About Alex Mangini

Alex is the 25 year old behind Kolakube + Marketers Delight. Still figuring things out, building MD as I go.

NOTE! As of MD4.5+, you only need to follow the upgrade instructions for the theme.

In the event you are unable to automatically update the Marketers Delight theme or any associated plugins, you can always turn to FTP to do it yourself.

Manual updates are simple to perform as all that’s really required is to upload a folder full of files into the right directory in your WordPress installation. This is the exact process the automatic updates do for you, so let’s take a look at how to do this ourselves.

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After a weekend devoted to building the upcoming MD Footnotes addon and researching how to improve the performance of custom web fonts, I’m happy to bundle up that work and release Marketers Delight 4.4.1.

You may be noticing a trend with the last few MD updates—reducing and optimizing are becoming a priority as Marketers Delight has become much more feature-rich over the past year.

I’m always looking for any kinds of improvements I can make to the overall performance of a website running MD because I know the ideal client (you) cares about page performance. I’ll always say there’s more to be done, but I’m happy to trickle these improvements your way with these updates.

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After working with all kinds of different CMS‘s from around the web, I’ve come to the conclusion that building larger, content heavy sites with WordPress Child Themes is my favorite way to achieve just about any results I want.

Child Themes give you stunning control over the look, feel, and layout of your website (I’ve written a great introduction to child themes here) by giving you access to the underlying files that make up your website.

While Child Themes are a concept unique to WordPress, there are different ways to use them depending on how the Parent Theme is built.

From changing the styles of your site to interacting with under-the-hood components to completely overriding page templates, I want to warm you up to the spectrum of possibilities that can be unlocked through this simple customization process.

Let’s look at 5 quick things you can do to customize your WordPress website with the MD Child Theme.

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Today I’d like to formally introduce to you the newest experiment from the always busy Kolakube Labs: MDNET. This new website is the official demo and new home for your favorite WordPress theme, Marketers Delight.

Excuse any details that may still be off but after about 2 months of preparing the site (in between some great client projects + MD bug fixes), I feel MDNET is ready enough for you guys to start getting familiar with your new account experience.

Let’s take a look around at what’s new and how MDNET will help you get more out of Marketers Delight.

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I'm Alex, and I created Marketers DelightIt’s no secret that if you’ve visited Kolakube, or have been following me on Twitter for a while you know that Marketers Delight is more than just a skin to me.

It’s my most successful project in my career and one of my proudest accomplishments in life, as its success has undoubtedly changed my life.

To see it evolve into what it has now, in this version 3, thanks to the advances of the powerful tools on the web such as WordPress and Thesis (the software it’s built around) amazes me every time I think about it.

It’s also fun to think how Marketers Delight came to be. From a simple skin I used to fill a gallery, to the beast and icon it is today.

And for the sake of showing off some of the excellent post formatting that’s built right into Marketers Delight, I want to tell you a little story.

The Freelance Project

The very first version of what would be known as Marketers Delight was a design I created for a client, who was/is also a great friend of mine, to use on his (wait for it…) marketing blog.
As you can see below… I didn’t really have a good handle on typography and the whole ‘whitespace’ thing, but the design was a huge success throughout his booming community.

RobsWebTips on Marketers Delight

RobsWebTips on Marketers Delight

Click to see the homepage → Click to see the post page →

Eventually, the site changed its focus and no longer needed the blog design, so I asked if I could use the design to sell on Kolakube. We worked something out, and I was going to use the design with hopes people would love to buy it as much as they liked looking at it.

The Name

Sugarhill GangThroughout all of my past projects online, I’ve always been particularly picky about the names.

I’ve never settled on naming something so it had keywords in it, but I loved the idea of giving things deeper meanings.

But I think Marketers Delight was the most fun to name, because the name came so unexpectedly… and it’s actually kind of funny to talk about where it came from.

Are you familiar with a little group known as The Sugarhill Gang? If not, I can almost guarantee you’ve heard a song that goes a little something like:

i said a hip hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop, a you dont stop the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat…

Yup, those are the opening lyrics The Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight, and it’s not hard to see how I switched the name up for the skin.

But why in the hell would I name something like Marketers Delight after this song?

To me, Rapper’s Delight is the just the epitome of fun. You can’t listen to this song (all 14 minutes of pure bliss) without at least tapping your feet on the ground, because it’s just fun to listen to.

It’s also, in my opinion, the king of rap/hip hop. It was one of the first hit rap songs ever and it was just a few rappers rapping about rap!

I wanted Marketers Delight to be the king of something too, and just be good at what it does; from every last detail down. At the time, whether it was the king of Thesis skins or just the king of Kolakube, I wanted this skin to the be the best of its kind.

With my beliefs that this skin should be fun to use, as unique as possible and just the best at what it does, Marketers Delight couldn’t have been a more suitable name with a small tribute to the best rap song ever made.

Marketers Delight 2

Marketers Delight 2After the quick success of Marketers Delight in the Thesis community, the overall success of Kolakube was wearing thin.

I was a senior in High school, and couldn’t stay committed to the site. I was making money from my business, more than any of my friends, and some people knew it.

So, it wasn’t hard to get distracted and lose focus, especially being the immature prick senior I was.

I stopped offering support, stopped updating skins, and just started counting my money. The community completely went downhill, and eventually the money stopped too.

It wasn’t until summer, after graduation (I’m happy I got things together quick) that I figured out what I was really doing with myself and business.

And that’s where MD2 came in, naturally. It was yet again going to be the thing that made myself and my business shine bright.

Obviously, I had a lot of work to do to make things right with the people I had neglected in the past, and of course to expand on how I defined the Marketers Delight brand.

Quote“Alex I knew there was a reason i’ve been standing behind you through all the ups and downs. You’ve got talent. The new skin really looks like something special. I’m already happy with the Business theme, but have to find a reason to use MD2 soon.”
— Cole Dano, Studio 8

MD2 introduced things I call Page Leads, which are essentially specialized areas on your website that are easy to setup and plug your own content into. You could create email forms, pricing tables, column boxes and more without any real effort. And these things took off throughout the community immediately.

What’s even greater is that MD2 became the second skin that boasted a responsive design, meaning it would look great on any screen size and device.

MD2 was truly the the skin that not only revitalized Kolakube, but molded me into the designer and thinker I am today.

Marketers Delight 3 is Unveiled

Marketers Delight 3On Thursday, December 13th, I unveiled the next iteration of Marketers Delight, version 3, to the world. And the creative energy and thought I put into it was like nothing I’ve ever done before.

Built on top of Thesis 2’s incredible drag and drop system, Marketers Delight 3 bends the limits on what you can achieve without writing any code.

Like past versions before it, MD3 stands for something a lot bigger than just a piece of software to me. Right before I started the project, I moved from my hometown in New Jersey to Austin, Texas.

Dealing with the emotions of moving away from the place I’ve lived my whole life, as well as leaving my friends thousands of miles away to live by myself was challenging. Before I was even completely settled in, I had already started rebuilding Marketers Delight from the ground up.

With such two huge events in my life coming up at the same time, it was definitely one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever gotten through.

Learn More About Marketers Delight Now

I’m not an emotional guy, but when it comes to Marketers Delight, it’s not hard for me to talk about everything I’ve put into it and why it’s such a huge part of my life.

I won’t talk about what MD3 can do here, you can learn all about that by following this sexy button:

Click to learn more about Marketers Delight

Thanks for reading! I hope this story gave you a good example of how you can create beautiful content with Marketers Delight 3, and has shown you a little what I’m about.

Today I released the new and improved MD4.3.8 which addresses a critical performance concern brought on from MD4.3.5 as well as a small series of other bug fixes.

The MD4.3.8 update includes fixes for:

  • Marketers Delight Theme
  • Marketers Delight Plugin
  • Marketers Delight Main Menu

If you have any sites running these 3 tools, be sure to update through the one-click updater system through the Themes/Plugins menu in your WordPress dashboard.

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Layout meta boxTo make important layout decisions about your pages easy, Marketers Delight provides you with convenient layout options right from your post editor.

Without juggling different page templates to turn a page into a landing page, you can simply click a few checkboxes to remove any elements on the page you don’t need.

Remove menu, remove sidebar, remove footer columns, and just like that you’ve turned your standard page layout into a simple landing page with no distractions.

And you didn’t even have to leave your post editor, so you can get right back to writing your sales page.

As MD advances, so will the power of your post editors layout options. Other MD addons, like the Main Menu hook into the layout options box so you can rest assured that any element you add through MD can be manipulated on a per-page basis.

Page Leads

Page Leads

The Page Leads system is an upcoming page builder built right into Marketers Delight. Page Leads are professionally designed to display your content in a way that commands action.

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Email Services

Email Forms Integrations

Traditionally, adding email forms to your website usually involved pasting ugly blocks of HTML all over your site.

Simply put, MD makes embedding email forms throughout your site as simple as a few clicks once you’ve connected to your email service provider with MD’s simple connection tool.

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Layout Options

Simple Layout Options

Marketers Delight gives you easy control over your pages layout right from your post editor. Easily add or remove common elements from any post, page, or category with a click from the MD Layout meta box.

That means you can turn any page into a “landing page” by just removing the header menu, sidebar, footer, and any other element that adds clutter to your page.

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WordPress Popups

Create Popups From Your WordPress Dashboard MD Addon

MD Popups adds a complete popups builder right into your WordPress dashboard that let’s you custom design popups for all kinds of purposes. With Exit Intent, 2-step optin, and Show on Delay controls, you can time your popup to show at the perfect time.

Set custom popups on a per post/page/category basis, or build your own custom HTML templates live from WordPress… this is an addon that will change your entire workflow.

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WordPress Featured image Covers

Featured Image Covers

Finding the perfect image for a post can be difficult, and even when you do find one, your current theme may limit how you display it in your post.

With MD’s Featured Image controls you can format your image to display in a variety of ways—as a full-width header or headline cover, above/below title, or aligned to the left/right of your intro.

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MD WordPress Widgets

WordPress Widgets

Widgets are a powerful feature of WordPress that make adding dynamic content around your site as easy as…dragging a widget!

The MD plugin adds the following widgets to your dashboard:

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After Post Call-to-Actions

After Post Call-to-Action

It’s crucial to give your readers something to do after they read your post.

Whether it’s to leave a comment, signup to your email list, buy a product, or simply click through to another page, MD gives you the power to create that direction right from your post editor with the After Post metabox.

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Email WidgetMarketers Delight adds 3 useful Widgets to your site that make personalizing your sidebars and footer area in MD a little more fun.

With the ability to create custom sidebars on a per page basis, you can build vastly different looking pages by simply dragging a few Widgets into place.

Widget #1: Content Spotlight

The Content Spotlight widget adds a nice and compact way to add blocks of text with a featured background photo to your sidebar. Content Spotlight is especially effective for highlighting your personal favorite articles in your sidebar, or any other pages of importance.

See the blog sidebar for example →

Widget #2: Email Signup Form

The Email Signup Form Widget is exactly what you think it is… and it has direct integration into MD Email Forms to make displaying email forms in any Widget area code-free.

You can also build custom email forms if you choose not to use your default MD email form.

See more of the Email Form Widget →

Widget #3: Text + Image Widget

This simple Widget is an extension of the default Text Widget in WordPress. The only difference being, you guessed it, the ability to upload a small image that aligns to the right of your text. You can see a preview on the MD blog.

Bonus Widget #4: Popular Posts Widget

Inspired by Content Spotlight, this widget simply lists popular posts with the most comments as well as displays the posts featured image above the title. You can download this free addon from the Kolakube Members Forum.

Download the widget →

Email Service Integrations

Step 1: Choose Your Email Service

Step 2: Place Your Email Forms

For true versatility, MD gives you a few different tools to place email forms anywhere on your site (including inside blog posts).

After Post Email Forms

Add After all Posts

Right from the MD Email connection screen you can show your default form after every post in just one-click.

Email Signup Form Widget

Email Signup Widget

Easily place an email signup form in any Widget area with the convenient MD Email Signup Form Widget.

After Post Action Box

After Post Box

Override after post email forms on a per post basis or replace with an Action Box. Available right from the post editor.

Email form shortcode

[md_email] shortcode

Embed your default email form anywhere in a post and customize your form with various shortcode settings.

Step 3: Customize

The final step is to make your email form look good and collect the proper information you need. You can customize the following options of each email form:

  • Background color + photo + text color
  • Add title + description before/after form
  • Change the input field labels
  • Ask for name + email in a form
  • Attach input fields together on one line

Check out the email forms below for a working example (and join the MD newsletter!).