Jacco Blankenspoor is a website developer from the Netherlands, and is currently 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. 10 Ways to Earn Money from Your Site

    When you are running your own site and you start to see some serious traffic, you’ll probably want to earn some money from it.

    In this article we’ll look at 10 of the most popular ways to make money from your site. In each section I’ll list the big players in that specific field, but there are many more opportunities available–Google is your friend.

    You’ll find that you can mix and match many of these methods. Just be careful that you don’t overcrowd your site with ads. And of course you’ll need to test to find out what works best for your site.

    Let’s get started.

  2. 10 of the Best WooCommerce Themes

    One of the first things you need to do after getting started with WooCommerce, is to add an attractive yet functional theme.

    Even more than regular websites, web stores really need a strong focus on usability. Every time a visitor gets lost on your site, you will most likely lose sales which is certainly not ideal. Therefore, it’s worth taking the time to research and find the right theme for your store.

    WooCommerce Themes

    There are hundreds of WooCommerce themes available, both free and paid.

    In this article, I will show you some of the best WooCommerce themes out there. These themes range from general purpose themes to niche specific themes for things like fashion or food.

    Niche specific themes are mostly used to give the store a particular look and feel for the visitor, by using related images and colors. However, as with any WordPress (and also WooCommerce) theme, you can still customize it as much as you want.

    Here are ten of the best WooCommerce optimized themes, that will allow you to make full use of WooCommerce’s extensive features.

  3. A Downloadable Feast? A Review of Hemingway’s Desktop App

    Hemingway started out life as an online-only text editor that offered a unique way to improve people’s writing, based on the style of author Ernest Hemingway, renowned for his brief sentences and simple language. Recently, the team behind the app launched a desktop version (for Windows and Mac) that allows for opening and saving files. […]

  4. Getting Started with WooCommerce

    If you’re looking to run a web store based on WordPress, you’ve probably come across the name WooCommerce many times. WooCommerce is considered to be one of the best WordPress shopping cart plugins, if not the best. It combines a whole range of built-in features with the ability to use many useful extensions. Starting your […]

  5. Transform WordPress into a Full Featured Forum with bbPress

    Even in 2014, forums are still very popular, despite the rising popularity of the newer forms of social networks. The beauty of forums is that they allow for a focused discussion amongst like minded people. However, forum software is notoriously sluggish, hard to manage and can cause many forums to eventually lose their spark.

    Wouldn’t it be great if you could turn your favorite CMS and blog platform into a full featured forum? Enter bbPress. bbPress is a forum application that comes in the form of a WordPress plugin. By using WordPress to power your forum, you can rapidly reduce the learning curve, for both users and forum managers. bbPress was developed by the people who also brought us WordPress itself.

    So, is WordPress really up for the the task? Can a CMS effectively be turned into a forum with all the standard features you would expect? We’ve seen WordPress being used in many different capacities, so we know the potential is there.

    In this article, I will take a look at how easy bbPress is to install on WordPress. I will also review the main features that make it so popular and how it stacks up against ‘traditional’ forum software and other competing WordPress forum plugins.

    Configuring bbPress

    Setting Up bbPress

    As you can see in this screenshot, setting up a new bbPress based forum is as easy as making a new post. You might think this approach could never serve a really useful forum, and you’re right. It is rather simplistic to say the least. Or is it?

    After Setting Up bbPress

  6. ICANN’s New gTLDs: Is It Worth Becoming a .guru?

    This year hundreds of General Top Level Domains (better known as gTLDs) were made available. It’s now possible to identify yourself or your company with cool domain names like website.builders, futureless.ventures or IAmYour.guru.

    While some despise the ICANN (the organisation behind this move), others see it as an opportunity to get a unique domain name. It’s become hard to find a short domain lately, so now we can be creative in coming up with domain names that aren’t registered.

    I’m already hooked on these new gTLDs (I finally got to call myself the War Movies Guru, but they also come with major downsides. To help you decide I’ve compiled a list of pros and cons to consider before you register one of these news gTLDs yourself.

    Why you should register a new gTLD

    1. It sounds cool!

    Who doesn’t want to add .guru, .expert or .ninja to his profession? It sure does look great on your business card. Or what about link.builders? You have to act fast though, since there are only so many guru’s and these run are running out fast already.

    2. No ambiguity

    If you use the gTLD the right way, you can use your domain name to let potential customers know exactly what it is that you do. Brand.management, Leadership.training, LetMeMakeYouThePerfect.kitchen all leave no room for guessing. I’m sure there were many people interested in dedicated.hosting. I’m also looking forward to the release of the .review domain.

    3. Laser targeting for your product

    The gTLDs are not only perfect for showing what your company does, it’s also a great way of branding your products. Think about TheUltimatePHP.book or UltimateBling.diamonds. These domains are great for branding, and are maybe easier to remember (although it’s not that difficult to remember a .com.)

    4. They are actually pretty useful

    The best examples are .london and .berlin, which are great domains to use for tourist activities for example. Bring them in with Visit.london, have them travel around with Transport.london, and go for maximum monetization with Shops.london. It is even possible to have your own company gTLD, but I am not sure if .americanexpress is that beneficial to the company.

    Why you should not register a new gTLD

    1. It’s not a .com

    This is the number one reason why people don’t like the new gTLDs, or at least don’t see it being useful. People are that much accustomed to .com that they will probably still type warmovies.guru.com. That’s why I also registered warmoviesguru.com. But you still need to be lucky to find an available .com domain name to do this. Kind of takes the fun away from the process, which was one of its main benefits.

    2. Entry requirements

    Applicants for the new gTLDs got to choose if they wanted their domains to be open, restricted or closed. Open domains are available for everyone, restricted domains come with limitations, closed ones are, well, closed. The latter are primarily company domains, like .amazon. But restricted ones are tricky. Most country or city specific domains tend to have restrictions, like having a local presence. Luckily, most applicants decided to lose the restrictions, with monetary benefits being a good reason to do so.

  7. WordPress Gone Social – BuddyPress

    Most of us know WordPress as a blogging platform or full featured CMS, capable of being transformed in many different ways. But did you know that you can even turn WordPress into your own social network? It’s called BuddyPress and it’s a plugin that extends WordPress to give you all the components needed to create your own social network and online community.

    In this article, I will take a closer look into all the goodness that BuddyPress has to offer, including a variety of suitable themes. I will also show you a working demo and just how easy it is to manage your own community.

    Why Should You Use BuddyPress?

    You could try to launch ‘The New Facebook’ and aim for a gazillion dollar valuation, but maybe that’s a bit far-fetched. BuddyPress is intended to setup a dedicated community for something like your campus, company or even family. It is not only useful for small communities where you know each member in person, you can easily run a community with thousands of focused members, interacting with each other in very sophisticated ways.

    An excellent example of BuddyPress in action is Shift.ms, a social network for those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. In this network, users share their knowledge, ask each other questions or just offer support in difficult times. The combination of WordPress and BuddyPress makes it a perfect resource for providing useful information with a variety of ways to interact.

    Another reason to use BuddyPress is the community of active users and developers. And because BuddyPress (like WordPress) is open source, there are lots of great people constantly making BuddyPress even better.

    What Do You Get with BuddyPress Out of the Box?

    BuddyPress comes with a variety of components, but you can turn any of these on or off for your network, depending on what you need. These components are listed below and should give you a good idea of the types of features and functionality that BuddyPress has to offer:

  8. 4 of the Most Popular WordPress Theme Frameworks

    WordPress frameworks are becoming increasingly popular to build themes with. They allow for rapid development based on best practices, without the need to reinvent the wheel each time you design a new theme.

    What are WordPress Theme Frameworks?

    A WordPress theme framework allows you to build WordPress themes the same way Volkswagen builds its cars. They use only a handful of platforms, on which they can build dozens of different models for their four major brands. Each car model has a common set of components like engine, power train or suspension. But when it comes to designing the interior and exterior, each brand gives its own flavor to make it unique.

    For example, if you replace ‘engines’ with theme options, ‘power train’ with documentation and ‘suspension’ with SEO, you get the idea of these shared components. Frameworks lay the foundations for a theme, so you can focus on designing rather than programming. With some frameworks, 80% of your work has already been done before you begin, so you only have to worry about using the remaining 20% to make your theme unique.

    Frameworks do have one major drawback, which is also seen with automobile platforms. They limit flexibility and creativity and the themes based on frameworks have the tendency to all look the same. Also, as a developer, it may take some time before fully understanding the framework.

    If you put in enough time you will see that it is possible to make your theme stand out from the crowd. Just like we all want a unique design, most of us would rather drive an Audi A3 than a Volkswagen Golf. If you learn your chosen framework, at least you can always be assured that your foundation is properly built.

    In this article I will show you some of the current popular WordPress theme frameworks. Three of them are paid and one of them is free, and each has its own distinctive qualities. I will also have a look at their support options and show you what some of the completed themes looks like.

  9. 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using a CDN with WordPress

    Nowadays it’s relatively inexpensive to use a Content Distribution Network (CDN) for your WordPress website, some are even free. While there are many benefits of using a CDN, they should be taken with a grain of salt.

    In this article you won’t find only hallelujahs for using a CDN, but I will give you 5 good reasons why you should be using a CDN with WordPress.

    One important note: Even if you’re saying you are not using a CDN, you probably are. Almost all of the third party apps running on your site, like Facebook or Google Analytics are using CDNs to load their scripts. Craig gives further insight in his article about CDNs.

    In this article I will focus on the CDN you actively turn on yourself however, which is quite easy if you use a WordPress caching plugin.

    1. Speed

    Let’s start with what most people consider the main selling point of a CDN: Speed. It is widely believed that using a CDN will increase the loading speed of your site.

  10. The Best WordPress Shopping Cart Plugins

    WordPress is an extremely versatile platform, with a diverse range of capabilities. One of the most popular (and growing) uses of WordPress is running an eCommerce website. Thanks to some very brilliant plugins it’s possible to set up a online shop at a relatively low cost while still achieving professional design and functionality.

    In this article I will show you five of the best WordPress shopping cart plugins, including their front-end design and most important features. Each plugin has its own strengths and weaknesses, so you will find pros and cons for each one of them.

    WooCommerce

    WooCommerce Demo