Setting up Apple Pay on WooCommerce sites

If you have a WooCommerce site, one way to get more sales is to offer Apple Pay by letting Apple users a quick and easy way to pay for their purchase.

One of the best and easiest merchant account providers to setup with WooCommerce is Stripe.

If you’re already on Stripe and are running the most up to date Stripe plugin (currently By default, any site with Stripe and the correct API key gets registered automatically into Stripe’s Dashboard page for Domain Management but I found the Staging site had not been added automatically so I added that manually.

I tried using both CommerceGuru’s Shoptimizer and also the “official WooCommerce Storefront  Theme initially and that didn’t work initially.

I finally chatted with Stripe support chat and they asked me to de-activate and then re-activate Apple Pay support in their WP plugin settings. That finally did the trick and magically the Apple Pay button appeared!

Now the Apple Pay buttons appeared on both WooCommerce Storefront and Shoptimizer themes.

[Resolved/Fixed] Email sender name “WordPress” can’t be changed

Update:  We found that “WP Mail From II”  works later in the day after we wrote this blog post. The 4th plugin is the charm in this case. We  just added the links to the non-working plugins below.

On the customer service front, Drew from WP Engine called us over the weekend and suggested “WP Change Default” that worked for him. I definitely give Drew and WP Engine props for reaching out with a possible solution.

Rant Warning! We’re been working on a client project hosted on WP Engine and we noticed the email notifications to both admins and public users are being sent as “WordPress.” We always think there’s a “plugin for that.” So we tried out 3 different plugins (WP Default Sender Email, WP Simple Mail Sender, and CB Mail Sender)  from the repo and none of them worked. Out of the 3 only CB Mail Sender was recently updated (3 months ago vs. 1 year ago).


Next we found two code snippets to insert into the parent theme and none of them worked. We went back and forth with WP Engine support but in the end they’re claiming it it’s “out of the scope.”

How could something basic as the email notification sender name being called generically “WordPress” instead of the site or business name be “out of scope?” They recommended switching to a 3rd party SMTP provider.

I would argue most people would see this is a basic business customization for email identification! At the very least they should label it the name of the site instead of “WordPress.”

This is not the first time we’ve ran into WP Engine not wanting to address seemingly such a basic issue. We used to recommend WP Engine to our many clients and have helped over 5 of them signup with WPE but this might be the last straw for us for future recommendations. . (New: We’d like to keep WP Engine on their toes for whatever it’s worth to help make sure the customers get the help they need – within reason of course 😉

Three Site Monitoring Services

One of the first pieces of advice we give clients are to host their sites on WP Engine if they want to have nearly zero down time.

But if you don’t have the budget to be on WP Engine, you’ll need to make sure you’re running an external site monitor to keep checking your site and alert you via email or SMS text when it does go down. We recently looked at two of them closely and have a third one we’re going to signup for soon. Here’s a recap so far.

Pros: Easy and simple to use. Free up to three sites scanned at 30 minutes. Free plan can also check for keywords to make sure the page is (mostly) loading. $5 gets you 15 sites to monitor. RSS feed available.
Cons: Interface from the late 90s. No SMS options.
Pros: Free service level for 5+ sites. Sophisticated modern dashboard. Flexible rules for notifications to team members.

Our suggestion is use at least two different site monitoring systems to make sure you have good “coverage” from multiple access points around the world to help make sure you know if your site(s) is down.

Cons: Free only covers 2 locations (Germany and US) and 30 minute intervals. UI might be too busy.

We haven’t tried this one yet but it looks good and includes up to 10 SMS/calls for a reasonable $5/month along with DNS monitoring.

Post Navigation Plugin Remixed

We’ve remixed the original plugin that was in the WP repository here with bug fixes including better support for custom post types. Bug fix includes hiding the navigation that may have appeared in certain custom fields. We also added tag clouds that allow you to quickly find similar posts with the same category. And yes, it’s been ages since we’ve updated this blog 🙂


Download it now!

Converting posts to pages and vice versa with pType Converter

Have you ever accidentally created a post when you intended to create a page? Sure you could cut and paste the content again. No big deal right?

There’s a more serious issue once you try to delete the post and you’re using a base category plugin. After you create a new page, you may have noticed you can’t use the original permalink that WordPress automatically + originally generated for the post. WordPress will append a number to the end of the permalink URL of your new page and you can’t get the original permalink back.

For example if your post title was “keyword” and saved it. If you try to create a new page with “keyword”, WordPress will create the permalink as “keyword-2”.

A work around for both issues is to convert that post into page using the pType Converter plugin. The plugin adds an item in the “tools” menu with the interface below. You can type in a keyword and it will find matching posts, pages, or even attachments.


Next click on the checkbox(es) to the posts or pages that were found that you wanted to be converted. Then click on the drop down to select the type you want to convert it into and then click on “Convert” button.

Here’s some WordPress trivia: for the most part posts and pages are essentially the same thing so doing the conversion is fairly safe but as always use a plugin like Backup Buddy to backup your site whenever you make major changes. 

Get it: pType Converter

Customizable display of pages, posts, links widget with “Advanced Menu Widget”

If you’re using the standard WordPress widget to show pages or posts on a sidebar widget area, you’ll notice there isn’t any flexibility built into it. By default, there is no  way to manually sort the order of the pages or posts or mix them up using the built in Widget.

Advanced menu widget smaller jpgThis is where Advanced Menu Widget kicks in to make your life easier. It gives you the ability to show any navigation menu that you’ve already set up to appear in a widget area. Because it uses the WP menu function, you’re then able to re-label, re-sort, add custom links, and do anything else WP menu allows you to do.

Get it: Advanced Menu Widget

Speeding up your WordPress site with MaxCDN (Advanced users)

In the past I’ve written about and how WPVerse uses their service. I recently needed to make some changes to my account and since I was never aware of a self service control panel, I wrote to WPCDN but didn’t hear back from them so I decided it was expand my horizons. I met the MaxCDN team at WordCampLA last year so was curious to see what their system could do.

This article is meant as a quick overview for advanced users, so I’ll post more details later but here are my impressions so far of MaxCDN. If you’re familiar with setting up CDN before, you’ll be able to be on their system in less than an hour. There was a delay getting my account “welcome” email but once I was in their self service control panel, I was able to create a new pull zone in less than 15 minutes.

I think the UI could use a little bit more hand holding or help messages. For example there’s a field called “Custom CDN Domain” that is optional if you haven’t setup your own CDN sub-domain in your DNS but it’s not explained you can fill it out later. They do provide a “temporary sub-domain” for after you submit the form. I filled in the custom CDN domain name in my domain registrar’s (GoDaddy) but for whatever reason the images didn’t seem to be showing up at the URL but their “temporary” sub-domain worked fine.

I also had to switch to W3C Total Cache because the CDN feature in WP Super Cache seems to be tied into the page caching features being enabled and this particular project had a lot of Ajax related features on the home page that I didn’t want to try page caching with yet. All in all, so far I am happy with MaxCDN.

Batch Categories plugin – manipulate post categories in a pinch

As mentioned a few days ago, we’re in the middle of converting 100s of PDF into HTML format using posts for our client’s new WordPress site. We’ve learned some great tools to create batch categories and posts but nothing’s perfectly smoothly.

We’re using the Bulk Post creator mentioned a few days ago but one downside to this plugin is that it doesn’t let you assign a category so it puts everything as “uncategorized” initially.

Unfortunately, If you do a bulk edit with WordPress’ post menu editor, even after assigning new categories, the posts still retain a “uncategorized” flag in addition to the new categories. We’re not sure if this has been a reported bug or intended behavior.

We couldn’t find anything in the regular WP repository so we searched the forums and found Rob Miller’s “Batch Categories” plugin. Since it’s not in the WP repository, we highly recommend you use the plugin on a test site first and at your own risk. Make sure you download v1.4 for WP 2.5+.

Batch categories uncategorized

You’ll find the tool, well…under “Tools” -> “Batch Categories”. The UI is a bit whacked out with the new WP 3.x interface considering the tool was built in the WP 2.5 era.

You won’t care about the UI once you see that you’ll be able to find a bunch of posts marked with “uncategorized” and remove that setting with just a few clicks. Once you’ve set the filter to the “Uncategorized” then simply click on the “Remove from” button for matching posts and voila you’re done! You’ll have to run the filter a few times but it’s still a lot less clicking than normal.

Get it: Batch Categories

Visual WordPress Sitemap theme

Slickmapper sitemap pages wordpress themeIf you’re building a WordPress site with over 20 pages, in addition to the “bulk post creator” plugin we mentioned a few days ago, you might want to try out the Slick Mapper WordPress theme by Luke McDonald. This will allow you to get the landscape overview of how pages fit within the site and help you map out navigation bar issues more effectively. This is known as part of the information architecture portion of User Experience (UX) jargon these days.

Once it’s activated, Luke’s sitemap theme will generate a visual site map that you can see at the web site URL just like your home page. Site maps are normally often seen in Visio or other drawing program. The beauty of this theme is that the theme generates a site map using the pages saved into WordPress. The theme will structure the pages into parent and child hierarchy. Just make sure your pages are published – not saved in draft mode.

There are quite a few options available to customize such as the box background and border colors and logo upload.

If you want to keep your current theme running, simply use the old theme preview trick by adding this line of text to the end of your base URL like this:


So if your site is was, then it would look like this:

The current info page for SlickMapper at ThemeGarden is down so check out the GitHub page for the download: SlickMapper

Stats for your WordPress sidebar

Wp stats widgetI recently wanted to show my visitors how many posts I’ve written about WordPress on the WPVerse sidebar automatically so I wouldn’t have to manually keep updating it.

So I dug around and found WP-Statistics to give it a whirl. It has a ton of features just beyond showing number of total posts, you can also see how many comments have been published, number of visitors, page views, and much more details that you’d normally find in a true analytics package.

You can now see it in action on the sidebar to your right. I wish it would have a simple notes section below your stats so you could add some disclaimer or extra notes without having to drag text widget below it.

I am not giving up Google Analytics anytime soon so for now I am not turning on the page view stats/analytics tracking for now but if you’re not a fun of sticking a bunch of javascript onto your pages this might be an alternative.

So far so good and as of now, they’e had 11 reviews with an average of 4.5 stars so they’re off to a good start!

Download: WP-Statistics