MD4.5 Goes All-In: Popup Hotspots, New Admin Dashboard, Blog Teasers and Much More

Marketers Delight 4.5

It’s been a long summer here at the Kolakube Labs and I’m happy to announce the all new Marketers Delight 4.5 is ready for download… and it’s the biggest MD yet.

Between working on new client projects and brainstorming with the MD community over at the forums, I’ve learned a lot about how you use MD to build websites. I also paid attention to what you desire most out of a website platform.

By spending more time of my own using MD to build client sites, I was able to take myself out of the shoes of a developer and get closer to your experience of building websites with MD.

For the most part I was happy with how things went but I encountered many things about my product that didn’t sit right with me.

These issues wouldn’t normally be a problem, I thought, since MD can easily be improved with the auto-updater system that’s in place.

Easy, flawless, and doesn’t take away from the time you spend actually building your websites.

Again… so I thought.

But there was something else bothering me, something more sinister about the MD workflow that mirrored an ugly trend that’s taken over the web publishing space…

MD Makes Creating Websites Easy!
(after you install 5 different plugins and license keys)

The beauty of WordPress lies in its flexibility—that you can install a plugin and add any feature you want to your site. This is also where chaos erupts, however.

So many times you’re left wondering “will this plugin work with my theme?” and have no clear path for how to piece together a website to get all the features you want.

Then you stumble upon a product like Marketers Delight that has exactly what you want out of a WordPress product:

…and you’re excited! Finally, a WordPress product that gives you what you want and promises to deliver it in a simple way. That is, until you find out MD is actually many separate plugins bundled together with their own license keys for software updates.

Now don’t get the wrong idea—many people have gone on to create these gorgeous websites with MD over the past year.

But before they could even think about the color of their header, they had to go through a tedious setup process of plugin and license key activations.

That doesn’t even account for the time and mental energy it takes to update these tools. Which part of MD needs updating? Do I update the theme or one of the plugins this time? Why doesn’t my license key work? This was the most tragic of all.

While the web publishing space has become so productized, most people only rent parts of their websites. What’s worse, some actually get duped into paying monthly fees for the simplest features that come baked into MD.

After seeing enough, I realized it didn’t make sense to split MD up into so many different products without charging the same kinds of monthly fees—something I absolutely don’t believe in for a product like MD.

This is WordPress we’re talking about after all; it’s the platform built for those who want to truly own their own content and answer to nobody for it. These are principles I strongly build MD on, even if they cost me revenue for my business.

MD4.5 drops the technical setup and merges everything you love into a super-theme… without the bloat.
(and that’s only the beginning)

Forget multiple plugins. Forget a gazillion license keys. And best of all, FORGET the complicated setup process that is most WordPress themes.

Marketers Delight 4.5 ambitiously sets out to be the only WordPress theme you need while staying adaptable enough to work with just about any other plugin out there.

One theme, one license key, and you’re ready to start building your website. But that’s only where it starts.

MD4.5 has all the same features you love in one theme, previously available only as separate addons:

New features and improvements are always being worked on and sent to your site when ready. Yes, MD4.5 is a big deal around these parts. Let me to show you around:

1) The All-New Admin Dashboard

Marketers Delight admin dashboard

Back in the “old days” of MD where you managed license keys, an entire admin screen was dedicated to all your different license keys. I was proud of the architecture that went into creating such a system, but the end result was just never truly elegant.

As you know by now, you only need to enable one license key to get the latest MD versions sent to your site. To strengthen this deal, a new Dashboard widget has been added to your admin panel that puts your license info a glance away.

Marketers Delight License Status Widget

The new widget even displays some useful info about your license. Neat!

The new Admin Dashboard also comes with a new updates center that highlights the newest features of the last major MD release you run. You can also browse the MD Version History to see how MD has transformed to the software it is today.

2) Don’t need all these new features? Make MD your own with the new Features Manager

MD Features Manager

Marketers Delight was originally split into addons to give you the power to build the kind of site you wanted without the bloat.

Rather than installing many plugins, MD4.5 introduces the new Features Manager that simply let’s you choose the features you don’t want.

As MD continues to grow you’ll be able to keep your various sites clean of the extra tools you don’t need. The beauty of WordPress, in a nutshell.

From a small personal blog to a content-heavy business site, mold MD to get everything you need and remove what you don’t.

3) MD4.5 makes popups less annoying and introduces Hotspots

Popup Hotspots in Marketers Delight

Popups, while effective at many things, can truly ruin a reading experience. MD4.5 makes popups less annoying by making them easier to close.

Readers can now close any popup by:

  • Clicking outside the popup itself
  • Pressing the ESC key
  • Clicking the floating “close” button.
  • Clicking custom close trigger

To polish this experience further popups no longer jump to the top of the page after opening on mobile. This keeps readers exactly where they left off when they close any popups you set.

But that’s not all.

MD4.5 sets the stage for massive new features and gets warmed up with the new Popups Hotspots feature.

By setting a Hotspot readers can open popups from important areas around your site on click (this way you’re not forcing a popup on them while they’re reading).

Think of Popup Hotspots as a valet service for your most important call-to-actions. Simply pick a location on your site, choose a popup, and a 2-step optin will show once the Hotspot is clicked.

To get started, tell Hotspots to load a 2-step optin in the byline of your posts or Main Menu. More Hotspots will be added as this feature advances but that doesn’t stop you from placing popups anywhere you want with the handy [md_popup] shortcode!

Expect even more great features soon.
Popup Hotspots Admin panel

Simple controls built right into your admin panel. More Hotspots coming soon (click to see full image)

4) Make any Header Link a Dropdown Menu

An old limitation in the header menu was set in place to keep it as simple as possible.

Header dropdown menus

The ability to add dropdown menus to navigation links can still improve the way people get around your site—and it’s important that MD can support such a feat.

Alongside the MD Main Menu, you can now create dropdown menus in your header menu. Combine these menus for some seriously content filled menus, ensuring your most important pages are easily accessible around your site.

As an added design bonus, parent links will have a small arrow next to them indicating they are dropdown menus. It’s the little details that make features like these so powerful.

5) Set Default Featured Image Position on all Posts

Default Featured Image Customizer

One of the biggest appeals of MD is the powerful Featured Image controls that allow you to position your images in various ways around your posts.

This works flawlessly for new sites, but going through potentially hundreds of old posts to set this just isn’t practical!

Thanks to the members at the Kolakube Forums for raising this issue, a new Default Image Position setting has been added to the Customizer.

Simply select the default position you wish your images to follow and each time you create a new post, that setting will apply to your post automatically.

If no image position is set on an existing post (like on a post you haven’t edited in months), it will inherit this setting. Talk about convenient!

…of course, you can still set custom position on a per-post basis right from your post editor.

Setting a default image position just once can save you countless clicks during the editing process—a win-win for new and established blogs alike.

As a bonus… the new featured image position “Center, no text wrap” has been added for further control over your images!

6) New Testimonials Widget + Better Quote Styles

Testimonials Widget

Writing convincing copy and using a professionally designed landing page convince many your product is great, but it’s what other people are saying that often makes the sale.

Social proof comes in many forms, but none more powerful than the simple testimonial and MD4.5 has a new feature to help show off what others are saying about your product or service.

The new Testimonials widget allows you to stream customer testimonials and quotes in any Widget area on your site, such as the Sidebar or Footer area.

Alongside this new widget, the blockquote styles you use in posts to has been updated to look a lot better!

This is an example of what quoted text in a post looks like with the new blockquote styles in MD4.5.

These two new enhancements should aide in helping you craft a more compelling message to your audience.

7) Personalize Your Blog Posts With the New Blog Teasers, Bylines and Author Box

Byline Customizer settings

Fine-tune your byline with new Customizer settings.

New MD Customizer settings

Rearrange your blog in just a click.

Let’s face it, the standard blog layout that lists post after post can get a little old after a while. To help you switch things up, a new teaser setting has been added that let’s you easily arrange your blog into a grid of posts.

This new setting is smart enough to detect if your blog has a sidebar enabled and adjusts the teasers grid accordingly to best fit into the amount of space available on the screen.

Check out the new teaser layout on my own personal blog (no sidebar) and see how Way of the Olympian and Advisor Evolved use it with sidebars:
Advisor Evolved
Way of the Olympian

To wrap up the final details of this new feature, you can now easily remove items from your post bylines with helpful new Customizer settings. Watch your site update live as you craft your new blog layout and byline—no drag and drop required.

8) Format Your Posts Beautifully With New Helper Classes

For the serious MD user, MD helper classes are a must-use. With these specially designed classes you can add beautiful formatting into your posts, pages, menus, widget—anywhere you can use basic HTML in WordPress.

MD Helper classes are easily one of my favorite features in MD and after building more and more sites, I found myself adding new helper classes that I thought would make a great addition to the current library of styles.

So, here are the new helper classes you can start using in your posts as of MD4.5:

#1) Intro Text and Drop Caps

As you saw a few times throughout this post (and this very paragraph), the first letter has a nice style that makes your opening statements look more profound.

With the new drop class, you can make any letter or word a drop cap—just wrap your text with the new class. Here’s the above paragraph as it looks in the post editor:

<span class="drop">A</span>s you saw a few times throughout this post (and this very paragraph), the first letter had a nice style that makes your opening statements look more profound.

In addition to the drop cap, you may have also noticed the above paragraph has a larger font size than the rest of the text. This is another typographical improvement that can make your opening statement more bold, and all it takes is wrapping your paragraph of choice with the new intro class:

<p class="intro">In addition to the drop cap, you may have also noticed the above paragraph has a larger font size than the rest of the text.</p>

…now, these classes are useful on their own but chances are you’ll want to combine them in the same paragraph. Instead of writing separate markup to give a paragraph a drop cap and larger intro text, you can simply wrap a paragraph in the new text-intro class to apply both styles in one shot!

<p class="text-intro">Instead of writing separate markup to give a paragraph a drop cap and larger intro text, you can simply wrap a paragraph in the new text-intro class to apply both styles in one shot!</p>

Nothing takes somebody’s breath away more in a design than stunning text. Combine your stellar content with these new helper classes and you’re sure to make your text as beautiful as it is informative.

#2) Add Badges to Highlight Important Text New!

A cool detail that can make your messaging stand out even more is in a badge. These little badges can serve as status indicators next to headlines, text offers, or even prices.

You can read further into what you can do with this badge from the forums, and to use it around your site, simply apply the badge class to any line of text:

<span class="badge">New!</span>

If you notice your badges don’t vertically align with you text, you can quickly pull them up and down with this simple bit of inline CSS, and quickly change the colors:

<span class="badge" style="background-color: purple; top: -3px;">New!</span>

(see the forum thread for a more efficient way to work with custom styles)

#3) Turn any quote into a speech bubble

In addition the new <blockquote> styles, you can further dress up your quotes and turn them into a more advanced speech bubble.

Alex ManginiThis is an example of a more “dressed up” blockquote with an image + speech bubble styles. Great for testimonials and quotes with author attribution.

—Alex Mangini, creator of Marketers Delight

<div class="quote-box">

	<img src="https://marketersdelight.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/alex-point-large-80x80.jpg" class="quote-box-image alignright circle" alt="What others are saying about MD4.5" width="80" height="80">
				
	<p>Welcome to the MDNET blog! This blog covers the latest news, tutorials, and other articles to help you maximize your online presence with Marketers Delight.</p>

</div>

<p class="quote-box-author">—Alex Mangini, creator of MD</p>

#4) Larger buttons and more colors

By applying the new button-large class to any button, you can nearly double the size of your button instantly:

Get MD tody →

<a href="/pricing/" class="button button-large">Get MD tody →</a>

Alongside the new button size, new color classes have been added so you can experiment to find that perfect button!

Simply apply any of the following classes to your button to change colors on the fly:

  • green (default)
  • orange
  • blue
  • purple
  • gray
  • dark

Get MD tody →

<a href="/pricing/" class="blue button">Get MD tody →</a>

9) Developers: MD4.5 Introduces 16+ New Hooks and Filters

Marketers Delight child theme

To stay true to the spirit of WordPress, Marketers Delight stays as flexible as possible so you can do anything you want with it. A big reason this flexibility is possible is due to the great hooks and filters philosophy borrowed from WordPress and integrated straight into MD.

MD4.5 introduces 16 new hooks and filters, on top of all the hooks and filters that came with the plugins now merged into the theme. They are as follows:

  1. md_filter_content_width (adjust $content_width variable, as part of WordPress coding standards)
  2. md_filter_footer_columns (add more footer widgets)
  3. md_hook_footer (builds footer layout, adds new columns/copyright templates. see /build/build.php for example)
  4. md_filter_sidebar_classes (add custom classes to the sidebar)
  5. md_filter_content_classes (add custom classes to the
    content)
  6. md_filter_headline_classes (add custom classes to the headline area of each post/page)
  7. md_filter_byline_classes (add custom classes to the byline area in each post)
  8. md_filter_byline_items (remove specific byline items)
  9. md_hook_byline_bottom (add new item to end of byline)
  10. md_hook_byline_after_date (add new item after byline date)
  11. md_filter_excerpt_length (change the excerpt length on blog teasers)
  12. md_filter_excerpt_more (change the ellipses at the end of excerpt text)
  13. md_filter_register_nav_menus (register new nav menus or deregister MD’s menus)
  14. md_filter_read_more (change the excerpt read more text if Customizer setting enabled)
  15. md_main_menu_triggers
  16. md_main_menu_side_triggers

That’s a lot to throw at you now, and I will be documenting these hooks and filters more extensively to give you a better idea of how you can use them. Allow me to show you the coolest new filter, though…

Add new footer columns with md_filter_footer_columns

WordPress Footer Widgets

By default, MD uses a smart 3 column footer widget system. You can choose to use only 1 or 2 of those columns and the layout will adjust automatically to fit the size of the footer area.

With the new md_filter_footer_columns filter, you can now expand that system to as many footer columns as you need. Simply append new columns to the filter and it will:

  1. Creates a new “Footer {x}” widget area in the Appearance > Widgets
  2. Adds space for the new footer column(s) in your existing footer

The example below will expand the footer columns area to four columns from the default three. Simply place this into your child theme’s functions.php file and head over to your Widgets panel to see the new changes:

function md_child_theme_footer_columns() {
	return array( 1, 2, 3, 4 );
}

add_filter( 'md_filter_footer_columns', 'md_child_theme_footer_columns' );

10) Finally, check out these notable bug fixes + improvements

If you can believe it or not, we’ve finally covered the major changes in MD4.5. This massive release post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning these notable bug fixes and general improvements made to MD throughout development.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most notable bug fixes and improvements made in MD4.5:

  • Site Tools page renamed and moved to the new Settings panel in Appearance > Marketers Delight.
  • Add author box to the end of posts by going to Appearance > Customizer > Layout
  • Main Menu Customizer settings panel completely removed. Menu now shows on all pages by default with search always enabled.
  • The global sidebar, when enabled in Appearance > Customizer > Layout now also shows on search results pages
  • New .mo and .po language files have been included for translators that contain every new string ready for translation.
  • Footnotes now show return links, making it easy to jump in-between content and footnotes list at the end of the post without losing your place in text.
    Footnotes improvements
  • All MD CSS files now merged into the main style.css file, reducing the amount of HTTP requests made by default MD, saving upto 5 extra stylesheet downloads per page
  • Removed HTML5 shiv script from loading in <head>
  • Fixed broken file paths to MD webfonts in post editor screen
  • Category/taxonomy meta boxes better organized with smarter hierarchy
  • New image size: md-thumbnail (80×80)
  • Fixed bug where duplicate email title and footers would show in popups created with Popups
  • Massive file reorganization + MDAPI improvements

What’s Next for Marketers Delight?

If you didn’t catch it yet, check out the new MDNET homepage to take a tour of MD for yourself.

MD4.5 is such a big update because it sets the tone for the future of development. New features can be built, bugs can be fixed all in one place which allows MD to continue getting leaner as it expands.

Expect some exciting blog tutorials, videos, and new ways to customize your sites.

I’ve made a huge change in my personal life (I’ll get to that later) that is allowing me to focus on the development of Marketers Delight again. I’m glad I had so much time over the summer to work on MD4.5, but MD needs to move faster to continue its domination of the web.

Enjoy MD4.5, it’s simply the best platform out there for blog writers and I’ll continue to show you why here on the blog. In the meantime, be sure to join the free newsletter to stay on the cutting-edge of MD.

16 comments add yours

  1. hey Alex,

    It’s been exciting to watch the growth and maturation of MD.
    I absolutely love what you’re doing and support you 100%.

    My early favorite for ‘best new feature’ is the Pop-up Hotspots.

    • Thank you Ray, you’re one of the few people who’ve stuck around since the early days and I’m always grateful to have you behind my work.

      More to come, stoked to see what you’re able to do with these new features. πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Alex,

    Great job! So incredible I finally would like to update my site to newest MD. What is suggested route if I have MD 2.2.5 running on top of Thesis 1.8.5 (since 2012)? Do I still need Thesis to run MD?

    This is high traffic site with 250k UU monthly, 340 posts and over 38k comments.

    Cheers!

    • Hey Michal, happy to hear you’re ready to upgrade! You picked the perfect time to come over.

      MD4.5 no longer requires Thesis, that’s correct. Since it was rebuilt there is no smooth “one-click” upgrade from MD2 to MD4 (of course, MD4 has auto-updates so future updating will be easy!).

      My best suggestion is to either duplicate the site to a test site or, since your site is so large, just export a few posts/pages to a test site and design around that and copy/paste your design over when ready.

      It looks like you kept a simple post/page/category layout on your blog throughout the years so I imagine the update will go smooth. A few tips that may help you further:

      • I see you like to add email forms throughout posts/pages, which can be done with the md_email shortcode
      • I see some of your pages use the “No Sidebar” template, and MD gives you the simple option to remove a sidebar in just a click
      • On category pages, I also saw you filled out a custom title and description, which is yet another setting built straight into Edit Category pages in MD.

      All-in-all, it looks like MD4 supports your exact blogging style so I think if you made a few tweaks, recreating what you have now isn’t too far off!

      Just a few thoughts. Send me an email if you need further help, looking forward to seeing your new site, Michal. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Alex, this turned out to be a very ambitious update but the risk was worth itβ€”we’ve never seen a product like this. Eager to see what you make with it.

    • Happy to hear it, you helped a lot through the MD4.5 process at the forums so I’m glad to have you stick around! You know there’s more great stuff in the works too. πŸ™‚

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