Premium WordPress Plugins of the Month: October 2016

If you’re in the market for some useful functionality for your WordPress website, you’re in the right place. Every month, we share the best new WordPress plugins released on CodeCanyon.

October saw a whopping 130+ new plugins hit the marketplace. Today, we’ve narrowed that list to just five. This post compiles a varied list of functionalities, each costing under $25. This means there should be a plugin for all types of websites and all budgets.

Here we go then, the five best premium plugins released in October. In no particular order…



Let’s kick things off with iPhotor, a cool new plugin that lets you edit your photos from the convenience of the WordPress dashboard.

To start, you can use iPhotor to crop, resize, zoom, flip, and rotate your images. However, this functionality is just the tip of the iceberg. Simply put: iPhotor lets you create stunning, eye-catching images.

The iPhotor dashboard comes with the ability to add text, icon, or drawing layers to your images, with just a click of the mouse.


You can also play around with an image’s brightness, saturation, and contrast, to make sure it’s just right. There are tools for smoothing skin and blurring photos, too.

Best of all, you can add stylish borders, filters, and overlays to your images. There are ten presets, allowing you to enjoy gorgeous images in just a few clicks. If, however, you’d prefer to edit your images manually, there are hundreds of filters you can apply – all of them look great.


To summarize: iPhotor is an awesome tool for photographers who want a quick and easy way to edit their images. With so many presets and one-click filters, it’s also a great tool for bloggers who want unique images – great for branding – with minimal fuss. The plugin is a steal at just $19.

WooCommerce Unlimited Upsell


Any eCommerce store owner will tell you that making a sale is hard work. However, when you’ve successfully convinced someone to buy, maximizing their order value can be the difference between a thriving online store and impending failure.

This is why upsells are so important to online stores. By offering products related to a customer’s purchase – or upgrades – you encourage them to part with more money. And that’s the aim of the game, right?

The WooCommerce Unlimited Upsell plugin does exactly what it says: it offers upsells for WooCommerce stores. These upsells are targeted based on the customer’s shopping cart contents and deployed when they reach the checkout screen.

Upsells are displayed in stylish pop-ups, which can be customized using intuitive drag-and-drop. There is also a mobile-optimized pop-up for customers on smaller devices.

WooCommerce Unlimited Upsell also supports conditional logic for upsells, plus the plugin tracks the upsell conversion rate. With a price tag of $25, this plugin has the potential to generate an immediate return on investment.

Material – White Label WordPress Admin Theme


Material is one of the most versatile admin customization plugins available. It’s perfect for anyone looking to reinforce their branding by white labeling their clients’ dashboards.

Now, there are plenty of great WordPress white label plugins out there, but very few can compete with Material in terms of quantity of designs. Material ships with 100 pre-built admin templates. Here’s a screenshot of one in action – it barely resembles the default WordPress admin screen at all, right?


Each template can be endlessly customized, too. For starters, you can play around with fonts, colors, and layouts. However, Material lets you customize every element of the page – from the sidebar, to the top bar, to the dashboard widgets. You can also build your own admin theme from scratch.

Talking of dashboard widgets, Material also comes with a custom set of 20, extending the ones built into the WordPress core. These dashboard widgets offer an insight into your website’s performance, with widgets tracking stats such as number of visitors, visitor locations, and visitor devices.

Finally, you can also use Material to build a custom login page. Here’s a screenshot of the demo login page – looks gorgeous, right? And again, it barely resembles WordPress – true white labeling.


Material is available at a great price of $22, exclusively on CodeCanyon.

Post Custom Templates Pro


If you love your theme but you’re unhappy with the design of its single post templates, drag-and-drop page builders are the go-to solution. As effective as they are at their job, there can be a fairly steep learning curve, plus it’s quite labor intensive to get the designs just right.

Post Custom Templates Pro is an excellent alternative to the page builder plugins. It specifically targets redesigning blog posts, shipping with 18 gorgeous templates. If you feel the templates still need some tweaking, each is fully customizable. The plugin lets you add the following elements to your blog posts:

  • Related posts
  • Image sliders
  • Tabs
  • Author info
  • Social sharing buttons
  • Comments
  • Ads
  • Custom sidebar
  • Post reviews
  • Meta data

When you’re happy, you can overwrite your theme’s settings and roll out your new blog post template site wide. Or, if you’d prefer more flexibility, you can create a default template on a category-by-category basis.

Post Custom Templates Pro is compatible with any WordPress theme and costs just $19.

WPML Redirect Based on IP Country


If you run a multilingual website, ensuring visitors access content in the correct language is task one.

WPML is undisputed King of the multilingual plugins. However, it isn’t perfect. For a start, it will detect a visitor’s browser language, then auto-redirect them to content in this language. This is hardly ideal:

  • Many internet users won’t have a clue how to change their browser language.
  • Some visitors won’t want to view the content in their browser’s language.

The solution to this conundrum is simple: the WPML Redirect Based on IP Country extension, available for $14.

As the extension’ name implies, it uses a visitor’s IP address to determine their location and their most likely preferred language. However, the plugin avoids auto-directing a visitor – perhaps they’re on vacation and can’t speak the local tongue. Instead, the plugin displays a simple pop-up asking if the visitor would like the content to be switched to their location’s native language.


This approach will make your multilingual website far more user-friendly. An intuitive configuration screen lets you specify which language you want as the default for each location. And, should you wish, you can override the pop-up and automatically change the visitor’s language – after all, sometimes fewer steps is better.

Final Thoughts

And that concludes our roundup of the best premium plugins released in October. Fingers crossed you found something useful, and with price tags of under $25 each, you can introduce premium functionality to your WordPress website without breaking the bank.

With hundreds of new plugins released each month, it would be impossible to cover each one. Feel free to use the comments section to share your favorite plugins released this month. And as always, we’ll be back next month with five more premium plugins!

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Lazy Load Plugins for WordPress To Make Your Website Faster

Images, infographics and fancy effects are all excellent aids to promote any kind of content on a website. They are surefire attention grabbers and can convey the essence of the content in one frame. No wonder we rely on images to catch a reader’s eye and enhance user engagement on the internet.

On the flip side, images often take time to load on a webpage. And if you are on slow connection, it can seem like it takes forever to load. This can be a big turn off for users, who’ll likely move away from the page.

How Can We Make Image Heavy Pages Load Faster?

Why do images take time to load? Well, we can explain it like this – a webpage is made up of many elements – text, images, media, script and more. To get each element to load, your browser makes a request to the website (called a HTTP request). Many of the elements, especially images, are byte-heavy and take time to load. Normally all the elements try to load at the same time and this delays the loading of the entire webpage.

The logical thing to do is to get the fast loading content to appear on the browser first and hold a viewer’s attention. At the same time, delay the loading of the data heavy images. This approach is likely to persuade users to wait as there is something on the screen to hold their attention.

What is Lazy Loading?

We can delay images using the lazy loading technique – load only the text or selected content first and allow images or slow loading elements to lag. The loading of images is staggered, so the time to first byte for the webpage improves. As a user scrolls down, images are fetched one at a time. Consequently, the number of HTTP requests hitting the server at the same time is reduced.

Images are placed in a placeholder, to be loaded later. As the images reach the viewing area, they are fetched from the server. They appear on the screen as they move to the area “above the fold”. In case of infinite scroll, ajax is used to load more when the user hits the bottom of the screen.

How Lazy Loading Can Help

Lazy loading reduces load times. A faster website is good for user experience and search engines. It also reduces server bandwidth by only loading images when they’re truly needed. This saves bandwidth, both at the server end and the user’s end. You can apply lazy loading to selected pages or site wide.

One drawback with lazy loading is that content that comes after the fold may not be found by search engines. Search engines may not recognize infinite scrolling content. To overcome this drawback at least in part, we need to structure URLs so that they can be processed by search engines. This can make the placeholders more visible to search engines until the image loads.

There are a number of plugins that can get lazy loading to work on your WordPress website. Let’s look at some of the popular plugins,

BJ Lazy Load

To replace all or any of your post images, post thumbnails, gravatar images and content iframes with a placeholder, use BJ Lazy Load. It can replace iframes too, and this means you can lazy load embedded videos from YouTube and Vimeo. Works for text widgets too. Using a simple filter, the images and iframes in your theme can be delayed.


To get the plugin working on your website simply download, install and activate. You can then visit the settings and figure out what elements should be delayed while loading. Add your own placeholder image, if you wish.

This plugin uses JavaScript. As a result, a visitor without JavaScript will see the original elements without any delayed loading.

Lazy Load

A commonly used plugin for adding lazy loading to WordPress websites, Lazy Load is a simple install and activate plugin. You can try it with confidence, knowing that it is developed using a blend of code from the VIP team at Automattic, the TechCrunch 2011 Redesign team, and Jake Goldman (10up LLC).


Also, you do not need to do anything further after activation. However, if you wish to make some changes, you can do so by editing the php file. The authors have provided some helpful code snippets that you can refer to for altering the placeholder image, for lazy loading images in your theme or for lazy loading all your images by output buffering.

Ajax Load More – Infinite Scroll

Ajax Load More is apt for delayed loading on long webpages that are viewed by scrolling down. Use it for lazy loading posts, custom post types, single posts, pages and comments.


Moreover, you can use the Shortcode Builder to frame custom WordPress queries. Add the shortcode that is generated to the pages that you select via the content editor, or directly to template files. View the page from the front end and check Ajax Load More loading the content even as you scroll down.

What’s more, Ajax Load More works fine with WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads, so it is suitable for long product pages.

Lazy Load for Videos

If you’re running a website that’s got a number of embedded videos, this one is for you. Lazy Load for Videos replaces your embedded videos with a clickable image. The webpage does not load videos as soon as a visitor calls for the page. The videos are loaded only when the image is clicked.


The plugin inspects embedded videos, and replaces all external files with a static image and a play button. The videos are loaded only when a visitor clicks the button. This can have a real impact on page loading speed, especially if it has many videos on it. And for the user, it is a smooth experience.

a3 Lazy Load

With websites being increasingly viewed on handheld devices, they need to be optimized for a mobile experience as well. a3 Lazy Load is designed to improve site speed on mobiles by delaying the loading of selected page elements. The elements can be selected in admin settings.


The plugin offers support for content in iframes placed anywhere in the content or widgets. WordPress embedded media, Facebook Like boxes with profiles, Like buttons, Recommend buttons, Google+ Profiles, Google Maps and other similar media content can all be selected for lazy loading.

Furthermore, there is no clash with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) – lazy load is not applied to the /amp endpoint. It is only when the browser sports a URL without /amp that lazy load comes into play.

WP YouTube Lyte

If your website draws heavily on YouTube, WP YouTube Lyte can benefit you a good deal. It inserts “Lite YouTube Embeds” which appear similar to YouTube embeds. But the videos are called for only when clicked upon.


To get this plugin to work on your website, a registration with YouTube as a new applicant is necessary. The plugin uses the YouTube API of each video to fetch it from the YouTube repository. To use that API on your website, the API key furnished to you by YouTube must be enabled. The server key that you receive from YouTube needs to be filled in.

Once you have enabled YouTube API keys, adjust the settings to get the dimensions and position of the player to your liking.

Loading Page with Loading Screen

With Loading Page with Loading Screen, users can have an idea of wait time before the page is loaded. The plugin displays a screen showing the loading progress as a percentage of completion.


Choose to display progress only on the homepage or on all pages. With the free version, only a progress bar is used for display. For more options, you will need to upgrade to the premium version. Also, the premium version applies lazy loading to images.

Some more plugins,

  • Load More is a helpful feature in long product pages. These are commonly found on WooCommerce websites. WooCommerce Infinite Scroll and Ajax Pagination converts the default product pagination to infinite scroll or Ajax pagination. For the user, this means they do not have to repeatedly click ‘Next Page’. When a user reaches the bottom of the page, the next set of products are automatically retrieved and loaded. Different pagination options are available for mobile devices.
  •  Load More Products for WooCommerce can be added to load more products from the next page using Ajax with infinite scrolling or a Load More button. For animation effects and customization, a pro version is available.
  • Images Lazyload and Slideshow – With this plugin, you can choose to add a lightbox effect or a custom gallery effect to any image, as well as delay loading. It comes with 3 effects, and you can add your own as well.
  • Rocket Lazy Load – Is extremely light (less than 2kb). It injects a small bit of Javascript into the header of your site which works on thumbnails, all images in a post, in a widget text or avatars. It delays images site-wide without using any JavaScript library such as jQuery.
  • Crazy Lazy – Does the same job while being lightweight, easy to install and use, and needs no setting. Any image can be excluded by simply adding an attribute to the image.
  • Lazy Load XT – Is a fast plugin that works for images, frames, YouTube videos and Vimeo. It is fully customizable.

Many Sliders like Royal Slider and WP Electric Carousel also incorporate the lazy load principle to load images. Event Booking Pro supports a lazy loading calendar.

In Conclusion

Lazy loading is an effective way for improving site speed, especially on websites that sport a number of images and videos. There are many other methods, like image optimization and caching, that can also help to improve site speed. Choose the plugin that is a good fit for your website and optimize performance to make it a better experience for the user.

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How To Make Money Selling WordPress Products & Services

It’s been a while, but I’m finally back with part 2 of our making money with WordPress series. Previously we coved how to make money with your WordPress blog, but that’s not the only way you can leverage WordPress to build a successful business.

Many people (WPExplorer included) are making a living by selling products and services for WordPress. Today we’ll take a look at what you can create to help other WordPress users, and specific pros and cons to consider before you start selling.

Make Money With WordPress Products

If you’re using WordPress then you’re most definitely also using (or have used) at least a few third party products to go along with your core installation. In my experience there are three main products many  WordPress users are willing to pay a premium for.

1. & 2. Premium WordPress Themes & Plugins

One of the biggest markets related to WordPress is the theme & plugin market. There are countless independent premium theme stores (ThemeBeans, ThemeIsle, Anariel Design, etc) in addition to the mega theme marketplaces like Themeforest or Templatemonster that host countless products from many different developers.

If you’re a developer and have confidence in your coding ability then creating premium themes or plugins is a great way to generate income. The only investment required is your time! Once you create an original product you just need to decide if you’d rather start your own store, sell on a a marketplace or balance a a combination of bother.

Start Your Own WordPress Theme or Plugin Store

Elegant Themes is a shining example of an independent theme & plugin store making a name for themselves. What started as a small theme membership site has grown into a multimillion dollar business all built in the premise of offering premium WordPress themes and plugins at an affordable price. Other notable success stories include OptinMonster, Themify, DesignModo, Soliloquy and StudioPress among many others.

The biggest perk to starting your own store is that you are 100% in control of all decisions. You decide your prices. You decide what you’re selling. You decide if you want to run promotions.

At the same time, running your own store can be difficult because you are the one running it. This means you must take extra precautions for customer data security, make sure to follow all local e-commerce laws, and if you are making international sales there are additional laws you must abide by. It’s a lot!

There are options like Shopify that you can use to help better manage your store, but you’ll just have to do the research to see which e-commerce method works best for your store.

Sell on a WordPress Marketplace

For WPExplorer we’ve chosen to use marketplaces for our premium themes. Currently you can find us on Themeforest and Creative Market. In our case we felt it was easier to let someone else manage the transactions for us, while we continue to handle theme development and support.

The two main challenges of using marketplaces is that they often have strict, lengthy review processes and also take a percentage of sales. In our experience, we’ve found the review process often times makes items better and the nominal fee is more that worth it to not have to manage our own e-commerce system.

Sell Your WOrdPress Products Everywhere

Lastly, you have the option to take advantage of both and sell your items on a non-exclusive basis on marketplaces as well as your own store.

Brands such as Themefuse, ArrayThemes and Anariel Design have done a great job taking advantage of marketplaces for exposure, as well as their own stores for closer control over sales.

One caveat with this option is that some marketplaces like Themeforest charge non-exclusive authors a larger sales fee. This means you may have to forfeit a bit more of your income in order to have the flexibility to sell in a variety of places.

Additionally, the more places your sell your items the more places you’ll have to provide item support. You’ll either need to create a central support location (such as a customer forum, or a ticketing site using a service such as HelpScout or ZenDesk) or take the time to log into multiple author accounts to provide customers with adequate item support.

All three options are awesome ways to sell your own products. Just keep in mind that no matter which method you choose it’s going to take time to establish yourself as a trusted developer or brand in the WordPress community. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see a ton of sales in the beginning. Network with blogs to have them help promote your items, create premium add-ons for your products or consider creating “lite” versions for extra exposure.

3. WordPress eBooks & Courses

Sell WordPress eBooks or Courses

The next product worth mentioning doesn’t extend WordPress, but instead compliments it. There are millions of WordPress users around the globe, and many of them are still learning. So why not provide a product to help them do just that?

Knowledgeable folks have been creating premium ebooks (checkout some of the top recommended WordPress books), guides and even online courses (like those offered on Udemy, or sell them yourself with LearnDash or another WordPress course tool) to assist new users with everything form setting up a blog for the first time to developing your own custom plugins.

The best part about offering educational products is that you don’t have to be a developer or a designer to create a useful product that users will buy. You just need expertise and the ability to convey what you know to others.

Make Money By Offering WordPress Services

WordPress products offer a lot of opportunity for hungry entrepreneurs to start successful businesses, but you don’t have to sell a product to make money. Plenty of creative folks have found ways to offer services to WordPress users at a premium.

4. WordPress Website Design & Development

WordPress Website Design & Development

The first service that comes to mind is simply website creation. A number of designers build client sites completely with WordPress. This is a lengthy process since you’ll often need to work with clients through concept, creation and potentially maintenance.

The benefit of tackling a client web design project is that you can often charge a hefty sum for your effort since you’ll likely be spending a couple weeks or more working on it. You’ll be able to feel secure in a set income while you focus your efforts on a single project (or maybe even a few projects if you’re able to juggle them).

The challenging aspect of web design is working with clients. Not every client will be great to work with (trust us, we know and we’ve even written an article on how to kiss nightmare clients goodbye). Some clients will be happy with your work and you’l never hear from them again. Others will frequently message you with new requests. Each client is different.

It’s up to you to decide what level of service you want to offer you clients, so just remember to build it into your contract before beginning a project.

5. & 6. WordPress Installation and Customization Services

Offer WordPress Installation & Customizations

Perhaps you don’t want to work with clients in the long run, and would rather offer one-and-done services such as theme or plugin installation services. Many experts offer this exact service on sites like Envato StudioUpwork or Freelancer.

Some new WordPress users understand how to create blog posts, but their knowledge ends there. This can make installing and setting up themes or plugins a challenge for them. By offering installation services you can simply login, add the theme, make sure it’s configured properly and be done.

Customizations are another great niche within WordPress where freelancers can make a bit of extra money. Many users just need help changing their header layout, or adding a new custom post type but don’t have the coding knowledge to do so. This is where you can offer your services on a per-tweak basis.

7. WordPress Management, Maintenance And/or Support

Offer WordPress Maintenance

Another option worth considering is WordPress Maintenance services. Sites like WP Butler and WP Curve have built businesses around maintaining WordPress installations for folks who simply don’t have the skills or time to do so themselves.

One of the best parts about maintenance is that you can easily add-on to increase the value of your service. Offering site audits, backups, malware scanning, customizations and similar options means that you can charge more for your service.

8. WordPress Hosting

Offer WordPress Hosting

If you’re a bit more ambitious you could also consider selling your own managed WordPress hosting service. With this you need not be a traditional WordPress developer or designer, though you will need an understanding of core WordPress functions.

The best part is that you don’t need your own servers to start offering hosting – many of the large hosting companies like HostGator offer reseller hosting as an option. These plans also include useful tools for creating packages or managing your customers’ accounts right from your own user panel. You could also build your own managed hosting with a Media Temple virtual private server or cloud hosting via Cloudways, as they both allow unlimited installations on each server. You’d just need to scale up your own plan as you acquire more customers.

The benefit with offering hosting is that you can secure a regular, recurring income from clients. Plus hosting is a natural add-on if you’re already offering other WordPress services such as web design or website management.

Before jumping in be sure to consider some of the requirements of offering hosting. Contracts, server security, updates, etc. Just do your research okay?

9. Custom WordPress Product Development

Custom WordPress Product Development

If you’re a developer but you don’t have ideas for your own product, or perhaps you simply don’t want to create something that you’ll have to support, you can always offer your services to other developers or businesses.

Often times creators will seek help from other developers who have more expertise in a particular area. For example, theme developers will often reach out to plugin developers for help create custom extensions. In these cases they might hire a developer for a one time project to create something that adds value to their own product.

Again, sites like Upwork and Envato Studio offer developers a place to advertise their skills and qualifications.

10. One-on-one or In-person WordPress Training

Offer One-on-one or In-person WordPress Training

Similar to offering ebooks or courses as a product, you can offer similar education materials in a service type format. WordPress experts like LisaWork have created careers by offering live WordPress seminars where new users can come in to learn how to use WordPress.

Many new users appreciate the ability to ask questions and receive one-on-one help as they go through the process of creating a website for the first time. You can use this opportunity to create an income generating business, with additional revenue streams from recommended follow-up courses, hosting or key products.

Stay Tuned

WordPress is an amazing platform, not just for websites but also for building a successful business. So far we’ve shared the top ways to use WordPress to make money with your blog, as well as 10 ways to profit from selling products and services. Hopefully the information was new or helpful to you!

In our next installment we’ll cover how to turn your blog into a business and some of the crucial steps we took to create WPExplorer.

Until then let us know if you have any questions in the comments section below! We’d be happy to answer them as best we can to help you start your own business with WordPres.

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Beginners Guide to BuddyPress and bbPress – Two Plugins to Keep the Conversation Going

An interactive blog is way more exciting than a blog where only the blog author is speaking. A conversation among two persons or a discussion among many readers can interest readers a many more. They get to hear varied viewpoints at one place, become acquainted with others who share the same interests and learn from the discussions.

WordPress makes it easy for blogs to receive feedback, start discussions and conversations. Two plugins – BuddyPress and bbPress can pretty much get the job done for WordPress blogs and websites. BuddyPress is a plugin to add a social network and bbPress will help you to add forums. Both plugins are built by the WordPress team, so they are tightly integrated with WordPress.


With BuddyPress, you can build your own social networking community. A popular plugin, it currently enjoys over 200,000 active installs. It is an ideal tool to help you build small local online communities such as a sports team, a church group, a drama club or a fan club for a music band. It works for bigger communities too.

You can install the plugin directly from your WordPress dashboard. Once you’ve installed it, you’ll need to configure components, pages and settings to suit the special requirements of your own community.


A social network has many components to it. And most of these components – 10 in number – are present in BuddyPress. You can use these components to enable,

  • Any user to sign up, create an account, modify it or delete it – all from within their profile.
  • Detailed profiles for users to describe themselves.
  • Users to connect with others within the community and follow them.
  • Users to make new friends on the community.
  • Any number of users to continue a conversation privately.
  • To create groups that users can join in and participate.
  • To display latest exchanges in an activity stream, with RSS feed and email notification support.
  • To send notifications about any activity, allowing users to customize the notification settings.


Many of the components are enabled by default. However, components for friend connections, private messaging, site tracking and User Groups will have to be enabled, if you need them.


Once you’re done selecting the components you need for your community, move on to the Pages tab to configure the pages that BuddyPress will use. Three are already done for you – Members Page, Activity Page and User Groups Page. You’ll need to create two more – for Registration and Activity. Use the Page settings in your WordPress dashboard and select pages for each function. Save when done.



The third and final tab is for Options and you can enable / disable the options as you wish. Thereafter BuddyPress will use the assigned pages to display the relevant content for your site.


If you are on a multi-site, you can choose to activate the plugin across the entire network or only on selected sites. And by enabling the multi-blog feature, the sme central data is used to display BuddyPress content on all the sites.

A feature that has been added recently is allowing activity embeds. Any activity that is shared by a community member can be featured in a post or page by simply copying the URL of the activity and pasting it into the post or page.

Themes and extensions for BuddyPress

BuddyPress works with most WordPress themes. However, If networking among users is significant to your blog, you may prefer themes which come with templates for each BuddyPress component built in.

Buddy Multipurpose BuddyPress WordPress Theme

One theme we’d recommend is Buddy – the multipurpose BuddyPress theme for WordPress. This theme features a clean and customizable design with full BuddyPress integration so you can easily create your own social network. Other awesome theme features includes easy to use shortcodes, retina support, individual or global post options, unlimited sidebars, child theme included and translation files.

Moreover, there are hundreds of third party extensions and add-ons that extend the features of BuddyPress. The network components can be enhanced with these add-ons. Some add-ons that may help,

  • iFlyChat – Is a real-time chat plugin that supports automatic integration with BuddyPress. Members can talk privately with one another or many can enter into a discussion in a chat room simultaneously. User conversations are logged.
  • WangGuard – For protection from spam user registrations and sploggers. It is multi-site and bbPress compatible and works by adopting an anti virus approach.
  • rtMedia for WordPress, BuddyPress and bbPress – Allows adding albums, photos, audio, video and frontend uploads. With a mobile first approach, it works well on tablets and mobiles too.

It is important to choose hosting service provider carefully while installing BuddyPress. Often, community software is big on database resource and BuddyPress is no exception.

For more information and support on BuddyPress, visit the BuddyPress website.


bbPress adds a discussion forum to your blog. This plugin is also a product from Automatic. It is easy to install and use.

You can install bbPress from your WordPress dashboard. After you have installed and activated bbPress, visit ‘Forums’ on your dashboard and create a new forum.


By default, all the forums will be active site wide. This means that any member of any group will have access to the forum. (Read further to see how access can be restricted).

Once you have created new forums, proceed to Settings > Forums. Select options to configure the forums, and allow or disallow privileges to users. Allow or disallow anonymous posting, and assign to visitors various forum roles like participant, moderator, keymaster or block any user. You can also allow users to mark topics as favorites, to subscribe to forums & topics, to embed media into topics and replies, revise replies and tag topics or conduct a forum wide search.


A number of shortcodes are also available to help arrange the forum in the way that you like.

Total bbPress Multipurpose WordPress Theme

Much like BuddyPress there are a number of awesome themes that work well with bbPress, but our favorite is the Total WordPress theme. We’ve created an entire Total bbPress demo site so you can sample the forms

bbPress also comes with hundreds of add-ons that can extend features. A random few are listed here,

  • bbPress Moderation – Adds the ability to approve new topics and replies in bbPress. It helps reduce spam by changing the status of the topic to pending and puts it on hold till it’s approved by the moderator.
  • GD bbPress Attachments – Helps readers upload attachments to the topics and replies through media library. File size can be limited and images can be shown in thumbnails. It supports BuddyPress as well. A pro version that allows enhanced attachments and additional widgets is also available.
  • bbPress Votes –  Allows users to vote up or vote down any topic or replies in bbPress. It Integrates well with BuddyPress.

BuddyPress and bbPress Integration

The communities that you add to your blog with BuddyPress can allow members to discuss on a forum created within the community. You can have many forums within a single community network. To have forums functioning within community networks, you need to use BuddyPress and bbPress together.

As mentioned before, forums can be accessed by any member from any group. To restrict access and to organize the forums and communities in your blog you need to,

  • Assign the forums to a parent group.
  • Enable bbPress to have groups.

After you have installed, activated and configured both plugins, visit the bbPress settings and create a group or parent forum for all the forums used by BuddyPress. Set the attribute to Category field and publish it.

Staying within bbPress settings, proceed to BuddyPress integration, and type in the name of the BuddyPress forum you just created. Save the settings. When creating new groups, allow each group to set up its own forum.


If you do not have any existing Groups, look for the Groups > Add New option, and follow the steps to set up a new Group. Take care to tick the box allowing the Group to have a forum. For existing Groups, look up the settings under Group forums and tick the option to allow each group to have forums. Save all changes.

The Group Menu will now display a Forum option which admin or permitted forum members can use to create new forums for different topics.


Each group on your site can choose to have its own forum. Each user’s topics, replies, favorites, and subscriptions will appear in their profiles. It integrates with BuddyPress Groups, Profiles, and Notifications.

BuddyPress and bbPress work well together, and can be used independent of each other as well. They can be installed in any order. And if any one plugin is deactivated, it will not affect the other.

Final Thoughts

There are similarities between BuddyPress and bbPress, but they are differences as well. Both developed by Automattic and free for users. They serve as effective communication tools for user groups. The two plugins are aimed at increasing interaction and exchange of ideas among members. A number of addons that extend features are available for both plugins, BuddyPress more so than bbPress.

But BuddyPress is more about forming communities and networking, and bbPress is more about discussion boards and forums. bbPress fairly simple, BuddyPress is more feature rich. You can use them independent of each other – choose to have just a forum for discussion with bbPress, or a community that networks with BuddyPress. Or install both – forums and communities – and make your blog truly participatory.

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Facebook Tips and Tricks to Work It’s Magic for Your WordPress Site

With over 1.7 billion active users, Facebook can be a powerful platform for reaching new customers and driving targeted traffic to your site. However, it’s not as simple as just posting content on Facebook and hoping for the best.

Facebook is ever-changing, and business owners must keep up-to-date to harness its power effectively. Fortunately, there are several proven and effective strategies you can deploy to ensure you enjoy the widest reach possible.

In this article, we’ll look at seven strategies you can use to maximize the impact of your efforts on Facebook.

Tip #1: Create a Facebook Profile and Business Page

Alright, so this is an obvious step to many of you. However, the truth is that lots of people have yet to venture into the world of Facebook. As of April 2015, only 41% of US small businesses were using Facebook for marketing. In addition, many small business owners use their personal profile rather than a dedicated business page to advertise on Facebook despite the many benefits of using a business page.

Our Facebook business page (click to view and like!)

Our Facebook business page (click to view and like!)

If you don’t already have a business page set one up now (you’ll also need to create an account if you don’t have one already).

Tip #2: Add Social Share and Follow Buttons to Your Site

Reach is a term that refers to the number of Facebook newsfeeds where your content appears after it is posted. While the reach of your posts is decided by complex Facebook algorithms, there are lots of things you can do to help boost your reach.

One obvious way to boost your reach is to have more people like your page. Make it easy for your readers to like your Facebook page (and other social media accounts) by adding social follow buttons to your website. We do this by displaying a dedicated Facebook widget in the sidebar (just look to the right of this post).

If you don’t want to use a large widget, you can add a Facebook follow button instead, along with any variety of other social media buttons. There are lots of options available directly from Facebook, or you can use a plugin (see below for suggestions).

In addition to adding new follower, another way to boost reach is to encourage visitors to share you content on their profiles with social share buttons. You can include customized buttons in various locations on posts, pages, and image pages.

End of a WPExplorer blog post displaying scrolling buttons at the side of the post and static buttons at the bottom of the post

We have scrolling buttons at the side of posts and static buttons at the bottom of posts

There are lots of plugins available to help you add social media share and follow buttons. Two popular options include Jetpack Sharing (included with the Jetpack plugin) and the SumoMe Share app (included with the SumoMe plugin). There are also lots of premium options such as Monarch and Easy WordPress Social Sidebar.

Tip #3: Set Up Your Site to Post to Facebook Automatically

Setting up your site to automatically post to Facebook saves you the time and hassle of logging into Facebook and creating posts manually. This can be done in a variety of different ways including through Jetpack’s Publicize module or through plugins like Facebook Auto Publish.

If you already have Jetpack installed, in your Dashboard go to Jetpack > Settings > Engagement > Publicize > Configure Your Publicize Settings. Here you can connect to Facebook and other social media accounts so that every time you publish new content it is automatically shared on Facebook and beyond.

Jetpack Publicize settings screen within WordPress

Jetpack Publicize settings screen within WordPress

Tip #4: Add Open Graph Meta Tags to Your Site

If you want your content to look great when shared on Facebook, you will need to add Open Graph (OG) tags to your website markup. Adding OG tags allows you to take control over how your content appears by identifying the different parts of your content, such as the title, description, and image:

WPExplorer blog post link ready to be posted to Facebook with the image, title, and description labeled

How Facebook uses Open Graph tags to make posts look great

You can add OG tags manually or with a plugin like Yoast SEO or Ultimate Facebook.

Tip #5: Join and Create Groups on Facebook

Your Facebook presence doesn’t have to be restricted to your personal profile and business page. Joining and contributing to Facebook groups that are relevant to your business is one way to create new connections and generate leads. There are many strategies you can employ when it comes to using Facebook groups; just be sure to read group rules and follow general Facebook etiquette.

You might also consider creating your own group. Doing so has the potential to help you establish yourself as an authority figure in your area of business, and gives you control over exactly what happens within the group. One major downside to managing a Facebook group is that it can become time-consuming, so it’s important to continuously evaluate exactly what you’re getting in return for your time.

Tip #6: Use Facebook Ads

You might think that advertising on a platform as large as Facebook would be very expensive. However, you can get started Facebook Ads at a very modest cost and deploy highly targeted campaigns based on things like age, location, and interests.

Facebook Ads targeting options screen

Facebook Ads targeting options

Of course, it’s still up to you to make sure your ads are effective and that you target them appropriately. Facebook Ads have become a powerful and popular marketing tool. As a result, there are tons of great resources available to help you create and refine advertising campaigns.

Tip #7: Stay Up to Speed with Facebook’s Updates

The Facebook landscape is constantly changing so it’s important to stay up to date with what’s happening. As Facebook evolves, some strategies may become less effective or even obsolete, while new opportunities arise.

Subscribe to Facebook News and other social media news sites like Social Media Examiner and Social Media Today. That way, you’ll never miss an opportunity to expand your Facebook reach.


Facebook offers a huge pool of potential customers for your business. However, with so many businesses vying for the attention of Facebook users, it is easy to get lost in the sea of profiles, pages, and posts. In order to make Facebook work its magic for your site, you can employ these proven strategies:

  1. Create a Facebook profile and business page.
  2. Add Facebook share and follow buttons to your site.
  3. Set up your site to post to Facebook automatically.
  4. Add Open Graph meta tags to your website markup.
  5. Join and create groups on Facebook.
  6. Use Facebook Ads.
  7. Stay up to speed with Facebook’s updates.

Which strategies have you found to be the most effective in driving traffic from Facebook to your website? Let us know in the comments section below!

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HTTPS for WordPress: What It Is & Why It’s Becoming More Important

So, what is this https thing that I keep seeing over and over? HTTPS name derives from Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure, the original name for the protocol is HTTP, the key letter here is the “s” in HTTPS which means secure.

When you send and receive data through your browser it be done in 2 ways. Either Standard or Secured. When you visit sites that are using standard HTTP it means your communication with the server is traveling un-encrypted. In most instances this is fine since you’re probably only reading the content provided by a website, not providing valuable private data.

But in cases where you are providing personal information (especially billing, banking or identification data) this is not optimal because a potential attacker could possibly intercept that content and change them on the fly. Which in turn can lead to hacking attempts or theft. This means that for online businesses and secure e-commerce websites, using HTTP is absolutely not acceptable.

Exchanging of private data such as credit card transactions demand HTTPS but with the current increase in hacking activities the demand for what google calls HTTPS Everywhere is growing by the day.

Why HTTPS Is Becoming More Important

Now that you know what HTTP is, it’s important to understand why it’s important. To oversimplify: HTTPS helps keep your web browsing activities safe.

An HTTP site that works un-encrypted can be more susceptible to attacks. Sites that are hacked could also lead to malicious software being installed onto them, which affects readers since malware will affect browsers as well. This situation has become a growing concern with automatized hacking attempts taking place all over the world. The use of HTTPS would help negate many of these attacks by converting all data transfers to encrypted connections, which are more difficult encryption mechanisms to break.

Google Malware Warning

Using HTTPS could lead to a safer, more secure web. But so far it’s been a long road, and there’s still a lot to do before HTTPS can become universal. Also, it’s important to remember that HTTPS isn’t the only factor to be considered in creating safe websites – there are many other steps web managers should implement for blog security.

HTTPS Had Many Flaws In The Past

Why is HTTPS becoming more important now? In the past HTTPS has has struggled to gain traction since SSL Certificates (the actual web documents responsible for creating encryption mechanisms) were not free. Instead they needed to be issued by specific Certificate Authorities to be valid.

Google Not-Trusted Warning

So the only other option for budget restricted folks has been “self-signed” certificates. These are not been a viable alternative as they throw a warning on your browser. The warning from self-signed certificates is enough to block your readers from attempting to reach your site since it can seem too dangerous to ignore. This makes “self-sign” certificates useless for any serious attempt at growing your online presence. They are however still an options when only used for websites that are part of your own network and are accessed internally, but again that doesn’t do much to grow your brand online.

This has been a huge disadvantage for bloggers and small businesses all around the world. While larger companies have no problem with the cost, bloggers on a budget who aren’t yet generating a sufficient income from their website simply can’t afford to pay for such certificates. And without a reliable alternative they’ve been SOL for SSL.

On top of it all, once a website was loaded with HTTPS the load time of said site suffered. This was due to the additional overhead that the server had to endure by having to encrypt all the data prior to sending it. Not at all an efficient process if you were willing and able to afford it in the first place.

Version 3 of SSL Is Now Obsolete

To add more insult to injury, valid SSL certificates had been operating on an obsolete platform. The last version of SSL called version 3 that started in 1996 had more and more flaws exposed, so much so that the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) decided to make it obsolete


The new TLS protocol is much more secure in every way, which has lead to the whole of SSLv3 being banned on major browsers.

More CPU Power, Let’s Encrypt, TLS and HTTP/2 Have Changed The Game

With the advent of new hardware, faster processors, faster webservers (such as nginx & lighttpd) and faster caching mechanisms (such as varnish) the overhead for supporting HTTPS has been reduced a lot. This means that new SSL adopters need not worry about slowed load times.

Additionally, the new TLSv1.2 protocol introduced for SSL has made SSLv3 obsolete and paved the way for a faster SSL adoption.

On top of that, the recent launch of HTTP/2 is going to be the last nail in the coffin for HTTP supporters. HTTP/2 is an improved protocol over the original HTTP which has been thought out and developed for the present day. HTTP unencrypted is an older protocol which works just fine, but is not as optimized for today’s needs (don’t worry – we will talk more about HTTP/2 in a forthcoming article).


HTTP/2 uses multiplexing to improve performance over traditional HTTP. Image courtesy of CloudFlare

These factors (and more) together reduce the impact of having a site running in HTTPS almost to zero. But what about the cost? This last question has been changed by one variable and it’s called: Let’s Encrypt.

Let’s Encrypt

Let's Encrypt Free SSL

Let’s Encrypt is a free certificate authority. That means it can issue free certificates with a valid duration of 90 days and the certificates cost nothing to implement. Let’s Encrypt recently came out of Beta and has been working perfectly fine since then. This last piece of the puzzle has made the whole “HTTPS everywhere” Google one step closer to being realized. The main problem Google has right now is adoption.

Luckily Let’s Encrypt has several ways to issue a certificate be it via web by ZeroSSL, by a wordpress plugin via WP-Encrypt or by server with the new packages in Debian and other linux distros called Certbot.

WP Encrypt Free WordPress Plugin

WP Encrypt Free WordPress Plugin

The free WP Encrypt WordPress plugin makes installing and managing your free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate easy. You can use the plugin to create a certificate, register it and them move your website to HTTPS. But the absolute best part is that the plugin will automatically renew your certificate for you every 90 days, so you’ll always have a valid SSL certificate.

Let's Encrypt Compatible Hosting

Let’s Encrypt Compatible Hosting

The second easy way to add Let’s Encrypt is via your hosting company. Many popular hosts have been integrating Let’s Encrypt with their packages to make it easy and affordable for their customers to add SSL to their WordPress sites. A few of our favorites include Cloudways, WP Engine and Flywheel. These early adopters have made adding SSL and easy part of their already simple website setup processes.

Google is already pushing HTTPS with SEO Ranking Boost

Google had already started considering HTTPS adoption as a part of their own SEO ranking algorithm back in 2015. Then they announced in 2016 that they were going to implement a very minor ranking boost to all websites that switch from HTTP to HTTPS. According to Google this is currently not strong enough to affect rankings in a meaningful way, but it’s an indication of things to come.

As you can see, Google has already made telltale changes in 2015 and 2016, and now they’re going to push the boundaries even more in 2017.

There’s gonna be a warning on Google Chrome in 2017

With the now widely adopted HTTP/2 protocol and perhaps even the proliferation of Let’s Encrypt users now counting in millions all around the world, Google has begun to make it’s next move. Google recently announced that they will start displaying an exclamation mark for all sites that are un-encrypted, beginning with their recent Google Chrome Update.


Then starting in January 2017 they plan to flag HTTP websites that transmit sensitive user data (such as passwords, credit card information, etc) with a red warning sign. This will no doubt, will start creating mistrust with all those sites that don’t make the switch.


The move is a bold one, I am sure of that, but it does say something about where the web is headed. With more and more sites switching to HTTPS and the increase in usage of the internet all over the world, HTTPS is going to be the defacto standard in the coming years.


New technologies have finally arrived to make HTTPS much more attractive. With the inclusion of faster webservers, faster CPUs, better protocol encryption mechanisms through TLSv1.2, the recently launched HTTP/2 protocol and Let’s Encrypt giving free certificates to anyone who want’s them the way has been paved to faster HTTPS adoption. On top of that Google’s enforcement of the switch by future updates is another push towards HTTPS.

But don’t worry – as mentioned in the first article of this post, for blogs and magazines you shouldn’t feel pressured to rush to HTTPS. You should carefully think through your move from HTTP to HTTPs since it could affect your search engine rankings. But for e-commerce and membership based websites you will need HTTPS enabled and active on your login and checkout pages to prevent users from seeing a warning in 2017.

Did I gave you enough reasons to switch? In my next article, I’m going to examine how to make the switch to HTTPS in WordPress using plugins, how to add your certificate in cPanel, Vesta or your custom VPS with nginx. Stay tuned!

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Create and Publish Books with WordPress & PressBooks

If you are looking  for a simple and straightforward tool to create, edit and publish your books don’t look further, use PressBooks and enjoy creating your book using the beloved  WordPress.

PressBooks gives you all the essential tools for creating  e-books and even printed books. It lets you export your books in all major data-formats so your books can easily go on any e-book format for Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Nook, Kobo and others. You can export your book in PDF for printing it on paper, and as you are creating your books on WordPress you can get a familiar XML export as well.

This revolutionary e-book publishing application is all Free and has been built on WordPress by – a visionary developer: Hugh McGuire and there are other nice guys at PressBooks team; Dac Chartrand is Lead Developer. Sonia Gaballa makes the nice designs and Ned Zimmerman wrangles various plugins.

BookPress in fact is a WordPress MultiSite(WPMS); Users can register in the network to create an unlimited number of books, and each book is a site in the WPMS network.

The PressBooks WordPress Plugin

The BookPress MultiSite is powered by the PressBooks Open Source Plugin. Anyone can download the plugin from Github and activate it on a fresh multisite WordPress installation to turn it to a book publishing platform.

The developer suggests to use as a ready and managed platform. I have to say I agree with him, because publishing e-books is not only creating the export file there is a new phase of complex works waiting for the authors to distribute their book across several major marketplaces such as Amazon or iBook. Now let’s look at what PressBooks actually is.

What Is PressBooks?

A chapter in PressBooks is very similar to WP standard post formats and includes "chapter meta-data" without taxonomies

A chapter in PressBooks is very similar to WP standard post formats and includes “chapter meta-data” without taxonomies

PressBooks provides all the essential features of a book, including:

Front Matters, Back Matters, Parts and Chapters and standard books and chapters meta-data. Then authors can organize their books and do the fine finishings.

Authors are allowed to create their books in private and export them, but they also have option to publish their books publicly and users can read the books on a WordPress site installed on a sub-domain of PressBooks. There are three theme to chose as the canvas for the books, all the themes are minimal and inspired by print books:

PressBooks theme options

PressBooks theme options

On the frontend PressBooks looks very much like a paper book:

PressBook Frontend

PressBook Frontend

PressBooks Pros & Cons

PressBooks is reliable, fast and solid. It does what it says and it does it smoothly, but it does too little in comparison with the possibilities and expectations. I realize PressBooks in foundation has a bottomline. The bottomline is compatibility of exported files with the respected distribution platforms. This is a very legitimate goal but as a result PressBooks is far behind the latest content publishing trends and it’s very difficult to be monetized and highly profitable. Lets see why.

Simple Responsive Designs

Let’s look at the classic Kindle as the pioneer of e-book platforms. Amazon created Kindle, and by accessing new data analysis and technology awareness, the smart guys in Amazon knew that age of print media was over. It’s only matter of time until the majority of readers turn to web based publications.

Well Amazon has been doing a great job by transforming reading technology and more importantly changing peoples’ habits. It’s one of the toughest jobs to change old habits.

PressBooks takes advantage of the trend that Amazon started. Creating online ebooks in a paperback-like format makes books easy to read and familiar for older readers (who might not be as open or willing to use tech as younger generations).

PressBooks themes are responsive and stick to a simple single column layout with left/right arrow navigation. This is efficient, but not necessarily the most attractive layout you could ask for. If you like the minimal designs then you should be all set with one of the included PressBooks templates. But is you want something with a bit more style or flash you may want to consider hiring a web developer as well to customize the look of your site.

Local Only Video Embeds

PressBooks doesn’t allow authors to embed third party video in their content. This means you must host your own videos in your own media library if you want to use them (no Vimeo or YouTube iframes allowed).

But what happens to the video in a PDF expert? Well, there are many ways to handle that, I think the simplest practice is to replace the video with a short-URL linked to a YouTube or Vimeo version of the video, in a PDF  format. Anyhow limiting the user to self-hosted media is a bit of a challenge PressBooks has created for itself especially in an age where YouTube is the golden standard of video.


PressBooks has adopted books and chapters meta-data, that’s necessary but not enough.  Micro-Formats such as should be the minimum practices to structure various data.

Suppose I am writing a cookbook in PressBooks platform. I need books meta-data, I need recipe meta-data too. In addition I like to have a custom taxonomy with hierarchy for my ingredients the top level categories can be items like: vegetables, spices, meats etc and all ingredients can be organized on sub-categories.

Then I can show a list of ingredients on the frontend to the readers or I can let my readers search the recipes filtered by custom-fields, and they can chose to see all the dishes that contain Fish or Capsicum. WordPress has extensive tools to structure data with custom meta-data, custom field, custom taxonomies, post formats and custom post types.

There are also features like geo-tagging, that can revolutionize books that are created by PressBooks. Imagine when you read a book on your tablet, if you see name of a place in the text and tap on it, instantly you see the Google Street View image of that place in a lightbox.

Currently PressBooks doesn’t support these features, but it would be a great advantage if they did. This would allow a whole new group of content creators to enter the market. Hopefully it’s something they will consider adding, but until then this is something you would need to consult with a web developer for to see if a custom theme could be designed for your needs.

Taking Evernote as another example, this app is popular because it helps users to write notes with tags, add images and record audio all in the same note. This is the type of content that users expect. Evernote did it to organize notes, imagine how amazing it would be if PressBooks adds similar features to enrich its books.

Social Sharing

PressBooks does support social sharing buttons for Twitter, Google+ and Facebook within the web version of your books. This is a great way for your readers to share their favorite chapters and get you a bit of extra exposure. But these are fairly simple, and currently the only option you have is to enable or disable the sharing on all of your pages as a whole. It would be nice to see styling options as well as more social networks included.


Currently PressBooks enables you to create a web based ebook that can also be exported to PDF, MOBI or EPUB files. But I’m not aware of ways to monetize the books you create without adding additional plugin.

One option would be to create a premium ebook membership using Restrict Content Pro. This way you could make the chapter 1 pages of your books public and lock the rest of your content for members. Note – I have not actually tested the compatibility of these two plugins, but I expect it would work just fine.

Alternatively you can sell your books on Amazon, iBooks, etc. PressBooks formats properly so you should have any issues uploading your file for sale. Or you could use WooCommerce or a similar e-commerce plugin to sell PDF versions of your ebooks on your own website. Many scenarios can be defined or considered for monetizing the application.

PressBooks Pro

Right now the PressBooks plugin is completely free, but they do offer 3 premium plans if you want to let them manager your online book or book platform for you. If you want to remove watermarks from your ebook PDF exports you’ll need to upgrade to one of these plans, which start at $19.99 (a one-time fee on a per-book basis).

PressBooks Printing

PressBooks does offer printing services if you want a paperback version of your ebook produces. There is a $50 set up fee and a 50 minimum order, but that’s it. It’s important to note that self-printed books from PressBooks do not include an ISBN, only a generic bar code. So if you want to distribute to retailers or libraries you will need to sort our your ISBN prior to printing to have the code included on your cover.

Alternatively you can use with BookBaby to print and distribute your book. They offer tons of options, packages and add-on’s like print on demand starting at $199, ISBN services, or even single book printings for $19. Checkout their pricing page to learn more.

BookBaby charges no fees on the sales, yet provides a functional dashboard to the authors to manage their sales across different channels. For print books authors optionally can order small circulations as low as 25 volumes, and it might cost only few dollars per print.

Wrapping Up

PressBooks is a great concept and can be a leader in e-book creating and publishing. There is a lot of potential for creating free and premium ebooks to promote your website or monetize your blog. Hopefully you’ll give it a try as PressBooks is a fairly easy way to create ebooks with WordPress (and when you combine this with our guide to selling ebooks with WordPress you’ll be on the track to success).

So what do you think about PressBooks? Have you tried it? What features do you like? Or are there any features you wish PressBooks had? Let us know and get a conversation started in the comments below!

Article Written by Pooria Asteraky. You can follow Pooria on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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7 Best WordPress Plugins to Integrate Google Services with Your Website

Google services are continually improving as the time goes on. They are definitely making my life and business easier and I believe, yours too.

Integrated with WordPress site, they make your website or online store easier to find, you can quickly access your analytics within your dashboard or even make your website appearance more legible using Google fonts.

I made a list of 7 free WordPress plugins which integrate Google services into your website. They will boost the value of your online presence and facilitate its use. This article lists only reliable plugins found in the repository, which I have personally checked.

1. Google Analytics WD

Google Analytics WD plugin

This user-friendly plugin has about 1.000 active installs, but also very high ratings from its users (5 out of 5 stars). It will automatically add Analytics tracking code to your website. Also, you can customize it for majority of the options that the Google API provides.

I wanted to see if it deserved the ratings, so I went on and installed it. It automatically added my Google Analytics tracking code. And since I don’t like going to Google Analytics, but I login to my website daily, I can now get that analytics data in my dashboard and act on it.

Do you want to check what is happening with analytics on other registered sites? You don’t have to switch to different Analytics accounts to so this. You can do it in your WordPress dashboard with Overview page which can show audience, visitors, location and browser information.

If you want to manage and track website analytics from within your WordPress dashboard, install Google Analytics WD plugin and take in-depth tracking reports at any time.

It allows you to compare and export them to CSV and PDF files. You can also send them as scheduled emails, configure Analytics Filters, exclude certain data from tracking, set goals and so much more if you’re an advanced user and need specific metrics for your your online store, local business or a WordPress blog.

There are some advanced features I didn’t expect, such as reports for eCommerce businesses. Try it, see for yourself and tell me if it works for you as it did for me.

2. Easy Google Fonts

Easy Google Fonts WordPress plugin

I like nice typography. Not only that it’s a part of your online branding strategy, but it makes your WordPress website more usable and easier to read. You can Add custom Google fonts to your WordPress theme without any coding skills. The Easy Google Fonts plugin is compatible with any WordPress theme.

It allows you to take full control of typography and choose from over 600 available fonts. Before you save any changes, you’ll be able to preview your theme with the new font.

Another perk is that if you update your theme or switch to a different one, you will not lose your custom font savings. Using WordPress best practices when designing your website, by adding extra functionality through plugins, will count in the long run, so start early.

3. Google XML Sitemaps

Google XML Sitemaps WordPress plugin

We all know it´s important to provide a complete XML sitemap of your site for every major search engine. With over one million active installs and the average rating of 4.9, Google XML Sitemaps plugin proves it’s worth considering. Its purpose is simple and straightforward — help search engines index your site faster and better and show it in the search result pages.

There are many other plugins that incorporate this feature into them, but they’re cumbersome and may slow down your website. If you’re looking for a quick and light solution, then Google XML Sitemaps is the one for you.

Adding your posts, categories, products and other custom post types into different sitemaps, you allow crawlers to see the complete structure of your site. When you create new content, sitemaps will update automatically. You don’t have to create a sitemap.xml by yourself. This plugin will generate it and update it dynamically.

4. AdSense Plugin WP QUADS

AdSense Plugin for WordPress

If you want to earn money via your blog, try AdSense Plugin WP QUADS plugin.

You can insert it in your posts, pages and sidebars quite easily. This plugin is perfect for all you bloggers who are starting to monetize on your writing skills.

I’ve tested several plugins and even services which add Google AdSense to your WordPress blog. But, many of them are too complicated and not as easy to configure or insert.

5. Google Drive WP Media

Google Drive WP Media WordPress plugin

Do you want to have a direct access to your Google Drive from your WordPress site? With Google Drive WP Media plugin you can manage your files in the WordPress dashboard.

It allows you to upload and share your files from your WordPress to Google Drive and vice versa. Also, you can attach Drive files to your posts, create a folder for storing your files and much more.

With over 2,000 active installs and the average rating of 4.6, this plugin will help you to get the best of this indispensable Google service and increase the storage available for your WordPress website.

6. WidgetPack Google Reviews

Widgetpack Google Reviews WordPress plugin

This plugin displays Google Business Rating and Reviews from Google+ users on your WordPress site. It enables you to add a widget with up to 5 Reviews in the free version. If you want to show more than 5, you will have to pay for a pro version.

Surely, you don’t want visitors to see a bad review. With this plugin, you can delete it from a sidebar widget. It works without Google Places API key and you can also change the size and color of review stars. If some reviews are too long, you can easily trim them.

You probably know that many people will decide for something if they see other people’s experiences. The WidgetPack Google Reviews plugin is the excellent choice for improving your business.

7. Google Maps

Google Maps WD

Want to create Google maps for your WordPress site with advanced markers, custom layers, and overlays? I managed to do it with the Google Maps WD plugin. You don’t need to have any coding skills to do it. It is all-in-one, intuitive solution and has all you will ever need.

For example, many local store owners have to install a different plugin that allows people to retrieve store locations. But, this plugin has its own store locator for allowing map users to find the nearest stores.

Using shortcode or PHP template tag, you can add an unlimited number of maps to any post or page. There is a drag and drop feature for adding and moving markers on each map. Although it has many options, you will quickly understand what their purpose is. Just hover over the feature and it will tell you exactly what it does.

Google offers some truly remarkable services. So, why not use them to your advantage and make your WordPress website easier to use and maintain.

Do you use any of Google Services Integration plugins on your WordPress platform? Do you have some solutions that I didn’t mention here? Feel free to post your comments below.

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WordPress Post Formats Guide: What They Are & Why To Use Them

Real quick, WordPress post formats are meta information (or ‘tags’) that can be used by themes to customize presentation of a post. Urgh! Meta what? For those not well-versed in developer-speak, we can think of post formats as a feature that allows you to present your posts in different styles. There you have it private, you can put your guns away now.

Post formats expand the micro-blogging face of WordPress as you can create your post as an aside, a status update, a quote, a gallery, a video, a link or an image, and style each to your heart’s content. Bottom line: The post formats feature makes WordPress a more complete blogging platform.

Think of it this way. You can share an external link that befits your readers, create Twitter-like updates, build amazing galleries, and share unforgettable quotes among other things with a single click. Suffice to say, if your theme supports WordPress post formats, you can customize how each format looks even if the developer has done that for you already.

WordPress Post Formats

In essence, you are creating a normal post, but the post formats feature allows you to tune said post into an aside, video, image, gallery, link etc. without doing too much work. You don’t even need to create categories – as it were in the past – to style your posts differently.

Without a doubt, the content you input for each of the formats is slightly different. We mean, a gallery post will contain a couple of pictures (or the gallery shortcode), a video post will contain a third-party or self-hosted video, a link post should have a link to an external resource and so on and so forth.

Post formats were an interesting addition to WordPress 3.1, meaning they have been around for a while now. Most (if not all) developers are aware of this fact, but most beginners (you, perhaps?) have never heard of post formats. This is especially true if you use a theme that does not support post formats.

However, even if you purchased themes that support this powerful but neglected feature, post formats don’t occupy a prominent position in the WordPress post editor, explaining why they go unnoticed most of the time. If we are to get down to the basics though, the post format feature is simply a custom taxonomy, with a standardized set of formats. Or as Otto puts it:

Post Formats is just a taxonomy. It’s a set of adjectives, describing the nouns that are the posts. So now we have “aside posts” and “gallery posts” and “chat posts” and “video posts” and so on. – Otto Wood, Post Types and Formats and Taxonomies, Oh My!

Available post formats are:

  • Gallery to create, well, galleries
  • Link to create posts that link to external resources right from the title
  • Aside to create asides (one or two paragraphs max, probably with/without a title)
  • Image for…well…image posts genius
  • Quote for that one quote you simply can’t wait to share with your readers
  • Status because updates are no longer reserved for Facebook and Twitter
  • Chat so you can post chat transcripts whenever
  • Video for video post and embeds
  • Audio because, at times, listening makes more sense than reading

Outline of WordPress Post Formats

How about we delve deeper and discover what you can achieve with each of the above post formats.

Standard Post Format

If you have ever used WordPress to publish a post, you are one among the lucky few who have used the standard post format. How lucky you are in deed. This post format is the default post format for all posts. We can think of it as the elementary post format whether or not your theme support post formats. And why shouldn’t your theme support post formats seeing they have been around since good ole “Reinhardt” rode into town?

So whenever you create a post – with or without galleries, videos, quotes, video or images – you’re essentially using the standard post format. Probably why they named it the “standard” post format. That’s right, and keep creating awesome content so you can grow that base.


What did you say? Let’s take a selfie first? We all love photos, don’t we? We love showing off our summer bods, exotic trips, your animal friend le dog, Starbucks cups with misspelled names, the newest gadgets in town, and I could go on and on if Instagram wasn’t so popular.

Guess what? Your website could use a splash of color too. If you’d like to add a gallery as a WordPress post, you can rely on the gallery post format. Just don’t forget to label your images appropriately and add the alt tag. I hear that sort of thing is great for WordPress SEO.


A long time ago, I read somewhere you can seek inspiration from your comment section to write highly engaging content. Goes something like this: Find a great comment (or two) and create a discussion post around it. Get my drift?

Well, you could reference to the comment using the quote post format, write a 4000-word standard post or simply allude to the fact you care about your readers with a carefully placed aside. After all, an aside is supposed to provide an extra bit of information – something lengthier than a quote but way shorter than a standard post.

Chat Post Format

Now why would anyone want to put up a chat transcript on their blog? Surprisingly, there are many reasons. Three come to mind immediately. Perhaps you would like to showcase your support chops, and post up a recent chat session between you and a happy customer. Testimonials work too, but “hey you, here is a chat transcript showing I’ll support the hell out of you as my customer!”

Perhaps you were hacked a couple of days ago and now can’t sleep until you shame the guys who offered slipshod support when your ship was sinking. OMG, who else is thinking of Titanic? Anywho, you download the chat transcript (they actually allow you to email yourself a copy) and shout from the rooftops. They hear you out, and promise to buy you a birthday cake, but you don’t follow up because the world doesn’t revolve around you and you have another goose to roast.

Perhaps this other goose is your sudden and uncontrollable urge to publish one of those plays you so loved back in middle school. Point is, these are just few among the many ways you can put the chat post format into good use.

Link Post Format

The internet is quite the resourceful place you’ll agree. You can fall into a treasure trove at any given time. I’m talmbout coming across a resource that you know will excite your readers to high heavens. What to do? You can bookmark the page, come back to it later and create a similar resource, but we all know how that goes. Needless to say, your great resource might be old news or non-existent by the time you return.

If you’re pressed for time, or simply can’t create a similar resource, you can do your readers a favor by sharing your new-found treasure on your blog. How? Simply use the link post format. Just add the title of the link, the URL and choose “Link” from the Format menu. Oh wait, you can add your own commentary if you want.

Image Post Format

A Picture Post Format is Wprth 1000 Words

A picture speaks a 1,000 words, right?

I will let you figure out what the image post format does all by yourself. Deal? Great.

Video Post Format

Do you have the slightest idea how many people watch videos online? A recent research by Hubspot – yes, those inbound marketing guys – reveals that a third of all online activity is spent watching video. Say what? That’s a staggering figure my friend. If you’re up for the ride, here are a couple more facts:

  • You can increase your conversion rates by 80% if you include a video on your landing page,
  • About 92% of mobile users share videos with friends and family,
  • If your blood isn’t rushing yet, 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process, and
  • Mobile video consumption rises 100% every year, according to YouTube

Have you watched a video today? Exactly my point! No? You’ll probably watch one before the day ends. I could throw these stats at your face all day long, but point is: Video is good. So good the guy behind The Dollar Beard Club banks on videos to build a multi-million dollar brand. There’s that other ViralNova guy, what’s is his name? Scott? Yes, Scott. Anybody mentioned YouTube? YouTube doesn’t even create the videos. It’s all generated by the user base. Ahem.

You can harness the power of videos to drive your marketing thanks to the video post format. If you need more room to breath, you can look into a landing page solution such as Thrive Leads, or our very own Appy Mobile Landing Page (built with the Total theme) that takes you closer to your readers.

Quote Post Format

As a fellow voyager (God, I love that word; makes me feel like I’m on one of those USS Enterprise space ships) through the vast universe that’s the internet, I have seen a good number of quote sites that pull a lot of weight because, guess what, people love quotes. Yes, motivational quotes, billionaire quotes, Chuck Norris quotes, love quotes and quotes about this and that.

Perhaps launching a quote site sends chills up your spine. It’s not your cup of tea per se, but perhaps you would like to inspire your readers with a motivational quote from time to time. You know, something like:

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. – Mahatma Gandhi

You could even describe your quotes with a couple of words because – quote post format. The above is my favorite quote by the way. Do you have a pick-me-up quote you love throwing around whenever? Yes? Share in the comments.

Audio Post Format

Podcasts and audio books are awesome because you can listen to your favorite speaker/author whenever and wherever. In low moods? Hate listening to the hum of human activity at the mall? Don’t know what to do when you’re driving? Listen to an enlightening podcast. Need some WordPress advice? There’s definitely a podcast for you buddy.

There are podcasts and audio books for virtually every topic under the sun, and they are popular. Heck, you can even listen as authors regale you with tales from 600-page novels these days.

Audio books and podcasts are popular because all you have to do is press play and enjoy. No turning pages here mate. But how do online publishers, like yourself, get their podcasts and audio books (or any other audio file) in front of their beloved listeners?

Sure, some publishers depend on Amazon. Others hire developers to write special code because, among other reasons, they swim in money. You could bootstrap, run with WordPress audio post format and tell the entire world your story. Sing us a tune perhaps, or play us something from your favorite band. Make a playlist even, because we want audio and we want it now! Okay, I will stop.

Status Post Format

Status updates are no longer the preserve of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. They are everywhere you look, and WordPress holds that flag high with the status post format. Nothing much to say here other than status post format is similar to an aside, but much more about a simple one-line status. And no, it isn’t a quote.

Post Formats versus Post Types

Just so you may not get befuddled when you chance upon these two features, let us point out the difference between WordPress post formats and WordPress post types.

Post formats allow you to display posts in different styles depending on the effect you wish to achieve. For example, you might want your quotes to look different from your asides, your image posts different from your video posts and so on. Still, you’d be working with normal blog posts.

Over to WordPress post types or content types according to Mark Jaquith. A standard blog post is a specific post type. A page on your WordPress site is another post type. Your navigation is also a post type, and so is an attachment. Your developer might throw in a couple of custom post types such as Portfolio, Testimonials, and Products for good measure.

One thing is apparent here. A post type revolves around non-post content i.e. pages, menus, attachments etc. Post formats are all about styling or “formatting” the blog post, which, by the way, is a post type to begin with.

WordPress ships with posts and pages as the main post types. You can add your own custom post types, and there are no limits as to the number. Since WordPress 3.1, we were treated to nine post formats. You cannot add your own post formats, but can use the existing post formats in your custom post types, but that’s story for another day.

Finally, custom post types usually appear on the left admin menu, but post formats appear within the WordPress post editor (yes, the screen where you write your posts).

To sum it all up, post formats give you more control over how to display the post post type. Get it? Good. Now let’s move on, and discover how we can support post formats in your theme. Remember, post formats are built into the WordPress core; you simply need to activate them in your theme.

How to Setup WordPress Post Formats

Setting up post formats is pretty much straightforward a process. Just add a function to WordPress listing which post formats you desire to use, and you’re golden. If you’re creating your own WordPress theme the code below goes in your functions.php file. If you’re adding post formats to an existing theme be sure to use a child theme as this protects your custom styles whenever you update your theme.

With that preamble, let’s do this. Start by creating your “functions.php” file in your theme’s directory, that is if you don’t have one already. Just use a text editor (hello, Notepad++ or Sublime Text?) to create a plain-text file named “functions” with an open <?php tag at the beginning and save it with the .php extension. Ensure you get the extension part right.

Add the following code to functions.php:

function wpexplorer_add_post_formats() {
	add_theme_support( 'post-formats', array(
	) );
add_action( 'after_setup_theme', 'wpexplorer_add_post_formats' );

Save changes, and upload this file to your theme.

The above code will activate all post formats for your pleasure. If you create a new post, you’ll see these post formats in a radio-button list to the right of the WordPress post editor.

If your theme didn’t support post formats from the beginning, chances are you’ll need to add custom styles for each post format using CSS (as well as potentially alter the templates). This is easy stuff though.

As long as your theme is correctly using the post_class function to add post and entry classes, you can target elements by their post format class to add custom CSS. Since the post_class function will add class names (such as .format-quote) to make it possible to edit your enabled formats. The only requirement is that you ill need to know CSS basics.

If you want to conditionally alter your template parts there is a function called get_post_format that will allow you to retrieve the current format of the post. Keep in mind if there’s no post format assigned it will return an empty value.

WordPress Themes with Post Formats

Now that you can add post formats support to just about any theme under the sun, how about we make your work easier with a short list of themes that come pre-loaded with post formats? List is great for you too, if you have no idea what or who CSS is.

Hueman WordPress Theme

Hueman WordPress Theme

Brought to you by Press Customizr, Hueman is a free WordPress theme that gives free as well as premium themes a run for their money.

PressCustomizr says Hueman is “…a fully featured, responsive, high resolution magazine and blog theme without compromise. Hueman presents what you have to write about in a visual and user-friendly way on all devices.”

Truly, your online magazine or blog could use a little post format magic. This baby ships with support for all post formats, and a slew of other sweet features that are hard to ignore.

Total WordPress Theme

Total WordPress Theme

We take design seriously here at WPExplorer, which is why we make themes we take much pride in. Case in point is the Total Responsive Multi-Purpose WordPress theme that will blow your wig off.

Don’t take my word for it, feel free to take a look at the extensive list of features that include WordPress post formats. On top of allowing you to choose varying post formats depending on your needs, Total comes with additional post settings that enable you to change aspects such as post background, callouts, media, title and headers among others. Your posts will pack a punch, and that’s a guarantee.

Theme has a supreme rating of 4.82/5.00 and about 19k happy customers at the time of writing. Couple that with incredible support and it’s perfectly okay to say you’re in safe hands. I have watched this theme grow, and boy am I impressed or what.

Matala WordPress Theme

Matala WordPress Theme

Oh, what a beauty this is. Color is the name of the game, and Matt Mullenweg (yes, he made it) doesn’t hold back here. Matala is best known for features such as six post formats (you can add more; you just learned how), two widget areas, colorful textured design, and several customization options including custom headers, random galleries on single image pages and much more. It’s 100% free at

Socialize WordPress Theme

Socialize WordPress Theme

Hello BuddyPress lovers. Are you in the market for a WordPress theme made specifically for social networking and community sites? If that’s a yes, we have just the theme for you. Say hello to Socialize, one of the best premium BuddyPress themes on the market.

On top of all the features you need to bring your community site back to life, Socialize ships with all post formats to ensure users have a great time on your site. Of course, you can use Socialize to build any other site imaginable since it 100% flexible. I would love to go through the features with you, but this isn’t that post.

The best part is this bad boy is $70 bucks only, a reasonable price for a professional community style website.

Gridlocked WordPress Theme

Gridlocked WordPress Theme

Let’s now talk about a portfolio theme that’s like no other. Ladies and gents, we introduce Gridlocked by Themezilla, a power elite author and developer extraordinaire.

Work within creative circles? If so, you obviously need a theme that will help you to showcase your work in style. You can draw reader attention to your work or your blog and jazz up the whole shebang with self-hosted videos, images, audio, galleries, quotes, links and asides. A mega-menu that slides down upon prompting is an added plus.

Professional, simple and minimalistic without looking too clinical for the portfolio part, and interactive and fun at the same time, almost like tumblr for the blog part. FINALLY what I was looking for it’s here. Thank you so much. – Octaview

Theme has a great rating of 4.43/5.00 and will set you back $54 bucks only.

Other honorable mentions include:

  • SimpleMag, a magazine theme by ThemesIndep (Rating: 4.77/5.00; Cost: $59 bucks; Sales: 12k+)
  • Bigbang, a responsive WordPress template by Brankic1979 (Rating: 4.46/5.00; Cost: $49 bucks; Sales: 10k+)
  • Scope by Themezilla (Rating: 4.51/5.00; Cost: $54 bucks; Sales: 5.7k+)
  • Scroller by Dannci (Rating: 4.42/5.00; Cost: $49 bucks; Sales: 3.7k+)
  • Throne by Meks (Rating: 4.89/5.00; Cost: $49 bucks; Sales: 2.2k+)

To Wind Up…

The WordPress post formats feature gives you the power you’ve always needed to add a little style; a little oomph; a little pizzazz to your blog. It’s just so sad a lot of WordPress users never use post formats to break monotony and supercharge their posts.

We hope this post inspires you to take action and create magic with your blog. Have something to add to the conversation? Please wow us in the comments. See you around!

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The Easiest Way to Reset Your WordPress Website

Have you ever wanted to just start over, with a clean slate? Maybe you’re trying out a new theme on a staging site. Or perhaps you’re testing the compatibility of a few plugins in your own sandbox.

In these cases you’re most likely importing or creating sample data to test with, and once you’re done testing you’ll probably want to get rid of it. You could just delete the data bit by bit manually, but that takes forever. Or you could use the the WordPress Database Reset plugin to put your site back to the way it was when you started in just a few seconds.

How To Reset Your WordPress Database

WordPress Database Reset Free Plugin

The easiest way we’ve found to quickly reset your database is with the free WordPress Database Reset plugin. This plugin cleans out the blog posts, store products, portfolio items or anything else you might have added to your WordPress installation along with all of the accompanying media files, comments, taxonomies, ratings, etc. It does not delete your installed themes and plugins (so no worries).

We highly recommend using this plugin in test environments where you constantly need to start over. We use it ourselves when doing testing for our Total WordPress theme as well as for many of the plugin reviews you see on our blog. While the plugin currently does not support multisite, it does a fantastic job on single installations and really speeds up the testing and re-testing process.

Now that you know what the WordPress Database Reset plugin does, here’s how you can install and use it to reset your site.

Step 1: Install The WordPress Database Reset Plugin

Install the WordPress Database Reset Plugin

First, log into your WordPress installation and navigate to Plugins > Add New. Search for “wordpress database reset” and look for the plugin created by Chris Berthe (it should be the first result). Click the button to Install and then Activate the plugin.

Step 2: Select & Reset Your Database Tables

WordPress Database Reset Panel

Once active the plugin will add a Database Reset option under Tools. This is where you will be able to select your reset options.

You can use the Select Tables dropdown to choose individual data tables. Or if you want to reset everything (like we typically do) click on the Select All option.

Note: If you select the users table your user account will be reset. This means you will have to reset your password and log back into your WordPress installation after using the reset plugin. To avoid this, remove the users option after using the select all quick link.

WordPress Database Reset Options

After selecting the tables you want to reset you have the option to reactivate your current theme and plugins. This step is completely up to your preference. When we’re doing theme testing we always check this box to speed things up. For plugin reviews we don’t check this box, which means the theme and plugins are all deactivated (but not deleted) on the installation.

WordPress Database Reset Confirmation

Once you’ve made your selections, type in the temporary security code, click the button to Reset Tables and then confirm the reset.

Step 3: Checkout Your Clean Installation

WordPress Database Reset User

If you had the users table selected when you ran your reset you’ll need to log back into your WordPress installation.

Note: This will only happen is you selected the users table when resetting.

WordPress Database Reset Result

If you didn’t reset your users table then you’ll still be inside your dashboard except it should look like a brand new installation. If you click on Posts you’ll see that your website has gone back to the original WordPress “Hello World!” default post, complete with sample comment. And if you check under Pages default WordPress “Sample Page” should be back too.

Before & After

And just to give you a look, here are our test before and after pictures.

WordPress Database Reset: Before

This was our test site before (complete with sample posts, taxonomies, events, menus and more).

WordPress Database Reset: After

And this is the after result (note, we had the option selected to reactivate the theme and plugin which is why you see the Mesa theme we were using instead of the default WordPress theme.

Wrapping Up

There you have it! A complete guide to resetting your WordPress installation with the WordPress Database Reset plugin. It really does speed up testing if your a web designer or developer. Just be sure you’re using it on a single WordPress installation and that you uncheck the users table when resetting.

Do you have another way to reset WordPress? Or any questions about using WordPress Database Reset? Let us know in the comments below!

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