10/18/2018

Modifying Text Labels on Wild Apricot Form Fields

Wild Apricot has a terrific system to manage website content, integrated with various membership management, event and ecommerce forms and workflows. In certain situations, it may be necessary to modify a form field label on one or more built-in Wild Apricot forms. These forms have hard-coded field labels as part of the various system pages maintained in Wild Apricot. It is possible to add other gadgets including content to a system page, but it is not easily possible to modify the content, formatting, placement or design of any fields.

One common suggestion is to use theme overrides to fix this problem, but at NewPath, we don't take kindly to theme overrides. They are not trivial  to create and are reserved only for specialized programmers and theme designers. Theme overrides are best for bespoke themes that require pixel-perfect placement of design elements, but for simple label changes and layout changes in system pages, we recommend jQuery.

jQuery is a code library already used by Wild Apricot and loaded by default on every Wild Apricot website. It is a really powerful set of JavaScript functions that can modify any part of a web page, on the fly as soon as a web page loads. 

The following code changes the labels on the form behind the "Send Message" button on a Wild Apricot member profile. In order to change the field labels (in the green boxes) we will modify the Email Member system page.

Email member system page

1. Add a Custom HTML gadget anywhere on the page

Custom html gadget

 

2. Select the Custom HTML gadget and click the Edit code button and copy and paste the code below into the editor. Click Save.

<script type="text/javascript">

jq$(document).ready(function(){
$( ".fieldBody h4" ).text( "Send Referral" );
$("#idMessageSubjectContainer .mandatoryLabel").text ("Subject of Referral");
$("#idBodyContainer .mandatoryLabel").text ("Referral Information (include type of referral, contact information, and any other important information)");
$("#idReplyNameContainer .mandatoryLabel").text ("Name of Referral");
$("#idReplyEmailContainer .mandatoryLabel").text ("Email Address of Referral");
});
</script>

Jquery code for email members

3. The field labels should instantly change. You can now Save the edited system page with the jQuery code snippet. If the labels did not change, check that you copied and pasted the code correctly into the Custom HTML gadget.

Changed email members system page
Using this technique it is possible to modify any hard-coded piece of text in any system page that is not easily accessible through the website page editor. One of the ideas we are tossing around is to create an easy to install code library that will allow easy customization of all labels and support mutli-lingual for Wild Apricot.

Note that the functionality of the underlying forms does not change in any way at all. Different labels may create alternative ways of thinking about the various functions. Similarly with this function the event registration, member signup and renewal, donations, store and just about all other parts of Wild Apricot can be modified.

10/17/2018

11 Steps to Membership Management Success - Planning Your Database I

Staff sitting around a table deciding on database
Planning your membership database helps you pull together your data to create one source of the truth about your contacts and members.

Step 1

Now that you’ve gotten set up and familiar with Wild Apricot in Step 0, you’re ready to start planning how you’ll set up and manage your membership database.

In these next three articles in this series, you will complete Step 1, which will help you:

  • understand how and where your information about contacts and members is organized
  • understand membership bundles and when they can be used
  • make decisions about archiving and cleaning up your data

Your database plan will help you create your master import file, which will contain all the information you will be adding or migrating into your membership management system. The database plan and related considerations are key to the process of defining your database and help work toward full membership management system implementation.

We’ve broken Step 1 into three parts, to give you time to think through and carry out this critical first step in the process.

Let’s start by understanding what your organization’s data looks like now. 

What’s the current state of your organization’s database?

From the wide range of organizations we’ve worked with at NewPath Consulting, we have found a small to medium-sized organization’s data is usually “organic” in nature. That’s a nice way of saying it has evolved and passed through many hands. It is also possibly quite disorganized, potentially lacking important pieces of information. In short, it’s probably useful for people—but not for computers.

So answering the question about what your database looks like now involves doing some digging and housekeeping.

  • Do you know where all of your data about members and contacts resides? Can you easily collect, understand and use this information?
  • Do you already have your data stored in a database system, or is it spread across multiple systems or storage methods?

Sometimes when volunteers manage a database, they make it useful for themselves, but not easily accessible for your members or your systems. When volunteers change, the integrity and accuracy of your database may suffer.

If you do use a system, is it:

  • a spreadsheet?
  • a commercial or open source database like CiviCRM or Salesforce.com?
  • one or more custom, legacy databases?

Even if your contact management system comprises a drawer full business cards and sticky notes, the starting point is the same – establishing what you have now, and deciding which fields you’ll want to use in your new set-up. You will also need to establish the “business rules” around certain fields in terms of what is allowed in those fields.

If your information is coming from different places or systems, you want to anticipate the issues that might arise with exporting or manipulating the data. Knowing what you want to keep, what each field means and what data needs to change to conform to Wild Apricot will help you manage this process more seamlessly.

Think of it as paving a smooth and manageable path to creating one "source of the truth" where everyone – your contacts and members, your stakeholders, your staff and volunteers – will be fully and accurately described.

Do you know how to export data from your current systems, if necessary? If not, do you have the documentation or access to the people who can help get access to your data?

NewPath Consulting can help with this part of the process. We have experience with all sorts of complicated and “messy” systems.

The steps and estimates in this series are based on our experience migrating diverse customer groups to Wild Apricot. We believe these steps have an intrinsic order, so it’s important that you follow the steps in the order we’ve described in this series. If you can’t finish one before we publish the next, you can always come back to it when ready.

Watch for the next chapter in this series, in which you’ll start the second step in preparing your data for migration to the Wild Apricot platform: Step 2 – Managing Membership Bundles.


Do you have questions about Wild Apricot or managing your member and contact database? Contact NewPath Consulting for a free consultation.

09/24/2018

11 Steps to Membership Management Success – Introduction

Digital_members
The types of organizations that need an association management system have widely-ranging missions: from religious and community groups to foundations and charities, to conference organizers and subscription services, to associations and clubs of all kinds.

Are you an executive or staff at an organization considering adopting Wild Apricot, or a similar association management system (AMS)? Then this guide is for you.

Associations

Nonprofits

For-Profits

Clubs

 MEMBERS Supporters of a COMMUNITY or CAUSE  CUSTOMERS Enthusiasts of a SPORT or  HOBBY
  • Professional and Trade Associations
  • Political Advocacy and Campaigns
  • Subscription Website
  • Service
  • Condominium or Homeowners Associations (HOAs)
  • Foundations
  • Support Assistance Services
  • Special Interest
 
  • Charities
  •  Event/Conference
  • Sports
 
  • Faith-based Communities
  • Education and Training
  • Singles or Seniors Clubs
     
  • Student and Alumni Clubs

Your mission might be different – but you share a common need. Your business model requires you to deliver on your mandate and become sustainable by establishing a steady flow of membership dues and event fees into your organization. But volunteers and time commitment available to is usually very limited in smaller organizations.

And, you need powerful and flexible software features that assist you in managing your most precious asset: the information about your organization’s key stakeholders – members, communities and other supporters of your mission. You also may need an online store and a secure and mobile-friendly website to provide a “front door” into your organization.

Set up your system in manageable steps

This series of articles will take you through 11 comprehensive steps that will get you up and running on Wild Apricot, even on a budget. You’ll learn:

  • how to plan, implement and administer your account, membership database and finances
  • how to plan and design your organization’s website and events pages using Wild Apricot.

And, you’ll be able to move through the steps in the order that will help you do each one right while making the best use of your time.

The time estimates for each step are based on the effort required from your employees and volunteers. We developed these steps with knowledge gained in more than 20 implementations and migrations for Wild Apricot customers all over the world. These are not “ideals” or “marketing” – the steps are based on real-world experience!

For each step, we’ll provide an estimate of the time to completion, based on our experience helping clients migrate to Wild Apricot and similar association management systems. The total length of the full set-up process might vary, depending how much time you might need between each step to manage other priorities. If you are not migrating from an existing system, you may find some steps take a drastically shorter amount of time, or you may not need to take them at all. We will identify those steps when they occur.

Whatever your setting and resources, we’re confident that with these steps achieved, you’ll benefit from Wild Apricot’s range of features. If you plan right, your organization can rely on a quality association management system to drive activities like:

  • marketing
  • revenue generation and fundraising
  • online membership and event sign-up
  • membership renewals
  • automating various business processes
This guide is not meant to be a complete all-in-one documentation of Wild Apricot (that’s available on Wild Apricot’s Help website).

What you’ll get here is an overview of what sort of work is realistically required to take advantage of the benefits of the  platform, and how long you can plan to take to get it done.

Step 0: Sign up for a free Wild Apricot Account

Before you’ll be ready to start planning your database in Step 1, you need to obtain a free trial account. Got ten minutes? You can get started right from here.

Free or paid plan? You choose

Trial Wild Apricot accounts allow up to 50 contacts or members and five administrative accounts. The free trial website also has Wild Apricot branding in the website footer on every page

Get your Free Wild Apricot trial If you upgrade to a paid plan, you get more contacts and can add your own branding elements.

Choose a subscription term

Price

pay-as-you-go

$120 per month (avg.)

prepay for one year

10% off

prepay for two years

15% off

On average, Wild Apricot costs about $120 per month, or $0.40 per year per contact. Wild Apricot’s monthly and annual fees are current as of April 2018.  As you can see, the larger your contact database, the less you pay per contact to securely and capably manage your organization's growth on Wild Apricot.

 

Set-up advice from Wild Apricot

Before you start in earnest, get a high-level overview of all the features from:

 

We’ll help you do the right steps – in the right order

The steps and estimates below are based on our experience migrating diverse customer groups to Wild Apricot. Your mileage may vary, depending on your resources, but we’ll help by breaking the steps down into manageable, logical units.

It will be important to follow the steps in the order we’ve set them up here. If you can’t finish one before we publish the next, you can always come back to it when you’re ready.

Lots of organizations fall into the trap of focusing on their website first. It’s tempting to want to hang a sign up and invite people through your front door as soon as possible.

But if your database and the content within it is in disarray, you will not get what you ultimately want in the way of concrete, usable information about your members. Following the steps in a different order can mean putting the cart before the horse – and ending up with apples all over the road!

Think about the quality of your database as directly relating with your organization’s long-term sustainability.

A quality membership management system is key to a sustainable organization

Here is a preview of the  11 steps and publication timelines that will provide the greatest long-term benefit to your organization:

 

Structure

→ Fall/Winter 2018

Website look and feel

→ Winter 2019

Test and launch

→ Early spring 2019

Planning your Database I

Planning Your Website I

Import Your Database and Complete Payment Configuration

Planning your Database II

Planning Your Website II

Test and Launch

Planning your Database III

Creating Your Website I

 

Creating a Master Import File I

Creating Your Website II

 

Creating a Master Import File II

   

Benefits will multiply!

Your organization may not see the benefits of all the features from day one, but if you use our guide to get started, we’re confident you’ll benefit from more of Wild Apricot’s features to grow your organization’s membership and ensure its sustainability.

Watch for the next chapter in this series in the coming weeks.


Do you have questions about Wild Apricot or managing your member and contact database? Contact NewPath Consulting for a free consultation.

08/14/2018

Why You Should Use Wild Apricot Payments - Powered by Affinipay

2C4FBE9A-5399-4A6A-91C8-5BA9C979B044 image from d2de4os9heh93v.cloudfront.netWild Apricot Payments, powered by Affinipay, is now the preferred payment vendor in Wild Apricot. In this article we will use Wild Apricot Payments and Affinipay interchangeably. The main features of Wild Apricot Payments are:

  • No monthly fee, no startup fee
  • A standard 2.9% + $.30 per transaction fee, collected in the standard currency of the account (CAD or USD)
  • Payments are transferred to directly your bank account within 48 hours.
  • When members check out they stay on your site, rather than leaving your site (eg PayPal Standard forces you to PayPal.com).
  • Recurring payments (aka scheduled payments) are supported.
  • There are a variety of financial reports that are available.
  • Wild Apricot provides integrated one-stop support for the product and the payment gateway.
  • Currently, only US and Canada residents can apply for a Wild Apricot Payments account in USD or CAD currencies.

As of October 1, 2018 only 4 payment gateways will remain -- Wild Apricot Payments, various PayPal flavours, Stripe and Authorize.net. Our informed opinion is simple:

Wild Apricot customers should all consider moving to Wild Apricot Payments, the preferred payment gateway, as soon as possible.

We forecast that support for all other payment gateways will be discouraged and eventually Wild Apricot Payment gateway will be the only supported online payment mechanism.

Many Software as a Service products that offer financial support (eg online invoicing systems) are amalgamating support around 1 payment gateway due to the nature of the evolving markets and availability of specialized gateways like Affinipay. Wild Apricot has created not only a technical relationship with Affinipay, but a financial one as well. Affinipay incents Wild Apricot financially to use them as a gateway, and that helps Wild Apricot to continue to keep software subscription costs down. When using any other payment gateway, Wild Apricot does not get any financial incentives. With Affinipay, this changes forever as Wild Apricot receives a commission based on the volume of transactions that flow from Wild Apricot to Affinipay. In effect the more online transactions you pass through Wild Apricot Payments on your Wild Apricot website, the more money flows to Wild Apricot effectively subsidizing your monthly Wild Apricot fee -- without costing you, the customer, one extra cent!

As a Wild Apricot customer, this only benefits you because not only can Wild Apricot focus on supporting just 1 payment gateway, but they can use the added revenue to create new features and benefits while working to keep the price of Wild Apricot low. This is smart business strategy, but it does create some uncertainty for current customers. We hope you will reach out to NewPath Consulting to assuage those fears and prepare to migrate your payment gateway when you are ready.

The Good

  • USD accounts can be setup in 2-3 days using a simple onboarding form
  • Affinipay has an easy to use and secure dashboard
  • You can send requests for payment (called Quick Bill) by email, and your customers can pay right from the email. This is an alternative of paying for an invoice directly from Wild Apricot.
  • You can also  charge credit cards on the fly using the virtual terminal feature
  • You can make same day voids and refunds up to 6 months after the transaction
  • Deposits happen daily - available in your bank account within 1-2 business days

     

Affinipay Dashboard
Test Mode Dashboard
Wild Apricot Payements Quick Charge Page
Wild Apricot Payments Quick Charge Page

 

Not so good

  • The Affinipay account setup for CAD accounts for Canadian customers requires some paper shuffling and is manual for now. I have assurances that this will improve eventually. For now NewPath can help CAD customers get up and running with a fancy form we are developing. Stay tuned!
  • Currently First Data Canada is the payment processor for CAD accounts and they can be somewhat bureaucratic for account setup. Hopefully this will change eventually without affecting existing or new CAD customers.
  • For now the payment information collection is still done on a separate Wild Apricot payments page (payments.wildapricot.com). This is not ideal because setting up conversion and goal tracking is hard to do on a page you do not control. I am told this is required for PCI DSS compliance.
  • There is currently no support for Interac transfers or debit cards.

08/11/2018

WordCamp Niagara 2018 - Managed WordPress Demystified

In an updated presentation called Managed WordPress Demystified, Alex Sirota, wowed the WordCamp Niagara audience with an updated talk on selecting a managed WordPress host. The video (coming soon!) and the presentation is below.

05/09/2018

Hide the Search in Member Directory Gadget

The search function on a Wild Apricot member directory gadget is really handy. It allows you to search the member directory by keyword. Unfortunately when a page loads, the search box receives the browser focus and the page scrolls automatically to wherever the search box is on the page. Sometimes that is near the bottom of a page, scrolling the page below important content. There is a simple fix: hide the search box or use JavaScript to disable the focus.

JavaScript to disable the focus. This keeps the search box on the screen and available without scrolling the window. You should insert this into the Global Javascript under Settings > Site > Global Javascript

<script type="text/javascript">
jq$(function()
{
function noFocus() {
console.log('nofocus here');
if (jq$('.WaGadgetMemberDirectory').length) {
var refreshId = setInterval(function() {
if (jq$('.WaGadgetMemberDirectory table#membersTable').length)
{ document.activeElement.blur(); window.scrollTo(0,0); clearInterval(refreshId); }
}, 50);
}
else if (document.activeElement && (document.activeElement.tagName=="INPUT")) {
document.activeElement.blur();
window.scrollTo(0,0);
}
}
BonaPage.addPageStateHandler(BonaPage.PAGE_PARSED, noFocus);
});
</script>

 

Or you can use the CSS below to just hide the search box. Place this code in the raw headers of each page where you want to hide the search box on. Note that the styles affect the IDs of the elements separately.

 

/* search box */

<style>
#FunctionalBlock1_ctl00_ctl00_search {
display:none;
}
</style>

/* search label */


<style>
#FunctionalBlock1_ctl00_ctl00_searchLabel {
display: none;
}
</style>

/* advanced search link */
<style>
#FunctionalBlock1_ctl00_ctl00_advancedSearchStatusPanel_advancedSearchLink {
display: none;
}
</style>

04/17/2018

What is an Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate?

Chrome ssl

SSL secures the transmission of data passed between your web browser and the web server. When you enter data into a comment, or pay for something online, the information flows over the internet securely if and only if, the connection is secured by SSL. It turns out that there are 3 different types of certificates and they are indicated very differently by web browsers.

Insecure transactions will soon show "not secure" by Google Chrome as displayed below. Currently they show an i with a circle around it, but that will change this summer with the release of Chrome 68. Here is how all websites without SSL will display:

Treatment-of-http-pages2x

Below is a comparison of the 3 different security states a website can appear currently:

3 types of SSL certificates

There are 3 different types of security certificates available for websites, Domain Validated (DV), Organization Validated (OV) and Extended Validated (EV). Domain Validated certificates can be obtain by anyone, and even for free using Let's Encrypt. These are the simplest to obtain because they do not need any validation other than some sort of control over the website you are securing. This means just about anyone can obtain and secure a website, even for $0. Even though these websites are secure, you have no idea exactly who owns or runs them so the trust level for DV secured sites should be quite low. Situations where trust and credibility are less important such as personal websites and small forums that need basic encryption for things like logins, forms or other non-transactional data.

An Organization Validated certificate has different procurement requirements. To obtain an OV certificate the issuing certificate authority (CA) has to confirm the organizational existence using a non-automated method. As well as checking up on ownership of the domain name, the Certificate Authority will also carry out additional vetting of the organization and individual applying for the certificate. This might include checking the address where the company is registered and the name of a specific contact. OV certificates should be used for public-facing websites dealing with less sensitive transactional data. OV Certificates do not offer the highest visible display of trust like EV certificates which show a green browser bar organization identification.

The Extended Validated certificate is the current gold standard in SSL certificates. Any business that sells products or accepts payment information online should use an Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate. An EV certificate uses the same powerful encryption as other SSLs, but getting one requires a thorough vetting of the applicant's business. Only those businesses that pass this process will receive an EV SSL Certificate. Typically the use of an EV certificate is indicated by a green color – but this varies by browser. Anyone who sees the green address bar while on your site knows instantly they’re on a legitimate website.

EV verification guidelines, drawn up by the Certificate Authority/Browser Forum, require the Certificate Authority to run a much more rigorous identity check on the organization or individual applying for the certificate. Sites with an EV SSL certificate have a green browser address bar and a field appears with the name of the legitimate website owner and the name of the Certificate Authority that issued the certificate. From the CA/Browser Forum:

Having an EV certificate for your website is an indication to your customers (or users) that you are very interested in ensuring their safety and privacy by taking the most care that you possibly can in authenticating yourself (through your web site) to them. Even though it might take more time and money to apply for an EV Certificate, after following the application procedures through to successful completion of the vetting process, the CA will issue an EV Certificate to you. 

Before an EV Certificate is granted, a certificate vendor verifies that the business listed on the application is:

  • Legally registered
  • Currently in operation
  • At the address listed (PO Boxes are not allowed!)
  • At the telephone number listed (Voice mail systems will not be allowed for validation, there must be someone answering the phone!)
  • Owns the website domain name (usually done thr0ugh a CNAME record, a file placed on your server or by email.

You will need to pass this vetting process every two years to keep your Extended Validation (EV) SSL. 

Most types of organizations can get an EV certificate relatively easily if they have an established business background and are located in a jurisdiction that provides good online access to records of incorporation or registration.  But regrettably, there are a few types of organizations and a few jurisdictions for which there just isn’t good enough external registration information available in order for the CA to be sure enough of the details supplied by the person applying for the certificate for the CA to be able to easily issue an EV certificate.  For example some CAs do not accept PO Boxes as the organizational mailing address (even though the IRS or a local tax jurisdiction does!). Generally, if your organization is incorporated or fits into one of the more common business types such as an LLC or 501(c) not for profit, then you should be able to obtain an EV certificate.  Here's an example EV Certification Checklist from Comodo should you decide to go this route. It takes time and you should confirm your registration information is up to date and the phone number on file is answered by a person (not a voice mail service).

 

03/05/2018

WordPress.com Supports Plugins and Themes

Wordpress plans
WordPress.com plans

Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, has upped their game by allowing plugin and theme installations on the business offering of WordPress.com. For $33 CAD ($25 USD) per month you have access to a fully managed WordPress website, but there are some features missing from this new entrant into the custom WordPress hosting space.

Until sometime in August 2017, WordPress.com severely restricted the use of themes, offered no plug-in installations and limited the access to CSS for theme customizations.  The ability to install plugins, themes and customize CSS made WordPress.org the most popular platform in the world. Automattic’s hosting options were great for hobbyists and people running personal blogs, but not for businesses. That all changed late last year.

By giving WordPress.com customers the ability to install themes and plugins that satisfy most business requirements, Automattic could draw millions of customers from the existing WordPress hosting services.  The question is, has Automattic offered enough technology and service at each price point to deter the average website builder from installing and maintaining their own copy of WordPress?

There is no cut and dry answer to this question because every user has a different set of priorities. Automattic’s various service plans are compared on their website, and every website at WordPress.com now comes with a free SSL certificate and a few necessary plugins that are auto-installed. With the addition of the plugins, hosting at WordPress.com is now a viable option for business users.  

We’ll start by examining the free plan which used to be very cookie-cutter because users were offered only a yearly theme (2016, 2017 etc.) Now the free plan has dozens of themes to choose from, and several plugins are included. You can store up to 3 GB of files for pictures, audio and video, and even the free version comes with Jetpack essentials. Jetpack essentials is the most popular WordPress.org plug-in and offers features such as social media share buttons, stats and analytics about your traffic, site security, faster content delivery, a subscription system, and multiple site management from one interface. Some features in Jetpack you have to pay for such as VaultPress which offers back-ups and restoration for your site for $39/year.  The free plan will still insert “wordpress.com” in your domain name and you have no choice but to host ads on your site.

Where things become interesting is in the Personal plan for $5 a month. On this plan you can have a custom domain name and you get rid of all the WordPress.com ads that are sprinkled in the free sites.  Along with hosting and looking more professional, you get support by email and live chat, 6GB of storage space and email forwarding for five custom email addresses such as yourname@yourdomain.com.  WordPress.com only offers email forwarding and not email hosting so you have to go with another provider in order to be able to ‘send’ from your custom email address.  G Suite is available through WordPress.com for another $5/month per user but their email hosting is $50/mailbox/year. Note that to support email inboxes with WordPress.com you have to register your domain with WordPress.com (or transfer it to them).

The next plan up is a $10/month Premium plan where you get everything already mentioned in the Personal plan, plus access to all the Wordpress.com themes - there are about 300 of them to choose from. You also get full access to the CSS code in order to totally customize your your theme, an ad-free video player (Automattic’s VideoPress product), 13 GB of storage space and the ability to monetize your site through Automattic’s WordAds program.  

WordAds is a proprietary program only for WordPress.com sites that combines the features of Google Adsense and Adwords.  Adsense is actually one of the many partners that WordAds manages in this program.  Drawbacks include restricted participation in WordAds unless you get thousands of hits per month and they offer less control than Google’s Adsense over which ads are displayed on your site. Since its a new program, there’s no data yet on revenue generation as compared to Adsense but it will be interesting to see the stats on this program as it unfolds.  

The next plan is a big leap in price and options with the Business plan at $33/month.  On the Business plan you get unlimited storage, access to live training, SEO tools, access to the entire 50,000+ WordPress plugin directory, the ability to install custom themes from the theme directory and Google Analytics integration.  eCommerce, the ability to transact online, is delivered through plugins, so until the cheaper levels of WordPress.com include Woocommerce or another eCommerce option, the Business Plan is the only level where you can ‘sell’ on your site.  

Every WordPress.com site comes with one free, perpetually renewed SSL certificate which can save you up to $100/year from having to buy your own certificate. That’s 3-10 months of savings right there depending on which plan you buy. When you’re protecting your site with SSL your customers will be ensured that the data and their traffic is encrypted and no warning messages will appear due to lack of encryption. More importantly a little “secure” lock will appear on every page of your site, even if you don’t sell anything online. Google loves SSL so you get an instant SEO boost by having this certificate.  Some managed hosting companies, such as GoDaddy are countering this offer by also offering free SSL for every site on their premium levels of Managed WordPress Pro hosting.

WordPress.com charges for each site on an upfront annual basis so you’re locked in for a year with their plans, and there is no month to month payment schedule or any discounts for paying for a year.  

Now let’s compare the WordPress.com offering to Managed WordPress hosting offerings from web hosting and internet domain companies:

Managed hosting usually includes server monitoring to keep your site up and running, as well as proactively dealing with issues like security, back-up and restore, staging sites, storage space and support.  By putting your site in the hands of professionals, you are less likely to incur security breaches or have site downtime and you can choose a plan that meets your needs and budget.

As for pricing, let’s take GoDaddy Managed WordPress as an example. Their normal price is CAD$11/month for their basic managed WordPress (a domain, hosting, 1 WordPress site plus 1 staging site, daily back-ups and automatic core WordPress updates.  A visual page editor is also included as well as 24/7 support phone.)

GoDaddy is currently offering a 1 year discount of only $1.49/month including a Microsoft Outlook mailbox with 5GB of storage.  They are offering the same service on an monthly basis for $6/month.  GoDaddy’s regular pricing is $11/month for the Managed WordPress and $8/month for Office 365. GoDaddy has made the free domain contingent on an upfront annual payment so they are also looking for the one year commitment although they have more flexibility in their plans by offering monthly options.

GoDaddy includes SSL in all their Managed WordPress Pro pro plans which start at $20/month for 1 website. Most of their Managed WordPress Pro plans support the ability to manage more than 1 website from one account, which is not easily possible from WordPress.com. In fact you get a discount if you set-up a 5 or 20 website plan account with GoDaddy. These plans are aimed at web designers, developers and freelancers who build sites for customers rather than end users of WordPress.

After looking at WordPress.com and GoDaddy Managed WordPress if you are dealing with multiple websites, it will probably make more sense to go with a managed WordPress host for multiple WordPress.org collection of sites.  If you only have one site, have little interest in tweaking the theme you’re using and are only looking for an easy and low-cost way to get online, WordPress.com may be your best solution.  

Deciding between WordPress.com and managed hosting with WordPress.org is an interesting debate and we’ll revisit the discussion as we work with more of the WordPress.com plans and see how the Managed WordPress providers react.

02/19/2018

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Wild Apricot: May 25, 2018 is GDPR Deadline

On May 25, 2018, the European Union will begin enforcing a new set of data protection regulations, known collectively as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). The GDPR regulates the collection and storage of personal data for EU residents (including UK residents), regardless of where the organization doing the collecting is located.

The GDPR replaces and expands upon the 1995 Data Protection Directive. The biggest change is the extended reach of the regulations, now applying to all organizations that collect the personal data of European residents, even if those organizations are based outside of Europe.

Consequently, Wild Apricot and any of its clients with members in Europe need to understand the requirements of the GDPR, and set up procedures for complying with them.

If your Wild Apricot database contains information about any European Union residents, please let us know and we can help you identify whether your organization is compliant with GDPR. Wild Apricot has begun auditing their processes and software for GDPR compliance, but as of February 2018 Wild Apricot staff have not completed the audit or any remediation actions. Organizations in breach of the GDPR can be fined up to 4% of their annual global revenue or €20 million (whichever is greater). There is a tiered approach to fines, whereby an organization can be 2% for not having their records in order, 2% for not notifying about a data breach, and so on.

 

02/16/2018

VIDEO: Using CSS to Customize the Main Menu System in Wild Apricot

The Kaleidoscope theme in Wild Apricot is beautiful! Changing the main menu design though is not something that can be done by pointing and clicking. You need to use CSS to modify the menu. This snippet of CSS code will help you modify the main menu in Kaleidoscope and Bookshelf, two themes that share the same menu styles.

Step 1. Download the CSS code

Step 2. Use the Website > CSS  option to copy and paste the CSS code, or use the WebDAV approach to create or edit the user.css file.

Step 3. Modify the various color and background options to your heart's content until you have the menu working just like you would like.

Hint: Popular colors are available online at W3Schools. You may wish to use your own hexadecimal colour values that start with #.