The Studio/ Blogsite Studio https://blogsitestudio.com When you need a modern website Sun, 20 Oct 2019 19:53:41 -0700 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3 https://blogsitestudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/The-Studio-logo-final-150300-75x75.png The Studio/ Blogsite Studio https://blogsitestudio.com 32 32 Top 10 Web Accessibility Plugins and Tools to Make WordPress Inclusive https://blogsitestudio.com/top-10-web-accessibility-plugins-and-tools-to-make-wordpress-inclusive/ https://blogsitestudio.com/top-10-web-accessibility-plugins-and-tools-to-make-wordpress-inclusive/#respond Mon, 23 Sep 2019 17:00:16 +0000 https://blogsitestudio.com/?p=16711 Post By Mari Kane

Web Accessibility is not only good for the soul, it’s a boost for traffic! Here are 10 top tools and plugins to make your website accessible.

This post Top 10 Web Accessibility Plugins and Tools to Make WordPress Inclusive appeared first on BlogsiteStudio.com and may be reprinted ONLY with permission from Mari Kane.

Follow BlogsiteStudio.com on Twitter at @blogsitestudio and like Blogsite Studio on Facebook or contact her now!

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Post By Mari Kane

Most of use are lucky to see, hear, and move around the Internet the way our bodies are made to do. But for the 15% of people who have some kind of disability, the Internet can be a confusing place to navigate.

Web site owners and their designers and developers must make certain their websites are welcoming to anyone with physical challenges. Web accessibility is not only compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it’s a moral responsibility for sites to be inclusive for all human beings, period.

Web Accessibility is not only good for the soul, it’s a boost for traffic! With an accessible website, think of how many more people will find your products and services, and convert to customers.

Read More: Making Your WordPress Website Accessible is a Ramp to Higher Traffic

So, where do you start accessifying your website? What tools are needed?

First of all, if you have followed the basic web design best practices by faithfully completing all your meta data, using header tags properly, and using plain simple language, you are more than halfway toward accessibility nirvana.

For the rest of the work there are tools. Lots and lots of tools to whip your site into shape.

Here are 10 top accessibility plugins and tools to make your WordPress website more inclusive.

Accessibility-Ready Themes

Accessibility-Ready WordPress Themes
Search for “Accessibility” in the WordPress theme repository

If you are creating a new site or redesigning an old one, you might think about using an accessibility-ready theme. These will come designed for visibility and simplicity and built according to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0).

All Twenty something themes from WP are accessibility ready and the WP theme repository contains dozens of choices.

Look for the “accessibility-ready” tag when shopping for premium themes.

Online Scanners

If you are not planning a new build or redesign, get your site into a scanner to see what’s going on.

Developer Tools

Chrome Developer Tools Audit
Chrome Developer Tools Audit has a clean interface and it offers help with issues.

Available on any good browser, the Developer Tools audit tool is a good starter tool for checking your site’s accessibility, and more.

In Chrome Developer Tools, Audit will scan for:

  • Performance
  • Accessibility
  • Best Practices
  • SEO
  • Progressive Web App (PWA)

The color-coded report rates each area on a 1-100 scale and the details give technical explanations, Learn Mores, and tips for fixing issues.

WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool

WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool
Not the prettiest interface, but WAVE shows you the Errors, the Alerts and the Features.

WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool is a respected and widely-used web tool with forthright graphical presentation of a number of issues.

WAVE scans for:

  • Errors
  • Alerts
  • Features
  • Structural Elements
  • Html5 and ARIA
  • Contrast Errors

Go to the Details list and click on each issue icon and the issue is highlighted on the page. It’s a great way to take in all the elements on a page.

Power Mapper/SortSite

Power Mapper/SortSite report
So much to absorb in SortSite, even the guidelines you’re violating!

PowerMapper SortSite is a very powerful tool. More than just for checking accessibility, this program tells you everything wrong with your site!

SiteSort offers stylish reports on:

  • Errors
  • Accessibility
  • Compatibility
  • Search
  • Standards
  • Usability

Free 30-day trial. Perpetual licenses start at $149; $849 for developers, plus upgrades.

Screen Readers

Even if you are a sighted person, it helps to see things the way a blind person sees, more than to just to test your settings.

Accessibility – Mac

Accessibility for Mac
Accessibility settings in Mac

Built into Mac. In System Preferences click on the Accessibility icon. The menu offers settings for:

  • Zoom
  • VoiceOver
  • Zoom
  • Display
  • Speech
  • Discriptions
  • Captions

Tab through the page and listen to your web copy being read by a monotone voice. As a writer, that experience alone can be sobering!

Ease of Access – Windows

Ease of Access for Windows
Ease of Access settings in Windows

Built into Windows. Go to Settings and click on the Ease of Access icon. Settings include:

  • Narrator – Choice of 5 voices
  • Magnifier
  • High Contrast
  • Closed Captions
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Other Options

Ease of Access and Accessibility work similarly to create an overall accessible environment for web users.

WordPress Accessibility Plugins

If you want your site visitors to have accessibility options without the use of a screen reader, you need a WordPress plugin. That will give you an icon on the page to signal the visitor that your site has accessibility functions.

A plugin will not only help guide users in the navigation of your site, many also scan your site for issue related to accessibility. Getting both the user tool box and developers report in one plugin is the tricky part.

The following are the five most installed accessibility plugins that I auditioned in my own sites.

UserWay

UserWay accessibility plugin

Userway offers little to set up on the back end. Complete the form on the settings page and receive a code via email. For settings, go to Manage menu in the toolbox on front end. That’s where you can donate to the plugin or upgrade to allow customized settings.

Userway Free version settings include:

  • Change the button color
  • Change the button type
  • Change the button size
  • Change the button location
  • Change widget language
  • View the widget’s embed script

UserWay

Active Installations: 10,000+
WordPress.org Plugin Page
Plugin Homepage
5.0 rating based on 115 ratings

UserWay accessibility plugin settings

This is among the most turnkey of all accessibility plugins. And, it’s the only plugin in this group with a Read Page voiceover option. I really like it.

WP Accessibility

WP-Accessibility plugin menu
Look hard to find the accessibility tool for WP Accessibility

WP Accessibility is very deep in the settings and reference material, but without pre-sets, nothing starts off the bat.

WP Accessibility Dashboard Settings:

  • Skiplinks – lots
  • Toolbar settings – lots
  • Misc – lots
  • Remove Title Attributes
  • Color Contrast Tester
  • Support!
  • Monitoring – for many conditions
  • Reports – A VERY thorough report with links to edit, view, ignore, recheck.

WP Accessibility

Active Installations: 20,000+
WordPress.org Plugin Page
Plugin Homepage
5.0 rating based on 53 ratings

WP Accessibility report
An exhaustive report, JUST WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR!


The front page Tool box is not very pretty, and it seems to conflict with the Autoptimize plugin.

Even with Autoptimize disabled, only two options show up in the front page tool box: Toggle Contrast, and Toggle Font, which doesn’t work on this site. Try it.

While WP Accessibility is wimpy as a frontend accessibility tool, it’s ferocious as a reporting tool.

One Click

One Click accessibility plugin
One Click accessibility plugin

One Click has 3 pages of settings, one of which is in the Customizer. On the front page, the compact tool box offers one setting per tool.

One Click Dashboard Settings

  • General Settings – Mostly Enable/Disable options
  • Toolbar Settings – A plethora of settings relating to display.
  • Customization – linked to Customizer module, Accessibility Styles:
    Toolbar Icon, Position, Offset for Desk and Mobile, Toolbar background, Color, Focus Outline

One Click

Active Installations: 20,000+
WordPress.org Plugin Page
Plugin Homepage
4.5 rating based on 14 ratings

One Click accessibility plugin
One Click accessibility plugin toolbox

I found the enable/disable interface kind of confusing. The compact tool box is kind of small on the screen and it only offers one setting per tool.

This plugin also doesn’t work with Autoptimize plugin. Conflicted.

WP Accessibility Helper

WP Accessibility Helper toolbox
WP Accessibility Helper toolbox

WP Access Helper offers 5 pages of Dashboard settings mixed with loud promotions for the Pro version. It will scan Images and Links to create a chart of data, including ARIA labels. There, the Pro Version will fix your issues for you.

WP Accessibility Helper Settings

  • Accessibility – Mix of free settings and Pro promos. No Presets on settings
  • Global Settings – skip links, keyboard nav, dark theme, grey scale images, invert colors – with titles options
  • Widgets order – drag and drop
  • WAH DOM Scanner BETA
    – scans your web pages for WCAG errors.
  • ARIA and HTML5 – Controls HTML and Custom CSS
  • Attachments Control – charts attachments to reveal non-Alt Tags with links to view and edit.

WP Access Helper

Active Installations: 10,000+
WordPress.org Plugin Page
Plugin Homepage
5.0 rating based on 46 ratings

WP Accessibility Helper settings
WP Accessibility Helper settings

The Attachment Control page is very cool. Not as deep as WP Accessibilty, but easier on the eyes. I also like that the plugin allows the change of titles in the Tool box, so you can customize your message to visitors.

Accessibility Poetry

Accessibility Poetry toolbox
Accessibility Poetry toolbox

Accessibility Poetry works right out of box. Settings are enabled with pre-set options. Just activate it and on the front page an icon opens a large, sleek tool box.

Accessibility Poetry Settings

  • Focus
  • Links
  • Images
  • Font sizes
  • Buttons
  • Visibility
  • CSS

Accessibility Poetry

Active Installations: 5,000+
WordPress.org Plugin Page
Plugin Homepage
4.5 rating based on 46 ratings

Accessibility Poetry settings
Accessibility Poetry settings

Accessibility Poetry is definitely the easiest plugin to install and just go.

More Accessibility Plugins and Tools

I know there are more accessibility tools and plugins out there, but hey, they can’t all fit in one post!

Don’t feel left out! If you have a relevant plugin to promote, please add its details to the comments below where my readers can find them.

Learn More at WordCamp Vancouver – September 28, 2019

In related news, I will be speaking at the 2019 Vancouver WordCamp on September 28, on this very topic of website accessibility!

In tandem with Kelli Wise, who will speak about “Keeping Your Content Accessible,” my seminar is called “Digital Wheelchair Ramps: Tools for Making your Website ADA Compliant,” and will be a demonstration of these online tools and plugins.

If you’ve never been to a WordCamp, it’s the best deal in WordPress education money can buy!

Tickets are only $25 (CAD) and include coffee, lunch, a WordCamp Vancouver 2019 tote bag, an invitation to the after party, and a full day of networking and sessions on all things WordPress.

WordCamp Vancouver, September 28, will be held at UBC Robson Square, at 800 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC. Tickets for are now on sale so get ’em while they’re hot!

See you at Vancouver WordCamp!

This post Top 10 Web Accessibility Plugins and Tools to Make WordPress Inclusive appeared first on BlogsiteStudio.com and may be reprinted ONLY with permission from Mari Kane.

Follow BlogsiteStudio.com on Twitter at @blogsitestudio and like Blogsite Studio on Facebook or contact her now!

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Making Your WordPress Website Accessible is a Ramp to Higher Traffic https://blogsitestudio.com/making-your-wordpress-website-accessible-is-a-ramp-to-higher-traffic/ https://blogsitestudio.com/making-your-wordpress-website-accessible-is-a-ramp-to-higher-traffic/#respond Tue, 20 Aug 2019 17:00:12 +0000 https://blogsitestudio.com/?p=16582 Post By Mari Kane

When you make your website accessible, it gets more traffic, which translates into more sales. Web accessibility is just good business.

This post Making Your WordPress Website Accessible is a Ramp to Higher Traffic appeared first on BlogsiteStudio.com and may be reprinted ONLY with permission from Mari Kane.

Follow BlogsiteStudio.com on Twitter at @blogsitestudio and like Blogsite Studio on Facebook or contact her now!

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Post By Mari Kane

For years, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was applied to physical spaces, such as requiring publicly available buildings to have wheelchair ramps and wheelchair accessible bathrooms.

Soon, advocates for the disabled began to sue businesses that failed to provide ADA accommodations for noncompliance.

Because Title lll of ADA requires effective communication pertaining to accessibly electronic information technology, that same litigious impulse has reached The Internet, and businesses with non-compliant websites are feeling the pinch.

Businesses Under Attack

In a May 14 webinar, called ADA Web Compliance, presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP. and sponsored by WineAmerica, we learned how American business are being targeted in Title lll lawsuits.

They told us that in 2018, 1564 ADA on the Web-related lawsuits were brought in New York state alone, 576 in Florida.

California, which offers statuary damages to plaintiffs in addition to inductive relief, attorneys fees, and costs, had only 10 cases.

ADA Web Compliance is Good for Business

There’s a small but possible chance that having a non-ADA compliant website will expose your business to litigation. 

But lawsuits aside, there is a larger case for making your website accessible to the 1 billion people on earth who have some kind of disability.

Sales!

When you make your website accessible, it gets more traffic and more potential customers, which translates into more sales. When you think about its benefits, you see that accessibility is just good business.

How to Make your Website Accessible and ADA compliant

Disabled people come in all forms. They might have reduced or no vision, hearing, or motor skills, or they have photosensitive seizures, and cognitive impairment.

For the most part, achieving ADA Web Compliance is the same as following the best practices for web design in general. If you have been using best practices, you have already done most of the work towards accessibility.

Much of the techniques have been available all this time but for one reason or another, web designers and users have been slow to take advantage.

That inertia must end. Start by using this tool to scan your site for accessibility issues.

Be Keyboard Friendly

For people with mobility issues, it can be hard to use the touchpad or a mouse to move through a site. And because assistive technologies such as browsers rely on keyboard-only navigation, using the keyboard is their lifeline.

This means all the elements on a web page should be accessible by pressing the tab button. For the Tab button to work this way your elements – links, buttons, and form controls – must have keyboard “focus.”

In WordPress you can use a plugin to help.

Make Content Easily Accessible

For the disabled, issues with content can arise if the content is dynamic. In other words, if it can change without the page reloading. Screen readers don’t always catch the changes.

The suggested way to work with dynamic content is to use ARIA landmarks. ARIA landmarks are attributes you can add to elements in your page to define areas like the main content or a navigation region. By tagging dynamic content as a ‘live region,’ screen readers will better understand the content as it changes.

  • Write out all acronyms and put the abbreviation in brackets.
  • Make your links contextual by using words that mean something (as opposed to “click here”) in your anchor text.
  • In general, create content with the disabled in mind, even if it means ditching cleverness to be clear as sunshine.

Add Alt Text to All Images

If someone cannot see your pictures they might as well not exist. Help the screen reader announce your images by:

  • Giving images keyword-rich titles
  • Putting that same title – or a longer one – in the Alt-Text field
  • Filling in the image’s Description field with even more information, like caption info, photo credit, site URL, etc.

Completely filling out the fields in Media Manager is advisable not just for accessibility, but it also helps search spiders learn about your content, which is good for your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Pick Colors Purposefully

Even sighted people have a hard time discerning colors. Can you image what it’s like for the vision impaired?

When you choose color combinations, opt for the strongest contrast possible.

  • Light type on dark background, dark type on a light field
  • Red and Green are the colors of protanopia blindness and should be avoided, especially as links.
  • For graphs, add patterns as well as color.

To play with colors and receive a contrast ratio score, try this Color Contrast Checker from webaim.org

Use Headers to Structure Content Correctly

Nobody wants to read a long chunk of text. By breaking your content into pieces with contextual headers, your text can be more easily scanned and read by everyone.

Header tags work the same way as an outline

H1 – Title
—–H2 – Major Concept
———-H3 – Minor Concept
—————H4 – More Minor Concept
—–H2 – Major Concept
———-H3 – Minor Concept

Never use header tags to format your text! That’s what the Cascading Stylesheet (css.php) does.

Read More: 3 REASONS TO LOVE USING HEADER TAGS IN WORDPRESS

Design Website Accessible Forms

To make your forms accessible, be sure they are clearly labeled outside of each field. Placeholder text is not visible enough. Be sure to include clearly-written instructions and information around the form so there is no misinterpretation. Mark required field with asterisks, “Required,” or simply eliminate optional fields.

Use Tables only for Tabular Data

Tables may be handy for a lot of uses, but they should only be used for tabular data. Don’t use tables for lists just because they look pretty. That will just confuse a screen reader about the content.

Enable Resizable Text

Sometimes a visitor will enlarge a page to read it better. But if the designer has specified the text size in absolute units, such as pixels, it won’t work. Better to use relative sizes to scale the text. In pixels, body text should be equivalent to 16-18 px.

Avoid Automatic Media and Navigation

There was a time when auto-playing music, sliders and carousels were all the rage because they were easy to create. Now we know how difficult they can be in terms of accessibility. Best to keep images static.

Add Captions to Video

For the hearing challenged, your stunning videos are just moving pictures. By adding captions, the meaning of your videos will be understood by everyone.

Some Web Resources

To learn more about ADA Web Compliance, please visit these sites:


WordCamp Vancouver 2019

In related news, I will be speaking at the 2019 Vancouver WordCamp, September 28, on the topic of website accessibility!

In tandem with Kelli Wise, who will speak about “Keeping Your Content Accessible,” my seminar is called “Digital Wheelchair Ramps: Tools for Making your Website ADA Compliant,” and will be a demonstration of the many online tools and plugins one can use to give their sites an accessible edge.

If you’ve never been to a WordCamp, it’s the best deal in WordPress education money can buy.

Tickets are only $25 (CAD) and include coffee, lunch, a WordCamp Vancouver 2019 tote bag, an invitation to the after party, and a full day of networking and sessions on all things WordPress.

WordCamp Vancouver, September 28, will be held at UBC Robson Square, at 800 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC. Tickets are now on sale so get ’em while they’re hot!

See you at Vancouver WordCamp!

This post Making Your WordPress Website Accessible is a Ramp to Higher Traffic appeared first on BlogsiteStudio.com and may be reprinted ONLY with permission from Mari Kane.

Follow BlogsiteStudio.com on Twitter at @blogsitestudio and like Blogsite Studio on Facebook or contact her now!

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WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg is Also Named for Bebo Valdes https://blogsitestudio.com/wordpress-5-0-gutenberg-named-for-bebo-valdes/ https://blogsitestudio.com/wordpress-5-0-gutenberg-named-for-bebo-valdes/#comments Tue, 29 Jan 2019 18:00:24 +0000 https://blogsitestudio.com/?p=16008 Post By Mari Kane

Amid all the hubbub of the WordPress 5.0 release, did anyone notice that this milestone version was named for a jazz musician who is not Gutenberg?

This post WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg is Also Named for Bebo Valdes appeared first on BlogsiteStudio.com and may be reprinted ONLY with permission from Mari Kane.

Follow BlogsiteStudio.com on Twitter at @blogsitestudio and like Blogsite Studio on Facebook or contact her now!

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Post By Mari Kane

Amid all the hubbub of the WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg release, did anyone happen to notice that this milestone version was named for a jazz musician?

I had assumed that Gutenberg would be the official name since everyone knows what a virtuoso that guy was on the acoustic printing press.

But it wasn’t until I stumbled upon the WordPress blog that I discovered the version was indeed named for a jazz artist, and that person is…

…drumroll…

Bebo Valdés!

Wait, who?

I know! I had to ask myself and my musicological hubby – who the heck is Bebo Valdés and why haven’t we heard of him?

It also made me wonder if Matt Mullenweg is drunk-choosing jazz names again.

By the way, this is one of my first posts composed completely in Gutenberg! 
I figured learning about a new jazz man was a perfect time to learn more about blocks.

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I soon realized that Bebo is the father of Chucho Valdés, who we saw at the Vancouver Jazz Fest in 2009. 

(At the midnight jam the host mistakenly introduced him as Chuchi – ooops!)

But, his dad, Bebo? Not so famous.

Born in October 1918 in Quivican, Cuba, Bebo Valdés was a young piano prodigy active in the Havana nightclub scene in the 1940s and 50s where he was a well-regarded performer, composer, arranger, and musical director. He toured the US and Europe during that time, but soon after the revolution, he moved to Stockholm, Sweden.

His career was overshadowed by his son, Chucho, who became internationally renowned through his work in the band Irakere. Although Bebo had continued to compose, it wasn’t until Paquito D’Rivera drew him back into the studio in the 1990s that he performed again on Todo Ritmo, his first release since 1959. 

Bebo continued recording 16 more albums and appears in the documentary film, Calle 54 (2000), alongside ChuchoGato BarbieriEliane EliasChico O’Farrill, and Tito Puente

His last recording, with his son, Bebo y Chucho Valdés: Juntos para Siempre (Together Forever 2008), won the Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards in 2010.

Bebo died of Alzheimer’s-related pneumonia in 2013 at the ripe age of 94.

Although he wasn’t a household name, Bebo Valdes was certainly an early mover and shaker in the Cuban music business. Not as seminal to jazz as 5.0 is to WordPress, but big.

Placing images in a column is better for mobile than inline.

Clearly, the choice of who and when to jazz-name a new version is a wildly random decision at Automattic. 

I’m still rooting for Dizzy Gillespie.

On the other hand, naming Gutenberg’s version for a fairly unfamiliar jazz artist is kinda apropos given that both of them require a bit of work to understand.

Or, in the case of Gutenberg, a LOT of work.

The trouble with Gutenberg

The purpose of Gutenberg, and what makes it seminal, is how it works as a page builder by allowing users to create blocks. Each block may have its own formatting or element or widget, which is great.

What I dislike about these blocks is that every paragraph becomes a block, automatically and without an easy override.

So if you are, like me, composing offline and pasting blog-formatted text into the Gutenberg editor, my one or two-sentence paragraphs get automatically split from the rest.

Every time you hit the Return key, you get a new block, so remember to do a soft return (Shift>Return) to avoid breaking the paragraph.

In general, this may not be a problem, but if you decide to reformat a whole page, it can be a hassle!

Columns

The best thing about Gutenberg is how it gives us an easy way to create columns.

Finally, we don’t have to upload and use an additional plugin to make columns!

Lists in a Paragraph block in a Column look good with soft returns behind each item. (right)

Not so good when your list has hard returns.

Hard returns make the list break out into a series of blocks.

If you have a column list in broken 1-line blocks, forget about putting a color background behind the whole list

In that case, the Color Settings won’t activate as a group (right) and you have to set backgrounds for each listing

BILLBOARD’S ESSENTIAL BEBO VALDES DISCS

Cubano!
Todo Ritmo
Cole Españo
Bebo Rides Again
Lagrimas Negras
Juntos Para Siempre
Chico y Rita
Live at the Village Vanguard

Born

1918 in Quivican, Cuba

Died

March 22, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden

Tables

Gutenberg also makes tables with two styles, regular, and (below) striped .

Bebo’s Grammy Awards

2009
Juntos Para Siempre

Best Latin Jazz Album


2005

Bebo de Cuba

Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album


2002Arte del Sabor

Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album

Widgets

To get more fancy elements, you need to install a plugin to add more functionality. I wrote about 18 Gutenberg Plugins to Expand Your WordPress Layouts and from that list I chose Stackable to create the following blocks.

Here are a few cool things to do with Stackable:

Features

Stackable
Stackable

Comprehensive collection of page builder blocks for Gutenberg Editor

Block Options
Block Options

A plugin to help you better manage your editor blocks.

Editor Blocks
Editor Blocks

A unique collection of Gutenberg blocks for your site.

Call to Action

Call To Action!

This is a Stackable block in your Gutenberg editor!

Comments

Latest Posts

Video

I have not found a block widget to enlarge the video frame from the YouTube link.

To place the videos on this page I used not the Video or YouTube blocks, which render a short 560×315 image, but instead I pulled the embed video code from YouTube and manually increased the size, and placed it in a Custom HTML block.

In this 2008 video, father and son play the haunting Tres Palabras on dueling pianos.

WordPress 5.0 is alright

In the months of much pearl clutching about Gutenberg as part of the WordPress core it felt a little like pre-Y2K panic. No one was certain of the widespread result once the change came.

Would Gutenberg break the Internet? Would themes and plugins be compatible? Would the world end?

Of course the world didn’t end, although people have re-discovered climate change, but that’s another danger.

In the short time Gutenberg has been released I’ve seen some positive effects.

In one case, the WordPress 5.0 update helped a client’s site work better with Gutenberg block than it did as a plugin.

It was a magazine-style redesign I attempted in October without realizing the site had been built on a Ngix server, not Apache. All my attempts to use a page builder failed, so we waited for the site to be moved by the server manager, which it wasn’t.

Last week, I updated the site to Version 5.3.0, laid out a new page in Gutenberg, and voila! The home page is now displaying unique featured posts the way it’s supposed to.

Thank you, Gutenberg

To be sure, Gutenberg requires a vigorous learning curve to master, but I do believe there is a payoff, especially when it comes to making your posts more mobile friendly.

Now is a good time to train your clients on how to use Gutenberg. If you need help, call me.

Meanwhile tell me about your experience with Gutenberg, if you use it. I’d love to hear what other users are finding.

This post WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg is Also Named for Bebo Valdes appeared first on BlogsiteStudio.com and may be reprinted ONLY with permission from Mari Kane.

Follow BlogsiteStudio.com on Twitter at @blogsitestudio and like Blogsite Studio on Facebook or contact her now!

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A Look Back at Blogsite Studio’s Top Posts of 2018 https://blogsitestudio.com/a-look-back-at-blogsite-studios-top-posts-of-2018/ https://blogsitestudio.com/a-look-back-at-blogsite-studios-top-posts-of-2018/#respond Fri, 04 Jan 2019 18:00:02 +0000 https://blogsitestudio.com/?p=15959 Post By Mari Kane

Looking back on our top-viewed stories of 2018, it's clear that Gutenberg loomed large in users minds as did the GDPR. If you missed what we published, here's a list of Blogsite Studio's top 10 posts of 2018.

This post A Look Back at Blogsite Studio’s Top Posts of 2018 appeared first on BlogsiteStudio.com and may be reprinted ONLY with permission from Mari Kane.

Follow BlogsiteStudio.com on Twitter at @blogsitestudio and like Blogsite Studio on Facebook or contact her now!

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Post By Mari Kane

2018 may well be remembered as the year to forget given all the climate change-induced disasters, US political chaos, and the death of the queen of soul, but there were also lots of calamities online that deserve a hearty good riddance.

On the social media front, Facebook had a particularly bad year, starting with their admission that they allowed Cambridge Analytica to snatch user data and use it for political propaganda, a blunder which forced founder Mark Zukerberg to explain himself in Congressional hearings. That was fun to watch, but it was only the beginning. Facebook later announced that a bug released the data of 29,000,000 Facebook users, and later another bug allowed app developers access to up 6.8 million users and 1,500 apps. And yet, people like me still use Facebook, go figure.

Google announced they found a bug in their social media platform that revealed data on at least a half million users, prompting them to shutter Google + , which is ok since no one really uses Google + anymore, including moi. I wonder if their 5 billion dollar fine from the EU for anti-trust violations had something to do with their decision.

And, goodbye Stumbleupon, we hardly used ya.

The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect and the run up to the deadline brought back memories of Y2K. Users and developers went into overdrive to add statements of privacy policies and data protection mechanisms to their sites and magically not so many have heard a peep from the EU about violations. Clearly, it's a matter of time.

On the upside, in WordPressland, users were kept on the edge waiting for the launch of the super-hyped version 5.0 update – Gutenberg or Bebo Valdés – which finally happened on December 6th. And the Internet sky did not fall! Two security updates later, and with options to opt-out of the new editor, users are using the famous "blocks" and finding their sites are not crashing, as was predicted and feared. Bullet dodged!

Blogsite Studio's Top Posts of 2018

Looking back on our top-viewed stories of 2018, it's clear that Gutenberg (or Valdés) loomed large in users minds as did the GDPR. If you missed what we published, here's a list of our top 10 posts of 2018. 

#10

November 28, 2018

If you love the planet and fear climate change – stop travel blogging!

The greatest irony about travel blogging is that transportation-induced climate change is now threatening the destinations people want to visit.

#9

September11, 2018

L’Shana Tova Guide to Cleaning Up Your WordPress Website

With summer officially over and a new year (according to the Judaic calendar) upon us, I think this is an excellent time to be cleaning up your WordPress website. It shouldn’t take too long and your site will be lighter and faster than before.

#8

September26, 2018

WordCamp Vancouver on Track for October 13, 2018

WordCamp Vancouver is happening at a good time, coming as it does in advance of the release of WordPress Version 5 – Gutenberg – the biggest innovation to WordPress since the development of nested menus.

#7

April 18, 2018

Starbucks Coffee Shop Trespassers and the Gig Economy

This Starbucks incident was clearly an example of racial discrimination, but just because the shop was wrong doesn't mean the inactions of those guys was correct. In this gig economy, should anyone seriously expect to occupy the physical space of the real economy without dropping a few bucks?

#6

January 30, 2018

What To Do After Launching a New Blog to Make It Fly

You could not have picked a worse time to start blogging because the Internet is literally drowning in content, all of it vying for reader's eyeballs. Here are eight things you can do when launching a new blog on the Internet.

#5

January 17, 2018

Start 2018 By Learning How To Post in WordPress

If you are a writer or communications worker, it's only a matter of time before you are required to use WordPress. After all, WordPress powers roughly 25% of current websites, and its functions and features are mimicked by most other blogging platforms. Isn't it about time you learned how to post in WordPress?

#4

June 6, 2018

How to Create Cinemagraphs for WordPress Websites

Cinemagraphs are still images with spots of movement and the effect is quite stimulating. You’re seeing a photo until you notice an intriguing bit of motion that makes you look twice. The basics of creating a cinemagraph are pretty simple and involve these steps.

#3

October 23, 2018

Got Blocks? 18 Gutenberg Plugins to Expand Your WordPress Layouts

Gutenberg has not even shipped with the WordPress 5.0 core, yet developers are already creating Gutenberg plugins to help you work better with blocks.

#2

April 9, 2018

How to Use Gutenberg on the Eve of WordPress 5.0

Last week WordPress updated to version 4.9.5 and I don’t know how many minor versions they will release before hitting the big 5.0, but it’s obviously right around the corner. At this precipitous moment in WordPress history, I decided to take another tour of this famously dreaded update known as Gutenberg.

#1

July 3, 2018

Free GDPR Compliance Plugins to Satisfy European Privacy Regulations

The global shift in privacy policy has spawned a cottage industry of tools for WordPress websites. Here are some Free GDPR Compliance Plugins to help you comply.

Happy New Year!

What was your favorite story of 2018 and why? Please tell us in the comments below. 

Otherwise, good job on making it to 2019!  May we all reduce our fossil-fuel emissions this year.

Cheers,
-Mari

This post A Look Back at Blogsite Studio’s Top Posts of 2018 appeared first on BlogsiteStudio.com and may be reprinted ONLY with permission from Mari Kane.

Follow BlogsiteStudio.com on Twitter at @blogsitestudio and like Blogsite Studio on Facebook or contact her now!

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If you love the planet and fear climate change – stop travel blogging! https://blogsitestudio.com/if-you-love-the-planet-and-fear-climate-change-stop-travel-blogging/ https://blogsitestudio.com/if-you-love-the-planet-and-fear-climate-change-stop-travel-blogging/#comments Wed, 28 Nov 2018 18:00:44 +0000 https://blogsitestudio.com/?p=15911 Post By Mari Kane

The greatest irony about travel blogging is that transportation-induced climate change is now threatening the destinations people want to visit.

This post If you love the planet and fear climate change – stop travel blogging! appeared first on BlogsiteStudio.com and may be reprinted ONLY with permission from Mari Kane.

Follow BlogsiteStudio.com on Twitter at @blogsitestudio and like Blogsite Studio on Facebook or contact her now!

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Post By Mari Kane

Better yet, stop traveling altogether.

I know it sounds like heresy, in a world where travel is the new sex, but at the risk of being a party pooper I just have to say this.

When you travel – particularly by air – you are hastening the demise of the planet.

Does that surprise you?

In the past few weeks it seems the world has woken up to the perils of climate change.

In a new report released on Black Friday, the Fourth National Climate Assessment released by the Federal government said: 

“Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities. The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States and are projected to intensify in the future — but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur.”

greenhouse gases chart

It’s those darn greenhouse gas emissions again! You know, the emissions that come from planes, trains and automobiles – virtually any gasoline-powered vehicle.

But nothing burns fossil fuels like airplanes.

According to this calculator at MyClimate.org, a round trip from Vancouver to Paris will emit 3 tons of CO2 per person. Flying Business Class increases the footprint to 5.7 tons of CO2, and 8.9 tons from First Class.

Back in Economy, to envision what 3 tons of CO2 looks like, imagine your plane leaving a carbon fart the size of a McMansion in your honor.

Multiply that plane fart by the number of people on your flight. Multiply that by 3.6 billion per year and you get the gist of how damaging all our vacations are to the environment.

Damn that science! It always ruins our unsustainable fun!

Truth Sucks

Top things you can do to stop climate change compared with what you learned about it in school. From IOP Science

Believe me, I feel extremely conflicted about calling out air travel as a contributor to climate change.

I write about travel. I serve on the board of the BC Travel Writers Association and I know a lot of people in the travel industry complex. As an Air Force brat I was practically born on an airplane.

But clearly, this is no time to be an airplane enthusiast.

When five percent of carbon and other emissions released into the atmosphere come from airplanes, there’s no way to excuse away the damage air travel is doing to the atmosphere.

According to this IOP Science study, taking two round-trip overseas flights contributes more pollution than driving your car for a year.

Think about that. Two long flights exceeds driving for a year.

Sure, we all need to take flights at some point in our lives. If your job doesn’t force you to fly, your family will.

Business and family are certainly legitimate reasons to travel, although both can be reduced by visiting via online video.

The worst reason to travel is tourism

A hundred years ago, travel was a daringly adventurous pursuit, available to the well heeled and done mostly by train and ship.

It wouldn’t be a travel blog without pictures of the back of a woman in a hat or someone raising their arms in triumph – or both.

Today, tourists board airplanes like they’re hopping a bus, it’s that common.

Worse, tourists are either oblivious or in denial of the environmental consequences of their wanderings.

I hate to say that tourism poses an existential threat to humanity, but yeah. That’s kinda how it is.

If pressed, tourists will use the cultural exposure card to rationalize their travel, as if opening their minds is worth putting 3 tons of carbon in the air per trip.

But look at the state of the world, now lurching severely to the Right. Has the cultural understanding from tourism really led to peace on Earth? I don’t think so.

Let’s face it, tourists travel for selfish reasons. They’re bored and want to be entertained. They’re tired and want to relax on a beach. They’re insecure and want to show off their wealth and good taste.

Or they have social media followings and need to stuff their feeds.

Which brings me to travel blogging

In the previous century, travel writers sold their stories to magazines, got paid for it and went home.

In this century, we have online technology which allows us to post videos, blogs, and images everywhere and endlessly.

The Internet has spawned a whole new form of travel media that allows people to monetize their travels through advertising and promotional considerations.

Travel bloggers are motivated to travel not by their need to express themselves by telling a story, but by a desire to see the world and get paid for it. Always, it’s travel first.

They solicit freebies from hotels, airlines, auto manufacturers and attractions in exchange for exposure to their hundreds of thousands of followers, and sometimes they get them. Sometimes not, as in one laughable case in Ireland, the backlash of which caused the hotel owner to ban all bloggers. 

The goal of travel blogging is for bloggers to use their “influence” among their following to entice businesses to underwrite their travel, thereby allowing them to travel yet more.

And, to pollute the planet more.

Travel bloggers, like their print media brethren, are using the power of jealousy and envy to encourage others to travel more, feeding the eight trillion dollar global tourism industry and accelerating climate change through the use of planes, trains, buses and automobiles.

But that’s not all!

Anyone can start travel blogging

Some travel bloggers make a good living off their advertisers and affiliates and position themselves as inspirations to everyone with a regular jobs.

As a side hustle, these successful bloggers often start programs to coach people on how to do what they do, and this coaching is perhaps the most insidious part of this business.

Not only are some travel bloggers wasting the world’s atmosphere for their own selfish pursuits, they are encouraging more people to quit their jobs and travel the world, just like them, thereby creating a self-perpetuating cycle of climate destruction.

It’s like a drug addict encouraging drug use to children, except that the travel drug affects the whole world.

Worse yet, many of those newly minted bloggers will continue the cycle of preaching the joys of travel blogging through their own coaching platforms. It’s a kind of travel media Ponzi scheme. 

The result is yet more people jetting around the world in the pursuit of that perfect Instagram photo.

A study last year by Expedia revealed that two-thirds of travellers aged 18-34 booked trips based on how they thought a location would play on their Instagram account.

There is no time in the history of the world that is more wrong to start travel blogging than right now.

Climate change is real and we are already experiencing the effects through super storms, firenados, rising seawater, endless drought and wildlife extinction. If the situation gets worse, we’ll see more wars, less food safety, fewer clean water sources, and a serious threat to the world’s economy.

Sure, you can travel all you want now – so you can look forward to one day telling your dehydrated, malnourished grandchildren what truffles once tasted like back in 2018.

According to the IOP Science study, the top thing individuals can do to stop climate change – after procreating less – is to reduce our use of fossil-fuels.

Not only must we cut back our travel, we must encourage others to skip trips as well.

A recent article in Wired magazine postulates how individual action expands into real social change:

“We don’t recommend taking personal actions like limiting plane rides, eating less meat, or investing in solar energy because all of these small tweaks will build up to enough carbon savings (though it could help). We do so because people taking action in their personal lives is actually one of the best ways to get to a society that implements the policy-level change that is truly needed. Research on social behavior suggests lifestyle change can build momentum for systemic change…People don’t spring into action just because they see smoke; they spring into action because they see others rushing in with water. The same principle applies to personal actions on climate change.”

So even if you think cancelling your exotic vacation won’t stop climate change, consider that when enough people cut back their air travel they will send a signal to governments and the travel industrial complex to make systemic changes in favour of the environment.

Right now, travel bloggers are doing the exact opposite by encouraging people to travel more.

Changing from Home

You might say, we know you travel, Mari. Shouldn’t change start with you?

“There ain’t nothin’ sweeter than ridin’ the rails.”

It’s true, I do fly, but for the past three years my flights have been all about family and business. 

We haven’t left North America since we went to Israel in 2016, impelled to see hubby’s 87-year old uncle once last time.

We visit my 95-year old mom twice a year in Southern California and Michigan, yet recently we’ve incorporated a somewhat more sustainable method of travel in those trips – the humble train.

Oh, and we flew to a wedding in Winnipeg. Hey, weddings happen.

But I’m not jetting off to any more WordCamps. I believe that to spare the air, conferences should hire local speakers.

Nor do I attend Wine Bloggers Conferences anymore. I can get drunk at home.

Any other travel we take in 2019 will be driving within our beautiful province of British Columbia, 99.9% of which we have not yet seen.

So that’s my travel schedule and I’m still looking for ways to cut back.

Desperate Times

The greatest irony about travel blogging is that climate change – induced by transportation-related carbon emissions – is now threatening the destinations people want to visit. The Fourth National Climate Assessment states:

“Outdoor recreation, tourist economies, and quality of life are reliant on benefits provided by our natural environment that will be degraded by the impacts of climate change in many ways.”

Anyone who cares about life on earth should search their soul, study the science, and cancel any air travel plans that are not completely necessary to their jobs or families. By skipping that next exotic vacation, we can help to spare the air for future generations.

Travel bloggers can always find other things to blog about, but living on planet Earth is a one-time opportunity. Let’s not screw it up.

Agree? Disagree? Tell me in the comments.

This post If you love the planet and fear climate change – stop travel blogging! appeared first on BlogsiteStudio.com and may be reprinted ONLY with permission from Mari Kane.

Follow BlogsiteStudio.com on Twitter at @blogsitestudio and like Blogsite Studio on Facebook or contact her now!

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Got Blocks? 18 Gutenberg Plugins to Expand Your WordPress Layouts https://blogsitestudio.com/got-blocks-18-gutenberg-plugins-to-expand-your-wordpress-layouts/ https://blogsitestudio.com/got-blocks-18-gutenberg-plugins-to-expand-your-wordpress-layouts/#comments Tue, 23 Oct 2018 17:00:06 +0000 https://blogsitestudio.com/?p=15820 Post By Mari Kane

Gutenberg has not even shipped with the WordPress 5.0 core, yet developers are already creating Gutenberg plugins to help you work better with blocks.

This post Got Blocks? 18 Gutenberg Plugins to Expand Your WordPress Layouts appeared first on BlogsiteStudio.com and may be reprinted ONLY with permission from Mari Kane.

Follow BlogsiteStudio.com on Twitter at @blogsitestudio and like Blogsite Studio on Facebook or contact her now!

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Post By Mari Kane

When it’s released in the core, WordPress’ new page builder, Gutenberg, will either become the Mustang or the Edsel of CMS software. People will either love it or hate it.

Already, lines are being drawn between those who can’t wait for Gutenberg to be a part of WordPress version 5.0 and those who plan to install a plugin to retain the use of the “Classic Editor” we all know and love.

I’m not sure which camp I’m going to fall into when that glorious day comes and we’re all using blocks to build pages, but if my current experience becomes my norm, I will be installing the Classic Editor as well.

I have tried to use Gutenberg on several text pages and I’ll admit that I spent more time on them than I would have on either Elementor or the Classic Editor.

The biggest issue I have with Gutenberg is that it splits every line that ends with a paragraph mark into a new block. So if you format text the way the Internet gods want you to - short, one or two sentence paragraphs for better readability - then you will end up with a thousand blocks of content, each requiring its own treatment.

READ MORE:  HOW TO USE GUTENBERG ON THE EVE OF WORDPRESS 5.0

The other thing is how very little can be done with Gutenberg on its own. You can’t create a grid of posts, for instance, and that is the first thing any web designer or user wants to do with Gutenberg. After all, what’s the use of being all about blocks when you can’t arrange them the way you want.

Gutenberg Plugins

Gutenberg has not even shipped with the core,  yet developers are already creating Gutenberg plugins to help you work with blocks in bigger and better ways.

Here are the most appreciated Gutenberg helper plugins available in the WordPress repository, all FREE for the taking.

advanced gutenberg

Advanced Gutenberg adds the missing blocks and configuration you need to build professional websites. Take the control of the new Gutenberg editor with user edition profile configuration and 20+ new blocks and options.

By JoomUnited
1,000+ Active Installations

Atomic Blocks

Atomic Blocks is a collection of content blocks for the new Gutenberg block editor. Blocks are chunks of content such as paragraphs, images, galleries, columns, and more. Building blocks give you more control to quickly create and launch any kind of site you want!

By Atomic Blocks
3,000+ Active Installations

disable-gutenberg

This plugin disables the new Gutenberg Editor and replaces it with the Classic Editor. You can disable Gutenberg completely, or selectively disable for posts, pages, roles, post types, and theme templates. Plus you can hide the Gutenberg nag, menu item, and more!

By Jeff Starr
9,000+ Active Installations

stackable

Stackable is a comprehensive collection of page builder blocks for Gutenberg. Stackable gives you the capability to build awesome front pages and landing pages by providing more functionality and design options for your site. Stackable blocks look great, and different blocks can be mixed together and customized to suit your design needs.

By Gambit Technologies
1,000+ Active Installations

kadence

With the Kadence Row Layout Block you can better control columns for different screen sizes plus it gives you full row editing tools like padding, backgrounds, overlays with gradients, vertical align and much more.

By Kadence Themes
800+ Active Installations

Editor Blocks

A unique collection of Gutenberg blocks.

By Editor Blocks
Active Installations: 700+

Maps Block

If you're using Gutenberg, this is the map block for you! Install, active, add to content. Done! No nonsense, no unneeded settings. Simple and clear in its function – as any Gutenberg block should be.

By Web Factory
400+ Active Installations

Gutenberg Custom Fields

Gutenberg Custom Fields allows you to control the content of the Gutenberg edit screen by creating pre-filled templates. Navigate to the “GCF” admin page, create a new template, select a post type and add fields as you wish. The Gutenberg Editor will be pre-filled with the corresponding post type’s template.

By Riad Benguella
300+ Active Installations

Advanced Gutenberg Blocks

Advanced Gutenberg Blocks bring awesome blocks for the new WordPress editor, for a real WYSIWYG experience.
For now, only have a few blocks but we will soon add a lot more!

By maximebj
400+ Active Installations

woocommerce-gutenberg-1200x675

A custom products block that features your WooCommerce products. Products featured can be filtered by categories, sale status, or a variety of other fields, and you can even make a custom list of hand-picked products to display. Products block is the easiest and most flexible way to feature your products on posts and pages!

By Automattic
40,000+ Active Installations

gutenberg manager

Gutenberg Manager allows you to enable/disable the editor where you want. Why would you want to disable the editor on pages? Maybe you would like to use a page builder like Visual Composer or Elementor instead! Gutenberg Editor will be probably included in the next great release of WordPress (5.0).

By unCommons Team
500+ Active Installations

Ghostkit

A blocks collection and powerful extensions for Gutenberg block editor with which you will gain more control over content, just like with popular page builders. Just start with responsive Grid block and you can’t stop building the page.

By nK
40+ Active Installations

CoBlocks

CoBlocks is a collection of page builder Gutenberg blocks.

  • Accordion Block
  • Alert Block
  • Author Block
  • Dynamic HR Block
  • Click to Tweet Block
  • Gif Block
  • GitHub Gist Block
  • Pricing Table Block
  • Social Sharing Block
  • Highlight Block

By ThemeBeans
600+ Active Installations

Custom Fields Gutenberg

Gutenberg no longer displays Custom Fields that are attached to posts. This plugin restores pre-Gutenberg functionality, and displays the Custom Fields meta box on all Gutenberg-enabled pages.

By Jeff Starr
200+ Active Installations

Bokez

An awesome collection of blocks for the new Gutenberg Editor.

  • Video Popup Block (NEW)
  • Pricing Table Block
  • Posts Grid Block
  • Testimonial Block (Multiple Testomonials)
  • Accordion / FAQ Block (Multiple Accordions)
  • Profile Block
  • Cover Block
  • Share Icons Block
  • Button Block
  • Notification Block
  • Blockquote Block
  • Divider Block
  • Progress Bar Block
  • Separator With Heading Block

By Bokez
60+ Active Installations

Caxton makes it easy to layout your pages in any grid configuration, and then add blocks within your layout. Caxton layouts support nesting of rows, row backgrounds, and is fully responsive. Caxton also contains a growing library of blocks to enhance your layouts, including Posts Grid, Slider, Button, Hero, and Social Icons.

By Pootlepress
100+ Active Installations

Block Options

Block Options feature-packed options below each block settings tab helps you better manage your editor blocks. Its main goal is to let you have better content to serve your visitors on every devices and pages.

By BlockOptions
50+ Active Installations

contact form 7 blocks

Allows you to add your Contact Form 7 forms right in the Gutenberg editor.

By GitHub
100+ Active Installations

All aboard the Gutenberg train

Whether you appreciate Gutenberg or prefer to stick with your old page builders, the Gutenberg train will be steaming into the station - possibly in November - and there ain't nothing you can do about it.

Hopefully, these Gutenberg plugins will enhance your experience with the biggest change to WordPress since the 5-minute install. Good luck!

So tell me, have you tried Gutenberg? What do you think of it? Most importantly, is it making your life easier? Gimme your comments below!

Learn WordPress Now.2

This post Got Blocks? 18 Gutenberg Plugins to Expand Your WordPress Layouts appeared first on BlogsiteStudio.com and may be reprinted ONLY with permission from Mari Kane.

Follow BlogsiteStudio.com on Twitter at @blogsitestudio and like Blogsite Studio on Facebook or contact her now!

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