New Quick Tip Video Series on the Sniffle Valve YouTube Channel

YouTube video thumbnail

I have started adding new videos to the Sniffle Valve YouTube Channel with the Quick Tip identifier on the video thumbnail preview image. 

These are short, to-the-point videos that show how to do one thing related to Elementor, Elementor Pro, Astra, Astra Pro, as well as other select plugins.

There is no code provided in the description (it will be narrated in the video) nor a link to a page here on the Sniffle Valve website.

They take me a lot less time to produce which means I can get more of them up for you sooner 🙂 

I will still be creating the longer, more in-depth  videos, but they will not be coming as frequently as this new style.

Let me know in the comments here or on the videos how you like them and also suggestions for new ones.


GeneratePress Tutorials Coming Soon

GeneratePress logo

During a recent One-on-one online training session with one of my recurring clients, the matter about the dearth of tutorials for the GeneratePress theme came up.

To which I replied that I will have to fix that situation.

GeneratePress is my go-to theme along with the ever so reasonably priced GeneratePress Premium add on plugin.

So this is just a quick note to let all you know that tutorials are on their way for both the free GeneratePress theme along with subsequent ones for GeneratePress Premium.

If you do not want to be left out of the loop, perhaps subscribe to both the Sniffle Valve YouTube Channel as well as the Sniffle Valve website.


Happy Anniversary!

Aaron Shannon C-FGGN

As of this date, Sniffle Valve is two years old! Wow!

In memory of this most auspicious occasion, I will repost what I did on that date, two years ago when Sniffle Valve was officially launched.

And on a very auspicious date, I might add.

Today, the 12th day of April, 2015, is the birthday of both my little brother and my one and only niece. I will forgo the mention of how many trips around the sun each have accomplished as of this date.

To be polite.

I will note however, that both have fewer ringers ’round the sun than I do.

However, that doesn’t mean that a photo cannot be provided. The two birthday kids a ‘few’ years ago at the Humboldt, Saskatchewan airport with the 1973 Piper Cherokee 180, CF-GGN.

I wonder what things will be like two years from now 🙂

Elementor and Beaver Builder Lite Comparison

Elementor and Beaver Builder logos

Thought that I would put together a listing of what is included with the versions of these two popular WordPress page builders as available on the WordPress Plugin Repository.


Elementor – widgets

Text Editor
Google Maps
Image Box
Icon Box
Image Gallery
Image Carousel
Icon List
Progress Bar
Social Icons
Menu Anchor

Columns – up to 10 per Section

Beaver Builder Lite

Beaver Builder Lite – Widgets

Right Sidebar
Left Sidebar
Left & Right Sidebar
Text Editor

Columns – up to 6 per Row

In Addition

Add to the fact that Elementor as available on the WordPress Plugin Repository comes with a Template Library of pre-designed templates that are updated on a regular basis by Elementor.

This same version of Elementor allows one to save to the library one’s own pages or sections to be used elsewhere in the site.

These may also be exported in order to be used in other Elementor-enabled sites. Similar capability is availalble only in the commercial versions of Beaver Builder.


Hmm … 😉

Has Beaver Builder Met Its Match

Sniffle Valve - GeneratePress Elementor

With the release of Anywhere Elementor from Anand Upadhyay, Elementor has been elevated to the top of the WordPress page builder heap, IMNSHO. Here is why:

1. To obtain the global template functionality provided by this combination, one would need to purchase at least the Standard version of BB.

2. To utilize that functionality in the commercial version of BB, one still has to use a shortcode, albeit a BB one.

3. One must purchase a commercial version of BB to have the Elementor Library functionality. This is of course provided for in the current release of Elementor.

4. Modules (Elementor widgets) available. Elementor provides a list of widgets that are only available in the commercial versions of BB.

On the downside, the inability (as of yet) for Elementor to be able to place it’s Library contents within other Elementor widgets via a shortcode or whatever other method, precludes it from being able to place non-global “templates” into these areas.

I will be doing a blog post soon on the Sniffle Valve site where I will compare the capabilities and offerings of the these two page builders.

This is not to say that BB is not a very capable system. On the contrary.

But, it has met it’s match 🙂

The Sniffle Valve website switcheroo

Sniffle Valve - GeneratePress Elementor

The Sniffle Valve Rebuild

Dynamik Website Builder

Let me begin by stating that Sniffle Valve has not abandoned the Dynamik Website Builder (DWB) child theme for the Genesis Framework and the Beaver Builder (BB) plugin, nor has their capability and usefulness diminished in my view in any way whatsoever.

They remain an excellent choice with which to build a WordPress powered website and I will continue to create tutorials about them.

The Why

Beaver BuilderThe decision to replace them with the GeneratePress theme (GP) (including the GP Premium add on) and the Elementor (EL) page builder plugin during the Sniffle Valve website rebuild was purely an exercise for me to learn these relatively new additions to the WordPress ecosystem.

I have found that one can “play around” with a new product until the cows come home, but until you actually use it to build out a website, you can never really get the feel for the workflow.

And that is why I did it this way.

Besides, I wanted to learn about them in actual use so that I would be better prepared to create tutorials about them in the future.

The How

Many of you may cringe when I say that I did all of this on the live site, in real time. No need to fear, really, as 1) I had a backup and I tested it, and 2) (unfortunately), the Sniffle Valve site doesn’t get a whole lot of traffic.

I also kept an eye on the Real Time Google Analytics and would take a break whenever someone did pop onto the site.

An Elementor Logo


As for the actual work, most know that one of the great things about BB (and EL) is that it leaves your content behind when the plugin has been deactivated and as such, the content was immediately available once the page was opened with EL. Everything showed up in an EL Text widget.

From then on, it was just a matter of arranging the various EL widgets as needed and copying and pasting any of the existing content into them. Quite simple and easy to do.

The part that took the longest was, as usual, trying to decide on the overall design and layout, which would be the same process regardless of the page builder being used. Once I came up with what I thought was the look I wanted (thank you ever so much, Silvia G.!), the rest went quickly.

If you have a good look around the Sniffle Valve website, you will notice that there are not many, if any, bells and whistles.

As a matter of fact, shy of the template used for the page header (photo of me, vertical yellow line on the right side of that column and the blue rectangle with white text), the whole thing could have been done with the free, lite version of BB.


GeneratePressThat’s the page layout part.

As for the theme, well, this is where GP and the GP Premium add on really shine.

The header and navigation stick and scroll (with resized logo on scroll) is out of the box, completely set up in the Customizer.

The only CSS that was harmed in the creation of the  header was for the placement of the Header widget area containing a WordPress text widget that contains the tag line to the right of the logo.

That bit of CSS was supplied by Tom Usborne, GP’s creator, as a result of a request I had made about doing so on another site. Tom’s support for his products is, in my not so humble opinion, utterly amazing.

WP Show Posts

WP Show Posts

Speaking of Tom and his fantastic products, the only other area of the Sniffle Valve website that was a complete departure from the previous version was the Tutorials page.

Previously, those were a BB row for each tutorial, with a photo, heading, text and icon module in each row. Adding a new tutorial was a bit of a chore.

With the new method, I simply used Tom’s WP Show Posts (WPSP) plugin.

It should be noted that the plugin also does pages, and that is what I did as each tutorial is a WP page.

I just made a separate list in WPSP for each topic, added the page IDs that I had jotted down for each, and then added a WPSP widget to that EL section and selected the appropriate list from the WPSP widget drop down. Too easy.

I had initially set the lists up as three columns, but decided that it looked too crowded. Easy fix. Go back to each list and set the columns to two. Done. Less than a minute.

Wrapping it up

Well there you have it. That’s the story in a nutshell. There is more to be tweaked yet, especially on mobile (I did keep and eye on that during the work using Blisk and Screenfly) but for the most part, it’s workable.

Will I use BB and DWB on other sites in the future? Perhaps.

Unless something else new and shiny comes along.

I’m not a Slacker

Beaver Builder logo

Nor am I a Facebooker.

I prefer to get the latest info about issues others are having with the various tools that I use to build websites and to provide timely, up to date tutorials for the same, from a company sponsored user forum. Perhaps I am just too old to “get” Slack. I tried. Honestly. But it does not cut it for me. Way too much clutter. Same goes for Facebook Groups. I do not want opinion, I want answers. Organized answers to organized questions.

The reason for this, shall we say, rant, is the recent decision by the lads over at Beaver Builder to decommission their forum. Unfortunate choice, in my not-so-humble opinion. Here’s why.

That forum was an invaluable source of information for me about what was going on with their products, specifically, the Beaver Builder plugin. I was not as much interested in their theme as I use Dynamik Website Builder exclusively. Who, by the way, attempted a forum “coup”. Didn’t work, and Eric reverted back the tried and true community version.

The point is, I was active on that Beaver Builder forum. I helped out whenever and wherever I could and it was an impetus for me to dig into issues that others were posting about. I ended up creating more than a few tutorials based upon what had been posted.

I get that they want to provide a better product support method with what they are using now. But that’s not the point, at least for me. If I have a legitimate support issue, I will submit a ticket. Please Billy, Justin and Robby, take a look at how Eric over at Cobalt Apps has it set up. His forum is a community forum, supported by many knowledgeable end users of his products. As with yours, if someone has an issue that cannot be handled there, that user is encouraged to submit a support ticket.

As it stands now, since Beaver Builder has switched to this system, I have absolutely no idea what is going on with their product, one that I have used since day one and one that I promote each and every chance that I get.


What is the difference between Dynamik Website Builder and Beaver Builder

Sniffle Valve - Beaver Builder

This is a fairly common question that gets asked on the forums and elsewhere and it was asked again today in the comments of one of my videos on the Sniffle Valve YouTube channel.

In it’s most basic form, here it is: Dynamik Website Builder is for the theme while Beaver Builder is for the content.

Let’s expand upon that a bit.

DWB will let you control items that relate to the theme, which forms the structure of your website. These items include the header, menus, footer, widget areas and the like. With it, for example, the color of the main horizontal navigation menu can be easily changed. In contrast, BB is not able to affect this element whatsoever.

On the other hand, with Beaver Builder you can easily and quickly format the layout of the content areas of your site, those being your pages and posts, in addition to adding extended functionality to them. While the theme can affect the styling of the contents, it does not affect the actual layout of the content directly.

This is an instance where a picture (or graphic in this case) is worth a thousand words.


Exciting things on the Beaver Builder horizon

According to their blog post there are some very exciting developments for the Beaver Builder plugin.

The main one that I will be focusing upon in a number of new videos will be the introduction of the Beaver Builder Shortcode.

Now, a lot of you are not overly keen on yet more shortcodes, but I do believe that you will be on the bandwagon with these. What this means is that you can create a layout using Beaver Builder, save it, and then use that content anywhere on your site!

And by ‘anywhere’ I mean not only within the standard WordPress editor for any page or post, but more importantly, within in any area of your theme.

This means that you will be able to place BB created content within your header or sidebar using only a standard WP Text Widget which is populated with the requisite BB Shortcode.

For example, do you have an email subscription form? Well, create it and style it as you would like with BB and save it as a template. Then use that template as the source for your shortcode to display in your header area. Too easy!

As mentioned, once the final version is released (which should be by mid January, 2016), I will be putting together a few videos to show how to use this awesome added functionality.

Stay tuned.

More videos on the way soon

Sniffle Valve logo

beaver-builder-logo2I have been meaning to get some new videos up on the Sniffle Valve YouTube channel, but it seems that every time I am about to make one, the lads at Beaver Builder have come out with an update for their amazing plugin that includes new and exciting features that I want to demonstrate. Once their latest is out of the beta phase and released to the wild, the Sniffle Valve videos will follow shortly thereafter.

That doesn’t mean that Beaver Builder is the only item I want to show off, but it is one of the main ones. The other item that popped onto the WordPress plugin scene recently is the Genesis Dambuster plugin.

genesis-dambuster-plugin2This free plugin, available on the WordPress plugin repository, negates a couple of the videos that I have up already, notably, the Landing Page video. Instead of messing around with CSS and PHP, just install this amazingly simple plugin, use the default settings, and bam!, you have edge-to-edge rows and no header, navigation bar, footer widgets nor footer; just what is required for a traditional landing page.

So simple. So elegant. So light weight.

The only ‘downside’, if one can call it that, is that it only works with Genesis child themes. May just be the reason to head over to StudioPress and get the Genesis framework.

dynamik-banner2bThen over to Cobalt Apps to pick up your copy of Dynamik Website Builder. Both extremely worthwhile investments if one is serious about easily creating unique WordPress websites.

And a good reason to subscribe to the Sniffle Valve YouTube channel. Get notified when the new videos are up so that you can quickly get up to speed with these fantastic additions to your WordPress website.

sv-yyc-patioBy the way, this post is coming to you via Windows Live Writer on the Surface Pro 3 from my patio in beautiful, suburban Calgary, Alberta while enjoying the crisp, fall weather … plus the other item in the photo Smile