We Hire the Best, Just Like Everyone Else

One of the most common pieces of advice you’ll get as a startup is this:

Only hire the best. The quality of the people that work at your company will be one of the biggest factors in your success – or failure.

I’ve heard this advice over and over and over

One of the most common pieces of advice you'll get as a startup is this:

Only hire the best. The quality of the people that work at your company will be one of the biggest factors in your success – or failure.

I've heard this advice over and over and over at startup events, to the point that I got a little sick of hearing it. It's not wrong. Putting aside the fact that every single other startup in the world who heard this same advice before you is already out there frantically doing everything they can to hire all the best people out from under you and everyone else, it is superficially true. A company staffed by a bunch of people who don't care about their work and aren't good at their jobs isn't exactly poised for success. But in a room full of people giving advice to startups, nobody wants to talk about the elephant in that room:

It doesn't matter how good the people are at your company when you happen to be working on the wrong problem, at the wrong time, using the wrong approach.

Most startups, statistically speaking, are going to fail.

And they will fail regardless of whether they hired "the best" due to circumstances largely beyond their control. So in that context does maximizing for the best possible hires really make sense?

Given the risks, I think maybe "hire the nuttiest risk junkie adrenaline addicted has-ideas-so-crazy-they-will-never-work people you can find" might actually be more practical startup advice. (Actually, now that I think about it, if that describes you, and you have serious Linux, Ruby, and JavaScript chops, perhaps you should email me.)

Okay, the goal is to increase your chance of success, however small it may be, therefore you should strive to hire the best. Seems reasonable, even noble in its way. But this pursuit of the best unfortunately comes with a serious dark side. Can anyone even tell me what "best" is? By what metrics? Judged by which results? How do we measure this? Who among us is suitable to judge others as the best at … what, exactly? Best is an extreme. Not pretty good, not very good, not excellent, but aiming for the crème de la crème, the top 1% in the industry.

The real trouble with using a lot of mediocre programmers instead of a couple of good ones is that no matter how long they work, they never produce something as good as what the great programmers can produce.

Pursuit of this extreme means hiring anyone less than the best becomes unacceptable, even harmful:

In the Macintosh Division, we had a saying, “A players hire A players; B players hire C players� – meaning that great people hire great people. On the other hand, mediocre people hire candidates who are not as good as they are, so they can feel superior to them. (If you start down this slippery slope, you’ll soon end up with Z players; this is called The Bozo Explosion. It is followed by The Layoff.) — Guy Kawasaki

There is an opportunity cost to keeping someone when you could do better. At a startup, that opportunity cost may be the difference between success and failure. Do you give less than full effort to make your enterprise a success? As an entrepreneur, you sweat blood to succeed. Shouldn’t you have a team that performs like you do? Every person you hire who is not a top player is like having a leak in the hull. Eventually you will sink. — Jon Soberg

Why am I so hardnosed about this? It’s because it is much, much better to reject a good candidate than to accept a bad candidate. A bad candidate will cost a lot of money and effort and waste other people’s time fixing all their bugs. Firing someone you hired by mistake can take months and be nightmarishly difficult, especially if they decide to be litigious about it. In some situations it may be completely impossible to fire anyone. Bad employees demoralize the good employees. And they might be bad programmers but really nice people or maybe they really need this job, so you can’t bear to fire them, or you can’t fire them without pissing everybody off, or whatever. It’s just a bad scene.

On the other hand, if you reject a good candidate, I mean, I guess in some existential sense an injustice has been done, but, hey, if they’re so smart, don’t worry, they’ll get lots of good job offers. Don’t be afraid that you’re going to reject too many people and you won’t be able to find anyone to hire. During the interview, it’s not your problem. Of course, it’s important to seek out good candidates. But once you’re actually interviewing someone, pretend that you’ve got 900 more people lined up outside the door. Don’t lower your standards no matter how hard it seems to find those great candidates. — Joel Spolsky

I don't mean to be critical of anyone I've quoted. I love Joel, we founded Stack Overflow together, and his advice about interviewing and hiring remains some of the best in the industry. It's hardly unique to express these sort of opinions in the software and startup field. I could have cited two dozen different articles and treatises about hiring that say the exact same thing: aim high and set out to hire the best, or don't bother.

This risk of hiring not-the-best is so severe, so existential a crisis to the very survival of your company or startup, the hiring process has to become highly selective, even arduous. It is better to reject a good applicant every single time than accidentally accept one single mediocre applicant. If the interview process produces literally anything other than unequivocal "Oh my God, this person is unbelievably talented, we have to hire them", from every single person they interviewed with, right down the line, then it's an automatic NO HIRE. Every time.

This level of strictness always made me uncomfortable. I'm not going to lie, it starts with my own selfishness. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get hired at big, famous companies with legendarily difficult technical interview processes because, you know, they only hire the best. I don't think I am one of the best. More like cranky, tenacious, and outspoken, to the point that I wake up most days not even wanting to work with myself.

If your hiring attitude is that it's better to be possibly wrong a hundred times so you can be absolutely right one time, you're going to be primed to throw away a lot of candidates on pretty thin evidence.

Perhaps worst of all, if the interview process is predicated on zero doubt, total confidence … maybe this candidate doesn't feel right because they don't look like you, dress like you, think like you, speak like you, or come from a similar background as you? Are you accidentally maximizing for hidden bias?

One of the best programmers I ever worked with was Susan Warren, an ex-Microsoft engineer who taught me about the People Like Us problem, way back in 2004:

I think there is a real issue around diversity in technology (and most other places in life). I tend to think of it as the PLU problem. Folk (including MVPs) tend to connect best with folks most like them ("People Like Us"). In this case, male MVPs pick other men to become MVPs. It's just human nature.

As one reply notes, diversity is good. I'd go as far as to say it's awesome, amazing, priceless. But it's hard to get to -- the classic chicken and egg problem -- if you rely on your natural tendencies alone. In that case, if you want more female MVPs to be invited you need more female MVPs. If you want more Asian-American MVPs to be invited you need more Asian-American MVPs, etc. And the (cheap) way to break a new group in is via quotas.

IMO, building diversity via quotas is bad because they are unfair. Educating folks on why diversity is awesome and how to build it is the right way to go, but also far more costly.

Susan was (and is) amazing. I learned so much working under her, and a big part of what made her awesome was that she was very much Not Like Me. But how could I have appreciated that before meeting her? The fact is that as human beings, we tend to prefer what's comfortable, and what's most comfortable of all is … well, People Like Us. The effect can be shocking because it's so subtle, so unconscious – and yet, surprisingly strong:

  • Baseball cards held by a black hand consistently sold for twenty percent less than those held by a white hand.

  • Using screens to hide the identity of auditioning musicians increased women's probability of advancing from preliminary orchestra auditions by fifty percent.

  • Denver police officers and community members were shown rapidly displayed photos of black and white men, some holding guns, some holding harmless objects like wallets, and asked to press either the "Shoot" or "Don't Shoot" button as fast as they could for each image. Both the police and community members were three times more likely to shoot black men.

It's not intentional, it's never intentional. That's the problem. I think our industry needs to shed this old idea that it's OK, even encouraged to turn away technical candidates for anything less than absolute 100% confidence at every step of the interview process. Because when you do, you are accidentally optimizing for implicit bias. Even as a white guy who probably fulfills every stereotype you can think of about programmers, and who is in fact wearing an "I Rock at Basic" t-shirt while writing this very blog post*, that's what has always bothered me about it, more than the strictness. If you care at all about diversity in programming and tech, on any level, this hiring approach is not doing anyone any favors, and hasn't been. For years.

I know what you're thinking.

Fine, Jeff, if you're so smart, and "hiring the best" isn't the right strategy for startups, and maybe even harmful to our field as a whole, what should be doing?

Well, I don't know, exactly. I may be the wrong person to ask because I'm also a big believer in geographic diversity on top of everything else. Here's what the composition of the current Discourse team looks like:

I would argue, quite strongly and at some length, that if you want better diversity in the field, perhaps a good starting point is not demanding that all your employees live within a tiny 30 mile radius of San Francisco or Palo Alto. There's a whole wide world of Internet out there, full of amazing programmers at every level of talent and ability. Maybe broaden your horizons a little, even stretch said horizons outside the United States, if you can imagine such a thing.

I know hiring people is difficult, even with the very best of intentions and under ideal conditions, so I don't mean to trivialize the challenge. I've recommended plenty of things in the past, a smorgasboard of approaches to try or leave on the table as you see fit:

… but the one thing I keep coming back to, that I believe has enduring value in almost all situations, is the audition project:

The most significant shift we’ve made is requiring every final candidate to work with us for three to eight weeks on a contract basis. Candidates do real tasks alongside the people they would actually be working with if they had the job. They can work at night or on weekends, so they don’t have to leave their current jobs; most spend 10 to 20 hours a week working with Automattic, although that’s flexible. (Some people take a week’s vacation in order to focus on the tryout, which is another viable option.) The goal is not to have them finish a product or do a set amount of work; it’s to allow us to quickly and efficiently assess whether this would be a mutually beneficial relationship. They can size up Automattic while we evaluate them.

What I like about audition projects:

  • It's real, practical work.
  • They get paid. (Ask yourself who gets "paid" for a series of intensive interviews that lasts multiple days? Certainly not the candidate.)
  • It's healthy to structure your work so that small projects like this can be taken on by outsiders. If you can't onboard a potential hire, you probably can't onboard a new hire very well either.
  • Interviews, no matter how much effort you put into them, are so hit and miss that the only way to figure out if someone is really going to work in a given position is to actually work with them.

Every company says they want to hire the best. Anyone who tells you they know how to do that is either lying to you or to themselves. But I can tell you this: the companies that really do hire the best people in the world certainly don't accomplish that by hiring from the same tired playbook every other company in Silicon Valley uses.

Try different approaches. Expand your horizons. Look beyond People Like Us and imagine what the world of programming could look like in 10, 20 or even 50 years – and help us move there by hiring to make it so.

* And for the record, I really do rock at BASIC.

[advertisement] Building out your tech team? Stack Overflow Careers helps you hire from the largest community for programmers on the planet. We built our site with developers like you in mind.

We Hire the Best, Just Like Everyone Else

One of the most common pieces of advice you’ll get as a startup is this:

Only hire the best. The quality of the people that work at your company will be one of the biggest factors in your success – or failure.

I’ve heard this advice over and over and over

One of the most common pieces of advice you'll get as a startup is this:

Only hire the best. The quality of the people that work at your company will be one of the biggest factors in your success – or failure.

I've heard this advice over and over and over at startup events, to the point that I got a little sick of hearing it. It's not wrong. Putting aside the fact that every single other startup in the world who heard this same advice before you is already out there frantically doing everything they can to hire all the best people out from under you and everyone else, it is superficially true. A company staffed by a bunch of people who don't care about their work and aren't good at their jobs isn't exactly poised for success. But in a room full of people giving advice to startups, nobody wants to talk about the elephant in that room:

It doesn't matter how good the people are at your company when you happen to be working on the wrong problem, at the wrong time, using the wrong approach.

Most startups, statistically speaking, are going to fail.

And they will fail regardless of whether they hired "the best" due to circumstances largely beyond their control. So in that context does maximizing for the best possible hires really make sense?

Given the risks, I think maybe "hire the nuttiest risk junkie adrenaline addicted has-ideas-so-crazy-they-will-never-work people you can find" might actually be more practical startup advice. (Actually, now that I think about it, if that describes you, and you have serious Linux, Ruby, and JavaScript chops, perhaps you should email me.)

Okay, the goal is to increase your chance of success, however small it may be, therefore you should strive to hire the best. Seems reasonable, even noble in its way. But this pursuit of the best unfortunately comes with a serious dark side. Can anyone even tell me what "best" is? By what metrics? Judged by which results? How do we measure this? Who among us is suitable to judge others as the best at … what, exactly? Best is an extreme. Not pretty good, not very good, not excellent, but aiming for the crème de la crème, the top 1% in the industry.

The real trouble with using a lot of mediocre programmers instead of a couple of good ones is that no matter how long they work, they never produce something as good as what the great programmers can produce.

Pursuit of this extreme means hiring anyone less than the best becomes unacceptable, even harmful:

In the Macintosh Division, we had a saying, “A players hire A players; B players hire C players� – meaning that great people hire great people. On the other hand, mediocre people hire candidates who are not as good as they are, so they can feel superior to them. (If you start down this slippery slope, you’ll soon end up with Z players; this is called The Bozo Explosion. It is followed by The Layoff.) — Guy Kawasaki

There is an opportunity cost to keeping someone when you could do better. At a startup, that opportunity cost may be the difference between success and failure. Do you give less than full effort to make your enterprise a success? As an entrepreneur, you sweat blood to succeed. Shouldn’t you have a team that performs like you do? Every person you hire who is not a top player is like having a leak in the hull. Eventually you will sink. — Jon Soberg

Why am I so hardnosed about this? It’s because it is much, much better to reject a good candidate than to accept a bad candidate. A bad candidate will cost a lot of money and effort and waste other people’s time fixing all their bugs. Firing someone you hired by mistake can take months and be nightmarishly difficult, especially if they decide to be litigious about it. In some situations it may be completely impossible to fire anyone. Bad employees demoralize the good employees. And they might be bad programmers but really nice people or maybe they really need this job, so you can’t bear to fire them, or you can’t fire them without pissing everybody off, or whatever. It’s just a bad scene.

On the other hand, if you reject a good candidate, I mean, I guess in some existential sense an injustice has been done, but, hey, if they’re so smart, don’t worry, they’ll get lots of good job offers. Don’t be afraid that you’re going to reject too many people and you won’t be able to find anyone to hire. During the interview, it’s not your problem. Of course, it’s important to seek out good candidates. But once you’re actually interviewing someone, pretend that you’ve got 900 more people lined up outside the door. Don’t lower your standards no matter how hard it seems to find those great candidates. — Joel Spolsky

I don't mean to be critical of anyone I've quoted. I love Joel, we founded Stack Overflow together, and his advice about interviewing and hiring remains some of the best in the industry. It's hardly unique to express these sort of opinions in the software and startup field. I could have cited two dozen different articles and treatises about hiring that say the exact same thing: aim high and set out to hire the best, or don't bother.

This risk of hiring not-the-best is so severe, so existential a crisis to the very survival of your company or startup, the hiring process has to become highly selective, even arduous. It is better to reject a good applicant every single time than accidentally accept one single mediocre applicant. If the interview process produces literally anything other than unequivocal "Oh my God, this person is unbelievably talented, we have to hire them", from every single person they interviewed with, right down the line, then it's an automatic NO HIRE. Every time.

This level of strictness always made me uncomfortable. I'm not going to lie, it starts with my own selfishness. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get hired at big, famous companies with legendarily difficult technical interview processes because, you know, they only hire the best. I don't think I am one of the best. More like cranky, tenacious, and outspoken, to the point that I wake up most days not even wanting to work with myself.

If your hiring attitude is that it's better to be possibly wrong a hundred times so you can be absolutely right one time, you're going to be primed to throw away a lot of candidates on pretty thin evidence.

Perhaps worst of all, if the interview process is predicated on zero doubt, total confidence … maybe this candidate doesn't feel right because they don't look like you, dress like you, think like you, speak like you, or come from a similar background as you? Are you accidentally maximizing for hidden bias?

One of the best programmers I ever worked with was Susan Warren, an ex-Microsoft engineer who taught me about the People Like Us problem, way back in 2004:

I think there is a real issue around diversity in technology (and most other places in life). I tend to think of it as the PLU problem. Folk (including MVPs) tend to connect best with folks most like them ("People Like Us"). In this case, male MVPs pick other men to become MVPs. It's just human nature.

As one reply notes, diversity is good. I'd go as far as to say it's awesome, amazing, priceless. But it's hard to get to -- the classic chicken and egg problem -- if you rely on your natural tendencies alone. In that case, if you want more female MVPs to be invited you need more female MVPs. If you want more Asian-American MVPs to be invited you need more Asian-American MVPs, etc. And the (cheap) way to break a new group in is via quotas.

IMO, building diversity via quotas is bad because they are unfair. Educating folks on why diversity is awesome and how to build it is the right way to go, but also far more costly.

Susan was (and is) amazing. I learned so much working under her, and a big part of what made her awesome was that she was very much Not Like Me. But how could I have appreciated that before meeting her? The fact is that as human beings, we tend to prefer what's comfortable, and what's most comfortable of all is … well, People Like Us. The effect can be shocking because it's so subtle, so unconscious – and yet, surprisingly strong:

  • Baseball cards held by a black hand consistently sold for twenty percent less than those held by a white hand.

  • Using screens to hide the identity of auditioning musicians increased women's probability of advancing from preliminary orchestra auditions by fifty percent.

  • Denver police officers and community members were shown rapidly displayed photos of black and white men, some holding guns, some holding harmless objects like wallets, and asked to press either the "Shoot" or "Don't Shoot" button as fast as they could for each image. Both the police and community members were three times more likely to shoot black men.

It's not intentional, it's never intentional. That's the problem. I think our industry needs to shed this old idea that it's OK, even encouraged to turn away technical candidates for anything less than absolute 100% confidence at every step of the interview process. Because when you do, you are accidentally optimizing for implicit bias. Even as a white guy who probably fulfills every stereotype you can think of about programmers, and who is in fact wearing an "I Rock at Basic" t-shirt while writing this very blog post*, that's what has always bothered me about it, more than the strictness. If you care at all about diversity in programming and tech, on any level, this hiring approach is not doing anyone any favors, and hasn't been. For years.

I know what you're thinking.

Fine, Jeff, if you're so smart, and "hiring the best" isn't the right strategy for startups, and maybe even harmful to our field as a whole, what should be doing?

Well, I don't know, exactly. I may be the wrong person to ask because I'm also a big believer in geographic diversity on top of everything else. Here's what the composition of the current Discourse team looks like:

I would argue, quite strongly and at some length, that if you want better diversity in the field, perhaps a good starting point is not demanding that all your employees live within a tiny 30 mile radius of San Francisco or Palo Alto. There's a whole wide world of Internet out there, full of amazing programmers at every level of talent and ability. Maybe broaden your horizons a little, even stretch said horizons outside the United States, if you can imagine such a thing.

I know hiring people is difficult, even with the very best of intentions and under ideal conditions, so I don't mean to trivialize the challenge. I've recommended plenty of things in the past, a smorgasboard of approaches to try or leave on the table as you see fit:

… but the one thing I keep coming back to, that I believe has enduring value in almost all situations, is the audition project:

The most significant shift we’ve made is requiring every final candidate to work with us for three to eight weeks on a contract basis. Candidates do real tasks alongside the people they would actually be working with if they had the job. They can work at night or on weekends, so they don’t have to leave their current jobs; most spend 10 to 20 hours a week working with Automattic, although that’s flexible. (Some people take a week’s vacation in order to focus on the tryout, which is another viable option.) The goal is not to have them finish a product or do a set amount of work; it’s to allow us to quickly and efficiently assess whether this would be a mutually beneficial relationship. They can size up Automattic while we evaluate them.

What I like about audition projects:

  • It's real, practical work.
  • They get paid. (Ask yourself who gets "paid" for a series of intensive interviews that lasts multiple days? Certainly not the candidate.)
  • It's healthy to structure your work so that small projects like this can be taken on by outsiders. If you can't onboard a potential hire, you probably can't onboard a new hire very well either.
  • Interviews, no matter how much effort you put into them, are so hit and miss that the only way to figure out if someone is really going to work in a given position is to actually work with them.

Every company says they want to hire the best. Anyone who tells you they know how to do that is either lying to you or to themselves. But I can tell you this: the companies that really do hire the best people in the world certainly don't accomplish that by hiring from the same tired playbook every other company in Silicon Valley uses.

Try different approaches. Expand your horizons. Look beyond People Like Us and imagine what the world of programming could look like in 10, 20 or even 50 years – and help us move there by hiring to make it so.

* And for the record, I really do rock at BASIC.

[advertisement] Building out your tech team? Stack Overflow Careers helps you hire from the largest community for programmers on the planet. We built our site with developers like you in mind.

19 Best Real Estate WordPress Themes for Realtors (2017)

Are you looking for the best real estate WordPress themes for realtors? WordPress is used by a lot of small and large real estate websites to showcase their listings. In this article, we will show you some of the best real estate WordPress themes for… Read More »

The post 19 Best Real Estate WordPress Themes for Realtors (2017) appeared first on WPBeginner.

Are you looking for the best real estate WordPress themes for realtors? WordPress is used by a lot of small and large real estate websites to showcase their listings. In this article, we will show you some of the best real estate WordPress themes for realtors that will help you easily create a powerful real estate website.

Best WordPress real estate themes for realtors

Building a Real Estate Website for Realtors

First, thing you need to know that all themes on this website are for self-hosted WordPress.org site and will not work on WordPress.com websites. Please refer to our guide on the difference between WordPress.com and self hosted WordPress.org sites.

If you are just getting started with WordPress, then you will need to sign up with a WordPress hosting provider.

We recommend using Bluehost or SiteGround because they are both official WordPress recommended hosting providers.

After you have signed up for hosting, you are ready to install WordPress. You can follow our step by step guide on how to start a WordPress website.

After the installation, you will be ready to choose a WordPress theme for your website. There are hundreds of beautiful WordPress themes out there, which makes it difficult for beginners to choose.

Let’s take a look at our expert pick of the best real estate WordPress themes for realtors.

1. AgentPress Pro

AgentPress Pro is a premium WordPress real estate theme for realtors. It comes with AgrentPress listings plugin which allows you to add a listings management system to your WordPress site.

AgentPress comes with 4 color schemes, custom widgets, backgrounds, headers, and theme options panel. It is developed by StudioPress and runs on top of the powerful Genesis theme framework.

2. Realtor

Realtor

Realtor is a premium theme for realtors, agencies, and real estate listing websites. It comes with full-featured listings area that can be displayed in grid or list view.

It also features an advanced property filter and search, properties map (built using Google maps API), realtor profile page, multiple listing templates. It has various shortcodes, custom widgets, and all the options you would want to see in a premium theme.

3. Must See

Must See

Must See is a mobile friendly child theme for Equity theme framework. It comes with built-in support for IDX services and search filters for listings.

It has 4 color schemes to choose from, you can also use your own custom colors. The theme comes with shortcodes, real-estate specific widgets, and all premium features you would expect from a premium theme.

4. Home Quest

Home Quest

Home Quest is a feature rich WordPress theme for realtors. It comes with a built-in listing management system that beautifully fits in your website. It also has a powerful listings search feature, which makes it super easy for users to browse listings.

Apart from that, it has all the usual features that you would expect from a premium theme. Sliders, page templates, shortcodes, and custom widgets are all included.

5. Bellaina

Bellaina

Bellaina is a beautiful responsive WordPress theme for realtors. It is built on top of Cherry framework, and comes with a powerful listings management system. It has IDX support and comes with easy options panel.

The theme also has all the premium theme features like custom widgets, shortcodes, content modules, Google fonts, etc.

6. HomePro

HomePro

HomePro is a stylish WordPress theme for realtors. It has a modern layout featuring large images, mobile-friendly layout, and custom real estate features.

The theme comes with powerful listings management and full IDX support. It has custom page templates, single listing template, custom real estate related widgets, and lots more.

7. Estate Engine

Estate Engine

Estate Engine is can convert any website into its own real estate engine. You can monetize your real estate website by allowing users to add their own listings for a fee.

It has a powerful listing search filter with Google Maps support, galleries, sliders, and custom widgets. Estate Engine also comes with a mobile theme that your mobile users will see, it looks equally beautiful without compromising the functionality.

8. Residence

Residence

Residence is a classy mobile friendly real estate theme. It has Google Maps powered listings and IDX-MLS search filter, which makes it easier for users to find listings.

This beautiful theme comes with custom widgets, multiple page layouts, gallery carousel, and a currency and unit convertor.

9. CozyHouse

CozyHouse

CozyHouse is a clean and modern WordPress theme for realtors and real estate agencies. It has an easy to use listings area and powerful search features. It also has IDX support and fully integrated Google Maps.

CozyHouse come with multiple color schemes, custom widgets, shortcodes, and easy theme customization options.

10. Oikia

Oikia

Oikia WordPress theme for realtors and agencies is a powerful feature rich theme. It features an advanced map and location filter integrated into listings management. It has custom post types, widgets, shortcodes, and multiple color choices.

11. WPCasa Elviria

elviria

Built on WPCasa, a framework designed specifically for real estate websites. Eliviria is an elegant WordPress theme with powerful real estate features baked in.

It has listings widgets, listings slider, and listings carousel. There are multiple homepage layouts with unlimited color choices.

12. UpTown

UpTown is a WordPress theme for realtor website. However, it does not include any listings features by default. You will need to download a plugin in order to add listings. It is quite simple to use and theme setup is quick and pain free.

13. WPCasa Bahia

WPCasa Bahia

WPCasa’s Bahia theme for realtors features large background image on the homepage with a very prominent search feature for listings. This beautiful real estate theme comes with multiple homepage layouts, custom widgets, templates, and much more.

14. Perfect Rent

Perfect rent

Perfect Rent is an apartment renting WordPress theme for realtors and agencies. It comes with beautiful templates and built-in apartment search filters.

Perfect Rent also has beautiful slider, apartment listing templates, galleries, shortcode, and lots of theme options.

15. London

London

London is another WordPress theme designed on top of WPCasa framework. It is sleek and modern featuring large background images and a prominently displayed listings search.

It comes with multiple color choices, custom templates, shortcodes, and IDX support.

16. HomeQuest

Homequest

HomeQuest is a WordPress realtors directory theme. It allows you to easily monetize your website by accepting listings from other realtors and agencies.

It is mobile-ready and comes with custom widgets, listings template, search and filter, shortcodes, etc.

17. Oslo

Oslo
Oslo is a beautiful bright WordPress theme for realtors. It has listings search, filters, templates, and complete IDX support.

Apart from that it is SEO friendly, mobile-ready, and comes with tons of features needed to build an awesome real estate website.

18. Realtor Services

Realtor Services

Realtor Services is a beautifully crafted WordPress real estate theme. It has powerful listings management system and it also supports IDX. Realtor Services has multiple custom templates, full screen backgrounds, parallax scrolling, and custom widgets.

19. Main Street

Main street

Main Street is a classy WordPress real estate theme with IDX-MLS integration and mobile ready Layout. It has built-in support for Google maps, feature property slideshow, gorgeous property galleries, lightning fast search with a professional look for agents and realtors.

That’s all for now.

We hope this article helped you find the best WordPress real estate theme for realtors. You may also want to see our list of 24 must have WordPress plugins for business websites.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post 19 Best Real Estate WordPress Themes for Realtors (2017) appeared first on WPBeginner.

We Hire the Best, Just Like Everyone Else

One of the most common pieces of advice you’ll get as a startup is this:

Only hire the best. The quality of the people that work at your company will be one of the biggest factors in your success – or failure.

I’ve heard this advice over and over and

One of the most common pieces of advice you'll get as a startup is this:

Only hire the best. The quality of the people that work at your company will be one of the biggest factors in your success – or failure.

I've heard this advice over and over and over at startup events, to the point that I got a little sick of hearing it. It's not wrong. Putting aside the fact that every single other startup in the world who heard this same advice before you is already out there frantically doing everything they can to hire all the best people out from under you and everyone else, it is superficially true. A company staffed by a bunch of people who don't care about their work and aren't good at their jobs isn't exactly poised for success. But in a room full of people giving advice to startups, nobody wants to talk about the elephant in that room:

It doesn't matter how good the people are at your company when you happen to be working on the wrong problem, at the wrong time, using the wrong approach.

Most startups, statistically speaking, are going to fail.

And they will fail regardless of whether they hired "the best" due to circumstances largely beyond their control. So in that context does maximizing for the best possible hires really make sense?

Given the risks, I think maybe "hire the nuttiest risk junkie adrenaline addicted has-ideas-so-crazy-they-will-never-work people you can find" might actually be more practical startup advice. (Actually, now that I think about it, if that describes you, and you have serious Linux, Ruby, and JavaScript chops, perhaps you should email me.)

Okay, the goal is to increase your chance of success, however small it may be, therefore you should strive to hire the best. Seems reasonable, even noble in its way. But this pursuit of the best unfortunately comes with a serious dark side. Can anyone even tell me what "best" is? By what metrics? Judged by which results? How do we measure this? Who among us is suitable to judge others as the best at … what, exactly? Best is an extreme. Not pretty good, not very good, not excellent, but aiming for the crème de la crème, the top 1% in the industry.

The real trouble with using a lot of mediocre programmers instead of a couple of good ones is that no matter how long they work, they never produce something as good as what the great programmers can produce.

Pursuit of this extreme means hiring anyone less than the best becomes unacceptable, even harmful:

In the Macintosh Division, we had a saying, “A players hire A players; B players hire C players” – meaning that great people hire great people. On the other hand, mediocre people hire candidates who are not as good as they are, so they can feel superior to them. (If you start down this slippery slope, you’ll soon end up with Z players; this is called The Bozo Explosion. It is followed by The Layoff.) — Guy Kawasaki

There is an opportunity cost to keeping someone when you could do better. At a startup, that opportunity cost may be the difference between success and failure. Do you give less than full effort to make your enterprise a success? As an entrepreneur, you sweat blood to succeed. Shouldn’t you have a team that performs like you do? Every person you hire who is not a top player is like having a leak in the hull. Eventually you will sink. — Jon Soberg

Why am I so hardnosed about this? It’s because it is much, much better to reject a good candidate than to accept a bad candidate. A bad candidate will cost a lot of money and effort and waste other people’s time fixing all their bugs. Firing someone you hired by mistake can take months and be nightmarishly difficult, especially if they decide to be litigious about it. In some situations it may be completely impossible to fire anyone. Bad employees demoralize the good employees. And they might be bad programmers but really nice people or maybe they really need this job, so you can’t bear to fire them, or you can’t fire them without pissing everybody off, or whatever. It’s just a bad scene.

On the other hand, if you reject a good candidate, I mean, I guess in some existential sense an injustice has been done, but, hey, if they’re so smart, don’t worry, they’ll get lots of good job offers. Don’t be afraid that you’re going to reject too many people and you won’t be able to find anyone to hire. During the interview, it’s not your problem. Of course, it’s important to seek out good candidates. But once you’re actually interviewing someone, pretend that you’ve got 900 more people lined up outside the door. Don’t lower your standards no matter how hard it seems to find those great candidates. — Joel Spolsky

I don't mean to be critical of anyone I've quoted. I love Joel, we founded Stack Overflow together, and his advice about interviewing and hiring remains some of the best in the industry. It's hardly unique to express these sort of opinions in the software and startup field. I could have cited two dozen different articles and treatises about hiring that say the exact same thing: aim high and set out to hire the best, or don't bother.

This risk of hiring not-the-best is so severe, so existential a crisis to the very survival of your company or startup, the hiring process has to become highly selective, even arduous. It is better to reject a good applicant every single time than accidentally accept one single mediocre applicant. If the interview process produces literally anything other than unequivocal "Oh my God, this person is unbelievably talented, we have to hire them", from every single person they interviewed with, right down the line, then it's an automatic NO HIRE. Every time.

This level of strictness always made me uncomfortable. I'm not going to lie, it starts with my own selfishness. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get hired at big, famous companies with legendarily difficult technical interview processes because, you know, they only hire the best. I don't think I am one of the best. More like cranky, tenacious, and outspoken, to the point that I wake up most days not even wanting to work with myself.

If your hiring attitude is that it's better to be possibly wrong a hundred times so you can be absolutely right one time, you're going to be primed to throw away a lot of candidates on pretty thin evidence.

Perhaps worst of all, if the interview process is predicated on zero doubt, total confidence … maybe this candidate doesn't feel right because they don't look like you, dress like you, think like you, speak like you, or come from a similar background as you? Are you accidentally maximizing for hidden bias?

One of the best programmers I ever worked with was Susan Warren, an ex-Microsoft engineer who taught me about the People Like Us problem, way back in 2004:

I think there is a real issue around diversity in technology (and most other places in life). I tend to think of it as the PLU problem. Folk (including MVPs) tend to connect best with folks most like them ("People Like Us"). In this case, male MVPs pick other men to become MVPs. It's just human nature.

As one reply notes, diversity is good. I'd go as far as to say it's awesome, amazing, priceless. But it's hard to get to -- the classic chicken and egg problem -- if you rely on your natural tendencies alone. In that case, if you want more female MVPs to be invited you need more female MVPs. If you want more Asian-American MVPs to be invited you need more Asian-American MVPs, etc. And the (cheap) way to break a new group in is via quotas.

IMO, building diversity via quotas is bad because they are unfair. Educating folks on why diversity is awesome and how to build it is the right way to go, but also far more costly.

Susan was (and is) amazing. I learned so much working under her, and a big part of what made her awesome was that she was very much Not Like Me. But how could I have appreciated that before meeting her? The fact is that as human beings, we tend to prefer what's comfortable, and what's most comfortable of all is … well, People Like Us. The effect can be shocking because it's so subtle, so unconscious – and yet, surprisingly strong:

  • Baseball cards held by a black hand consistently sold for twenty percent less than those held by a white hand.

  • Using screens to hide the identity of auditioning musicians increased women's probability of advancing from preliminary orchestra auditions by fifty percent.

  • Denver police officers and community members were shown rapidly displayed photos of black and white men, some holding guns, some holding harmless objects like wallets, and asked to press either the "Shoot" or "Don't Shoot" button as fast as they could for each image. Both the police and community members were three times more likely to shoot black men.

It's not intentional, it's never intentional. That's the problem. I think our industry needs to shed this old idea that it's OK, even encouraged to turn away technical candidates for anything less than absolute 100% confidence at every step of the interview process. Because when you do, you are accidentally optimizing for implicit bias. Even as a white guy who probably fulfills every stereotype you can think of about programmers, and who is in fact wearing an "I Rock at Basic" t-shirt while writing this very blog post*, that's what has always bothered me about it, more than the strictness. If you care at all about diversity in programming and tech, on any level, this hiring approach is not doing anyone any favors, and hasn't been. For years.

I know what you're thinking.

Fine, Jeff, if you're so smart, and "hiring the best" isn't the right strategy for startups, and maybe even harmful to our field as a whole, what should be doing?

Well, I don't know, exactly. I may be the wrong person to ask because I'm also a big believer in geographic diversity on top of everything else. Here's what the composition of the current Discourse team looks like:

I would argue, quite strongly and at some length, that if you want better diversity in the field, perhaps a good starting point is not demanding that all your employees live within a tiny 30 mile radius of San Francisco or Palo Alto. There's a whole wide world of Internet out there, full of amazing programmers at every level of talent and ability. Maybe broaden your horizons a little, even stretch said horizons outside the United States, if you can imagine such a thing.

I know hiring people is difficult, even with the very best of intentions and under ideal conditions, so I don't mean to trivialize the challenge. I've recommended plenty of things in the past, a smorgasboard of approaches to try or leave on the table as you see fit:

… but the one thing I keep coming back to, that I believe has enduring value in almost all situations, is the audition project:

The most significant shift we’ve made is requiring every final candidate to work with us for three to eight weeks on a contract basis. Candidates do real tasks alongside the people they would actually be working with if they had the job. They can work at night or on weekends, so they don’t have to leave their current jobs; most spend 10 to 20 hours a week working with Automattic, although that’s flexible. (Some people take a week’s vacation in order to focus on the tryout, which is another viable option.) The goal is not to have them finish a product or do a set amount of work; it’s to allow us to quickly and efficiently assess whether this would be a mutually beneficial relationship. They can size up Automattic while we evaluate them.

What I like about audition projects:

  • It's real, practical work.
  • They get paid. (Ask yourself who gets "paid" for a series of intensive interviews that lasts multiple days? Certainly not the candidate.)
  • It's healthy to structure your work so that small projects like this can be taken on by outsiders. If you can't onboard a potential hire, you probably can't onboard a new hire very well either.
  • Interviews, no matter how much effort you put into them, are so hit and miss that the only way to figure out if someone is really going to work in a given position is to actually work with them.

Every company says they want to hire the best. Anyone who tells you they know how to do that is either lying to you or to themselves. But I can tell you this: the companies that really do hire the best people in the world certainly don't accomplish that by hiring from the same tired playbook every other company in Silicon Valley uses.

Try different approaches. Expand your horizons. Look beyond People Like Us and imagine what the world of programming could look like in 10, 20 or even 50 years – and help us move there by hiring to make it so.

* And for the record, I really do rock at BASIC.

[advertisement] Building out your tech team? Stack Overflow Careers helps you hire from the largest community for programmers on the planet. We built our site with developers like you in mind.

How to Hide Featured Images on Individual Posts in WordPress

Recently, one of our readers asked if it was possible to hide featured images on specific WordPress posts? There can be scenarios when you have a featured image for a post, but instead of removing it you may just want to hide it. In this… Read More »

The post How to Hide Featured Images on Individual Posts in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Recently, one of our readers asked if it was possible to hide featured images on specific WordPress posts? There can be scenarios when you have a featured image for a post, but instead of removing it you may just want to hide it. In this article, we will show you how to hide featured images on individual posts in WordPress.

Hiding featured image for some posts in WordPress

Why and When Hiding Featured Images in WordPress is Useful?

Featured image aka post thumbnail is a theme feature in WordPress. This means your WordPress theme controls the display of featured images on your website. See our guide on selecting the perfect theme for your WordPress site.

Cleverly used featured images on List25

Some users may be using a theme that automatically uses the first post image as featured image if no featured image was specified. This means that it will still show a featured image even if you don’t set one.

Some users may be a using a plugin to automatically set default featured image.

There are many other cases when you may come across a situation where you will have to hide a featured image.

Let’s see, how you can easily hide featured image from a WordPress post without writing any code.

Hiding Featured Image from Individual WordPress Posts

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Hide Featured Image plugin. It works out of the box, and there are no settings for you to configure.

Simply edit the post where you want to hide the featured image. On the post edit screen, scroll down a little, and you will find the ‘Show/Hide Featured Image’ metabox.

Hide featured image checkbox

You need to check the box next to ‘Hide Featured Image’ option. You can now save your post and preview it to see the plugin in action.

Notice that even though we left the featured image set in our example, the plugin did it’s job of hiding it on the website. This plugin does not delete or unset the feature image, it just hides it on the front-end of your website. If you ever want to show the featured image again, simply edit the post and uncheck the hide featured image option.

The plugin also works with custom post types with featured image support.

We hope this article helped you learn how to hide featured image from individual posts in WordPress. You may also want to check out our list of 14 best featured image plugins and tutorials for WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Hide Featured Images on Individual Posts in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Create Custom Permalinks in WordPress

Do you want to create custom permalinks in WordPress for posts, pages, and other post types? Recently one of our readers asked if it was possible to create custom permalinks in WordPress. Permalinks aka your page URL structure plays an important role in SEO. In… Read More »

The post How to Create Custom Permalinks in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to create custom permalinks in WordPress for posts, pages, and other post types? Recently one of our readers asked if it was possible to create custom permalinks in WordPress. Permalinks aka your page URL structure plays an important role in SEO. In this article, we will show you how to create custom permalinks in WordPress without affecting your SEO.

Custom Permalinks in WordPress

What is a Custom Permalink?

WordPress comes with a handy option to create SEO friendly URL structure called Permalinks for your site. All you have to do is go to Settings » Permalinks page and choose a URL structure.

The permalinks settings page in WordPress

There are a number of options to choose from, and you can even specify a custom structure. Take a look at our SEO Friendly URL Structure for WordPress article to learn how to use permalinks in WordPress.

Choosing a permalink structure affects all posts and pages (both new and old) on your WordPress site, so you have to be careful when changing this.

But what if you want to use a different URL for only some posts on your site? What if you want to have a custom permalink for your custom post types? Maybe you want to have a custom permalink for your categories and tags? That’s when you need a custom permalink.

Custom permalink is basically a URL structure applied to that particular item in WordPress without affecting the rest of your URL structure.

Let’s take a look at how you can create custom permalinks in WordPress.

Creating Custom Permalinks in WordPress

There are two ways to creating a custom permalink in WordPress. Often when users are talking about changing the permalink of a WordPress post, they are really talking about the post slug. We will show you how to change the post slug.

But in some cases, users may want to create a completely custom URL structure, and we will also show you how you can do that in WordPress.

Method 1. Changing The Slug Part of a Permalink

In WordPress, the term slug is used for the url friendly name of a post, page, tag, or category. It is automatically generated by WordPress and used in URL when you create a new item.

For example, a post titled “20 Most Amazing Coffee Shops in Manhattan”, WordPress would generate a post slug like this 20-most-amazing-coffee-shops-in-manhattan. Depending on what permalink structure you have, your post URL will look something like this:

http://example.com/2016/02/20-most-amazing-coffee-shops-in-manhattan/

Same thing happens for your pages, custom post types, tags, categories, custom taxonomies, etc.

Now if you just want to change that slug part of the permalink, then that’s easy. You can do that without installing any plugins or writing any code.

Changing Slug of a Post or Page

The easiest way to change the slug part of a URL for a WordPress post and page, or custom post types is by editing them.

On the post edit screen, look just below the post title and you will see the post URL with an edit button next to it.

Changing post slug in WordPress

Clicking on this edit button will allow you to change the post slug. You can use alpha-numeric characters and dashes in your post slug.

For a more SEO friendly URL, make sure you choose a post slug that contains keywords people would use to search for that content.

Changing Slug of Categories and Tags

Changing the slug of categories and tags is also very easy. Simply go to Posts » Categories and WordPress will show you the list of categories.

Edit categories in WordPress

You can take your mouse over to a category and click on the quick edit link. WordPress will show you the title of the category, and its URL slug. You can change the URL slug and click on the Update button to save your changes.

Changing category slug using quick edit

Same method applies for tags and custom taxonomies as well.

Creating Completely Custom Permalinks

Changing post slug does not change your actual permalink structure. What if you wanted to change permalink for single post, post, page or taxonomy?

For example, if your post URL is like this:

http://example.com/2016/02/20-most-amazing-coffee-shops-in-manhattan/

And you want to change it to something like this:

http://example.com/best-lists/coffee-shops/top-coffee-shops-in-manhattan/

Let’s take a look at another example. Your category URL in WordPress is like this:

http://example.com/category/travel

For that particular category, you want to change it to something like:

http://example.com/travel/

Normally this would require you to change your permalink structure, but that would affect all URLs on your site.

Here is how you would create a custom permalink safely without affecting any other URLs on your site.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Custom Permalinks plugin.

Upon activation, you can simply edit a post or page and change its URL to anything you want.

Custom permalink for a single post

You can also edit categories and tags. Simply go to Posts » Categories and click on the edit link below the category you want to change.

On the edit category page, scroll down to the bottom and you will see the custom permalink field.

Custom Permalink for a single category in WordPress

You can do the same for tags and custom taxonomies as well.

Setting up Redirects for Custom Permalinks in WordPress

When you are adding a custom permalink for a new post, then you don’t have to worry about redirects.

On the other hand, if you are changing the URL of an already published post, then you need to setup proper redirects.

Users coming to the old address from search engines and other websites, will not be able to find that page unless you setup redirects.

Same goes for your categories and tags. If a category/tag archive page was indexed, then it would become unavailable when you change the URL.

You will need to redirect users and search engines to the new address. Take a look at our beginner’s guide to creating redirects in WordPress.

We hope this article helped you create custom permalink in WordPress. You may also want to see our list of 9 best WordPress SEO plugins and tools that you should use.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Create Custom Permalinks in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

The Importance of the LED Moment – I DID THAT

Last March my friend Saron and I created MarchIsForMakers.com and spent the whole month creating and learning with hardware.

It’s March again! We’re going to spend the whole month of March adding to http://www.marchisformakers.com.

If you want to support our project, make sure you tell teachers, schools, family and friends about us, and tweet with the hashtag #marchisformakers.

Here’s some of the highlights of this fantastic project from March of 2015. You can get ALL the content on our site, so bookmark and visit often.

Getting Started

You may have heard of Raspberry Pis and Arduinos, and perhaps considered doing a little tinkering, either with the children in your life or on your own? Where do you start?

What’s “Hello World” in the world of hardware? It’s making an LED light up!

I optimize my workflow for lots of tiny victories.

There’s a moment when your tinkering. Getting that first program to compile or that first light to light up. Saron and I call it the LED Moment. When you are teaching a kid (a 100 year old kid or a little kid) how to successfully control an LED they’ll light up…”I DID THAT.” I pushed a button or ran a program or just plug it into a battery. There’s a moment when a person see they can take control of the physical word, harness electricity, combine hardware and software and TURN A FREAKING LIGHT ON. That’s the moment we are going for. Let’s do it.

Arduino and an LED

Check out the article on CodeNewbies about Raspberry Pis and Arduinos by Julian. Arduinos are inexpensive and open source microcontrollers that are VERY affordable. I’ve got 4 or 5 around the house!

91goKoGWHtL._SL1500_

You’ll want an Arduino UNO to start with. They are about $20 on Amazon but they don’t include a USB cable (perhaps you have one) or an optional power supply. If you’re planning on tinkering you might consider getting a “Super Starter Kit” or a Starter Kit WITH the Arduino that has all sorts of fun stuff like buttons and cables and fans and resistors.

For our little LED project you’ll just want:

Ask around, you may have friends with these in their junk drawers so don’t spend money unnecessarily.

Don’t have an Arduino or can’t get one? Fear not, you can simulate one in your browser for free! Check out http://123d.circuits.io/
image

Ok, if you have a physical Arduino, go download the free Arduino Software for WIndows, Mac or Linux.

Different Boards

There are a number of different flavors of Arduino boards. Lots, in fact! Since it’s an open source hardware spec anyone can make one and add their own special sauce. Here is just a few of the dozens of boards.

  • Arduino Uno – Arguably the most popular introductory model. It connects via USB and looks like a standard COM port to your computer. No wi-fi, no ethernet, although you can get an “Arduino Shield” add-on board that snaps on top to extend it to do most anything.
  • Arduino Yun – A fancy Arduino with a micro-SD slot, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and more. It even supports an OpenWRT Linux called Linino.
  • Intel’s Arduino 101 Kit – This board is an Arduino from Intel that adds Bluetooth Low Energy AND a 6 axis Accelerometer.

I have an Intel board with me today, so I need to tell the Arduino Software about it by downloading an “Arduino Core.” You’ll want to tell the software which board YOU are using.

I go Tools | Boards | Board Manager and search for “Intel” and install it. This tells the Arduino Software what it needs to know for my board to act right.

image

Plug the board in using a USB cable and make sure that you’ve selected the right board and the right port in your Arduino software.

I’m going to take my LED and put the short leg – that’s the negative leg – into Arduino’s GND, or Ground. Then I take the long or positive leg of the LED and connect it to the resistor,  then put the resistor into the Arduino’s pin 13. We are going to control that pin with software we write!

BlinenLights

We are going to pulse the LED by turning pin 13 HIGH, waiting a second, then going low. Like this, within the Arduino Software:

void setup() {
pinMode(13, OUTPUT);
}

void loop() {
digitalWrite(13, HIGH); // turn LED on (HIGH voltage)
delay(1000); // wait a second
digitalWrite(13, LOW); // turn LED off by making voltage LOW
delay(1000); // wait a second
}

Press Upload and my little Arduino Sketch is sent to my board and starts running! And here it is!

#MarchIsForMakers @intelIoT @arduinoorg #video

A video posted by Scott Hanselman (@shanselman) on Mar 2, 2016 at 12:14am PST

Again, every board is different. In my case, my Intel Arduino 101 board also has that gyroscope/accelerometer built in. I’ll try playing with that soon!

What are you going to make this Month?


© 2016 Scott Hanselman. All rights reserved.
     

Last March my friend Saron and I created MarchIsForMakers.com and spent the whole month creating and learning with hardware.

It's March again! We're going to spend the whole month of March adding to http://www.marchisformakers.com.

If you want to support our project, make sure you tell teachers, schools, family and friends about us, and tweet with the hashtag #marchisformakers.

Here's some of the highlights of this fantastic project from March of 2015. You can get ALL the content on our site, so bookmark and visit often.

Getting Started

You may have heard of Raspberry Pis and Arduinos, and perhaps considered doing a little tinkering, either with the children in your life or on your own? Where do you start?

What's "Hello World" in the world of hardware? It's making an LED light up!

I optimize my workflow for lots of tiny victories.

There's a moment when your tinkering. Getting that first program to compile or that first light to light up. Saron and I call it the LED Moment. When you are teaching a kid (a 100 year old kid or a little kid) how to successfully control an LED they'll light up..."I DID THAT." I pushed a button or ran a program or just plug it into a battery. There's a moment when a person see they can take control of the physical word, harness electricity, combine hardware and software and TURN A FREAKING LIGHT ON. That's the moment we are going for. Let's do it.

Arduino and an LED

Check out the article on CodeNewbies about Raspberry Pis and Arduinos by Julian. Arduinos are inexpensive and open source microcontrollers that are VERY affordable. I've got 4 or 5 around the house!

91goKoGWHtL._SL1500_

You'll want an Arduino UNO to start with. They are about $20 on Amazon but they don't include a USB cable (perhaps you have one) or an optional power supply. If you're planning on tinkering you might consider getting a "Super Starter Kit" or a Starter Kit WITH the Arduino that has all sorts of fun stuff like buttons and cables and fans and resistors.

For our little LED project you'll just want:

Ask around, you may have friends with these in their junk drawers so don't spend money unnecessarily.

Don't have an Arduino or can't get one? Fear not, you can simulate one in your browser for free! Check out http://123d.circuits.io/
image

Ok, if you have a physical Arduino, go download the free Arduino Software for WIndows, Mac or Linux.

Different Boards

There are a number of different flavors of Arduino boards. Lots, in fact! Since it's an open source hardware spec anyone can make one and add their own special sauce. Here is just a few of the dozens of boards.

  • Arduino Uno - Arguably the most popular introductory model. It connects via USB and looks like a standard COM port to your computer. No wi-fi, no ethernet, although you can get an "Arduino Shield" add-on board that snaps on top to extend it to do most anything.
  • Arduino Yun - A fancy Arduino with a micro-SD slot, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and more. It even supports an OpenWRT Linux called Linino.
  • Intel's Arduino 101 Kit - This board is an Arduino from Intel that adds Bluetooth Low Energy AND a 6 axis Accelerometer.

I have an Intel board with me today, so I need to tell the Arduino Software about it by downloading an "Arduino Core." You'll want to tell the software which board YOU are using.

I go Tools | Boards | Board Manager and search for "Intel" and install it. This tells the Arduino Software what it needs to know for my board to act right.

image

Plug the board in using a USB cable and make sure that you've selected the right board and the right port in your Arduino software.

I'm going to take my LED and put the short leg - that's the negative leg - into Arduino's GND, or Ground. Then I take the long or positive leg of the LED and connect it to the resistor,  then put the resistor into the Arduino's pin 13. We are going to control that pin with software we write!

BlinenLights

We are going to pulse the LED by turning pin 13 HIGH, waiting a second, then going low. Like this, within the Arduino Software:

void setup() {

pinMode(13, OUTPUT);
}

void loop() {
digitalWrite(13, HIGH); // turn LED on (HIGH voltage)
delay(1000); // wait a second
digitalWrite(13, LOW); // turn LED off by making voltage LOW
delay(1000); // wait a second
}

Press Upload and my little Arduino Sketch is sent to my board and starts running! And here it is!

#MarchIsForMakers @intelIoT @arduinoorg #video

A video posted by Scott Hanselman (@shanselman) on

Again, every board is different. In my case, my Intel Arduino 101 board also has that gyroscope/accelerometer built in. I'll try playing with that soon!

What are you going to make this Month?



© 2016 Scott Hanselman. All rights reserved.
     

What’s Coming in WordPress 4.5 (Features and Screenshots)

The beta version of WordPress 4.5 was released last week. We followed the development closely, and we are excited to report that WordPress 4.5 is expected to be released during the second week of April, 2016. In this article, we will highlight what’s coming in… Read More »

The post What’s Coming in WordPress 4.5 (Features and Screenshots) appeared first on WPBeginner.

The beta version of WordPress 4.5 was released last week. We followed the development closely, and we are excited to report that WordPress 4.5 is expected to be released during the second week of April, 2016. In this article, we will highlight what’s coming in WordPress 4.5 with features and screenshots.

What to expect from upcoming WordPress 4.5

Note: You can try out the beta version on your computer or on a staging environment by using the WordPress Beta Tester plugin.

This is the beta release, which means no more new features will be added until the final release of WordPress 4.5. However, please know that some of these features may not make it into the final release.

Theme Logo Support

Adding theme logo from customizer is a long awaited feature. WordPress 4.5 will add theme logo support to WordPress core.

Many premium WordPress themes already allow users to upload custom logo using their own options panel. With the core support for the feature, it would become possible for users to do that from the theme customizer.

Theme Logo Support in upcoming WordPress 4.5

Themes would be able to define support for logo with size values like this:

add_image_size( 'twentysixteen-logo', 1200, 175 );
add_theme_support( 'site-logo', array( 'size' => 'twentysixteen-logo' ) );

If a theme does not support this feature, then it will not be visible in the customizer.

Visual Editor Improvements

Majority of WordPress users spend most of their time creating content. Anything that can make the writing experience better and faster is always a good thing.

WordPress 4.5 will bring some new improvements to the visual editor, which will improve the writing experience for users.

Inline Link Editing

WordPress comes with some great time saving shortcuts, which all help you write faster. One of these shortcuts is CTRL+K (Command+K on Mac), which allows you to insert links in posts.

This shortcut opens the insert link popup, which is a bit distracting.

With WordPress 4.5, pressing CTRL+K will show an inline insert link menu. Simply type the URL and continue writing your post without removing hands from keyboard.

Inline link editing in WordPress 4.5

More Inline Text Shortcuts

Inline text shortcuts were introduced in WordPress 4.3. They allowed users to quickly add formatting markup by using simple text shortcuts.

WordPress 4.5 is introducing more shortcuts like `code` for code and **bold** for bold.

New inline text shortcuts in WordPress 4.5

For those users who don’t like these shortcuts, here is how to disable inline text shortcuts in visual editor.

Improved Moderate Comment Screen

Many bloggers spend a lot of time moderating comments in WordPress. Comment moderation is a necessary evil that we all have to tolerate in order to combat comment spam in WordPress.

WordPress sends you an email notifications when there is a new comment submitted. Clicking on the approve, spam or trash link in the email will take you to a screen where you can see that comment with a button to perform the desired action.

This screen does not allow you to edit a comment. It also does not show you any formatting in comment text, which isn’t pleasant.

Moderate comment screen in WordPress 4.4.2

With WordPress 4.5, you will get to see an improved screen. It will show you the formatting in comment text as it would appear in the browser. It will also have a link to edit the comment.

Moderate comment screen in upcoming WordPress 4.5

Responsive Preview in Customizer

WordPress 4.5 will bring another cool addition to the customizer. You would now be able to see responsive previews of your site directly in the customizer.

You can click on the device icon at the bottom to switch the view between devices. Currently it shows Desktop, tablet, and mobile device previews. This gives you a generic idea of how your site would look on these devices.

Responsive previews in customizer

Optimized Image Size Generation

WordPress introduced responsive images in WordPress 4.4. This means that since 4.4, users on smaller screens get to see a smaller image appropriate for their screen.

This feature is great as it not only improves performance of websites on smaller screens, it also saves them money on data plans.

WordPress 4.5 will improve this further more. It will optimize images further to reduce their site upto 50% without any visible quality loss.

We still recommend saving images optimized for web for best results.

Allow Users to Login Using Email Address

It is hard to keep track of all the usernames we use across all the different sites. This is why many popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and others allow their users to use their email address as username.

While you can easily forget your username, most people don’t forget their email address.

In the past, WordPress didn’t allow users to login with email by default. This is expected to change in WordPress 4.5.

Since each WordPress user on your site already has an email address associated with their account, they will now be able to use their email address to login.

WordPress 4.5 will allow users to login with email address

Developer Features

WordPress 4.5 will bring many under the hood improvements for developers. Here are some of the exciting improvements for developers:

Selective Refresh in Customizer – In customizer if a change has to be applied the entire page has to be reloaded. WordPress 4.5 will come with a robust framework allowing selective refresh in the customizer. This will make it incredibly fast, and it will allow developers to do great things with live previews. (#27355)

Customizable Embed Templates – WordPress 4.4 also introduced embeds which allowed users to embed posts from their own and other WordPress blogs. WordPress 4.5 will make the embed templates customizable so that theme authors can have custom displays. (#34561)

WP_Site Class – WordPress 4.5 will come with WP_Site class for multisite WordPress installs. (#32450)

Script Loader – Adding inline scripts will become easier with the introduction of wp_add_inline_script() in WordPress 4.5. (#14853, #35873)

We hope this article helped you learn what’s coming in WordPress 4.5. Let us know which features you find exciting and what you would like to see in future releases of WordPress?

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post What’s Coming in WordPress 4.5 (Features and Screenshots) appeared first on WPBeginner.

How to Make a Niche Review Site in WordPress Like a Pro

Do you want to create an online reviews site? Writing reviews of your favorite products allow you to help others in making a purchase decision while also earning referral fees, known as affiliate commissions. In this article, we will show you how to create a… Read More »

The post How to Make a Niche Review Site in WordPress Like a Pro appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to create an online reviews site? Writing reviews of your favorite products allow you to help others in making a purchase decision while also earning referral fees, known as affiliate commissions. In this article, we will show you how to create a niche review site in WordPress like a Pro, so you can earn money from it.

Why Create a Reviews Site?

Creating a reviews website in WordPress

What’s the first thing that you do when you’re looking to buy something online? If you’re like most of us, then you check the online reviews of that product to see what others are saying about it.

This is why a popular online review site, TripAdvisor, is worth roughly $12 billion dollars.

Now while everyone cannot be as big as TripAdvisor, we know several folks that are earning anywhere from few hundreds to few thousand dollars a month from running a niche review site.

There are two popular ways of creating a reviews site. The first is to add a reviews section on your existing blog. The second is to create a completely independent online reviews site.

Regardless of the direction you choose, it’s important that don’t pick a highly competitive niche.

For example: there are tons of sites talking about digital camera reviews, but not as many that are talking about camera accessory reviews.

The secret to building a successful review site is to finding the right niche. A perfect niche has low competition, and it should be something that you’re passionate about.

Here are few factors to think about:

  • What resources can you offer to build traffic?
  • Can you easily attract advertisers? (i.e are there people selling paid products)
  • Are there affiliate programs available?
  • Are other people making money in this niche?
  • What is the competition like?

You can use tools like SEMRush, BuzzSumo, and Google Keyword Planner to help with research.

Once you have picked your niche, let’s take a look at how you can create a reviews site.

Step 0. Before You Start

To get started with WordPress, the first thing you would need is a good WordPress hosting and your own domain name. We highly recommend Bluehost because they will give you a free domain and 50% off their hosting plan (special for WPBeginner users). Bluehost is also an officially recommended hosting provider of WordPress.

If you want a Bluehost alternative, then take a look at Siteground who also offer the same special offer to WPBeginner users.

Once you have signed up for WordPress hosting and set up your domain name, the next step is to install WordPress on your hosting account. We have a step by step tutorial on how to install WordPress. Once you have installed WordPress, continue following this tutorial.

If you already have a WordPress site, then just move to step 2.

Step 1. Choosing the Perfect WordPress “Review” Theme

The first step after setting up your WordPress site is to select a perfect WordPress theme.

When you look around for WordPress themes, you will probably find tons of articles about the best WordPress review themes, stay away from those.

You don’t need a WordPress review site template. Most of those WordPress review themes are bloated and will lock you into use them forever.

That’s why it’s better to use a WordPress reviews plugin because plugins will work with any theme / design that you choose.

You will have the flexibility to change your themes in the future without having to hire a developer.

We have an article that will help you find the perfect theme and install it in WordPress.

Basically pick a theme that you like in terms of look and feel. We will show you how to add the reviews functionality in the next step.

Step 2. Installing the best WordPress Reviews Plugin

First thing you need to do is install and activate the WP Product Review plugin.

The base plugin is free, and does not lack features that would hold you back. However, for additional functionality you will need to buy their premium addons package.

The WP Review Pro Addons package costs around $75. WPBeginner users get an extra 20% off the regular price. Visit ThemeIsle coupon code to claim the discount.

WP Product Review plugin is easy to use and it helps you stand out in search engines by adding schema markup on your review.

In plain English, it adds those star ratings next to your reviews in Google to help you stand out.

Schema Review Example

So go ahead and install this plugin.

Upon activation, you will notice a new menu item labeled ‘Product Review’ in your WordPress admin menu. Clicking on it will take you to plugin’s settings page.

WP Product Review settings page

The settings page is divided into different sections. First you need to set up the general settings.

Start by selecting where you want to display the review box. There are three options to choose from. You can show the review box after or before the content, or you can manually add it using the shortcode.

The next option is to choose whether you want to allow users to add their reviews as comments. If you allow this, then you also need to select how much influence user reviews will have on the actual review.

After that you need to choose how many number of options, pros, and cons you want to be displayed. By default the plugin will allow you to add 5 of each. You can adjust that if you need.

Now move on to the rating colors tab in settings. This is where you can define the default colors used by the plugin for ratings. WP Product review uses different colors for excellent, good, not bad, and weak ratings.

Rating colors

You can change the rating colors to match with your theme.

Next, click on the ‘Typography’ tab in the settings. This is where you can choose the default text for pros and cons columns. You can also change the text colors for different sections.

Choose text colors for review box in Typography settings

The final tab on the settings page is the buy button. On this tab, you can select the colors you want to use for the buy button.

Buy button will also have your affiliate link, so it is important that you choose a color that encourages more users to click.

Buy button settings

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save All Changes’ button to store your settings.

Step 3: Adding a Review in WordPress

Adding a review using WP Product Review plugin is quite easy. Simply edit or create a new post in WordPress.

You will write your main review, like you would write any other post in WordPress.

On the post edit screen, scroll down to the bottom, and you will find the ‘Product review extra settings’ meta box. Click on ‘Yes’ next to the option ‘Is this a review post?’.

Adding product review data in a review post

This will expand the meta box and you will now see the additional settings for your review.

First you need to provide product details like images, buy now button text, product or affiliate link, and product price.

Adding product details

After that you need to add your options. These are like different aspects of the product and how you grade it for those qualities. You can add a number from 0 to 100, where 100 is the highest grade and 0 is the lowest.

Product options

Next you will add the pros and cons lists. Add the best features of the product in the pros list and the features it lacked in the cons list.

Adding pros and cons of a product with your review

Once you are done, simply save or publish your post.

You can now visit the post to see the review box in action.

Product review box displayed  in WordPress review post

Step 4. Displaying Your Reviews in Sidebar

WP Product Review allows you to show your review posts in the sidebar and other widget-ready areas. Visit Appearance » Widgets page, and you will find the top products widget and the latest products widget in a list of available widgets.

Adding reviews widgets in WordPress sidebar

Simply add the widget to a sidebar and configure its options. You can select the number of products you want to display, product title and image display settings. Once you are done, click on the save button to store your widget settings.

Now go ahead and visit your website to see the reviews widget in action. It will show the latest reviews with ratings and product image.

Latest and top product reviews in WordPress sidebar

We hope this article helped you create a beautiful reviews site with WordPress. You may also want to see our list of 10 best affiliate marketing tools and plugins for WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Make a Niche Review Site in WordPress Like a Pro appeared first on WPBeginner.