60 posts categorized "News"


WordCamp Metro Detroit 2019 - Managed WordPress Demystified

Alex Sirota presented "Managed WordPress Demystified" at WordCamp Metro Detroit 2019. The audience enjoyed an updated talk on selecting a managed WordPress host. The video (coming soon!) and the presentation is below.



The Future of Wild Apricot: Impressions from PersoniFest 2019

Alex Sirota, Director of NewPath Consulting, recently attended PersoniFest 2019 in Savannah, Georgia. Alex was representing NewPath Consulting as a Wild Apricot Partner. This was the 20th annual PersoniFest, but only the second one attended by Alex. He also gave a learning session at the conference called "3 Professional Wild Apricot Magic Tricks.

Personify made it super-affordable to attend PersoniFest for Wild Apricot customers and partners! Wild Apricot customers and partners had access to a conference full of learning, networking and tons of fun for the price of one night at a local hotel. Nicole Malachowski was the keynote speaker, and she spoke about her experience becoming the first female pilot in the US Air Force's Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Squadron.

Nicole is a leader, a combat veteran, an instructor, a White House Fellow, and an inductee into the Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame. When Nicole’s distinguished military career was cut short by a neurological tick-borne illness that, at its worst, left her unable to walk safely or speak intelligibly, she overcame those challenges, as well. Her talk was awe inspiring.

Over 80 Wild Apricot employees, customers and partners attended the event, by far the largest collection of Wild Apricots that we have ever met in person! There were 11 learning sessions that were created for Wild Apricot customers. A full agenda is available online to review the breadth of the conference.

Integrating Wild Apricot into the Personify Family

Wild Apricot's integration into Personify is now fully complete. There is now a Wild Apricot landing page on the Personify website which features a brand new Wild Apricot brochure. The brochure contains a newly announced multi-chapter pricing model which offers up to 30% savings when you licence multiple Wild Apricot sites.

The CEO of Personify, Eric Thurston, also attended a special customer appreciation dinner on Monday evening, a true show of support for the Wild Apricot platform and customers. Affinipay, the company behind Wild Apricot Payments, sponsored and exhibited at PersoniFest 2019 as well. It was a treat to get to know the folks behind the customer service email and phone, as well as understand more about how Wild Apricot Payments is becoming the preferred payment system for Wild Apricot.

Denver Ballet Guild wins a Persi Award for Impact

One of our Wild Apricot customers Denver Ballet Guild won an Impact award at the 2019 Persi Awards!

Denver Ballet Guild is a non-profit organization that supports youth dance arts and whose mission is to stimulate interest in ballet and other forms of dance. In 2018, the organization modernized their online presence by migrating to Wild Apricot. Members and visitors to their website can register for events, join and support the Denver Ballet Guild with diverse membership types and donate online. Denver Ballet Guild administrators can conduct email marketing outreach to their constituent base. Denver Ballet Guild is driving significant increases in event revenue, membership renewals and more since launching their new site. Congratulations to the Denver Ballet Guild for the impact you have made to support and promote dance in the Denver community.

2019 Persi Award Winners
2019 Persi Award Winners

New Features Coming to Wild Apricot in 2019

What follows are a few impressions including some new upcoming features in Wild Apricot that will be rolled out during the rest of 2019. Note that these notes are not announcements, but rather our impressions from the conference. Please consider these observations and opinions, rather than facts.

There were many interesting talks that featured Wild Apricot functions and benefits during the conference. "Product Showcase & Sneak Preview: Wild Apricot" was one of the more exciting talks on April 9, 2019. It was given by Katya Tyukina, product manager at Wild Apricot. Below are some of the screen shots of the slides given at the conference:

1. The first features the new email editor which will bring a more user-friendly experience to creating emails. The new user interface will feature modern technology and best practices in user interface design. The design results will be predictable and on par with the most modern email builders available today. We hope this new interface will be integrated into the website builder too. It looks awesome!

Image from iOS (2)

2. The Colors and Styles feature of the Website Builder is being completely redesigned. The new design features much simpler interface which will allow you to pick a new color pallete and apply your organization's preferred colors to the whole website. You can choose the preferred font, brand color or just revert to a default. You may still want to use our Wild Apricot Text Manager, but for much more specific text changes rather than CSS changes. This is a welcome improvement!

Image from iOS (2)

3. Wild Apricot Payments, powered by Affinipay, will get 3 useful improvements: recurring donations, issuing refunds directly from the admin interface and saving credit cards for future use. Wild Apricot Payments is indeed the preferred payment platform and will continue to get features that set it apart from any of the other payment systems available in Wild Apricot.

Image from iOS (2)

4. The Wild Apricot mobile apps for members will get a few new features including financial information and push notifications. The admin app will get more features currently available on the web application only.

Image from iOS (2)
Here is a short video featuring the email editor interface coming to Wild Apricot in 2019.

More Breakout Sessions On Wild Apricot and Association Management

Mark Faccia, Tatiana Morand and Shiv Narayanan all had amazing talks at the event and I highly recommend you give them a watch.

Tatiana Morand gave a talk titled "The Three Keys to Growing your Organization with Content." It was a master class on creating content that attracts new members. 

Hypergrowth! Best in SaaS Techniques for Building Your Organisation was an eye openining and important talk on strategic growth management. Shiv talked about go-to-marketing strategy, what metrics your organization should — and shouldn’t — pay attention to, as well as the skills you need on your team to make real growth happen.

Where is Personify taking Wild Apricot?

There are some other developments that were announced like details on Personify Hub. Support for Wild Apricot in the new integration hub is yet to be announced but it seems likely that the various Personify products are now able to communicate with each other. The Hub makes it possible to integrate with products outside of the Personify family as well.

There is clearly more focus on Wild Apricot being used as a chapter solutions for Personify customers. Alex met a customer who uses Personify360 for headquarters and has over 100 Wild Apricot websites deployed across the country. The possibilities for large organizations to adopt Wild Apricot for chapter management is an incredible opportunity due to the affordability, power and flexibility of Wild Apricot.

The experience of meeting the Personify family face to face and interacting with customers and partners is one of a kind. We highly encourage customers and partner of Wild Apricot to join us at PersoniFest 2020.

Where is PersoniFest 2020?

Here's a short recap video from PersoniFest 2019. We will see you April 5, 2020 in Colorado Springs!


Personifest 2019 Presentation: "3 Professional Wild Apricot Magic Tricks"

You are convinced that Wild Apricot is a great fit for your organization. You got all the basics setup. But there are lingering thoughts — will it really do everything you need? Culled from several years of experience deploying Wild Apricot for organizations around the world, this presentation will illustrate the true transformative power of Wild Apricot.

NewPath Consulting will share three tricks: Website Design with CSS, Multi-chapter Member Directory Magic, and Professional Reports and Analytics.


For registered participants at Personifest 2019 a video of our talk along with slides is now available! All of the Personifest 2019 talks are available for free with a quick registration. Use the registration code 'personifest2019'.


WordPress 5.0 is ready for download!

Bebo (aka WordPress 5.0) is  ready for download. As of writing it has already been downloaded over 100,000 times. Some of the fresh new features include:

  • A new content editor that enables creating content with blocks - WordPress is here to simplify the process, not the outcome. This new editing experience provides a more consistent treatment of design as well as content. 
  • A stunning new theme called 2019 -- ready for blocks! Twenty Nineteen features custom styles for the blocks available by default in 5.0. Featuring ample whitespace, and modern sans-serif headlines paired with classic serif body text, Twenty Nineteen is built to be beautiful on the go. It uses system fonts to increase loading speed.
  • The Classic Editor plugin restores the previous WordPress editor and the Edit Post screen. It lets you keep using plugins that extend it, add old-style meta boxes, or otherwise depend on the previous editor.


Here are the 16 core content blocks you can play with today. And there will be many, many more soon!

16 gutenblocks

You can download the latest version in your dashboard or wait for your host to do an auto-update.

And with a Toronto or Vaughan Library card you can access the new WordPress 5 Essential Training by Morton Rand-Hendriksen for free!


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.


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.



NewPath at Digital Main Street Forum

The Digital Main Street Forum aims to assist entrepreneurs in embracing digital technologies to build and grow their business – from online marketing and leveraging data to better engage your clients, to adopting ecommerce to reach a broader customer base, the Digital Main Street Forum will help you understand the "Why" and "How To" of embracing both bricks and clicks for your business. NewPath Consulting will have a booth at this event so please come check us out!

You can register online for free.


NewPath Consulting at Vaughan B2B Expo on February 1, 2017

Join us on February 1, 2017 at Vaughan's premier opportunity to meet and make partnerships with local small business owners. The Vaughan B2B Expo will be held at the sumptuous Terrace Banquet Centre.  Come for a decadent breakfast and delectable lunch while visiting the 100+ vendors, including NewPath Consulting, who have set up displays.  Meet local politicians and government dignitaries, hear keynotes by business success stories and mingle with the best and brightest of the Vaughan small business community.  

At the NewPath Consulting display we will be showing our "Transforming into a Digital Workplace" presentation and offering free business strategy consultations to visitors.  We look forward to seeing you there!  

Vaughan Mayor Bevilacqua at the 2016 Event
Vaughan Mayor Bevilacqua at the 2016 Event
Kristine Black at the 2016 Show
Kristine Black at the 2016 Show



Lynda.com and Safari Books Online available for free with a valid library card

Image result for lynda.com images  image from upload.wikimedia.org

Did you know that your library may offer access to Lynda.com for free? Your library may also offer access to online tech books from Safari Books online, for free! Each resources is normally available under a yearly subscription worth hundreds of dollars.

As of 2014 many libraries across North America have been introducing access to these 2 incredible online training repositories for people holding valid, non-expired library cards. 

What is Lynda.com?

Lynda.com is a leading online learning company that helps anyone learn business, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. Access includes the lynda.com video library of engaging, top-quality courses taught by recognized industry experts.

lynda.com, Inc. was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Carpinteria, California.

What is Safari Books Online?

Safari Books Online provides access to more than 21,000 digital books and videos on topics ranging from programming to IT networking to project management to graphic design to business strategy. The content includes code snippets, certification preparation materials, practice exercises, training videos, and much more. Users can search thousands of books simultaneously online, saving time and quickly finding the information they need.  Safari Books Online provides a powerful but easy-to-use platform for your users to find information and answers to questions about topics such as improving career skills, organizing personal electronics and finances, learning social networking or starting a business. The world's most respected publishers such as O'Reilly Media, Addison-Wesley, Peachpit Press, John Wiley & Sons, Adobe Press, Microsoft Press, Sams, For Dummies, McGraw Hill, and more are available.

Originally started in 2001, Safari Books Online was the result of a combination of two of the world’s most prominent technology publishers, O’Reilly Media, Inc. and Pearson Education.

Finding If Your Library Has Access

A simple Google search will bring up libraries that have access to either resource:

Search for Libraries with Lynda.com

Search for Libraries with Safari Books Online

UPDATE: We are working on a comprehensive list of all libraries across North America that have access with direct links. Feel free to check out the progress or provide input at this editable Google Spreadsheet.

UPDATE 2: This list is slowly growing and we've created a simple to use search and map tool for this Lynda/Safari public library directory.


Important Security Changes Coming for Google Chrome

UPDATE: In Chrome 68 (July 2018), the Not Secure message goes into effect. Expect lots of gnashing of teeth as insecure websites now flash "not secure" in the URL bar. This was about 18 months late, but it is finally here. Get your SSL now.

Important News from Google Security

Google Chrome (the most popular web browser in the world) will be implementing a user interface change in 2017 that will notify users that a website form that has a password or credit card field is insecure. This will be a default setting and eventually feature a red alert to notify users.

First change: Note how the "Not secure" message will prefix the web link in the address bar.

image from 4.bp.blogspot.com

The eventual treatment of non SSL/HTTPS websites will add a red alert triangle with an exclamation point:

image from 3.bp.blogspot.com

This is a big deal. I think it may be bigger than the mobile-friendly "apocalypse" that was mostly a non starter for many who have actively been using a mobile theme. Once Apple's iOS starts to change their user interface in Safari  on mobile devices, we forecast SSL becoming much more important on all our customer sites. This change will sort of slipstream into our Chrome updates in 2017 and by end of 2018 we believe customers will be clamoring to secure their sites. With that in mind we have added SSL setup services to our Silver and Gold service plans.

So the question remains -- what's the least painful way to setup SSL on WordPress? Here are a few recommendations:

0. Install SSL certificate (letsencrypt.org for a free certificate!) and configure WordPress. We can help you do this.

1. Ensure all your internal links point to the new HTTPS URLs.
Ensure any external links and new social shares point to the new HTTPS URLs, if you’re still getting links to the old HTTP version of your website Google can become confused and you won’t see the benefit that these new links have the potential to pass on to your website structure. Google won’t be able to decipher which is the most authoritative page that deserves a higher ranking.

2. Ensure that all rel=canonical tags within your HTML don’t point to the old HTTP version. Once you move over to HTTPS these tags must be changed to the new HTTPS URLs, as this helps Googlebot understand which version of the page should be used to rank. Again, if you still point to the HTTP version then Google will once again become confused over what page should be ranking in the SERPs.

3. Ensure that you’ve mapped out the new HTTPS URLs on a page-to-page level – you basically want an exact duplicate URL structure the only thing that is changing is that ‘http://’ will become ‘https://’. Once you’ve got these in place you then want to implement a permanent 301 redirect on a page level. Do not 301 redirect everything (either via global or via a wild card redirect) to the home page as this will kill all your rankings overnight.

4. You need to watch your Webmaster Tools account post go live and monitor for any issues Google may be having with your new HTTPS website. You can really drop your traffic overnight by doing this wrong.

5. Test any embedded SSL content from different domains on your website (images, forms, any other content). Make sure there are not any cross-site SSL issues when loading these forms.

These changes are best done on a staging server for any highly traffic sites that cannot afford to be down for any extended period.