As anticipated, Sagenda’s calendar view is now available as a module for Drupal 8. Here’s our year-end gift for Drupal 8 users looking for an event scheduling module, which is both user-friendly and seamless, to integrate on their booking website.
Drupal 8: Sagenda Calendar for Booking Management
After you open your Sagenda account, all you need to do is download the calendar module available from Drupal. Once you have integrated the Sagenda module on your Drupal 8 website, the calendar view displays the list of bookable items followed by the booking form. Nothing could be easier than allowing your clients to select and confirm their booking events using a simple booking form.
Suitable for a multi-screen experience, the calendar view for Drupal 8 allows simple or multiple bookings. All you need to do is enable the multiple booking option to include various events on the same booking in order to save time and improve event management while ensuring an unsubscription option. Using the email booking confirmation, the client may select the respective service and confirm the unsubscription. Any booking modification, unsubscription or cancellation is confirmed by email notification to clients and owners as well, and optionally by SMS.
Customized Sagenda Calendar for Drupal 8
If you have already downloaded Sagenda’s module for Drupal 8, you should know there are a couple of available calendar customization options. From your Sagenda account, the module center offers a wide customization range:
PayPal gateway: a must-have in order to charge your clients online;
Email customization to change email text and sender’s email address, including a reminder feature;
SMS reminders to reduce no-shows and retain your clients;
Color management: be creative in adapting the calendar to your website style;
As you might know, we love WordPress and are pretty excited about the upcoming release of WordPress 5.0 with its new features and moniker (generally, a jazz man). This is a major version as there were no releases over the past 4 years (since WordPress 3.0 switched to 4.0).
So let’s take a peek at what’s new!
Gutenberg: A New WordPress Editing Experience
Gutenberg is the latest WordPress editor and so much more: easy to use and intuitive design but also very powerful allowing you to build responsive pages. It’s all about “blocks” that you can build and manage on your own website depending on the display size. From now on, you may create and change the “responsive design” behavior of pages without affecting the theme and with no HTML, CSS or Twitter Bootstrap skills whatsoever.
However, Gutenberg is not as comprehensive as other recent commercial products extending the features of page editing, such as page builders (i.e. DIVI, Elementor and so on) which will likely be overtaken in the medium term.
If page editors available as WordPress plugins are rather seen as partners instead of competitors, this is not the case when it comes to external platforms such as Wix. In fact, when speaking about WordPress, we’re referring to an open source project available for download from WordPress.org. However, it also includes WordPress.com which allows you to start your own website without worrying about web installing or hosting based on some fees. You got that right: WordPress.com provides most of its revenues and WordPress 5.0 is poised to fight those competitors offering paid CMS versions.
Gutenberg, the new page editor
Gutenberg is an editor already available for use with WordPress 4.9.x. Optionally, you may also download it as a plugin here !
Don’t fret: the old editor is also bundled as a plugin to allow its continued use in WordPress 5.0 in case of difficult transition. However, it will probably become unavailable at a certain point as I believe the WordPress team won’t support it all the way through WordPress 6.0 or 7.0. In other words, you’d better get started to get things done! OK, enough about Gutenberg, what else?
Twenty Nineteen: New Theme
Twenty Nineteen is the new theme of WordPress 5.0. There’s nothing special about it if you’re already using it as users rarely change the theme when doing a major web content overhaul. However, Twenty Nineteen includes a very interesting option (free of charge) for new websites as it has a very understated and minimalist theme unlike in previous cases. This is also a pretty interesting sandbox for web designers willing to learn new features and best coding practices in terms of WordPress 5.0 themes.
Scheduled mid-November, but postponed somewhere end of November 2018, the roll-out of WordPress 5.0 is not all milk and honey. Here are some tips before updating:
Feel free to wait for WordPress 5.0.1 and let others do the dirty work.
Make sure your theme and plugins are updated for this version.
Don’t update directly on your live website: make a test copy and, if all goes well on copy, update your website thereafter.
Don’t forget to back up before upgrading!
WordPress 6.0 To-Do List
WordPress still does not have a native multilingual management of front-end pages. For multilingual websites, users still need to use plugins such as WPML and Polylang, thereby affecting website compatibility. Your website requires internationalization in so many aspects: text content, but also media (images, videos, sound, and so on), URLs (links, web page redirect, and possibly different domain names by country language). Therefore, internationalization management requires various plugins as well as lots of testing and settings.
However, we’re positive WordPress 6.0 will make a case for it! Anyway, this is the most wanted feature so feel free to vote for it : here !
Do you need a free Joomla booking extensionto manage your appointment website (i.e. appointment scheduling for therapists, spas, music lessons, or event booking)? Sagenda has released its perfect solution for client booking management on your Joomla CMS. All you need to do is use Sagenda’s Joomla booking extensionto take advantage of an easy-to-use, multilingual booking calendar offering various features.
Free Joomla Booking Extension
Sagenda is an excellent free Joomla booking plugin available for online appointment scheduling suitable for a wide range of businesses. You may now download, install and use our Joomla booking extension on your CMS directly from your Sagenda account.
Responsive booking calendar
Summer is officially here and online bookings are at an all time high for holiday rentals or appointments. Perfect timing for us to let you know that Sagenda is beta testing its calendar view for WordPress users.
Our calendar view is available for all WordPress plugin users registered on Sagenda. Make sure you’re using the latest WordPress Sagenda Calendar plugin’s version on your website, then insert the following shortcode [sagenda-calendar-wp] to display your calendar.
The shortcode may be used in any page or post of the WordPress website to display your monthly, weekly or daily calendar view. According to selected bookings, your drop-drown menu will display available bookable items and corresponding event patterns. What a better way to showcase your occupancy rate and get new customers onboard!
For the time being, beta testing of the new calendar view is available for all our WordPress Sagenda plugin users although our team is working around the clock to enable it for sagenda.net frontend and on other CMS frameworks as well. So stay tuned!
Have a go at the latest calendar view and let us know what you think! Need help with the shortcode or just want to share your suggestions?
Those hosting services that speed up your web load time – #PROductivity 3
Cheap and Fast Hosting Services
All hosting services are not the same. But beware: there is no point in comparing page load speed based on the various “premium” plans offered by web hosting providers! Quite often, marketing jargon pollutes clear and precise information. You’ll definitely hear about ‘TOP Speed’ or ‘Power’ modes, but what’s in it for you? To be honest, absolutely nothing!
Even technical data does not seem to clarify things. Some will sell you SSD hosting services! Pretty cool, isn’t it? But what’s so special about SSD hosting if the server’s processor is overwhelmed by queries from the rest of the 500 websites hosted on the same server with a permanently saturated RAM memory running at 98%? Well, it certainly looks less reliable than the old magnetic hard disk drives that would have always stored your top 10 favorite search pages!
It’s possible to find extremely fast web hosting providers, but are you really ready to fork out 1,200 Euros per month for a showcase website? Not exactly!
So, which are the fast and affordable hosting providers able to host WordPress easily (e.g. a Fantastico installer)? I would go for NameCheap and its Business SSD plan costing less than $20 per month if you’re looking for speed, or its Value plan is you want to save some money as it sets you back a mere $10 per month; otherwise, go for Site5 hosting.
Where Am I Going? Where Am I Headed?
Watch your destination. Your website will not enjoy the same load speed all over the world. Think twice before choosing your hosting provider. The worst case scenario is finding a hosting service close to your whereabouts, but which is slower than a service provider located on the other side of the world! Fortunately, there are alternatives you may test and content delivery techniques.
CDN (Content Delivery Network) is some sort of replica of your cache in different parts of the world. Thus, visitors will look for information on your website through the closest server at any given time.
Test and Improve!
There are no written instructions that you may follow as with IKEA’s furniture assembly; each website is unique with a unique audience. There are some major guidelines as the ones outlined in this article, and some great tools are readily available online allowing you to test the performance of your website.
Google Page speed is your number one choice: it’s essential since it will provide you a report on speed and user experience (at least in terms of desktop and mobile experience). If you happen to have other preferences, don’t forget to keep Google happy as Google is the number one search engine. Get my drift?
Pingdom is really interesting as it allows you to test your website in different parts of the world. It’s definitely more convenient than popping in every possible Internet cafe across the world, isn’t it?
A few tips to accelerate your WordPress website page load time – #PROductivity 2
Load time, this shadow killer…
Your website load time is essential. Many years ago, various expert reports indicated the clear link between website load time and the number of visitors abandoning your website. Consequently, it is absolutely crucial to keep page load below 3 seconds in order to secure an optimal retention of your readers or users on-site. There are two possible alternatives you can use: work on your website or work on your web hosting provider.
I calculated the total time that humans have waited for web pages to load. It cancels out all the productivity gains of the information age. Sometimes I think the web is a big blog to keep people like me away from normal society.
It’s probably less expensive, but it will definitely keep you busy. Here are a few things that you can improve:
Images often take a lot of space, an awful amount of visual space. You should think of ways to optimize their compression in order to make your website load faster.
There are multiple tools to do just that. On Mac, I recommend you use the excellent Image Optim which is also available as a web service. For Windows users, File Optimizer is just as interesting as it does not only deal with image optimization.
In case you wish to optimize your images directly on WordPress, you’ve got an easier option: image optimization plugins, quite a handful of them, but ShortPixel looks pretty appealing.
Think Async to Speed up Your Loading Time
Synchronous and asynchronous, what’s up with that? Suppose your web load time is similar to a list of packs that the mailman has to deliver. If you have to wait for the delivery of package (A) in order to expect the delivery of package (B), and so on up to (Z) which is what synchronous loading looks like, it will take longer than having all packages delivered at the same time by multiple mailmen (asynchronous loading).
Beware: in practice, all changes cannot be operated separately, but it would be a great step ahead to be able to separate some of them.
Use Cache Solutions
Many users know how to clear their browser cache, but they don’t really know why they need to do that. Cache is neither a history nor a surveillance tool prying on your private life. The fact that browsers allow people to clear their cache of all that data at the same time might be confusing.
Thanks to cache memory, search results are readily available to users. To explain it metaphorically and to put it simply, suppose you’re ordering a drink. The waiter who comes to pick up your order already brings a customized selection of your favorite drinks for you to choose from. This means that you do not have to wait for the waiter to fetch your drinks: you have just saved yourself a lot of time!
Cache memory may exist on servers, but also on the computer who uses it. There are also other types of cache, but you will not be able to control them such as the cache of your Internet service provider: it will not search for Google’s logo each and every time; it will be stored in its cache.
There are two major WordPress plugins which dominate the cache solutions thanks to their excellent service and free available versions: W3 total cache and WP Super Cache. It would be difficult to say which one is best, so why not see it for yourself by using both on your website?
Keep It Simple!
You have probably heard about the KISS principle designed by the US Navy which is the acronym for ‘keep it simple and stupid’. Restrict the number of modules (also known as plugins) as these often include “hooks” or anchor points which are in use each time there is a load in progress (e.g. page, website or other) in order to activate the module, and let it do its job. These are essential to website overall functioning, but it overloads your page: suppose you have 50 active modules or 12; impact will be extremely different. The advantage on WordPress is that you may deactivate a module without removing it, so you should definitely use this functionality!
Don’t add too many items or audiovisual components per page.
It’s highly unlikely you will get to use all these tools at the same time; especially if your website boasts a responsive design, multilingual features and crisp layout! Remember, add one component at a time and see how your website loads. If certain things don’t work, use something else especially since some themes or plugins cannot function in combination with all these optimization techniques.