Beaulieu Yoga

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New Artist Website Remodel

Art and technology go together, and if you love viewing oil paintings then please browse the newly remodeled site for Anna Lancaster. She came to me looking to refresh the look of her website and gain the control to make all of her own changes, instead of having to always contact a vendor to make changes. Anna wanted the Home page to have a slideshow with larger images, then thumbnails to show off the different categories of her work.

Anna Lancaster, home page

Home Page

The header of each page includes social media icons for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. When you click on one of the thumbnails it brings you to a Gallery page that uses a masonry style where each image fits into a column and has a title:

Anna Lancaster, gallery


Clicking on a galley thumbnail brings up a full-size painting with more details about it:

Anna Lancaster, painting details

Painting Details

To see more full-size paintings just click the Left or Right arrows. To stop looking at a full-size image click the X in the upper right corner.

Ann writes blog posts that include some of the locations that she paints from and her philosophy of painting.

Anna Lancaster, blog post

Blog Post

The site even looks great on a mobile device like your smart phone where you just have to scroll up and down to view the artwork:

Anna Lancaster, mobile


The site is easy to update using any web browser, and you login to a WordPress account, which is a free Content Management System.

So if your looking for some artwork to place in your home or office, then give Anna’s site a look, then contact her or the gallery to get pricing information.


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Learning About WordPress Themes

There are dozens of ways to create your own web site, however WordPress has some 100,000,000 users around the world, making it the number one Content Management System (CMS) where you use a web browser to edit your site. So, how do you go about learning how to use WordPress? Great question. There’s a Portland Meetup group that offers free training on how to use WordPress and their next meeting is on April 3rd. Here’s what you’ll learn at this free Meetup:

Topic: Child Theme Basics & Twenty Seventeen Theme Demo

Time: Monday, April 3, 2017 from 6PM to 8PM

Location: U.S. Bancorp Tower, Conference Rooms, 111 SW 5th Avenue


Have you ever upgraded your theme and had your customizations wiped out? In this presentation, we’ll talk about what a child theme is, why you should use one, how to set one up, and possible alternatives. We’ll use the Twenty Seventeen theme (the default theme that comes with a fresh WordPress install) as an example. We’ll also go through a quick demo of its features. The agenda:

6:00 – 6:15: Introductions. What you do, are you looking to hire, are you looking for work?
6:15 – 6:45: Speaker and topic.
6:45 – 7:00: Questions and answers on the topic.
7:00 – 8:00: Get help with WordPress. Bring your laptop for this part. There’s a wide range of experience levels, and we’re all here to help each other.
8:00: Soft Close. You may hang out a bit longer to talk or finish up a project, but the official Meetup will end.

To find us: The room is on the ground floor. To the right of the elevators, go through the glass doors where it says Conference Center. Then go down the hall to the room labeled Training Room.


Visit the Meetup site to see all of their WordPress events.

Portland WordPress Meetup

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Tualatin Library Foundation

I first met Wayne Welch a few years ago, and he is one of the many wonderful volunteers that organize the Tualatin Library Foundation. They needed a web site for several reasons:

We used WordPress to develop a site that Wayne and other volunteers can update themselves using just a web browser and some training. The new web site is responsive, meaning that you can browse it on the Desktop, Tablet or even Mobile devices like your smart phone. Donations and payments are accepted using PayPal, which also accepts regular credit cards. We collect email names using Constant Contact, a popular email management tool.

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Oregon Visual Arts Ecology Project

I got a phone call from Mike Matthews, owner of Measured Marketing Solutions awhile back and he wanted a better way to enter over 1,000 art portfolios into a web site for the Oregon Visual Arts Ecology Project. My first action was to browse the web site and see what it looked like:

Oregon Visual Arts

It was a WordPress site and they were using a popular commercial Theme called Avada that supported the concept of a Portfolio. Oddly enough there was no way to bulk import a list of Portfolios, so Mike wanted to know if it were possible to use an Excel spreadsheet to define all of the Portfolios, then import them somehow into WordPress. My reply, “Yes, of course that can be coded.”

On the Home page there are several Featured Portfolios on display, so when you click the thumbnail then you get linked to a detailed page like this one:

Oregon Visual Arts - detailed portfolio page

Notice that on the right-hand side there are clickable links for:

All of this visual, text and link information had to be imported from an Excel file into WordPress and then create a new Portfolio for each line of the spreadsheet. I coded a custom Plugin just for this one task, tested it out, and saved Mike much time from having to manually create over 1,000 portfolios.


WordPress is a very powerful and extendable Content Management System (CMS) that allows organizations to show the world what they are all about using an intuitive visual medium. WordPress may be customized to do something special with off-the-shelf Themes, saving you valuable time and manual typing effort.

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Rayborn’s Plumbing

This local plumbing company Rayborn’s Plumbing has been in business since 1977 and they wanted to update the look and content of their web site to something that was more modern looking, and that was easy enough to update their own content using just a web browser. We used WordPress as the Content Management System.
It was important to have testimonials from actual customers help tell the story of both residential and commercial projects. The Home page features a slide show of example commercial projects from the Portland, Oregon metro region.

Ruth Hardie

I first met Ruth Hardie at a networking event with the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce, and then learned that she was an artist creating watercolor prints. A few months after our introduction she contacted me about creating a brand new web site to showcase her art work. Some of the things that I learned about how she wanted to be portrayed on the web were:

We used WordPress as the Content Management System so that Ruth can update the site herself by using any web browser and logging in. Here’s the Home page layout with a slideshow:

Ruth Hardie, Home page


The Gallery page shows seven watercolor prints of dogs, where you click the thumbnail to see the full size image:

Ruth gallery


Clicking on the Black Lab thumbnail shows me the large version, and I can browse forward and backward through the entire gallery:

Ruth - gallery image


Art Prints is a page with links to Fine Art America, which has the e-commerce for visitors to shop and purchase prints.

Ruthie - art prints


The Merchandise page is similar to Art Prints, however the links are different:

Ruth - merchandise


For visitors to contact Ruthie, we are not showing her personal email address because that would invite spammers to flood her inbox with unwanted email. Instead, we use a contact form:

Ruth - contact form


Another useful feature is a Newsletter Signup and Social Media in the left sidebar of each page, inviting visitors to keep updated on the latest artwork from Ruthie.

Ruth - newsletter


When a person subscribes to the newsletter form, they receive an email with a confirmation link, this is called a double opt-in to verify that person’s identity:

Ruth - confirm email


Ruth can now send out newsletters to all of the names by logging into WordPress, instead of having a totally separate newsletter system with another username and password, this just makes business easier to run with fewer accounts to remember.

Finally, we knew that smart phones are commonly being used to browse web pages, so we made her site mobile-ready by choosing a responsive theme:

Ruth - mobile


Notice how on a mobile device the menu is activated by clicking the icon with three horizontal lines.

Ruth - mobile menu

Enjoy viewing Ruthie’s artwork on her new web site at

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Using Google Forms and WordPress

The Tualatin Chamber of Commerce has an annual event called Celebrate Tualatin where there are awards given to members within multiple categories. There are two ways to nominate a person:

For the online form task we decided to use Google Forms, because of how easy it is to visually create a Form and it collects all of the responses made by people nominating. Here’s what the finished form looks like:

Google Form

To create the form you login to Google Docs and add a new Form, then start to fill in the details:

Initial Google Form


I gave our form a Title, and the first question was a Multiple Choice with six options, and it’s a required question:

Form title


All of the remaining questions were Text fields, and there are many other choices for the type of field that you can have:

Field types


It’s easy to rearrange questions by just moving your cursor over the question, then dragging and dropping to a new location:

Question hover


We wanted to be notified by email whenever a new nomination was made with this form, so we installed an Add-on called “Form Notifications”:

Form notifications


When a form is filled out, then our recipients get an email notification and a Google spreadsheet is updated with the new info:

Google response spreadsheet


To get this form into a WordPress page or post, while in Google Docs we choose: File> Embed

Google file embed

I just Copy this HTML code, then in WordPress I edit my Post, view in Text mode, then Paste:

Paste Google form into WordPress


There you have it, how to make a Google Form and embed it inside of your WordPress page or post. Enjoy building your forms and analyzing the results in Google Docs.



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Why I Will Never Use WebLink Ever Again

I’ve been helping the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce for several years now with their membership site, and they need to have web features like:

The Chamber selected WebLink International as a system to handle these features, while the actual web site was built with WordPress. We integrated WordPress with WebLink International two years ago, and let the contract with WebLink expire on Mach 1st, 2015. Why will I never use WebLink International again?


  1. Their backend software runs only a PC, not a Mac, and it is not web-based.
  2. Their user interface looks like something designed for programmers working on mainframe computers in the 1960s.
  3. I reported over two dozens bugs with their software, and the vast majority were never fixed at all, or even acknowledged as bugs worthy of fixing.
  4. They allow you integrate with WordPress through an arcane template system, however every time that you update a WordPress menu you have to re-generated an HTML template for use with WebLink.
  5. Simple event operations like repeating events are not supported.
  6. Integration with WordPress is do it yourself, make sure that you use RSS feeds to place WebLink content exactly where you want it to go.
  7. Migration of membership data is expensive, typically $1,000.00 or more. Importing members is purposely limited, so you have to pay them to do it.
  8. Your data lives on their server, not your web server.
  9. You have to setup a new subdomain to use their system, so ask for a web expert to help with this step.
  10. Learning their system will take office users about 30-50 hours, which is a lot of time and don’t expect to get a return on that investment.
  11. It’s a pre-built system, so you cannot put anything, anywhere, which severely limits your presentation.
  12. There’s no global search, instead there are separate searches for: Members, Events, Deals, Jobs, etc.
  13. Their pricing is expensive.
  14. Customer support is hostile. Rule #1, that’s not a bug, you don’t know how to use our system. Why would anyone want to do that anyway?
  15. They really don’t want you to integrate with Quicken, instead they want you to use their system for accounting instead.
  16. Their product is so lacking that they have to assign a program manager to your chamber, and that person’s job is to lower your expectations and deliver the bad news on why the bugs are not fixed, and the integration with WordPress doesn’t really exist.

That’s about enough for me right now, but you do get the general picture of why I will never use WebLink again, and why you should really dissuade anyone else from ever signing up with this outfit. Our users in the office had such an adverse experience with WebLink that the nickname became WebStink, now that description is appropriate.

I can say one thing that WebLink excels at, and that is they know how to sell their product and promote their product. You have been warned.

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5 responses to “Why I Will Never Use WebLink Ever Again”

  1. Brad T says:

    If you don’t mind me asking, and feel free to contact me directly, what membership system did you wind up using for this Chamber instead of Weblink?

  2. Daniel Payne says:

    Brad, after the contract expired with WebLink, then the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce opted to sign a contract with ChamberMaster, also a closed, proprietary system that really doesn’t integrate well with WordPress. I should put together my own Chamber management system tuned for WordPress instead of integrating with these closed systems.

    • Brad T says:

      Thanks for the quick reply. if you ever do create one that integrates with WP, let me know!

      Have a great evening and thanks for the info.


  3. Brian says:

    These comments are not accurate and are dated, and they were provided by another vendor, not the chamber of commerce itself. Please fact check with the software vendor directly (and their clients) before believing this. This third-party website vendor clearly did not fully understand the system’s membership management capabilities.

    • Daniel Payne says:

      I stand by the comments as being 100% accurate for the date that they were written, so feel free to provide proof to the contrary. I was under contract by the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce to integrate WebLink with WordPress. I had many technical discussions with WebLink support to arrive at my integration approach. We fully understood what WebLink could offer, but choose instead to rely on WordPress as our main CMS, now powered by ChamberMaster. I see that WebLink has been acquired by MemberClicks, but their web site has no details for me to compare how much or little that they have changed over the years.

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Learning about e-commerce

Most businesses have decided to offer online customer shopping of their products and services, something that we call e-commerce. Today there are literally dozens of ways to get your online shopping up and running. With WordPress having some 70,000,000 users it has become the number one Content Management System (CMS) in the world, so that has attracted top-notch e-commerce vendors to offer many choices for WordPress web sites. I’ve invited a speaker on this topic to present at the November 24th meeting of the Portland WordPress Meetup group.

Portland WordPress Meetup



In this WordPress MeetUp we will explore developing an e-commerce website using the popular and free Woo Commerce plugin. Shipping options, bulk discount and the various Woo Commerce Product settings will be covered along with incorporating the Shopping Cart pages into your website.


As with her previous popular presentation, “Safeguarding Your WordPress Clients,” Mary Ann will make time for questions at each step in the process and include opportunities for group discussion. After the presentation, slides will be available on a link to Prezi, but you will gain much more by attending in person.

Speaker Bio 
Mary Ann Aschenbrenner is the President of Waterlink Web LLC, a Portland-based website design and development company focused on the needs of small and medium sized businesses. In addition to building successful websites, she tends honeybees, volunteers in her community and is always engaged keeping up to date in this every evolving field.

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