Top 10 Genesis Plugins

Today I want to share with you with my top 10 “go-to” plugins for the Genesis Framework (read about why I only develop themes using the Genesis Framework here). These plugins can save endless hours of time when building a Genesis site on WordPress, especially if you are a beginner at developing Genesis themes. And the best part – they’re all FREE! If you have any questions about these plugins or need help integrating them into your Genesis theme, let me know!

01. Genesis Simple Hooks

This plugin allows you to insert code (HTML, Shortcodes, and PHP), and add it to any of the Genesis action hooks directly from the admin settings panel. If you’re new to coding this will be very helpful as there’s no need to even touch the function.php file, and even if you’re not new to coding, this can save a lot of time.

02. Genesis Title Toggle

This plugin allows you remove the page title from being displayed on whichever pages you want. This comes in handy with custom page designs that need something more than the generic title – or even no title at all. I use this most often on client homepages to quickly remove the “Home” at the top of the content.

03. Genesis Simple Edits

This plugin allows you to modify the post-info, post-meta, and footer area via settings text boxes, without having to learn PHP, write functions, filters, or mess with hooks. Again, if you’re new to coding this will be especially helpful!

04. Genesis 404 Page

This plugin allows you to customize the “404/Page Not Found” page without having to edit the 404.php template file. You can replace the generic content with whatever you prefer it to say, and even include links and photos. See my simple example here.

05. Genesis Favicon Uploader

This plugin allows you to easily change your favicon through the Genesis admin panel. Simply upload your .ico file and save!

06. Genesis Columns Advanced

This plugin integrates 35 responsive column configurations for you to easily insert into the content.

07. Genesis Featured Page Advanced

This plugin offers some additional functionality to the “Geneisis Featured Page” widget and is an easy way to add linked teasers to your site. With this plugin, you can add a custom image, custom content, change the link targets, excerpt settings, etc.

08. Genesis Simple Sidebars

This plugin allows you to create add new widget areas and assign them easily to specific locations on different pages/posts/categories using advanced conditional logic. Great tool for beginner Genesis developers!

09. Genesis Grid

This plugin allows you to easily display posts, archives, categories, etc in a grid format. You can set the number of teasers, how many columns they are broken into, and specify image sizes.

10. Genesis Layout Extras

This plugin allows you to easily modify the default layouts for Genesis via a new theme options page. The plugin offers up to nine additional layouts to the standard Genesis Framework options.

Stephanie B Design

I’m so thrilled to show you this new site that just launched for Stephanie of Stephanie B Design. Stephanie is a graphic designer and calligrapher specializing in branding and stationery and her work is absolutely gorgeous! Being a graphic designer, she had already designed her dream website but needed someone to bring it to life on the web. That’s where I came in! I took her beautiful proofs and coded them into a custom WordPress theme, while also making the entire site and blog completely mobile responsive.

My favorite part of the site is probably her portfolio. We utilized mobile-responsive horizontal sliders to display all her different on one awesome (and easy to use!) portfolio page. You can check everything out on her brand new site here!

Designer Vaca 2015:
3 Reasons Why You Should Be There!

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Last October I attended the most amazing retreat called Designer Vaca (at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs) for the very first time. Showing up alone and not knowing a single person, I was understandably a little bit nervous about how the experience would play out. I had heard some names of people that would be attending and thought “Whoa, these ladies are wayyy out of my league in the design world”. I thought it would be so intimidating just to meet them, let alone walk up and strike up a casual conversation.

But you know what, it wasn’t that way at all, and I think any of the other DV newbies from last year would agree. Being in a pool setting, in vacation mode with drinks in hand, makes it so easy to just join a group of girls and start chatting away. All those uber-successful ladies that I was nervous to meet were so easy to talk to and had tons of great experience and advice to offer. Overall, it kind of felt like a super cool summer camp for grown-ups – and just like camp, I walked away with a group of friends that I still talk to (and lean on) all the time.

I’ll be attending again this fall (plane tickets + room already booked!) and I have 3 reasons why YOU should be there too:

01. It’s priceless to be around people who just “get it”

At least for me, working freelance from my home office doesn’t provide much of a community and I had never been around a group of people who understood the ins and outs of my daily work life. At DV it’s the exact opposite! There’s such an easy flow of conversation and an instant sense of community because everyone just “gets it”. I can’t even put into words how nice it feels to be an active part of the design community and not feel alone in the freelance hustle.

02. Your business will reap so many benefits

The sessions and topic discussions will grow you, push you, and really make you think! There is so much that can be learned from those who have gone before you, and during the sessions I found myself jotting down notes as fast as I could write. My head was swirling with big so many big ideas and I left with a renewed passion, drive, and focus towards my business goals. Since then, my business has grown into something I didn’t even see coming! Some of the “lightbulb” moments I had at DV last year changed the entire course of my business – and to think it all happened amongst pool floaties and fruity drinks :)

03. You really just deserve the vacation!

When you work for yourself, it’s nearly impossible to shut off the computer completely for an extended period of time. At DV, I was too busy chatting with new friends, enjoying the hot sun and the pool, and snapping photos of the amazing Ace Hotel to even think about opening up that laptop. I didn’t even realize how badly I need that time to just relax, rejuvenate, and enjoy life away from the computer screen.

Interested? Check out all the details about the when/where/etc for the 2015 Designer Vaca here. And one more piece of advice: If you’re interested in going this year, be ready and act fast! Registration for Designer Vaca 2015 opens this Monday and last year, tickets sold out in just 2 days. Hope to see you there and chat about life & design over a delicious cocktail!

2 Awesome (+ Free) Tools for Displaying Web Work

The way you display web work on your site, blog, or social media is obviously crucial for getting clients and drumming up buzz about your work. Now I don’t feel that I’ve mastered this topic in any way, but I have had a lot of trial & error over the years and thought I’d share 2 tools/apps I use all the time that make displaying web work so much better – and easier!

 
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Tool #1: Display different screen sizes

The screenshot above was done for free via the website ami.responsivedesign.is. All you do is insert the URL of the website and the screenshots will pop up on the screens. You can also click and drag the different items around or even drag some of the devices off screen completely (this could come in handy if you only wanted to show one or two screen sizes). After you get it looking exactly how you want it, just take a screenshot and you’re done!
 

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Tool #2: Capture full-length website screenshots

The Paparazzi App (shown above) is a free app for Mac or Windows that allows you to take a full-length screenshot of any webpage and save it as an image. This is a great way to show the full design of a site in your portfolio without having to manually capture/copy/paste screenshots. It’s super easy to use and figure out, but if you want to know more, Zoe Rooney wrote a great article here on how to fully use its features.

 
Hope these 2 apps can help you as much as they’ve helped me! Let me know if you have any questions, and definitely share with me if you have any awesome apps that you can’t live without!

Studio CD Photography

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Christine from Studio CD Photography is a wonderful past client who was ready for a fresh look for her blog. Back in 2013, Sarah and I teamed up on her site, so it was completely fitting for us to team up once again for the redesign. Christine wanted a bold, editorial look for her new blog and Sarah captured that perfectly, and also added a new hand-drawn header!

Studio + Website Updates

Over the past month, I’ve been making a lot of updates to the website and redefining my business processes. Today I thought I’d take a minute to share some of Hello Monday’s new features. I’d also like to take the time to say a huge THANK YOU to all of the wonderful clients, friends, and followers that have supported me in my growing business these past several years. I am thankful beyond words to have a job that I love am obsessed with! And I know that wouldn’t be possible without your encouragement and support. I’m so excited to see what the future holds for Hello Monday and am glad to have you along for the ride. Okay without further ado, scroll on down for some awesome studio updates!

01. Completely mobile responsive

I’ve restructured my entire site to be super easy to navigate from a mobile device/tablet, including a new mobile dropdown menu. Now you can scroll through my posts and info without squinting to read the text :)

02. New Portfolio Work & Testimonials

I’ve got a ton of new work in my portfolio to check out and a completely reworked testimonials page to go along with it. The testimonials are also now separated by clients and designers so you can hear both sides of the story!

03. New Post Email Subscriptions!

I’m SO excited about this one – I now have email subscriptions activated for new posts to go straight to your inbox! And thanks to MailChimp, they’re pretty to look at too. Join my mailing list here!

04. Sidebar Content Organization

If you’re viewing from a desktop, I’ve got tons of easy ways to find exactly what you’re looking for. Check out the new archives, categories, and search area over in the sidebar (desktop only).

05. Redefined Processes + Updated FAQs

After years of fine tuning my web development process, I finally feel like I’ve found my groove – And I’ve written out all the details to share! Hopefully this will help guide future clients and also assist new developers in defining their own process. I’ve also beefed up my faq page with answers to my most-asked questions.

06. A Brand New Instagram Page!

Because Hello Monday has grown leaps and bounds this year, it deserves it’s own IG space to flourish, apart from my daily personal posts. I’m so excited to have this new place to share new/ in-progress work, inspiration, office photos, and of course plenty of coffee pictures :) Follow along at @hellomondaycreative.