The Latest WordPress 4.6 Update and How to Get it

WordPress 4.6 Update

There is a reason that WordPress powers so much of the Internet. They are never content with the status quo. The WordPress 4.6 update has arrived and with it there are many improvements, and a couple of things to look out for. Read up on what to expect and watch a tutorial from our technical support on how to get the latest updates for both WordPress and Equity.

There are many under the hood updates for the latest iteration of WordPress, but here are a couple of important updates to look at.

System Fonts

Instead of loading up extra font files and slowing down your experience, WordPress will now work with your native system fonts. This may make your dashboard look a little different depending on the operating system that you are working on, but the over all speed increase will be beneficial.

Link Validation

Say goodbye to broken links due to simple typos. In visual mode, WordPress will now automatically check to see if your added links are valid. If it cannot validate a link, the text on hover will turn red, instead of the traditional blue.

These and the other improvements made by WordPress are great, but you will need to update Equity to enjoy these updates. Here is a quick tutorial from Allen that walks you through the upgrade process.

 

Give Your Office Some Love with IMPress Agents

IMPress Agents Plugin

The IMPress suite of plugins by IDX Broker includes IMPress for IDX Broker, tying IDX to WordPress, IMPress Listings to create individual featured listing pages, and the IMPress Agents plugin. Quickly and easily setup roster and contact pages for everyone in your real estate office with this third plugin.

What Does it Do?

IMPress Agents

IMPress Agents provides you with a full employee directory that is ideal for real estate teams and offices. Add managers or other team members without taking up your IDX Broker office spaces. It also allows you to import agents from your IDX Broker account, so no manual entry is required.

You can also add your individual agent pages to your navigation, instead of just the main roster page available through the IMPress for IDX Broker plugin.

A custom post type is available for employees with post meta fields for contact info. Included templates display the contact info, or these can be overridden in your theme.

IMPress Agents adds taxonomies for offices and job types to show employees by location and/or job title, or additional custom terms. Display an image for an office, job title, or a custom taxonomy term.

Get the Most Out Of IMPress Agents

While you can save some time importing agent bio information from IDX Broker, the real power of this plugin comes into play when you combine it with Posts 2 Posts and IMPress Listings. The combined power of these plugins allows you to create connections and link your agents to the listings that you’ve brought in with IMPress Listings. Then you have full employee pages with IDX listings right on the bio page.

Give Your Office Some Love

Get in and give this plugin a shot. We’re sure that once you get the hang of it, you’ll love the additional functionality for your WordPress website. Your agents will surely thank you for the additional exposure that they will get to reach potential clients.

WP Listings Becomes IMPress Listings

You’ve got to have a really good reason to change the name of a successful WordPress plugin. A really good reason.

With WP Listings, version 2.0 gave us that reason, IDX integration.

We’ve been working with the IDX Broker WordPress team to take WordPress for real estate to a whole new level. This “task force” has been working diligently to advance our plugins, Equity framework and themes.

This joint collaboration produced new versions of WP Listings and the IDX Broker WordPress plugin. These new versions form a family of plugins that can be used individually, but gain additional functionality when used together.

Think of Ironman, Captain America, and Thor. They are strong on their own, but become invincible when working together as The Avengers.

Just as The Avengers have a cool name, we wanted something similar for our plugins. Hence, the name change of WP Listings and the IDX Broker WordPress Plugin.

Introducing the IMPress Family

IMPress is new brand name for all Agent Evolution and IDX Broker WordPress plugins.

The latest version of WP Listings is now called IMPress Listings.

The IDX Broker WordPress Plugin is now called IMPress by IDX Broker.

Much simpler of a naming convention that hints at the fact that they all work together.

This is an Upgrade to WP Listings

Before you ask, this is a standard upgrade to WP Listings 1.2.3. Update the plugin as you would any other plugin (through the WordPress admin panel).

Second, you don’t need IDX Broker to use IMPress Listings. The functionality WP Listings users have grown to love can still be used on it’s own. Should you want to import listings from your MLS, you will need an IDX Broker account and the IMPress for IDX Broker plugin.

Finally, all premium templates will work with IMPress Listings as they did with WP Listings.

What’s New in IMPress Listings 2.0?

The Biggest Thing: Listing Import from IDX Broker

No more typing in listing information that you have already added to your MLS. With IMPress Listings and IMPress for IDX Broker, you can automatically import basic listing details.

Want even more listing content imported? Switch to our Equity framework for your WordPress website. A WordPress site running Equity, IMPress Listings and IMPress for IDX Broker can import full listing details.

Automatic Map Insertion

No more embedding a map into your listing pages. Enter the property’s latitude and longitude and a map is automatically added to the listing page.

Using IMPress for IDX Broker? Longitude and latitude is entered for you.

Filtering

Find listings by taxonomy using filters in the WordPress admin.

More Property Fields

One of the most requested additions. We’ve added more property fields including country, half baths, garage, plus many others.

Property Display

Don’t want to show the price on a listing? Check a box and the price is hidden. That simple.

Enhanced Theme Compatibility

While we would love for you to use one of our Equity themes with IMPress Listings, we have made it easier to work with your favorite WordPress themes. The plugin now allows custom page wrappers to better fit your theme.

Contact Forms

Save time by adding a contact form to all listings instead of one at a time.

Flair for Developers

A lot of developer goodies came in WordPress 4.4, including API support. Developers looking to use the latest WordPress tools will love IMPress Listings.

We have built in WordPress API support for the listing post type. This will allow skilled developers to create their own applications around listing content.

There is also support for taxonomy term featured images. Assign an image for active properties, solds, featured listings, neighborhoods, or an other taxonomy you should create.

 

Like we said earlier, it takes a really good reason to change a plugin name. We think those are a few good reasons.

Enjoy IMPress Listings!

 

IMPress Listings Changelog:

= 2.0 =

  • Added: Listing importer for IDX Broker. Import your listings into WordPress! Import additional photos and data with Equity.
  • Added: listing_meta shortcode to output arbitrary listing meta data. e.g use listing_meta key=”price” to output price.
  • Added: Listing meta fields for lat/long, country, half bath, custom disclaimer, and others.
  • Added: Auto-map feature for listings with lat/long available. Option available to turn this off on single listings.
  • Added: Global option for default form shortcode.
  • Added: Option for a custom HTML wrapper to allow better compatibility with more themes.
  • Added: Support for WP core REST API. Listings and default taxonomy endpoints added. GET and POST supported. GET method returns supported listing meta data, filterable with wp_listings_allowed_api_meta_keys
  • Added: Listings admin menu filtering for default taxonomies: Status, Property Types, Locations
  • Added: Listings added to “At a Glance” Dashboard widget.
  • Added: Filter for additional details meta boxes using wp_listings_additional_details_meta_boxes
  • Added: Filter for imported listing photo gallery markup using wp_listings_imported_image_markup (Equity only)
  • Added: Support for featured images for listing taxonomy terms using term meta (WP 4.4+ required)
  • Added: Checkbox to hide price on individual listings and optionally enter price placeholder.
  • Added: Admin notice class.
  • Added: Support for List or Excerpt view in Listings Admin.
  • Added: Support for new heading hierarchy, post type and taxonomy labels in WP 4.4.
  • Updated: Font Awesome version to 4.5.0
  • Fix: Support taxonomy template overrides.
  • Fix: Support shortcodes in video field.

Feel free to contribute to this project on Github.

Feeling A Bit Bloated?

Website bloat happens to the best of sites. Bells and whistles get added to the point that pages load painfully slow.

In the case of WordPress, this usually happens through the addition of plugins. Each plugin adds overhead that increases load time. This is why plugins should be chosen carefully to ensure they truly add value to your site.

One thing you may not realize is even after uninstalling, some plugins impact your website’s performance.

Database Bloat

In an effort to improve site performance on AgentEvolution.com, we decided to dig into the MySQL database that runs the site. What we found was quite surprising.

As a little background, the database running our site was first created in mid-2009. Since then, we have changed themes a half dozen times, and have installed and removed countless plugins.

What we didn’t realize was how much was being left behind by each plugin. Plugins that we installed, played with for a day and subsequently removed, had left behind database records. This ranged from a couple of entries to a whopping 500 from a single plugin.

These abandoned records had bloated our wp_options table to well over 5800 records. To put this into perspective, once we had done a thorough manual cleaning of that table, we ended up with only 1250 records. That’s an 80% reduction of a vital database table.

Needless to say, AgentEvolution.com site performance is better than it has been in years.

Preventing Database Bloat

Database bloat is much better to avoid than to fix. Cleaning a database is delicate work than should only be done be an expert.

The best way to prevent database bloat is to test new plugins on a staging site. This way, only plugins you deal worth keeping at installed on your production site.

The easiest way to have a staging site is to use a host like WP Engine. With WP Engine, you can create a staging site within minutes. From there, add and remove plugins until you find ones you want to install on your main site. If your production site changes over time, create a new staging area.

stagingarea

Remedy Database Bloat

Getting rid of database bloat is not a simple task. There are some plugins that will help, but our experience with them has been spotty. They do tend to be easier to use and safer than digging into the database and manually deleting entries.

Before we share these database cleanup plugins, we must stress the importance of backing up your site. It is not uncommon for data that you need to be scrubbed by a plugin. Should that happen, a backup would be your saving grace. We use the backup and restore system built into our WP Engine account. It has saved us more than once.

WP-Sweep
This plugin does a great job of removing unused, orphaned and duplicate data using native WordPress functions. It can also optimize your database tables.

Running this tool will help flush spam comments, draft revisions and transient options.

We have seen it drop good content on our site, so backup and thoroughly check your site after a cleaning.

WP-Optimize
Probably the best known database clean-up tool for WordPress, this tool has been trusted by developers for years. Similar to WP-Sweep, it simply performs tasks a different way.

Whether WP-Optimize or WP-Sweep is best for your site will depend on your host.

Transient Cleaner
This cleaner does one thing and does it well. It flushes expired content from your database. A good tool if your host doesn’t have one already (WP Engine has their own system for this).

A Little Prevention With Some Remedy

Regardless of your site’s current state, it will benefit from a good prevention strategy and regular cleanup.

Set-up a staging site for playing with new plugins and themes. Also install a plugin like WP-Sweep to flush unneeded content from your database. And always backup!

IMPress Live+: Lead Capture Forms Using Gravity Forms

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r213ukzl7s]

With the Gravity Forms plugin, you can create lead capture forms that automatically send documents via email.

In this video, we built a lead capture form on a community page. When the form is submitted, an email is sent with a link to a community report. The same process can be used to promote buyer’s guide, relocation guides or any other value-add document that can be stored on your WordPress website.

Creating a Mobile Responsive Video Using Jetpack and Equity

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqG22uUtONU]

 

Let’s have some fun by combining Jetpack shortcodes and Equity shortcodes to create a mobile responsive YouTube video. I know, sounds crazy but it is really very easy to do.

First you’ll use the Jetpack shortcode embeds that we discussed in a previous blog post. The Jetpack YouTube shortcode makes embedding a video super simple.

Once you have the video embedded on your WordPress page, you will wrap it with the Flex Video shortcode built into Equity.

That is all you have to do. You now have a YouTube video on your site that will resize itself based on the size of the screen. Pretty sweet!

Smush.it and Smush.it Good!

Digital photos have gotten huge over time. Cameras are spitting out images well over 5 megabytes in size. Even smartphone cameras are producing massive file sizes.

At the same time, website trends are to display large, full width images. Our own themes like Must See and Picture Perfect are prime examples of WordPress themes that use big photos in the layout.

This combination is creating the perfect storm that can easily result in a slow-loading, bloated website.

You must optimize the photos to shrink their size and weight as much as possible without producing a low quality image.

Most of this should be done with either desktop software or mobile apps, but you may need a bit more help to optimize the image properly. That is where Smush.it comes in.

Smush.itsmushitmanual is a free plugin that automatically optimizes images on your WordPress website.

Granted you do need to do the initial optimization on your own. Uploading an 8 megabyte image and expecting Smush.it to work some magic won’t work, but if you upload a half a megabyte file, it will trim it down quite nicely.

smushitYou can also use it to optimize individual images already in your WordPress media library with a single click or all images in your library using a Bulk Smush.it feature.

Great news for long time Smush.it fans. The plugin has been taken over by WPMUdev. Having that talented group managing the plugin means it has a bright future ahead.

For those considering our WordPress Website package, Smush.it has been added to the plugin suite. It will be installed automatically with the launch of your new website.

Getting Crazy With Jetpack Shortcode Embeds

It is no secret that we love Jetpack. This one plugin adds so much to a WordPress website.

For those not familiar with Jetpack, it is a free plugin created by Automattic. Automattic is the company behind WordPress.com. Jetpack provides many of the best features in WordPress.com to WordPress.org websites.

Some of our favorite features are the social share controls and photo gallery options.

Another valuable feature are the Shortcode Embeds. These shortcodes allow you to add all sorts of media from the Internet’s most popular websites.

By adding simple shortcodes, you can embed photos, video, audio, slideshows, maps, social media posts and more onto any page of your website. The possibilities are nearly endless.

We’re having a bit of fun here, but it shows all of the ways you can use this cool feature.

Vine Video

[vine url=”https://vine.co/v/OOH99jhxe51″]

Facebook Post

[facebook url=”https://www.facebook.com/mashable/posts/10152902209239705″]

 

Soundcloud Audio

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/95549021″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

 

Twitter Timeline

[twitter-timeline id=528242426545057795 username=agentevolution]

Do You Tweet, Facebook and Instagram More Than Blog?

Most real estate agents are not bloggers. They may try because they see the benefits of blogging, but it just isn’t in them.

On the other hand, a lot of real estate agents are active on social media. They tweet, share on Facebook and post pictures on Instagram.

Is this you? Are you a social media savant who can’t muster a blog post to save your life? If so, we’ve got a tool to share with you.

WordPress Social Stream

You share on social media for potential clients to get to know your expertise and personality. But what if those potential clients aren’t on social media or at least not on every site that you are?

With the WordPress Social Stream plugin, you can pull all of your social activity into your WordPress website. Then, simply add the stream to a page and you know have one place for clients to see all of your online content.

This plugin works with all of the major social platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr and more. You can even add RSS feeds from other sites you may blog on.

For only $16 and 30 minutes of set-up, this plugin will add a lot of value to your website.

Manage Your Content 3 Times Faster

Anyone who has had the task of updating content on multiple pages in WordPress knows that it can be a slow process. It entails navigating back and forth from the “All Pages” page to the individual pages for editing. That means loading 2 pages for every edit. Frustratingly slow at times.

jumppagescreenThankfully, a new, FREE plugin has been released that makes content management much quicker. That plugin is called JumpPage.

JumpPage adds 2 elements to your page and post editing screens in the WordPress admin. The first element is a navigation at top that exactly matches your site’s menus. The second is a sidebar dropdown listing all posts or pages in your site.

No longer do you need to bounce back to the list of all pages to get to the next page to be edited. Simply choose the page from JumpPage and go directly there.

Now, you can spend more time writing and less time waiting for pages to load.