Jacco Blankenspoor is a website developer from the Netherlands, and is currently much involved in job sites built on WordPress. You can see him in action at his current pet sites: Heathrow Airport Jobs and Airport Jobs, a job engine built on WordPress.

Jacco's articles

  1. Tag Management: Bringing Peace to Developer – Marketer Relations

    This article was sponsored by Tealium. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make SitePoint possible! You know all those digital marketing tools that allow you to track your traffic, run A/B tests, and perform a variety of other mission-critical services?? All of these have code snippets called “tags”, each loading from its own server. […]

  2. 15 Things You May Not Know WordPress Can Do

    We all know WordPress as the perfect tool for running a blog or regular website. But due to it’s open architecture, WordPress is much more than just a CMS, with many developers taking it to a whole new level.

    Making WordPress into something more than a CMS is typically done with themes and/or plugins. In this article I’ll show you 15 alternative uses of WordPress (plus 2 bonuses). I will be taking a broad look at what’s possible with WordPress, in the hope of inspiring you to use it in a way you hadn’t thought of before. For each use, I’ll show you a working example, and how it’s done.

    1. Amazon Shop

    WordPress Amazon Shop

    Combining WordPress with WooCommerce makes for an excellent ecommerce solution. But what if you could take it a step further by adding Amazon as your supplier. You could start selling without having your own stock to worry about.

    All you need is this plugin called Amazon Shop and an Amazon affiliate account. I am using this for one of my own sites, and it works perfectly.

    2. Forum

    WordPress Forum Theme

    WordPress as forum software, who would have thought? The guys at EngineThemes (you will see them mentioned several times in this article) have a great thing going on. They managed to turn WordPress into a very good forum app with a theme called ForumEngine.

  3. Top 5 Tools for Project Management

    Whether you’re on your own or working in a team, it’s important to keep a close eye on your projects. Project management tools are designed to help you keep track of your tasks, team members and customers.

    We’ve already looked at the Top 5 Time-Tracking and Top 5 CRM tools, so let’s do the same for project management tools.

    I selected these tools based on popularity and suggestions from readers, then compared them on functionality and usability.

    All of the tools listed offer a free trial or free plan so you can try them out yourself.

    Basecamp

    Basecamp-dash

    Basecamp is one of the most popular tools for project management. More than 285,000 companies already use it and thousands more are signing up each month. No matter how you look at it, that’s impressive.

    People love Basecamp for it’s usability, and it’s easy to see why when you sign up and load the sample project. The navigation is straightforward, and you can start working with Basecamp right away.

    basecamp-navigation

    Basecamp is so easy to use that you may find yourself wondering if this is really all there is to it. But yes, it’s all right there in the navigation.

  4. Panda 4.0: One Month On, Signs of Recovery

    Last month I described how it was to be hit by Panda 4.0 on May 20th. As we’re now one month further, it’s time to make up make up the score again.

    Let’s see some numbers!

    Unfortunately my largest site (a job site) didn’t recover fully, but it’s getting there. There were a few major drops though:
    - Visitors: – 28%
    - Pageviews: -38%
    - Revenue: -36%
    - Average ranking: -15%

    Ouch! What happened here is that my most profitable pages got hit the hardest. These pages account for the highest pageview per visit, as well as the highest CPM. That’s why my revenue got hit relatively hard and my pageview per visit count lowered.

    My site has got a few pages which account for around 45% of the total traffic. These pages weren’t hit, causing my average ranking to remain quite steady.

    It wasn’t all bad though. One of my more content right site saw an increase of around 40% in both visitors and pageviews, as well as an 20% increase in rankings. It’s revenue jumped up a staggering 300%.

    But as its total monthly revenue is worth as much as two days income on my large site, it won’t help much. Still a nice increase, and it basically shows what Panda 4.0 was meant for.

    Light on the horizon?

    As I expected after my previous article, some of my rankings would recover in the weeks following Panda 4.0. It mostly does, especially since the new rankings didn’t look all that logical.

    While my rankings are steadily moving up again, there are some strange effects noticeable along the way.

    2 weeks after getting hit by Panda 4.0, my job site had it’s busiest day ever. On June 2nd in the evening there was an explosion in traffic. I like watching my traffic coming in real time, and I started making screenshot.

  5. There is No Best Size for a Website

    With responsive practically becoming the standard, it’s harder than ever to define the best size for a website. Before responsive became mainstream, we used to base our design width on which screen sizes were popular at the moment. This way you knew that at least way a large portion of your sites’ visitors would see […]

  6. Top 5 Tools to Promote Your Site on Facebook

    Promoting your site on Facebook looks easy at first. Really, how hard can it be to get a few likes and get people sharing and commenting on your posts? Then you try it. You add more posts. You post funny pictures. You begin following people with more likes than you in the hopes of them […]

  7. Creating and Managing Events Using Facebook Pages

    If you are running a Facebook page, Facebook Events is a great tool for inviting your fans to a specific event. Facebook recently made it easier for you to set up an event and invite all of your fans, or just a selection of fans. Let’s see how that works. Setting up an event You […]

  8. 3 Great Gmail Alternatives

    Gmail is probably one of the most popular email services around. But it has some major drawbacks: the webmail client shows targeted ads around your mail. Even more important, you can’t use your own domain unless you are willing to pay $49,95 a year.

    What I do like about Gmail is how easy it is to setup on your mobile phone. It doesn’t matter if it’s an iPhone, or an Android (duh). Just hit the Gmail icon on your phone and within seconds you’re good to go. And you can use Gmail Calendar to sync your appointments across all of your devices.

    It also has an excellent spam filter, allows for both POP and IMAP access, has tons of filter options (including the dreadful tabs) and a very stable connection.

    But this all doesn’t make up for the fact that you can’t use your own custom domain. Any professional company should not be using a ‘mycompany@gmail.com’ email adDress. But $49,95 a year is a lot, especially when you are using multiple email addresses (because yes, this price is per account!).

    So let’s look at some Gmail alternatives. Preferably free or low priced, and definitely allowing for a custom domain. IMAP access should be standard, same goes for webmail. And it would be nice it you could use an integrated calendar.

    Outlook.com used to be a great alternative to Gmail: No ads, practically unlimited storage and email accounts all with your own domain. But they canceled the custom domain service, in favor of their paid Office365 product.

    After wading through dozens of email providers, I came up with this final selection: Zoho Mail (the only free alternative), Rackspace Email and plain old regular hosting. Turns out the combination of free/low pricing and a custom domain is a rare one.

  9. What It’s Like Getting Hit by Panda 4.0

    As of May 20, I really don’t like pandas anymore. Even seeing them on TV makes me shiver. Because May 20 was when I got hit by Panda 4.0. Those who got hit with me can probably spell this now famous tweet by Matt Cutts word for word. Matt is the head of spam at Google, and his tweets are feared by many.

    A little bit of background information

    So what’s the deal with these pandas? Well, Google is obviously inspired by the zoo for coming up with cute animals to name their algorithm updates after. Panda updates are used for flushing low quality sites (content farms) out of the search results. There’s also Penguin, which does the same for low quality backlinks.

    Originally intended to improve the overall search results quality, nowadays the Panda updates are mostly used to fix previous mistakes.

    So what makes Panda 4.0 so special?

    First of all, a fairly high number of sites got hit. About 7.5% of English queries were affected, which is a lot. Previous updates were around 1-2%.

  10. 5 Time-Tracking Tools for Web-Addicted Freelancers

    Time is money, right? That’s why there are few things more important to your bottom line than tracking your time.

    That’s were time tracking tools come in —  and there are tons of them, good and bad. Let’s separate the wheat from the chaff and find out which ones are worth your while.

    All of the reviewed tools include these features:

    • Easy tracking anywhere: you can use timers on both desktop, iOS and Android devices.
    • Extensive reporting: both in clear numbers and in graphs.

    Some of these apps also include:

    • Project and client management: directly assign worked hours to a specific project or client, with specified rates.
    • Invoicing: convert billable hours into an invoice for your client.
    • Desktop monitoring: keep track of which applications are used or which sites are visited.

    Let’s have a closer look at each of these tools, and see what makes them unique.

    Harvest

    Harvest is a popular time tracking tool. It offers all of the features listed above, except for desktop monitoring.

    Harvest is perfect if you are running multiple projects with different contributors, tasks and rates.

    Harvest comes with a limited free plan, but a more useful unlimited plan comes at $12 a month for a single user.

    So, why Harvest?