Blog

Pros and Cons of Using Sumo on Your WordPress Website


The Sumo suite of tools, previously known as SumoMe, can help you add many useful features to your WordPress website. As nearly all of these features are focused on increasing the conversion rates of your website or helping it become a more effective marketing tool, every website owner should at least consider Sumo.

However, with a free version as well as a number of premium options available, which version of Sumo should you use? In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of using Sumo by looking at the different versions available, as well as walking through the user experience on offer when using this tool on your WordPress website.

What is Sumo?

Sumo Review

In short, Sumo is a suite of tools that can be used on almost any type of website, including WordPress websites. Once you’ve enabled Sumo, you can start using the following tools to enhance your WordPress website:

  • List Builder 3 – email optin form and custom content pop-up tool.
  • Scroll Box – another tool to grow your email list and generate more leads.
  • Smart Bar – display forms and custom content in a hello bar style display.
  • Share – increase your social shares and followers.
  • Heat Maps – find out where your visitors are clicking on your site.
  • Plus more tools.

That’s a powerful set of features that any WordPress website should be able to make good use of. From bloggers and small businesses to freelancer portfolios and ecommerce stores, every type of website should appreciate more traffic and better goal conversion rates.

Sumo Pro Tools

When it comes to the pros and cons of using Sumo, all of the above tools are available to those using the free Sumo WordPress plugin. This is definitely a pro. However, if you want to unlock the full potential of this plugin and remove the branding then you’ll need to upgrade to one of the premium Sumo plans. Likely to be turn off for some WordPress users, however, don’t leave just yet, as you may well be impressed with Sumo’s ease of use.

SumoMe Free vs Premium

Pros and Cons of using Sumo

As mentioned, something that can be considered both pros and cons of using Sumo is its status as a freemium plugin. Freemium WordPress plugins give you a great opportunity to try out a premium tool without having to make a purchase.

Obviously, you get access to fewer features and functionalities when using the free version. However, you do get to experience how user-friendly the plugin is before financially committing to it. In some cases, you might find that the free version is powerful enough to meet your needs without upgrading — that could well be the case with Sumo.

Sumo is a freemium plugin, so let’s explore the main differences between the free and premium versions as well as the pros and cons of Sumo for WordPress users in general.

Sumo Pro Pricing

As well the free service, there are four Sumo Pro pricing plans to choose from:

  • Small — $29 /mo for up to 5k monthly website visits.
  • Medium — $59 /mo for up to 50k monthly website visits.
  • Big — $119 /mo for up to 500k monthly website visits.
  • Sumo — unlimited usage – contact for pricing!

Sumo Pricing

Upgrading to Sumo Pro will remove the floating Sumo icon located on the top-right corner of your website as well as the Powered by Powered by Sumo text link displayed in the bottom-right corner when a pop-up or other tool is in use.

Sumo Branding

For many users, the Sumo branding that is displayed on your website when using the free version will be a deal breaker. However, if you’re OK with displaying a little bit of free advertising for Sumo on your website in exchange for a suite of powerful tools, or you’re prepared to pay for the Pro service, read on to get an idea of how the free and premiums versions of Sumo work with WordPress.

Sumo List Builder Email Capture Tool Free vs Premium

To help you evaluate the pros and cons of using Sumo, let’s look at the user experience on offer – undoubtedly a key factor in deciding whether to add a WordPress plugin to your website or not. In this part of our guide, we’ll walk through adding the free version of the List Builder 3 Sumo tool to your website.

About Sumo List Builder

Sumo Pop-up

At the heart of the Sumo suite of growth solutions is List Builder 3. As the name suggests, this is the third major iteration of a tool that will help you grow your list of email subscribers. If you’ve heard the popular slogan “the money is in the list” and want to find out if that’s true, then List Builder 3 can help you put it to the test.

Like all the other Sumo apps, List Builder 3 is free to use. However, also like the other Sumo apps, if you want to unlock the advanced features, such as the integrations with third party services and the insights tool which can tell you more about how Sumo is being used on your site, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the premium Sumo Pro plans.

Sumo List Builder Pop-up Options

As well as helping your grow your email list, the List Builder 3 tool can also be used to display the following content in an intelligent pop-up window:

  • A call to action button – point users to a specific URL with a button.
  • Social sharing buttons – get more shares through Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.
  • Add custom HTML code – display your own content in the pop-up after providing the HTML.

After you’ve defined the purpose of your pop-up, you can then choose from a selection of impressive pre-built designs. You can also set the size of the pop-up window, including a SumoSize option that covers most of the browser window.

Sumo List Builder Pop-up Designer

Sumo pop-up form builder

One aspect of Sumo that puts it ahead of most of the competition, especially in the free email optin form WordPress plugins category, is the intuitive point-and-click user interface. The default form settings look great. However, thanks to the form builder, you can easily customize them to meet your needs.

Sumo List Builder Pop-up Triggers

Sumo Pop-up Triggers

When it comes to deciding when and where to display the pop-ups on your site, you get a good amount of control. The Sumo pop-up triggers include:

  • Timed – pop-ups that are displayed after a set amount of time.
  • User Leaves (aka exit intent) – show a pop-up just before a user leaves your page.
  • Click Triggers – opens pop-up after a link is clicked.

It’s great to see the exit intent trigger available to users of the free version of Sumo. Being able to display pop-ups without interrupting the user experience is vital.

Sumo List Builder Display Rules

You can also create display rules to determine where, when, and how the pop-ups are shown on your site. Some examples include disabling pop-ups for users on mobile devices; only showing a pop-up on certain pages, posts, or URLs; enabling or disabling pop-ups based on the referring URL or domain name; plus more.

SumoMe New Rule

There are also some optional advanced settings available. These controls can prevent the pop-ups from being displayed to users who’ve already subscribed as well as those who’ve already opted out. You can also instruct Sumo to notify you each time a user subscribes through a pop-up form.

Sumo also gives you full control over what happens once a user subscribers or completes your desired action via the form.

Sumo List Builder Pro Features

When it comes to the pros and cons of using Sumo, your willingness to upgrade to the premium plans will play a large role in whether this plugin is right for you or not.

With List Builder and the other email marketing Sumo tools, upgrading to the pro version enables you to connect your pop-ups to your email marketing service. Yes, that’s right. Unless you upgrade, anyone who enters their email address won’t be automatically added to your email list, leaving you to carry out this task manually. You can still collect email addresses with the free version, as well as display call to action and social share buttons plus custom content in your pop-ups without upgrading.

However, if you do upgrade, you’ll be able to integrate your pop-ups and other Sumo tools with all the best email marketing services including MailChimp, AWeber, ConvertKit, and almost any other option you can think of.

Pros and Cons of Using Sumo

To help you decide if this tool is the right lead generation and goal conversion plugin for your WordPress website, here is a quick summary of the pros and cons of using Sumo:

Pros of using Sumo:

  • Great selection of tools that can replace many individual WordPress plugins.
  • Very easy to use with an intuitive user interface.
  • Detailed settings and controls to help you get the best results.
  • Premium version integrates with all the best third-party tools and services.

Cons of using Sumo:

  • Free version includes visitor-facing branding.
  • Premium plans relatively expensive.

Final Thoughts

That walkthrough of setting up the List Builder 3 tool from the Sumo suite of apps should’ve given you an idea of how easy this service is to use. It really takes very little time or effort to start using Sumo on your WordPress website. You should’ve also gotten an idea of how the free Sumo plugin compares to the premium Sumo options.

There’s no doubt about it, Sumo is a powerful set of tools that can help make your website more effective, no matter your goals. Whether you want to grow your email list, get more social shares, increase sales, understand your audience better, and much more, Sumo can help.

However, unless you’re prepared to pay a relatively high monthly subscription fee or display the Sumo branding on your site and get access to a limited feature set, there might be better lead generation WordPress plugins for you.

What do you think of Sumo? Would you pay to upgrade or is the free version enough for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.



Source link

Read more...

How to Source and Share Relevant Content on Your WordPress Website


When you consider adding new content to your website or blog, you’re likely to think about creating original articles or posts. This is only natural, and most sites will want to prioritize unique content. However, it can also be a smart move to source and share relevant third-party content with your readers whenever you have the opportunity.

One of the best things about the internet is how much information it provides access to – there’s an article or website out there about almost anything. Linking out to this content, or curating it into helpful resources, is both a service to your readers and an excellent way to take some of the pressure off of yourself.

In this article, we’ll talk about why you might want to share third-party content, and discuss the most common ways to do so. Then we’ll introduce three handy WordPress plugins to help you get the job done. Let’s get started!

Why You Should Consider Sharing Content on Your Website

A website with curated content about WordPress.

WP Clipboard is a site based on curating and sharing content about WordPress from all around the web.

It’s important to have plenty of quality, original content on your website. Sharing your own unique ideas positions you as an expert, and including too much duplicate content on your site is harmful for search engine optimization. However, it’s also very beneficial to reference and share external content alongside your own work.

Sourcing and sharing relevant third-party content is a smart idea, for the following reasons (and more):

  • It relieves your workload – you can include more useful content on your site without having to do everything yourself.
  • Offering external sources and citations improves the credibility of your own content.
  • You can position yourself as a knowledgeable authority by pointing readers to the best places to find information.
  • Sharing others’ content is an excellent way to foster connections and relationships.

If you never link to or share external resources, you’re missing an opportunity to become part of the larger conversation that already exists online. So try to find a balance between original and shared content that works for you.

How to Share Content on Your WordPress Website

An example of a blog post with curated content.

One effective way to share third-party content with your readers is to curate it into an informative blog post.

Now let’s discuss how to actually start sharing third-party content. There are plenty of options out there, and the best approach for you will depend on your site, field, and audience. Most likely, you’ll want to use a combination of strategies.

Here are a few of the most effective approaches:

  • Simple linking. Creating external links within your content is easy, and enables you to provide citations, along with further information you don’t have time (or room) to cover yourself. It’s a basic strategy that anyone can benefit from.
  • Content aggregation. This approach uses RSS feeds to automate the process of content sharing. You can embed feeds on your site to pull in and display relevant content from around the web. This provides your readers with real-time updates on important information and saves you a lot of time.
  • Content curation. Curation is the process of finding outside resources and presenting them to your readers though a blog post, newsletter, social network, or some other method. It’s perhaps the most time-intensive of these options, but can provide the most control and potential value.

All of these approaches require a little upfront work. Fortunately, WordPress offers plenty of tools to help you implement content sharing strategies.

3 Plugins to Help You Source and Share Relevant Content on Your WordPress Website

One of the best things about WordPress is that there’s a plugin for just about anything you might want to do. Finding the perfect plugin can be difficult, though, so below we’ve gathered together three of the best options for sharing third-party content.

1. Editorial Assistant

An image of the Editorial Assistant plugin.

If you want to focus on external links, Editorial Assistant can help you out. It’s an easy-to-use plugin that integrates into the WordPress dashboard, showing you related posts and images while you write. You can choose the ones you like and include them in your content immediately. Editorial Assistant saves you a lot of effort by searching for related blog posts on its own, so you can cut down on time spent researching.

Key Features:

  • Display related blog posts and thumbnails in your own content
  • Add related images quickly (along with automatic image credits)
  • Enable other bloggers to see your own posts as suggestions

The potential downside of Editorial Assistant is that it only shows you blog posts from within the network of bloggers using the plugin. However, that’s a large enough pool to give you plenty of options, and this plugin is completely free – so there’s no harm in giving it a try.

2. WP RSS Aggregator

An image of the WP RSS Aggregator plugin.

If the idea of content aggregation intrigues you, this is the plugin to check out. WP RSS Aggregator enables you to combine several RSS feeds and display them together on your site. You can choose the sources you think will be most valuable, integrate them into one handy list, and let the plugin do the rest. WP RSS Aggregator is a solid option if you want to share useful third-party content without getting your hands dirty doing ‘manual’ work.

Key Features:

  • Import and combine as many RSS feeds as you need
  • Use a shortcode to easily display feed content on your site
  • Impose various limits on what content is imported, displayed, and stored

The basic version of WP RSS Aggregator is free, but if you want a lot of its more useful features (such as importing RSS content as a post, and displaying excerpts and images from feed items) you’ll need to buy one or more of its premium add-ons.

3. Curation Suite

An image of the Curation Suite plugin.

If content curation is more your style, take a look at Curation Suite. This comprehensive solution adds a sidebar to your posts editor that lets you search for external content without going anywhere. It pulls in content from a variety of sources that focus on news, social media, images, and videos. Curation Suite is an ideal tool for quickly finding and organizing resources to create useful curated pages or posts.

Key Features:

  • Limit your searches to certain reliable sources
  • Add content to your post quickly through a visual editor
  • Take advantage of shortcuts that enable you to add any content to your site, even when you aren’t in the dashboard

Curation Suite isn’t cheap – it will cost you $97. However, it’s a perfect option for those who want to get serious about curating content, and will save you a lot of time and energy in the long run.

Conclusion

Sourcing content from around the web is the perfect way to make yourself part of a broader community. You’ll bolster your credibility by sharing useful resources, and you’ll invite others to share your own content in return. In addition, you’ll be able to grow your website or blog more quickly by adding material at a faster rate.

If you’re interested in expanding your content-sharing efforts, check out these three useful plugins:

  1. Editorial Assistant: An easy-to-use tool that automatically suggests related articles and images you can link to.
  2. WP RSS Aggregator: A simple solution for combining and displaying RSS feeds on your website.
  3. Curation Suite: A comprehensive package that helps you find, curate, and share content from all around the web.

Do you have any tips for how to find awesome content to share with your readers? Tell us about them in the comments section below!



Source link

Read more...

7 Proven Trust Signals on WordPress Sites


Any business is built on trust. Unless a user can rely on you and your brand, he will hardly ever refer to you for attaining specific services and/or products. Running a reliable web presence you may feel confident in a steady revenue growth, user engagement boost, and an overall business success.

When thinking about launching a web project, you can trust your web presence to WordPress completely. The Content Management System has grown into a true giant that is trusted by more than 25% of all resources that are available on the web. Blogs, personal and business projects, eCommerce sites, creative portfolios, and a number of other projects run on WordPress. If you have also chosen this content management system for your future web project or for updating an already launched site, then you will need to know what particular trust signals a WordPress-based theme should include in order to be in demand among your target audience.

Trust Signals Definition

As the name implies, a trust signal is an element of a website that inspires trust in everyone who watches it. Trust plays a pre-defining role when a user decides whether to deal with a specific business or he should keep on looking for a better alternative. As a matter of fact, it will take a person a few seconds to decide whether they can rely on your organization. By simply scanning through your site’s homepage they can encounter with your brand and draw a conclusion if your site is viable or not.

Trust is exactly what makes a common visitor to your site join the community of your loyal fans. There are thousands of trust signals that your site can benefit from. Some of them are more effective than others. Some are being spotted by an average user once he lands on your page, whereas it may take some time to define others.

Proven Trust Signals for WordPress

To cut a long story short, for this publication we have hand-picked the most effective trust signals of WordPress-based themes, which will capture the audience attention as soon as they reach your online project.

1. Customer Reviews

Even if your marketing team provides the nest conversion-oriented texts, nothing can compare to an honest review left by one of your clients. Just recollect the last time when you were looking for a company/agency/freelancer to hire or order something. Did you look through customer reviews on several sites before the final decision-making? I believe that your answer is more likely to be “yes” than “no”. An honest review left by one of a company’s clients will look more trustworthy and reliable in the eyes of your potential customers.

Proven Trust Signal #1: Reviews

When searching for the best ready-made business WordPress themes, make sure that it supports the possibility for users to share their experience about using specific solutions right on a web page. Displaying lists of user reviews on the homepage of your site you grow chances of attracting a wider web audience to your offerings, which is more likely to result in a positive purchasing decision.

Why are user reviews so effective? Studies show that 88% of customers will read user reviews before making the final decision. For 72% of web users, an honest review written by a fellow shopper equals a personal recommendation. A WordPress theme supporting the possibility to display a feed of user reviews is expected to help you build a more reliable and trustworthy web presence. Lucky for you most premium theme, like our Total WordPress theme, include testimonials or reviews built-in.

Easy Testimonials Free WordPress Plugin

If your theme doesn’t already include a testimonials custom post type it’s super easy to add with a free plugin. We like the Easy Testimonials plugin because it really is easy to use and has a surprising number of options for customizing the display of your testimonials.

2. Explicit “About Us” Story

When a customer reaches a website for the first time, he may even not know a thing about the origins and background of an organization standing behind the site. “About” page is the first place where people will refer with the purpose to learn more about a brand and its experience. A properly built “About Us” page can become a rock-solid foundation of long-lasting relationships between a company and a client.

Proven Trust Signal #2: About Us Section

When browsing About pages, a user will have more interest to learn more about the personality/brand standing behind a site. Using videos, images, podcasts and other types of content will help you deliver your message to the target audience more effectively. Moreover, share photos of your team members in order to look more credible in the eyes of the web users. Forget about using stock images on such pages. A photography letting the web community meet every member of your team in person will have a more powerful effect on your clients.

So, when looking for an optimal WordPress theme make sure that it is pre-loaded with a detailed About page. Supporting different forms of visual and written content will be a great benefit to you. Texts complemented with videos will create an informative, powerful and reliable story about your project.

About Us Widget Free WordPress Plugin

Again, if you theme doesn’t have an about page you an add one with a plugin. However we really prefer the free About Us Widget plugin instead. This way you can add a simple about section to any sidebar or footer.

3. Contact Details

The easier it is to locate contact details on a website the better. A perfect WordPress theme to build a trustworthy business presence should include a set of clearly defined contact details on both the front page and a separate “Contacts” page. Thus, whenever a person reaches your site and looks for your physical address information or phone number, he will find it effortlessly from any area of your website on which they have landed. Here is a good example of a cleverly build contact page pre-designed for one of business WordPress themes from TemplateMonster.

Proven Trust Signal #3: Contact Details

Adding contact details to your site’s pages will be beneficial in local SEO purposes as well. Let’s assume that you run web design agency in Texas. So, each time a person looks for a web design agency in TX, he/she will be provided with a suggestion to visit your site.
The 4 basic types of information that your contact details should contain are:

  • address
  • phone number
  • email
  • operating hours

Moreover, you can complement contact details with Google Maps. With its help, it will get so much easier for your customers to reach your physical address while finding the shortest route on the integrated map.

Contact Form 7 Free WordPress Plugin

To add a contact form to any WordPress theme you can’t go wrong with Contact Form 7. With well over 3 million installs it’s become the industry standard (though we do also highly recommend Gravity Forms if you need something a bit more customizable).

4. Links to Social Media Channels

The use of social media shouldn’t be underestimated. Almost every contemporary web user has a social media account. For a number of contemporary companies, social media platforms have become the main source of reaching new clients, keeping them engaged, and even to sell. The tools and tricks that contemporary brands can opt for are limitless. For example, you can run paid campaigns to reach the right demographics and display your content to the audiences that will be most interested in it.

Linking your site to your official social media profiles is a proven way to unite a broader community around your site. The more numerous is your social media follower base, the more reliable your business will appear in the eyes of prospective clients. By means of social media widgets, you can reveal the respective data on your site. The bigger your social media community grows, the more reliable you will appear.

If you want to capture your visitors’ attention with social media stats, it’s recommended to place a social media widget in the header of your site. If you have just created a social media profile and the audience is not that numerous, then it’s recommenced to wait until it grows bigger.

One more hack that you can opt for is adding social media feeds to your site. For example, you can display a widget with the latest Instagram or Facebook updates at the bottom of your web page.

JetPack Free WordPress Plugin Social Icons

There are hundreds of social media plugins available, but we really like JetPack Social. Chances are you’re already using JetPack for WordPress for image optimization, galleries, brute force protection or any of it’s other awesome features. But did you know that this handy all in one plugin also includes social media icons? And they’re pretty nice if you ask us, so why not give them a try instead of installing another plugin.

5. Frequently Updated Blog

Running a blog will help you establish a long-lasting relationship with your audience. The content that you share on your official blog should be relevant to the niche to which your company is related. It should be useful to your audience. You can share reviews of the solutions that you offer, guides, tutorials, fun content, free eBooks, and so much more.

A blog filled with relevant and useful information will bring value to your audience. A frequently updated blog shows that you care about your customers, both the existing and potential ones. It reveals that you care about the ways of helping them in a variety of undertakings instead of just forcing them to make a quick purchase. While updating your blog with great content you demonstrate your expertise in your business niche, thus revealing that your clients can trust and rely on you.

So, one more feature that you need to search in WordPress themes for your trustworthy business presence is the support of blogging functionality. A functional, user-friendly and easy-to-browse blog can do wonders to online businesses.

6. Privacy Policy

With a growing number of virtual attacks happening on the modern web, people get more obsessed with privacy. If you care about your audience and if you want them to trust you as much as you trust yourself, then it’s crucial to reveal what you do with every piece of data that a person submits. For example, if a website uses cookies data, asks users for details while leaving a comment, features an online survey collecting user data, etc. you need to explain your audience in what ways such data will be used.

For example, it’s become a common practice for websites to inform people about the use of cookies policy. Each time a web resource requests a user location data, a respective pop-up window should be displayed on a site.

How can you organize such data on your website? Different businesses opt for different strategies. While some of them share all data that deals with privacy policy on one page, others prefer to add links to the pages containing details about using such data in the footer of their sites. Thus, whenever a user needs to find out more details about a privacy policy, commenting policy, cookies policy, etc. they can find the respective information with a click on the right link.

Auto Terms of Service & Privacy Policy Free WordPress Plugin

Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start with your privacy policy – you can actually use a plugin for this too! The free Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy WordPress plugin does all the hard work for you. Just add in a few variables then use the shortcode to add your policy to a page. Easy!

7. Secure Checkout

With a growing number of online cheats, people get more careful when it comes to making online purchases. WordPress is no longer a CMS for building business sites and blogs solely. Most of the contemporary WordPress themes that you can find on the contemporary web come with WooCommerce support. Due to this, you can create a fully-featured web store on the basis of a WordPress theme.

Proven Trust Signal #7: Secure Checkout

As a rule, theme providers stuff their upload their products with several online payment methods. In order for your own business to look more trustworthy, here are the key points that you need to take into consideration.

  • In order to show that you really care about each and every customer, provide them with several options of payment methods. Thus, people can pick an option that is most common to them. The more payment methods you provide the more trustworthy and reliable you look in the eyes of the web community.
  • Using widely-recognizable icons and images on your site will also boost client trust. We all know how VISA, MasterCARD, PayPal, AMEX, and other icons look like. So, when reaching a site featuring images of payment methods that a user is familiar with, the web project automatically establishes a more reliable and trustworthy presentation, grabbing attention of first-time visitors.

Pay attention to the availability/support of such elements on a WordPress theme that you choose for your business. Make every client feel confident in you. Make them feel assured as they with their more. This will bring you more clients and a significant revenue boost.

McAfee Secure Free WordPress Plugin

We like the McAfee SECURE free WordPress plugin to add a security trustmark to your shop pages, but there’s tons more you can do to tight security on your store. Be sure to use our tips to secure your WooCommerce store to create a safe online shopping experience for your customers.

Wrapping Up

Here we go. These were the 7 most popular hacks that you need to take into account when building a reliable web presence of your business. If you prefer building a site on your own, consider integrating these elements in your design. If you prefer working with WordPress templates, pick a ready-made design that features the aforementioned criteria. Never forget to experiment. It’s not necessarily that the hacks that worked on one site will be that popular on another.

So, choose trust signals that are the most applicable to your own business, and let them grow your client base manifolds.



Source link

Read more...

Plugins That Help To Manage a WordPress Multisite


WordPress is today the most popular open source Content Management System. It’s also the reason that many bloggers find it easy to post content, and many businesses find it easy to create an online presence for themselves. So, what happens if you want to operate multiple blogs or websites, but find it tedious to manage all of them?

Your answer possibly lies in a WordPress multisite. Multisite is a WordPress feature that allows you to run a number of sites off a single WordPress installation. All the sites can be managed conveniently from a single dashboard by a Network Administrator.

Multisite Dashboard

The best example of a multisite is WordPress.com, a multisite which hosts millions of blogs. A multisite comes with its own set of pros and cons, and therefore, you should enable it on your website after much careful consideration. The Site Admins of the individual site cannot add/ alter plugins or themes, nor can they opt for a different hosting service provider. So you can see that easier management comes at the cost of reduced flexibility and independence for the individual sites.

That being said, it makes perfect sense for a number of sites that share common resources to enable multisite. If all individual sites share similar functionality and use near identical themes, plugins, custom applications and server configurations, multisite is the way to go. However, if the sites have hugely different needs, mutisite is not a good solution for the network.

By default, all users who are added to your network have subscriber level access. To change access levels and to manage many other functions in a multisite, plugins will come in handy.

The plugins are installed in the network dashboard and then activated for individual sites. These plugins not only make it easier to setup your multisite, they also help with the management of multisites. They enhance the performance and security of the network.

In this post, we’ll find out more about plugins that help in the day-to-day management of a multisite.

User Role Editor

The User Role Editor can be truly handy in a multisite, multi-user environment. With a few mouse clicks, you can create user roles with new capabilities or create custom roles and assign them to users. If your multisite is receiving contributions from multiple authors, each with different access levels, this plugin is for you.

User Role Editor

On installation, a new menu item User Role Editor appears on your Dashboard. From the drop down menu, click Add Role and create any role you want. You can also modify an existing role by changing permissions and updating the changes. To carry out these changes globally on the multisite, enable ‘Apply To All Sites’, before updating the changes.

Moreover, old roles that are no longer needed can be deleted. It’s also possible to assign multiple roles to a single user.

The plugin is available both in the free and Pro version. While the free plugin supports multisite, you’ll have to opt for the Pro version for advertisement free use. With the Pro version also comes the ability to manage multisites via Network Admin as well as one click synchronization of changes. Not only that, you can import / export user roles between sites, and restrict selected users from viewing posts and pages.

User Switching

How many times have you wanted to view your blog from the perspective of a different user? Say, as an author who writes for your blog. Or, do you want to check the access levels granted to a custom created user?

Normally, only the Network Administrator on a multisite can switch user accounts. With the User Switching plugin active on your website, users authorized to edit other users can also switch accounts, without needing to reset any passwords.

Plugins for WordPress Multisite : User Switching

This plugin allows you to simply click on a selected user’s link on the All Users page and navigate the website in the selected user’s role. You’re not actually logged in as that user, but you’ll have the same access levels that the user enjoys. This is a useful feature to Administrators who manage many sites or to developers who move between many test sites.

Multisite Language Switcher

Multisite Language Switcher supports content in multiple languages on your WordPress multisite. It’s a powerful plugin that helps translate posts, pages, categories and tags into multiple languages.

Plugins For WordPress Multisite : Language Switcher

Like any other plugin, the Network Administrator can activate this plugin across the entire network. Or, the site admin of each site can activate it only for that particular blog. You’ll need to configure the settings for each site independently.

Multisite Enhancements

Multisite Enhancements plugin adds many useful features to the network dashboard. The Network Administrator can view the themes / plugins active on each site right from the plugin / theme admin screens of the network. It’s not necessary to log into the individual sites to view active themes and plugins.

In addition, the plugin adds many convenient links on the network admin screen, including footer text to display currently used RAM and SQL. It adds a favicon in the network admin bar to identify individual blogs, as well as status to view the external URL or if the site has a no index status.

The plugin needs no configuration of settings or options, simply install and activate.

Multisite Plugin Manager

The plugin needs of each site in a multisite is likely to vary. In a multisite environment, it’s possible that some plugins are active on some sites and not on others. To manage these plugins across all the sites easily, activate the Multisite Plugin Manager.

Plugins for WordPress Multisite : Plugin manager

With a few clicks you can activate or deactivate plugins across multiple sites and set the permissions for all the plugins. Moreover, you can carry out many adjustments to plugins’ settings – select plugins that are to be automatically active on all blogs or restrict the access of any site to some plugins. As a network manager, you can override restrictions and assign special permissions to some sites to access plugins. You can also choose to hide the meta links and update messages for blogs.

This plugin is for you especially if you want to charge individual sites for the use of plugins. In combination with Pro Sites, you can control the access of plugins by individual sites and select the plugins from a drop down menu.

Some Popular Plugins That Are Compatible With Multisites

Most WordPress websites rely on plugins to carry out essential functions like security, backup or caching. However, when you search for appropriate plugins, you’ll find that not all plugins are compatible with multisites.
The plugins that follow are multisite compatible, so pick any that you like:

  • BackWPup: A number of free plugins are available for backing up a WordPress website, but the choice is whittled down while backing up a multisite. BackWPup is a no-frills, simple plugin that carries out backups efficiently. It can be activated network-wide, and there’s no one-click restore option. You can choose to store the backup version in an external storage facility like Amazon S3 and DropBox.
  • W3 Total Cache: Caching plugins enhances user experience by improving website speed. You can install W3 Total Cache on a multisite and activate it on a per site basis as well. For content heavy websites, it can lighten the burden on servers.
  • WP Security Audit Log: To keep track of user activity on your multisite in real time, look to WP Security Audit Log. In a multi-user setup, it can detect potential hackers or other break-ins, and prevent harm to your website. It detects changes in passwords or other user level changes, and any other suspicious activity on the network.
  • Yoast SEO: Yoast SEO is fully multisite compatible and helps perfect your SEO practices. It allows you to copy the settings from one blog to another by configuring options in the Network settings.
  • Disable Comments: Disable Comments is the plugin to activate if you want to stop comments over the entire website and even over the entire network in a multisite. It removes comment related fields from a number of places on your network.

To Sum Up

Plugins are great to add functions to your website. But not all plugins are compatible with multisites. Managing a multisite on a day-to-day basis is slightly more complex than managing a single standalone website.

The plugins  for WordPress multisites in this list combine well with a WordPress multisite and can make routine management easier for the Network Administrator as well as for individual Site Admins.



Source link

Read more...

Best WordPress Helpdesk Plugins to Manage Support


WordPress helpdesk plugins enable you to offer centralized and timely support therefore boosting user interaction and, ultimately, conversions. Getting more conversions means you’ll walk around with a smug look on your face like Simon Cowell, which is always a good thing.

In today’s post, we point you to the best WordPress helpdesk plugins available in the market, so you can add a fully functional support system to woo more customers. But even with the best WordPress helpdesk plugins, great support eventually boils down to one thing: availability.

You can have a helpdesk plugin forged in the fires of Mount Doom, but if you are unavailable to render support, it’s all useless. It’s just like getting stuck in the Sahara Desert with a Humvee that just ran out of gas. Yes, you have a high mobility vehicle but what’s the use? The searing desert heat, which in this case represents customer rage, will consume you.

Without further ado, let’s get down to business.

Premium WordPress Helpdesk Plugins

Let’s start with premium WordPress helpdesk plugins. All helpdesk plugins here are relatively cheap and easy to setup and use. Really, you should set up your support system in less than 5 minutes with any of the following plugins.

Catchers Helpdesk WordPress Plugin

wordpress helpdesk plugins catchers-helpdesk-and-support

Thanks to Marti, one of the guys behind this auspicious helpdesk plugin, I had a chance to test drive Catchers on one of my site. And between you and me, I was so impressed I now use it for one of my contact forms.

It’s incredibly easy to setup and use, which means you can provide amazing support before the next guy reads the rest of this post. You can easily customize your support forms to look exactly how you wish and place them wherever you desire using shortcodes. You can even have contact forms pop up to ensure readers don’t leave your pages.

Need more power? Note that Catchers Helpdesk plugin comes with custom fields that allow you to extend your forms whichever way you fancy, while Google reCaptcha keeps out the spammers.

WooCommerce Extension = Yay!

At the time of writing, Marti and company are working on a WooCommerce extension, which means you can look forward to all sorts of good things.

On top of that, you can assign tickets to different support reps, change ticket priority and organize said tickets into categories. Additionally, your readers can contact you via the contact form or email, and Catchers Helpdesk will convert all support emails to tickets that are easily retrievable via WordPress admin.

If your visitors ask the same question repeatedly, you can take advantage of saved replies to save time at all stages of the conversion funnel. That, and you have auto reply to keep visitors interested, and a fully customizable email footer that drives more engagement. To keep tabs on the team, you can use private notes that are only visible to your and your support agents.

If need be, you can easily export tickets to a CSV file for future reference and view visitor details using the customer card feature. This WordPress helpdesk plugin is relatively new in the market, but has a sterling rating of 5.00/5.00 already.

Get Catchers Helpdesk

Knowledge Base

wordpress helpdesk plugins knowledge-base

Perhaps you’d like to cut down on all those hours you spend dispensing customer support. Perhaps you’d like a more passive means of helping your visitors out. You’d like to lessen customer support emails and one-on-one telephone calls.

Of all WordPress helpdesk plugins we review here today, this bad boy wins big since it helps you to create not only a knowledge base, but also self-service customer support centers, product documentation, wiki, and extensive FAQs among others.

Knowledge Base is brought to you by PressApps, an elite author, and ships with amazing features such as drag-and-drop post reordering, live search, breadcrumbs, multiple page layouts, voting system, shortcodes, responsive design, custom link colors, multi-lingual support and so much more.

The knowledge base plugin has all the features you need and none of those that you don’t. It’s easy to configure and just works. Super easy to train my clients to use it, so much so that they are excited for how much time they will save by having a KB on their site. Awesome stuff! – RenegadeEmpire.

The Knowledge Base plugin has an above average rating of 3.77/5.00.

Get the Knowledge Base Plugin

AH Tickets

wordpress-helpdesk-plugins-ah-tickets

If there’s one thing that sold me on this WordPress helpdesk plugin is how easy it is to setup. No really, I am not kidding, and please don’t take my word for it. Just check out the AH Tickets installation video below. It’s just a minute long:

The second, third and fourth wins for yours truly must be the beautiful design, an impressive list of features and the outstanding buyer rating of 4.97/5.00. What features? You ask. AH Tickets underlying architecture finds strength in the Bootstrap framework, meaning it’s future-proof and responsive from the word go.

Still on the features train, AH Tickets boast of browser and system notifications, a fully customizable landing page, multi-lingual and RTL support, knowledge base, file attachments, an intuitive dashboard, Font Awesome icons, Google fonts, ratings, departments, multiple support agents, $12 bucks worth of plugins and so much more.

You can connect AH Tickets to Mailchimp to grow your mailing list and allow your visitors to login using their favorite social media account. This, indeed, is one of the greatest WordPress helpdesk plugins you can get your hands on.

Get AH Tickets

WordPress Chat X

wordpress-helpdesk-plugins-wordpress-chat-x

A best seller in the customer service domain, WordPress Chat X is the ultimate live chat plugin for WordPress. If you haven’t had the chance, please read how to add live chat to your WordPress site to understand why live chat is of vital importance as far as instantaneous support goes.

Back to WordPress Chat X, it’s one of those WordPress helpdesk plugins you must try. Before you go into fits, I gave this baby a test drive and here comes a few details to support my outlandish proclamation.

To start with, this plugin looks cute in the design department. Plus you can customize your chat widget to your heart’s content, what with unlimited colors and what not.

100 Active Chats, Offline Mode & Emojis

At any given time, 100 users can chat on your site, and if you’re offline, the chat widget morphs into a contact form visitors can use to send you messages. If you like, you can even initiate chat with any of your site visitors. And if you’re in good moods, spice up your chat sessions with emojis.

WordPress Chat X is fast and lightweight and supports WPML, SSL encryption for security, WordPress 4.6+ and PHP 7. On top of that, you can add your social links at end of chat or when your operators are offline. As far as installation goes, the only prerequisite is a free Firebase account. The chat session runs on Firebase but chat history is stored on your servers for record keeping.

WordPress Chat X is by Screets, an elite author, has a great rating of 4.53/5.00 and receives regular updates every other month. It’s a great tool for your customer support efforts.

Get WordPress Chat X

WooCommerce Support Ticket System

wordpress-helpdesk-plugins-woocommerce-support-system

Image Source: Envato

If you run an ecommerce website using WooCommerce, here’s a WordPress helpdesk plugin made just for you. Built with love by Vanquish, an elite author who has 20+ WooCommerce extensions under the belt, this support ticket system works as advertised.

WooCommerce Support Ticket System plays well with WordPress and WooCommerce offering you a solid solution to support order and user tickets. What I mean is a user can submit a ticket about any issue they’re facing on your site, or a support ticket specific to a particular order.

Streamline Your Workflow

Your visitors submit tickets via the frontend while shopping, and you manage all queries using a special backend dashboard. Nothing too technical, it has the same WooCommerce feel. After all, the plugin simply extends WooCommerce.

You can customize WooCommerce Support Ticket System to suit any design needs, and using shortcodes, you can port the plugin anywhere on your site. That, plus the plugin add tabs to user and admin pages making it easily accessible.

As far as support tickets go, you can assign tickets to different agents, retrieve a great deal of information about each ticket, edit/delete tickets, gather customer information and so much more.

Get the WooCommerce Support Ticket System

Free WordPress Helpdesk Plugins

If you’re a bootstrapping freak, on a tight budget, or simply want to test out WordPress helpdesk plugins without putting money down, below is a list of the best free WordPress helpdesk plugins at WordPress.org. If you don’t find your favorite, please say something in the comment section to keep the list growing. Deal? Great, let’s rock and roll.

Awesome Support

wordpress-helpdesk-plugins-awesome-support-plugin

Let’s kick off this second section with a WordPress helpdesk plugin that stays true to its name. Awesome Support is a strong contender among many other WordPress helpdesk plugins – both free and premium. It’s designed to soften your work as far as customer support goes.

I tried it out on your behalf and was I impressed or what? I know, it’s just a WordPress plugin, but I bet big money you’d change your mind if you knew what this plugin can do. Handcrafted to perfection by Julien Liabeuf, SiamKreative and the Awesome Support Team, this plugin covers all your bases.

Installing the thing is easy since it’s available for free at WordPress.org. This just means you can install it right from your WordPress dashboard. After installing, you can’t miss it, as the plugin adds easy to spot menu items that take you a step closer to your support goals. There aren’t many settings, so that you get confused. No. Nothing of the sort. Everything is clean to a fault.

Ready Page Templates & Shortcodes

By default, the plugin adds Submit Ticket and My Tickets pages, but you can add your support system to any page you fancy using a shortcode. The settings give you absolute control over how your support system looks and functions.

Your visitors can easily create support accounts (to submit tickets) and track their ticket history. The submit ticket form is straightforward and features the familiar visual editor as well as file attachments. You, on the other hand, can track all tickets, assign tickets, prioritize any ticket and gather information about your visitors among other things.

Other notable features include email notifications, a responsive design, restricted access, support for multiple products and departments, a slew of free and premium extensions, agent collaboration and custom fields just to mention a few.

Awesome Support is a true reflection of what WordPress helpdesk plugins should aim to achieve, and an incredible rating of 4.5/5.0 is proof enough.

Get Awesome Support for Free

WP Support Plus

wordpress-helpdesk-plugins-wp-support-plus

With over 8k active installs at the time of writing, and a horde of features that will make your head spin, this plugin is making big waves in the WordPress helpdesk plugins arena. Authored by Pradeep Makone, an active contributor at WordPress.org, WP Support Plus offers you a ticketing system with a twist.

Thanks to the underlying Ajax technology and a responsive grid, your visitors can submit tickets easily and quickly from any device. This plugin allows you to submit an unlimited number of support tickets either via the admin or frontend. On top of that, users needn’t register on your site to submit a ticket, which shortens the whole process. What about spam bots working your forms senseless? Worry not, this plugin comes with a credible anti-spam feature.

Custom Fields & CSS

At your disposal, you have custom fields and CSS to build your ticket forms however you want. After building, place your forms on any page or post using a shortcode. This plugin ships with email templates as well as canned replies for frequent questions. Additionally, you can prioritize, categorize and set the status of any ticket easily from within the admin dashboard.

The settings panel is bursting with the best of features meaning nothing is holding you back from creating a support experience that is out of this world. You can task this plugin with all kinds of support functions and it won’t break. It spurs well with a splendid rating of 4.7/5.0.

Get WP Support Plus for Free

WordPress Helpdesk Plugins Honorable Mentions

Can you believe the list ends here? Well, the above WordPress helpdesk plugins offer you all the tools you need to provide the kind of support that actually works for you and your site visitors. The premium plugins deliver quite a punch, but don’t let the free options fool you; they are amazing too. Below, is a couple of other WordPress helpdesk plugins & solutions worth checking out:

  • Zendesk, which allows you to convert your comment section into a support system among other things
  • Help Scout, which focuses on personalizing the support experience
  • Support Ticket System that ships with great search functionality
  • Casengo Live Chat that supports WhatsApp integration
  • bbPress because forums make for great support systems too

Final Words

These and other WordPress helpdesk plugins offer your customers the chance to initiate contact and get help whenever and wherever they are stuck on your site. The same plugins offer you the chance to help out your site visitors more efficiently since it’s easier to create, manage and track support tickets right from within your admin dashboard.

Bottom line: WordPress helpdesk plugins help you to improve user experience and boost conversions while saving time. Whether you choose premium or go with a free helpdesk plugin, just ensure you reply to support tickets on time or you will earn yourself some bad rep.

Which is your favorite WordPress helpdesk plugin? Let us know in the comments. Cheers!



Source link

Read more...

3 Ways to Discover Which WordPress Themes and Plugins Your Favorite Sites Use


There are more than 2.5 million WordPress websites out there, with 500 new sites being created every day. Yet many of these sites look so different from one another that you’d never guess they were running the same Content Management System (CMS). It seems incredible that website owners are able to accomplish such a feat.

The answer to this puzzle is simple, however. There are thousands of WordPress themes and plugins available – tools that give each new site the potential to become something unique. If you learn which of those themes and plugins your favorite websites have used to achieve their look and functionality, you can discover how to attain some of the same results they so impressively display.

In this article, we’ll recommend a selection of tools for discovering which themes and plugins your favorite sites utilize, and show you how each one works. We’ll be focusing largely on tools available within the hugely popular Chrome browser, but we’ll mention alternatives for other platforms along the way too. Let’s get started!

1. Search With a Web-Based Detector

The ScanWP homepage

ScanWP is a simple-to-use tool for WordPress theme and plugin detection.

The simplest way to peer behind the curtain of a website is to use a web-based detection tool. There are a lot of them, and most are free and easy to use. All you have to do is type in a URL, and the tool will do the rest.

Since we’re specifically focusing on WordPress websites, a good place to start is with ScanWP. It does an excellent job of providing key information about WordPress sites in a way that’s easy to understand. If you enter a web address into the search bar, you’ll get results that look like this:

Results of a ScanWP detection

You can see here that the WebGrowth Academy website was built using our Total theme. If you scroll down, you’ll also find that it uses the Visual Composer plugin. This tool won’t reveal every plugin a site is using, but it will show you one or two of the most common. It will also help you determine whether the website you’re looking at was actually built in WordPress. If it wasn’t, you’ll get a message informing you of that fact.

If you want greater detail about how a website was built, you can also try BuiltWith. It’s a similar tool that is a little more dense and technical in nature. However, it can show you information well beyond just themes and plugins – including widgets, hosting providers, and analytics software.

2. Install a Detection App

The ScanWP app homepage

ScanWP also has a browser extension app to make investigating WordPress sites quicker.

ScanWP and BuiltWith are simple yet powerful tools. However, they require you to visit an external website to find the information you want. It can be useful to have access to behind-the-scenes data while you’re still on the website in question, especially if you intend to investigate a lot of sites.

Fortunately, you can install an app that will integrate with your browser and provide an easy way to get some details on any site you visit. We’ll stick with ScanWP for now, since they offer a version of their tool as a browser extension. Simply install it in Chrome – it’s free, and should only take a minute.

Once it’s installed, you’ll see a new icon at the top right corner of your browser window. This icon will change depending on the CMS of the website you’re on. If you’re visiting a WordPress website, you’ll see the WordPress logo (a stylized ‘W’). Click on that icon, and you’ll see the same information we found before:

The ScanWP app tool open in a browser

If you’re interested in an alternative option that works for both WordPress and other CMSs, we also recommend Wappalyzer (which has a version for Firefox). Using one of these extensions means you’ll have insight into the themes and plugins your favorite sites are using whenever you browse the web.

3. Use a Browser Inspection Tool

A website with the browser inspection tool open

With Chrome’s browser inspection tool, you can easily see the code behind any website.

Maybe the above tools aren’t enough for you, however. They don’t show all the information about how a website was built, after all – for example, they’ll only display a few plugins, even if the site you’re looking at uses a dozen. If you want to go deeper, you can explore a site’s actual code for further clues.

In Chrome, you can do this by right-clicking anywhere on a website and selecting the Inspect option. This will open a panel in your browser that displays the website’s code. It’ll probably look overwhelming if you’ve never looked at site code before, but we’re just looking for one piece of information. Do a search within the code for “style.css”. You should only get one result, and it should be part of a link. If you examine the link closely, you’ll see the word “themes” followed by a slash and the name of the theme the site is using. In this case, we can again see that WebGrowth Academy is using the Total theme:

A website's style.css file highlighted in its code

It’s possible to do this in Firefox or Safari via a similar method. If you’re also curious about plugins, you’ll need to do a bit more technical work. However, you can often determine what plugins a website has installed using the browser inspection tool. This final method is certainly the most complex, but has the potential to reveal the greatest amount of information.

Conclusion

Building a WordPress website can seem like a big job at first, especially if you’re looking to create more than a simple blog. Thankfully, you don’t have to start from scratch. Learning what themes and plugins your favorite sites are using is a surefire way to jumpstart the process and provide you with options you’ve already seen in action.

There are plenty of ways to find out exactly what tools a WordPress website has installed, so you can learn from its developers’ decisions. Try using these three methods to inspect your favorite sites:

  1. Visit a web-based detector such as ScanWP or BuiltWith.
  2. Install a detection app like ScanWP’s browser extension or Wappalyzer.
  3. Use a browser inspection tool to examine the site’s code yourself.

Do you have any questions about investigating WordPress websites? Let us know in the comments section below!



Source link

Read more...

Which WordPress Widgets Should You Display in Your Sidebars?


Sidebars are important areas on your website that can often be overlooked or not used effectively. Designed correctly, your sidebars can help provide a great user experience, promote your business, generate leads, and help you increase your revenue.

There is no one set rule as to what widgets should be displayed in your sidebars. Instead, your sidebar content should be driven by your site goals. In this article, we will look at how to choose the right widgets for your site goals to optimize your sidebars. We will then look at a selection of the most important widgets, including displaying opt-in forms, social media links, and popular posts, amongst others.

By the time you finish this article, you should have a clear view of exactly what widgets you should display in your site’s sidebars.

Establish Your Site Goals

It’s important that you use every space of your sidebars to help your site convert against its goals. Therefore, the widgets you use in your sidebars should be directly related to the aims of your site.

It may be that you that you are trying to grow your email list or social media following. You might be looking to keep your audience on your site for longer, encourage them to read more of your blog, or become regular returning visitors. Or you may be wanting to sell products, services, or an online course or membership. Whatever the goals, your widgets should reflect them.

The order of your widgets is also important. The widgets linked to your most important goals should be given prominent positions at the top of a sidebar. Lower ranking goal focussed widgets should be pushed further down the page.

Make sure you don’t overload or clutter your sidebars. Get this wrong and you could end up losing visitors or at least confusing them. Think carefully about what you will add to your sidebar. Always make sure there is a reason behind each widget you’ve chosen.

So let’s have a look at some of the widgets that you should be using.

Display an ‘About Me’ Widget

About Me Widget

Whatever type of website you are running, an About Me widget is important. It helps visitors relate to your site and understand what you are trying to achieve with your business.

On my freelance writer portfolio site, I used the ‘Genesis – User Profile’ widget. This allowed me to add a title ‘About Me’, text about myself, as well as my gravatar image. A link at the bottom of my text also lets me link to an appropriate page, which could be your About page, your Contact page, or another relevant page that you would like your audience to visit.

If your theme doesn’t have a specific ‘About Me’ widget, a simple text widget will suffice. If you would like to display your gravatar, Jetpack provides a module called Extra Sidebar Widgets. One of these is the Gravatar Profile Widget. This widget enables you to add your gravatar to sidebars, as well as some of your gravatar profile data.

Add an Opt-in Form

Optin Widget

Collecting email addresses should be a goal for all sites, whatever your business. Being able to contact your audience after they have left your site is crucial. Obtaining visitor emails means you can continue to market your business to them, send newsletters, promote articles, products and services, and encourage them back to your site.

Adding an opt-in form to your sidebars is a great way to get your visitors to sign up to a monthly newsletter or general correspondence. Mostly, people won’t bother to look for an optin form, so displaying it in sidebars keeps it visible and makes it as easy as possible for your audience to sign up.

Bloom from Elegant Themes is a premium email optin plugin. It has six different ways to provide opt-in forms, but one of these options is to add widget area opt-in forms to your sidebars or footers. Bloom’s stylish and professional forms are perfect for catching your audience’s attention. This should help contribute to an increase in lead generation.

Promote Social Media

Social media is another key area that businesses should always be promoting. Sidebars are a good place to display follow buttons to help gain followers. You can also show a social media feed, or two, to show off what is going on on your social media channels.

Simple Follow Me Social Buttons Widget

Simple Follow Me

Simple Follow Me Social Buttons Widget is a free WordPress social media plugin that will allow you to add follow buttons to your sidebars. Adding this social media widget to your sidebars means that your follow buttons will be constantly visible, encouraging your visitors to follow you.

Feed Them Social

Feed Them Social

Feed Them Social is another social media plugin, but this time one that displays social media feeds. Create custom feeds for Facebook pages, groups, events, photo albums, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and more. These feeds can then be placed in sidebars to display what is happening on your social media channels.

Use a Popular or Related Posts Plugin

Related Posts

If you are looking to keep your visitors on your site for longer and explore your content then it is important to display a widget to help with that. Using a related posts or popular posts widget is a great way to give visitors a snapshot of what else is available on your site. Equally, if you have specific content that you are wanting to promote, then you can display that instead.

WordPress Popular Posts Plugin

WordPress Popular Posts

A widget displaying your most popular posts is an effective way to encourage your visitors to click onto another article. People like to follow the crowd, so if certain posts are perceived as being ‘popular’, this should help increase the click through rate.

WordPress Popular Posts is a free WordPress plugin that enables you to display your most popular posts in your sidebars. This highly customizable widget gives you numerous options over which settings and features you use, as well as providing statistics on your most viewed popular posts.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)

YARPP

If your site covers a wide range of interests and subjects, a popular posts plugin may not interest readers, as the articles displayed could be off topic and not specific to individuals tastes. In this case, displaying a related posts widget in your sidebars will be more appropriate.

A related posts plugin will show posts that are relevant to the article that is being read. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) is a free WordPress plugin. It relies on a powerful and unique algorithm that finds content across your site relevant to the post being viewed. Results are then displayed in a thumbnail or list format in your sidebar, to help grab your viewer’s attention and encourage them to keep reading.

Display a Google Map

If your business is a brick and mortar shop, restaurant, spa, or something else, then you need to tell your online audience where you are located. Make this easy for them by adding a map into your sidebars.

Google Maps Widget

The Google Maps Widget allows you to add a thumbnail map with a custom pin icons to your sidebars. There are also interactive and lightbox options, to help your map grab your visitors’ attention. This widget is the perfect way to show your customers where you are and increase traffic to your store.

Increase Your Sales

If you are looking to increase sales then use your sidebars to help you achieve this. Whether you are selling course membership, products on your site, or affiliate products, use your sidebars to encourage your audience to make a purchase.

Display your most popular products or specific ones you are trying to promote. Add a banner advertising a course or membership. Always make sure your audience can click through to help them quickly and easily find and purchase the item they are interested in.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are numerous widgets that you can add to your sidebars. Choose the ones specifically relevant to your site goals. Every widget displayed should be helping your site deliver the results you need.

What widgets are you going to add to your sidebars? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.



Source link

Read more...

Essential WordPress Plugins for Enhancing Twenty Seventeen


Twenty Seventeen is the default WordPress theme for this year. Whilst it is a great free WordPress theme, in this article we are going to recommend some plugins to help make the theme, and your site, even better.

Enhance Twenty Seventeen with a contact form and email optin form plugin. Use a page builder and slider plugin to help your WordPress website stand out from the crowd. Add security and backup plugins to keep your site safe and secure. And install Jetpack to deal with all the extra WordPress needs that may arise.

By the time you have finished reading, you’ll be ready to get started with Twenty Seventeen!

Why You Should Be Using Twenty Seventeen

2017 Theme

Twenty Seventeen, recently released with WordPress 4.7, is a modern and stylish theme. Created for not just blogs, but also businesses, this is a first of its kind for a default WordPress theme.

Sleek and Contemporary Design

Twenty Seventeen makes an impact for many reasons. Its design is one of them. Sleek and contemporary, this theme will wow visitors. A full page header image, which can also display video, will catch the attention of your audience. And featured images can be immersed within your homepage, producing a professional look and feel.

Easy to Use

Twenty Seventeen has never been easier to use, or more accessible to the masses. The live customizer enables you to customize your site, on the front end, watching your alterations as you make them. No more to saving and switching between tabs.

If you don’t know the name of an element you’d like to alter, simply click on the relevant pencil icon, known as a Visible Editable Shortcut, to open the customizer at the right place. It is also possible to add CSS in the customizer, making this versatile theme ideal for beginners and web developers alike.

Excellent for Businesses

In the past, default WordPress themes have been designed with blogs in mind. Twenty Seventeen sees a shift in direction, with a focus resting on business. This theme sees a static home page, perfect to promote your business and display key content. Multiple sections on the front page, along with widgets, a social menu, logo, and lots more, see all immediate business needs catered for.

So now you’ve seen some of the impressive features of Twenty Seventeen offers. But, as with all free themes, and many premium ones, there are a few essential plugins you should consider installing to help enhance its design and functionality.

Install Jetpack

Jetpack Plugin

Jetpack is a free plugin from WordPress, that contains a variety of modules to help enhance your website. Jetpack is a popular plugin, helped by its ease of use and the sheer range and number of modules it provides. Let’s have a look at some of the modules you should activate on Twenty Seventeen…

Photon

With beautiful large images being part of Twenty Seventeen’s appeal, it is important that this media focus doesn’t slow your site down. The Jetpack module Photon caches content from your site to the WordPress.com servers. Images are then loaded from the fast WordPress.com content delivery network, which in turn increases the speed of your site. And a fast site can only improve the user experience.

Site Stats

Monitoring your analytics is an essential part of growing a WordPress business, that many of us neglect. The module Site Stats displays important data within your WordPress dashboard. Stats are displayed in a way that is easy to understand and work with.

See how many people have visited your site, which pages and posts are most popular, and lots more. Although Site Stats doesn’t contain the in-depth reporting that Google Analytics does, the quick access to data and ease of comprehension, make it an extremely useful tool.

Publicize

Twenty Seventeen comes complete with a social menu bar, enabling viewers to quickly follow you, or share your content on social media. However, with social media being more important than ever, you will need more than just social share buttons to keep on top of the game.

Publicize enables your new articles to be automatically posted to your social media channels as you publish them. This helps not only keep your social media accounts active, but it also saves you much time and effort posting to numerous social media sites. The more social media you can automate the better!

As you can see, the functionality of Jetpack is impressive, and new modules are being constantly added. Premium security, backup and SEO modules, amongst others, are also offered. If you were to install only one plugin on Twenty Seventeen, with its extensive features catering for all areas of WordPress, Jetpack would be my choice.

Add a Contact Form with Ninja Forms

Ninja Forms

A contact form is an essential feature for any website, but especially a business site. Although Twenty Seventeen comes with a pre-set Contact Page, to add a contact form you will need to install a contact form plugin.

Ninja Forms is a free WordPress plugin that will enable you to add an effective and attractive contact form to your contact page. It’s advanced drag and drop form creator means forms are easy to create and you can customize forms to suit your site’s exact needs. Add-ons can also be purchased to extend the functionality of a form, including taking payments. A must have plugin, this form builder is a quick, yet powerful, enhancement to Twenty Seventeen.

Choose a Page Builder

Page Builder Site Origin

Bearing in mind that the Twenty Seventeen theme will be used to create thousands of websites, using a page builder to help differentiate your website is a good idea.

Page Builder by SiteOrigin is a free WordPress plugin that will help you design responsive page layouts. Its intuitive drag and drop interface will enable you to produce attractive and eye-catching pages, helping your site stand out from its competitors.

If you are looking for a more advanced tool, Beaver Builder is a premium page builder that will enable you to create beautiful and professional pages. Use one of its 30 customizable templates, saving you time and ensuring a sophisticated appearance. Easy to use, Beaver Builder will help you to craft your website design to your exact specifications.

Display Your Images with Meta Slider

Meta Slider

Twenty Seventeen, with its full page header image, will immediately appeal to designers and photographers that have portfolios to display. But if you want your pictures to make a strong impact on your audience then you should think about adding a slideshow feature.

Meta Slider is a free WordPress plugin that can display your images in a slider. Create a slideshow in a matter of minutes by simply dragging and dropping images you need. Choose from 4 different types of slideshow, add captions, and lots more. Add the Meta Slider Lightbox plugin to allow slides to open in a Lightbox format.

Use an Email Capture Tool

OptinForms

Generating leads should be a goal for all online businesses. Once you have collected an email, you can keep in contact with an individual. Use email to promote your products or services to your mailing list, and entice people back to your site with an eye on turning them into life long customers.

Another free WordPress plugin, Optin Forms allows you to create stunning forms to collect the emails of your readers. Choose from 5 customizable forms, alter them to suit your needs, then add to your posts or pages.

If you are looking to use pop-ups for email capture, then the premium plugin OptinMonster may be for you. Choose from multiple form types, from lightbox popups to slide-ins. Target forms at a particular audience, and track your analytics to see how successful your forms are at collecting email addresses. Although pricey, this plugin will ensure you see results.

Consider Security and Backups

Twenty Seventeen will have been subjected to stringent security reviews. However, it is still important that you take the security of your WordPress site seriously. Installing security and backup plugins is one of the most important jobs you can do and should be a top priority.

Wordfence WordPress Plugin

WordFence

Wordfence is a powerful free WordPress security plugin that will help keep your site safe and secure. It uses a firewall to protect your site and keeps you updated of any security breaches. So you can rest assured your site is in capable hands.

For the larger sites and online businesses out there, it may well be worth upgrading to Wordfence Pro, which offers real-time threat detection and top class support.

UpDraftPlus Backup Plugin

UpdraftPlus

Adding a backup plugin to your WordPress site should go hand in hand with installing a security plugin. No security plugin can guarantee your site is 100% safe, so by backing up you ensure that you have a copy of your site, whatever happens.

The plugin UpDraftPlus allows you to back up to the Cloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, and numerous other places. Importantly, data can be restored with just a click of a button. Therefore, if your site is lost, it can be restored quickly and easily. This could help save your sales and lost customers.

A Pro version of UpDraftPlus is also available, and again maybe a sensible purchase for the larger sites out there. Extras offered with this service include site cloning and migration, automatic pre-scheduled backups, and lots more.

Final Thoughts

The plugins you install with Twenty Seventeen will mainly depend on the type of site you run and what functionalities you need. However, if you are looking to enhance your website, then using the WordPress plugins mentioned in this article as a starting point will mean you can’t go too far wrong.

Is there a WordPress plugin that you can’t manage without that we haven’t mentioned? Please share your thoughts on other essential plugins for Twenty Seventeen in the comments below…



Source link

Read more...

Jetpack Modules To Level Up Your WordPress Website


It’s hard to describe Jetpack – calling it a mere plugin would be doing it an injustice. Let’s just say that Jetpack is a bunch of plugins bundled into one. It adds many benefits that a WordPress.com account holder normally enjoys to your website. For a self hosted WordPress website, this is akin to buttering your toast on both sides – you have the flexibility of a WordPress.org install, and at the same time, you enjoy many of the benefits of a WordPress.com account for free, simply by activating Jetpack modules on your website. And, since the plugin is made by Automattic, you can expect it to be perfectly compatible with WordPress.

Currently, Jetpack offers more than 35 modules that greatly enhance the functionality of your WordPress. These cover security, traffic and SEO, creating beautiful content with images, and videos that can display on galleries and carousels. As a bonus, Jetpack can also improve site speed and save bandwidth (if you activate the Photon module). While most modules are free, you’d have to sign up for a WordPress.com account to use the plugin.

It’s not necessary for you to activate all the modules. You can activate just the ones that are needed for your site by visiting Settings under Jetpack.

These are the modules that I’d pick for my site,

Protect

The Protect module is one of many security features that come with Jetpack. WordPress users familiar with the Brute Protect plugin will recognize many of the functions that are now incorporated in the Jetpack plugin (Brute Protect has been acquired by Automattic).

This Jetpack module works by keeping track of the failed login attempts from any IP into any Jetpack powered website. Making use of this cloud-stored data, Jetpack blocks login attempts into your website from this malicious IP. The IPs are blocked for varying periods of time. This way, your website stays safe from break-in attempts. You can read more about protecting your site from break-ins in our earlier post. For more effective spam protection, you’ll need to activate Akismet.

Another reason you’ll be happy to activate Protect is because it gives you the option to whitelist your own IP. With this module activated, you can be sure that you’re not locked out of your own site.

To activate Protect: Jetpack > Settings > Protect

Photon

One surefire way to improve site speed is to use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to store static files like images, in remote servers. The Photon module uses the WordPress.com cloud to cache images from the posts and pages of your website. It can fetch, resize and serve up any .png, .gif or .jpg image.

For Photon to work on your website, it’s important that your server uploads the image within ten seconds, otherwise you risk being timed out and the image will appear broken.

To activate Photon: Jetpack > Settings > Photon

Tiled Galleries and Carousels

Create beautiful galleries and carousels with the Tiled Galleries and Carousels Jetpack modules active on your site. Galleries will appear in a tiled format that can be rectangular or square or as a circular grid. You can design these formats by creating a gallery in the normal way using the Add Media setting. But now you’ll find a new option “Tiles” which you can use to choose the layout option of the gallery.

The default width used for the images is 500px. However, if your theme specifies a content width, the images will resize to fit that specification. As these gallery images need to be processed further, they are served up from the WordPress.com cloud. This module will work, even if you’ve not enabled the Photon module.

If you activate the Carousel module, it instantly converts any gallery on your website into a full screen carousel. Besides, you can select a white or dark background for the carousel under options in Settings > Media.

Monitor

Monitor is one module I’d recommend to all users. Jetpack tests if your website remains accessible by pinging it every five minutes, once you activate this module. If the HTTP response is not good or if there are too many redirects, the plugin will tentatively mark your site as down. Subsequently, it’s pinged from three different geographical locations for confirmation. If all 3 checks fail, you’ll receive an intimation in your WordPress.com account.

An hour later, you’ll receive a second intimation, if your website is still down. And then you’ll be notified once the website is up and running again.

To activate Monitor: Jetpack > Settings > Monitor

Contact Form

A Contact Form is an important ingredient in many web pages, and Jetpack includes a module for this as well. Activating the module is a super easy way to add a contact form to any post or page on your website.

An Add Contact Form option appears in the Post / Page editor. Click on it, and a popup will open, which you can edit by adding, or reordering fields. If you wish, you can even style the form’s appearance using CSS and change the text that will appear in the Submit button.

And this how my Contact Form appears from the frontend – quite basic, but gets the job done.

For any response received on the form in the frontend, you’ll receive an intimation by email. You can view these mails conveniently on your WordPress Admin area, under the Feedback section. If you happen to be an Akismet subscriber, the responses will be filtered for spam as well.

To activate Contact Form: Jetpack > Settings > Contact Form

Related Posts

A neat way to keep visitors longer on your site is to suggest other posts that they may find interesting on your site. This is possible when you activate the Related Posts module.

This module scans your content for posts that are related to each other in a contextual manner. It picks out appropriate content that is likely to hold the reader’s interest and displays it beneath each post. All the backend work of pulling out related posts is carried out in the cloud, and so there’s no load on your site or server.

You can configure the display of the Related Posts by adjusting the settings to add a header or thumbnails. This module will locate related posts based on context or categories or tags. It will only display if there are atleast three posts that it can list.

To activate Related Posts: Jetpack > Settings > Related Posts

Enhanced Distribution

Enhanced Distribution is a module that can help to get better visibility for your content. Any content that is not restricted for viewing is automatically added to the WordPress firehose and becomes available for public viewing on WordPress.com.

What is firehose ? Well, companies and just about anybody interested in accessing information can view a stream of information that passes through WordPress.com. If it happens that they use the content from your blog to display on their websites, they must link back to your content. Activating this module can add readers to your blog.

To activate Enhanced Distribution: Jetpack > Settings > Enhanced Distribution

Publicize

Publishing your posts on social media can help to bring your content before the right audience. The Publicize module will automatically push content to the social media that you select.

To configure this module, visit Settings > Sharing and click the Connect button against the selected social media options. Once you login to the social accounts and authorize the connection, you’ll see these forums in the Post Editor near the Publish option. When you hit Publish, these posts automatically appear on selected social media.

The list of media options can be changed on a per post basis using the Edit button. Publicize also works for scheduled posts, they are automatically pushed to social media at the scheduled dates and times. The option works only for new posts and for Administrator, Editor and author roles. It can also be customized using a bit of code or additional plugins.

Widget Visibility

Widget Visibility module allows you to control the visibility of each of your widgets on different pages. You can set visibility so that a widget appears on particular pages and not on others. You can control this on the basis of 5 aspects – page type, category, tag, date, and author.

Each aspect works independently, and you cannot adjust visibility to apply to any particular combination of aspects, say pages belonging to a particular category and author.

Gravatar Hovercards

To convert your gravatar into some kind of online business card, enable the Gravatar hovercard. Information about you is then visible to others and they can find you more easily online.

When you activate this module, the hovercards appear when the mouse hovers over your gravatar.

Site Verification

In order to enable webmaster tools to verify your site, we normally add a “meta tag” or change the DNS entry. If you want Jetpack to do this for you, activate the Site Verification Module.

You’ll need to configure the settings for each service like Google, Bing or Pinterest. The instructions for configuring these services are provided here.

Last Words

Many users perceive Jetpack as bulky and as a plugin that slows down your site’s response time. Well, look at it this way – it’s carrying out the task of multiple plugins, it’s totally compatible with WordPress, is free (mostly) and you can activate only those modules that you need.



Source link

Read more...

Most Common Mistakes of WordPress Beginners


Maybe you are just starting your own blog, or maybe you are trying to build a website for your business by yourself. Either way, if you have a little experience and you found out about WordPress, you will make some mistakes. Everybody in your situation does them.

Mistakes are common for beginners, but also for more experienced users, or to put it in larger scale, for humans in general. Although the fact is that everybody prefers to avoid them (for obvious reasons). Since WordPress is already used by millions of users around the world, there are some common mistakes to learn from. Viktor from WebCreate.Me shared with us some of them:

1. WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com

Choosing the wrong platform is number one mistake by a wide margin. WordPress.com is more suitable for the personal website. It’s free and easy to create. You don’t have to worry about server setup, backups, updates and other such things. On the other hand, WordPress.org requires to buy your own WordPress hosting and install WordPress on it. It gives you a full control over your website with an almost unlimited number of themes, WP plugins, and customization, but you have to download it and manage it yourself. If you start your blog with WordPress.org it saves you transfers down the road and it allows you to make money off your blog immediately. But you can read more about all the pros and cons in our WordPress.org vs WordPress.com guide.

2. Relying on unknown developers

You can find thousands of premium and free themes or plugins online. No matter how good some of them look, you should always go with an established, WordPress-approved developer. Some of them may cost you a few dollars, but you’re paying for security, support, usability and search engine rankings among other things. Going all out on free things from unknown developers may cost you not just your time, but also money later.

3. Spending money left and right

Although it’s not always the best for you to go with free things, you should have a vision what you really need for your website. All the options out there might be overwhelming, but all you need to get you started is the domain name and web hosting. You might want to invest into your design, but things like branded emails, 5 years’ worth of registration and SSL among others might be a little bit too much to invest in right from a get-go. If you need to pay for some plugins, make sure you really need them. Having unnecessary plugins will have an effect not just on your wallet, but also clutter up your WordPress installation.

4. Not having a backup

Most hosting companies are doing automatic backups for you and might even restore your site for free, but nothing in the world of technology is 100%, so you should always keep your own copy. It’s not even that complicated. All you have to do is to set up a schedule for a backup and you will be set. There is a whole list of free & premium backup plugins available for you, though our personal favorite is VaultPress. Installing a good backup platform is crucial for you, so pick one accordingly.

5. Using default URL structure

Neither users nor search engines are thrilled about seeing web pages, which look something like yourpage.com/?p=23. Users will less likely click on it because they see nothing behind that link and search engines are looking for keywords also inside the URLs. That’s why you should go to your WordPress dashboard and under Settings > Permalinks change your permalinks settings from “Plain” to “Post name.” You will be still able to change your link in the editor, but it will look better for users and you will boost your search engine rankings as well by default.

6. Not updating default Favicon

A favicon might seem just like a little icon of your blog in a browser window, but it’s also how your visitors recognize you among other tabs they have opened. It’s your identity card and you should pay attention to building your brand. You will look more professional and there are many free favicon generators online, which can generate it for you. If you want to go with something more advanced, think about using marketplaces like Fiverr to get a cheap design.

Here is a simple guide how to change your favicon, if you already have one ready to use.

7. Forgetting about your security

Some of you might be laughing right now, but this is one of the most common mistakes. Using login with both username and password “Admin” is very dangerous since it will be the first try for anybody trying to get to your website and that makes you an easy target. You should absolutely avoid “admin” as a login or password. You are always given the option to change your password during installation and you should do it right then because you might forget about it later. A strong password doesn’t guarantee absolute security, but it builds the first line of defense against unwanted guests.

But don’t stop with just a strong password, there are many other easy security steps you can take to keep your WordPress website extra secure. You can add Malware scanning, brute force protection, hidden wp files an more. For even more tips have a look at all of our WordPress security articles.

8. Ignoring updates

If you are using .org version of WordPress, you will need to manage updates by yourself. WordPress notifies users when their site is up for and update, but we all know that feeling when we are updating our systems and hoping for the best. Although if your site is coded properly, it will take only one click in most cases and there will be nothing to be afraid of. You should still back up all your content before an update.

JetPack plugin is free and offers many great features and setting automatic updates is one of them.

9. Forgetting about SEO

WordPress offers you to stop search engine bots from indexing your sites, which is a good thing to do, while you are still developing your website. Although many bloggers forgot to change that setting once their blog was live and their site never got indexed by search engines.

If you think that installing default WordPress SEO plugin will sort you out, you are doing another beginner mistake. You should still update your meta settings. SEO is one of the most powerful ways to drive traffic to your website. Yoast SEO is a very effective plugin that will help you get more visitors from search engines.

10. Not having contact form

This might seem like a minor issue in the beginning, but as your site grows, your readers will try to encounter with you. You can often get valuable questions, suggestions or just encouraging words. Again, just like many other things, JetPack can sort that out for you as well. It comes with a free and easy to user contact form. Or you could give Contact Form 7 a try. There is also a GravityForms, which is used by almost every professional building custom websites (including WPExplorer!).

Wrapping Up

There you have it – 10 very common missteps most WordPress beginners make. Now that you’re aware of theme, hopefully you can keep from making them when starting up your WordPress blog. But don’t stop learning now – checkout our blog for even more WordPress tips and tricks that you can use to become a WordPress guru!

Have any other questions? Or more tips for beginners? Leave us a note below!



Source link

Read more...
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!