (like the Gravity forms icon) to show up in one weird integrated “button.” See here: Weird button with Gravity Forms.
  • If you change the element you’re styling to the link instead, you’ll also catch the Quick Press’s “Insert Media” button which is currently unstyled. It’s tempting to style ALL links in that row, but I’d shy away from that on the chance that other plugins style their own buttons.

Some Tweaks

  1. Style-wise, I wish the :hover and :active states more closely matched WordPress’s defaults.
  2. To get really nit-picky, the WordPress admin button’s have a border-radius of 11px.
  3. To make things a little more WordPress friendly, I’d use wp_enqueue_styles() hooked to the admin_enqueue_scripts hook to register the stylesheet.

So thanks again for making the plugin. If you incorporate these changes, I’ll definitely be adding it to all my client sites.

All of these tweaks made sense, so I’ve released version 1.2 with the above changes included. Download Button It Up 1.2 from the WordPress Plugin Repository to try it out, or from within the plugins section of the WordPress dashboard.

I hope these changes make the plugin more useful, usable and even desirable to the WordPress community. I look forward to more feedback.


Button It Up

A better WordPress Upload/Insert button

In response to the positive feedback from my last post about making the WordPress Upload/Insert button look more clickable, I’ve written my first WordPress plugin that’s open to the public. I’m calling it Button It Up*.

All it does, for now, is change the style of the upload insert button to look like an actual button.

Other than creating consistency throughout the UI, the main reason for this tweak is to make the button more find-able for first-time WordPress users. Hopefully this tweak, or a better version of it, will make it into WordPress core.

Until then, you can use this tiny plugin to make the WordPress admin more usable for your clients.

You can download Button It Up directly from the WordPress plugin directory.

Let me know if you guys find any bugs or anything.

*The name “Button It Up” was most definitely influenced by the podcast Back To Work with Merlin Mann & Dan Benjamin

Actions do more than words.


Use words to source actions.

As an independent contractor/freelancer I’ve realized that selling plays a critical role in business. Like it or not, it’s a necessity, but it’s not my strength.

In an effort to learn more about sales I signed up for a sales-related email newsletter filled with quotes, inspiration and advice on sales productivity. Today’s quote applies to business as much as life in general.

One’s feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.
Florence Nightingale (1820–1910), English pioneer of modern nursing

What if I created instead of tweeted the next time something inspired me?

I want to post more content on my blog, so I’ve created a new rule for myself. Before I post something on twitter I ask the following question:

Could this work as a blog post?

This idea started by accident when I installed a Twitter plugin on my website and it started creating posts from everything I tweeted. After several posts were out there in the open, I realized that I had broken through a mental block and transformed my publishing cycle.

My old publishing cycle

  1. Get an idea.
  2. Save a draft.
  3. Let it sit for a week, month… year.
  4. Review list of saved drafts every once in a while.
  5. Edit a draft.
  6. Save more drafts, pushing old saved drafts farther down the list.
  7. Edit a draft.
  8. Publish something not even saved as a draft.

New publishing cycle

  1. Get an idea.
  2. Publish it.
  3. Feel the pressure of something being exposed to the public.
  4. Reopen the editor, start tweaking things, adding more photos and editing text.

My goal isn’t to create a life-changing epic piece of literature every time a write a blog post. This new method is more of a personal development exercise. I’m still trying to find my “writing voice”, as they say. Part of that process involves simply writing more.

So lately, every time I feel a tweet coming on, I start writing about it. I get in a flow, and even if it’s not blowing your mind right now, it feels good.

Old-School Dark Color Palette: Sportomatic


Cruising through designspiration.net I found an old poster of a Porsche 911 “Sportomatic” at the Nurburgring in 1967.

I was drawn to the green monochrome photo and the overall color scheme. The green and orange reminded me of old video game cartridge labels.


The Porsche poster’s dark background and muted colors are a theme I’ve been noticing a lot lately. This increased awareness started after I switched the color scheme of my code editor to a more aesthetically pleasing and much easier to read format.

Coda color scheme

The New Color Palette: Sportomatic

I decided it was time to give in to the Universe and document this theme with a new color palette. I give you, Sportomatic:

To download this color palette head over to Sportomatic’s page on ColorLovers.com. They provide every format you could possibly want. Feel free to use it on any project, personal or commercial. I’d love to hear about what you do with it and I would be glad to link to your work.

Sportomatic in use

Here is a pattern I created on ColorLovers to see the new color palette in action:

Retro pattern and color scheme

How does social media impact SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization

…and yes, social media does affect SEO. To better understand how SEO works, let’s look at the story of Billy Joe Awesome and his Pappy’s Comb.

Pappy’s Comb

Billy Joe Awesome needs a new comb to stroke his cherished mullet. The houndstooth-patterned mullet comb that Pappy gave him was lost in what his family members now call the “Squirrel Incident”.

Hoping to replace Pappy’s comb and regain his family’s respect, Billy Joe goes to Google.com and types “houndstooth mullet comb” in the search box. Moments later, Google magically presents Billy Joe with a list of pages about houndstooth mullet combs.

Delighted, Billy Joe Awesome clicks the first link, finds the perfect comb, pays for it via PayPal, and restores his reputation as the only guy in town with a mullet sheen brought on by the expertly-milled teeth of a houndstooth mullet comb.

The End.

What can we learn from Billy Joe Awesome?

This story leaves me asking a few questions:

  1. How did Google decide which web pages would show up in the list?
  2. How did the first website get to the top of the list?
  3. Where can I get my hands on a houndstooth mullet comb?

The process of answering the first two questions is called SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Let’s look at these questions one at a time.

Question 1: How does Google decide which web pages would show up in the list?

Answer: As soon as Billy Joe Awesome typed “houndstooth mullet comb” into the search box, Google went to work behind the scenes looking for pages on the internet with the phrase “houndstooth mullet comb”. The pages with the the best content and code make the list.

In other words, these pages are the most relevant to the search phrase.

Question 2: How does the first website get to the top of a search result?

Answer: After finding the most relevant pages, Google decides which page is the most important, via an instantaneous and always-evolving series of algorithmic calculations. That doesn’t mean much to Billy Joe Awesome — he just wants to know where to get his coveted comb. The importance of a page within a search engine’s system is determined by how many other relevant pages link to that page.

Question 3: Where can I get my hands on a houndstooth mullet comb?

Sadly, the houndstooth mullet comb does not yet exist. When it does I will link to it here.

Relevance and Importance

Among the hundreds of variables a search engine examines when deciding who to list at the top of a search results page, the two main things considered are Relevance and Importance.

For Billy Joe Awesome, Relevance to him means finding a website with houndstooth mullet combs similar to the one he lost. In the same way, Relevance for search engines is measured by how the content on your page (text, images, links, rich media) relates to the keywords being searched for.

While it is “important” to work the knots out of Billy Joe Awesome’s mullet before Sunday’s big family reunion, Importance within the context of SEO is measured by how many other relevant web pages give links to your page. The best links come from other important pages and contain relevant text in the middle of relevant content.

How does Social Media affect SEO?

Social Media helps build the importance of a given web page by generating organic relevant links from social networks to your website. Every time someone shares a link from your site, Google sees that as a “vote” for your website.

The more interaction between your website and social sites the more links generated, meaning your site is more likely to show up on search results pages.

Google has also started integrating Twitter into some search results, giving yet another reason to join the tweeting masses.
When creating content for your website consider these questions:

  1. How relevant is the content on your page to what a potential customer might use in a search box?
  2. How important is your page compared to your competitors’ relevant pages?
  3. Have you shared your website’s content on popular social websites?
  4. Could Billy Joe Awesome find your website if he was looking for your products or services?
  5. Should you try to corner the houndstooth mullet comb market?

Super Secret SEO knowledge

The exact formula used for deciding who shows up where in search results is only known by the search engine creators themselves. Here are some of the other known factors taken into consideration by search engines like Google when analyzing a website.

  • Is your website’s code properly written?
  • How fast does your website load?
  • How close are you to the zip code of the person searching?

All of these things, and more, can affect your performance in search results.

Mission Impossible?

Improving your website’s listing on search results pages may seem like an impossible task. However, a good Search Engine Optimizer can help you beat your competition by keeping a well-trained eye on your website’s search engine performance.

* I originally wrote this piece for SM Agency’s blog to help clients understand some of the services they offered. The blog has been retired, so I republished the article here.