Tag Archive: WordPress


I used to use a few different contact form plugins (most often Contact Form 7) that did the job, but more recently have started using Gravity Forms for all forms needed on client sites. It’s just easier to style one plugin’s elements with CSS than having to support several, and GF can handle anything from complex multi-page forms down to the simplest contact form.

Gravity Forms isn’t free, but it’s worth every penny. For an individual website it’s $39, but I’ve had a Developer License ($199) for over a year that allows me to install it in unlimited sites.

What I love about Gravity Forms:

  • It has a clean, simple interface out of the box;  a lot of CSS styling isn’t necessary, but it’s set up with classes to make it easy if you do need to do extensive styling;
  • Conditional sections (that appear only when certain conditions in the form are met) are easy to set up;
  • WordPress user registration can be included in any form;
  • Has a pretty nice form widget;
  • Supports auto-responders;
  • Export entries to Excel/csv without an additional plugin;
  • Integrates with Mailchimp, Aweber and Campaign Monitor (pro and business versions);
  • Accepts payments by integrating with Paypal, Authorize.net or Freshbooks (pro and business versions);
  • Has new features coming out fairly regularly (most recently – signatures through touch-screen devices, polls, and SMS notifications for form submittals;
  • Has great tech support and user community.

That last list item is the reason I decided to go with a Developer license. I’ve gotten very detailed help from the support community on a number of projects.

If you’ve used a number of different form or form widget plugins and are looking for one stable and comprehensive one that can do it all, I’d recommend checking out Gravity Forms. It’s definitely worth the cost.

This series is for helping fellow WordPress designers add useful  functionality to their websites by pointing out some of the great plugins I run across while building client websites. I hope this helps you!

I love Gravity Forms, it’s one of my go-to plugins for all WordPress installs. Last week a client gave me the form fields for a new form and some of them needed a word counter to limit words to 300 in textareas. I found two possible solutions for adding maximum word count in Gravity Forms after a bit of searching, but neither worked for me (not being a programmer, I didn’t know how to fix them). But my programmer friends at CodeGeek stepped in and came up with this solution.

Here’s the Javascript which is saved in /themes/mytheme/js/ (it could also be put in an HTML block within the form itself, but we may want to use it on several other forms so made it available site-wide):

Then in functions.php, call the script:

Then in the Gravity Form for fields that need the word count, add the class ‘els-word-count[300]’ in the Advanced tab for CSS Class Name. Change [300] as needed for the maximum words that can be added to that particular field.

Have a private blog category only visible to logged-in members of your blog or website? You can hide that category so that it doesn’t show up in your site’s default feed. Just add this to your theme’s functions.php file:

If you need to exclude more than one category, just add more like this:

This took a bit to figure out. If you only want to load Meteor Slides on the home page, try this:

I’m currently working on building a good responsive base version of the Theme Hybrid child theme I use as the starting point for most WordPress sites. To that end, today I destroyed a project-in-progress to rebuild it responsively. It’s going well so far, but I’m not close to being done. 

One thing that is complete: I now have a responsive menu thanks to a little jQuery script called TinyNav.js. This automatically converts any ul or ol-based navigation menu to a select menu. It was very easy to do except for one thing that wasn’t clear from the documentation, which I’ll explain below.

First download TinyNav.js from the link above and upload it to your theme directory. Then in the head section of your theme, connect to the script:

Then add this, changing #menu-primary to the ul id in your WordPress menu. The second part of this makes the current_page_item appear in the select menu by default.

Finally, open up tinynav.js. This was the tricky part because it wasn’t explained clearly. You’re going to need to make one change: the first occurrence of ‘selected’ needs to be changed to ‘current_page_item’ and then the first part of the script should look like this:

Note that that’s just part of the first line in the minified script…

Now you’ll use media queries to control the appearance of the select menu and the hiding of the main menu, perhaps like this:

And you can style select.tinynav in CSS. Enjoy!

NextGen has been my go-to gallery for WordPress for quite a long time. Very easy to use for my clients, and super-easy to customize. But the included lightbox scripts are not so great-looking.

I recently started using Easy FancyBox to replace those scripts. If you go to Options > Effects under NextGen and select ‘none’ for the JS Thumbnail effect, you can then tweak Easy FancyBox under Settings > Media. It looks great right out of the box (so to speak) and has some nice options for fades and titles.

Here’s an example of NextGen with Easy FancyBox from a recent project.

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